Prior to acquiring Supercare more than five years ago former paramedic turned managing director Ian Kebbell had no experience in the cleaning sector. But it’s this outsider perspective that has helped the Wellington-based cleaning firm buck industry trends and become one of the market’s quiet achievers.
A self-described “accidental” commercial cleaning business owner, Ian Kebbell has grown Supercare from a single-office operation with a dozen staff to more than 120 employees across Wellington, Auckland and more recently Christchurch.
Prior to acquiring Supercare more than five and a half years ago, Kebbell held various management, marketing and customer service roles in the fire service, aviation and property – all of which he says has been an advantage since joining the cleaning industry.
“I knew nothing about the industry but my background is business and people,” he explained. “But, it’s been an advantage having had experience in different industries. We don’t want to get trapped into the industry norms. We make decisions based on what we think is best practice, not what the industry norm might be.”
From small family-owned cafes through to large international corporates, Supercare’s customers range in size and industry. “As we’ve grown our client base has changed, but we try to never lose sight of our roots.”
Alliances and ethos
Supercare has recently secured a number of Australasian contracts through alliances with large Australian commercial cleaning companies – a strategy which is paying off for the company, with more developments set to be announced from early next year.
“Our customer base is from one extreme to another. A lot of growth has come from some national contracts awarded, as well as our alliances with some Australian companies whose ethos aligns with our own. We’re working on some exciting stuff that will see our growth continue, and will also see us in new parts of the country.”
Despite its growing customer base and footprint, Kebbell says the company remains a family-orientated operation, with Kebbell’s daughter involved in the administration side of the business.
“At the end of the day, we’re a family business. We’re able to provide services for large customers as well as other smaller, family-operated businesses.”
Supercare has been somewhat of a quiet achiever since Kebbell, a former paramedic, took over five and a half years ago – a strategy he says has been part of its success.
“We’ve operated under the radar for a while but that’s been purposeful to some extent. We’re not worried about what others are doing. We’re only focused on what we want to do. We make decisions based on what we think is the right decision for our business.”
This first appeared in the November issue of INCLEAN NZ magazine. Click here to keep reading.