Wash Rite West Coast
Making the Coast shine
Up and down the West Coast, in offices and warehouses, home offices and kitchen tables, small businesses are flourishing. Development West Coast runs a nine-week programme called Co.Starters to equip aspiring entrepreneurs so they can turn ideas into action. Many of the businesses do not have a traditional store front, so in this series of Open for Business, the Greymouth Star and Development West Coast sample some of the emerging small enterprises that are helping shape the future.
Co.Starters graduate Rita Costen and her husband Adrian dreamt of running their own business that would allow them a good work/life balance as well as benefitting local residents and businesses. After much research they finally found their ideal business. They are now making the Coast shine one building at a time with their new exterior cleaning business – Wash Rite West Coast.
“Adrian and I are teenage sweethearts who grew up in Essex, England. I trained in retail management while Adie did his apprenticeship as a diesel mechanic. We married and had 3 children; 2 girls and a boy, and got on with life. The years went by and our country changed. More people, more cars. The future looked bleak. So that’s when we decided to make the change,” Rita says.
“In 2007 we moved to New Zealand and settled into a new life in Napier. Our son trained at Napier EIT in farming and in 2010 took a job in Barrytown. Like so many others we came for a holiday and felt like we had come home.
“So once again we were on the move. Adrian got work as a diesel mechanic and I worked in a local pre-school. Both of us revelled in the West Coast hospitality we encountered.
“Fast forward the years, we brought a house in Boddytown, changed jobs and got to know even more of our community. Working as a DARE facilitator and meeting all the young people at schools from Blackball to Fox Glacier was such an amazing experience. It gave me a better understanding of the diversity of the West Coast and its communities.
“After being made redundant from there, I went on to work as a literacy and numeracy tutor for Frontline Training. There I got to meet even more of our community and help many work their way through life’s hardships. It was devastating when the news arrived that they were closing the doors on this much needed service, and yes once again I was being made redundant.
“Well this was the push we needed. For many years we had thought about working for ourselves, but as the Coast is such a unique place you have to choose your business wisely.
“After attempting unsuccessfully to clean our house with a water blaster, I had a lightbulb moment. WHO would clean your house if you couldn’t? So onto 'Uncle Google'. From this search came a whole new chapter in our lives.
“We chose the Wash Rite Franchise because it suited us. Small start-up, work from home, and it is something needed on the Coast. Adrian resigned from his job and we invested our savings into Wash Rite West Coast Ltd.
“In November 2017 we went to Hamilton for hands on training and in December we cleaned our first house. Our professional purpose-built truck enables us to carry out exterior cleaning of residential homes and commercial buildings. Plus cleaning paths and driveways, decks, pergola’s and fences. We also remove debris from gutters and clean windows inside and out. Another of our services is roof cleaning and roof and pathway treatments to remove, moss, mould and lichen.
“What I love most about our services is the joy it brings to clients’ faces. All our services enhance the properties, but they also prevent damage to them.
“Additional to those services is our pest spray. Since I have done my own house I no longer get those horrible spiderwebs around my outside light, nor under the eaves. The best time to have this done is in spring and it will last till the cold weather.
“As a new business it is always good to get the correct information in setting up and running it day-to-day. The opportunity came to join DWC’s Co.Starters programme; a nine-week course designed to take an idea, learn about making it possible as a business and taking it to market.
“We decided that as I was the one doing the paperwork side that I should attend. It has been great meeting like-minded people and having our idea’s challenged. The program gives you the tools to delve deep into what will set your business apart from others and how you can market your wares/services.
“I have really enjoyed listening to the guest speakers and having the chance to question their business decisions. Networking is such an important part of getting your business out there and meeting people that may be able to open different avenues for you.
“Our business covers from Haast to Karamea. No longer do Coasters have to use companies from out of town and pay more for their services. We understand the climate and can work around the weather. Wash Rite West Coast care about our community and want to be the first people you call to make your property shine. Already we have built up strong relationships with local businesses including Property Brokers, Arnold Products Ltd, Punakaiki Tavern, PorterHire, Stopforths Motel and many more.
“Guess what after all these years together; 40 years to be exact, working all day with each other we still have time for a laugh,” she says.
Her laughter is one of the first things that strikes you about Rita, that and her heartfelt belief in the services Wash Rite offers. To see why this belief is completely justified, check out the amazing before and after photos on their Facebook page (Wash Rite West Coast), or give them a call to find out more: 022 343 2922.
"It has been great meeting like-minded people and having our idea’s challenged. The program gives you the tools to delve deep into what will set your business apart from others and how you can market your wares/services."