"Ovenclean's franchise is a real gem"

Made redundant by jewellers De Beers after working for the company for 22 years, Martin Walshe reckons he's found a real diamond of a business in Ovenclean.

After a length of service for my employer stretching back 22 years, my redundancy package was suitably generous, which enabled me to take my time in considering what I was going to do next," says Martin Walshe. "I'd pretty much decided that I'd like to work for myself and knew that a franchise was the safest way forward. However, I had the luxury of not having to rush into anything so I took most of the summer off to research the various opportunities on offer."

Cautious and methodical by nature, Martin assembled an initial list of seven different possibilities and set about carefully assessing each against his list of key criteria. He visited four of the contenders, spoke to existing franchise owners and eventually selected Ovenclean as the best fit for him.

"I could see myself as an Ovenclean franchise owner," he explains. "I didn't want a desk based existence anymore and thought I would enjoy being out and about meeting new people. In addition, I could easily understand how the business model operates and I was comfortable with the level of investment required. Above all, I was convinced that Ovenclean has the potential to deliver a really good living as well as a better work/life balance than many of the other franchises I'd considered. Although I'm happy to work hard, an all consuming, demanding business simply isn't for me."

Martin launched his new Ovenclean business at the beginning of September. He says that his training was thorough and professional and that he was well supported from the start: "My launch campaign, which included local advertising and leafleting, generated plenty of enquiries for my services, which gave me confidence for the future of my new business. Although it's still early days for me, I'm well ahead of my schedule. To date I'm about 10 per cent above the target figures in my business plan for numbers of appointments, and about 15 per cent ahead on income, so I'm feeling really positive."

Martin is particularly enjoying the satisfaction of providing a popular, well appreciated service to his customers, whom he describes as "hugely pleased" with his handiwork. "I cleaned around 70 ovens within the first couple of months alone! Everyone feels my prices are competitive and all have been really happy with the end results. In fact, in almost all cases I'm asked to pencil in the next visit before I leave, which is great!"

Martin recognises that his success will hinge on building a repeat business customer base and is delighted with his progress so far. "Once I have a critical number of regular contracts, I'm convinced my Ovenclean business will start to really fly!" he grins. "I'm really happy with my decision and now I'm eager to get on with it. Everything's looking really good, so watch this space!"

Ovenclean provides specialist oven cleaning services to a large, virtually untapped marketplace, including private customers, hotels, schools and lettings agencies. Franchise owners 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 franchise owners - effectively cleans ovens and hobs, Agas, ranges and barbecues, restoring them to pristine condition within a matter of a few hours. The proven business model is easy to learn, simple to manage and delivers a high earning, flexible lifestyle, with the option to expand into a multi-van operation.

Interview by Megan Dunmore