Father’s Day – The succession of ServiceMaster Clean West Suffolk

Chris Edmonds from ServiceMaster Clean West Suffolk reflects on growing up around his dad’s family business for Father’s Day.

The UK celebrates Father’s Day this weekend, and to mark the occasion, we sat down with Chris Edmonds from ServiceMaster Clean West Suffolk to see what inheriting the family business from his father has taught him.

What was it like to build a business with your father?

“I grew up alongside the business as my parents built it, starting in the early 80’s with just a single garage and a Ford Cortina estate. Later, I worked for them during the school holidays and when [I was] back from University. By then, they had a few vehicles and premises of their own; when I moved back and worked full-time with my dad as we prepared for his retirement.”

“It was generally good fun. We get on well and are good mates. He likes a story and a dad joke, and I’ve heard them all a million times. Now and again, he’ll pull one out that he’s never told me but it’s rare!”

“There were times obviously when we had a difference of opinion. Working that closely with a parent or partner has its stresses but we never took it home after a day’s work. And when it came to the crunch he’d say, ‘While it’s my business we’ll do it my way, when it’s your business you can do it your way’ and you can’t say much fairer than that.”

What are your earliest memories of the business?

“Back in our first house in Bury St Edmunds (we still work for the lady who helped us buy it over forty years ago) Dad would sometimes bring rugs back to clean in our lounge. I’d help by spinning his carpet disk, so it’d lay flat for him to put the roto on. There was a knack to it. They did more bonnet cleaning back then not so much extraction cleaning as today.”

“They also sponsored my football team from under 9’s onwards. So, we’d all have a yellow kit with ServiceMaster on the front and go to away games in Dad’s big yellow van. It was quite iconic and I’m sure I was very proud.”

What about ServiceMaster Clean that made it the right company for your career?

“I was very familiar with [ServiceMaster Clean] having grown up around it, and it gave my wife and I the chance to work together when we moved back to the area and have something of our own.”

“Running your own business has its positives. You’re in control largely of what you do and when. But, of course, that comes with greater responsibility too. I was generally in customer services and then teaching – so people-based areas. That helps as being a sole trader I’m the voice on the phone, the guy who replies to the emails and the face that turns up on your doorstep.”

“But it works: we won the network Customer Service Award a couple of years ago and have loads of Five-star reviews across different platforms.”

What core values has your father passed down to you?

“To take pride in your work and all you do. We’re not into making a fast buck. We try and do a great job at a fair price so that people come back, tell their families and friends, and then they book us in, and so it grows.”

What are some of the most rewarding moments you’ve experienced since taking over the business?

“We won the Customer Service Award before Dad retired but by then he was just doing a bit in the office, so I felt that was something I’d achieved. But every week there are little moments when customers walk in really chuffed as you’ve got a stain out of their carpet, they thought they’d have to replace or say ‘Wow, the sofa you’ve cleaned looks like new’; little things like that.

Is your father proud of how the business has grown since his retirement?

“Yes, I think he’s proud of the work we’re doing. I sometimes hear him on the phone to old customers and it’s nice to hear what he tells them about me. He’s not one for blowing smoke so I know he means it.”

Need a cleaner?

If you’re in West Suffolk and would benefit from carpet, upholstery and floor care and cleaning services from a family business backed by a nationwide brand with over 60 years of expertise in professional and high-quality service, call Chris today on 01359 241577 / 07398 251908.

Or nationwide find your nearest ServiceMaster Clean business or book online today.