RHL office entrance

The Start Roger Hyde Limited: Part 1

RHL – The Start

by Roger Hyde

In the 60’s there still existed enormous trust in operator’s workmanship capabilities. This understanding emanating from clients was, I believe, a left-over from the second World War; a simple hand-shake was still accepted with enormous trust. The problem that was growing was that my generation were post war and all those kids that resulted from the homecoming troops were now of an age to be in a different kind of battle – a battle to be earning. Winning work was becoming fierce enough to compromise standards

This coincided with skills being learnt only with ongoing and uncertain experience. Affiliated organisations ensuring competence were thin on the ground. It was into this scenario that I had placed myself with my newly formed company that was to bear my name; work essentially included Cleaning, Decoration, and even some Ground Maintenance. I was just married and aged 20.

I had good fortune in having ‘solid’ parents and also to meet with some senior people who extolled the traditions of Honesty and Fairness. One such person was the local printer to whom I offered up  some fashionable but bizarre  company names. “Welldun Cleaning” was one suggestion. He screwed up his face and told me to use my own name reasoning that -:

“You will always need to give good service, even when your company is much bigger and you employ others to represent you. You will make sure that they, as well as you, don’t let yourself or your family down.”

He added “use Roman Lettering – people trust it and you won’t want to let your customers down either.”

That advice was free; I’ve never forgotten the message therein.

Three months into marriage I had left the Co-op milk round, which had ensured safe wages and had given me the opportunity to clean customers windows in the afternoon and then sell them potatoes in the evening – but now it was to be only cleaning (mainly windows and ovens), plus some house painting and gardening.

Just twelve months later I met a man at a petrol station who asked if I was busy. The man about fifteen years older than me was filling up his van which carried window cleaning ladders. I recognised him as a competitor of excellent reputation. I thought for a minute and fought off the impulse to say ‘Of course’, and hesitated before admitting that I could always manage a bit more. That man was selling his company (even though he boasted his own ‘good’ name on his vehicle) and still in his thirties; but why? It turned out that he had recently developed vertigo – he had no choice. Good fortune smiled again when he offered terms that allowed me to purchase the round which included some ‘high end’ houses and a few small factories – work that would have taken many years to hope to gain. He sold it with no up front costs – just half the receipts of two cleans.

These friendly easy terms meant a massive break through. He said that he chose me because he had been unable to canvass work from me which meant that I was reliable, hard working and honest and that is what he wanted to leave for his valued clients.

So how did floor-work come into being?

One of those contracts included a florists floor for a weekly deck scrub. Another for waxing and burnishing a wood floor. I purchased a wet n’ dry vac to improve the finish in the florist, and experimented with some ‘new type’ synthetic waxes having involved a well known manufacturer of polishes.

I loved this new found work and the praise and recommendations that it produced but it was far from straightforward. The ‘ups and downs’ brought much needed lessons; I will soon relate a mixture of curious and humorous episodes albeit ‘tongue in cheek.

See you soon. Roger Hyde.

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