NWCO performing bat exclusion work. Photo by Stephen M. VantasselBefore Hiring a Wildlife Control Operator (WCO)

If you would like to read the long version click Long version  or Dr. Robert Schmidt's Article

These are offered below in no particular order of priority. You, as the customer, must decide what is most important to you.

Questions Related to the WCOs Qualifications

  • Is the WCO licensed? (Not all states require licenses, so check your state's division of wildlife before asking).
  • Is the WCO Certified? Certifications are industry ratings granted on the basis of expertise. Certifications include, Basic Wildlife Control Operator (BWCO) and Certified Wildlife Control Professional (CWCP).
  • Ask for references.Consult with your state's Environmental Police and Department of Natural Resources. Ask them who they recommend in your area. Press them for an unofficial statement.
  • Years in wildlife control business? Full time or part-time? This question is not to be confused with how many years in the Pest control business. Controlling insects is very different from controlling wildlife.
  • Were you provided a variety of control options? Exclusion, trapping, eviction, habitat modification or maybe even suggesting that nothing be done? How does his/her recommendations compare with those suggested by the Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage?Understand that sometimes the WCO doesn't present you with a variety of options because you already gave him specific instructions. Don't be angry at the WCO if he does what you tell him. If you want to double check, ask him if there are other possible solutions than the one you asked for? Better yet, ask the WCO if there are other control options than what he/she suggested.

Questions Related to WCO's Business Practices

  • Liability insurance? If so how much? $100,000 of coverage is very easy to obtain in this industry. There is no excuse as to why a WCO can't have it.
  • Workman's Comprehensive Insurance? This insurance protects the worker if he gets injured on the job. Understand that most WCOs are self employed and so may not be required by law to have it. However, if they have other employees they may have to have it.
  • Contract. Will the WCO provide a contract?
  • Philosophy. Will the WCO provide services according to your preference and in accordance with local laws? Keep in mind that your preferences may change the price both in time and money of the service.

Considerations on Price

  • How dangerous is the job? (ladder work is always dangerous)
  • Difficulty in controlling the species? (Some species like gray squirrels are easy to control. Others like red squirrels can be more difficult).
  • Distance to your location? (If the WCO has to travel 20 miles one way to reach your location, he will need to get paid for the time both ways).
  • Cost of living in your area? (WCOs in urban areas often get more money than those who live in rural ones).
  • Guarantee? what kind of warranty of guarantee does the wildlife control operator give? Depending on the species, a month to a year is sufficient. Also, guarantees are only as good as the company who gives them. If they go out of business, the guarantee means nothing.
  • Demand for services? How busy is the WCO? Sometimes WCOs raise prices due to excessive demand. Other times prices may be lower due to reduced demand.
  • Remember, quality companies that have insurance, good equipment and training have high costs. While high prices don't guarantee quality, low prices almost always guarantee that the person is not insured.  
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