11 Things to Consider When Hiring an Exterminator

You probably experienced this: coming home after a long day of work, hoping to relax, only to be horrified by roaches or rats in your kitchen; not getting good sleep because of pesky bed bugs, and waking up tired with bites, or relaxing in your garden to be bit by ants or stung by wasps. 

Once you’ve discovered a pest, it’s essential to take action. Because one pest is usually a sign of a possible infestation. This means finding a recognized and reliable exterminator to remedy the problem once and for all. 

With so many options, it could be hard to pick the right company for the job. So here are 11 tips to consider before hiring a professional exterminator:

Is It a Pest?

Although this question seems counterintuitive, it’s important to ask this question.

For instance, possums are considered pests, but they aren’t aggressive. They also tend not to carry rabies because of their body temperature. By removing them, you vacant the territory and invited other potentially unkind pests.

Additionally, animals like birds, bats, and frogs could be beneficial because they eat insects and other bugs that might pester you or destroy your garden. If they are sheltering in your house or attic, you can look at companies that can relocate them. 

Do some research and check to see if your pest problem is actually a problem. If they aren’t harming you, destroying your house, or even being a bother, getting pest control services might be unnecessary. 

If you have any pests that bite, sting, or cause destruction to your home like bed bugs, roaches, termites, rats, or wasps, it’s best to move on to the other 10 tips! 

Consider the Type of Pest

Not all pests are created equal. Handling a rat infestation is different from getting rid of bed bugs. Extermination of these pests requires various tools, equipment, and even skills.

Depending on the company, exterminators might only be trained to handle specific pests. Before choosing a pest control company, always make sure that they are knowledgeable about the bug or rodent you want to get rid of

Recommendations and Reviews

It’s always better to ask someone who has had firsthand experience for referrals. Before hiring an exterminator company, ask a neighbor or a friend for recommendations and their experience with the company.

Take those recommendations and check with your state pest control association or National Pest Management Association (NPMA) as well as online reviews.

Whether you get a recommendation or not, it’s best to always check reviews on the company. You can use Google, Yelp, Consumer Affairs, etc. to see what others have to say.

Online reviews can offer insight into other people’s experiences, which may not be as stellar as your friend’s.

Choose a few companies and ask for their services and price options before hiring. 

Company Experience

Once you’ve picked a few businesses to hire, it’s always good to check their licensing, insurance, and history of success. Being knowledgeable of this information could protect yourself, your family, and your property from liability.

Hazardous chemicals are often used in pest extermination. So you want to make sure the company you hire knows how to handle them. 

Moreover, try to find out how long the company has been in business and what kind of customers they have had. A pest control company with good customer relationships and a good reputation can say a lot about its services and customer satisfaction.  


Be wary of deals and low prices. Just because a company offers a low price or an incredible deal, doesn’t mean the services will be equally impressive. Costs could vary anywhere from $200 to $2000, but it’s always best to check your options.

Ask for a consultation, an estimate, and compare with other companies before deciding on one.

Also, make sure you know what you’re paying for, especially if you’re signing a contract. Some companies offer annual contracts that require recurring payment; whereas, others could be a one-time visit with no guarantee

Not everyone can pay hundreds of dollars to get pest removal services or sign long-term contracts. Don’t be afraid to inquire about payment plans or cheaper options

If you plan on choosing a company with very affordable prices, make sure that the company has good reviews and a reputation for providing quality service. 


Companies have different knowledge and expertise depending on the pest or even location of them.

For example, pest control companies that deal with ants, might not be well equipped to solve a rodent problem. On the other hand, a pest control company that can solve your pest problem might not be able to if it’s in your attic. 

Whether it be roaches, ants, or rodents, double-check that they have the proper equipment, ability, and expertise to solve your problem. Look through their website or call to inquire about their services before you schedule an appointment.

Proximity and Responsiveness

Pests could easily and rapidly get out of control if you don’t take action as soon as possible. Therefore, try starting with companies located near you

In addition to location, take note of how responsive they are and how swiftly they can send someone in for an inspection. However, be sure that the representative doesn’t pushy you or get you to sign or pay for anything.

Responsiveness can signal that a company is reliable and ensures that it will be easier to get the services you need in the future. 

The Exterminator 

Once you’ve picked a company, make sure that the exterminator sent to your house is polite, professional, and in uniform so that you get a satisfactory customer experience.

Appearances could say a lot. Check whether your exterminator is dressed appropriately and has suitable tools for the job

Before preceding and letting them into your house, ask the exterminator for their identification, certification, and license. All workers from a professional company should be certified and insured.

This protects you from being liable for any accidents or injuries that occur during the extermination service.

Do NOT spend money and let an exterminator onto your property if they aren’t certified and knowledgeable on product safety or proper pest removal. 

Get a Walkthrough

A knowledgeable exterminator should be able to answer any and all questions you have regarding your pest problem. Before entrusting your home and the safety of your family, make sure you understand their method and plan.

