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30 August 2018

Defending the dynasty

Your association | PPC92 September 2018

We invited ourselves into the family homes of two BPCA member companies to see how they make their family business successful in the pest control sector.

Confusingly, we ended up interviewing two Davids (no relation). So, let’s meet the different Davids...

  • David Van Vynck from Van Vynck Pest Control. He’s got three generations of family working in the business, with a family to non-family ratio of 1:4.
  • And then there’s David Green from Bird and Pest Solutions (Kent). He’s got two generations involved in the business. David’s son recently joined the company.

Where did it all start and what are your businesses about?

DAVID VAN VYNCK:

Our family has always been interested in birds of prey and falconry, and 30 years ago developed this interest into a what began as a company specialising and dealing only with bird related issues.

I was involved from the start and became managing director when the company went limited in 2003. I have two brothers, both of whom have been involved in the company at various stages but who both decided that pest control is not for them. My brother-in-law started as a technician in 2008 and is now operations manager, and my daughter now works in accounts, so that makes three generations so far.

DAVID GREEN: 

We started the business on The Isle of Sheppey in 2008. My wife, Maria, was involved from the start due to her knowledge with tax, accounts and methodical ways with paperwork. Our son joined the business three years ago, to extend our family involvement to two generations.

DAVID VAN VYNCK:

Our family has always placed value on fairness and integrity which are key to our overall business philosophy. We have used these principles to grow our business organically which has resulted in a loyal customer base, and some customers have become good friends.
Although changes in legislation have meant that though we no longer use hawks to deter house sparrows, we still have contracts that go back to the very beginning!

What are the best and worst bits about working with your family?

DAVID VAN VYNCK:

I think that the most significant advantage is that you always know where you stand! Family politics can create issues, but at the end of the day, you can always count on family to cover your back!

DAVID GREEN: 

I am fortunate to have an ambitious son that is interested in the practical side of pest control, as well as a talented wife that manages our non-technical affairs. This, I think, gives us a strong family bond.

DAVID VAN VYNCK:

Working with your family has its obvious benefits but also has its issues as work comes home whether you like it or not. Working and home life then becomes intertwined which is not how I like it. However, working with your family means we do focus on one professional goal together. There aren’t any business values we especially call upon; well none that aren’t covered in how you would act and engage with each other or visitors at home anyway.

DAVID GREEN: 

We don’t really have conflicts as such. Sometimes we challenge each other with different ideas, but this allows us to explore the ideas in greater detail. I believe communication has been a big success story for us, so we want to make sure all our team continue to develop their interpersonal skills.

DAVID VAN VYNCK:

To be honest family conflicts at work are very rarely work-related and tend more to be about the things all families argue about, like whose turn is it to make the tea. If I argue with my daughter, it is often something which has started at home and continues when we get to work.

Any tips for other family pest control businesses?

DAVID VAN VYNCK:

We don’t shout and scream at each other, but disagreements can lead to tension if left unaddressed. We are both generally quite busy throughout the day, so this usually helps most of the smaller issues disappear. Our office environment is open plan and arguments are often settled by the majority vote which can really help.

DAVID GREEN: 

One tip from me: family time is family time. Ensure everyone understands their roles within the business and when we’re at home, keep it to family life.

Make it like a family

PestPro meet the Member

Richard Stewart from PestPro Bird and Pest control builds his business with a ‘work-family’ ethos. He tells us how he treats every member of the team as part of the family.

"We’re focused on ecology and sustainability, and as you might expect, this is something I look for when recruiting new staff. We also look to develop these values by ensuring all staff experience a broad range of services first-hand which contribute to protecting the environment.

"The last thing we want to do is task employees with regular, mundane tasks that do not connect with our environmental values. Everyone can deliver our whole service portfolio and this, I think, contributes a lot to our ‘work-family ethos’.

"At Christmas time, summer parties or anything in between, we strongly encourage all staff members to bring their families with them. It helps to connect households through the business, rather than just employees."

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Source: PPC92

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