Heat is on
Cleaning, Homecare & Property Maintenance
Duncan Chandler is thrilled at how quickly his ovenclean franchise has taken off.
Just 14 months after the launch of his Ovenclean franchise, former financial manager Duncan Chandler has reached the point where he has so much work and rising demand for his services that expansion is virtually inevitable.
Although taking on an employee and an extra vehicle is a leap forward he didn’t expect so soon, Duncan is thrilled with the way his business has taken off.
“I’m absolutely flat out week in, week out and just can’t handle any more new work,” he explains. “Last month I hit the £5,000 mark for monthly income and this month I expect to improve on that record, so I’m delighted. However, if I’m to continue to grow there’s really only one way forward.”
Duncan has turned his life around in the year and a half since he was made redundant for the second time. At 50 he didn’t fancy having to move back to London to find a job and had lost faith in the idea that employment meant security. He therefore decided this was the perfect opportunity to invest in something he really wanted to do.
“I had the advantage of four months at home with full pay,” Duncan says. “So I used my time very productively to consider my options, look around at alternative possibilities and do plenty of research. I was completely amazed at the huge number of franchise opportunities available to me.
“However, eventually I discovered Ovenclean and was immediately impressed. The franchise looked like great value. I could see the potential marketplace and understand how the business model worked. Better still, when I contacted them Ovenclean were friendly and informative, and invited me to visit their head office to meet the team.”
Determined to get it right, Duncan spent time checking out potential demand for oven cleaning services in his area. Having confirmed strong demand with little or no competition, he then arranged with Ovenclean to go out on the road with an established franchisee for the day to see at first-hand how the business operated.
“I was more than happy with everything I’d found with regards to the franchise,” says Duncan. “This was certainly not an overnight decision; I felt I’d given myself the very best chance of success by investing in Ovenclean and to date I’ve been delighted with the results.”
Duncan booked 70 customers over his launch weekend and is busier than ever. Currently he has over a thousand regular repeat customers on his database, encompassing residential domestic customers as well as landlords for student lets at the local university.
“Word of mouth is a very important part of gaining new business,” he explains. “Lots of my new enquiries come through satisfied customers, but also people see my van or spot the uniform and ask for a quote. Once they see the fantastic results they just can’t believe how good their ovens look after a professional clean. Invariably they book the next clean on the spot and then tell all their friends.”
These days Duncan is also a trainer for Ovenclean, being shadowed for a fortnight by new franchisees who are learning the ropes. He helps them during the early days and continues to provide support for as long as it’s needed.
“I’m really enjoying my life as an Ovenclean franchisee,” Duncan concludes. “There’s plenty of work, I easily earn what I did before as a financial manager and I get huge satisfaction from what I do. My life now is infinitely less stressed - I seem to have found a virtually recession proof business that has given me more control and flexibility.
“It’s very different from being a small cog in a large organisation. Previously I was demoralised and constantly looking over my shoulder to see where the axe might fall next. Now I run my own show, feel more secure than I did in employment and feel so much happier about my future.”
Ovenclean is the longest established and most successful domestic oven cleaning franchise in the UK, providing specialist oven cleaning services to a large, virtually untapped marketplace, including not only domestic customers, but also schools, lettings agencies and hotels.
Franchisees operate from professionally liveried vans and so benefit from low overheads and high flexibility. The top quality, powerful yet eco-friendly Ovenclean product range, exclusive to franchisees, effectively cleans ovens and hobs, Agas, ranges and barbecues, restoring them to pristine condition within a matter of a few hours.
Sheree Parker has built a thriving franchise with the help of Ovenclean
Sheree Parker is one of Ovenclean’s longest operating franchisees. She joined the network in 2001 and has built a highly successful business.
Formerly a senior manager with an express delivery company, Sheree has brought to bear her considerable managerial skills to develop the thriving franchise she oversees today.
“I worked for 16 years with the same company before I invested in an Ovenclean franchise,” she explains. “I started at the bottom as a courier and worked my way up to a senior management position, gaining a lot of experience along the way. Similarly with my Ovenclean business, I think the time I spent cleaning ovens in the early days has been essential to its success.”
Sheree spent her first three years working as an owner operator, travelling to customer’s homes to clean ovens. By 2004 and with her business rapidly expanding, she decided to take on a second vehicle and her first employee to help her cope with the demand for her services.
Before long the business had reached a level where two people were fully occupied cleaning ovens, but that wasn’t allowing Sheree sufficient time for planning and business development. She therefore added a second employee and a third vehicle to the operation.
“I’d done the 14-hour days in my old job, and one of the things I most valued about being self-employed was not having to spend my whole life working,” Sheree states. “I didn’t want to get into a situation where I cleaned ovens all day, then spent my evenings planning schedules, completing paperwork and designing marketing programmes.
“My ambition from the start was to develop my Ovenclean business into a management franchise. I work sensible hours and my hourly income works out way higher than my previous salary as a senior manager.”
Sheree maintains the current economic climate has presented no problems. In fact, she is currently investigating expansion into yet another area. “Our services are not expensive, and most people who use us are pretty affluent,” Sheree explains.
“I feel really confident about the future and I’m looking forward to taking my business to the next stage.”
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