Name: Pete Bridge-Collyns Company: Cleaning Ventures Role: Director
Having had many years of experience in the industry I decided to launch my own commercial cleaning company – Cleaning Ventures Ltd – as a company we incorporate a number of different services, making facilities management that bit easier for my clients. I currently cover the Greater Manchester area on the office cleaning side, but cover nationwide on bigger one off projects. I work closely with my clients to give a great and consistent service with a great team behind me
What is Cleaning Ventures?
Cleaning Ventures Ltd is a commercial cleaning company that deals in many aspects of cleaning, such as contract cleaning, carpet, window cleaning, recycling and sanitary hygiene – a full list can be found on the website: https://www.cleaningventures.co.uk/
The company is founded on strong ethical values. We ensure our staff our fully trained, well paid (in a traditionally low-paid industry) and our products are environmentally friendly.
What’s Cleaning Venture’s proudest achievement?
I would say our national work with Aldi is a pretty big achievement. We tend to cover post-construction cleaning work on all Aldi new builds and extensions . It’s pleasing to know that we can deliver a quality service so consistently, not to mention the high profile of Aldi, which is great for reinforcing this message so positively. Having worked for Aldi as an Area Manager for a number of years, I know the high standards and expectations that they set
How many employees work for Cleaning Ventures?
Cleaning is generally thought of as low-skilled, low wage employment. Cleaning Ventures focuses on engaged staff as adding value. Can you elaborate on the importance of your employees to your business?
All our employees represent the company brand. It is important they are engaged with what we are trying to achieve happy in their work. Matching cleaners with the right clients is key to our service. We work hard to ensure that our cleaners are comfortable to work in a variety of environments and that they can engage with the staff of the companies we work for. It sounds unusual but we think personality often comes before cleaning when it comes to identifying the right staff. Yet it is perfectly logical: you can train cleaning skills but good social skills aren’t so easy to find. Happy and communicable cleaners dramatically reduce complaints, which lead to contract renewals. This forward thinking is not so apparent in many of the competitors. We like to reward our staff through bonuses, staff away days, and yearly salary increases.
How do you keep employees engaged and retain the best staff?
Thankfully we don’t experience a high turnover of staff, comparative to other cleaning companies. I like to think this is because of proactive management of staff, offering performance reviews that give staff an opportunity to feed into the business, but also the opportunity for the business to refresh our employee pool. The performance review is good for assessing staff attitudes to see if they have changed since we took them on or identify any training needs. We tend to hold group interviews every three weeks, opening up the recruitment process to new candidates to make sure we find the best people out there.
Your website mentions a rigorous recruitment process with a 20% pass rate. What attributes are you looking for in employee – what is a good employee?
I like an employee to be well-presented and have a good standard of spoken English. I’m not so swayed by experience because, as I mentioned earlier, cleaning skills can be trained. I’m more interested in employees who possess a strong work ethic and are presentable, consistent and punctual. We offer a high standard of cleaning services and I want employees to embody these standards.
What is the level of need for cleaning services and do customers cut corners on hygiene standards during tough financial times?
Companies who employ larger number of staff always need cleaning services, although some do try to needlessly price-score. We are flexible in our approach but believe that high standards demand a fair price, which I communicate to clients, asking whether they believe lower prices will bring better results. Invariably companies that fixate on endlessly lowering price end up coming back to you once they realise the new service undercuts on more than just price!
Smaller companies do try to do the cleaning themselves, but they have to factor in health and safety regulations and extent of cleanliness which often prohibits their philosophy of self-reliance.
What makes you optimistic?
The city of Manchester. I love the city and love to see the rate it is developing. The last few years has seen new building pop up everywhere, with new and exciting businesses moving in all the time. The buzz is returning to Manchester after the years of austerity. I truly believe that the city will boom in the coming years.
The business community in Manchester is another good reason for optimism. I find a lot of my business is done through networking with business contacts, often at networking events. We don’t really need to do any cold calling. I love the friendliness of the business community, which includes a refreshing honesty: if you’re professional, with a good product or service, people are willing to listen and help you out. Unlike other cities, sound bites and showmanship is not needed, which is very Manchester!