How Much Does a Rat Exterminator Cost in 2024: Rat Removal Prices Explained

What’s the most hated animal in the world? Rats have a granted Top 5 position, and for a reason. The average rat extermination cost is between $200 and $500, reaching $1.200 at its heaviest.

And the history tells us it’s much less than the damage they can cause, up to the Black Death whose beer any other pandemic still holds. A rat in your yard is always a bit of disorder and dirt. One in your house is more of that and closer to you. Rat teeth in your food are dangerous and disgusting (though not as much as these in your finger).

So, if there’s something scratching in your household, who are you gonna call?

Guide on Rat Exterminator Costs

Rat in the pit

We’re not here to rat around, are we? So let’s address the most crucial question right away.


National Average Cost$350
Minimum Cost$100
Maximum Cost$1,200
Average Range$200 to $500

As you see, costs differ seriously, so any particular case requires examination – by a pro, again.

When Should You Call for a Rat Exterminator?

If you see one rat in your yard, it may mean nothing at all. Just pay double attention to your waste the next week, and go out in the dark once in a while to spot one venturing outside.

If there are no more rats to be seen and no more traces they leave (holes in your walls or under your fence, chewed edges of anything nearly edible, pawprints in the dirt, scratching sound, or specific smell you recognize), you may relax. If any of the listed above is present, it’s time to call for an exterminator.

Only after the specialist arrives they can estimate the infestation level, explore the environment, and calculate the rat removal cost for your situation. It takes professional skill and professional equipment to detect the rats. And even after you’re sure the pests are there, there are many unknowns to learn and consider.

Main Factors of Rat Exterminator Cost

As you have seen, professional rat exterminator prices lie in a very wide range. What is causing these differences? The factors include:

  • The number of rats in your house. Stealthy as they are, rats are rarely seen “in person”. Usually, one first notices the holes they made, the droppings they don’t bother to remove, or human or animal food obviously bitten by small sharp teeth. The pros use their techniques to detect if there are rats in your house at all and, if yes, about how many.
  • The damage they make. Not that there are “good” and “bad” rats: all of them are equally destructive (even your cute pet one if you’re not careful). If the population is large, it may cause damage that you can’t even see with a naked eye (like destroying your walls from within). The more of them are there, the more work it takes to remove them.
  • The place the rats have chosen for their nest. If they live somewhere outside your home (in an old doghouse or garage), it’s simpler. If their home is under your floor or inside a wall, it will take more effort to get to it. The same would be if they chose your basement or attic.
  • Your location and local laws. They affect both the availability of rat exterminators and the rules they should follow. For example, in the District of Columbia, the exterminators are obliged to relocate rodents instead of exterminating unless these rodents are living right in your house. Most other states take it less seriously, giving the exterminators more freedom to choose their methods.

Rat Exterminator Price by Infestation Level

Many rats together

It’s obvious that the more rats are around, the more work it takes to get rid of them. If there are only one or two rats viewing their future hunting grounds you call home, it may take just a visit or two. If so, the price to pay will be $300 or less.

Mostly, though, it’s not the case: if you had seen one rat, there should have been others around. So, let’s assume your house is seriously infested.

Serious infestation cost

What do you call a serious infestation? It’s not a single rat who found the roof over its head in your dwelling. No, these rodents are sure this land is given to them to be fruitful and increase in number. Stopping this blasphemy will take some job.

If the rats are that multiple, they can live in your basement, outside the house at all, but the likeliest place for them to choose is inside walls. It can be said by the holes they make in them, as well as by where they leave the most droppings and cause the most damage.

Depending on all this, the number of traps to set, poison to use, and holes to fix may grow. Probably you will also have to pay for partly destroying and then rebuilding the wall to reach the nest. The price then starts at $450 and up to infinity.

Still, paying for this is a better option than wait until one of the rats dies inside the wall and then suffer from its smell, so one day, you will still pay a larger amount. Let alone your life quality with a pleasant rat pack having no Sinatra among them but still doing it their way.

Rat prevention cost

That’s a reasonable way of thinking, sure. If you have seen one rat not far away from your household, you may conclude it’s better to keep them away now than to get busy fighting them after that.

Rat treatment cost by treatment type

What types of treatment does it take to drive the rats away from your home? The most popular ways are baits and traps: they let you hunt these rodents without having to get to their wall. Among all, these methods assure you there are rats at all (if successful).

Usually, baits and traps are already included in the rat removal cost (if not, the company has to emphasize it before you sign a deal). The pros take their own equipment and expendables, so you do not have to.


The easiest bait types are made of what rats like to eat. That is, you can use meat, cereals, vegetables, or fruits. There are no specific preferences, as rats are omnivorous.

If you have an idea that rodents should like cheese above all, there’ll be some disappointment. Not that they ignore cheese, but a piece of bread or potato will attract them just as much, and peanut butter is the real-life champion.

Of course, all these tasty things should turn out lethal for rats. It can be achieved in two ways. First: you can add poison to it, so a rat consumes it and dies. Companies like Terminix use this way, but very carefully, with a lot of precautions.

