Happiness is a clean oven!

Five years ago Granthan Speake attended an exhibition looking for a franchise. This year he returned to tell visitors about his success with Ovenclean

According to franchise owner Granthan Speake, happiness is a clean oven - and Granthan should know! An Ovenclean franchise owner for five years, he has cleaned thousands of ovens and says that invariably customers are simply delighted with the results. More often than not they continue to use him on a regular basis and enthusiastically recommend him to their friends.

Granthan has built an impressive database of around 4,000 customers, and confirms that one of the greatest rewards of working for himself is the satisfaction of a job well done and seeing big smiles on the faces of his customers. "Of course, a very good living and the flexibility to work the hours I choose come pretty high up on my priority list," he explains, "but I think the happiness my service brings to customers every day of the working week is the main reason that I feel happy and fulfilled in my business."

Granthan was previously a studio technician for the BBC, but when he was made redundant he took the chance to re-evaluate his working life and decided to make a complete change. "By coincidence I found out that I was going to be made redundant at about the same time the National Franchise Exhibition was being held at the NEC, so I decided to grab the bull by the horns and go along," Granthan recalls. "I remember being surprised at the huge choice of opportunities, but was focused on 'man and a van' operations. I was keen to be based at home, responsible just for myself (with no ties like staff or premises) and I wanted to be able to work the hours that suited me rather than someone else."

Ultimately he chose domestic and commercial oven cleaning franchise Ovenclean. Reassured by their strong track record and attracted by the simplicity of the business model, he could see the huge potential it offered instantly. "Everyone has an oven, all ovens need cleaning and almost everyone hates the job, so the opportunity was obvious," Granthan continues. "There was nobody else doing anything similar in my area and having met with the management team I was pretty confident this was the right move for me. Five years on, I've never looked back."

This year, Granthan returned to the National Franchise Exhibition, this time invited by Ovenclean to answer questions and offer advice on the Ovenclean stand to would-be franchise owners. "I could genuinely confirm that you can make really good money out of an Ovenclean franchise - I am earning more than I did working for the BBC - and you can really take control of your life," he reflects. "I usually don't work weekends, although in the run up to Christmas I'm more or less working flat out. I usually work the occasional Saturday and finish early at least a couple of days during the week. That means I can pick the kids up from school, which I would never have been able to do before."

The other question asked by many of the visitors to the Ovenclean stand at the NEC was whether Granthan and his colleagues had been hit by the economic downturn. "Again, I could honestly answer that I've felt no impact from the recession at all," he confirms. "My customers range from professional families too busy to clean their own ovens to elderly ladies who can't physically manage. I also provide a service to a number of Lettings Agencies, where I clean the oven every time a tenant moves out. The telephone always rings one way or another and I'm never short of work."

Granthan has considered expanding his business to a multi-vehicle operation, but for the present has decided that he's very happy as he is. "You have to be prepared to work hard at your business, as with any new business," he concludes, "but you reap the rewards you earn and it's certainly worth it!"

Reported by Megan Dunmore