How Paying A Responsible Wage Can Bring You A Lot Of Benefits – Startup Serial #3

How Paying A Responsible Wage Can Bring You A Lot Of Benefits #3

A Working Wage

When I was researching my competitors, I found the reviews could be a little sketchy to say the least. I wanted to build a top-class product for Bristol and Bath, and to do this I needed top notch workers.

We currently use 15 professional cleaners across the South West area and I am happy to say that all of these have undergone a rigorous interview process to ensure they’re the right candidates for the job.

However, this is not the only factor in a successful business model – generous remuneration is an obvious incentive for an well-presented worker and a good job.

When planning Gleem’s service, I suggested paying well over the minimum wage of £6.50 and as a result, our reviews our pretty exemplary – read a couple here and here.

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I was shocked to hear that employees are not a priority for other companies, such as East Midlands Crossroads, a firm which provides supports for carers of the disabled and the aged.

According to a recent government press release, EMC owes a whopping £37,000 to 184 workers, and even more shockingly, the firm is one of 70 UK employees who underpay their employees.

Business Minister, Jo Swinson has undertaken the responsibility for naming and shaming these employers – a measure that first came in in 2013. She declared that

and as an employer myself, I can’t help but agree.

New legislation will see companies not currently paying their employees at statutory levels fined a punitive £20,000 per worker, I hope this will result in a fairer working environment.

I personally will uphold at least a minimum level throughout my career – I realise how much effort my workers put into each clean, and to short change them would not only be terrible business practice, but from a personal perspective, it’s just not the way I operate!

As Gleem continues to expand into the commercial sector, I will seek to calculate the best possible wage for our employees and promote the Gleem Guarantee.

Let me know how you feel and share your opinions here. Its great to hear from like minded people.

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Weekend Dinner Party Woes (1)

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It’s the weekend, which means a break from the 9-5 and a chance to socialise to the max to forget working worries. For the ambitious of us, this might mean a three course dinner – garnered from the hottest chefs in the Sunday supplements, whilst the more relaxed of us may rely on tried and tested staple meals – Joe swears by hot chilli beef and a mean sweet potato. However, to truly push the boat out, most of us will make a trip to the wine shop (we can recommend local Corks of Cotham!) or at least the local supermarket in order to compliment long-slaved over meals.

Of course, with so much delicious and tempting wine about, the results could be a little… mixed. As wine buffs at our office, we know this tipple can have unintended effects when you have a little too much, and have some disastrous tales to tell about how our carpets still bear the signs of that boozy, though hilarious night back in 2012.

Yet, we decided enough was enough, and as keen drinkers, but even keener cleaners, we would seek out the best way to ensure a night of socialising wouldn’t be marred by an unfortunate discovery on the cream carpet the next day – here are our tried and tested tips to remove that Malbec from your mat…

1. The Bicarb Solution

Blot up as much of the stain as possible, sprinkle a little bicarb over the spot and give the powder an hour to absorb the stain. Then use a trusty vacuum to retrieve the leftover powder.

2. The Big Guns: Hydrogen Peroxide

We say go for a weak solution (3% max) and add equal parts household soap, as HP is very corrosive! Use dry paper towels to blot the solution onto the stain.

3. Fight Fire with Fire: White Wine

Sounds a downright silly idea, but Gleem can verify this works – apparently the tannins in white wine cancel out those in the red. Clever, eh?

4. Shaving Cream (yes really – but only if you can put the offending item in the washing machine afterwards!)

Beware! Only use this if the stain has completely dried – work a small amount of foam into the area and then put in the machine on a short wash of low heat.

There you have it: a pick of the best to guarantee your home will be left ‘gleeming’ even after a raucous gathering of your nearest and dearest.

Gleem hope you enjoy your weekend, whatever/whoever it may entail! Of course, if you’re feeling a little under the weather after a successful night, then Gleem can take the hassle out of your hands – our Half Term offer is still running, just use the code ‘halfterm10’ in booking before Sunday 22nd February to get 10% off.

 

Realising the dream

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So I was back in the UK, and as I had an economics degree I felt obliged to apply for graduate jobs in London on the corporate ladder. I got a few weeks in to the process and took a step back. Just before it was too late I realised I didn’t want this: I didn’t feel motivated by any of these potential jobs, I didn’t have a desire to work in London, and I definitely didn’t feel like a corporate career was my calling.

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I have always found the idea of running my own business quite romantic – my dad has run a successful electrical contractors since before I was born. Therefore, building my own business was assuredly where I felt my calling. I decided to become an entrepreneur; deciding this before even knowing the business I was going to move into.

So, I was an entrepreneur – well in my head at least – most would still call me a ‘wantrepreneur’ at this stage. Next was the task of deciding what industry to go into, so I started looking into the financial viability of different ideas – from drop ship websites, to a cereal café (now a reality in East London!) to learning coding.

