Process-driven Bendigo contractor secures excellence award

With management skills honed in the sporting arena, Martin Leach has developed Bendigo Property Services (BPS) into an award winning contract cleaning business that is committed to investing in its immediate region. A key to its success has been process-driven planning. Established by Leach in 2004 as a family owned company, BPS has grown to […]
Bendigo Property Services, March INCLEAN
From left, chief operations manager Peter Hutchinson, operations manager education unit Ian Hammond, office manager Debbie Lenten, and managing director Martin Leach Photo courtesy of: David Field Photography Bendigo

With management skills honed in the sporting arena, Martin Leach has developed Bendigo Property Services (BPS) into an award winning contract cleaning business that is committed to investing in its immediate region. A key to its success has been process-driven planning.

Established by Leach in 2004 as a family owned company, BPS has grown to become Bendigo’s (Victoria) largest contract cleaning company employing some 65 people. Key execs supporting Leach include chief operations manager Peter Hutchinson, operations manager education unit Ian Hammond, and office manager Debbie Lenten.

The contractor has a mixed client portfolio that includes more than 20 schools; police stations; local government; offices; and retail. About one-third of the company’s turnover is in the education sector while many clients are blue-chip names as well as not-for-profit organisations.

BPS’s disparate range of services includes equipment hire; rubbish removal; supply of toilet consumables; specialised high window cleaning; hard floor re-surfacing (stripping and polishing); carpet services (cleaning/shampooing, water damage); recycling of paper and other materials; specialised computer cleaning services; curtain and venetian blind cleaning; emergency staff for major events; high pressure water cleaning; and new building cleaning.

Last year BPS won the 2010 Powercor Bendigo Business Excellence Award for Services/Trades. “The judges recognised that through our disciplined approach to management planning we could demonstrate BPS is a well-oiled machine which delivers what it says, on time, to budget,” noted Leach.

That management planning emanates largely from Leach’s sporting background. His immediate intention after leaving school in year 11 was “to become a great athlete” but that wasn’t to be.

Instead, Leach turned to sports’ management where he became joint national coach of the Australian Olympic weightlifting team.

“Sport and managing a contract cleaning business are not dissimilar in that you are having to work with, and supervise, a wide mix of different types of people. You are wanting to tap their individual talents to the good of the whole organisation,” Leach explained.

Cleaners encouraged to up-skill

BPS’s people are much valued.  “We have consciously stayed away from sub-contracting and instead have all our people on PAYE. It is much fairer for our employees.

“It also means we have relatively low staff turnover and in fact many of those who started with me seven years ago are still here today,” Leach said.

All those in the cleaning team are encouraged to up-skill to asset maintenance cleaning level III and to-date at least one-third have done so. The training is carried out by a local RTO, The Victorian Training Group.

As well as nurturing professional training, BPS supports its cleaners with quality, well maintained equipment.

“We are not tight fisted in that respect. Poorly maintained machines result in downtime and low efficiency so we do invest in equipment,” emphasised Leach.

BPS likes to support its local business community and buys most of its cleaning products from Bendigo-based Qualchem and Coola’s Cleaning Supplies.

The company employs sustainable cleaning practices and is working hard to educate its clients, notably on the preferred practice of day cleaning.

“Day cleaning means less cost to clients and a lower carbon footprint… more customers are aware of environmental issues and we are becoming increasingly successful in persuading them that the right cleaning systems engender a better outcome,” Leach observed.

The contractor recently entered the rental property cleaning segment with a local real estate firm and now has a dedicated team that works on those sites during the day.

Educating clients is also carried out through a gratis ‘specification drafting service’ that BPS offers its current and prospective customers. “This is another tool that helps us to ensure that we deliver what is expected by the client and promised by us. It is also a marketing tool that often gives us an entree to new business,” stated Leach.

BPS recently renovated an old building on one of Bendigo’s main streets and it carries strongly branded livery that the passing traffic can’t fail to miss. The company’s vehicles too carry the same contemporary, professional signage.

“The cleaning industry allows us to develop as individuals as well as derive the satisfaction of working as a team. And there’s also the ‘feel good’ attribute of contributing to public hygiene.

“The changing face of the cleaning industry and its ever growing sophistication in terms of on-site technology and back-of-house management systems means we are constantly learning better ways to deliver our much valued services,” surmised Leach.

www.bendigopropertyservices.com.au

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