Pest control contracts can be perplexing to new homeowners. Don’t let confusion about these agreements bug you. We’re here to help.
How general pest control contracts work
One form of pest control service treats for common pests like spiders, scorpions, roaches, ants and rodents. Contracts for these services are offered on an annual basis and begin with a thorough initial treatment inside and outside your home. The technician will treat with pesticide to kill bugs, place gels and seal holes to prevent pests from entering your home. Treatment of your yard may be included. After this initial treatment, the technician may return on a monthly or quarterly basis and will re-treat only the outside perimeter of your house, unless an interior problem is identified.
Plans vary, but these general pest control contracts charge for an initial visit. Scheduled follow-up calls may be included in that price, or the pest control company may charge separately for them. When the homeowner sells, the pest control contract will follow her to a new property. The pest control company likely will contact the home’s new owner to become a customer.
How termite control contracts work
The second type of pest control contract is for termite control. Because termite damage is a serious concern, these contracts are more involved. They provide for an initial inspection and treatment if needed as well as follow-up inspections. Ask if the annual charge stays the same each year.
The termite control contract should name specifically the targeted pest, such as subterranean termites, and what structures will be treated. It should also state whether the treatments will be corrective and preventative or just preventative, the methods of treatment to be used and the duration of the contract. Read the contract carefully before signing and paying any money.
The termite control company should provide a termite bond, which is a guarantee to the new owner of an existing home that if termites are found again within a specified number of years after treatment, the necessary treatment is free. The contract and bond are on the house and should be transferable to a new owner, so the seller must take care of this by closing.
The cost for a termite control agreement and bond on a newly constructed home will range from $500 to $1,000.
Ideally, termite control contracts should include a repair bond to fix any damage termites have caused, but not all homes qualify. Ask the termite control company whether it offers a repair bond and whether your house qualifies. Only certified pest control services can provide termite bonds.
Finding a service
As with hiring any home contractor, do your research when you’re looking for a pest control contract. Home service referral sites like Angie’s List and Home Advisor are good sources, as are friends. Be wary of pest control salespeople who go door to door, particularly if they offer gimmicks.
After researching, pick three pest control services you feel good about. Read their reviews on Yelp, Google and the Better Business Bureau. Check the companies’ licensing credentials with the agency that regulates this industry in your state, typically the state agriculture department.
Find out what pests the service addresses. Insects, arachnids, and rodents are common, but what about larger pests such as raccoons, bats or snakes? The more the service offers, the better protected you’ll be. The service person should spray for bug infestations, foam and caulk possible entry points outside, and use a brush to take down cobwebs.
Make sure the company you choose is a member of professional organizations such as the National Pest Management Association. Get bids, but choose the company with whom you are most comfortable. Price is important, but reputation is more so.
Related – The Do’s and Don’ts of Pest Control