Second – and here is another section – is to put the bait into a trap.


Rat traps (as well as mouse traps) have been around for centuries. Given that all of them are meant to extinguish the rodents, it’s hard to expect humanity from its inventors.

Still, there are different sorts. Mechanical traps left the rodent to suffer from a broken backbone or just caught to die of hunger and pain. Cages did not harm the animal; still, it was doomed as soon as the owner found it.

Modern rat traps are lethal as well. But, being electrical, they are designed for instant kills, not leaving the animal to suffer. In addition, there are no chances the rat gets away (unlike mechanical ones that leave a slight possibility).

A professional way to use traps considers rat psychology. It takes time for a rat to accept something new in its environment. So for the first days, the trap should stay unset. Let the rats get used to it. When it gets familiar, the rat is more likely to approach it. Especially when there’s something tasty inside.


In fact, they are poisons developed particularly to kill rodents. Not only rats and mice, though, but rabbits, squirrels, hamsters as well. So if you have any of these as pets, you better keep them away while your home is processed with them.


Fogging someone out is a long time tradition, used to smoke out both humans and animals. It’s highly efficient but very dangerous and sophisticated. Unlike trap and bait politics that can be conducted by yourself (at least, in theory), fogging requires a pro approach.

So, the fumigation cost for rats may be higher, but it will be more efficient. After the procedure, the room should be ventilated, and only after that it will become livable again.

It’s hard to tell the price of any of these methods beforehand. And it should not worry you, in fact. The companies charge you for the result, not for the methods to use. If some methods are unacceptable to you (because of little kids, pets, allergic persons, or whatever), the pros can select another that may take more time and money but save the bigger harm.

Cost of Extermination of Rats by Location

Well, if you happily have the rats indoors (happily, I said?), you will get rid of them for the smallest cost at all. The average cost of rat removal within the house is $200-350 if they live in your kitchen, corridors, or near the doors.

Little rat runs

Outdoor rats are harder to extinguish. As mentioned before, in some states, they simply cannot be extinguished: the exterminators, despite their name, have to relocate them elsewhere.

But even if not, there is still more work to do, harder to attract, catch, and find them at all. So outdoor rat removal is about to be $200-450, depending on your yard area, infestation level, and some other factors to be seen right there.

As for rats in attic removal cost, it will be slightly higher than that in your living area. The attic has to be reached, and operating there is harder. In addition, rats can get down to your kitchen from there, and this has to be prevented. So, Operation Attic will cost you $300-500. The roof rat extermination cost, logically, is going to be still higher.

As for exterminating rats within walls, it’s the most expensive sort of operation. Its average cost is about $450-600. You already know that this operation includes partly destroying the wall and restoring it after that.

Of course, these prices may vary, depending on the company you choose, the population of rats, the location of your home, and many other factors. So stay with us, and we will keep you updated on all the news about rat removal.

Pets and Kids-Friendly Rat Control Cost

As mentioned above, rat poisons, efficient as they are, may cause extra problems if someone unintendedly consumes them. It can be your pets or kids unaware of the dangers a tasty bit conceals.

Rat Damage Repair Cost

rat with fish

It’s hard to predict how insatiable your guests appear. The average damage they can cause by making holes in your walls, gnawing wires and fabric, spoiling your food, etc., is between $700 and $2000. If you neglect the threat for long, the damage can exceed that.

Pay the most attention to your garage: if they get to your car, it may cost you thousands. Cases are reported when rats cost the car owner up to $11.5K ($15K Canadian).

DIY vs Hiring a Pro

Unless you really enjoy killing rats and feeling like an exterminator, you’d rather call one than be one. The reason is simple: it takes special skills and special equipment to chase rats away from your house.

Mastering these skills will probably take too much time, and getting all the traps, baits, and other equipment (including poisons) will take too much money – way more than the average cost for rat extermination.

If it all turns out fine, in the end, you will have your skill (that fades without practice) and traps (with no more rats to set them for). So, unless you want to become a rat exterminator, you better call a pro.

How to Hire a Professional

Rat on a plastic chest of drawers

As the problem is frequent, there are companies specializing in removing pests, including rodents, insects, and so on. If you want your result guaranteed, you better select a helping service.

How to pick a pro

There are factors you need to consider while selecting a pro or a company among available offers.

  • Is the company well reputed? Reputation takes time to shape. The pros may be nice and look competent, use the most advanced equipment, and show you many rats taken dead or alive. But it takes weeks or even months to really estimate the work quality (unless it’s an emergency case). If rats don’t appear for some considerable time, the job is done properly.
  • How much does a rat exterminator cost in your case? Some companies may offer overpriced services. Some may insist on more expensive measures than the situation really takes. Estimations always require some expertise, but you can just contact multiple pros and compare.
  • Are its services comfortable for you? Of course, rats are a discomforting factor by themselves, but there are other factors. When can they arrive? What methods will they use? Will it require you to leave? Does it fit your plans?
  • Will they do the checking for free? Of course, it will affect the overall price if you agree, but it’s nice to have this option.

