Fife Living Wage champion in the running for national award

Published: 23 Sep 2014 03:11

A Kirkcaldy cleaning firm is in the running for a major industry award after becoming one of only six UK service providers to adopt The Living Wage earlier this year.

Derek Cowan of Get It Done Cleaning Services

Derek Cowan of Get It Done Cleaning Services

Get It Done Cleaning Services, which is based at Mitchelston Industrial Estate, has been shortlisted for the Scotland 2014 Living Wage Champion Award.

The Fife firm is the first Scottish cleaning company of its kind to be recognised by The Living Wage Foundation and, after embracing the initiative, has inspired others to follow suit.

Established in 2008 by local businessman Derek Cowan, who was made redundant after the collapse of Northern Rock, the Fife-based firm started out on a shoestring – with Derek initially sourcing his cleaning materials from Poundland and borrowing the vacuum cleaner from home.

The rapidly-expanding cleaning company has since grown from a one-man-band to team of 30 – who are all paid The Living Wage rather than the government-set minimum.

Thanks, in part, to embracing The Living Wage, Derek now has a string of awards under his belt and 11 other cleaning and facilities businesses across the country have followed his lead.

Derek has become an ambassador for The Living Wage in Fife by regularly speaking at local events and offering advice to small businesses to help them overcome barriers to uptake.

Although cashflow was tight initially and Derek had to adjust costs to reflect the change, the move has boosted business for Get It Done, which won the cleaning contract for T in the Park, one of the UK’s largest outdoor festivals, for the second year running in 2014.

Derek’s customers have also been supportive.

He said: “I know first-hand how hard it is to survive on the minimum wage and didn’t want to ask my staff to do the same.

“It’s meant a consistently higher standard of work and happier clients.”

Office Administrator Kayleigh said: “I’ve been at Get It Done Cleaning for more than a year now and I really enjoy it here. Being part of a small business allows me to get involved in many aspects of the business, which is great for me because I’m really open to learning new things.

“I think that the atmosphere has a lot to do with it, along with working with lots of different people. I have a varied job role which allows me to do different things. I work a lot on the phone directly with customers and prospective customers too. Also many people come through the door and I enjoy meeting and getting to know new people. I really like the fact that I get to work with people.

“Being paid The Living Wage rather than the Minimum Wage is just a bonus. It means I can come out with an extra £20 or £30 a week. That often means an extra £100 a month.”

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