A Family Member’s View on a Family-run Company
Growing up I always knew what my dad did for a living, so when anybody asked I knew exactly what to say. “My dad is a General Contractor” I would tell people, but that usually sparked another question about what a General Contractor was so I just started saying “he builds homes”. This is still true many years later, and we are still providing that same service that we did back when I was in kindergarten. The only difference is that all four family members that make the BVM Contracting family are now working for BVM, and we are only starting to get into our full stride.
Lets rewind to 2001 when Colleen Meagher, my mom, started working for BVM Contracting after a successful 15 years in the printing industry as a salesperson. I remember the transition very vividly, because that meant that my brother and I stopped eating lunch with our daycare and transitioned to eating at home. The set-up was just my mom and my dad for the next 10 years. During this time, my brother and I did not care much for the company and were busy being kids, but still took any chance we could to drive with our dad during his Saturday rounds at his job sites, even shoveling the occasional mound of dirt. It was nice to see at such a young age exactly how my family made a living.
It wasn’t until I was 18 years old that I started as a labourer at BVM Contracting, which was in 2012. I was able to work with BVM Contracting for a year and a half before going to Queen’s University for engineering. This was exciting for me because, at the time, I did not want anything to do with BVM Contracting; I wanted to do my own thing and never wanted to look back. I thought I was going to land a dream engineering internship after my first year and things would just take care of themselves from there. That was the furthest thing from the truth, because I ended up not getting any job offers (let alone an email), and ended up working for BVM Contracting again during the summer of 2014 (after my first year).
That summer represented another first, because my brother happened to be taking his high school co-op program at BVM Contracting, which meant that this was the first time that all four family members were working for BVM Contracting. After his semester in co-op ended, Tyler came on full-time with BVM Contracting, and has been here ever since. He too wanted to do his own thing; he wanted to join the elevator union. This dream diminished after realizing how important the family company was to him, and that he would be the owner of the company after my dad retired. Now in his third year of work for the company he is well on his way to doing just that.
For me though, I was still kicking and screaming and did not see a place for myself in the company. I wanted to use my problem solving skills, and still do my own thing. My goal after that summer with BVM Contracting was to never work there again, and I thought that I accomplished this by landing a job in Saskatchewan with an Oil and Gas company. It wasn’t till I was out in Saskatchewan and enrolled in a summer business course that I realized something; I could make my own job description in BVM Contracting and contribute in ways that will improve the current business. The commencement of my BVM Contracting job description started almost immediately when I started working out west and the obsession of adding to it has not left me since.
Hi my name is Ryan, and I am obsessed with working for BVM Contracting…. Hi Ryan.
After I realized that I can help this company in the direction of increased success, I was immediately attached to the concept, and it has made me gravitate to the company so much so that I am actually working here again during the summer of 2016. This whole history lesson brings me to the conclusion that family-run companies are more special than working at any large corporation, and here is why:
1. Seeing Your Efforts Pay Off
I can say with great confidence that everything I do at BVM Contracting is making us a better company, and that is the same with everyone else. Since I make my own projects and work closely to all parts of the company, I see the fruits of my labour all the time. There is also a lot of room for improvement which means that work here is never finished (which we love).
2. Going the Extra Mile
I consistently work 50-55 hour weeks, and only get paid for 40 each time. I do this because I do not want to take extra money from the company, I want to see that money be invested into the company to advance it instead. When you work for a family company, you have an excess amount of pride for it, and want to see it succeed even if that means working more and getting paid less. It is a true entrepreneurial experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything else.
Not only do you go the extra mile for the company, you also go the extra mile for the company’s brand, which is a very important component for any business.
3. Expanded Job Descriptions
The beauty of being in a family-run company is that your job description may consist of a few too many things. Right now I am very heavy into marketing the company, and have put what I thought was going to be my main job this summer to the side, which is making the business operations and project management more efficient. Did I know that I would be putting such a heavy emphasis on marketing? Not at all, but I have tried to learn it as best as I could in order to help the company. You learn something about yourself in the process of getting spread too thin. It is those challenges that you willingly take when you work for a family company, and conquer them because there is no other option.
There are only 3 non-family workers for BVM Contracting, and these three employees are basically our extended family. All of our employees feel like family and we believe that is an important component in retaining and attracting good employees.
All of our sub-contractors that we work with are very close with us as well, and they are always ready to put their best foot forward, which is what we expect of everyone that works with us. Even though they aren’t our employees, the BVM Contracting employees create a sense of family with every sub-contractor we work with, and make sure the work environment is comfortable.
I have been able to go to doctor’s appointments and other meetings outside of the BVM Contracting agenda during times when I should technically be working on BVM Contracting things. This is the great thing about working for a family company, you are given some flexibility with your work. That is not to say that I do not make up for it by working at other times, but that is not a problem because I enjoy what I am doing so much.
These are the main reasons why I believe I am now working (again) for BVM Contracting even though I said I would never work here again, and I am glad that I have gravitated back. It should be important for every consumer to understand a business’ values, and I believe that at the epicenter of BVM Contracting’s values is a family-first mentality.
About the Author
Business Development, BVM Contracting
A graduate of chemical engineering from Queen's University, Ryan has spent many summers working with BVM Contracting in various roles and projects. This experience has provided him with a unique view on the residential construction industry which he loves sharing with you!