Then something fortuitous happened: my mum needed to book a cleaner. I called 10 companies, but only 2 of them answered. Both of those 2 companies wanted to schedule a walk-through of my house in about a week time, and then a few days later they would provide a proposed price. All this and a clean still hadn’t been performed! There had to be an easier way…

February half term: holiday or hell?

For kids, the coming week is something they relish – an opportunity to escape the humdrum daily routine of school. However, the rest of us aren’t so lucky, with the next few days seeing stress levels rocket in trying to take care of hyperactive kids alongside everyday tasks. Something has to give and with so much more time spent in the house, by the end of the week it’s usually left a dysfunctional tip!

Yet keep those worries at bay, as Gleem HQ have come to your rescue; researching tirelessly and compiling a number of solutions to this stressful season. We promise these activities will get the kids out of the house and quite frankly, prevent you from going stir crazy. Whether your youngster is the next Novello or a wannabe explorer, we’ve found that the South West has something for every taste this week.

Looking for something…

…Educational? (& fun, we promise!)

In the mood for a historical day out, or the kids craving something scholarly on their week off? (maybe not…) Why not tour the magnificent gothic Tyntesfield estate in North Somerset? The NT property is also offering a ’50 Things to do before you’re 11 3/4’ feature presenting innovative activities like hunting for fossils and finding a geocache (essential!). It has recently opened 4 new play areas – even more places for the kids to let off steam!

From 10am-15:30pm

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Enterprising?

The ‘Fire and Woodcraft’ workshop at Windmill Hill City Farm in St Andrews is offering campfire cooking, woodwork and outdoor games with ‘Ape Project’ on Tuesday. No need to book, and it’s completely free!

(Kids under 8 must be accompanied by an adult)

11am-3pm

Melodic?

A musical odyssey through Europe, Asia and the Middle East is provided by storyteller, Michael Loader, accompanied by flautist James Watts and an impressive dance routine – all at Bristol’s hidden gem of St George’s. There’s a chance to get interactive with a workshop at 1:30pm followed by the show at 2:45pm. Tickets are a steal at £1 (suitable for children 6+)

13:30-15:00pm

Creative?

Bristol Cathedral has an amazing opportunity to get crafty in the most atmospheric of settings next Thursday! The creations will be Welsh-centric due to St David’s Day not being far off (think daffodils) For those requiring refreshment after intense crafting, the Cathedral’s popular Café 1542 will be open as normal.

Free admission, 10am-4pm

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So there you have it, a selection of diverse activities to keep you and the kids occupied over the next week. With all of this action, you’ll have been too busy to get any tasks done at home, so why not take advantage of our Half Term discount code so we can tidy up the whirlwind the kids created on their week off? Just use the code ‘halfterm10’ when booking online at www.gleem.co.uk, valid until 22nd February.

Dangerous Pollen Stains – Gleem Cleaning

Dangerous Pollen Stains and How Gleem Helps

If you weren’t already aware, it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow and for many of us, that means thinking up inventive gifts to present to loved ones. The most obvious choice is flowers – from an extravagant bouquet to the wilted model grabbed in a rushed panic from the local petrol station, these natural gifts always experience a surge in popularity in mid-February.

However, despite their beauty, these blooms have hidden danger – pollen stains being one of the most difficult stains to remove and clean from upholstery. Lustrous lilies are often described as the worst offenders,  their shocking orange stamens leaving terrible problems in their wake but part of the appeal in the shop.

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But no fear, for Gleem is here so you can avoid the stress and fall-out of any (formerly appreciative) loved one! Our solutions to this perennial problem include ingredients which can easily be located at home for a wonderful glorious cleaning spree!

Here’s a few tried and tested tips to ensure that pollen residue doesn’t become an enduring feature of your house:

  1. Do not touch/rub the stain, instead take some sellotape and attempt to remove as many of the specks as possible without smudging – contain the area!
  2. Put the stain in direct sunlight. Yes, it’s February and it’s still feels like the depths of winter so this may not seem the most feasible option, but even weak winter sun this will fade the stain before you attempt to attack it.
  3. Our next able assistant is wait for it, shaving foam! Yes: if the stain is still stubbornly refusing to budge, then apply a small amount and rub in using an old toothbrush. Take a new cloth and gently remove the foam, then rinse the area with some cold water and pat dry with another cloth.
  4. Allow the area to dry.
  5. Use a vacuum to suck up any lingering pollen particles (particularly if it’s a carpet stain, though lower settings can be used on clothes).

And there you have it, the ultimate guide to ensuring you can appreciate beautiful blooms without the hassle!

