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Pest Control Services 101: 5 Common Mistakes Homeowners Make and How to Avoid Them

If you're in the market for pest control services, you should know that there are plenty of ways to make mistakes. That's because pest control is just one of those things most people know very little about. Here are five potentially disastrous mistakes you can make when hiring a pest control vendor and how you can avoid them.

Whether you're inclined to call the experts, or are more of a do it yourself kind of person, here's what you should know.

1. Not Getting Multiple Estimates

Shopping for pest control services is very much like shopping for groceries. We browse the aisles looking for the best deal--the most for the lowest price. Pest control is no different. Services and prices vary widely. Coupons and specials exist all of the time. If you hire the first company you find in the phone book, you'll never know if you could have gotten the same services at a friendlier price.

2. Not Asking for, nor Checking, References

If a pest control vendor is really good, they'll leave a trail of satisfied customers in their wake. The reverse holds true for vendors to avoid. That's why it's absolutely critical that you ask for a list of references and then follow through by calling them. Find out what others have to say. Come up with a list of questions and write them down beforehand. Were they on time? Did they re-treat if needed? Would you hire them again?

3. Commissioning Work without a Contract

While you'd like to think that you can settle on a word and a handshake, the truth is that hiring pest control services without a binding contract is just bad business. The contract should plainly state what the services provided will be, the total cost for treatment, and the vendors contact information. Also check to see if there is any fine print that attaches conditions to the deal.

4. Buying Special Offers or New Formulas

Promises of special offers or new and improved formulas should be a red flag. According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture, there are no secrets in the pest control services business. That's because all pesticide formulas must be registered with the state and approved for residential or commercial use.

5. Signing an Extended Service Contract

Resist the temptation to lock in a pest control vendor for the long haul, even if pricing premiums hang in the balance. If you become disenchanted with the company for one reason or another, a signed contract means you're stuck with them. Rather, use them on a trial basis by commissioning one treatment at a time. If they're really good, they won't try to force you into anything long term.

Follow these tips, and the service you end up with is much less likely to end up being just another pest.

Department of Agriculture • How to Choose a Pest Control Company • Sep 11, 2009 • http://www.michigan.govhttp://www.michigan.gov/mda/0,1607,7-125-1566_2405_2444---,00.html • State of Michigan
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