PRESS

AN INTERVIEW WITH EAST MIDLANDS BUSINESS LINK

Ubbergloves is a new start-up offering on-demand domestic cleaning services throughout Leicestershire. We met founder Brandon Watson to see where the business is headed.

What made Watson – who is 19 – want to go into business?

“I left school at 16”, he says.

“I was good at it but I didn’t enjoy myself. However, whilst at school I became known for my entrepreneurial side. I’d sell dust caps for bikes, as well as ice poles and ice creams. I didn’t fancy university, so I got an apprenticeship with State Bank of India instead. I was promoted to personal banker at the age of 17. That was one of my proudest achievements.

“Having spent two and half years with the Bank, I set up a social media marketing business with a friend. Unfortunately, we lost about £4,000 in 24 hours, but I haven’t let that put me off business.

“I’ve worked as an insurance consultant and a commercial account manager for a while to pay for Ubbergloves”.

Why cleaning? And what makes Ubbergloves different?

“It’s funny, because my girlfriend says I can’t even clean our flat”, says Watson.

“My grandparents were cleaners in late 1970s and 1980s. My mum was too, and I went on cleaning jobs with her during the holidays. My partner’s mother also set up her own cleaning business, so I have a lot of knowledge of the industry”.

“Many traditional businesses are changing and moving online”, he says.

“Lots of traditional cleaning businesses are very successful, but they haven’t moved with the times. The industry needs a disruptive business like Ubbergloves to shake things up. We are using a similar business concept to Uber and Just Eat. The on-demand or gig-economy is flourishing, and the potential is vast. Actually, ‘gig-economy’ refers more to companies like Deliveroo that use self-employed subcontractors. That’s how we work, too”.

It’s still early days for Ubbergloves, but growth plans are already firmly in place.

“We soft launched the business during the start of October, in a few small villages”, says Watson.

“The business still operates out of my flat and garage. However, we’ll be courting investors and advisors in about three weeks’ time. We are looking to raise around £65,000 in return for 30% equity in the business.

“So far, during our soft launch, over 35 people have signed up to the site and we’ve successfully completed over 20 cleans.

“We’re happy with the progress we’ve made so far and can see the huge potential this business will have once we do our major launch. Because people are required to enter their payment details on the site through our payment portal, we need to build brand confidence and awareness as we look to expand.

“Our ultimate goal is to be international, and we might take a franchise route to achieve this. In the short term, we want to be the number one cleaning firm in Leicester by the middle of next year, and by the start of 2018 I want to have moved into Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire”.

Brandon is hoping to disrupt the market with Ubbergloves, but that’s not his only goal. Treating his employees well also comes high on the agenda.

“We’re a Living Wage approved employer and we also pay bonuses”, he says.

“Cleaners are usually very poorly paid even though the work is tough. With my family background, I’ve seen it first-hand, so I want to change the industry for the cleaners as well as the consumers”.

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