Get a walkthrough from start to finish on what they will be doing and how it might affect you and your family, especially if you have young children or pets. Ask whether it’s safe to be inside the home during and a few hours after the extermination. 

Any professional exterminator would be willing and able to walk you through their steps and answer any questions you may have. 

Alternative Treatments

Harsh and toxic chemicals are usually the main tools used to eliminate pests. If you have children or pets, chemical treatments could be harmful to their growth or even deadly. Moreover, it could be detrimental to your garden if an exterminator uses chemicals on your lawn.  

Before starting your service, ask your exterminator about the safety and possible side effects of the chemicals. This is important especially if the problem is in areas where your children or pets play. 

Commonly used chemicals include boric acid, fipronil, hydramethylnon, piperonyl butoxide, pyrethrins, and pyrethroids. It’s important to note that boric acid is toxic to humans as well and has a sweet taste, which can potentially attract your pet or even your young child.

Also, piperonyl butoxide is mildly toxic to humans, and it is classified as a carcinogen

Conversely, pyrethrins and pyrethroids are common chemicals used that aren’t toxic to humans; however, they can be incredibly deadly for aquatic life. If your exterminator uses these chemicals, make sure that they take care to minimize any potential runoff.

Always inquire about non-chemical alternatives that they might offer as well and keep in mind that chemicals should be labelled properly.

An exterminator should be able to provide a data sheet and a specimen label for any chemical used. 


A reputable and professional company should offer guarantees. The best companies will offer extra services free of charge in case the pest problem isn’t solved in a week or month. The best pest control companies can offer guarantees for up to one year

Always read the fine print and confirm any doubts you might have. Ensure that you know how to request the guarantee if the first service was subpar. This means you won’t have to pay extra or hire another company to fix the damage.

Never hire a company that doesn’t offer a guarantee.

Is Pest Control Necessary? 

After reading all of that you might ask yourself. Is pest control even necessary? The costs can be quite high and the results can be unsatisfactory. 

I’ve often tried to solve my own pest problems. Whether it’s laying rat traps or getting rid of ants. Sometimes it works and eliminates the pests… but only for a while. Unfortunately, my do-it-yourself methods of pest removal don’t keep the pests at bay

This is because pest problems can run deeper and I don’t have the tools or knowledge to locate the source. Hiring an exterminator can help take the stress of removal off your mind, especially if you hire a good company

A few years ago, I had wasps in my chimney. Unfortunately, I didn’t do my homework and hired an exterminator who offered a budget-friendly price and could get the job done as quickly as possible.

He sprayed my chimney and left it covered with nothing but cardboard. This caused the dying wasps to fly into my living room where my family and I spend a lot of our time. The cleanup after also wasn’t pleasant

Although the wasps were gone, I was a bit traumatized.

This made trusting another pest control service difficult, but knowing how to eliminate and keep a pest at bay isn’t in my field of expertise. That’s why I made sure to check reviews, certifications, and guarantees before hiring another exterminator. 

My second experience was much more satisfactory. I had multiple fire ant hills in my backyard. The company gave me a free inspection, a full report of the situation, a guarantee, and they also offered a payment plan. The exterminator who came was very friendly and answered any questions I had.

Because I am eco-conscious, they made sure to use safe organic methods of treatment. They also were willing to discuss any doubts I had about the products. Afterward, they left a report and followed up. 

This experience made hiring a pest control company highly worth it for me and I would recommend choosing a professional to solve your pest problem.


Finding a good pest control company can take a lot of research, but the results are very beneficial.

As a bonus tip, try asking a company if they are willing to fix the pest problem first before taking any payment. This can save you from costly revisits and wasted time. 

Understandably, it’s rare for companies to agree to those conditions. They might not receive the payment they deserve or customers might tack on additional services that were not previously agreed on; however, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

If a pest control company doesn’t agree to those circumstances, confirm that they offer a guarantee

Lastly, hiring an exterminator is beneficial, especially if your pest problem is indoors. An exterminator should also be able to provide you with recommendations for prevention and protection against future pest problems.

For example, an inspection might reveal a problem with the infrastructure of your home. The exterminator will help catch these problems that you might never come across and give helpful suggestions such as patching up a hole or replacing weather strips around doors and windows. 

Whatever your pest problem, be sure to do your research, check the list above, and read any fine print before signing!

Alright, that’s it for this article, here are a few hand-selected articles that you might also find interesting reads:  

What Kills Ants Easily? 7 Proven Techniques

How to Keep Insects out of Your Porch! Easy Steps

Small Roaches in House – What You Should Do (Complete Guide)

Steve Foster

Mad about bugs and wanting to publish as many articles as I can to help educate people about these amazing beautiful creatures! For more info check out my about page https://schoolofbugs.com/about-steve-foster/

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