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10 Best Wildlife Questions to Ask Your Pest Control Operator

May 9th, 2024 | 7 min. read

By Louis Greubel

A Rottler pest control professional sitting at a table holding a tablet speaking with a homeowner.

Wildlife control is a specialized skill in the already specialized wider world of pest control. And when you hear, smell, or see an animal that has managed to get into your home, it’s natural to want an experienced, capable professional to come and remove it.

For most homeowners, though, it’s tough to know where to start. Who should you call? What kind of wildlife control services do pest control operators even offer? Are they equipped to handle your particular issue? What questions should you ask them to ensure they’re the right choice for your problem?

At HY-C, we manufacture several wildlife exclusion solutions under our HY-GUARD EXCLUSION brand. We’re partners with the National Wildlife Control Operators Association, and we train pest control operators across the country in the use of wildlife exclusion devices. We know wildlife and pest control — and we want to equip you with the knowledge you need to vet and choose an operator.

In this guide, we’re going to outline ten questions to ask prospective pest control operators. And while we’re going to provide a lot of information below, we don’t want you to become overwhelmed.

The goal here is to help you find the most pertinent questions for you and your wildlife problem to help you find a pest control professional you can trust. And by the time you’re finished, you’ll be equipped with the information you need to get started.

Click the links below to jump to a question:

  1. Do they seem professional and competent?
  2. What are your qualifications?
  3. Have you had experience with this problem before?
  4. What’s your approach to this problem?
  5. How do you handle the animal(s)?
  6. How will you ensure the safety of me, my family, and my pet(s)?
  7. Do you repair any damage the wildlife may have caused?
  8. What steps do you take to prevent future wildlife entry?
  9. How much do you charge for your services?
  10. Do you offer any kind of warranty or guarantee?

1. Do They Seem Professional and Competent?

Before we begin, this isn’t a question you need to ask, per se. Rather, it’s something you should keep in mind throughout your vetting process.

Often, a gut feeling is a good instinct to follow. If you feel comfortable with the personality and disposition of the operator you’re speaking with, that’s a decent sign that they may be a good choice. The inverse is true, too: if they’re giving you a bad feeling, they probably aren’t a good fit.

Throughout your consultation, ask yourself:

  • Has this person been punctual?
  • Do they communicate well?
  • Do they seem knowledgeable?
  • Are they friendly?

It’s not always a guarantee, but if they check some of those boxes, that’s a good sign.

2. What Are Your Qualifications?

A certified installer seal with the HY-GUARD EXCLUSION logo beneath it, all against a white background.

This is a big point to consider with several complex layers to it.

For starters, it’s vital to ensure the company or person you’re speaking with is bonded, licensed, and insured. If any accidental damage occurs while they’re performing services on your home, you need to make sure they’ll be able to pay for it.

You should also make sure they meet your state’s requirements to practice wildlife control. These requirements vary widely from state to state. Some states simply require a fur-trapping license to do business, while others require specific training and continuing education units (CEUs) to stay in business. Make sure you understand what your state requires and ensure your operator meets those requirements.

Finally, consider any extras that may help your operator stand out. Do they have any additional certifications that go above and beyond the minimum requirements? Are they a certified HY-GUARD EXCLUSION installer? Do they have any NWCOA certifications? Have they completed any educational courses covering the specific critter with which you’re having trouble?

Additional licenses and certifications are always a big plus and a sure sign that your professional is at the top of their field.

3. Have You Had Experience with This Problem Before?

The success (and failure) of critter and wildlife control often hinges on the operator’s in-depth understanding of the habits of the animal in question. These nuisances and their behaviors are complex, and the more experience your professional has had with your particular critter, the better.

If an operator has dealt with hundreds of animals in attics or if they’ve retrieved plenty of wildlife from chimneys, that’s proof that they can do the same for you.

4. What’s Your Approach to This Problem?

This question is more for assuring the competency of your operator than anything else. Wildlife professionals often use proprietary methods or specific tools that they prefer to keep to themselves. These tricks of the trade are what allow them to differentiate themselves from their competitors and make their money.

Still, you as the homeowner certainly have a right to understand generally which methods are being used in and around your property. Ask what kind of tools and tricks the operator will use to bait, catch, and release the animal. Will they be using traps? Chemicals? Which parts of your home will they need to access?

They may not be able to give you specifics, but you’re entitled to a general outline.

5. How Do You Handle the Animal(s)?

A mouse in a humane mouse trap enclosed by diamond wire mesh. The mouse is resting its paws on one of the trap's springs.

This is a particular sticking point for some people. While nuisance wildlife invasions are a headache, many homeowners still don’t want to see an animal killed. Some, on the other hand, don’t care either way, and they just want the critter gone.

