With the drastic increase in reports of Bed Bug infestations in recent years Pest Control companies have been struggling to keep up. What once was considered a job for a specialist is now being taken on by newer less experienced technicians. The experience gap has created a real problem for the industry as jobs are not completed with the level of expertise or efficiency that the customer expects from hiring a professional pest control company. This gap between what the costumer expects and the reality of what a pest control offers is a scary trend that is already seeing an increase in legal action against pest control companies nationwide. While it is impossible to eliminate all potential liability, there are several steps you as a pest control company can take to greatly reduce the risk of liability.

Treat Bed Bug work as a Unique Service

If you have any experience with bed bug work you are well aware that resolving a beg bug infestation is not as simple as most general pest control problems. Bed bugs are hard to identify without a thorough inspection of the house. [LINK TO INSPECTION INFORMATION PAGE]. Because a bed bug inspection requires special attention your contract with the customer should reflect the increased difficulty.
  1. Use different service agreement than general serviceDisclosure is key. You should be upfront with your customers and explain what they can and cannot expect from a bed bug service. Your service agreement should reflect the special nature of a bed bug inspection and should be gone over as thoroughly as possible so that the customer is not taken by surprise. If the customer accepts the possibility that your service is not the cure-all they were hoping for, there is less of a chance that they will take their anger and frustration and turn it into a costly lawsuit.Disclaimers are not impenetrable. No matter how clear any disclaimers you have placed in your service agreement it has been clearly established by the courts that you cannot disclaim acts that amount to gross negligence.
  2. Bed bug service may not lend itself to warrantyUnlike a termite service or some other general pest service it may be difficult to warranty against bed bugs. Bed bugs are transitory insects. Which means re-infestation is difficult to prevent, especially if the customer is a hotel or other lodging with a high rate of guest turnover. When preparing a service agreement be cognizant of what your customers situation is and reflect that in your decision of whether it is prudent to offer a warranty on the work.

Proper Training for Bed Bug Work

With the rise in bed bugs infestations over the last few years, technicians who have no previous experience with bed bugs have been thrown into the fray in increasing numbers. Like with any job, professionalism comes from experience and training. Without proper training it may be impossible for a technician to properly treat a bed bug problem. Some states may require special certification for technicians to service a bed bug infestation. Where certification is required, sending technicians out with certification is almost a sure way to insure that your defense in a lawsuit will fail. In any case proper training and certification is the most efficient way to prevail in a negligence suit filed by a disgruntled customer. If you can prove that your technician acted according to the training and certification guidelines provided by your state controlling agency the less of a likelihood you will be found liable if brought to court. It will also greatly reduce the risk of a lawsuit if simple bed bug training is provided to the customer as a part of the service. Educating hotel staff, or a family on recognizing bed bugs before the infestation grows to a less manageable size will not only help the customer feel more in control of their situation but will create a bond between the customer and the technician. With a strong personal connection between the customer and the company it is much more difficult for the customer to turn to legal action as recourse. For more information on Lawsuits related to Bed Bug Infestations click here.

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