Free termite check or proper termite inspection?
It's not uncommon on the Gold Coast and across Brisbane and southeast Queensland to see some pest control companies offer "free termite checks" with a pest control treatment. It's a clever marketing ploy, but it really is a case of buyer beware, and here's why.....
The first clue is in the name – "free termite check". Note, it does not say "free termite inspection"!
A termite inspection is a comprehensive inspection of your property and surrounding land. It has to be carried out to Australian Standards by a fully qualified, licensed and insured pest professional. On the other hand a "free termite check" is simply a check list which companies offering this "service" complete at the end of a pest control treatment, where they record any termite relevant observations they have made during the pest control treatment.
To get a different perspective, let's consider how long each of these activities take. A termite inspection could take around 1.5 hours or more for a "standard size" home, the duration being variable due the house size, construction type and area of surrounding land. In contrast, the "free termite check" often takes no time at all, it just records observations that the pest controller has made during the pest control treatment.
Just remember, quality pest professionals carrying out a pest control treatment will do this anyway. If they spot any termite activity or suspicious areas during a pest control treatment (for example when crawling through the roof void), they are duty bound to let you know in any case. So in reality all pest professionals should be giving you a free termite check when you have a pest control treatment.
But of course the bottom line is, a termite check is not the same as a termite inspection. If the pest controller misses termite activity, termite damage or termite conducive conditions during a "free termite check", there is very little comeback. Not only does the wording on the check sheet confirm this, but often the pest controller carrying out the termite check often does not have the necessary qualifications, licenses or insurance to carry out termite work.
In contrast a quality pest professional, appropriately qualified, licensed and insured will provide a comprehensive written report, often with photos. On the rare occasions a quality professional misses some activity, you have recourse through the pest manager's professional liability insurance.
When you think about it, why would a quality pest professional offer a free termite inspection? Something that takes time (easily 2-3 hours by the time you include the report) and requires skill to carry out properly.
But perhaps it is better to look at it from the viewpoint of the homeowner. When you are looking to protect your home, an investment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, it would seem appropriate to spend a couple of hundred dollars a year for a comprehensive professional termite inspection to make sure your home is in good shape.
A "free termite check"? It may end of costing you thousands.....