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Office cleaning boom on back of coronavirus

Business

Adelaide-based VIP Home Services is seeing demand for its commercial and office callouts rise as businesses look for more regular cleaning across Australia.

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At the same time, company owner Bill Vis said calls from clients working from home are also starting to trickle back in after demand for home-based services initially dropped with COVID-19 distancing measures.

Vis said work contracts for some offices and business premises had doubled as management teams worked to keep staff healthy during the COVID-19 restrictions.

“We have actually lifted with extra cleans in commercial premises especially with new precautionary methods,” Vis said.

VIP has more than 1000 franchises across Australia and New Zealand, specialising in in home cleaning, gardening and commercial cleaning services. Those businesses employ another 500 staff, with about 250 franchises owned in South Australia.

Bill Vis

Lawn and garden services had remained steady with about a drop of 10 per cent in business, Vis, right, said.

The company has increased health and safety guidelines in garden work around cleaning tools and machinery, clothing and using electronic payments to ensure social distancing rules were respected.

Vis said the company had been proactive in drawing back home cleaning customers lost during the first week of COVID-19 lock downs.

VIP Home Services has annual revenue of about $100 million and was last year ranked 78 in InDaily‘s South Australian Business Index 2019 that showcases the state’s top 100 most successful local companies.

Vis said new infection control training courses had been introduced and the company recently signed a deal with a bespoke tailoring business for 1000 facemasks.

The virus took the business by surprise, Vis said, with an early 50 per cent drop in home cleaning across its Australian and New Zealand franchises, but it immediately sought new approaches to win back consumer trust.

“We’re taking all the necessary precautions and asked our franchisees to complete certified courses, we’re asking them to wear the correct clothing, to change clothing between each house, to use different mops for each house,” Vis, whose Adelaide headquarters employs more than 30 staff, said.

The company has ordered 1000 facemasks with the VIP logo now being made by an Adelaide company that has pivoted its business from making bespoke suits and selling high-end clothing.

Tailors of Distinction, based in Malvern, closed its shopfront and converted its production facilities to make washable facemasks for clients.

Vis said calls were now trickling into VIP from people working from home experiencing higher cleaning needs, as rooms were converted to home offices and children spent more time indoors.

He said people initially had been wary of having cleaners in their homes but they were now beginning to use the service again as it met strict new social distancing criteria.

“We were on the back foot, it took about a week and a half for us to think ‘what can we do?’,” Vis said.

“You have to start thinking what do we need to deal with this, Tailors of Distinction has done the same thing, they are making masks.”

As the company looked for a point of difference in its cleaning services, Vis said it also wanted to work out “how can we help with the coronavirus”.

“We are all in this together, we want to work through this so we all survive,” he said.

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