What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
Absolutely yes. If I'm not learning new things every day I'm not living. Knowledge is my passion. If it's not the wildlife and their biologies it's the methods and techniques to control them. I am also active within the industry and stay in continual contact with my colleagues accross the nation through various message boards and forums. I am also a member and the state representive of the National Wildlife Control Operators Association as well as a member of the Georgia Trappers Association. I attend at least three industry conventions a year to keep pace with this rapidly growing industry.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your service? If so, please share the details here.
My pricing is a flat rate system. While many in the industry cling to the "per animal" system carryover from the bounty or fur trapping trades.
The main difference between the two is that I am paid to target and remove the specific animal(s) causing the problem in the first place and not rack up a body count of every animal available. Nor do you get charged if I should accidentally catch a non targeted animal as you would with a "per animal" charge.
I base my fees on time frame and labor. For most small animal species I can offer either one or two week services depending on best estimate to obtain control. For all jobs I must complete an initial inspection to determine the species, the access points and best sites to effect control. I will also determine what follow up work such as structural seals and exclusions or repairs need to be performed to prevent future reentry. Once the inspection is complete traps and control devices are placed and then daily return trips are done to monitor and remove animals until control is acheived. At that point any repair work can be completed. This is my typical structural type control and exclusion work and all except the repairs/exclusion are covered under my quoted fees. All structural seals, repairs and exclusions will be quoted at time of inspection.
I can upon request do inspections alone for a fee or in the case of many species like bats, beavers, predators I can not fairly quote a price over the phone without observing the problem firsthand. In this case I charge a small fee for the inspection. All inspection fees can be applied to additional work.
Basically you will hear two prices from me. Either the fee for the initial inspection or trapping which is one price all inclusive, nothing hidden, and the fee for fixing or repairing the damage and structural seals/exclusions once on site to determine the full scope of the work. All inspection fees will be applied to any additional work.
Please call anytime day or night I will be glad to discuss your problem and can give you my fees over the phone.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Do not hire the first guy you talk to, unless it's me of course ;) . No seriously, there is a broad spectrum of services available to the homeowner out there. Along with a similar array of prices and quality. Do your homework and investigate your hire. He should hold both a license and permit from the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division and if he offers pest control services he should also hold licenses from the Georgia Dept of Agriculture as well. Check references as well.
But even before you do that investigate your problem, it may be that you don't really have a problem at all or some simple steps on your part may resolve the issue. Most importantly avail yourself of the information available on the net about your specific wildlife problem. May I suggest the various sites from universities and colleges and not the various how to sites that continue to propagate false or even illegal and dangerous methods. A couple that I can highly recommend are the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management www.icwdm.org and Bat Conservation International www.batcon.org . BTW the icwdm site is considered by many to be the "bible" of the industry. As with all things knowledge is the key and knowing the details before hand will help you to weed out the shady operator or the poorly trained and down right deceitful.
Next know what services you actually need and if your service provider can do those services. For instance if you have bats in the attic you will need exclusion services plus possible bio hazard removal. Many NWCOs (nuisance wildlife control operators) only offer trapping services and could not help with a bat issue. Others provide only exclusion and can not trap the animal. Special note; do not fall for the exclusion only as any animal living inside a home must be removed to prevent it's return. Many advertise catch and release or "no kill" techniques. This just is not so under Georgia law as many species can not legally be released or relocated. To advertise otherwise is either a lie or admission of law breaking.
Bio hazard abatement is a specialty that requires special equipment and techniques to prevent the spread of the hazrdous material into the living ares as well as provide for the safety of the operator.
Above all expect to pay for these services including the intial inspection to prepare a quote. You are looking for a professional not a salesman beware of the "free inspection". Remember you get what you pay for.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
That we the honest ethical NWCOs are PROFESSIONALS. We are not critter catchers, exterminators or other such riff raff. We are Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators that specialize in resolving human/animal conflicts. Many of us have spent years learning our trade and some even hold degrees in various fields of biology. We love the wildlife we work with and will never do anything to harm the species. Yes, certain problem individuals need to be removed from time to time but overall we are here for the wildlife and hope to share that love with the general public.
As far as myself I get along great with my customers and for the most part I'm an open book. What you see is what you get, an open and honest relationship. I'm just an old country boy that treats folks like family. I would have it no other way.