Challenge accepted!

We’re thrilled to announce that we have signed up to this year’s Pendleside Hospice Corporate Challenge!

MD Martin Harvey and our new Commercial Director Chris Saunders attended the challenge’s soft launch this week, meeting up with other local businesses who have also signed up.

The Challenge starts June 1st, from when we have four months to turn a £50 starter fund into as much as we can.

Challenge accepted!

Martin Harvey said: “We’re absolutely up for this challenge supporting a very worthy local cause which has been invaluable to family and friends over the years.

“We already have some good ideas floating about the office, but we’re not going to share them yet!

“It was great to see so many businesses come together this week and we look forward to working with them all throughout the year.”

If you’re a local business who hasn’t yet signed up the challenge, you can find details here

In the hospitality industry? You may want to read this…

When asked what the most important aspects in the hospitality industry are, we’d be tempted to say service, quality, but mostly reputation. After all, without a fantastic reputation, your business may fail to thrive and stand out from competitors.
A good reputation can take years of hard work to build, and just one error to destroy. Something that can quickly destroy a reputation is a poor hygiene rating. Having a proper pest control scheme in place can help you keep that hygiene rating high and your reputation even higher. With hygiene ratings being available in the public domain, it doesn’t take long for word to spread before you can rectify a problem. And as we always say at Harvey, prevention is better than a cure.
If you wait until you already have a pest control problem, don’t try to tackle it yourself. Call in a professional team who have years of experience. We know exactly how to get rid of every pest in the book, and more importantly, how to prevent from them from returning. Depending on the pest you’re encountering, your business could suffer from the following problems…
Destruction to property and belongings
Mice and rats can gnaw through materials like you wouldn’t believe! Walls, floorboards, electrical wires, and more. And that’s before they’ve set up home and invited the rest! Bird droppings are acidic and can cause damage to paintwork, stone and wood – and let’s face it, it doesn’t exactly look pleasant does it?
Potential spread of diseases
It’s pretty common knowledge that pests carry diseases. Did you know they carry them on their bodies, in their bodily fluids and their droppings? These can cause misery through minor colds and infections to potentially fatal influenza and salmonella. Don’t take that risk!
Unexpected guests
No one wants to sit for a meal joined by an extra guest (pest!), or get into a hotel bed to hear the sound of scuttling around the room. Worse still – if a customer sees a pest, you can guarantee it will be on Trip Advisor within the hour.
Our advice? If you value your business and its reputation, keep it intact by getting a robust pest control plan in place. We can work to identify any potential weaknesses in your building and keep your business up and running without a hitch! Get in touch if you’d like to know more.

New commercial director for Harvey Environmental

Chris Saunders joins Harvey Environmental Services as commercial director, bringing 26 years of experience in the pest control, washroom and facilities services sector to the table.

Chris joins Harvey from OCS Group UK Ltd, where he held a number of senior leadership roles including sales director, Cannon Pest Control, and head of sales, OCS Specialist Services; responsible for the new business growth of five sectors; commercial specialist cleaning, electrical compliance, security systems, window cleaning and grounds maintenance.

Chris said: “This is an exciting time to be joining Harvey Environmental Services and I am really pleased to be working within the Pest Control & Washroom Services sector again.

“Whilst at OCS, I took the opportunity to broaden my skill-base and I moved away from pest control business for a short while.

“This gave me invaluable exposure to other FM soft services that go hand in hand with pest control.

“Working within various bid teams on large bundled service opportunities has been instrumental in me becoming a real expert at delivering innovative and sustainable solutions that drive efficiencies and add value for our clients.

“My commercial understanding of the Facilities Services sector and my experience in leading successful business development teams will play an important part in driving Harvey Environmental Services forward in 2019 and beyond.

“I have a real passion for delivering the highest levels of customer service, protecting the environment and developing people.

“Therefore, joining Martin and the team at Harvey Environmental Services was not a difficult decision for me to make.

“Putting the customer first, having a ‘can-do’ attitude and completing the job to the highest standard possible first time, is the ethos of the business. This really is what inspires me.”

“Martin Harvey has been building this fantastic business since 2001.

“It is now time to really push forward and demonstrate to both new and existing customers that Harvey Environmental Services Ltd should be their first and only choice for Pest Control & Washroom Services. “

Martin said: “We’re really excited to welcome Chris to the team; I’ve known him for 26 years, as part of my sales team in a previous business and he was very successful.

“I’m absolutely delighted that we are back together again after all these years!”

Get us involved; it’s worth it.

Here’s a question for you…when carrying out a new build or refurbishment project, at what point do you engage with a pest controller?

a) Right from the outset

b) When works are nearly complete

c) When the premises are ready to open

You can guess what we’re going to say is the right answer can’t you?

We’re currently working with clients undergoing refurbishments of their restaurants and they took our advice to keep us in the loop every step of the way.

Why? There are a number of reasons. First, we can keep a close eye on any existing pest issues which may well be exacerbated by any digging or fundamental changes to the premises.

Secondly, we can advise of pest controls measures which can be put in place right from the outset.

