Whether you are dealing with a current termite infestation or are simply looking to take preventative measures, finding a reliable termite control company to work with (like Terminix or Orkin) is critical. The EPA estimates that termites cause billions of dollars in property damage every year. Additionally, most homeowners insurance policies don’t cover termite damage, which is why it’s so important to address the problem early.
That said, termite control isn’t something to skimp on. While some forms of non-chemical treatments can be effective, most termite control involves the use of chemical pesticides called termiticides. If used improperly, not only will termiticides be ineffective, but they can actually contaminate your home and drinking water. For these reasons, it’s extremely important to choose a pest management company that is licensed and well-experienced.
In the sections below, we compare two of the best termite control services: Orkin and Terminix. We look at the similarities and differences in their termite treatment options, cost, customer service, reviews, as well as some of the other pest control services they offer.
Company Overview & Values
Orkin and Terminix are two of the most well-known pest control companies in the business. Orkin was founded by Otto Orkin in Pennsylvania in 1901. Orkin remained a family-run business for decades until it was ultimately acquired by Rollins Inc. in 1964. Over the course of its long history, Orkin has actively engaged in research projects with public universities and the CDC to study insect behavior and biology. Orkin also sponsors various initiatives aimed at educating young people about the natural world, including the Junior Pest Investigators Program, the Orkin Man School Presentations, and the Orkin Children’s Zoo in Atlanta. Orkin makes its commitment to education, public health, and environmental responsibility a top priority. Today, Orkin’s 8,000 member team serves 1.7 million residential and commercial customers from over 400 locations worldwide.
Similar to Orkin, Terminix also has a rich history, dating back to the 1920s. Originally the Bruce-Terminix Research Laboratory, Terminix is now a subsidiary of ServiceMaster. Over the course of its 90+ years in business, Terminix has authored scientific research, obtained termite control patents, and developed termite control products for the government. Terminix was the first termite control company to franchise and also the first company to provide termite protection guarantees to customers in its contracts. Today, Terminix’s 10,000 member team serves more than 2.8 million residential and commercial customers in the U.S. and abroad.
Orkin vs. Terminix Locations
While both Orkin and Terminix have expansive coverage in the United States, there are some notable differences that will affect residents and business owners in certain states. Currently, neither company has branches in Alaska or South Dakota. So, residents in those states will need to look elsewhere. The only other state that Orkin does not provide services in is Wyoming. While Terminix has a branch in Wyoming, it does not have locations in either North Dakota or Montana. Residents of North Dakota and Montana should consider Orkin instead.
Both Orkin and Terminix use similar and effective methods for treating termites. They both offer termite baits, liquid soil treatments, and tent fumigation services. Orkin advertises that it uses Sentricon for its bait system and Termidor for its liquid termite treatment; however, it isn’t clear what Terminix is using for their “Bait Defend System” or “Liquid Defend System.”
Sentricon is a subterranean termite control product developed by Dow AgroSciences. It is one of the most extensively tested and effective termite control products on the market. However, ongoing monitoring and re-filling the bait system is required for it to be effective. Termidor is a widely used insecticide that’s effective against a wide range of insects, but it’s also highly toxic.
In addition to chemical treatments, both companies will install spray foam insulation. For the purpose of termite control, spray foam insulation will fill voids in interior and exterior walls, providing extra protection against termite infestations.
Service Agreements & Customer Service
Termite service agreements ensure that the company will return to and inspect your property for infestations and damage over the course of the contract. Both Orkin and Terminix use a similar approach to their termite treatment agreements that involves an initial inspection, the creation and implementation of a customized plan, and ongoing monitoring. In the event that new termite activity appears during the ongoing monitoring process, both companies will treat the home and take care of the problem at no additional cost (so long as you keep your service agreement).
For residential customers, both companies offer a 30-day money back guarantee of their work. For commercial customers, they take it a step further. Orkin offers three different 60-day guarantees. These 60-day guarantees provide complimentary service by them or by another provider if the commercial customer is not happy with their services. Terminix allows commercial customers to try Terminix Commercial for 90 days, after which they will refund all paid services plus another 10% to unsatisfied customers.
Terminix offers a number of perks for commercial customers managing multiple locations that we didn’t see offered by its competitors. First, Terminix assigns a dedicated account representative that understands the needs of the customer’s company as a whole. Then, this rep will work with the client to create customized strategies for each branch of the business. Additionally, Terminix provides a web portal for commercial customers to view reports and manage multiple properties from a single location.
An important thing to keep in mind is that that termites usually require a separate contract, as they are not typically covered under general pest management services.
The cost of any pest control agreement varies widely based on location, construction methods and materials, and the size of the property, among other factors. However, for a typical residential customer looking for preventative pest control, annual plans run in the $350-$550 range. For residential customers already dealing with an infestation, costs are substantially more and can be upwards of $2,000.
As pricing varies so much based on the property, location, and level of infestation, it’s difficult to compare the two companies head-to-head on cost. However, customers tend to report Orkin being slightly more expensive than Terminix.
Other Pest Control Services
When it comes to other pest control services, Orkin certainly stands out with its extensive online library of common house pests. Compared to other pest control companies, Orkin has far more resources for interested customers looking to learn more about common pests. When it comes to actual differences in services though, Terminix and Orkin have a very similar list of pests that are included in their standard contracts. Both companies require separate contracts and/or additional fees to treat more exotic pests like poisonous spiders, fleas, ticks, carpenter ants, bees, and mosquitos, among others.
While both companies have A ratings or above with the Better Business Bureau, they each suffer from fairly poor customer reviews across a number of platforms like ConsumerAffairs and Yelp. The complaints are similar across both companies, many of which pertain to the services being slightly overpriced and/or not effectively mitigating certain pest problems.
It’s important to note though, that the industry as a whole suffers from lower customer satisfaction scores than many other industries. Part of this could be the result of happy customers not wanting to advertise to the world that they had a pest problem. On the flip side, only very dissatisfied customers might feel compelled to leave a scathing review. Reading through hundreds of reviews about these two companies, it was rare to see complaints about their termite control services. Most negative reviews mentioned rodents, roaches, and other insects.
All that said, fortunately both companies offer very generous guarantee policies that its customers should make use of in the event that they are not satisfied with the work done.
Terminix vs. Orkin: The Final Verdict
Overall, there are few companies that have been in the business as long as Orkin and Terminix. When it comes to termite control, both companies bring a high level of experience and expertise, and their residential service offerings are fairly similar. That said, for homeowners concerned about the chemicals being used in their termite treatment, Orkin is far more transparent, listing exactly what is uses on its website. Terminix wouldn’t disclose what insecticides it uses without having someone come out for an inspection.
For business customers, Terminix offers a number of convenient services that allow business owners and property managers to more easily stay on top of multiple properties/locations. If you are looking for commercial termite control services across a number of properties, Terminix might be the better option.
Finally, location is an important factor when it comes to choosing between Orkin and Terminix. If you are in a major metropolitan area, you shouldn’t have a problem contracting with either company. If you live in a more rural area or smaller city, you’ll want to make sure that the company has a branch office near you. You can find Orkin’s locations here and Terminix’s locations here. As stated earlier, neither company has offices in Alaska or South Dakota. Wyoming residents should go with Terminix, since Orkin also doesn’t have offices there. North Dakota and Montana residents should go with Orkin, since Terminix doesn’t currently service those states.