When Margaret and John Pitcher set up their office and window cleaning company in Sussex in 1978, desktop ashtrays needed emptying, dust gathered in typewriter keys and the now ubiquitous office water cooler had yet to be introduced.
Much has changed in the 40 years since but Sussex Cleaning & Care (SCC) has been consistent in delivering a polished performance across the county.
Its roster of clients now includes schools, medical centres and sporting venues, with high-profile contracts such as match day cleaning for BHAFC’s Amex Stadium.
From one man with a van, SCC’s services now extend well beyond a dust and polish to comprehensive cleaning, washroom hygiene, grounds maintenance and pest control. It employs more than 200 uniformed cleaners across Brighton, Crawley, Mid Sussex, Chichester, Eastbourne, Horsham and Worthing, and has an annual salary budget of more than £1.3 million – the majority of which is paid out fortnightly.
“It’s remarkable to think our cleaners have been servicing our clients every day for the past four decades. That’s almost 15,000 work days. Their continued efforts are inspiring and there’s no denying they are the beating heart of our business,” says Nick Pitcher, the company’s Operations Director and son of the founders.
“When SCC started, cleaners were on average earning less than £2 an hour, office furniture was mostly wooden and had to be polished daily, ashtrays needed to be emptied because smoking at work was still common place, and vacuum cleaners were made of metal and weighed a ton when full! I wouldn’t say the job has become easier, though. There are constant challenges.”
Not least was SCC’s decision to upgrade its practices to meet International Standards of quality management and environmental auditing under ISO 9001/14001 in 2007 and SafeContractor in 2010.
An ambitious environment recycling scheme, spearheaded by SCC’s employees, won the team an ‘Eco Warrior’ award at the inaugural BHBiz Awards last year in Burgess Hill.
“It’s amazing to think how long we’ve been around and yet we can still find ways to improve our efficiency and save clients’ money,” says Robert Morris, Commercial Director. “I can’t wait to see where the future takes us. Robot cleaners, perhaps… who knows?”
…end… 14 May 2018