Frank De Vos, founder of Safeclean-service BELGIUM
My story, my life's work,
Meanwhile already 61, shit ..., how fast it goes.
No worries, my son Olivier is on my tail…
I finished my engineering studies prematurely. Which is still a bit on my stomach, but OK .. My career started at the firm Pleuger, as a warehouse worker.
Pleuger distributed chemical products, mostly in the port of Antwerp, but there was also bar sales.
That's where I what customers bought... and I was curious ..very..
I asked customers why they bought certain produtcs and how they used these products.
I was soon called Mr. Sniff. I connected with some customers who worked in chemical labs f.i. BASF
Very interesting later for my cleaning business...
Nowadays they call me Mr. Safeclean, which sounds better.
In 1986 I bought Safeclean Belgium, a franchise of Safeclean UK, owned by Luc Van Waes.
Safeclean UK, managed 100 franchises that time, with Desmond Cook as chairman.
Desmond was a charismatic man who always told nice stories but was also a great inspirator, able to motivate people like no other.
He was also chairman of the BFA (British Franchise organization) for 2 terms.
Desmond was my great inspiration.
Luc Van Waes, my predecessor was also special ... He often removed stains in costume (with or without a tie). During his work, the door was closed relevantly so that the customer could not see what he was doing, or not doing...
At the time of the takeover, his advice was: do not try to imitate me .., which I actually had no intention of, let that be clear.
Desmond Cook always emphasized that we were not "Carpet Cleaners" but business people in Carpet Cleaning. He was very charmed to work for top clients like Tony Curtis, Ava Gartner, Roger Moore etc.
A weakness that is not strange to me either…
You see, at Safeclean there was no lack of self-confidence.
The first 10 years of our activity we went four times a year from Belgium to Wantage (Oxford) home of Safeclean UK. Sometimes for cozy parties but often for seminars and training.
For us, one of the best seminars, possibly the start of Brexit...
Belgium- UK 1-0
Safeclean organized a seminar where the famous London company 'The Thames Carpet Cleaners' gave a lecture on mistakes in oriental carpets.
The session ended with a contest "detect errors in some samples"
Together with my wife Martine (qualified carpet and textile restorer) we won brilliantly ..
Nice period, great contacts and especially we were 100% accepted as one of them.
For a while there was even talk of moving to the UK. It didn't get that far but we remained anglophile in heart and soul!
When Desmond, my great source of inspiration and friend, passed away, Safeclean UK passed into the hands of the American company Guardsman. Due to a completely different vision, we decided to operate completely independently.
It quickly became a bit more difficult, especially since the carpet trade collapsed.
For us the start of various experiments arose out of necessity. The manual cleaning of curtains and American stores was an unexpected success. Indeed, highly appreciated for being ultra safe, very efficient and extremely easy for the customer.
But, my passion became more and more ' removing difficult stains' Many interior shops told their customers: "they can do magic"
We were very flattered but this talk increases the pressure ...
So we NEVER guarantee that a stain will be completely gone after our treatment!
Our only guarantee:
Packed with experience and an unseen passion.
Top customers found their way to Safeclean.
We are incredibly proud to work for these type of customers, but our ambition did not stop:
Preserving our 'know-how' for the future and making our services more accessible to a wider audience.