If you have any questions or want to book a clean with us, visit us at 0800-808-5544 or visit www.gleem.co.uk

The Story Before Gleem – The Startup Serial #2

Before Gleem – Before Becoming an Entrepreneur

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I graduated from the University of Leicester with a first class degree in BSc Economics. Ironically, I did so well because I was finally somewhere without pressure to perform, giving me a drive I’d never experienced before. This was very different to the Joe that had blagged his way through school – barely working – and who lucked his way into his first choice university even though I’d dropped 3 grades on the entry requirements (4 grades after I returned from my gap year).

In the final month before my exams I witnessed my friends performing a juggling act: revising for the most important exams of their lives AND applying for any and all graduate schemes that they could. I just didn’t know why! I knew l wasn’t ready for the world of work, so I focussed on doing well in the exams and fortunately it paid off.

Once I had my results, I jumped on a plane to New Zealand in time to watch the All Blacks winning the World Cup on home soil. I spent a year living in hostels and a van, working and travelling. I saw some beautiful things, learnt the value of a hard day’s work (vineyard labour) and about sales (turns out, I’m a pretty capable door to door milkman).

Once New Zealand was over, I was back in the UK but found myself with itchy feet. South America was my next calling and I spent the best part of a year teaching English, working in zoos and an animal refuge, as well as looking after orphans. It was an eye opener to life in less-developed countries – previously I had only seen places as a longterm tourist, and hadn’t given back to the less fortunate.

Like most, I have many travelling stories so please feel free to ask me if you’re interested: the monkey refuge in the Amazon basin, being held up at gun point in Bolivia, and 10 days trekking in Morocco with French people (I speak very little French!), are a few of my favourites.

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‘The Gleem of Hope': Gleem and its links to charity

Gleem and Its Links To Charity

As someone who’s long believed in the importance of charity, especially after time spent volunteering in Bolivia – one of the poorest nations in South America – I knew I wanted my company, Gleem to have philanthropic connections from the start. This began last year, when I decided Gleem would team up with ‘Frank Water’, a charity which ensures that safe drinking water reaches those in India unlucky enough not to be able to count it a basic right. I’m aware my company consumes a lot of this resource due to the industry in which it operates, but am also conscious that others are not so lucky to have ready access to clean sanitation. Therefore, I am extremely proud to say that 1% of profit made helps Frank under the ‘Gleem of Hope’ campaign.

Similar to Gleem, ‘Frank’ is local to Bristol, yet have managed to assist an incredible number of people an astonishing 5600 miles away: 250,000 individuals and counting! However, the charity strives to do more and reach the 784 million who still lack this lifeline – with their simple but effective ‘FreeFill’ initiative selling reusable bottles to help raise funds and further Frank’s cause overseas. With the growth of the company, I wanted to develop Gleem’s commitment to the campaign, so this Thursday, as part of the 1000th clean (*self-congratulatory pat on the back*) I went to donate some of Frank’s refillable water bottles to one lucky customer. In this way, I hope we can do our bit as a company: spreading the valuable message as to the importance of humble H20 and the conservation of other precious resources, like plastic. As Gleem continues its growth across the UK, it will remain resolute in its support of such worthwhile efforts – watch this space for future philanthropic plans!

If you have any other questions about Frank’s campaign, visit www.frankwater.co.uk, or alternatively chat to them on Twitter @frankwater

Alternatively, if you have any questions for us at Gleem, give us a ring at 0800-808-5544

The Beginning – Gleem Startup Serial #1

The Beginning of Gleem

How I’ve started a cleaning company and what you need to know about starting a new cleaning company.

We are Gleem, and I am the founder Joseph Edwards. Gleem is a 2 years old cleaning company that is providing quality domestic and commercial cleaning services in Bristol and Bath.

It sounds simple, and when people hear the industry in which I decided to start my company in, it doesn’t sound particularly inspiring, but I promise it is much more interesting than it first seems!

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We have focussed on growing ourselves utilising the internet and social media via Facebook and Twitter and have so far found mixed success in our efforts in terms of response rate, interactions and inevitably sales.

We have decided to do something different, and we are doing it in the form of posting weekly on this blog. We are going to talk about the difficulties and challenges a startup faces in its journey to becoming exceptional. We plan to share everything on our journey to £100,000 in monthly revenue.

In short, we at Gleem will learn a lot – and hope you will too!

We will try to be very transparent, give you insights about how we have started and what you should know before starting.

Please feel free to interact, comment on and share our posts with anyone you think may be interested in the startup story, small businesses, the aspirations of a young company, or just cleaning in general.

We would like to make clear that we won’t be using this blog as a sales opportunity: it is more a way of tracking our clarity in vision and product market fit.

We hope you enjoy the journey with us!
Thanks,
Joe & the Gleem Team

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