BEST Service Pros

The Rebirth of a 57-year-old Establishment
Written by: 
Molly Shaw

The BEST Service Pros (BEST) team has provided janitorial cleaning services and professional facility maintenance since 1956. The Vancouver-based company practices LEED-certified environmentally sustainable service systems in custodial, window cleaning, pressure washing and confidential document management services. BEST focuses on professional services grounded in family ownership, reinforcing a genuine dedication to serving customers across western Canada.

Founded by Ulf von Dehn in 1956, BEST’s goal early on was to provide operational excellence through a family-owned and -operated business. “I think the fact that I’ve always been passionate about what I’m doing carries over,” shares Ulf, president of BEST. “I’ve always been willing to take the heavy load; that sets a good example. It’s not what I say; it’s what I do that makes the impression.” Over the years, Ulf has continually set this standard for his team of over 600 people.

BEST Service Pros

What originated as a one-man maneuver has grown significantly, as BEST now operates out of three locations across western Canada with plans to open up two additional offices in the near future. The majority of BEST’s work is in institutional and commercial janitorial service, which makes up 80 percent of the company’s business. However, the company is also focused on broadening and diversifying service offerings to better meet clients’ needs and allow further stabilization in revenue streams.

As happens with many successful family-owned and -operated companies, BEST has experienced developmental change over time. With the help of the family’s second-generation, Ulf leads the company alongside his brother, Ted, as well as Kevin McCrum, CEO of BEST.

Kevin, who joined the team six years ago to lead the charge on progressive change, saw the opportunity to expand and rebrand the business. “I like to call it the rebirth of a 57-year-old company,” jokes Kevin. “The rebranding and organizational changes are setting us up to survive for another 50-plus years.” By implementing sustainable business practices and staying true to its founding, BEST is reemerging at the forefront of its industry.

More Than a Company

BEST upholds its founding values, as the family remains actively involved in the company by meeting with employees and casually sharing stories of the past 57 years with the team. “The family values of a private company allow for cross-training that fosters team work,” explains Victor Lee, operations manager for BEST. “We’re all surrounded by great, knowledgeable leaders serving as mentors.”

From the frontline team members to senior level executives, BEST values each employee as an individual. Kevin emphasizes the importance of inwardly motivating BEST’s staff through positive leadership and reinforcement “It’s always been a rewarding, fulfilling experience with BEST, because they recognize the goods of individual accomplishments,” shares Roger Stangl, site manager for BEST.

Although the company has grown over the years, success hasn’t changed the root of the business. “Our goal is to position ourselves in the market as the professional choice with family values,” details Kevin.

Certifiably Sustainable

With a loyal and highly capable team, BEST has time to concentrate on what other companies may consider to be frivolous initiatives. However, the team at BEST is committed to being a true leader on the environmental front. The company has developed strategic alliances with many green-minded associations, including The Canada Green Building Council, BOMA and the Vancouver Board of Trade.

Additionally, while companies use environmental cleaning products and claim to be green, BEST is both CIMS-Green Building and Carbon Neutral certified, making BEST the only company in North America to have both designations. Holding these certifications has positioned BEST to be a leader in cleaning LEED-certified buildings. CIMS-GB and Carbon Neutral certification requires BEST to meet, and maintain, rigorous external standards of training equipment, chemicals and environmental sustainability plans.

On track with sustainable practices, BEST implements environmental policy standards on every site. The company has identified 11 areas where BEST can make a difference in its carbon footprint; cleaning products must be eco-certified. When disposable products are requested by customers, BEST strongly insists clients use products carrying eco-certification.

BEST has implemented procurement evaluations, purchasing items that are manufactured, transported and distributed in a manner to reduce carbon emissions. The company’s equipment must be Energy Star- and Green Building Council-approved to ensure it meets the strict requirements of designated LEED-certified buildings.

BEST is doing what many in the industry cannot, going above and beyond the call for environmental awareness. By investing in education and training programs for the team, BEST is able to utilize its expertise to help clients design and implement zero-waste stream policies and procedures. In addition, BEST was selected as a preferred vender by VANOC during the Vancouver Olympics for helping achieve zero-waste stream goals.

Kevin envisions new lines of business and expansion into other geographic markets. Jeff Grabinsky, director of emerging markets for BEST, has developed and executed strategic growth plans for both the core markets and complimentary value-add bundled services.

In 2009 Jeff established a NAID AAA-certified Confidential Document Shredding service, which quickly established itself as the leading independent service provider in western Canada. “We have aggressive plans to develop other similar service offerings that allow us to leverage current infrastructure and client base,” says Jeff. According to Kevin, BEST is well-positioned to expand into new locations and markets.

As a company founded on family principles, BEST embraces a mission to contribute to a sustainable community and work environment. While remaining grounded in the company’s moral founding ideals, BEST Service Pros looks to the future with a bright, new business model.