Often, the best startups are born out of a solution to a frustrating problem. One such startup is Osha Clean, a platform bringing together window cleaners and those whose windows are in need of a bit of TLC. Let's find out more.
1. Explain your business in thirty seconds or less
Osha helps people with dirty windows get them cleaned! At Osha we’re building a national network of reliable, local window cleaners and connecting this to a user friendly, secure online booking and payments system.
This means that customers can easily book a one-off or a regular window clean online and have the reassurance and security of paying electronically, after the clean has taken place. No more cash, no more waiting in, no more not knowing when your windows will be cleaned.
So far we’ve had 100% positive feedback from our customers, all of whom have said they would recommend Osha to a friend.
2. Where are you based and why is it a good location for your business?
As a brand new business, launched in May, we started out at the kitchen table, but we now work from a University of Wolverhampton sponsored incubator space in Hereford where we live.
3. How did you come up with the idea?
We couldn’t find a window cleaner! And when we spoke to friends and colleagues we found that we weren’t alone - many of them couldn’t either. We know of people who inherited contracts with window cleaners when they moved into new homes, and people who were charged for cleans they didn’t even know they’d had.
We saw an opportunity here to solve a problem for people who wanted clean windows, but we also wanted to provide a service that would benefit your friendly local window-cleaning company as well.
4. What stage was your business at when you applied for the Start Up Loan?
It was very early on in our journey. We’d built and launched the original website ourselves and tweaked it as we went along, but we needed finance to promote the business online.
5. How have you used it to grow your business?
Our startup loan has allowed us to promote Osha online, particularly through pay-per-click advertising on Google and Facebook, and to extend our network of window cleaners. It has also enabled us to grow the website through enlisting the services of experts, once it had outgrown what we could do ourselves.
6. Who is your mentor and how have they helped you?
Rob Savage of AgRisk is our StartUp mentor and he has provided great support so far. He is helping us to keep on track and make sure that we’re making progress torwards our business goals every month, and he’s always there if we want an extra opinion on something. We’re a wife and husband team at Osha, and so to have a third person who we can run our thoughts and plans past, and who will be honest and objective, is really helpful.
When we applied for the loan, we were working with our business advisor Clive Booth from the University of Wolverhampton. He supported us throughout the process and was a fantastic sounding board when our ideas were very much in the development stage.
7. Biggest achievement so far?
Where do we start? Probably our biggest achievement has been getting to where we are now. Osha was just an idea scribbled on a post-it note in February, but by May we’d built the basic website and launched in a couple of areas.
And now here we are with a network of window cleaners across large parts of the UK, and we’ve extended the service offer to include a regular window clean as well as one-offs.
8. What’s next for your business?
We’ll continue to grow Osha. We’d like to have even more window cleaners on board with us in these early stages so that we can cover more of the UK. We work closely with our window cleaners to make sure customers are getting a great service, and we’d like to develop the capability to leave online reviews so that customers can share their feedback.
We’ve got some big campaigns planned for spring to raise awareness of the brand and introduce more customers to Osha, and we’re starting to look at further finance options, including crowdfunding, now we have wider UK coverage. This will help us to expand further and get even more of the nation’s windows cleaned.
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