What to look for when outsourcing Integrated Pest Management

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Hope Bowman copyBy Hope Bowman, Technical Specialist, Western Pest Services

When you suspect you have a pest problem, it’s most likely because you’ve noticed certain warning signs in your facility. Just as you can identify these warning signs, you should be able to identify the signs of a qualified pest specialist.

The specialized knowledge required to maintain a successful Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program means most healthcare facilities outsource their pest control. The necessity of success in this sensitive environment, paired with the costs that can be associated with a poorly managed pest control program, make choosing the right provider a must.

But do you know what qualities to look for? Here are some tips to keep in mind as you search for a qualified pest management provider:

Ask for recommendations

As you begin your initial search, keep in mind that your industry peers can be a great resource. Ask them who they currently partner with or have partnered with in the past. Ask them about their good experiences and their bad experiences, and find out if their current partnership is paying off. If you belong to a larger network of healthcare facilities, be on the lookout for resources and recommendations that may be available for you to access as part of your association with the network. Just make sure any source you talk to is a trusted one. Use the recommendations from your peers to create a list of potential providers to research.

Do your research and ask the right questions

Once you have a list of candidates, it’s time to do a little research. Here are some questions you should ask the pest control providers on your list:

What type of training do the pest specialists receive? Are they licensed and/or certified by the appropriate agencies?

Does the provider specialize in commercial pest control and have experience working specifically in the healthcare industry?

Can the provider tailor a program specific to your facility’s needs and unique characteristics?

What other healthcare facilities does the provider currently service? Can they provide customer testimonials?

How long has the provider been in the pest control business?

Is the provider a member of national and state pest control associations?

What type of documentation is provided as part of the service?

Does the provider have a service guarantee?

Ask them to conduct an inspection

Based on the information you obtain from your research, create a “short list” of providers you are most interested in. Then, invite them to your facility to conduct an inspection. A pest management professional should not make a proposal until they have completed an inspection of your facility first. This inspection will allow them to assess the current situation at your facility and make recommendations on what type of program you need based on their findings and the characteristics of your facility.

Define the partnership roles

Before committing to a pest management provider, you should discuss and agree upon the roles of each party involved. These roles should be clearly defined and included as part of the proposal. Don’t forget to keep your staff in mind. Your employees can play a significant role when it comes to implementing and maintaining an IPM program. They are, after all, the eyes and ears of your facility and can serve as the first line of defense against pests, if properly trained. Ask the provider if they offer staff training; many providers offer complimentary staff training as part of their service. 

Commit to partnership

Once you’ve made your decision, commit to building a partnership with your provider and encourage your entire team to be cooperative and play their part. Remember, IPM programs contribute to safer healthcare environments and support sustainable operations, so selecting a provider that can deliver the best possible service for your facility is a necessity.

Hope Bowman is a Technical Specialist and board-certified entomologist with Western Pest Services, a New-Jersey based pest management company serving residential and commercial customers throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Learn more about Western by visiting www.westernpest.com.