Interviewing Ray Harris from ABA Cleaning
After a staggering 22 years in the cleaning industry, Ray Harris tells us the secret behind ABA Cleaning’s solid reputation and gives us a look into the future of corporate and commercial cleaning.
We talk carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, everything in between and about going green in the cleaning industry.
I meet up with Ray just before 11am in a small coffee shop on Spin street- one block away from his latest job; The Houses of Parliament. We sit at a small round table and over a cup of strong local coffee, Ray shares his story.
ABA Cleaning has been in the industry for 22 years, where did it all start?
[The sun catches Ray’s eye and it twinkles.]
I had always been in retail; I worked for Edgars and then found myself working at a holiday resort along the West Coast. I then came to Cape Town looking for a job and began by being a driver for a carpet cleaning business owned by a friend.
After about 6 months I realized that there was a serious gap in the professional carpet cleaning industry. When a friend offered the capital to start a small business venture, we set up and bought cleaning systems, employed a cleaner and launched our new business on the 11th of January 1992 with nothing but my small Datsun bakkie.
How did ABA Cleaning grow into the business that it is today?
During our first 3 years we saw phenomenal growth and we serviced our customers well. The following 12 years showed a steady growth pattern until about 5 years ago when the economy was in trouble.
I then decided to market the commercial cleaning side of the business, as prior to that, our main focus had always been domestic cleaning jobs.
This is when we did our first job for the government who have in the last years become one of our top regular clients. Commercial and corporate clients then started including The Grand West Casino, Truworths, Rondebosch and Bishops Boys’ High School.
What makes ABA Cleaning different to other cleaning businesses?
Well, I’m tempted to say “service excellence”, as our service levels have really become our company culture.
“We truly understand good service and never invoice until we are satisfied with our work”
I personally train all my staff and see to it that every new member shares the same passion and heart for the business as I do. We also make sure that we keep on the front line with new technology and the latest cleaning methods.
I think one of the most important things about ABA Cleaning is that we draw in a lot of commercial clients because of our excellent service at a fair market price.
You say that “Commercial and large-scale carpet and upholstery cleaning is our forte”… how so?
As our team is large and efficient we have the capacity to take on large contracts in a small amount of time.
For example when The Grand West has 2 days to clean 1000 seats, we do it! We had a request to clean 3 minister’s homes in a short period of time and we could accept the job because we have the capacity to offer this service.
It’s a niche market. Some companies try to do large scale cleaning, but struggle to complete it within the same time frame & with the same quality of service.
You use a special double-dry system.
Explain to the average “Joe” what this entails.
- In short, the first process involves chemical-diluted water, sprayed under pressure into the base of the carpet.
- While the spraying is taking place, the cleaning happens simultaneously as the dirt is broken down and extracted.
- The unique double-dry system means that after this first process has taken place, we extract again for a second time and this ensures that the carpet is left almost bone dry.
What do you see happening for ABA Cleaning in the next 5 years?
We will most definitely start focusing more on corporate and commercial business but continue taking care of our domestic clients.
One new venture that excites me about the future is our very strong motivation in going “green”.
Europe is so far ahead in terms of lowering their carbon footprint and being environmentally friendly, and I too, want to be at the forefront of this “green wave” in our country. I want to have a clear conscience in regards to the inner-workings of our business.
We must embrace this very important concept of not making unnecessary journeys, use environmentally friendly chemicals and ensure we know where our chemicals end up and how they are treated.
We recently also changed our logo to a nice green leaf, and I believe taking up this environmentally friendly responsibility will constantly set us apart from our competitors – watch this space!
ABA Cleaning can be reached on:
021 689 2333021 689 2333 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Website address: www.abacleaning.co.za
Content | Ed Beukes