Every day on site, Sally Findlay, owner of Techclean London South West is greeted by smiling faces as she returns squeaky clean desktop IT to delighted employees.
Using proven techniques developed by Techclean’s experts over 40 years, Sally and her team specialise in providing a top quality deep cleaning and hygiene service for server rooms and desktop IT to companies across the city.
Sally set up the business three years ago and now employs a team of 11 people. She is no stranger to franchising or the Bardon group, having run one of the top Recognition Express franchises for over 15 years. She handed the reins of Recognition Express Mid Surrey to her husband when she decided it was time for a new challenge and expand their business interests.
She explained: “ I wanted to stay with franchising because I know it works. I had a short list of five or six very different opportunities I was exploring, and Techclean was one of them. I liked the sustainability element of Techclean, and this combined with the fact that the franchise was owned by the same group that owns Recognition Express influenced my final decision. I knew the people I would be working with and could trust that the brand was as strong as they said it was. It is a strong business proposition and one in which I can see future growth.”
Keen to stay in the familiar business to business environment, Sally has put all of the skills and expertise learned during her years at Recognition express to good use. “I know all about customer service, finance and accounts and how a company runs, so I felt confident about applying those skills to something else,” she said.
“I’m delivering a service now whereas when I was running my Recognition Express franchise it was entirely product based. I’m also now working with my own team of people which is a joy and a privilege.”
In her Techclean role, Sally gets out and about a lot more, travelling to clients’ premises with her team of technicians to deep clean anywhere from 20 to over 1,000 items of computer equipment and telephones. Her clients are mainly larger companies within the financial services and recruitment sectors although she also works for some charities and creative agencies.
With today’s emphasis on reducing waste, re-cycling and staff wellbeing, the Techclean service ticks all these corporate boxes. Techclean’s specialist service delivers healthier working environments, cleaning 99% of germs and bacteria, and by extending the life of IT equipment by many years, companies can meet environmental targets by keeping electronic equipment out of landfill.
This re-cycling aspect of her role is a great motivator for Sally. When personal computers first arrived on the scene over 40 years ago, they were very expensive and looked after carefully as a result. Now laptops, towers, monitors, keyboards and mice are mass produced and almost considered throwaway items – if they get dirty and stop working so well or a new employee joins, equipment is just discarded. Said Sally: “As computers got cheaper and technology was progressing very fast, companies upgraded their equipment every two years. Then monitors got bigger and bigger, wireless keyboards came in and optical mice replaced the old ball mouse. Now the new kit you buy is exactly the same as what you already have – your screen is as big as you want it to be so there’s no reason to throw IT away. In the case of a mouse for example, we can deep clean all of the components and it will last for 20 – 30 years!”
In the financial services sector where time is money, businesses want to keep their IT equipment working at 100% efficiency. In the past, one of Sally’s stockbroking clients would throw away specialist Bloomberg keyboards costing over £1,000 each when the keys began to stick, as traders have to make split second decisions and could miss out on a deal if their keyboard doesn’t respond quickly enough. After successfully cleaning a ‘trial’ keyboard, Sally went on to clean 20 more, saving the company £20,000.
Dispelling the misconception that Techclean technicians are like office cleaners, working on a fixed contract and going in at night after everyone has gone home, Sally explained: “We go in when our clients need us and that can vary from client to client. They call me in every five months or so and once a year we might spend a whole week on site working though everyone’s laptops, mice, keyboards and phones giving them a thorough deep clean.
“In today’s working environment people often take their laptops home so we have to be on-site during office hours. Staff don’t want to be without their laptops for more than half an hour, so they pop off and have a coffee while we clean their desktop IT. When they come back, we have to be there to make sure everything works immediately after it’s been cleaned. For example, If we’ve switched off the monitor, we check it’s back on again and the caps lock is off on the keyboard.”
Without exception, employees who experience a Techclean deep clean are delighted. “All day long people say ‘I can’t believe it. I didn’t think my computer was dirty but now you’ve cleaned it it’s like new!’”
Far from being fed up with having technicians cleaning computers in the office, toward the end of the day the staff who haven’t had theirs done yet start to worry that they might miss out. “They’ve seen how thrilled their colleagues are with their sparkling clean equipment so they’ll come up to us and say in a panicky voice: ‘You’re doing a really nice job; will you be coming back tomorrow to do mine?’” laughed Sally.
Delivering top quality customer service has always been a priority. Sally’s happy to go the extra mile for her clients which strengthens and deepens their working relationship. For example, one of Sally’s clients is a well-known advertising agency. “There’s one member of staff in the design department who has a white keyboard keyboard and they’ve had it for 15 years. It’s the only one left in the building where there must be over 200 computers. They’ve looked after it and now with our help and regular cleaning it will last another 15!”
During the pandemic Sally and her team still kept busy. Many of her clients have carried out building work to create more socially distanced working environments in readiness for their staff’s return– and with builders comes dust. Said Sally: “Dust gets everywhere no matter how much care is taken to cover everything up, so we’ve done a lot of server rooms, data rooms and comms racks which has made up for the fact that with people working from home we haven’t had as much of our PC work during the pandemic.”
And the future? She continued: “The future looks bright for our business. Ten years from now it will be the norm not to throw away your IT and keep upgrading. Companies will buy good quality keyboards and mice and with proper professional regular cleaning they can keep them for twenty years. The longer you use something the more money you’re saving, and the better it is for the environment.
“As we grow, I plan to scale up and have more teams working across my territory. At some point I won’t be able to manage it all myself and I have already seen potential in some team members to become team leaders further down the line.”
Looking back over the past few years, how does Sally feel now about taking the decision to become a Techclean Franchisee? “It’s been really good. I’m really pleased that I did it. I like working with my team, I like the fact that customers are always so pleased with us - and it’s nice to still be working with the people at the Bardon Group.”Read more on a Techclean Franchise