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Daily Q&A: Do you have any tips for choosing a pest control company?

What tips do you have for finding a good pest control contractor?

Finding contractors can be a challenge.

Pete Cardillo, a Tampa lawyer and expert in pest control cases, says realize that some small companies don't often have enough experience, or may be fly-by-nighters (here today, gone tomorrow).

"All the guarantees and warranties in the world won't matter if your pest control company goes out of business," Cardillo says. He adds that many large, national pest control firms are focused more on sales than on servicing existing clients.

So he suggests the following:

• A good, medium-size, regional company that's been around some years and is well established in the community is your best bet.

• Read your contract. This includes looking at the back of the contract. Here's often where you'll find disclaimers of liability and arbitration clauses, which can make it difficult or impossible to sue the company for incompetence or fraud.

• Make sure you get a repair guarantee. This is critical. For example, even seemingly minor termite damage can cost thousands to repair. Extensive termite damage can even require a house to be torn down and rebuilt.

• Make sure the contract spells out a mandatory routine inspection of your property — inside and out. Don't agree to anything less frequent than an annual inspection.

• Make sure the contract stipulates that your property will be treated with the liquid chemical pesticide Termidor, which is far superior to traditional "bait station" approaches.

Question for the Consumer's Edge? Send it to ipenn@sptimes.com or twitter.com/consumers_edge. Questions are answered only in this daily feature.

Daily Q&A: Do you have any tips for choosing a pest control company? 03/11/10 [Last modified: Thursday, March 11, 2010 4:09pm]

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