All things being equal, I would say you should buy from a local pest control company. The problem is that all things are not equal at all.
Most local pest control companies are very small operations, one man companies with perhaps a wife in a back office. These companies may have one or two additional workers.
Sometimes these companies are started by hard working, well motivated, well intended entrepreneurs. Other times, they are started by people who have very high opinions of their own ability. Maybe they have some years of pest control experience. They may actually succeed for a while because they are able to bring in customers from the company they previously worked for. Most of the time, these people, even the good ones, are underfunded and are very poor businessmen. Among these small companies you will also find people who were fired from prior employers or who were the type of people who just don’t know what it means to be a team player. Outside the industry, 90 percent of small businesses fail. Inside the industry, I would expect the figure to be worse, because we deal with a tremendous amount of regulation and liability. Even if the small company defies the odds by being properly funded and informed, they may not have the drive and guts to last the first few years. Most people have no concept of how hard it is to start a business. My first two years I averaged 80-100 hours per week. Many businesses fail because the owner is unwilling to do the hours required to build a business.
On the positive side, you may find that successful, local businessman, who knows his (or her) field and is super motivated to serve you. He may have a strong business background. He will do everything he can to please you because you live in his community and you are a part of growing his business and spreading the good karma. Small businesses are always short on resources and broad talent. If you go with a local pest control company because they are small, you need to be willing to take the good with the bad. Buy locally if you have excellent reasons to trust the small time pest control operator. You know him personally. You have seen his work. You have a good understanding of his background. You accept the fact that if he is not available, he may not have a back-up. You also buy, knowing that you are buying into an experiment that may or may not work. You are doing a good deed buy helping someone obtain his or her dream livelihood and hopefully that good deed will be rewarded by excellent service.
If when you say you are interested in buying locally, you mean that you are interested in buying from a small company and you like helping a small mom and pop grow, then I would ask you, is it important that the small mom and pop pest control company be from your town or could it be from the next town over? I ask this because even if for a variety of reasons you want to work with a small company, you still need to shop around.
I’ll write more tomorrow and follow up with the pluses and minuses of larger companies.