With all this in mind, contact several companies and choose the one whose offers you like the most. If you prefer to call an independent professional rather than a big company, you must make sure they have all the required licenses and certificates.

Things to discuss with rat exterminator

When you make your choice, there are things you must discuss with the manager (or with the exterminator themselves) about the procedure and more.

  • Guarantees. Do they guarantee there will be no more pests after the treatment?
  • Costs. The entire sum should be confirmed before the treatment, with no extras appearing after.
  • Safety. Will you have to evacuate your family and pets during the treatment? If not, what is to be avoided?
  • Insurance. If something goes wrong, you are the side to get recompensed for this. If there is no insurance, there is no actual responsibility for the results.
  • Extras. Will the exterminator also take care of mice or insects, if any detected? If yes, what’s the price?

When it’s all spoken and put down, you can sign.

How to Prepare for Treatment

If you want your house to be deratized properly, with no harmful consequences, you should make some preparations. They include the following:

  • Hide everything edible in the fridge or in hermetic containers. Plastic bags, alas, are not rodent-proof.
  • Repair all the holes in the walls you detect.
  • Remove everything from underneath your sink or from the top of your fridge.
  • Take some time for general cleaning. Provide access to all the walls – first of all, in the kitchen.
  • If you decided on calling the pro, do not use any pesticides prior to that.
  • If your family and pets can go elsewhere during the procedure, it’s better (and often necessary) to do so.

Your Actions After Extermination

Preventing rat infestation is easy if you follow some simple rules. And if you unluckily experienced this disaster, it would keep you motivated not to let it happen again. So, what should you do to make sure rats don’t return?

  • Keep the floors and the ground clean. It’s the waste that attracts the rats the most. If there’s no waste to taste, they will just ignore your area.
  • Keep the lid closed on your trash cans. Thus it will not prevent rats, as well as raccoons, stray dogs, and other animals you don’t welcome.
  • Feed your pets indoors. Not only will it make your cats and dogs more disciplined. This way, you will make it harder for rats to detect there’s something edible near.
  • Ventilate the house frequently. If the air is fresh, rats will recognize this place as not friendly for them.
  • Inspect your walls and doors on a regular basis to check if there are holes in them. These holes don’t have to be made by rats and mice, but they can be used by these rodents. If there are any, fix them as soon as possible.
  • Brush the grass in your yard, so it doesn’t get high enough for rodents to hide.
  • Install a special door sweep that prevents trespassing through.

The basic information is usually provided by manufacturers of pesticides and traps. If you are not very experienced, the best thing you can do is follow the instructions thoroughly. You better not take risks if not sure exactly what they are.

There are even methods like Integrated Pest Management for those ready to invest their own time and effort, knowledge, and inventiveness. It will take more time than calling pros, so you better explore it only if you are genuinely interested, and the process is sort of fun for you.

You can also trust professionals with rat prevention. The yearly rat control cost is still lower than calls for urgent rat removal. So finally, it pays.

Rat Extermination FAQ

The rat comes out of the pit

Some questions arise so frequently that they deserve a special section to be answered.

How much does Terminix charge to get rid of rats?

The rates we mentioned throughout this article are mostly based on Terminix rates. Other companies may offer something similar. The difference will not be dramatic.

Do you need an exterminator for rats?

If you want the job done, you better either have enough expertise in rat exterminating or call the pros. Not necessarily Terminix: there are other companies as well. Terminix, though, is one of the most famous and reliable companies to provide rat removal. It can help you fight mice, termites, and other pests as well.

What to do if a rat died in your wall?

The wall has to be decomposed, so the remains can be extracted. To detect the location of the dead rat, you can trust your nose or, again, call the professionals.

For them, it’s quite a typical procedure, so they know how to decompose and then restore your wall as quickly as possible, with minimum waste and maximum result. We would recommend this, especially if time is money for you, and the dead rat removal cost is less than your losses otherwise.

What method of rat removal is the safest?

The safest for humans and pets, or for the rats themselves? We know what you mean. Traps (especially electronic) and non-poisonous baits are the safest for you. For other methods, including fumigation and using poisonous baits, you may have to remove your family from the house temporarily.

So, Rat-Man to the Rescue!

So, unless you are very experienced, calling an exterminator for rats and mice is a cheaper and more reasonable option. We wish you never suffer this in your house, but if it happens – you know what to do. It’s not the rats you should care about in this situation; it’s finding the right protection.

If you have something to add from your experience, feel free to drop a comment. Maybe I have missed something, or you have a recommendation based on your own experience. Good stories are also welcomed; let’s have a talk! Drop a comment to share it; share the article, not to drop it.


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Nicholas Martin

Nicholas Martin

I am Nicholas Martin, and I am an entomologist. I combine the insect survey work with the consultation for private pest control agencies. My narrow specializations are both urban pests and agricultural pests. I studied their control over the previous 25 years. More about Nick

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