For the past five years Lambert Philips has been quietly carving a niche in the still largely underdeveloped market of cleaning, beautification and the provision of hospitality services and his assessment of the market iis that it offers encouraging prospects for growth and expansion.
His firm, Floor Care Professionals was established early in 2002 at a time when the market for professional services in the sector was limited mostly to diplomatic premises and the handful of large corporate offices around Georgetown and its environs. He credits his success in securing modest share of the market to confidence in his ability to meet the high standards demanded by his clients. Floor Care Professionals provides services in the broad range of pursuits in the cleaning and beautification sector – maintenance of tiled and polished services, rendering of tiles and decorative blinds, interior beautification including the rendering of walls, interior furnishing and ornaments and general cleaning and office waste disposal. More recently, Floor Care Professionals has set its sites of further developing its recently established Hospitality Servixces Unit which Philips says. “will set new standards” in this particular sector.
Over time Philips’ clientele has grown to include a small but impressive array of clients – banks, hotels and guest houses insurance companies, diplomatic premises and residential homes. He declines our request to provide the names of his clients. “We value the confidentiality and trust of our clients. I will simply say that we have some of the best clients that a contractor can have.”
Floor Care Professionals is a small business that is growing from the ground up. Philips says that over time he has invested in a range of equipment and in the training of his fifteen employees. “The quality of the work that we seek to market requires us to have the very best equipment. In servicing floor tiles, for example, there is a huge difference between simply washing and wiping a surface and professionally polishing that surface. Because we deal with clients like hotels and diplomatic premises we cannot afford to offer poor quality work.”
Philips sqays that his preoccupation with training has to do as much with offering a professional service as with moulding the kind of employee who will be sensitive to client concerns. “I have found that when a client gives you access to his premises, whether it is a home or an office, it suggests that the client trusts you, Workers who are not properly trained or who are dishonest can affect that trust and when that happens contracts can be lost.” He says that his recruitment practices include doing background checks on applicants. “We like to know who we are dealing with. We like to check our our employees.”
The market, he says, is expanding. He points to the changing architectural landscape of the city, the larger, more expensive homes, the malls and shopping centres, the number of hotels that have sprung up since Cricket World Cup. :Part of what we are doing at this time is making an assessment of several new premises in the city to try to find out whether there is a need for the services that we provide. We may very well be close to major expansion.
For the moment, however, Philips says that the focus of his company is on contract retention through an enhanced quality of service. He says that while Floor Care Professionals wants to expand its client base it will not do so at the expense of “short-changing” its existing clients. :Our long-standing clients have been good to us and we do not want to let them down just so that we can get a few more jobs,” he says.
Philips says that while he spends little time monitoring his competition he is aware that the competition is growing. He understands, he says, that as more buildings are erected and as diplomatic premises and hotels demand higher and higher standards of cleaning and hospitality services more companies will seek to specialize in that particular type of service provision. He is, he says, unphased by the prospects of competition. :We have tested our services in the market and what makes us confident is the fact that we have been able to retain some of the best clients with the highest standards. We are ready for the competition.”