Joe Edwards, founder of Gleem, has worked with us at Meanwhile Creative from the day his company was born. Since he rented his first room, his team has grown continuously, and Gleem now offer services throughout the country.
I’ve always lived in Bristol. I didn’t get very good grades at GCSE or A-Level, but I forced myself to go to university and got consistent top grades. I travelled for three years, and when I got home I had just £200 to start my business with. I took every free business course in Bristol, and learned the basics. I bought a logo for £5 and started handing out flyers myself.
I found a niche in the cleaning industry after I had been talking to cleaning companies via Reddit. I realised they were all quite traditional in their approach, and there was room for an innovative idea. So, I began marketing cleaning at a flat-rate, with emphasis on quality and satisfaction. When I got my first order, I realised I hadn’t employed any cleaners, so I did the job myself.
After this, I got a government grant. It helped me expand, and gave me an incentive to grow Gleem. I found high-quality and reliable cleaners to ensure we were providing a satisfying service. I moved from a desk space in Pithay Studios to a nice office in King’s Street. I took on a few interns to help in the sidelines, followed by Gareth, our first employee. At the end of our first year, our initial £200 had grown to £80k.
Gleem is now two years old. We work from a studio space in Deben house, and there are seven employees as well as myself. To date we have had over 2500 clients and our returns have tripled year-on-year to £305k. We provide cleaning services to both domestic and commercial clients, and we ensure that our clients are satisfied with the job.
Part of ensuring our clients are satisfied is ensuring that our cleaners are satisfied too. We want them to enjoy their work and feel empowered by what they do. We don’t discriminate on academic or language ability. Rather, we make sure they are able to do a good job, and we reward them for this.
I took the studio space in Deben house because it gives us long-term options. We have space here for 15 employees, so we can stay here comfortably for the next couple of years. We aim to triple our returns year-on-year, and so far have not failed this. This year we plan to take home £1 million, followed by £3 million and so-on. Gleem will expand beyond domestic and commercial cleaning, into gardening and electrical domains. Ultimately we want to provide further services to our existing clients, to free up more of their time.
Continuing with job-satisfaction, we will be employing a number of ex-offenders in order to help them rebuild their lives. By giving them a second chance, we hope to earn their loyalty and continue to provide a top-rate service.
"Co-working has been hugely important. When you work from home there is no motivation to get up early and work productively."