Orca Industrial commercial Cleaning Group is a family run business established in 2016 by husband and wife Steven and Hollie Holmes.
They provide an extensive range of high level industrial and commercial cleaning services to owners and operators of offices, factories, warehouses and large retail stores throughout the UK
Steven Holmes set up Orca Cleaning in 2016 after a long a successful career in industrial roofing. He was prompted to make the jump into industrial cleaning full time after many years of observing poor standard of industrial cleaning from services providers in this sector.
Steven saw a gap in the market to start his own business to compete on a national scale, with the aim to change the standard of industrial cleaning, to look after buildings and extend the longevity of buildings through proper cleaning and care.
Stephen’s wife Hollie joined the business to manage the business and finance side of things for Orca. Since then Orca have won a number of public sector industrial cleaning contracts, as well as obtaining high profile industrial cleaning jobs for national clients, beating national competitors on quality and price. The business has quickly grown from a regional business to supplying their services across the UK with clients in Portsmouth, Great Yarmouth, Wales and Peterhead to name but a few.
Michael Harriott, business engagement officer for the Durham Business Opportunities Programme (DBOP)* contacted Steven three or four days before the annual Engineering and Manufacturing conference (EMCON) in October 2019. EMCON is the region’s biggest engineering and manufacturing conference organised by the Engineering and Manufacturing Network, also supported by the Durham Business Opportunities Programme. Following this call Steven booked Orca into the Incubator Zone programme, a support programme that helps businesses prepare for and make the most of exhibiting for the first time at a show like EMCON.
EMCON became the catalyst that led to Orca re-branding their business, providing an enormous amount of market intelligence and networking opportunities. This alerted Orca that potential customers were aware their business existed but didn’t recognise their core competency of industrial cleaning.
Hollie Holmes, commercial director, said: “EMCON was a real eye opener for us, providing us with a great deal of market intelligence. We found that lots of businesses had heard of Orca, but they didn’t perceive our core business as industrial cleaning. Following EMCON we embarked upon a rebranding exercise to reposition the business as a specialist industrial cleaning company, which has opened many doors. We have taken on more clients, contracts and staff to keep up with demand.”
Orca have now booked a larger exhibition space at the next EMCON show, now in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Guy Bashford, business engagement officer for DBOP commented: “Orca have done tremendously well in such a short space of time. They spotted a gap in the market and took the opportunity to offer quality industrial cleaning services at competitive price and are now competing nationally.
We are delighted that the DBOP Incubator Zone helped Orca develop their business model, the fact that Orca are planning to book a bigger space at the next EMCON show demonstrates the value companies get from taking part in our support programmes.”
Since EMCON Orca have won a number of national industrial cleaning contracts beating off competition from established national names. Orca believe the difference is their attention to detail, superior service and competitive pricing.
Hollie continued: “Because we are a family run business, we don’t have the huge overheads that some national firms have. We believe in offering a fair price for a professional service, that has led to us winning large value contracts, we’ve even had experienced people from the industry approaching us to enquire if there are opportunities to join our team.”
It had always been the intention of Orca to offer decontamination services, but when the coronavirus pandemic hit in March 2020, the company adapted their business model to offer deep cleaning services to those that needed it most.
Hollie added: “Being a front-line police offer for over eleven years I was acutely aware of the stresses that the coronavirus would bring to front line services and many other businesses. As an organisation, we wanted to give something back in a time of national emergency, we took the quick decision to set up a charitable arm to the business and offer deep cleaning decontamination services to those that needed it most including a number of County Durham care homes, schools and nurseries.”
Looking to the future Orca are looking to take on an additional seven to eight staff to keep up with demand and support their ambitious growth plans to grow their business nationally.
*The Durham Business Opportunities Programme is a six-year programme for SMEs running up until November 2022, helping County Durham businesses spot opportunities for sustainable growth. It is funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and delivered by Business Durham, the business support service for Durham County Council, helping to deliver more and better jobs and a strong competitive economy.