A wheelie bin cleaning service has won ‘Start-Up of the Year’ at The Worthies – an annual award ceremony that honours the people and the businesses who help put the ‘worth’ into Kenilworth.
Husband-and-wife team Ted and Kate Hunter founded Bear Cleaning Ltd in October 2017. They have since cleaned thousands of domestic and commercial bins with the support of Kate’s father, Martin Openshaw.
The coveted ‘Start-Up’ trophy was presented to the entrepreneurial couple at the Chesford Grange Hotel on Thursday, 23 May during an event hosted by award organisers Kenilworth Chamber of Trade.
“We were in it to win it and I truly believe we manifested our success!” says Kate, who is a former social worker. “Everything Ted and I do is for our three boys: Dylan, Tom and Archie. We have given up our secure public sector jobs and invested everything we have into making Bear Cleaning the go-to cleaning company in Coventry and Warwickshire.
‘We’re so grateful to receive an award at such an early stage in our business journey and we’d like to thank the judges and the Chamber for recognising the progress we have made to date.”
Bear Cleaning has secured several high-profile commercial cleaning contracts from municipal buildings, regional waste management companies and national chains. They also offer a range of domestic cleaning services – including guttering, driveways, patios and thatched roofs, as well as soft washing rendering and painted surfaces.
“Ted founded the business initially,” explains Kate. “Having left the police in 2014, he retrained to become a plasterer but soon realised that blocked guttering was the root cause of damp in most ceilings and walls. He spotted a gap in the market for a cleaning company that could tackle this problem head on – saving property owners thousands in structural damage.
‘Over time he added on more services; then in October 2017 he asked me to come on board so we could start cleaning wheelie bins together. I had this vision of myself wearing pink overalls and red lipstick shouting: “Come on lads! Let’s get these bins cleaned!” but I’m glad I went for it. My dad volunteers three days a week and my brother lends a helping hand during busy periods. It’s definitely a family-run enterprise that takes a lot of effort, but I believe that anything worth having involves hard work.”
Bear Cleaning are registered with the National Association of Wheeled Bin Washers and operate in a highly regulated environment to avoid any polluted water reaching storm drains.
“Penalty fees for unregulated jet washing of bins in the street can run to tens of thousands of pounds,” reveals Kate. “We’re proud to be offering local companies and individuals a way to enjoy the benefits of a clean bin and a clean conscience without having to roll up their sleeves and do the dirty work.”
Looking to the future, Bear Cleaning hopes to offer work opportunities to more vulnerable members of the community. For now, Kate says she is determined to keep building a legacy for her three boys: “Every customer matters to us, so on behalf of Ted and I, I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has commissioned our services so far.
‘We may not be the most glamorous business, but our essential service is delighted to have ‘cleaned up’ at The Worthies!”
For a full list of winners at The Worthies, visit: https://kenilworthchamber.co.uk/worthies-winners-2019/