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livelaughlove21's avatar

Am I paying too much for pest control?

Asked by livelaughlove21 (14279 points ) February 7th, 2014

We bought a brand new home in September of 2012. When we were going through the motions of closing on the house, we signed up for termite services with a local pest control company. I set it up so I would be billed quarterly, and we’ve been paying $52 every three months since August of last year (we got the first 6 months free, I suppose).

The only time they’ve ever come to our house since we moved in was September of 2013. This was for a termite inspection. The guy comes in, taps on our baseboards for fifteen minutes, and then leaves. $208 a year for that?! I know what we’re really paying for is the protection just in case we ever do get termites and the house needs to be treated. However, this seems a bit steep.

When we were renting, we didn’t have termite protection, but we got the inside and outside of the house sprayed three times a year for $72 per treatment. This treatment kept away pretty much any type of roach you could imagine, even those pesky Palmetto Bugs that are so prevalent in the Southeastern US. It just seems that we’re paying the same amount for them to do less work. And just as an FYI, the roach sprays were done with Terminix, while we now use a different, lesser-known company. We don’t need those treatments anymore, since we no longer live in a trailer and our house does a great job of keeping bugs out.

Am I paying too much? How much do you pay for termite protection?

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15 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

Where I am (suburban Atlanta), I pay the following:

Termites—> $150 once a year
Pests and insects—> $145 twice a year (total = $290)

livelaughlove21's avatar

@elbanditoroso See, you’d think in a town like Lexington, South Carolina, I’d pay less than someone in Atlanta.

Cupcake's avatar

@elbanditoroso Are you in a new house?

I don’t really see the need for pest control in a new house – perhaps I am naive.

My parents pay for pest control at a house they rent out. They mostly got it because tenants brought in bed bugs. The pest control company claimed they sprayed at some interval (monthly? quarterly?), but my dad had the feeling that they were not really spraying. So at the next scheduled time, my dad waited in the driveway for hours and the pest guys never arrived. They sent a bill that they sprayed. So he called and they really claimed that they did what they billed for, until he told them that he was there and no one showed up. They dropped the charge and apologized.

In my opinion, pest control is one of those businesses that can go shady fast. I would talk to a homeowners association or neighbors or realtors or someone with more insight to see if this service is necessary and what the going rates are.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@livelaughlove21 – no, the house was built in 1986, so almost 30 years old.

@Cupcake – a lot depends on the climate. Warm and humid areas with clay soil (which is what we have here) is great breeding ground for insects of all sorts, and for termites in particular. (And fire ants, but that’s a whole different story).

If you get a little north of here, the soil (and the climate) is less hospitable to termites, and treatment is not as essential.

I agree that there are lots of shady people in the business. No question. You (or your parents) need to do your homework on who is good in your area. But then there a lots of shady folks in any service occupation (carpet cleaners, for example).

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Cupcake Yes, it’s a new house – built in 2012. However, termites can infest a house of any age.

@elbanditoroso Why does the house being older matter? I’d think pests are more likely to invade an older house, so wouldn’t pest control be more expensive before it would be less expensive? I’d think it would be the same price regardless, to be honest.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@livelaughlove21 – You’re making a common mistake here. You’re assuming that the service provider is charging you based on his actual costs – that there is some connection between hist costs and your pricing,

That’s not how businesses work. They charge on two factors:

- perceived value (how valuable is it for you to have a termite-free home)
– competition (what is the other guy charging?)

It has nothing to do with size of house or newness of house,

livelaughlove21's avatar

@elbanditoroso All I know is that we were quoted generic prices and that’s what they charged. They didn’t ask us about the size or age of our house – it seemed to be a flat rate.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

If for anything else you need pest control for liability reasons. If you live in the south east of the Mississippi you have, had or will get termites. If they cause damage the pest control company you use usually will have to pay the damages. It pays to shop around and get the best rates and reviews. They’ll also usually furnish a termite letter if you sell your house. I have had them and it sucks. It would have been expensive had I not had the pest control service.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me I’m not suggesting getting rid of the protection. I’m just asking about the price. I plan on being protected against termites whether I remain with this company or not.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@livelaughlove21 gottcha I pay ~$10 a month through my HOA

Cruiser's avatar

It seems I am as we pay $105 4 x’s a year to have the inside treated and the outside granulated with pest control and cobweb removal. We live next to a wetland on a fairly wooded lot and when we moved in there were bugs everywhere so it is an expensive yet necessary evil.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me Wow, nice. Our HOA fees are $395 a year (just paid them – ouch!), but pest control is not included. I don’t really know what I’m paying for, other than the pool maintenance. With the amount of houses in our subdivsion, I know they’re making a killing off of us.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@livelaughlove21 That is the cheapest I have ever heard. I pay $60 a month and that is by far the cheapest in my area. Most are paying over $100 a month. It does include lawn & trash though. I doubt they are making too much we are good to just break even each year.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me Our trash is separate, too. We don’t even have a lot of grass that they take care of outisde of individual lots, so I honeslty have no clue what they do with the money.

I only have a few friends that pay HOA dues where they live – I pay the most by far. I know it’s very area-specific, so I’m sure people in other areas pay more. For my area, though, that’s pretty pricey. And they don’t give us a pay-by-month option, which would be awesome.

JLeslie's avatar

I used to pay $175 a year for termite. They checked, and sprayed around the house. They drilled holes and did some sort of special treatment after the house was 5 years old, that was extra though, I guess you are supposedto do that special treatment every 5 years. I really didn’t like thebidea of drilling holes in my house. I never had a termite service when I lived in FL or NC, but in TN almost everyone had a termite contract of some sort. From what I understand the termites come up along the Mississippi or something, and that part of the country it is a huge problem. I don’t know of that was true or not.

I wonder if the price varies with the size of the house?

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