Paul Crosbie: Back to his New Future

Paul Crosbie:  Back to his New Future

Why did you start your exterior cleaning business? 

Back in 2003 I was working on market stalls, selling cakes, sweets, and confectionary.  It was a busy family run business, and I was doing about 12 stalls a week plus we had a shop that was open 6 days a week.  I thrived on it, and although it was incredibly hard work, with 4am starts and late nights, it enabled me to get married, buy a home and start a family 

After 20 years, the market trader lifestyle really started to take its toll.  I was missing out on family life and watching my three children grow up. So, I decided to make a change.  I did not know what I wanted to do, but being my own boss for many years, I knew I had the confidence, experience, and determination to make a go of things again…  But doing what? 

Little did I know that my next career opportunity was staring me in the face, as I looked out of the window.  My dirty block paved driveway, all covered in moss.  I had cleaned it before, with a shop bought pressure washer, and the whole process was incredibly messy, time consuming and a real chore!  There had to be an easier way of doing this I thought!

So, there I was, in WH Smiths with a copy of Exchange and Mart, and I came across an advert for a surface cleaner.  I called the company and ended up buying a complete system!  In under 2hrs, I’d transformed my driveway, and I thoroughly enjoyed doing it!  I re-sanded it to finish off, and it looked really smart!  As I was admiring my work, I stood back, and looked at my neighbour’s driveways up and down my street…

“I’m going to start a business, cleaning driveways and patios!” I said to my wife!  So, I set about learning everything that I could about the business and meeting as many suppliers.  After all, who knows where this business could take me? 

I started cleaning driveways and patios in my local areas, and I loved it! The fresh air, the exercise, the people.  The satisfaction of a job well done – and all on my own terms!

And that’s how I met Andy Whiting (Spinaclean MD), on a Sealant Training Day in London.  We soon realised that we were on a similar career journey with our patio and driveway cleaning businesses and before long we started working on bigger commercial cleaning projects together.  Fast forward to 2011, and we decided to amalgamate both our businesses.  So, in a portacabin, on a farm in Northampton, Spinaclean was born!  

At the end of 2019, after 8 amazing years with Spinaclean, I decided it was time to slow down a little bit and spend more time with my family.  However, I did not want to stop fully. After hosting countless training days at Spinaclean and helping other like-minded people to start their own business, I often used to reminisce on all the enjoyment and fun I used to have with my own External Cleaning Business. So, I took with me a skyVac® Industrial 85, a skyVac® Interceptor, a SlipStream Pro 20 and 21GT with a view to getting my Brother involved as well. 

Just like that… “Crosbie’s Direct Cleaning” was born.  And yes, as I used to say on the training days, I really am living the dream!  I’m working to suit my lifestyle, making good money and enjoying the freedom that comes with being your own boss. 

See Paul in action with the skyVac® Interceptor in "The Ultimate Gutter Vacuum" video at the end of the article.
 

How has your business changed over the years?

When I first started out, websites were only just getting going!  At that time, I did a lot of “old school / traditional” marketing such as local directories, leafleting and exhibitions at gardening shows.  Jobs well done would convert into recommendations, and word of mouth spread.  Before long I was busy with new and repeat business.  

Fast Forward to 2020 and it’s all about social media! Great pictures and videos, along with shares, tags and likes!  It’s free, which is great when you’re starting out – but you do have to spend time working on each account.  I’ve set myself up Facebook, Instagram and YouTube account under @crosbiescleaning and I’m building up my following.  I even had some animated videos made to promote my business and services!  I love seeing the comments on the socials and getting the instant feedback and I have also picked up some of my old customers from when I first started out! 

I have always loved making videos, it’s a great way to show what you and your equipment can do, and I’ve recently upgraded my camera equipment so there will be lots more videos to come!

You have to remember that your money is your time.  And that although social media is free, unless you invest time working on it, then it will not pay back.

 

Are you doing any traditional marketing this time round? 

I’ve invested in some quality flyers, which have generated a good deal of business, and I’m advertising in some local directories.  A bit of networking and interest from old customers has really helped keep me busy too!  And of course, there is the new website and getting to grips with SEO and Key words. 

 

What services do you offer?

At the moment I offer gutter cleaning, patio and paving cleaning, fascia and soffit cleaning services around Buckinghamshire.  

I also help my Brother out with his oven cleaning business, so there is a nice mix, and no two days are ever the same!

 

What advice would you give to anyone starting a new business?  

PERSEVERANCE:  It won’t happen overnight so your really need to persevere.

INVEST IN YOURSELF:  From your equipment through to your branding – you are worth it and it WILL pay back in the long term. 

Your MONEY really is your TIME.  So, get the best equipment that you can (which is where Spinaclean can help

BRANDING:  From your uniform, to your flyers, quotations, and your van, create a strong brand.  It not only looks professional, but it’s unique and helps you stand out.  I get an immense sense of pride from my branding, it makes me want to work even harder! 

CUSTOMER FOCUS:  Listen to what they have to say and address their questions and queries knowledgeably and confidently.  Be open, honest and timely. 

ENJOY YOURSELF! 

Make sure you follow Paul on Instagram and Facebook for his Buckinghamshire based Exterior & Interior property cleaning projects 

www.crosbiesdirectcleaning.co.uk