Ken VahnDijk: How EcoCare Became a Multi-Million Dollar Pest Control Company in Portland

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Ken VahnDijk, alongside his wife Linda, founded EcoCare Pest Control in January of 2001, marking the start of a venture that would grow to serve close to 40,000 homeowners in Portland & Vancouver. Their mission was simple yet profound: to provide valuable services that enable people to live free from the concerns of insects and rodents.

Ken’s Foundation

Ken’s story begins with a pivotal childhood experience that laid the groundwork for his future. A nurturing first-grade teacher sparked a lifelong love for learning in him, demonstrating the power of empathy and support in shaping one’s path. This early encounter with education not only fostered Ken’s intellectual curiosity but also highlighted the importance of feeling valued and understood.

Ken’s journey wasn’t without its hurdles. A serious accident at six years old led to vision problems, pushing him towards the world of books. This setback turned into a gateway to knowledge, underpinning Ken’s belief in the power of education and self-improvement. His reading habit, fueled by favorites like the Bible and “Thou Shalt Prosper” by Rabbi Daniel Lapin, became a cornerstone of his personal and professional growth.

At the core of EcoCare Pest Control are the values of honor and respect. Ken emphasizes the significance of treating every individual with dignity, recognizing their unique strengths and weaknesses. This culture of honor has not only fostered a family-like atmosphere within the company but has also contributed to the retention of long-term employees.

A transformative experience in Latin America taught Ken the importance of communication and conflict resolution. This lesson, learned amidst personal challenges, has been instrumental in shaping his approach to relationships, both within and outside the workplace.

Financial Wisdom and Business Growth

Ken candidly shares the challenges of managing finances, both personally and in business. Learning to spend less than one earns, a simple yet challenging principle, has been a key lesson from running EcoCare. Managing cash flow and payroll, he recalls, has taught him the importance of faith and perseverance.

Ken highlights the significance of creating value and continuously seeking feedback to ensure customer satisfaction. By focusing on the little things that make a big difference, EcoCare has managed to stand out in the competitive pest control industry.

Good leadership, according to Ken, is about believing in people and matching them with roles that suit their abilities. He also shares insights into making tough decisions, such as when to terminate an employee, emphasizing the importance of alignment with the company’s values and goals.

Balancing Work and Personal Life

Will Troup & Ken VahnDijk discuss balancing work and personal life

Ken has learned to balance the demands of being a CEO with family time, setting clear boundaries to ensure that evenings and weekends are reserved for loved ones. This commitment to work-life balance has been key to his overall well-being and success.

With ambitions to double the business in the coming years, Ken remains focused on growth and service expansion. Yet, his dream extends beyond professional achievements to personal aspirations, like learning French in the south of France.

Ken’s perspective on sustainability underscores the balance between effective pest control and environmental responsibility. His journey, marked by challenges, learning, and growth, exemplifies a life well-lived, deeply rooted in values, relationships, and a commitment to making a difference.

Genesis of EcoCare Pest Control

In the early days of his career, Ken honed his skills and ambition at another firm, where he quickly climbed the ranks to become vice president, overseeing a team of 105. At a point when personal responsibilities loomed large, the leap to entrepreneurship was fraught with uncertainty. Yet, it was this blend of faith, ambition, and expertise that laid the foundation for EcoCare Pest Control.

Approach to Pest Control: EcoCare distinguishes itself through its holistic approach to pest management, particularly in handling rodent issues. Unlike many competitors, EcoCare manages every aspect of pest control in-house—from remediation and cleanup to repairs and insulation—ensuring unparalleled quality control and customer satisfaction to Portland and Vancouver residents.

Customer Satisfaction: Though rare, customer dissatisfaction is addressed with utmost seriousness. EcoCare’s strategy centers on active listening, responsibility, and prompt resolution, reflecting their commitment to customer contentment. By taking a look at EcoCare’s reviews, it’s easy to see why they are seen at the top pest control company in their geographic area.

Eco-Friendly Pest Solutions: EcoCare stands firm in its commitment to safety, offering services that are entirely pet-safe. Utilizing treatments that are less toxic than common household substances, they ensure the well-being of all mammals, not just humans.

Rising Above Challenges: A memorable challenge involved two dogs who inadvertently accessed a bait station. Despite the lack of toxicity, the incident caused considerable distress. EcoCare’s response—covering the veterinary costs—exemplified their dedication to going the extra mile for customer satisfaction.

Rock Solid Roofing: Excellence in Every Shingle

Transitioning from pest control to roofing, the conversation shifts to RockSolid Roofing’s comprehensive services. Offering top-tier solutions for both residential and commercial properties, they emphasize quality and durability, especially in the challenging climates of Portland and Vancouver.

Weather-Proof Solutions: RockSolid Roofing’s expertise extends to navigating the region’s unpredictable weather, ensuring installations and repairs are conducted with precision, regardless of conditions.

Rapid Response: Understanding the urgency of roofing issues, RockSolid offers swift emergency services, showcasing their commitment to customer peace of mind.

Permits and Regulations: With a keen understanding of local regulations, RockSolid streamlines the roofing process, ensuring compliance and customer convenience.

Warranties and Guarantees: Offering robust warranties, RockSolid stands behind their work, offering customers unparalleled peace of mind with Owens Corning’s backing.

Cutting-Edge Roofing: Constantly integrating the latest technologies and materials, RockSolid stays at the forefront of roofing solutions, from superior shingles to advanced protective barriers.

Owners Insurance and Safety: RockSolid not only assists with insurance claims but also prioritizes safety, ensuring both workers and homeowners are protected throughout the roofing process.

Digital Marketing Landscape

The conversation culminates with reflections on digital marketing’s evolving complexity. Having witnessed firsthand the shift towards specialization, the importance of industry-specific marketing expertise, and the undeniable impact of digital advertising, especially Google Local Service Ads, is underscored. The focus on rapid response and customer engagement through these platforms highlights a strategic approach to growth and customer satisfaction in the digital age.


The values of honor and respect are central to EcoCare, fostering a family-like atmosphere and long-term employee retention. Ken’s financial wisdom, focus on customer satisfaction, and leadership philosophy have been key to EcoCare’s success, alongside his personal commitment to work-life balance and aspirations for growth.

EcoCare distinguishes itself with a holistic approach to pest control, emphasizing eco-friendly solutions and customer satisfaction, while Ken’s narrative also touches on the expansion into roofing with RockSolid Roofing and reflections on the digital marketing landscape, showcasing a comprehensive approach to business and personal growth.

Key Takeaways

  • Ken VahnDijk, with his wife Linda, founded EcoCare Pest Control in 2001, focusing on pest control services that are pet-safe and environmentally responsible, serving nearly 40,000 homeowners over two decades.
  • Personal challenges and a deep-rooted love for learning shaped Ken’s approach to business and leadership, emphasizing the importance of honor, respect, and treating employees and customers with dignity.
  • EcoCare’s holistic approach to pest control stands out by handling all aspects of pest management in-house, from remediation to repairs, ensuring high customer satisfaction and environmental safety.
  • The addition of roofing with RockSolid Roofing highlights a commitment to quality, durability, and customer service, even under challenging weather conditions, alongside navigating the complexities of digital marketing for business growth.

If you want to know more about Ken, you should check out this post about how he is revolutionizing the pest control industry with pest insurance.