When I meet people for the first time, whether it’s at a personal do, or a networking event I’ve noticed something really interesting. If I say I run a cleaning business, people treat me differently to when I say I’m a cleaner.

Cleaners have this stereotype of not being able to do much without guidance and easily spelt out instructions. Of course, I can’t speak for every cleaner, but my guys are nothing like that. I’m certainly nothing like that!

Business owners automatically command more respect. People know there’s a lot to running a business, you have to wear a lot of hats; from marketing to customer services, HR to finance. We all know it’s a tough job, no matter what industry you’re in.

The reality is, I’m both. Yes, I am the owner and operator, call it what you will, of Jigsaw Facilities Ltd, but I’m forever rolling my sleeves up and getting my hands dirty alongside my team. People do have different perceptions of you though depending on which job title you go with.

It’s really important to me though that my staff, and my clients, know I’m not afraid to get stuck in. I need my guys to know that I will never ask them to do something I’m not entirely prepared to do myself. Team work, and a general sense of camaraderie is really vital for the smooth running of our business. When our backs are up against the wall, if we have a tight deadline, it’s good to know that everyone feels happy to go the extra mile. It works for us, and ultimately it benefits our clients.

Speaking of whom, it does them good to see me on the front line too. When we first start working with someone, I will always go out on the first job, so I can see precisely what needs to be done, and ensure that standards are met. This is then the benchmark that the rest of the team works to, and the client knows to expect. Being there on a regular basis, throughout our relationship with a client also ensures that I am always up to date with any potential issues, and can handle them before anything goes wrong.

Staff know they can come to me with any concerns they have, and clients know the same. It means that we can be quite proactive when it comes to customer service, rather than simply having to react in case there is a change of circumstance.

Not only that, but many clients do start to see us as more than “just” cleaners (one of my favourite terms)! We get involved in so much more than simply cleaning, talking to them about how they can save money on certain products, how to make changes to their environmental policy, how to improve their staff’s health to mention just a few things.

I’m really proud of the fact that Jigsaw Facilities Ltd becomes part of the wider team at the businesses we work in, and that’s because we are anything but “just” cleaners.