Mark Jerram, Ovenclean
This year I became one of the casualties of the recession. I had worked for bookshops - Waterstones and Ottakers - for nine years, but as people stopped spending, retailers cut back and I was made redundant. My first thought was to set up my own bookshop, but ultimately I decided that going it alone - particularly in a retail environment - was just too risky, so instead started to look for something entirely different.
I was attracted to franchising as a safer route to being my own boss and Ovenclean was the franchise that really caught my eye. I could afford the investment, I was pretty sure it was something I could do and it seemed a straightforward, appealing business proposition. I felt reassured by Ovenclean's track record as the UK's number one oven cleaning franchise and when I spoke to existing franchise owners, they were all really helpful and positive.
Having made the decision to join Ovenclean, I was supported by a fantastic trainer in Andrew Parris - a very successful franchise owner himself - and once I'd launched, work came in pretty quickly.
It seems that a professional oven clean is one of life's little luxuries that people are simply not prepared to do without! It's only been a matter of months so far, but I can honestly say that it's great to be out and about meeting people instead of being stuck in a stock room and I'm certain that this is absolutely the right business for me!