45 Clean Business Services
Victor Lopes, 49, Antonio Cerqueira and Alan Serebro
- Head office
New South Wales
- Year founded
Profitability checks, cost control and stringent staff training are all crucial parts of the formula which has kept Clean Business Services successful in the highly competitive commercial cleaning market for almost 20 years.
The business has expanded and diversified in that time, moving from the commercial cleaning of offices, warehouses, schools and medical offices into the hospitality industry, which has been a big challenge for the business in terms of operations, finances and client relations.
One of the founders of Clean Business Services, Alan Serebro, says issues such as quoting, labour costs and client expectations dealing with hospitality clients all had to be managed in different ways to what the business had previously done with clients in other sectors.
“The hospitality industry often is a paid by the ‘room’ type of service – yet all rooms are not uniform and keeping track of the speed of cleaning of these rooms can make or break the bottom line,” Serebro says.
“Also we learnt that rostering of these sites can cause losses if more work is needed to be done on Saturdays and Sundays when the labour rates are higher.”
These problems were solved by holding a weekly profitability meeting in order to keep overhead costs down. An experienced hospitality manager was also brought in so that the expectations and goals of clients and staff were carefully managed to maintain confidence in relationships.
Serebro says looking after staff and making sure they are properly trained has been one of the keys to the success of the business. Staff with diverse cultural backgrounds also meant special attention had to be paid to training.
“The most challenging part of the business was to make sure that staff were trained in spite of the many languages and countries that the staff originate from. We had to introduce detailed training manuals and procedures to explain simple tasks such as mopping, vacuuming and window cleaning,” he says.
Serebro says the next big challenge for Clean Business Services will involve a move into the strata management business of properties, as well as the possibility of securing contracts with clients in Queensland and Victoria.
He says there’s no time for complacency in the commercial cleaning industry because bigger players are always ready to muscle in on contracts and smaller contractors are prepared to undercut prices to get their hooks into new business.
“In the commercial cleaning business you are only as good as the cleaning of the night before. You get ‘no credit’ for the months of good service that may have preceded a small mistake,” he says.