Here at Servaclean Ltd, we are incredibly proud to have been in business since 1988, when the company started out in a small rented warehouse in Bradford. We have come a long way since then and are lucky to have had employees who have been a huge contribution to our success over the years.
One employee who has always worked incredibly hard here at Servaclean, is Neil Allitt, our Projects and Sales Director. Neil started out with us as a Sales & Bar Planner in January 1996. After proving he was incredibly talented and dedicated to his job, Neil became Sales Manager in September 2004 and then moved to the position of Projects and Sales Director in May 2018. We would be lost without Neil as he now enters his 25th anniversary of having worked with us.
To celebrate the occasion, we put Neil in the hot seat and asked him a few questions about his time with us here at Servaclean.
So, for those that don’t already know, how did you first start your career here all those years ago?
This is actually quite an interesting one! I have to give my father a little credit on this occasion as he was the one who first told me about the position Servaclean had available. My father was selling advertising space for The Yorkshire Post at the time so, when he called into the office he got speaking to Chris, our retired MD, who was discussing the expansion plans in place for Servaclean and how they were in need of a Sales & Bar Planner. My father thought the role would be “right up my street”, so took a business card and passed it on. At the time, I was employed as a draughtsman, having been to Leeds College of Building, so I was used to speaking to architects and contractors.
In the meantime I had taken another job offer and didn’t follow up the Servaclean interest but I quickly realised I wasn’t enjoying my new role and decided to make contact with Servaclean instead.
Chris had extended an offer to meet me, so one weekend I gave him a call, went to see him, and I think we both knew then that this would be a good fit. Although Servaclean had already offered another candidate the earlier role, they decided to appoint me in addition so it was meant to be!
What would you say your biggest achievement is within your career?
I would have to say my personal progression within Servaclean and how I have influenced the evolution of the company. I have gone from Sales and Bar Planner to Sales Manager, before being promoted to my current role.
Regardless of the position I have been in, I have always enjoyed the hands-on element to the job and being able to interact with a diverse range of people, whether it be clients or colleagues.
What are your favourite parts of your job now in comparison to when you started out?
I’d say that when I started out it was definitely the ability to engage with clients that appealed to me most. I’ve always loved being able to listen to people, before recommending the best solution for their needs.
I also enjoy that my role has always been very involved and hands-on, allowing me to build up my extensive knowledge over the years, across all areas of the business.
It’s a great feeling knowing that the knowledge I have accrued over the years puts me at ease when dealing with enquiries or attending meetings. No matter what question might get thrown at me by a client supplier, builder or prospect, I can help to answer and won’t struggle to offer solutions.
Nowadays, whilst still very much hands on, I am able to pass on my experience and knowledge to members of my team, when required, and assist them in their respective roles.
Why would you say that Servaclean is a good company to work for?
Most definitely! I really like the fact that here, you are never just a number. The business still maintains its family-run feel and has always been somewhere that you can approach those in charge to discuss and make suggestions that will help improve the business. In a smallish firm the owners have a good overview of everyone within the business, so they see your achievements on a day-to-day basis, making any thanks or praise received all the more genuine.
I also really appreciate the values of the company, from our attention to detail to quality of product, these are qualities which match my own philosophies, so I have always felt very at ease when selling for Servaclean knowing they align with my own priorities.
What does a typical day look like for you at work? We know this might be a little different to usual at the moment!
Due to COVID-19, I’m currently the first point of call for new enquiries and I thoroughly enjoy having the initial discussions with clients, asking the relevant questions and understanding their needs so that we can in turn provide the best solution.
I am actively involved in project managing projects from start to finish, from the initial bar planning, to overseeing the CAD drawing and presenting our proposal to clients before, hopefully, receiving the order! I like being able to bring in all elements of the process, ensuring the job runs seamlessly and the customer is delighted with the end result.
What do you find most difficult about your job?
If I had to pick something, I’d say it’s probably the admin side of things, not because I find it difficult, but because it is very time consuming to maintain up to date records for the thousands of contacts we have within our comprehensive project database. Filling in paperwork, or fields on a computer screen, rather than being out on site or attending new bar openings is definitely less glamorous!
What motivates you most at work?
I’ve always been an incredibly self-motivated individual so, creating and finding solutions for clients allows me to bring my personality to the job. The day to day drive to meet Sales forecasts and ensure my team are well equipped to do this is both very motivational but also rewarding. The Hospitality Industry has a really interesting and relaxed feel about it and I get to meet some amazing people. I’ve always said it’s so important to enjoy what you do as a job as we all spend such a large amount of our time at work!
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Outside of work, I’ve always been a passionate Leeds United supporter! Over the years I’ve watched them up and down the country. I’ve also always enjoyed cricket, and although age is against me now in terms of getting to play football and cricket I still avidly watch them both.
One sport I do manage to take part in is golf, and I am a member at a local club and look to play most weeks. I find it a very addictive sport trying to constantly lower my score and handicap from my last round !
I love to go out for meals with my family too, but we definitely can’t do that at the moment.
Congratulations, from all of us here at Servaclean, to Neil on his work anniversary and a huge thank you to him for all he has and continues to contribute to the business.