How COVID and ginger beer led an ex-policeman towards eco-friendly car cleaning

A retired police officer is on a mission to clean up his community with the help of his bike.

Allan Dean, a former constable with Greater Manchester Police for over 30 years, now serves his community through Pops Greener Car Clean – an eco-friendly car valeting service covering Altrincham and the surrounding areas.

He had planned to return to plumbing after retiring from the police force on 19 March 2020, however, the COVID-19 nationwide lockdown just four days later “threw all of that out of the window”.

During his newfound free time, Allan caught the attention of his neighbours as he meticulously cleaned his car and was soon called upon for his services.

“At the start, I was just charging people a bag of liquorice and a bottle of ginger beer – everyone thought I was a bit nutty,” said Allan.

“It was Chrissy (neighbour) who gave me the idea of setting up a business. She told me that she drives a company car that receives a full valet every year, but the car is cleaner after I have cleaned it than a professional valeter.”

COVID again played a pivotal role in Allen’s journey after his wife struggled with the coronavirus symptoms in October 2020.

Allan said: “Claire was off work for seven months and those months were horrible because I saw her deteriorate. A few times I looked over in the morning and thought she may have stopped breathing.

“That’s what made me change the way I was thinking.”

Following a two-day training course at the Autoglym academy, Allan decided upon a modified cargo bike as the bedrock for his business.

Although motor vehicle costs and the bike’s unique identity were factors considered, Allan admitted that the driving motivation was environmental.

“If you don’t need to use a car, then you avoid throwing all the pollutants into the air. If everyone does a little bit then it makes a big difference.

“Eventually I’m going to snuff it and leave somebody else on this planet to look after it. If we keep abusing it, then they’re going to be picking up broken bits.”

The former constable has no regrets about turning down more lucrative career options in favour of starting his own business, however.

“There is more to life than earning loads and loads of money. Find something that you really like doing and make people happy

“What makes my day is receiving text messages from customers saying how good a job I have done.”

More information on Pops Green Car Clean can be found on their Facebook and Instagram.

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