• New Vertical
  • Posts
  • Interview: Kieron Bewes of Green Rock Pest Control

Interview: Kieron Bewes of Green Rock Pest Control

From esteemed head gardener to small business owner, now revolutionizing the industry with sustainable practices.

Interview: Kieron Bewes of Green Rock Pest Control

To kick off our series of interviews with SME business owners, we’re very pleased to introduce you to Kieron Bewes, horticulture veteran and founder of Green Rock Pest Control in Devonshire, England.

Kieron has turned a lifetime of gardening passion into a pioneering venture in the pest control industry. He's cultivated everything from cut flowers to comprehensive garden designs.

Today, Kieron is channeling his deep respect for nature into multi award-winning Green Rock Pest Control, founded in 2020. His company is setting new standards in the industry by advocating for environmentally conscious practices and minimizing the use of harmful poisons. In this interview, we learn how Kieron’s approach to pest control is not only nurturing for the environment but also offers a tailored and effective solution to his clients, demonstrating his commitment to innovation and sustainability in every aspect of his work.

Tell us about yourself.

I’m a Devonshire lad born and bred and got my love of plants from my grandma, the two of us pottering in her garden since I was small. I’ve been in horticulture for well over 30 years, starting off as ‘the gofer’ and working my way up to head gardener on an estate growing all the vegetables and cut flowers for the house as well as keeping the gardens immaculate. I studied at Bicton College which played a big part in my education spending nearly a decade there doing part time and evening courses and ending up covering and teaching some of the classes.

I then went on to become the main plants buyer for Sidmouth Garden Centre for 10 years, writing for local papers and magazines, and having a gardening slot on local radio. I also enjoyed doing Gardeners Question Time on numerous occasions and loved being put to the test on my knowledge and gardening know how.

After that I moved into garden design and maintenance until finally dropping the latter to do landscaping with my long-time friend Paul. Through all this time I was dealing with outdoor garden pests from rats, moles right down to white fly and aphids.

Kieron & Paul

I have a natural passion for all things gardening with knowledge and experience to back it up.

Tell us about the business you are part of right now.

I set up Green Rock Pest Control in 2020 mindful of creating a business that would be kinder on my body than landscape gardening and would enable me to create something special and represent a challenge. With my background in horticulture, I have great respect for the environment and believe strongly that we should work with Mother Nature rather than against her; and so my ethos and significant point of difference within the pest control sector was born.

Any attempt to capture the hearts and minds of people looking for more sustainable options that do not impact negatively on their beliefs and ideologies would be a slow process.

Kieron Bewes

Achieving this was never going to be easy. For a start pest control has the entrenched reputation of being all about extermination first and foremost, and any attempt to capture the hearts and minds of people looking for more sustainable options that do not impact negatively on their beliefs and ideologies would be a slow process.

Secondly, people don’t realise their ability to purchase poisons themselves and scatter them liberally, while cheaper on the face of it, would be counter-productive in the long run as the product used incorrectly will in turn be less effective and could cause secondary poisoning to pets & wildlife other than the target species.

Key areas for me are:

  • Minimize the environmental footprint by avoiding the tendency of many operators to resort to poisons as a rule of thumb, instead implementing innovative measures to promote sustainable growth.

  • Create a memorable customer experience, with a thoughtful response tailored to their individual situation & circumstances.

  • Always provide a prompt & rapid response, taking ownership of the problem until it has been eradicated leaving a satisfied client.

  • Using technology & local connections to best effect for the growth of the business & its reputation; brand awareness & positive influence on customer behaviour.

Tell us about your biggest successes / failures.

I really felt we’d arrived when we started winning awards earlier this year, first we won ‘Best Live Support System’ in recognition of exceptional customer service and problem-solving abilities by the Business Awards UK Small Business Awards, and then we won the Excellence in Pest Control category of the 2024 Trades Awards in recognition that the company excels in effective pest management and exceptional customer service. And now we’ve scooped the Award of Excellence 2024 from E2 Media. It’s great to feel other people get what I’m trying to do here, and customer reviews reflect that they are happy with this approach.

On the negative side, I could kick myself for not starting this journey in the pest control industry much sooner in my career as I have found something that not only helps people and businesses it also brings me closer to nature and I love it.

Along the way, what tools, software or apps helped you grow?

At the start I was relying on social media, local advertising and a network of small business owners to get the word out, and that was pretty effective, but what really made the difference was the new website www.greenrockpestcontrol.co.uk created with KF Marketing UK who are also based locally. They really listened to what we said we wanted and once we provided the text it all took shape quickly.

Once we had the website work started to come in more quickly and customer reviews on Google have encouraged more customers to give us a try.

Are there any influential books, podcasts, or people that helped?

There are many local businesses I’m in contact with and we try to help each other out and refer each other where we can, but most of all I’d like to thank Russell Jones of Shaw Specialist Cleaning & Pest Control in Exmouth, and Debbie Wilson of Wilson’s Pest Management & Training.

I have also made many contacts on social media with whom we have regular banter and help each other out. I am pretty much in daily contact on LinkedIn with Shaun from Oakham Pest Control bouncing ideas off each other and on Facebook Ernest Feld whose vast knowledge on Entomology is astonishing and whose help and advice is invaluable.

What’s the future look like?

This year I’m offering a service for relocating European hornets to a safe, undisturbed location so they can survive and thrive, helping our local ecosystem resist the potential influx of the Asian hornets which are a predatory species that pose a huge danger to bee populations.

I’m also keen to grow the commercial side of Green Rock Pest Control; we already have contracts with some sports clubs, community facilities and local eateries who want us to keep them pest free and I aim to build a strong portfolio of businesses across East Devon and West Dorset.

People want the best for their business – they deserve my best.

What strategies worked best for you?

Providing an environmentally friendly pest control service that provides a focus on keeping pests out, removing food sources and using poisons as a last choice.

I am especially driven to ensure things are done properly and in line with national protocols as well as my own. I am committed to my thorough approach and provide excellent customer service, bringing customers peace of mind at competitive prices. These are what worked best for me.

To get press coverage for winning our award, we made a list of local publications we would like to pick up our story. Green Rock Pest Control works in East Devon and West Dorset so our list included newspapers of all the major towns in these areas. 

We prepared a press release explaining the company ethos, Kieron’s background and winning the award, thinking about what we thought they would find interesting.  

Credit: Sidmouth Herald

Then came a search of each publication to find the email of each editor and we sent it off. The first time it went to 14 publications and 3 responded and published in their online versions, with one also publishing in their paper version. 

The second time we sent to 2 trade magazines and it was picked up and published by one of these. 

At the end of the day it takes time and effort to write press releases, but we’ve found it was worth it.

Tip: You can find the email addresses of media employees using free searches on RocketReach and similar platforms.

What’s your best advice for those starting out in the pest control sector?

Get studying and get qualified in pest control to at least Level 2, then keep up to date with ‘continued professional development’ to make sure you keep up with all the changes in legislation, regulations, and good practice.

Increasingly customers are expecting to see professionalism and frankly they are right as this is what they are paying for. The traditional pest control way of just baiting and moving on is becoming increasingly out of place in the modern world. Customers are starting to see that their pest issue will not be resolved that way, as their properties need to be made inaccessible to the critters. They expect accountability, and why shouldn’t they? We certainly do in all other walks of life.

Where can we find out more about you and your company?