WFP Windows Cleaning Equipment
WCM: Alex, tell me about your company’s background.
Alex: Gardiner Pole Systems was formed in 2005 as an offshoot of the family window cleaning business which had been in existence since 1980. My father had first established this and then was joined by myself in 1985 and then my sister, Kirsty (current MD of Gardiner Pole Systems Ltd) joined in 1987.
Our window cleaning firm first started using basic water fed pole equipment on some of our contracts in 2000, with a full switch to WFP in 2001. We were one of the first window cleaning firms in the South West of England to use this equipment and within a year or so we regularly had other window cleaners ringing us for advice and guidance on the systems.
WCM: Since this was the early days for WFP systems, what made you introduce it into your business? The WFP method was not easily accepted by the window cleaning community in the beginning?
Alex: It was mainly to be able to safely service my larger commercial contracts that had started to become dominant in my cleaning portfolio. At this time I was buying longer and longer ladders and working at greater heights which I knew was not ideal. At this time I recalled the use of WFP from a visit I had made a few years before to the US where an acquaintance used this in his large window cleaning firm. At the time I did not pay much attention, but I had not forgotten all about it. Introducing this to my business gave me a massive leap forward in the contracts I could take on and gave me an instant business advantage – one that at first I was not too keen to share with others!
WCM: How did you start supplying other window cleaners with WFP parts?
Alex: By 2004 I had started having ‘micro bore’, hose made for our window cleaning firm and installing flow valves on the poles – simple things, but in those days not available from suppliers. In early 2005 we had started casually supplying hose and fittings to other window cleaners locally and I was dealing with between 5-10 phone calls a week helping others with systems etc.
WCM: That must have kept you very busy!
Alex: Yes. This was not something that I could continue long-term due to the time it was taking up. Kirsty (who was now a computer consultant for the local Council) said that she would be prepared to give it a go to turn things into a proper supply company.
In 2005 we set up Gardiner Pole Systems and invested into a container load of fibre glass poles from abroad.
WCM: What were the ideas driving your newly formed company?
Alex: Our philosophy was to be able to supply good quality products at affordable prices for the average window cleaner. Within the firm we had a large amount of experience in the internet and computing and decided that from day one the firm would be an internet based business – Phone line support was later added as the firm grew in size. The company has grown steadily from these simply beginnings gradually employing more staff as needed.