Name: James Arthur

Franchisee since: 2014

Location: Macclesfield

“We are now able to visit our holiday home in Pembrokeshire more often, and I can stop work early to play the odd round of golf if I want to!”

Prior to becoming an Ovenclean Franchisee, James had a successful career; from international event management, to Head of Fundraising for a National Charity. After a company restructure in 2012 ended in a voluntary redundancy, James began thinking about alternative, self-employed lifestyle which would give him more control over his own life and diary.

“I wanted to be self-employed and felt that buying into a franchise would be the ideal way to achieve that with suitable support. I went to an Ovenclean open day and I liked what I saw. The fact that I would be paying a flat fee rather than a percentage of income appealed to me, as well as the professional set up, the support available, and the fact that there was no pressure to invest. It was also reassuring to know there were some other big brands within the Franchise Brands network, such as ChipsAway.”

“I was keen to do some more research before making a decision, and Ovenclean arranged for me to have several telephone conversations with active franchisees, and even spend a day out on the road with an established specialist, which gave me a great insight as to what to expect. I looked over the business plan Ovenclean had provided, and with their help developed my own plan specific to my area, and what I wanted to achieve from a financial point of view.”

In September 2014, James became the 100th franchisee to join the Ovenclean network.

“The launch of my business couldn’t have gone better! I really enjoyed my comprehensive two-week training course, and my trainer was always available to give me technical and marketing advice. The launch package put together by the support team was hugely beneficial – It was in the run up to Christmas, which is generally the busiest time, but it was the perfect start to my new venture. I was literally manic for the first three months, and the following year, I was taking bookings for pre-Christmas cleans 6 months in advance!”

However, running your own business of course has it’s challenges, “Getting started involved getting fit to undertake a very physical role, at the end of the day I knew I had been through a proper workout, but soon, my blood pressure was down, and I even lost half a stone!”

“Financially, it takes time to establish a business, but now I’ve got regular clients and recommendations, things are much rosier from a financial point of view and I’m making a decent living. I enjoy building up relationships with my customers and have a good hard core of regulars who chat away to me about their life; I like to add a bit extra like pulling in the bins on bin day, tying up tomato plants etc. which is appreciated.”

We asked James how his life has improved since joining Ovenclean:

“I love being out and about meeting new people every day, and I really enjoy the flexibility that comes with being your own boss. It means that we are now able to visit our holiday home in Pembrokeshire more often, and I can stop work early to play the odd round of golf if I want to!”

We asked James what advice would he give to someone looking to buy a franchise. “The key to success is hard work, do a good clean and tidy job, and make sure you enter every house with a friendly face to ensure you get repeat business and recommendations. Look closely at the financial figures, take professional advice to make sure you know you can get through the first couple of years. Talk to as many people as possible who have bought a franchise.”

“I have absolutely no regrets whatsoever about my decision and couldn’t be happier! I wish I had done it much earlier in my life, but my focus now is to continue developing my business.”

Name: Dean and Amy Wilson

Franchisee since: 2013

Husband and Wife team, Dean and Amy Wilson joined the Ovenclean network in 2014, after deciding they needed more time for their young family. Dean previously worked as an Assistant Manager at a cleaning company and Amy ran her own Salon, so the franchise was a natural fit for the couple.

“I was working for a local cleaning company mainly dealing with disaster claims for insurance companies such as fires and floods. I enjoyed my job, but I came to a point where I couldn’t really progress any further within the company and I felt it was time to move on.

“When we returned from living in Spain Amy opened her own salon, however when we had our first child it became increasingly difficult for Amy to be able to look after a young child and run a business by herself, so she became a stay at home mum.

“After seeing the advert for Ovenclean in a newspaper we had a discussion and felt that this business could really work well for both us. Myself cleaning and Amy at home taking calls and looking after the diaries – as well as keeping an eye on the kids!

“We then attended an open day and were immediately impressed with the whole package that Ovenclean had to offer. There was no hard sell or feeling that we were being pushed into any decisions. Everyone was so friendly and helpful; we pretty much had made our decision to go ahead before we had even left. We spoke to a couple of similar franchises but they didn’t come close. The open day really put us at ease. We left on a high and couldn’t wait to get going!

“Head office are fantastic and have always been there whenever needed. As you become more established you won’t need to lean on them so much, but the reassurance that they are just at the end of a phone is priceless. Initially you go out for two weeks with an existing franchisee to learn the ropes. My trainer was absolutely fantastic – we had a blast and still talk to each other regularly, even if it’s not about oven cleaning! Now I act as an Ovenclean mentor to new starters myself, and I am always hearing just how helpful and knowledgeable the team are at Head Office – everything Ovenclean promise, they deliver!

“The first 6 months to a year are definitely the hardest, you really have to put the hard work in, go around leafleting, visiting estate agents, schools and universities. However, the hard work paid off and we became very busy at 18 months, so we decided to employ my brother Mark, who runs a second van to keep up with demand.”

Dean and Amy’s business is going from strength to strength and they now have 3 vans on the road, with Dean’s nephew running a third van. “We complete 3 cleans a day and 2 cleans on a Saturday. A lot of the diary is taken up by monthly recalls, but is more than worth the time as 75% of my work is now taken up by repeat customers. Ok, I’m working six days per week at the moment, but that’s my choice. If I want to take some time off I can, without having to ask permission! I’m usually back before 5pm, so I can spend time with my son, which I never used to be able to do. Family time is extremely important to us and an Ovenclean franchise gives us the opportunity to have plenty of quality family time together.” We honestly cannot think of any downsides to the franchise life!”

“Ovenclean has changed our lives so much for the better. We have freedom, more time for each other and our young family which makes life so much more relaxed and happier. We can go to sports days, school plays, and we are able to run a second business. It’s the ease of running an Ovenclean franchise that has made this possible. We are also making more money now than when we were both employed. The future for us is looking very exciting and full of promise. Without a doubt the best thing we have ever done is make that call to Ovenclean.”

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