Meet Snezana Jackeviciene, Company Director of Archway Facilities cleaning company in Exeter. Finding love and a move to the UK was a big change of direction in her career. It’s all been about hard work and making the most of opportunities.
Shrugging off migrant status to become one of the largest cleaning employers in the city. Snezana has grown Archway Facilities from a small start-up at home, to a now flourishing company. With this business success as well as a solid personal base with her husband and two children, she is the epitome of the can-do attitude.
From an early age you always wanted to be…?
A business lady, as I was surrounded by businesspeople since my childhood. They looked very attractive to me.
What makes you different?
I am a workaholic, being active as it gives me energy. I’ve a very strong character – I didn’t even realise it myself until I brought my cleaning company to the stage where we are now. If I start something I will never drop it, even if it is hard work. What I start must be done and done perfectly.
Find out more about the Archway Family here
Can you summarise your journey?
I started my career in Lithuania, studying in Vilnius Gediminas Technical University at the same time as starting to work at a printing company as a Director. This was a childhood dream of mine becoming real. I really loved my job and my team but, after I met my husband Darius, I made the difficult decision to leave my dream job and move to the UK. It was really sad, but when I left I had in my head that one day I will return to Lithuania and that I would only leave for a short time. My workplace said to me that they will keep my place for a year and, therefore, I made that decision to leave my home country and start a new journey in the UK.
Why did you move from print to cleaning?
Having had a professional end of tenancy clean is very likely to enhance the rental value of the property. Our end of tenancy cleaners provides you the best option that guarantees the deep cleaning of a property beyond expectation.
When I came to the UK I had no English at all as at school I learned German. So I didn’t have much choice what work I could do and I started as a cleaner. It was really hard and I often asked myself what I was doing and why I couldn’t just go back home to Lithuania and go back to my dream job. I was not afraid of hard work, only I was very upset that I couldn’t communicate. That was the hardest feeling – a life without speech.
But because, as I said previously, I am a very strong person, I said to myself ‘Stop crying and feeling sorry for yourself and start doing something to change the situation!’. So I did. I started by reading the dictionary to help with communicating with people. That was the first step of how I started to learn English. When I realised that I could do it, I started to push myself harder. I went to Exeter College at the same time that I was working very hard as a cleaner and a management job opened up at one of the cleaning companies that I worked for.
I applied and they knew me as the best cleaner in their company so they gave me a try to be a manager. My English wasn’t great, but they gave me that opportunity and I am very thankful for that. When I started the manager role my English improved quickly. I was working very hard and I helped them to grow the company. I worked hard to improve customer service and make sure that all of our clients were happy with our service. Every client is very important in the business in the same way that every cleaner is important for the business to be successful. I was managing staff very closely, which helped me to bring standards up. The outcome was happy clients and happy staff!
Why did you start Archway?
To put it simply, I saw a gap in the market. There were far too many clients being let down by cleaners who worked irregular hours and had different cleaners visiting from one day to the next. We invested in a team that are loyal to us, who keep our standards and they are rewarded for their efforts. If you look after your team, they will look after you which, in turn, makes happy clients. It’s a really simple recipe and it works.
The hard times were when…?
That was when in 2006 I had just arrived to the UK and, without any English, had to find a job. My first job that I found was Express Holiday Inn in Sowton. But I was lucky there were many Polish people working there already which helped me a bit (but not much as, at that time I couldn’t speak Polish much either!). I could speak Russian and Polish languages have got a few similar words but not much. But I wanted to work and I tried in every possible way to communicate with people (as I say, the dictionary was my best friend!).
The hard times were when…?
Never give up. Push yourself through the hard times and you will see results. If you really want to achieve something and will work towards it, you will get it.
What advice would you give to others?
Don’t give up! Find your niche, what is missing. Can you fill that void, or do something better than a company already out there?
What do love about your role?
I love to feel that my team is big and I treat them like they are my family. I love to help people, including new arrivals to the UK who have got limited English but are very hard-working people. I am beside them and I support my team until they become confident. I know already a few languages: Lithuanian, Russian, Polish, English and will try to learn Romanian to help my staff feel at ease too.
What would you change about your job?
I love my job to bits. I would only make one change – that I’d like to have more time for my family. I plan to do this by getting extra help for myself.
What is next for Archway?
A host of large cleaning contracts would be nice! I also want to organise a legacy run like the Michelmores run – something that brings funds to charities and makes people feel good.