Caithness cleaning company has sweet plans for growth in the Highlands

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A cleaning company which began as a small side-line two years ago now employs up to 20 staff during the busy summer months and is set for even further expansion.

Clean Bees operate across Caithness and Sutherland, providing homes and businesses with a range of cleaning services including holiday let change overs, post construction cleans and personal care for the elderly.

Managing Director Joanna Mackenzie has her sights set firmly on future growth and is working with Business Gateway to develop her business. She said:

“Business Gateway has been brilliant.  When we first set the company up my former business partner and I met with Jennifer, our Business Adviser, who was really enthusiastic and gave us valuable advice and guidance to get us up and running. We later worked with Marianne Ross, our Business Gateway Recruitment Adviser, who gave us really useful help with essentials like PAYE and contracts.

“Now that I’m growing, Jennifer has recommended networking and procurement workshops and just yesterday I received a call from a specialist adviser she had arranged to discuss my business growth plan in detail. I’m also working with Digital Highlands and Islands to create an online booking system. ”

Joanne feels strongly about helping the community and is keen that her business continues to impact positively on people living locally. She added:

“An important aspect of Clean Bees is that we provide personal care for the elderly. This is essential for families who live away and want to ensure that their loved ones are living in clean conditions and aren’t too isolated.

“While we work for many larger corporate clients, it’s crucial that we continue to focus on vulnerable members of the community and ensure that we are providing a good value, reliable service for them. It’s a nice side of the business and I’m conscious that we give something back.”

As the business grows Joanne, 32, would like to work with community groups to create a social enterprise that will focus on helping the most vulnerable people in the Northern Highlands.

For now, the former Development Manager is looking to move further into the holiday lets market by offering a more comprehensive service to property owners.

Joanna said: “At the moment, we offer a cleaning service to holiday lets, although I have the skills and experience to oversee much more. Having just purchased the domain www.selfcateringhighlands.com I plan to create an advertising and booking website showcasing what the Highlands has to offer from a local perspective.

“I have an Honours degree in Estate Management and am utilising this by working on a plan to create an overarching facilities management company. This would be a one-stop shop for business services, of which cleaning will become a part.”

Further growth will mean increased employment, something which will bring benefits to the area and that Joanne is passionate about.

Joanna explained: “When we started out it was just my sister in law and I cleaning holiday lets as a side-line while we worked at full-time jobs. Now I employ up to 20 people in the summer and I’ve just taken on another member of staff.  Unemployment in the area is a real issue so I’m glad to help alleviate this in some way.”

Jennifer Irvine, Area Business Manager, Business Gateway, Caithness said: “We’ve been working with Clean Bees since it started and it’s great to see the business is doing so well and that Joanna plans to grow it even further.

“Joanna takes a holistic approach to running her business. She is keen to work with vulnerable members of the community and do her part to reduce unemployment. I’m delighted that the one-to-one advice and guidance, and Marianne’s specialist recruitment support, have assisted her with this. Clean Bees is a fantastic business and we are looking forward to continuing to work with Joanna as the venture develops.”

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