The Irish World‘s Catherine Murphy met Conan Sammon, 28, MD of thriving urban business London Bin Cleaning company
During our recent hot, dry summer of 2018 many of us opted for a staycation and spruced up gardens and patios to enjoy sitting in fragrant gardens with appetising smells wafting from the barbecue.
The flipside of this is that nearby dustbins and caddy bins get exceptionally smelly in warm weather, attracting flies.
This is where Conan has found a niche in the market and, judging by the satisfied customer feedback and testimonials on their website, a successful one at that.
His company’s unique selling proposition (USP) is an efficient, affordable bin cleaning service for domestic and commercial customers and public bodies either as a one-off or regularly.
Other services include cleaning of yards, car parks and guttering. The business now workforce of seven and a fleet of vans.
As recently as 2012 Conan was an undergraduate at Reading University studying Business Economics. During
his summer holidays he worked for his father, John Sammon, a self-employed plasterer originally from Kilmeena, outside of West- port, Mayo.
Conan thought there must be other ways to supplement his income further and make a dent in the student loan. He found
an old pressure washer in the garage and knocked on doors in the neighbourhood offering to wash wheelie bins. Word of mouth about his diligent, reliable service quickly spread and social media brought it even further. Conan invested his first £250 in a second-hand van and the London Bin Cleaning Company was born.
As a child he spent long summers in Mayo and still goes back often and was there just last month: “My dad is back in Ireland now. He’s laid down the plastering trowel but has a photo booth business there. My mother, Martha Hyland, a psychiatric nurse from Laois, also instilled a strong work ethic in me. They have given me great encouragement.”
“Getting the right staff on board is key to what we’ve achieved and managing the team is a main focus for me.
“Each of our personnel has been recruited because of their experience with a specialist area of the business in mind. We take our responsibilities to customers seriously and pride ourselves on high standards whether it’s basic bin sanitation, cleaning of gutters, drive- ways or car parks on a small or large scale.
“Reflecting the cosmopolitan aspect of our marketplace, there’s diversity within our operation.
“Dumi is from Romania, Mo is Moroccan, George is from Malta and Richard…is an Englishman.
“Our office manager Joanna Joyce, from Lettermore, Galway is our lynchpin, she has excellent organisational
ability. She’s a helpful and approachable point of contact for customers and sup- pliers.
“She is also my long-term girlfriend and decided to join me working at the company two years ago.
“When she needs a well- deserved break, she heads home to Galway, that beautiful part of the world.”
London Bin Cleaning is also making its mark with industry recognition.
Last year London Bin Company won the Harrow Business Den, a Dragon’s Den style competition, which included a cash prize, business support, mentoring, access to training courses, publicity, and use of premises.
Conan said: “Winning the Harrow Business Den competition has been great. Business is booming. We’ve added to our growing fleet of mobile pressure washing vans, moved into a new office and exceeded our sales projections.
“I’m looking at acquiring competitor companies to grow the number of customers we serve.
“I’m so grateful for all the support I have received. If you’re lucky enough to win the Harrow Business Den Award, just be yourself, be genuine and make the most of every opportunity.”
This year the company was a finalist in the prestigious West London Business
Awards’ ‘Business Services Company of the Year’, at Wembley Stadium, hosted by Baroness Tanni Grey- Thompson.
The company initially served just Harrow but is now operational in several London Boroughs, including Barnet, Brent, Camden, Ealing, Hillingdon, Hounslow and Tower Hamlets.
It has also restored an historic building in Coventry and has been contracted to clean out the refuse bins at Twickenham Stadium.
Notable clients include Gordon Ramsay’s and Jamie Oliver’s restaurants, Barnet Hospital, The London Ora- tory School, Biffa Waste Ser- vices and recycling company First Mile Ltd.
Conan gets particular satisfaction from adding new plant, equipment and vehicles:“So, we crossed the Irish sea to buy a state-of-the–art truck from a bin cleaning company in Belfast. It’s the only vehicle of its kind in the UK and can clean up to 100 commercial bins in a day or 250 domestic wheelie bins.
“The truck has a robotic arm in the back that is con- trolled by sensors and this cleans the bins with an impressive 75 litres per minute.
“The investment in this new truck has increased efficiency and productivity and improved safety for our team and members of the public as it is London’s only fully enclosed, automated bin cleaning system.”
Business qualifications, targeted research and development all have their place, says Conan, but so, too, do a sense of humour and a little bit of luck: “‘Recently, something which was an inconvenience turned adversity to advantage. I was on site, assessing a job to provide a quotation but, on departure, broke down due to a defective ignition barrel on my van.
“I called out an auto locksmith. By a strange coincidence, he had done a job for another bin cleaning company that day. There aren’t that many of us about – so what are the chances of that?
“To cut a long story short, the locksmith put me in touch with the driver. We met to compare bin cleaning systems/vehicles. The driver was looking to change jobs. We hired him. Wait… it gets bet- ter. He had recently completed a job which we were currently tendering for. We were trying to secure it just when he joined us. His knowledge of the specifications helped us to seal the deal with that procurement manager.
My breakdown proved to be a blessing in disguise – resulting in both an addition to our team and client base.”
A recent big breakthrough for the firm has been winning a sizable contract from Tower Hamlets to clean their commercial bins/bin chutes and refuse storage areas.
Conan’s goal is to be the number one bin cleaning and pressure washing company in London. He admires O’Donovan Waste Disposal and sees parallels between it and his family run business: “I’ve seen executives from O’Donovan Waste Disposal at awards ceremonies. There are parallels between (us) and them, this family run business. The directors showed commitment from a young age and their working practices are exemplary.”