Cleaner Care MD Denise Lardner in Conwy

A prominent North Wales business has broken the mould with a refreshing approach to the cleaning industry.

Conwy-based Cleaner Care has grown to become one of the leading independent cleaning firms in the country.

Managing Director Denise Lardner has just celebrated a sweet 16 years in the sector, having launched the company in 2005.

Employing more than 60 team members and based on the walled town’s Riverside Business Park, Denise is targeting an increase in commercial and holiday industry clients and plans to expand further in the coming months.

Launching a fresh website and branding, she said: “When I set up the business it was just me and a vacuum cleaner, and my first client was a local holiday home that’s still with me today.

“Now we have upwards of 120 customers in the commercial and hospitality sectors and there are 62 of us in the team – we created 12 new jobs in the last month alone – so we have come a long way.”

Denise added: “Through word of mouth and reputation the company has grown steadily, and at Cleaner Care we have a different perspective on the job we do.

“There are still so many myths about cleaning, that it’s all cash in hand, high turnover of staff and poor service, but we look after our team, some of whom have been with us for more than a decade.

“We set a benchmark for quality and want to show this is a valuable career and an industry that should be taken more seriously.”

Raised in Leicestershire, Denise had a second job as a cleaner before moving abroad and working in marketing, PR, and hospitality.

She returned to the UK and found herself settling in North Wales, where husband Tony had holidayed as a child.

Denise, who was by now used to working for herself, decided to research the idea of running her own cleaning business and putting her previous experience to good use.

“Within a few months Cleaner Care was very busy and it just continued from there, it’s never really stopped – the last 15 years has been a whirlwind,” she said.

With a wide range of clients including Bodnant Garden, Welsh Government, Adventure Parc Snowdonia, Sykes Holiday Cottages, Brenig Construction, North Wales Tourism, Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors, First Port and the RSPB, Cleaner Care operates in myriad sectors.

Like many organisations, they were rocked by the Coronavirus pandemic but managed to navigate the last 15 months successfully.

“It was scary at first because clients closed their doors and didn’t need our services, it was the unknown for all of us,” said Denise.

“Some places stayed open, but we had to change our processes, educate ourselves to the procedures and equipment we would need to ensure safety and continued high standards and keep the faith, because we knew at some point we would be needed again.

“There were no rules, so it was tough, but all of our customers are now open again with many more new ones on board, so things are very positive.”

It certainly is, and for Cleaner Care, the future looks exciting.

“I was always ambitious and knew what I wanted to do with the business, but it is still fantastic to be here 16 years later and reflect on the ups and downs,” said Denise.

“There is now much more of an emphasis on the environment – which is something we are focused on – and cleaning is an industry being taken much more seriously.

“It definitely should be given there are more than 1.6m cleaners in the UK – around 5% of the total workforce.”

She added: “We will continue to play our part, breaking the mould and doing things differently, putting our team and clients first and proving that cleaning is a fantastic arena with opportunities to progress.

“If Covid-19 has shown us one thing it’s that we can continue to be a sustainable, growing company with quality at the heart of everything we do – whatever the world throws at us.”