Mission Probable

Mission Impossible Cleaning

This is very much a family business, founded by Sam and Silvana Samawi. “We have had experience in cleaning for a very long time,” says Sam. “Silvana has experience of more than 38 years; I have been in the business for 22 to 23 years; Agostino [Russo] has more than 30 years of cleaning – we all started as cleaners before we became business owners.” The company’s first success was winning a contract worth $495 per month after Silvana did a ring-round of businesses in the Perth metro area. “In the next couple of years we worked hard and managed to win a small job here, a slightly bigger one there, and after one and a half years we got to around $700,000 per year.”

Then a major contract more than doubled the company’s revenue; within a further couple of years it stood at more than $2.5 million, while today, following the purchase of the other companies, the group’s turnover is just over four million dollars. That’s highly respectable but it still leaves Mission Impossible in the “small to medium” category, given the number of national and even multinational corporations in the cleaning game.

In the Perth region, though, not many have any advantage in experience or staffing. The company generally steers clear of specialist areas such as major chemical spills or medical waste, but knows where to get those jobs done for its clients if the need arises. Instead, Mission Impossible concentrates on mainstream services such as general office cleaning – anything from a simple vacuuming and dusting service to a complete office clean. Mission Impossible can tailor a specific cleaning package “to service all your cleaning needs to the highest professional standard.” As the company points out, timing is as important as thorough cleaning: “Gone are the times when you are trying to take that important telephone call and the cleaner is vacuuming in the background. We will deliver your cleaning package at a time appropriate to you, as our services are provided 24/7.”

Mission Impossible likes floors, and can tailor a specific carpet cleaning package to leave clients with an outstanding clean carpet. “Detergent residue left with some cleaning methods can attract dirt from people’s shoes, leaving you with a dirty carpet soon after cleaning,” explains the company. “We avoid this problem by using high-pressure steam machines which remove stubborn stains effectively, leaving you with clean and rejuvenated office carpets. Our thorough multi-step process also helps preserve the appearance and durability of your carpet.”

The cleaning services nowadays extend to full facility management if required, including window cleaning – inside and out, on high floors too – and all sorts of floor maintenance that can cut the cost of replacement coverings. The company can advise and execute procedures that can restore a tired vinyl floor, stripping and resealing to avoid the need for removal and replacement; and it can also diamond-cut any tiled and marble flooring to extend its life.

This is an industry where many participants are still tempted to try to cut corners to save a cent or two, but that approach will not wash with Sam, Agostino and Silvana. Sam says he can quote on a new job without even taking a sheet of paper from his bag, simply walking the premises and looking at what needs done, meanwhile totting up in his head the hours needed for each element of the job to be done. That is the value of experience and that is what, he believes, puts clear, clean daylight between Mission Impossible and the rest.

Agostino amplifies this need not to rush a job. “We always quote on providing a good service, not on the basics. We do not want grief from our clients, nor do we want complaints from them. So we allocate time for our cleaners to do a good job, one that we would be happy with but one our clients will be happy with as well.” Even long-term contracts come and go, they agree, as a client’s new management or premises prompt change, but Mission Impossible “has never lost a job because the work was not up to scratch. Our reputation in this market is very good.”

Sam says he regularly hears complaints from the industry about how difficult it is to get staff – especially in Perth, where wages are high, unemployment almost zero and the cost of living skyrocketing. “But this is not an issue for us. We have no problem with staff.” Perhaps, he adds, this is because they take time to find good and reliable workers and then compensate them appropriately – probably better than the competition – in order to retain them longer, as a staff member who knows the job and has done it many times is a valuable asset compared to a company where there is high turnover and the client has to continually re-brief new staff on what is required. Mission Impossible has part-time as well as full-time staff and can provide the necessary induction and training, obtaining the requisite police clearance on the way. “We have a very low staff turnover and many of our people have been with us for a very long time, more than ten years in some cases,” confirms Agostino.

Although the company’s clients are largely clustered around the Perth metro area, Mission Impossible is presently competing for tenders all over the state – as far away as Karratha, more than 1,500km to the north of the state capital. There are even a couple of contracts way out east in Melbourne as the company spreads its wings and expands. This is a work in progress and success has so far been on a smaller scale than in Perth, but one senses these directors are unlikely to let a little thing like geography get in their way for long.

“You cannot just walk into a new market or city,” Sam explains. “You must have a plan, know where to find the staff, things like that. But we are taking it city by city, starting with Melbourne and hopefully will go from there to other cities.” Agostino points out that the focus remains the same – quality – and, he says, “we will quote accordingly.” There is no question of reducing the standards to win business in new markets. Mission Impossible is rarely likely to be the cheapest quote and that’s the way it will stay. “We would rather not take the business than struggle to win the business and deliver poor quality.”

Silvana herself sets the company standard – Mission Impossible is, in an almost tangible way, ‘her house’ and she demands it be maintained in truly spotless style. Currently, major companies such as those in the resources sector are trying to cut costs in every area and are examining their spend on things like cleaning. But this family will not lower its standards, no matter how big the client. “If you want me to come and clean for you, I will do so,” she says. “But I have to keep my company’s name clean and the reputation of the group, so if someone quotes less than me, I can tell you they cannot do the job as well.” Fortunately, says Sam, there are many clients in business and industry around the region who appreciate the difference between a good clean and a bad one – and this company makes it its mission to deliver the former.

Making Sense of Management

Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

January 18, 2019, 3:36 AM AEDT