A DUNDEE cleaning company is on a mission to ‘clean up’ the industry’s image.
Kelly Fairweather, owner and founder of At Your Service, has recently been appointed Associate Director of the Domestic Cleaning Business Network (DCBN). The not-for-profit trade association, formed late last year, provides general advice and resources to domestic cleaning companies across the UK.
As part of Kelly’s mission to clean up the industry, she will be supporting member cleaning businesses, whether helping with risk assessments, employment contracts, terms of service or products, arming them with the skills to run profitable businesses while maintaining high standards. Kelly will also support the DCBN in its role as a voice for the industry, pushing for clearer guidance and procedures from the Government.
At Your Service is a high-end, modern housekeeping, laundry and concierge service supporting families and business across Dundee, Angus, Perthshire and Fife. While primarily looking after family homes, At Your Service has grown significantly over lockdown, contracted to risk-assess and clean countless holiday lets and commercial premises from hairdressers and nail salons to offices.
To meet demand, At Your Service has recently invested heavily in training, fogging machines, and PPE. In addition, Kelly has appointed four new employees to assist with the company’s ambitious growth plans to triple in size over the next 18-24 months.
Kelly said, “Cleaners are now permitted to go back into people’s homes and workplaces which is a huge responsibility so I firmly believe we should be regulated and trained accordingly. Since lockdown, there has been a lack of clear guidance and funding from the Government so, despite best intentions, many domestic cleaners were and are putting their clients at risk. There are 80,000 domestic cleaners in Scotland, seen as ‘essential’ during lockdown, yet we’re not in the supply chain for PPE and expected to buy it. Cleaners were confused, struggling with conflicting guidance and unsupported and that’s something we must change to ensure long-term consumer trust and break the chain of infection.
“COVID-19 might be a new threat but there were always threats such as E-coli and we owe it to our clients to get it right. Many domestic cleaners are women juggling part-time work with families – they deserve professional guidance and resources, keeping both themselves and their clients safe. Pre-COVID, it was important that the standards of the cleaning industry were upheld – now it’s essential.”
As well as ensuring an optimum service, At Your Service is also committed to investing in its workforce and improving the perception of cleaning as a career. The company employs its current team of eight staff in contrast to 60-70% of domestic cleaners nationally being self-employed, ‘cash in hand’ workers. All ‘At Your Service’ staff are also paid above the Scottish Living Wage of £9.30 per hour, undertake a six week training course prior to their first placement in a home or business, and receive a uniform on appointment.
Kelly continued, “By taking on this role, I’m investing in the future of the industry and the way it’s perceived. Unfortunately, the cleaning profession is still viewed as a low-paid career option, often a job people do grudgingly, but by making the industry more professional, I believe we can change that image. Some of our most recent staff have gone on to work for 5-star hotels, with many others launching their own businesses, so let’s not talk down the profession when we can make it credible and attractive.”
At Your Service is also a member of the Federation of Master Cleaners which promotes high standards within the domestic and commercial cleaning industry, distinguishing professional cleaning businesses from rogue traders.