The managing director of a major brewing firm once told John Davie, “the bigger you get the easier it gets”. That’s a sentiment that John can certainly attest to. John, now the managing director of Dundee cleaning firm CCS, started out as a one-man window cleaning operation in the Downfield area of the city. At the time he left school as a 16-year-old, John decided he wanted to be his own boss, and it’s a decision he has not regretted. His first week’s earnings may only have been only £30, but his endeavour and determination have brought him a business with a seven-figure turnover.
For John, the early years were very demanding, but year on year, he has moved his company forward. His drive to succeed saw him first swap his chamois for an industrial carpet cleaner, as he expanded his business into domestic services. From there he took on contract work for commercial premises in the city centre and soon found his skills in demand for offices as well.
Each additional service he offered the business community and the general public was a natural progression. So too was the development of his company’s structure, as family members became involved in the office management side of the business. It’s from this involvement of his family that John traces his greatest market growth. As he could leave the management duties to trusted family members, he was able to push his business to new customers, not just in the city, but to every major centre of population in Scotland. So CCS — Contract Cleaning Services took off.
That one-man operation is now an employer of more than 300 individuals. John says the growth has always been in response to client demand. His maxim has always been “communicate”. John says you must always be prepared to talk with, and listen to, your customers. And this dialogue has served CCS well. Existing customers would ask if he could provide a service outside his usual field, and he would oblige. Word would spread, and soon that favour became a new niche for CCS to develop.
The changing nature of the demands of clients have prompted John and his management team to rebrand the company, CCS —Property Facilities Management. John says that many changes in the business have involved considerable capital spend, and that he found The Royal Bank of Scotland ideal partners in the continuing evolution of his firm. He says, “Working with Kingsway Branch’s Ian Cunningham on a viable business plan has allowed me to arm CCS with top-of-the-range equipment.” It’s this aspect of the business which he believes best illustrates that invaluable advice from the brewer.
Each investment for John in the early days was a major gamble, but now with the resources of his company behind him, and a good relationship with his Royal Bank business manager, he feels things are much easier. But in all the success, John hasn’t forgotten his first job, and CCS, which has built a reputation on pre-occupation cleaning of stores and office blocks; exterior cleaning; manpower holiday relief cover; and more, will also take on small-scale work for the disabled and snow-clearing work for the elderly. John ensures CCS is rooted in the community.