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How Much Does a Mouse or Rat Exterminator Cost?

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Written by John Wells

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The cost to hire of a professional exterminator probably isn’t as high as you think. Further, you may be saving yourself a great deal of time and trouble in the long run by hiring them at the first sign of infestation. In any case, how do you know when it’s time to call a professional? How do you know what to ask them to ensure you get the best rate possible? Once they’ve done their job, how do you keep the mice from coming back?

The True Value of a Professional – Why You Should Hire an Exterminator

Yes, it’s possible to solve a rodent infestation on your own. However, with the trial and error it takes to get to the right solution, if a solution is ever reached, it may actually end up costing you less to hire a pro. Remember, mice tend to be surprisingly destructive once they’ve taken up residence in a human home. How long are you willing to let them stay in your home, eating your food and nibbling on your possessions?

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As an average estimate, an extermination plan will cost a homeowner between $50 and $300 depending on the services selected, size of your home, and the number of visits required. Extermination services for a small business will cost between $150 and $500 based on similar criteria, on average.

If you consider the costs of traps, having to replace damaged household items, the health hazards to humans and pets you should start to see the financial benefits of hiring a professional. Then there are the mental reasons. When you have mice, you may dread waking up each morning to find a new mess, another family keepsake ruined, or just be fed up with the frustration of finding your traps looted for the fifth night in a row with no trapped mice to show for it.

Factors to Consider When Estimating Pest Control Cost

When you do decide to hire a rodent exterminator you have a few different cost options. It’s important to remember that now all services are right for every home and calling around to get a few different quotes is never a bad idea.

Before you begin making phone calls, however, it’s a good idea to have a few critical pieces of information on hand. You must:

  • Know the size of your house.
  • Know the size of your family pets.
  • Consider the ages of your children.
  • Know where the mice tend to appear.
  • Know if you just have mice or if there are also rats.

The most important factors, when estimating cost, come down to the size of your home, severity of the infestation, and the amount of repair work or “preventative maintenance” required to mouse-proof your home for the future.

For Renters and Shared Living Spaces

If you have mice living in your apartment or are sharing your home with a renter, you’re going to need to consider a few things that home and business owners won’t need to. The first of those things and the most important is the rental agreement you have with your landlord. The second thing is what you are going to tell your neighbors or roomies.

Rental agreements exist to protect you, your landlord, and most importantly, the property itself. A mouse infestation is most harmful to the latter. In most cases, you are required to report that you have mice. While you may be able to solve the problem yourself, making sure to report it makes sure that, if the mice do damage the property, you won’t be found at fault. Further, your landlord may hire an exterminator at their expense, sparing the property and yourself from any further trouble.

On the other hand, informing your neighbors can be a less formal affair. Chances are, they already know. If you wake up in the middle of the night to the sounds of scampering feet and gnawing in the walls, your neighbors are likely to hear the same thing. If you share a space or even just a building, and you both suffer from pest problems you may be able to negotiate a discount for extermination services. You may also be able to split the cost.

Finding Special Offers and Discounts for Extermination

If you still think the cost of hiring an exterminator is too high, or just temporarily out of reach, there may be a few strategies you can use to lower the cost.

  • Negotiate for a Group – This one is a lot easier if you happen to share a housing unit with other suffering from mouse or rat problems. All you need to do is get your neighbors to agree to hire the same extermination company as you. Once you have 4 or so homes or apartments to offer an extermination company, the value of earning your business goes way up. By offering a handful of new clients all at once, most businesses would be happy to offer all of you a small discount
  • Call Around and Compare – This should be one of your steps whether you happen to be looking for a deal or not. In your area, there are probably a few competing mouse extermination services. Find them and compare what they have to offer. If one has a better deal but you still like a higher priced service elsewhere, see if your preferred provider will match the price of the competition.
  • Ask Outright – If you’re in a bind, ask if there are any potential discounts available. Explain your situation. There’s no guarantee it will work but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
  • Join the Payment Plan – If you can’t pay right now, financing may be available. Some services offer flexible plans that spread the costs of treatment out over many months, making it much easier to fit the cost of hiring a professional exterminator into your budget.
  • Barter – It may seem old-fashioned, but some businesses would be willing to swap services. If you happen to be a professional with a talent your local exterminator could use, talk to them about working in exchange for their services.

