INCLEAN assistant editor Lizzie Hunter spoke to Halwest Property Services owner Dan Spasojevic about starting a cleaning business at the age of 19.
After living abroad in Europe for four years, Perth-based Dan Spasojevic decided the time had come to return home. At the time, the 19 year old had only finished Year 11 and had no other qualifications or job prospects, leading him to consider opening up a business on his own.
“Running a business was something I had always wanted to do,” Spasojevic explained.
“The problem was that I had no idea how to start a business from the get go.”’
It wasn’t until Spasojevic received an invitation from the Australian Small Business Advisory Services (ASBAS) for an information session that he realised his dream of starting his own business could actually become a reality.
“I figured there was nothing to lose so I booked in to see what I could get out of the session. I then met with a consultant who went through everything I needed to set up the business.”
In 2014, Spasojevic started Halwest Property Services, a cleaning and gardening service, specialising in end-of-lease cleaning.
“I had a contact in the real estate industry who provided me with end of lease cleaning work. I then grew our services to include handyman type services so we could offer everything that was needed when a client was exiting a property, including cleaning, gardening and sometimes painting as well.”
Based in Perth, Halwest Property Services made the leap over to Australia’s east coast to set up shop in Melbourne and Brisbane in February this year. In August, Spasojevic also established Halwest Property Services in Sydney.
“I saw opportunity in those states for the business to grow so I figured, why not? I’d never say never to further expansion, but right now we are focused on growing what we have already established in Australia. We still want to grow in our hometown of Perth as well.”
On top of expanding the business, the 22 year old also finds time to study part time, and is now in his second year at Curtin University completing a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Management and Finance.
Spasojevic says that the business is focusing more on cleaning because he can see a lot more potential in that industry.
“In the past we did more gardening and handyman type of work, but looking to the future, we want to put more of a focus on our cleaning services.”
The business currently employs five teams of two cleaners in Perth, servicing mainly residential clients and has eight cleaners employed on the east side of Australia.
“Every state is quite different in regards to the requirements of end of lease cleaning, so we’ve had to change our processes quite a bit to accommodate to each state as well as make everything run more efficiently. It has only been three years though, so we are still growing and learning on the job.”
One of the biggest challenges Spasojevic has discovered is ensuring the service quality promised is delivered to meet customer expectations.
“We’ve had to implement inspection guarantees to provide clients with the peace of mind that we will deliver on what we’ve promised. We’ve had clients call us first thing in the morning to tell us that cleaners they’ve booked have cancelled at the last minute, leaving them disappointed and unsatisfied.
“We introduced inspection guarantees because we were seeing an increase in those kinds of situations.”
Despite the challenges of starting up and running a business, Spasojevic would encourage other small business owners to find out what ASBAS measures they may be eligible for as he believes there is great potential to grow a small business in the cleaning industry.
“I got into this industry because of the opportunities it presented. If you can utilise the help and support that is available, it can be much easier to set up a business in this industry, rather than going it alone.”