Smart50 Awards 2014

34 Clean Business Services

Revenue

More than $3 million

Growth

68.49%

Founders

Antonio Cerquiera, 56, Victor Lopes, 49, and Alan Serebro, 50

Head Office

Sydney

Year Founded

1996

Employees

96

Industry

Property and business services

Website

www.cleanbusiness.com.au

Sydney-based cleaning company Clean Business Services has had an extraordinary past few years.

The business, which was established in 1985 after the merger of three cleaning companies, has nearly tripled its revenue in three years – jumping from more than $1 million in 2011-12, to $2 million in 2012-13 and posting more than $3 million for the last financial year.

The business has also taken on some high-profile contracts, including the cleaning of Villawood Immigration Detention Centre in Sydney.

Alan Serebro who founded the company alongside Victor Lopes and Antonio Cerquiera (who also founded the Oporto chicken restaurant chain), attributes the growth to diversification and a change in client acquisition strategy.

“We decided to focus on two main areas, medical and hospitality,” says Serebro.

He says the company made a strategic decision to move away from government contracts and other clients with a slow turnaround on quotes, and instead move towards snagging larger corporate contracts.

“We target fewer customers, but they have a higher revenue value. We would have targeted a hundred customers before, but now we get the same value from 10.”

Serebro says government contracts can be a “double edged sword” and one of the company’s biggest challenges came from taking on the Villawood contract.

“That was a job that was very difficult. There were riots and various things that our staff had to deal with. It was very challenging.”

Despite the substantial task, the company says it is proud it stood up to the challenge and passed all inspections.

Clean Business Services has ambitious plans for the future, planning to acquire other cleaning companies and eventually list the company on the stock exchange.

“There is currently only one company on the stock exchange in our sector,” says Serebro, referring to cleaning giant Spotless.

“There’s definitely space for a second.”

The company will look to list within the next three years, allowing it to have the framework to attract other companies to merge.

The founders say they’ll only look to exit when the company is worth more than $50 million.

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