Couple take business plunge with big spring clean

BEXHILL couple Rachel and Darren Hollebon have defied the credit crunch and launched their new specialist carpet cleaning business.

When Darren was laid off from his building job two years ago, the couple had to survive on benefits.

As they had a young family Rachel had already had to give up her full time job as an accounts clerk and was only able to do part-time work at evenings and weekends to try and make ends meet.

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Seeing a notice at the Job Centre about how The Prince's Trust can help young unemployed people set up their own businesses, they applied for an interview.

Rachel's father runs a professional carpet cleaning business in London and was prepared to train Darren in the technicalities of the business.

He also had some spare equipment to donate, although it needed some money spent on it to bring it back to full working order.

Rachel said that quite a long process followed where they had to prepare a business case and do their own market research to support an application for a loan from the Prince's Trust.

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The big day arrived when Rachel and Darren had to go before a Dragon's Den-style panel of businessmen and plead their case for funding for their venture.

Rachel says that, by then, she had just had their second child and the "Dragons" were a bit surprised to see Rachel's three-week-old baby girl who also came to the interview!

The couple won a loan from the Prince's Trust which was just enough to get them started and they are now working hard on getting business in for the start of the spring cleaning season. Rachel said: "We had to very brave to take on the chance of starting our own business because we would immediately become self-employed and lose benefits as a result."

Nonetheless they knew that they were prepared to work hard to make a success of their own business and decided together that they would take the plunge.

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Darren says that they can handle most domestic cleaning problems '“ even in one case where a woman had spilled black hair dye onto her carpet. Darren was able to restore it its former glory using specialist chemicals.

Credit crunch or not, their business is now up and running and they think that because money is tight everywhere, many people who cannot afford a new carpet might now choose to have the old one brought back to life with a thorough clean!

'¢ Rachel and Darren run Clean as a Whistle and can be contacted on 01424 215 115 or 07528 248 688. They offer a 24/7 service and can also take on whole house cleaning for the complete spring clean effect.