Sam Ackland, Founder & CEO, Build Clean
In the cutthroat world of business, there are those who cling to the tried and true, and then there are the trailblazers—the daring and visionary leaders who blaze new trails and set the bar for the rest of us to follow. They are the bold risk-takers and the tireless doers who see opportunities where others see obstacles, and pursue them with passion and persistence. And in the realm of construction cleaning, where the stakes are high and the obstacles are many, these mavericks are breaking the mould and making their mark in more ways than one. With a fresh perspective, innovative technologies, and a commitment to sustainability, they are redefining the very essence of entrepreneurship in one of the most competitive industries in the world.
Today, it is our great privilege to introduce one such exemplary business leader, Sam Ackland, who is making great strides in the world of construction cleaning with his trailblazing enterprise, Build Clean. Born into a family of cleaners with a storied legacy spanning generations, Sam imbibed the ethos of hard work and perseverance from a young age. But rather than simply riding on the coattails of his family’s legacy, he chose to carve his own path. So, armed with a top-tier university degree and a fiery entrepreneurial spirit that runs deep in his blood, Sam ventured into the world of construction cleaning. As Sam delved deeper into the industry, he noticed a yawning gap in the market. With construction standards soaring to new heights, only a few trades had the requisite skills to deliver projects with the desired level of excellence.
Recognizing this opportunity to make a difference, Sam took the leap, pouring his heart and soul into building a company that could bridge this gap. And so, Build Clean was born. Being a young leader of a fledgling enterprise, it wasn’t easy at first. However, Sam and his team remained undaunted, learning and evolving through trial and error, ultimately outperforming the competition. Today, Build Clean stands tall as a preeminent construction cleaning organization in Australia and a trusted partner for builders who demand nothing less than the best. In fact, it caters to some of the most exalted and renowned construction establishments, while continuing its legacy through the development of meaningful relationships and the provision of unparalleled customer experiences.
Delivering Effective and Sustainable Cleaning Solutions
Established in 2018, Build Clean has quickly built a reputation for setting a high benchmark in service delivery, using an innovative app-based system to ensure client satisfaction. The executive team at Build Clean has taken on the challenge of utilizing various software platforms to improve their internal and external capabilities. However, finding a one-size-fits-all solution was no easy feat. Through focused efforts on objectives and key results, they have developed a powerful and elegant corporate business management system that provides precise data required to aim directly at their objectives. The team has also introduced a secondary solution titled the Centre for Excellence to enable managerial employees to access core data and resources to excel in their roles. “Undoubtedly the most challenging position prior to an effective corporate business management system was analysis paralysis; what data, who needs it, how do we measure it. But now with the Centre for Excellence and corporate business management system in place, Build Clean continues to excel in service delivery in the construction industry,” asserts Sam.
A Top-down Leadership Approach Rooted in Values
Build Clean pride itself on being a company that values a top-down approach to leadership with a strong reliance on core values and personal development. “We are acutely aware that hierarchical norms are prevalent in the construction industry and although there are innovative new leadership strategies, we are confident in the top-down approach. Executing a top-down leadership strategy requires trust and confidence in an organization’s people. A constant flow of information and feedback from all employee levels ensures that no one department, team or person abuses the system to manipulate a dictatorship,” shares Sam.
To foster a positive workplace culture, the company adheres to its four core principles — Just Smile, Go the Extra, Own it, and Use your Head. These values are deeply ingrained into the fabric of the organization, permeating every aspect of its operations. By instilling these values in every employee, Sam ensures that the team operates as a cohesive unit, moving towards common goals with a shared sense of purpose. Additionally, Sam also encourages the employees to engage in their personal development, both within the workplace and beyond, to become the best versions of them. Sam’s people-centric approach and unwavering commitment to excellence have propelled Build Clean to soaring heights, earning him a string of well-deserved accolades including the 2020 South Australian Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards, InDaily Top 40 under 40 Entrepreneur Award, 2021 Australian Achiever Awards and 2022 Small Business Champion Entrepreneur Award.
Building Meaningful Relationships with Clients
Sam understands that success in business is about more than just delivering great results; it’s about building lasting connections that stand the test of time. Thus, right from the company’s inception, he instilled in his team the idea that every person in a Build Clean uniform is an extension of himself. This meant that each employee had the power to make decisions that aligned with the best interests of the customer. ‘If there was an unmet expectation, any employee could mobilize the necessary unit to exceed that unmet expectation. I believe this mentality built a thriving culture of customer-first focused brand managers, who consistently exceed expectations and deliver exceptional results,” affirms Sam.
Today, Build Clean’s team can often be found enjoying a cold beer with clients at The Gabba, Melbourne Cricket Ground, or Adelaide Oval. That’s because, at Build Clean, they treat their clients just as they would treat a friend or colleague, with respect and kindness. Whether it’s a friendly smile, a personalized touch, or a willingness to go above and beyond, they spare no effort in delivering exceptional customer experience, thus, laying the foundation for meaningful long-lasting relationships. With Sam’s astute leadership and the team’s dedication to excellence, Build Clean has built a strong reputation as a company that truly cares about its customers.
Envisioning a Future of Continual Growth
As Australia’s premier builders cleaning company, Build Clean already boasts an impressive footprint that spans three states, making it the largest workforce and most dominant brand in its category. But for Sam, this is just the beginning. He aspires to bring Build Clean’s expertise to every corner of Australia. “By 2025 we will service the entire nation and a Build Clean van will be seen on every second construction site,” adds Sam.
While national expansion is the top priority for Build Clean, Sam is always on the lookout for new opportunities to grow and improve the business. Despite receiving interest from outside acquirers, Sam is not ready to retire just yet. He knows there is still much work to be done before he can consider hanging up his gloves. With a simple yet effective service strategy of delivering great work with great people, for great people, Sam is confident that Build Clean will continue to thrive and grow.
The visionary business leader believes that being the cheapest in the market is not a sustainable model, as there will always be someone willing to undercut you. Instead, he advises budding entrepreneurs to value their own service and capabilities and believe in themselves and to seek guidance from those they admire. “Believe in yourself. Ask for help. Reach up to those you admire. Strive for excellence. Compete only with yourself. Be better today than you were yesterday. It’s you versus you in the arena. Take the leap,” opines Sam on a concluding note.