Types of Rodent Extermination Treatments

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Once you hire an exterminator, or even if you are still in the interview process, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the methods your exterminator or potential exterminator will be using.

Traps are almost a give. Nearly every rodent exterminator will use some sort of trap or another. If you have pets or children, be sure to make this clear. You don’t want the wrong things to end up in those traps.

Some companies also use poison. If you are uncomfortable with the mice being poisoned or with the potential for the poison to be spread around your home by the mice, ask for an alternative treatment. Though bait stations or bags may be standard protocol, they’re not the be all end all of the treatment. A good extermination company should be able to provide you with a range of options.

Before the mice even begin to be caught and after the last one has been removed from your home, your exterminator should provide a thorough inspection. During this process, they will work to find every vulnerable access point. Then they will shore up any weak spots, offer suggestions on how to prevent mice from entering certain parts of the home, and patch any holes that may have been created by the rodents.

Things to Consider Before Hiring an Exterminator

Before hiring you must review a few vital points. By asking the right questions and having every contract in writing, you ensure a pleasant transaction and should never feel let down by your exterminator.

Before anything, make sure the exterminator you intend to hire is licensed. License requirements vary by state, but having one proves they know what they’re doing. Next, you’ll want to find out more about your new contract. Things to ask include:

  • How long does the contract last?
  • How many visits are included?
  • Does the cost include basic repairs or will I be charged for additional materials?
  • Do you have any references you could give me?
  • Does your extermination service come with a guarantee?
  • Do you offer a consultation and estimate before beginning work?
  • What methods do you use to get rid of the mice or rats?

With these questions, you should be able to gather enough information to make a decision. If any company refuses to answer any questions about their practices or claim that anything is proprietary or a secret, move on. They do not have your best interests in mind.

Even if a given company has the lowest cost, if they seem transparent and offer a solid written report after their initial consultation, it would be a great idea to hire them. Extermination services do not have to cost an arm and a leg to be good. Even a single-visit service for $50 could be just what you need in a given circumstance. Don’t overlook anyone that happens to be an outlier on price.

Preparing Your Home and Reducing Extermination Cost

It is completely possible to reduce your overall extermination bill if they happen to charge for basic surveys and repairs. By finding the access points the mice are using and asking the exterminators only to catch and mice currently in the home, you may reduce your bill significantly.

In order to do this, before any visits from the exterminator, give your home a clean sweep. Go over every room, looking through all closets and cupboards, under beds, and behind appliances. Patch any mouse holes you find with an abrasive or sharp material like thick aluminum foil or steel wool. Once any holes have been closed up, ensure that any food is put away and sealed tightly. This will remove any incentive the mice have to stay. If they have nothing to eat, they may go back outside in order to fend off starvation.

Once you have done everything you can to prevent any more mice from coming into your home, ask the exterminator to come in. The less work they have to do, the lower the cost may be.

Scheduling Follow-Up Visits and Failure to Treat

If you have a large property or the infestation is extensive, follow up visits may be necessary. For the average home, a single visit to check on patch work and ensure all mice have been removed is standard. Further visits, unless you have said larger property, may be a sign of failure to treat the larger problem.

If after several visits and a number of months you still have mice, you may want a second opinion. Don’t be afraid to get an alternative consultation if things aren’t working out. Things can go wrong in spite of the best efforts and the only solution may be fresh eyes.

Repairs – A Side Effect of Rodent Infestation

The most costly side effect of having mice in your home is the damage they can cause to your home itself your personal belongings. In a single night, they can chew on and contaminate every box or bag of food in your pantry. They can nibble on priceless heirlooms and antiques. You might even find a rat’s nest in your favorite holiday sweater.

Mice have a knack for getting into everything. They can stop up vents, potentially causing a fire. They can get stuck and die in places you can’t easily reach, creating s horrific smell. They can chew through walls, hoses, and floors. All of that will need to be repaired and replaced. How much would it cost you to replace all of the food in your pantry? How many of your favorite things are truly safe from teeth and claw marks? Can you spare the time to patch every hole and clean up after your new “guests” every night?

The sooner you get the mice out, the less the damage is. A professional can get the job done faster than most homeowners simply because they’ve done it so many times before. The cost of that service, when compared to the alternative, is worth it to most people.

About the author

John Wells

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