Professional Pest Controller Magazine Issue 95

22 May 2019

Meet the member: BS EN 16636 certified successful

Your association | PPC95 May 2019

Hillbans Pest Control was awarded CEPA European quality standard certification for pest management services BS EN 16636 in February 2018. We caught up with owner Sandra Knowles to see how they’re getting on with the accreditation and to get some top tips for marketing your certification to get extra business.

The certification has proved to be a key factor in the growth of the business. A year on from the award, the team at Hillbans can attribute new customers and a wider range of business to the status that the BS EN 16636 standard has given them. The award has also raised their profile – they are proud to be the only local pest management company with the accreditation.

Certified Successful - Hillbans pest control

What made you apply for certification?

We knew we wanted to go for it as soon as it was launched. We learned about it at PestEx in March 2017. We operate in a competitive marketplace and could see that possessing this standard would differentiate us from our local competitors.

The CEPA standard also fits with our ethos. We’re a modern firm with high-quality service and high standards. We’ve always invested in staff training and we see CEPA as the gold standard. All of our technicians are registered with BPCA and are qualified to the RSPH/BPCA Level 2 Award in Pest Management or above.

What did you learn from the CEPA process?

The certification was quite hard-earned. It made us look at everything we do and evaluate how we worked. It’s changed the way we operate in many ways – including health and safety, stock rotation, van checks and first aid training. It was a lengthy process but a very helpful one.

I’m pleased to say that we passed straight away, in our brand new office. We’d only been there for two months but we sailed through on the day.

It’s a prestigious thing for our business and it encouraged us to raise our game even further by becoming members of the Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme (CHAS) (free for BPCA Servicing members) and Alcumus Safe Contractors.

What difference has it made to your business?

We’ve definitely grown because of it. A year on, we can see that it has opened doors for us. We’ve picked up new customers as well as new work with existing clients.

The key difference has been with bigger businesses that require the standard because of their own compliance procedures. The Isle of Wight is home to important suppliers of produce for supermarkets and national chain restaurants. Having BS EN 16636 means we can do more work with major food producers. We’ve picked up contracts with businesses like Asda and the Isle of Wight Zoo as a result of the certification. It’s also opened up work from national pest control providers including Mitie Pest Control, which has been brilliant.

Certification has also helped with retention. It’s secured our work with customers who require national standards but prefer to use a local business. It’s definitely made our customers happier, as well as our staff. Having the standard makes Hillbans Pest Control a more attractive place to work and it has influenced our recruitment process.

Would you recommend certification to others?

Yes, I would. For us it has been an investment that has paid off. There is an initial outlay of time and money but by having the certification we are setting the standard in our marketplace. We aspire to be the best that we can – going for the certification was a challenge to ourselves and I think that’s important. We don’t rest on our laurels and we like being early adopters!

It raised the bar for the way we work and the service we deliver but crucially it’s an ongoing certification which keeps our standards high.

We’re proud to have the certification as it does set us apart – we’ve heard this from within the industry. New recruits to our team have come from major cities and public authorities who often don’t have the certificate so we know we’re really making a difference.

What effect do you see BS EN 16636 having on the wider industry?

I think forward-thinking small businesses like ours are really helping to change the way that our industry is perceived. I’m glad that we’re moving away from the image of the pest controller as a toothless man with a jack russell who throws out bits of bait! Our team is made up of highly skilled professionals, as proven by our accreditation.

It’s been a perfect fit for us. BS EN 16636 accreditation offers the best of both worlds to customers in a very defined marketplace where reputation is hugely important. Our clients on the Isle of Wight are receiving national standards of a service from a local business, with the fast response times that you would expect.


Hillbans Pest Control is an independently-owned family business based in Ryde on the Isle of Wight. It’s a small firm but it’s the biggest on the island with the most technicians. Clients are all island-based but Hillbans is often used as the on-the-spot team by national pest control providers. In the three years since husband and wife Patrick and Sandra Knowles took over the business, it has picked up plenty of local business awards.

Interested in BS EN 16636 certification?

BPCA offers members discounted certification. Contact our team to find out how you can become BS EN 16636 Certified.

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