Termite Woes: Am I Evil For Going With Orkin?

Reader Melissa is shopping for pest control services. She has termites and needs to get rid of them. She got three estimates and, while Orkin wasn’t the cheapest, she was afraid the cheapest was too low.

She’s looking for your advice on whom to choose. She writes:

A few weeks ago I spotted termites in our sunroom. I did some quick research and decided to get three quotes from area contractors. Termites are slow in their destruction, so there’s no huge rush to get them treated right away.

  • Company X: Locally-owned, been in business for 50 years, walked around house, very well-mannered. Quoted us $500 – but gave us nothing in writing.
  • Company Y: Locally-owned, measured exterior, thanked my husband for his military service. Quoted us $1400 – gave us a detailed quote on paper, including measurements and drill spots.
  • Orkin: National chain, measured exterior, friendly and professional. Quoted us $800 – gave us a detailed quote on paper, including measurements and drill spots, also discussed the warranty and optional maintenance fee ($80) to spot treat any future termites.

I think it’s clear that Company Y is crazy. That being said, I liked Company X. He didn’t seem sleazy. It’s Texas, people tend to be casual, so the no paperwork doesn’t make me leery (but I would expect something in writing prior to treatment). But then, I also think that Company X may be desperate for work – trying to compete with Orkin and other chains. I hate to go with Company X and they go out of business and I’m unable to get the yearly maintenance. Am I evil for going with Orkin?

Curious what other Consumerist homeowners think. Thanks!

We checked the tipline archive and haven’t received any complaints about Orkin, but then again people like to complain to us about broken XBOX 360s and Comcast, so perhaps we’re not the authority on the topic.

A quick Google search netted this list of complaints from ConsumerAffairs, so it does seem that there is at least some reason for concern.

The next step we would take would be to search each of the company’s BBB records. That may rule one or two of them out right away.

Consumerists, what is your advice? Assuming all of the companies have satisfactory track records, which company would you choose?