Fred has over 35 years within the window cleaning industry. Prior to window cleaning, he made a living by installing Rayburns & sweeping chimneys. Unfortunately a particularly nasty car accident meant that Fred suffered damage to his back & a change of career was necessary.
“I was 27 years old with three children, it took me over 6 months to recover and it was certainly a difficult time in my life not being able to work and provide for my family. I tried to do whatever I could to get by and after a recommendation from a friend, the idea of becoming a window cleaner was put in front of me”.
Fred found that he could safely get up and down a ladder without any repercussions to his back injury, and he started out with a few local window cleaning jobs to get by. “People just knew me as Fred the window cleaner! I had no branding, no business cards – just me, a bucket, a sponge & a ladder”.
The winter was a particularly interesting time for Fred, as he recalls having to physically chip away ice as the bucket froze to the floor of his van due to having no heating!
Working his way through all four seasons, Fred explains that he carried on like this for years, growing his business organically and gaining valuable customers.
“The physical side of it was great for me, it was rehabilitating for my back & I genuinely enjoyed being out and about. I used to come home absolutely knackered of course, that part never got any easier!”
Fast forward to 2006 – Fred now has a van & is trading as ‘Still Cleaning’. His company was one of the first in the area to be fully kitted out with a ‘Pure water’ system, an innovative way of window cleaning that filtered out any natural minerals and solids, resulting in crystal clear glass once dried.
After continuing to improve his services over time – Fred enlisted the help of family members to go one step further. Together with his daughter Emma, the pair have worked tirelessly to build Still Window Cleaning Ltd to the success it is today.
Fred & his wife have five children in total, the eldest being Business Partner & Director – Emma Still. Emma joined Fred in February 2016, initially to help him out part time.
“Before I joined dad, I chose the corporate life and worked within the financial services industry for 15 years. After this I moved into marketing for large companies such as BT and Yell”.
Emma also has valuable experience in health & safety and employment law. After a number of jobs in a short period of time following redundancy from Yell, Emma realised that the employment market in the South West at the time wasn’t great so she decided to spend her time helping Fred build his business.
“As children, we all helped dad out to get a bit of pocket money, window cleaning has always been in our family. Dad and I sat down one day over lunch and at this point I’d been assisting in the com-pany quite a bit. Coming from a business background I thought well, where is dad going with this?”
Putting their heads together, the pair realised they had great foundations to build the business into something bigger. Emma became full time and in May 2016 a second van was added to the fleet.
Fred explains that it was a huge change for him, but it was the best thing they could have done. “Running a business on your own, the way you’ve been used to for 34 years & then having it all change was definitely tough. The first 6 months were definitely an adjustment period, but seeing the business now, I am so glad we put in the hard work”.
Eager to have a strong identity, Emma and Fred set about designing a logo and building a brand. With the focus being on a family business since 1982 – Still Window Cleaning Services Ltd was created.
Still Window Cleaning offer both commercial and domestic window cleaning services as well as fascias, uPVC, conservatories & gutter vacuuming. Fred explains that technology within the industry is always moving forward making their job easier and more effective.
“Take Gutter Vacuuming for example, most jobs need scaffolding due to health and safety. We can overcome this as we can reach four storeys high and remotely clean the interior of the gutter, preventing damage to the property and overflowing issues. No scaffolding, no ladders”.
In January 2017, Still Window Cleaning introduced an app on their individual phones to keep track of their jobs. This was a world away from Fred’s ‘old school’ pen & paper diary but he admits it has been a life saver since the company has grown in popularity.
“This not only makes it easier for us but for our clients too. They know exactly when we are going to turn up for the next job”. Fred explains that they have also updated their payment system, which means a more efficient service for everyone.
“There is no confusion over missed payments & it reduces the need for money chasing if the client isn’t home at the time. We are becoming a cashless society, sometimes the client has paid before we’ve even finished the job! Each invoice is itemised so we both know the exact cost breakdown and the account balance”.
We are very customer focussed & being productive and organised is as much for our clients benefits as it is ours. We are completely transparent when it comes to our costs and we strive to offer a professional, reliable service that you can trust.
Due to growing demand, Fred and Emma employed family friend, Jimmy in June of this year. Jimmy explains that he feels incredibly lucky to be able to call himself a part of the Still Window Cleaning team and it’s great to learn invaluable skills from someone like Fred.
“Both Fred and Emma are amazing bosses and this is the first time I’ve been proud of my job. The best part is working for Fred and seeing his passion even after 35 years. He has so much knowledge and is willing to teach others. You couldn’t ask for a better mentor he’s so relaxed and patient and makes you feel at ease with his friendly banter!”
In March 2016, Still Window Cleaning had a respectable 226 customers on their books. Now, due to the huge amount of hard work they have put into the family business, they have a fleet of 3 fully kitted out vans, 3 full time employees and over 700 loyal clients.
Emma explains that due to the ever growing demand, herself, Fred & Jimmy are looking to recruit another member to their passionate and hardworking team. “We want to ensure we retain a per sonal and manageable service but we would also like to expand our reach”.
Still Window Cleaning cover a large area encompassing westward to Saltash, eastward to Exmouth, as far north as Okehampton & as far south to the coastline inclusively. Key areas are Plymouth, Totnes, Dartmouth, the South Hams, Tavistock and the Moors. They are looking to take on more customers along with an additional team member and are happy to train up anyone who feels they are right for the job!
Looking to the future, Fred explains that Emma coming on board has taken a weight off his shoulders & he would eventually love to taper down his involvement and hand the business over. “Emma has given me a great relief. She has a great grounding, a path has to be followed to make a successful business and she knows exactly how to do that. I have absolute confidence that she will continue growing the business from strength to strength”.
Still Window Cleaning realise the power of Social media when it comes to advertising their services, and their Facebook page gives a great feel for the company ethos. To find out more about their services, or to enquire about the upcoming vacancy, search for their page or contact the team on the number below.