Sustainability tick for fast-growing cleaning company

By Wright Communications

CrestClean has been certified by Environmental Choice New Zealand (ECNZ) against internationally recognised standards and principles; products and services that carry the ENCZ label must meet stringent technical standards and be shown to have a minimal environmental impact.

Managing Director Grant McLauchlan says the ECNZ approval is a welcome boost for the company, which is on track to double in size in the next 5-7 years. He says CrestClean, which started in 1996, has seen average annual growth of about 20 percent over the past decade.  "We've experienced a big surge in demand for commercial cleaning services, fuelled by a lift in the service sector, which has seen the company included three times on the annual Deloitte Fast 50 list of rapidly growing companies."

McLauchlan says ECNZ certification dovetails with CrestClean's long-term commitment to sustainability and waste management. "Sustainability has been a key pillar of the company's strategy; we are totally committed to ensuring our services and products have minimal adverse environmental effects.

"We've always sought to ensure that the systems we have in place support good environmental habits such as energy efficiency, waste minimisation and recycling. But we also wanted to ensure the chemical products our personnel use have minimal impact, and that our training focused on environmentally responsible cleaning methods.

"We felt we'd achieved this with good standards and systems over the past 20 years we've been in business, but that was only our view."

McLauchlan says CrestClean believed it was important to get independent, third-party validation of its environmental approaches to doing business.  "That's why we turned to Environmental Choice. It was a logical next step and something the market expected of us. We also wanted to send a message to our customers and the industry in general that green issues should be taken seriously."

Environmental Choice New Zealand General Manager Francesca Lipscombe says she is thrilled to welcome CrestClean to the label. "They are a vibrant and savvy company that's really going places. We were impressed both with how ready the company was for the certification process and its utter passion about the environment which comes from the top and permeates the whole business.

"There's so much to admire about the approach the Crest franchises take to operate in a sustainable way with minimum impact on the environment, and that stems from good systems and practices in training and operations. The standards of adherence to good environmental practice are consistent across the organisation and I commend Grant and his team on how diligently they've laboured to achieve this.

"We look forward to the positive impact they will have on the cleaning industry, their own customers and the community in general."

McLauchlan says there had been a radical shift in the type of person buying a cleaning franchise. "The commercial cleaning industry is now viewed as a viable profession that provides a good income and lifestyle to match. Our franchisees include former accountants, a practising lawyer and several ex-bank managers.

"CrestClean has an objective of turning the whole industry into a career path as opposed to what has traditionally been a high-turnover industry of people who have had little or no training. We've tried to transform the image of the industry and its business model, enabling people to see the cleaning industry as a lifelong career with many opportunities."

McLauchlan is confident CrestClean has a bright, long-term future. "We support more than 550 franchises incorporating about 1650 personnel, who look after in excess of 4100 customers, including 350 schools. Our strategy is to grow the business and double its size within the next five to seven years. We think this is achievable, based on the increase in the average contract size we are seeing, along with an increase in the average gross turnover of our franchisees' businesses.

"We've also targeted the education sector and have had considerable success there - we're now the number one service provider to schools.  That has given us enormous confidence looking ahead."


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