For example, is there is a way to remove the beautiful marble worktops which link together perfectly if we need to, or is it a case of ‘once they’re in, they’re in’.

And the cook line planned for the new, state of the art open plan kitchen…is that on wheels so it can be pulled out for a deep clean?

We take a professional and long-term view to pest control management in these situations. Taking time to understand the workings of the site and where potential issues may lie, we can help our clients get things right from the start. Yes, we could make more money further down the line if they get it wrong, but really, we’re not in that game.

We understand the pressures the contractors are under to get the site ready for launch on the agreed date, so let us help where we have the expertise.

Get us involved from the outset, let us help. Let us come back during the build to ensure the contractor is meeting your needs for cook lines on wheels and removal worktops, as once they’ve handed over to you, it becomes your responsibility.

By taking such positive steps from the outset, we’re certain you’ll have less negative issues in the future.

Pizza with a side of….yeuch! 

Just Eat listings include takeaways given zero ratings for hygiene 

“Half of outlets rated as zero by the Food Standards Agency in Manchester, Bristol and London appear on the app.”BBC News 

 

Khyber Pass kebab shop fined over human faeces contamination 

“… inspectors concluded people affected by the outbreak must have eaten food contaminated with human faeces.”BBC News 

Food hygiene is a postcode lottery and diners “might as well toss a coin” 

“A takeaway was forced to temporarily close after inspectors discovered it was infested with cockroaches.”The Daily Telegraph 

 

You get the picture? Turns the stomach doesn’t it? And how many of you are now thinking about the last take away you had and whether that ‘fine’ establishment’s hygiene standards were up to scratch? 

Because that’s the thing; many people don’t think to check such things when they order a take out.  

 Either you’re ordering a takeaway via apps like Just Eat, Deliveroo or Hungry House, or ringing direct to the local takeaway for delivery. How many of you would be brave enough to ask while ordering your 12” pepperoni pizza; ‘and can you tell me your hygiene standard please?’ 

 Well, perhaps we should, as it is very clear, some of these takeaways on our doorsteps are offering a free side of something you most definitely didn’t order.  

 Let’s take the recent media storm around some of the takeaways operating under the Just Eat brand. While maintaining the hygiene standards within each establishment is not Just Eat’s responsibility, as a trusted national brand, there are calls for them to take some responsibility and rightly so. 

 There is also a call for the company to post hygiene rating alongside each takeaway listing so that customers can make an educated choice. In my opinion, they should only be promoting takeaways with a 4* rating or above. But then that is only my opinion. 

 Just Eat, which describes itself as “a world leader in online and mobile food ordering”, said it was “actively working to raise standards” but what can consumers do in the meantime to ensure they are tucking into exactly what they ordered and nothing more? 

 Well, there are search platforms out there, such as MunchDB, which allow you to see the official government (FSA) hygiene ratings of takeaways in the UK. They currently display ratings next to each establishment on food delivery websites: Just Eat, Hungry House & Deliveroo. 

 While information for these platforms is reliant on data from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) it goes a long way in easing the mind of the hungry consumer. 

 And if you’re in any doubt as to what the different hygiene ratings mean, here’s a recap. 

0 – Urgent Improvement Necessary 

1 – Major Improvement Necessary 

2 – Improvement Necessary 

3 – Generally Satisfactory 

4 – Good 

5 – Very Good 

Any restaurants with a low rating have a certain amount of time to improve before they are shut down. Restaurants that do not even meet the zero rating are shut down immediately.

It’s all rats tales!

We’ve all seen the headlines: Rats as big as cats! Giant rats spotted in New York!

Were they? Were they really though?

I’ve been working in the pest industry for many years now and never have I come across such whoppers! But they’re in the headlines all the time, so they must exist; right?

Oh, who am I to get in the way of a good story?

The ‘Giant 4-foot-long monster rat’ found in children’s playground in London’ headline shocker is a much better headline than ‘Man catches regular sized rat in playground’.

I get it; all I’m saying is, don’t be easily fooled or scared! It’s pretty much a certainty that you won’t ever find yourself face to face with a rat the same size as a small child anytime soon; unless you’re from The Gambia that is, which is home to the Gambian Giant Pouched rat.

Often, the image which you see doing the social media rounds and made you shudder is very much a case of smoke and mirrors; it is in fact down to the angle in which the photo has been taken.

In response to the giant 4ft monster rat above, Hackney Council responded with a tweet containing this image. Perspective eh?

Yep, it’s unlikely that the giant rat ever existed.

It’s funny how things seem to come up isn’t it? I’m writing this now after receiving a Google alert about Giant rat snared is biggest-ever measuring a whopping 20 inches to which my response was a little smirk and knowing shake of the head.  

Then, a few hours later when searching for an article I came across a comment I had made when president of the BPCA.  

And it read:  

“Giant cannibal rat stories get front page news, even if they are fake. While it’s difficult to resist, I’d advise members ‘don’t join the bandwagon – stay clear of it’.  

BPCA has a role to play by offering guidance on how to answer this type of enquiry. I’d also say that the media always wants to go out and see a bad site, they aren’t interested in ‘safe’ or a site where you have successfully controlled an issue – that’s boring for them.  

