Hot prospects for Ovenclean franchise owners!

Three franchise owners who joined the Ovenclean network in 2010 are now entering their second successful year in business

This time last year, Emily and Ian Balm were among thousands of visitors flocking to The National Franchise Exhibition at the NEC, in search of a new career. Ian, who previously worked in the financial sector, had been made redundant following the banking crisis and Emily was on maternity leave, expecting the couple’s first child.

Today, their lives have been transformed – they run a thriving Ovenclean franchise, have the flexibility to operate their growing business around the demands of their young son, and enjoy increasing financial rewards, as well as the huge satisfaction that comes from working together and a shared determination to succeed.

Also about to embark on his second year as an Ovenclean franchise owner is 26-year-old Robbie Freeman, who when he spotted the franchise opportunity, instantly felt Ovenclean would provide the perfect business model for someone practical and hard working like himself.

“It was affordable and looked like great value,” Robbie remarks. “I liked the fact that the work was ‘hands-on’ and I could see that there would be high demand for a professional oven cleaning service.” Cleaning the oven is one of the most hated household chores and, with 27 million households in the UK, the potential marketplace for Ovenclean franchise owners is huge!

“No other opportunities really took my interest, so I went along to an Ovenclean open day to find out more and took the chance to speak to a number of existing franchise owners,” Robbie continues. “It was all good. Everyone I spoke to was really positive, they had all built strong businesses and were making good money.”

Ian and Emily had the same experience. “We were very cautious,” Emily confirms. “Before we went to see Ovenclean, we did a great deal of research and looked at a few alternatives, but the more we looked into it, the more we had the feeling this was the right direction for us. When we attended the open day, we found everyone welcoming and informative; there was no hard sell, in fact if anything they emphasised the importance of the decision and urged us to think carefully before going ahead.”

After they had completed their training – including a course at the company’s dedicated training centre and two weeks ‘in the field’ working alongside established franchise owners – both Robbie and the Balms enjoyed strong, professional launches, generating plenty of enquiries and keeping both businesses busy for weeks ahead.

“My launch went really well,” Robbie confirms. “I gave out over 3,000 leaflets in two days and really got the Ovenclean name out there. In addition to the bookings I took over the weekend, the phone continued to ring for the next couple of weeks and I found myself with a fully booked diary from the word go. The run up to Christmas was particularly busy and ever since then I’ve had an increasing number of word of mouth referrals from happy customers.”

Emily agrees, adding: “We also get enquiries simply by having our Ovenclean vehicle parked in front of customers’ houses,” she beams. “People from the same street spot us and ask whether we can clean their ovens too.”

Ovenclean franchise owners operate from fully equipped vehicles and use a powerful, yet 100 per cent caustic-free, eco-friendly system to restore ovens, hobs, microwaves and even barbecues to pristine ‘as new’ condition within a matter of hours. Customers are truly amazed by the results.

There’s a real ‘wow’ factor, according to Robbie, which is why people invariably re-book on the spot and become regular, repeat order customers.

“It is hugely satisfying and means you can take great pride in what you do,” he adds. As a result, franchise owners enter their second year in business with diaries already filling up with repeat business.

“It becomes more a case of maintaining the high level of cleanliness that we achieved first time round, rather than tackling ovens that haven’t been properly cleaned in years,” Emily points out.

“It’s certainly hard work, but on the positive side, those customers who have seen their ovens restored from quite a bad condition into an oven that’s pristine and ‘good as new’, tend to be the most delighted with our service and give us the rave reviews.”

In fact, a recent national survey commissioned by Ovenclean into awareness and attitudes towards professional domestic oven cleaning services confirmed that 100 per cent of those who had experienced a professional oven clean, rated the service as excellent and said that they would definitely have their ovens professionally cleaned again. Ovenclean was confirmed as the strong brand leader, with twice as many people interviewed recognising the Ovenclean name compared to the next best-known brand.

The research also suggested that 22 per cent of respondents didn’t even know they could get their ovens professionally cleaned, suggesting massive untapped market potential. However, this comes as no surprise to Marketing Director Robin Auld.

“These findings are consistent with feedback we receive all the time from Ovenclean franchise owners,” he states. “Once people hear of the service and then try it, they respond positively to the concept. After all, most people find cleaning the oven a real chore and having experienced an Ovenclean clean for themselves, they invariably love it, and then become regular customers and recommend us to others.”

Robbie, Emily and Ian have all found the business model simple to learn and easy to manage. An affordable franchise with low overheads, Ovenclean has proved ideal for the Balms as the flexible working hours enable them to plan around family needs, while Robbie is happy to be making more money than he did in his previous career and loves the independence that running his own business offers him. All agree that the opportunity is also there to expand into a multi-unit management operation further down the line.

“Ovenclean has supported us all the way,” Ian concludes. “There is the potential with a franchise that you’ll either be left too much to your own devices, or micro-managed and given too little independence.

“In my view, Ovenclean provides a very happy balance. There’s no pressure, just plenty of encouragement and unlimited access to the expertise of an experienced management team and franchise network.

“In due course, Emily and I plan to secure a second territory and put another vehicle on the road, and I know when the time comes, we can look to the Ovenclean management team for continued help and support. In the meantime, we’re delighted with the way our business is going and enjoy working together to build a secure future for our family.”

Ovenclean is the longest established and one of the most successful domestic oven cleaning franchises in the UK, providing specialist oven cleaning services to a large marketplace, including domestic customers and commercial work such as schools, lettings agencies and hotels.

Reported by Rachael Lowe