60 Seconds with Ann O’Hanlon

Ann O’Hanlon

Ann O’Hanlon, Derrycourt’s Managing Director, began Derrycourt Cleaning Specialists with her husband Martin in 1992. Ann and Martin have over 60 years combined experience in the Cleaning, Catering and Facilities Management sector.

With this experience and specialist knowledge, Derrycourt has become a thriving business which continues to expand and grow. Today Derrycourt is classed as one of Ireland’s success stories. In the early days, Derrycourt employed only 100 operatives – Today Derrycourt employs 1300 staff and services a wide range of clients nationwide.

With 60 seconds to spare out of her busy day Ann gave us an interesting insight into a typical day and how she believes the cleaning sector has changed.

  1. Describe yourself in 3 words? 
    Hard Working, Loyal and Fair
  2. What does a typical day look like for you?
    My days vary – no two days are really the same. A general day can begin at 5.30am and may not finish until 10pm or later. This really depends on meetings, my schedule and other factors such as new contracts starting. I regularly visit our sites. Sometimes these visits can be on spec or it is an arranged meeting with a client. These meetings are generally to ensure that the client is happy with everything that Derrycourt are responsible for on site.  I think it is very important to build a rapport with both the client and the staff.  So  I make an effort to meet with the cleaning operatives. It is important to ensure that they are happy, I check to see if they have any questions and to ensure that the relevant paper work is completed. We regularly receive enquiries from our website, marketing campaigns and referrals from clients. I often arrange to call out to meet the enquirer and have a look at the site in question. This gives us a better idea of what is involved.
  3. To date what’s your biggest professional achievement?
    We have happy clients.  We rarely have complaints. We run our contracts using a very systematic approach. This ensures that client standards are met. Also, we believe that working in partnership with clients is really important.  Since starting out how do you think the cleaning industry has changed over the past few years and why?In recent years, there is additional emphasis on health and safety. More and more training is required for staff. There is also a requirement for the completion of additional paper work. However, this is not a bad thing as it ensures that clients are receiving a much better service with consistency in standards.
  4. Tell me something about your role that most people would not know? 
    I take a very hands-on approach. There are occasions, particularly, where there is an emergency I assist on site. It is not unusual to see me running a suction pump or two during a flood on a clients site.
  5. What is your biggest flaw? 
    I never say No. If I am asked to do something extra I will try my best to do it. If I’m not able to, I will try and find an alternative option.
  6. What is your pet hate? 
    I hate liars. It really annoys me when people tell me lies. The trust is broken and you cannot recover from that.
  7. Who do you most admire? 
    Our cleaning operatives, many of them work through the night, early mornings and long days. The job they do is not easy. It is hard work and often goes unrecognised. This is why we have Employee of the Quarter and Employee awards each year.
  8. Which words do you most over use? 
    No Problem
  9. What single thing would most improve the quality of your life? 
    A better climate I love the sun