With business costs the top priority for many cash-strapped firms, one Dublin company is gaining market traction with a radical product that promises major savings.
FacilECO’s Washroom Water Saver reduces water, sewerage and maintenance charges for companies by enabling water-free urinals.
The system contains billions of natural bacteria whose food source is urine. Installed by FacilECO as a toilet block, the system sits in urinals and works without water.
FacilECO’s chief executive Neil O’Leary believes Washroom Water Saver could lower yearly water charges by as much as €10,000 per washroom.
“The average cost for water per urinal in Ireland is €463. Our product cuts this figure by 70 per cent or €324 per urinal,” said O’Leary.
FacilECO also offers a green cleaning service that complies with the latest environmental legislation.
O’Leary struck upon the idea for the company while running his other venture, Faciliclean.
He realised that environmental techniques could result in cost-savings for clients and began to approach pubs and restaurants with the Washroom Water Saver concept.
The initial response was lukewarm, with many recession-hit businesses refusing to invest as cashflow faltered.
O’Leary responded by targeting businesses operating out of larger premises, including hotels and office blocks.
“We originally had sales agents knocking on the doors of pubs, but they weren’t willing to pay for it, so we decided to spread our business. It pushed us forward,” he said.
FacilECO’s clients now include Dublin Port Company, Dun Laoghaire Shopping Centre and the ESB station in Longford.
“There’s a huge potential client base, which spans from shopping centres to universities, from cinema chains to large office blocks. Hotels and general businesses are far more responsive than pubs,” said O’Leary.
Since it was established in 2000, Faciliclean has grown its headcount to 125, and O’Leary is using his existing team to drive his new venture.
He believes that the key to success is a thorough understanding of your market and how it operates.
“There is no point in starting a business in something that you don’t know anything about and in which you have no experience,” he said.
“If you have a background in the business you’re getting into, you will be able to avail of more opportunities.”
Networking and marketing initiatives are equally important.
“The great thing about the product and the company is that we are getting into meet companies we would have never spoken to before. This product is brand new — it’s innovative,” said O’Leary.nts.