It was the spring of 1988, I had just graduated from high school and my parents Paul and Jessica Winkelmann called a “family meeting”, so I sat down with my brother (PJ-7) and sister at the kitchen table. They had some big news. They were going to start a business to remove problem wildlife from people’s homes.
We jumped right in to help. Dad found a map of southeastern Wisconsin, so I ran to dig out my compass and we drew a $29.00 circle around the area near our house, a $39.00 circle a ways out from that and the huge money-making $49.00 circle for those far away cities that we would service. Those were the service call prices back in ‘88.
For many years dad worked his full time job and then would go out and set up new jobs or bring in the haul from the day. Weekends were always full of checking jobs and setting up new ones, but my parents never missed church or a basketball/volleyball game. I helped out in the summer months with the ground jobs, even the skunks, because I was going to college and the smell of skunk was money to me!
I am going to gloss over dad’s heart attack in 1999 and subsequent by-passes in 2000 and just choose to mention that at this time, PJ had graduated from high school and was going to college to become a teacher. PJ, his friend and I covered for dad until he was back on his feet. I only mention this because this was when PJ determined that he was NEVER going to take over the business. Ha!
Dad, PJ (in the summer months) and I ran the business as we always had until 2005, keep in mind that my mom is still the only one in the office answering all the calls and still doing all the billing without a computer! PJ has now graduated from college and sees that this animal thing could be lucrative so he CHANGES HIS MIND and decides to join and one day take over the business. By 2006 we add on insect control, bat work, insulation services, trenching services, bird control and also hire several more technicians and office staff to help with the load. Oh-and we got computers!
Cut to February 1st, 2018. We are now 30 years into this business and I am honored to be able to travel with my parents to New Orleans for the NWCOA annual meeting. My father was stunned to receive the Tim Julien Legacy Award and I could not be happier for him. It takes a lot to run a business like this. It is lonely out on the road, the hours are terrible and the clients sometimes are too. It is times like this that make it all worthwhile! Congratulations Dad!
My mom will now occasionally hire Griffin Winkelmann (5) to set traps for rabbits and squirrels that take up residence near the house. You would think that someone else would do this for her, but she only pays $2.00 per animal and Griff likes the work. Maybe he will be the next in line??
Written by Stacy Stuck