The cleaning industry has the potential for extraordinary growth – an opinion by Mahlatholle Masha, Financial Director, Servest Cleaning Division
Johannesburg, 23 November 2018 – As an industry, which is estimated to be worth around R6 – 10 billion, the cleaning business is one that has the most extraordinary potential for growth. The nature of the work is such, that it requires only low level skills and this seems to give the impression that it is an easy business to establish. It is therefore no wonder that there are a multitude of start-ups emerging in the industry.
However, Mahlatholle Masha, Financial Director of Servest’s Cleaning division, cautions against this notion of it being an easy business, because with it comes industry standards, compliance matters, health and safety issues and not least, the responsibility of running a business. The latter coming with its own challenges, with regard to human resources and its associated matters.
Despite the challenges, the cleaning sector’s growth potential stems from large organisations wanting to focus their efforts on their core business and therefore outsource their cleaning services to cleaning companies. These cleaning companies are expected to not only be fully equipped to fulfil the tasks, but to do so within the bounds of compliance, such as the use of environmentally friendly products and using equipment that reduces water wastage, or entirely eliminating the use of water. Technology and innovation hereby plays an important role in the continued growth and development in the cleaning industry, to the benefit of its clients.
We see cleaning companies having to currently provide customised and unique solutions to clients, in order to differentiate themselves. However, in the near future, it will also have to provide sustainability reports, to ensure that the cleaning methods and its associated products do not adversely affect the environment. These specialised products and services are costly, which adds to the challenges small businesses and start-ups face in the industry and additionally, is not something that is easily managed in-house. Naledi Kgoadi who owns Bophele & Ditiro Trading, a facilities management company who is a recipient of Servest’s enterprise development arm, The Lesipho Trust, bears testimony to the challenges that come with starting a business. He says, “We are going through different review programs and are looking to increase our compliance certification and employ experienced resources, to ensure that we are fully competent to provide the right services to the different industries we would like to work in.”
On the positive side, the likelihood of the growing South African economy and infrastructure development, will spur employment opportunities in construction, which will have a ripple effect on the increased level of activity in the cleaning industry. As an established company in the facilities management industry, Servest is well poised to increase its productivity (and jobs), by making use of environmentally friendly products, ensuring that it complies with the standards that are set by the national contract cleaners association. It also remains ahead in its field, through constant research and development (R&D) programs, which brings forth new innovations and technological advancement in the cleaning industry. And lest we forget, a reputation, which is built on years of experience and the trust of its clients.
In growing the sector, it is advisable for large companies to embrace the new incumbents and with that, new innovations; and more importantly, greater job opportunities. It is a process, that everyone can become involved in and should be welcomed for the opportunities it offers, not just feared for the potential threats.
Servest is the largest, majority black-owned facilities management company on the African continent.
The company has a significant presence in Africa with multi-currency earnings. Servest’s African operations are head quartered in Johannesburg and have a footprint in 10 African countries.
The Group employs 25,000 staff; has over 10 000 sites; our services, which include integrated facilities management, cleaning, parking, catering, hygiene, office services and landscaping, touch the working lives of thousands of people employed by eminent entities.
A feature of the Servest Group strategy is the extension of empowerment into its African markets through training, associations, partnerships and joint ventures. The aim is to create a foundation for sustainable growth through local capacity building.