What You Should Know
Courtesy of the Department of Florida
Valuable information on how to choose the Right Pest Control Company.
Pest management, like any kind of business, is a joint venture between the company and the customer. As with many businesses, the customer may have difficulty judging whether he/she has received the most skilled efforts for his/her money. This information is a Smart Shopper Courtesy from New Era Pest Management that should help customers objectively look at the service they are buying and to determine its merit.
Organization of Miami Pest Management Companies
Miami Pest Management Companies are operated by people who usually have been assigned to specific responsibilities within a firm. The general categories for personnel in a Pest Control firm are: business license holder, manager, certified operator, salesmen, and Pest management Service Technicians.
The BUSINESS LICENSE HOLDER is the person who is licensed by the responsible state agency, to operate a Pest Control Business. The business license holder is responsible for records, reports, advertising, and personal protective measures. All records of Pest Control activities, including contracts, must be kept at the business location or at a specified location registered with the responsible state agency. The license holder also takes responsibility for the accuracy of advertising and for protecting employees with necessary equipment for safe pesticide application.
The CERTIFIED OPERATOR is in charge of the Miami pest management activities of the business license holder. The certified operator is the real professional in the company who has demonstrated competence in pest control and supervision of such work. Certified operators must pass a rigid examination to demonstrate competence. In order to qualify to take the examination, they usually must have a minimum of three years of documented employment in pest control or a college degree with advanced training or a major in entomology, ornamental horticulture, or pest control technology. Certified operators may become certified in four categories: general household pest control including rodent control, termites or other wood-destroying organisms, lawn and ornamental pest control, and fumigation. Companies which have operators certified in all four categories may offer total pest control services; otherwise they may offer only the services for which they have a certified operator.
In the pest control company, the certified operator is responsible for the training and supervision of personnel in the use of methods and equipment which are known to provide the best pest control. He selects the pesticides and assigns only properly trained and qualified personnel to perform pest control work. All safety practices such as safe storage, application, and disposal of pesticides are his responsibility. The quality of the service technicians in the company are a reflection of the quality of the certified operator.
The SALESMAN is hired to inspect the premises, determine the extent of the problem, and give estimates for pest control work to be performed. The salesman is sent to “sell” the pest control company and its services to the customer. This is often a free service and customers should “shop around” to be certain the diagnosis of the problem is correct and the estimate is reasonable.
The SERVICE TECHNICIAN is the individual who does the actual pest management work. The quality of the control of pests depends to a large degree on the training the technician has received and the professionalism of the technician on the job.
How to Select Pest Management Services / Pest Control Company Wisely
Your first contact with a pest management / pest control company may be through a salesman. A salesman is sent to sell you pest management services. Salesmen are ambitious and some have been known to tell customers that a specific service is necessary when none is required. Selling unnecessary pest management services is prohibited by the pest control laws. However, homeowners must buy pest management services wisely.
The following steps should be taken by homeowners to buy wisely:
- Shop around for the best service at a reasonable price
- If you do not know how to recognize an infestation or damage, ask the salesman to show it to you. He must have evidence to recommend treatment
- Have the salesman certify in writing that the premise or structure is infested with a specific pest and that a treatment is required
- You may confirm the salesman’s diagnosis by sending evidence of the pest or damage he shows you to the Cooperative Extension Service office in your county. An unbiased opinion may insure the proper treatment
- Get opinions from two or more pest management firms before deciding on expensive and extensive treatments
- Read the proposed contracts carefully so you know exactly what the company will do and guarantee. Ask the salesman to interpret parts that you do not understand
- Check with the Better Business Bureau to be certain the company has a clean record.
By following these procedures you are more likely to buy the services you need and want.
Contracts for Wood-Destroying Organisms
A pest management company must give you a written contract for each wood-destroying organism control or preventive treatment. The contract should be furnished before the work has begun and before any payment is made and contain the following information:
- Name and address of property owner and address of property to be treated.
- All buildings or structures to be included for treatment.
- The complete name and address of the pest management firm.
- Date of agreement, duration of contract, and renewal option (if offered).
- Name of wood-destroying organisms covered by the contract.
- Whether treatment is recommended for control of existing infestation or prevention of infestation.
- Conditions under which the company will retreat in case of re infestation.
- Conditions under which repairs will be made.
- Maximum price to be charged for treatment.
- Whether re inspections are to be made and, if so, how often, and how much they will cost.
- What renewal fees will cost.
- Maximum price for structural repairs, if any, shown separately.
- If guaranteed with a bond, what the obligations of the bond are; for instance, re treatments, repairs, etc.
Wood-destroying organisms do not destroy property overnight. Take your time to read the contract and compare services. For more information about wood-destroying organism control, contact your local county Cooperative Extension Service office, and ask for their free publications on wood-destroying organisms.
What to Look For In Delivery of Pest Management Services
All company employees who come to your house reveal the professionalism of the firm. Look for the following:
- Is the vehicle in which they arrived dirty and messy? Is the vehicle plainly marked with the name of the company with whom you are dealing?
- While performing the job, are they considerate, courteous, and careful with your belongings?
- Do they replace the items they move to do the job?
- Are they organized or must they continually run to the truck/car for supplies?
- Does the Pest Management technician present himself as clean and professional?
If you are impressed with all the factors about the technicians, you have reason to believe they may be conscientious in their performance of pest control. However, all these are superficial and not alone a true indication of the effectiveness of the services they have rendered.
There are several direct indications of the quality of pest control services the company is delivering. Companies that are concerned about your safety will follow several basic rules. These are:
- Pesticides should never be diluted in your home or place of business. Pesticides should always be diluted in or at the service vehicle or at the pest management company business location. Any applicator who dilutes pesticide in your home is not using approved pest control practices.
- The pest control technician should always leave the service equipment and pesticides in a locked pest control vehicle or service compartment when not using them.
- Pesticides should be applied indoors with low pressure to prevent splashing and runoff. Any spills or puddles should be wiped up immediately by the pest control technician(s). They should come into your home with rags, etc. to wipe up accidental spills if one should occur.
- Pesticides should never be applied to food products, utensils, or to surfaces that food will contact.
- Pest control applicators should be prepared to protect caged pets by covering them and should shut off air pumps in fish tanks. If cages are removed from rooms, they should check them to make sure they are free of pests.
- The pest control technician should never apply water based pesticides to electrical equipment.
- You should be warned by the pest control technician to keep children and pets off lawns until the chemical has dried if such service is performed at your miami location.
- Poison baits must be placed where children or pets cannot get to them.
- The pest management professional should point out any damage present before spraying, such as stains, burns, etc., so you will not think that the pest control technician is at fault or caused the problem.
- Pest control technicians should never give or sell pesticides to customers. Never ask the pest control professional to give or sell you a pesticide.
- Children’s toys, mattresses, and bedding should never be sprayed with pesticides.
Complaints About Pest Management Firms
It is against the law for a pest management firm or its employees to perform pest control in a negligent manner. It is also against the law for any pest management firm or its employees to knowingly make false or fraudulent claims, misrepresent, the effects of materials or methods, or fail to use methods or materials suitable for the pest control undertaken. Fraudulent or misleading advertising is also against the law.
Pest Control firms cannot tell you that a pest is infesting your property or structure, or tell you that a specific treatment for pest control is required, unless supporting evidence of an infestation exists.
A pest control firm violating the law may have its license or certificate suspended or revoked if the claims are proven. If you have a pest control complaint regarding any negligence, fraudulent claims, or improper use of materials and methods, contact your county or state agency responsible for regulating pest control companies.
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