How an operator handles wildlife is a deep, complex issue. It depends on many factors, including the species of wildlife in question, what part of the home they got into, the laws and regulations of your state, the makeup of the surrounding environment, and, in some cases, the personal preferences of your particular wildlife control operator.

Despite these complexities, any good professional will be able to outline your options (or explain to you why you only have one option to choose from).

6. How Will You Ensure the Safety of Me, My Family, and My Pet(s)?

This question is a must-ask. The potential danger from the wildlife itself is bad enough, as it may attack those who live in your home or carry and transmit harmful diseases. But the methods used to remove the critter can be just as problematic.

If the operator needs to use any chemicals, they need to inform you whether or not those chemicals will be harmful to humans or animals. If they need to utilize any traps, they need to ensure your cat, dog, or any other neighborhood pet won’t accidentally wind up in it.

Your home is the place in the world where you should feel safest. Be sure your pest control operator works hard to keep it that way.

7. Do You Repair Any Damage the Wildlife May Have Caused?

If you have an animal in your attic, chimney, or foundation, chances are they damaged something to gain access (or something was already damaged which allowed them to gain access).

From there, critters can cause even more havoc. They’ll chew through wood, bite through wires, claw through drywall, and leave urine and feces that can cause damage as well.

In a best-case scenario, the pest control professional you hire will not only be able to solve your animal problem, but also fix any damage the critter may have caused. Of course, this depends on the skills of your operator and the extent of the damage. But it’s never a bad idea to ask.

8. What Steps Do You Take to Prevent Future Wildlife Entry?

A diagram of a home with arrows and labels indicating installation locations of HY-GUARD EXCLUSION products.

Just about any operator can remove an animal. But the good ones will make sure they don’t come back.

If you have a wild animal nesting somewhere in your home, it got in through some weak point somewhere. Even worse, that animal (and others in its colony, depending on the species) now see your home as their home. If left to their own devices, they will try to get back in. It’s not a matter of if, but when.

So be sure to ask your wildlife professional how they plan to seal your home up to prevent future invasions. Ask about wildlife exclusion, and whether or not they can install a range of exclusion products on your home to keep critters away. After all, the last thing you want is to start this process all over again.

9. How Much Do You Charge for Your Services?

Price is always a complicated question in any industry. In the case of wildlife control, price hinges on which kind of animal got in, how many are present, the extent of the damage they’ve caused, the equipment the operator needs to use to extricate the critter, time, labor, and so many other factors.

It’s entirely possible (and even likely) that an operator can’t give you an exact price for their services, especially before they’ve been out to your home. But anyone worth working with should at least be able to provide you with an estimate or a price range.

In most cases, an operator probably won’t be able to give you an honest assessment until they’ve had a chance to see your home and discover the extent of the damage to it. But as the homeowner, it’s never a bad idea to get an estimate.

10. Do You Offer Any Kind of Warranty or Guarantee?

The answer to this question may very well be “no,” but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Some operators pride themselves on their level of skill and competence and have no problems offering free follow-up services. For some, it’s, “If you experience this issue again within 30 days, we’ll fix it again — free of charge.”

For others, it’s, “I can guarantee these wildlife exclusion devices for up to a year. If they become damaged in that time, we’ll replace them for free.”

Obviously, warranties and guarantees are different from company to company. But you won’t know what your professional offers until you ask, so make sure you do.

Which Pest Control Operator Should You Choose?

Those are ten great questions you can use to vet a pest control operator to take care of any wildlife issues you’re experiencing in your home. Again, you may not be able to ask all of these questions to every operator you reach out to, but it’s good to have them ready.

Still though, after you’ve had the chance to ask around, you may be wondering, “Which operator should I choose?”

Simply put, choose the one that best answered the questions that mattered most to you.

If you’re most concerned about price, you may want to choose the person who gave you the clearest, most fair estimate.

If you’re worried about the effects that the wildlife and the operator’s work may have on the welfare of your home’s inhabitants, choose the operator with the best safety plan.

If you want to see the critter removed from your home but don’t want it to be harmed, pick the professional who uses the most humane wildlife control methods.

Create as many options for yourself as possible with these questions and select the operator who seems best suited to fix your particular problem.

After the critter has been removed, it’s vital to ensure that it can’t get back into your home. Our HY-GUARD EXCLUSION portfolio of wildlife exclusion solutions offers roof-to-foundation protection against nuisance wildlife. Be sure to click below to read more about how you can make your house a fortress against wildlife invasion.

Louis Greubel

Louis earned a bachelor's degree in English with a focus in rhetoric and composition from St. Louis University in 2017. He has worked in marketing as a content writer for over 5 years. Currently, he oversees the HY-C Learning Center, helping HY-C subject matter experts to share their decades of home solution products experience with homeowners and sales partners across the country.