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Thinking big pays off for small operator

A commitment to raising the bar when supporting clients and employees has allowed a small Queensland cleaning business to punch above its weight, as Cameron Cooper reports.

Rod Abbott turns to an unusual source – the renowned construction and mining equipment manufacturer, Caterpillar – when seeking lessons and inspiration for the cleaning sector.

The founder of NRE Cleaning Services, based in Redbank Plains, west of Brisbane, says building and protecting its brand is all important for Caterpillar, where Abbott formerly worked in his mining industry days delivering training programs to apprentices.

“Even though we’re minuscule compared to Caterpillar and a lot of cleaning companies, we have always understood that a strong brand has been vital for our business right from the word go,” Abbott says.

Rod Abbott

Great products, services, systems and people – it is all part of the formula for NRE and Abbott as he seeks to play his part in raising the perception and brand of the cleaning sector.

“As an industry we need to raise our game rather than just plodding along in the same way,” he says.

Although NRE has been in existence for just two years, it is already making its mark on the back of strong demand for residential and cleaning work in the fast-growing cities of Ipswich and Springfield, in particular.

At the annual Building Service Contractors Association of Australia QLD AustralianSuper Industry Excellence Awards late last year, Abbott was named Outstanding Owner/Operator in the Cleaning Industry (0-10 employees).

He puts the gong down to a great team – the business now has six permanent employees – and a decision from day one to set very high levels of service and to then surpass them.

“You can’t just be okay,” Abbott says. “You’ve always got to be exceeding that standard. I almost see it as a personal slight if someone has a problem with our level of service.”

*This article was first published in the July/August edition of INCLEAN. Click here to keep reading.

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