Daily News - Why cleaning business is a goldmine

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Sep 4, 2007
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Robert Allen III 'Tre'
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United States
Start up
Teknokleen was incorporated in August, 1990 and we started business immediately. We started as a distributor of a particular carpet cleaning system. It was a new innovation at that time because it is a system that cleans carpet without the physical use of water .As the distributor of this innovative product, we felt that we could do better in the marketplace if we knew how to use the product very well. Therefore, we started cleaning people's carpet with the product. At the same time, we were marketing the product. From there, we did so well that most of the companies that we cleaned their carpets asked us to take up some cleaning contracts with them.
However, we discovered that if we had to take up these cleaning contracts, we required appropriate equipment and chemicals, which at that time were very scarce in Nigeria. There was no place in Nigeria where we could get machines and cleaning tools. So, we decided to go into the sales and distribution of cleaning equipment and products. From there, we expanded our services to form another company called Hygiene Supermarket.
While selling cleaning equipment to people, we had to train them on how to use it. While doing cleaning jobs for our clients, we had to train our staff in order to transform them into professional. From training our staff, we got contracts for training third parties who bought equipment from us to set up their own cleaning business. This provided us the opportunity, with assistance from the British Institute of Cleaning Science, to set up a training institute known as Teknokleen School of Hygiene.
By selling hygiene equipment and products, we developed relationships with so many hotels and restaurants. Through these relationships, we got into supplying things other than cleaning equipment and products. In fact, it became such a big business that we had to form another company called Teknokleen Hospitality Support Services. By starting small as a mere distributor of a carpet cleaning system, we have grown to become a group comprising six subsidiaries in cleaning related businesses

Training
I studied Estate Management at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. As an entrepreneur, before you can succeed in any venture, you must expose yourself adequately to the knowledge that is available in the area of business which you want to venture into. When I took over the distributorship of the carpet cleaning system, I had to travel to the United States of America where the equipment are manufactured to undergo training not only on how the equipment are used but also on how to set up and run a company that sells the equipment. This actually gave me a lot of exposure in terms of marketing and operational issues which has helped me in growing my business to the level where it is today.

Challenges
One of the greatest challenges had to do with people's perception concerning cleaning business
When we started the distribution of the carpet cleaning system and people were inviting us to take up cleaning contracts, I was quite sceptical about the profitability of the business because of the public perception of cleaning business as at that time. It was regarded as a vocation and not a profession - cleaning was not recognized as a profession as it is today. The reason for this is not far- fetched: people saw cleaning as a type of business that is meant for old women.
However, we discovered that in the future there would be huge potentials in terms of profit for entrepreneurs who will take up cleaning services. As a result, we had to approach the business from a different perspective. We started employing young people teaching them how to do cleaning business in a professional and dignifying manner.
We also employed young graduates to market cleaning equipment and services. So, looking back to what cleaning business was eighteen years ago when we started and what it is today, I can say, without any fear of contradiction, that there have been monumental improvement.
Another major challenge in cleaning business has to do with getting the right workers to deliver efficient and timely services to your clients. You need to get people with the right attitude to apply themselves to whatever they are taught so that you will be able to grow your business. Of all the numerous challenges that face cleaning business owners and practitioners, the one that we had to fight hard to grapple was lack of skilled worker. But all that have changed
Right now, there medical doctors, architects, bankers and engineers, who own and operate cleaning businesses across the country, who are making huge profits from the business. These enlightened people have brought their diverse knowledge to bear on the business.
People are beginning to realise that the most important person in an office environment is the cleaner because if the managing director's office is dirty and his toilet is smelling, you can't sit there and work. So if you take it from that perspective, you will appreciate the fact cleaning is an important profession.


Prospects
If you look everywhere around you, especially in the cities, you will see new developments going on. These building facilities require professional cleaners to take care of them and put them in perfect hygienic condition. This is an indication of the emerging opportunities for entrepreneurs in the cleaning profession. In the past, getting a cleaning contract was mostly based on whom you know. After some time, it became whom you know and what you can give. Today, the most important factor in getting a cleaning contract is what you can deliver in terms professional service. Therefore, whom you know and what you can give no longer play any role in securing a good cleaning contract from both individuals and corporate organisations.
There are so many new companies that are springing up just like new properties are being developed .For instance, just recently, we held talks with a commercial bank which said they have plans to increase their branch network from 140 to 250 branches before the end of this year. Somebody is going to get the contract to clean these new branches. This applies to other banks and financial institutions. This is just a tip of the iceberg concerning the huge opportunities in the cleaning business even though the industry is still growing The Nigerian economy is currently on upward trend in terms of development coupled with the fact that more residential buildings and offices are being built with sophisticated finishing . The numbers of these properties are still increasing on daily basis.
As a result, we now have professionals who are experts in various fields venturing into cleaning business. They are people who have left banking, architectural jobs and even cleaning practice to do cleaning business. Therefore, you don't expect somebody who left medical practice to run a cleaning business to do his or her job like a roadside person. With the involvement of educated people in cleaning business, what we have now is a professional approach to doing cleaning business.


http://www.businessdayonline.com/entrepreneur-today/5869.html
 
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aguerro

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Apr 27, 2008
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Adam Guerro
Thanks for sharing with us this type of informtion. After reading completely onething comes into my mind that is 'Cleanliness is next to Godliness'. This is the proverb which makes every one to think about being cleaned .

Thanks.