When Margaret and John Pitcher set up their office and window cleaning company in Sussex in 1978, desktop ashtrays needed emptying, dust gathered in typewriter keys and the now ubiquitous office water cooler had yet to be introduced.
Much has changed in the 40 years since but Sussex Cleaning & Care (SCC) based in Haywards Heath, has been consistent in delivering a polished performance across the county.
Its roster of clients now includes schools, medical centres and sporting venues, with high-profile contracts such as match day cleaning for BHAFC’s Amex Stadium.
From one man with a van, SCC’s services now include comprehensive cleaning, employing more than 200 uniformed cleaners across Sussex, with an annual salary budget of more than £1.3 million – the majority of which is paid out fortnightly.
Nick Pitcher, the company’s operations director and son of the founders, said: “When SCC started, cleaners were on average earning less than £2 an hour, office furniture was mostly wooden and had to be polished daily, ashtrays needed to be emptied because smoking at work was still common place, and vacuum cleaners were made of metal and weighed a ton when full!
“I wouldn’t say the job has become easier, though. There are constant challenges.”