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The Home Depot

5 Questions for an Exterminator

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Extermination > 5 Questions for an Exterminator
5 Questions for an Exterminator

When most people realize it’s time to call for help in ridding their house of unwanted pests, they ask the exterminator one question: What’s it going to cost?


Before you sign any contract, there are a few other matters you might want to check into.

  1. 1.What Will This Cover?

    There is always a difference between what we expect and what we actually get. That’s why contracts should spell out, exactly, what services are covered.

    There is always a difference between what we expect and what we actually get. That’s why contracts should spell out, exactly, what services are covered. You want to actually read the contract. If it’s not written in plain English, don’t simply ask the exterminator what it means. They aren’t attorneys. They are there to eliminate the pests that are plaguing your environment.


    You can get an agreement on a one-shot deal or for a long-term relationship with the service provider. This is especially helpful in the event of termite infestation.


    Do you understand the various fees? How long will the contract be in effect? What are the targeted pests that the exterminator will control?


    Further, find out about the guarantee. Will you be charged when reinfestation happens? Notice we said “when” and not “if.” It’s a pretty sure bet that the problem will arise again. How long is the guarantee in effect?

  2. 2.Certified Employees

    Every state has different qualifications that pest control agents need to meet to do your job legally and safely. Knowing the proper way to handle and use dangerous chemicals along with disease carrying pests is mandatory. Needless to say, if the contractor you’re hiring doesn’t know or care if its workers are certified, move on. This is not a company with which you should do business.


    Hand-in-hand with certification comes experience. And just because a service provider has been in business for many years does not guarantee top service. However, an experienced exterminator is less likely to take the money and run. These types of contractors are like so many other kinds, they’ve built their business on reputation.

  3. 3.Insurance, Etc.

    What if you live in an area of the country that doesn’t require the exterminator to have insurance? Look for one that has gone the extra mile by purchasing comprehensive liability for everyone on the project. Beyond that, does the service provider have Workers Compensation for their employees?


    Why should you care about this? Because it further protects you from any problems that may happen on the job. Occasionally, you’ll encounter a contractor that sub-contracts all of their work. It saves the owner from having to shell out the additional costs of doing business. Is that is the case? Ask to see all insurance papers from every sub-contractor the contractor will use. If their employees are uncovered by Workers Comp, you’ll end up footing the bill in case something bad happens while they’re on the job site.

  5. 4.Specialized Services

    Providers may have package deals. They might also have a cafeteria plan as it pertains to the services offered. Any job can be customized so that you can focus-in on specific issues. Do they have a long term contract option? If you have pets or children, ask the exterminator if they can tailor the program to one that shrinks the risk of exposure to them?


    While the exterminator is accessing areas in the house that are rarely visited, will they note if they have found fungi in the woodwork? What about water damage? They won’t be the ones to fix those problems, but by letting you know things such things will allow you to hire someone who can.

  6. 5.Integrated Pest Management

    Integrated Pest Management (IPM) weighs effectiveness with the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency writes that IPM programs “manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.”


    Professional exterminators have adopted IPM methods, no matter what the pest problem might be. In the past, a carpet-bombing approach was used to eliminate unwanted critters. With IPM, the exterminator hones in on specific pests and particular sites.


    Once you decide that it’s time to bring in an exterminator, remember: You are potentially creating a long-term relationship. Knowing where everyone stands from the start will make this a successful, co-operative venture.

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