North East Entrepreneur Chris Lowery is the founder of commercial washroom services company NWR Hygiene.
Established over 15 years ago and based in a recently restored historic building in Stanley, County Durham, the business has gone from strength to strength, supplying hospitality, retail, education, manufacturing and sporting sectors with quality washroom solutions.
We had the pleasure of speaking to Chris about the inspiration behind the brand, the use of innovative technologies and implementing expansion plans.
What inspired you to start a hygiene company and the services you offer?
Being a North-East based entrepreneur, I wanted to offer businesses needing washroom solutions a local solution with exceptional customer service. As most of the existing hygiene companies are nationals, I believed there was a gap in the market for a more regionalised solution.
What innovative products or technologies does NWR Hygiene use to maintain and enhance commercial washroom standards?
I’m a bit of a gadget man and a lover of new tech! If a new tech-driven product is brought to the hygiene market, we will look at how this can be utilised for the benefit of our customers. For example, we have products such as Aura, which removes all odours from toilet areas using only UV light. No chemicals, no harsh products – just UV and much better from an environmental perspective.
In recent years, there has been an increased focus on hygiene in all settings. How has your business contributed to improving bathroom hygiene?
Simple really. We have listened to what our customers have told us they want and need. Consumers expect higher hygiene standards in washrooms these days, and we look to meet those needs.
Can you share any environmentally friendly or sustainable practices NWR Hygiene follows when designing or maintaining washrooms?
We are constantly reviewing our carbon footprint and impact on the environment. We look to use lower carbon footprint products and use items that are 100% recyclable. All our customers’ waste is zero landfill, and we are moving towards a fleet of electric vehicles.
What are the most common challenges faced by washroom companies and how do you address them?
We find that many hygiene companies offer a like-for-like service. Our model is different in that, having listened to the customers’ needs, we provide products and services that will remove odours from the washroom area instead of attempting to mask odours.
You pride yourself on supplying tailored solutions; how do you adapt your hygiene solutions and services to meet clients’ specific needs?
Our starting point with any customer is that no one is the same. We offer a free site survey as standard and take the time to discuss products which smell better and are designed to use less energy.
Are there any notable projects or installations you have been involved in that you would like to highlight?
We have recently won the contract for Ramside Estates, and we have had customers such as Wynyard Hall recently re-contract due to our exceptionally high service levels.
We do like to give back where we can, and we have recently started donating female sanitary products to the West End Foodbank.
You have been hugely successful in the North East. What factors do you attribute to this success?
It’s simple, really. We have a great sales and service team, which goes over and above to keep our customers happy. People buy from people ultimately, so we do everything possible to deliver a first-class service.
With North East success firmly under your belt, you are looking to expand into West Yorkshire. What was behind your decision to expand operations into this region?
We have a great Area Manager, Rakhee Soni, who has worked in this geographical area for a while. Rakhee delivers excellent customer service; through her commitment, hard work and dedication, our customer base has grown significantly. On the back of our success with sales expansion, we have recruited more service team members to ensure that we are fulfilling our obligations.
How do you plan to differentiate your commercial hygiene services from other regional providers?
We have local people on the ground who know the area. We offer tried and trusted means of communication with no call centres. If a customer has any service issues, this can be dealt with by the service team via a direct mobile telephone number.
How does this expansion align with your long-term growth strategy and vision for the future of NWR Hygiene?
We are committed to a sustainable growth strategy that doesn’t compromise quality. We want to continue providing our new and existing customers with unparalleled customer care underpinned by implementing new technological products.
And finally, when you’re not inspecting and improving washrooms, how do you relax?
I play golf as much as I can and enjoy listening to a wide range of music. Even at
this age, I still have a penchant for Pete Tong, takes me back to my Ibiza days!
For more information about NWR Hygiene, contact Chris Lowery on 01207 505275 www.nwrhygienegroup.co.uk