Steven Bowen has gone from redundancy to franchising success with Ovenclean
With a long career working for one major retailer, Steven Bowen was fortunate enough to have garnered a whole raft of experience by the time he was offered redundancy in 2014.
“Due to the changing nature of retail and the ever increasing presence of the internet, my redundancy wasn’t a shock, but nonetheless still a daunting prospect after so many years,” he says.
“Fortunately, I had time to look around at my options, during which time I came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to work for a large organisation again.
“With this in mind, it led me to look at franchising, but I soon realised it was important to find something that didn’t require specific trade qualifications, like a plumber or electrician.
“However, having previously managed an electrical department in-store, the opportunity to find out more about Ovenclean seemed an interesting one, as I had a knowledge of many of the appliances that I’d be working with.
“The next step was to attend an open day at Kidderminster, which I found hugely helpful and informative. There was no hard sell - quite the contrary.
“I was even offered the opportunity to contact a random selection of existing franchisees to get their point of view before making any decisions. It was a very influential day for me and after following up the offer to chat to franchisees and seeing the favourable customer comments, I was convinced.”
Once Steven’s decision was made, he then spent a day at Ovenclean head office, followed by a two-week practical induction with an experienced franchisee who explained the process.
“It was really helpful,” Steven says. “By the end of the two weeks, I felt in a strong position to go out and start things for myself. It also helped to know my trainer was there to guide me after the launch, should I need it.
“Ovenclean were very supportive with my launch, which consisted of an excellent six-week marketing campaign across different parts of my franchise region. This enabled a steady build-up of customers.
“To follow on from this, I advertise regularly in two excellent local magazines and I also promoted ties with local cleaning companies and landlords to strengthen my customer base.
“I’d recommend to anyone to keep a good database of customers and contact them regularly too. This has proved particularly successful and it’s gratifying as it confirms they are pleased with your previous work. Word of mouth is definitely the most cost effective form of advertising.
“To anyone considering franchising, I’d say the main benefits are the freedom it provides. I certainly wouldn’t return to the retail trade - it’s extremely satisfying to be your own boss and set the direction of your own business as you wish. The success you achieve is entirely of your own making and down to the effort that you put in.
“My plan is to build up my customer base to the highest level I can achieve and offer the best possible service I can. Eventually I hope to be able to sell the business as a thriving, going concern.”
Franchisees operate from professionally liveried vans and so benefit from low overheads and high flexibility. The top quality, powerful yet safe Ovenclean product range, exclusive to franchisees, effectively cleans ovens and hobs, Aga range cookers and barbecues, restoring them to pristine condition within a matter of a few hours.