No, the media generally seem to want ‘car crash TV’ or stories – we shouldn’t stoop to that level. 

I stand by my words.  

 Now, please can you spread news of Martin Harvey’s giant cup of coffee for me please!  

Debbies on tour!

The ‘two Debbies’ crossed the Lancashire boundaries this month to head down south and share best practice with a close working partner of Harvey Environmental.

Office staff Debbie Wilkinson and Deborah Wood took a two-day trip to London to visit Beaver Pest Control, a loyal contractor to Harvey who are well up-to-speed on technical advances in the sector.

Martin Harvey said: “It’s always good to appreciate what someone else does well and learn from it and Beaver are extremely good at reducing unnecessary paperwork by instead relying on new technologies.

“Paperwork is the bane of the two Debbies’ life, but also of our Service management team and so we thought it worthwhile to send them down to Beaver to see what they felt could be in brought back up North and potentially implemented within our own business.”

Deborah Wood said: “It was a really worthwhile trip for Debbie and I, as it was good to see how others do things and compare with how we do them here at Harvey.

“I think we offered as many tips as they did, so I would say that all round it proved a success.”

We asked them for their sight-seeing shots but said they said they didn’t have any time for that. Hmmmmm…

A digital revolution for Harvey

The days of manual inputting data have come to an end for the Harvey Environmental service team.

The company has invested in advanced digital software and touch screen mobile devices in order to streamline processes for customers and internal staff alike.

The decision to make the shift from manual to digital was made following recent visits to partner companies who already use this technology in their everyday work.

Deborah Wood and Debbie Wilkinson, who share the administrative work in the office agreed that this would be a beneficial move; cutting down on unnecessary paperwork and streamlining processes.

Martin Harvey said: “It just makes perfect sense for us as a business. The technology is fantastic and we know it works as it is used by some other 30+ pest control businesses across the country.

“We were spending a lot of time duplicating unnecessary paperwork, so this will improve internal efficiencies no end.

“The service team will input information directly on to their handheld device, get the customer signature, click send and that information will be recorded on our central system and the customer will receive a summary of the visit by email within the hour.

“We can use the technology to book follow up visits, flag up any areas of concern and manage multi-site operations effectively; the positives are endless and we can’t wait to get started.”

Final demos are now taking place before the system is rolled out to the full team

Tackling feral pigeons

Offices and commercial premises provide the perfect place for feral pigeons to land and nest, providing high, flat spaces for them to live safely.

Creatures of habit, pigeons are loyal to their nesting sites and can be regularly found on window ledges, balconies, roofs and even external air conditioning units.

A study in 2011 on London pigeons, estimated that, at that time, there were a staggering 850,000 pigeons taking over large swathes of the city.

Not only do roosting feral pigeons cause unwanted damage to property, causing blockages with feathers, twigs and other debris, their droppings, often found outside eateries and retail outlets, are unsightly and unhygienic for patrons and employees alike.

Harvey Environmental is an expert in dealing with the removal of pigeons or other birds contaminating your business and does so under the guidance of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

We understand how to safely remove the nests of pigeons and other pest birds from your premises and the measures you should put in place to discourage them from making your business their home in the future.

Speak to us about your pigeon, or other pest bird contamination today.

Food. Pests. Leave no margin for error

Leave no margin for error

When it comes to food there can absolutely be no margin for error when it comes to pest control. Failure to prevent or tackle pests on your premises can lead to customer illness, a bad reputation and potential closure.

So, what can food businesses do to protect their customers and their business from the unnecessary pest issues?

Prevention 

Yes, we’ve all heard the saying that ‘prevention is better than cure’ and this also applies to pest control. In fact, it is the very best form of pest management.

Pests are always looking for that opportunity to access food, warmth and shelter and it only takes a gap in the wall and a few crumbs of food to entice them in. Any exposed food, unwashed containers or pans and any remaining food debris left on the premises overnight are enough to bring them your way.

Bins too are a huge attraction to the hungry mouse or rat, so be sure to demonstrate vigilance when disposing of waste; get them outside your premises and they’re one whisker closer to the inside.

Ensure regimented cleaning processes which everyone adheres to and check, check and check again. Are all storage containers secured before you put them in the store cupboard? Have pallets coming in from an external supplier been checked for any unwanted extras?

Know your enemy

Good housekeeping practices employed by all staff will certainly help, but this must be coupled with regular inspection and monitoring from a professional pest controller, working closely with a nominated person within the business.

Key to this approach is understanding the enemy and ensuring early detection of any pests. Rodent droppings and any sign of gnawed products, packaging or foods are huge warning signs, but that’s not to say there aren’t other problems which are lurking in cupboards and storerooms.

The sooner a problem is discovered, the quicker a solution can be made.

The more information a pest controller has, the more effective the intervention will be; hence the importance of up-to-date records. Any sightings should be recorded accurately and with as much information as possible, as should any pest treatments advised and carried out.

We carry out free site visits for any food business looking to use our expertise, and with a wealth of big brand clients to our name, we must be doing something right.