Bit old now (prices have risen) but still a great example.
Claire, a citizen of the continental US, posted this to the newsgroup alt.home.repair in early June 1995. She felt that being a woman affected her dealings with the representatives of the various exterminating companies. I’ve only edited this as far as necessary for legal concerns. If you want to see the original, a good internet sleuth will be able to locate an archived copy. This is how she selected a company for a typical drill-slab & inject chemical treatment.
Just a quick rundown for anyone who is interested. The companies I talked to and their prices for both the treatment, the yearly warranty, and with my personal observations. I let every company know that I was getting a total of four estimates. I wanted them all to know this up front. The way the price is listed is Treatment/Warranty ($600/$75) The way the warranty was explained by everyone was, if I need them to come back out any time because there are more termites, the warranty covers the cost (re-treatment with chemical). I had to have the company come out one more time to get an area that still had the termites after the initial treatment. They came out promptly.
#1 (A small local company)
The inspector was very nice, but not very professional. He walked around, went into my neighbors yard and looked there and then came out and gave me the estimate on the back of his business card. No graph, no “educational” material and no real idea of what he was going to do or how he was going to do it. Since he was the first company to come out, I had no idea what he was and wasn’t telling me. After all the other companies had given me their spiel I realized that this guy wasn’t telling me everything I needed to know. He called me every other day to find out if I had made a decision even after I told him I would call him and let him know. His estimate was: $657/$75
#2 (A large & well advertised company)
Original bid $1119/$120, they wanted a signed contract “holding” that price after giving the estimate. The inspector even told me that his first prive was with a special 20% discount. They had a very professional presentation and did the graph and showed me all the places that were probably severly damaged by the termites. The inspector wanted me to pull up every other board on my outside deck so they could spray there. This was a massive amount of work, when after the fact, the other company just drilled through the boards and even plugged the holes. After calling to cancel the contract, because they were the highest bid, they lowered their price to $750/$75 I don’t like people that do business that way. Give me your price up front. Negotiate up front.
#3 (A small company)
This guy was recommended by a friend who had used him, so I called and had them come out. His estimate was the lowest, but he wasn’t going to do as much as the next estimate and I didn’t think it would be as complete a job as the others. He did a graph,and it was not at all as marked up in terms of where they were going to drill as the others were. The inspector was very nice and my dogs even liked him. After checking around, this company had only been in business for a couple of years and I wanted experience!Checking into this one further I found that the company had been in business for a long time, they just kept changing their name. KInd of makes you go hmmmmmm. Estimate: $459/$75
#4 (A larger local company)
This company was recommended by my boss. He uses them for everyday type exterminating and has had no problems with bugs since he moved into his home. The inspector came out and was very nice and very professional. He walked around the house, looked inside the house and at all the places where there is inside plumbing, marked all this on his graph and then spend about 30 minutes going over everything and explaining exactly what I needed to do inside my house to get ready. He even noticed that I had had some inside foundation piers put in and suggested that we drill and spray for termites there. This only raised the price $20.00. I was very impressed and after going over all of the material I had from every company, I chose this one. Estimate: $659/$85
Next month I am having the siding replaced! The combination of termites, water damage and shade really did a number out there. The siding estimates are a whole ‘nother story! Make sure you get estimates in writing from anyone you have come out and be sure to check with the Better Business Bureau. –Claire