Q&A with Gary Knight, OvenKing’s newest franchisee from Southampton
– What did you do prior to investing in a franchise?
Previously I was working in the telecoms industry installing mobile phone masts, but after the Olympics in 2012 work started drying up locally and I needed to find another job.
– What attracted you to franchising? And why OvenKing?
When I was looking into becoming self employed I was overwhelmed with the amount of work I would have to do to set up and market my new business, franchising seemed like the best option for me so that I could hit the ground running.
I looked at a few different types of franchises, but OvenKing let me come down and visit head office, meet with their staff and go out with one of their cleaners for the morning to get a taste of what I would be doing in the job day to day. I like the brand, the whole franchise package and I like that they can take my bookings at head office so I don’t get interrupted all day.
– What training and support have you received from the franchisor?
The training was great, My training lasted 5 days, the first day I was shown around the equipment and some ovens in the classroom at OvenKing head office.
Over the next 3 days I was working with Duane out and about in people’s homes. Duane let me work at my own pace and got me to do more and more each day until I was completing the entire oven clean myself with just his supervision.
On the final day I was again in the classroom where I was given advice on marketing and record keeping for my business and shown around my van which had been sign written and had my oven cleaning tank installed during the training week. I was awarded a certificate of completion for the training and given my operators manual.
Since my training OvenKing has sent me more leaflets and have answered the phone whenever I have had a query whether technical or business related. They have even checked up on me several times to make sure everything is going well.
– What are the advantages and challenges of working in the cleaning services sector?
Cleaning ovens is very hard work, and sometimes a very old or damaged oven can be difficult to restore to a very good standard so I try to manage customer expectations, but the majority of ovens look as clean as the day the customer bought them which is a great feeling, especially when the customer is so happy with the result too.
– What are your plans for the future?
It is early days yet but I hope that when I am fully booked and cannot complete any more work each week that I can employ a second oven cleaner and put another OvenKing van on the road, even if they are just part time at first.
– Describe a typical day
I will know in advance from OvenKing head office where my jobs are as they take my bookings for me and email or text me all the details. From then I prepare the van and cleaning tank ensuring the water is clean and I have added the right mixture of chemicals. Then I turn up to my jobs and clean the ovens, if I finish early I check in with the guys at OvenKing to see if there are any new jobs and if not I drop some leaflets through the doors in the area I am working.
– What advice would you give to anyone considering a cleaning franchise?
Becoming a franchisee doesn’t mean the work isn’t difficult, You will only ever be rewarded for the effort and hours you put in so you must be self motivated. I now have all the benefits of being self employed but I am not on my own and I have somewhere to turn if I have questions regarding any aspect of my business.