Just after getting our brand new Citroen Berlingo oven cleaning van all fitted out and ready to go we got a problem. The problem was an electrical one where when you tried to lock the doors with the remote it didn't do it as the van's computer thought the doors were ajar. We used the key to lock the van which was fine until we came to unlock it and we couldn't unlock it (we opened it by disconnecting the battery). Well that all happened last week and the van has been in the main Citroen Dealer's garage for the last week. In the end after doing lots of tests and sending them to Citroen HQ in France they decided that the way to fix it was to get a brand new computer processor unit for the van. So after being in the garage for what seemed like forever, when it was actually a week, we have got our van back today.
Luckily we didn't need the van when it was being fixed by Cirtoen as we were training John and he was able go out with one of the other guys for his training. If we had been running the van normally then we would have been completly stuck and lost a weeks turnover for the van. John will be back out with me next week in our lovely new Citroen Berlingo which will hopefully be now ready to roll.
Last Thursday we cleaned an oven and when one of the two bulbs in the main oven was replaced and the oven switched on the bulb blew and power was lost to the cooker, no lights on timer, none of other bulbs or cooker working. Fuse box checked wasn't tripped. The power light on the cooker lead was on. So power to cooker but cooker not working. The cooker was a Neff U1661 double oven.
I told the client to get a quote for repair as the only other time this has happened to an oven we were cleaning it was fixed with the replacement of a fuse in another plug. But this was different in that the NEFF was connected directly to a cooker switch.
I got back to the office and searched on the net and found the following post on NEFF U1661 No Clock or bottom ovens. The fault was similar to ours but on ours both ovens weren't working.
The customer got a quote for repair from a local company (call out charge for this was £59) and the cost was £289 including £59 calling out fee.
In the meantime I found an appliance repair company called Repair Care who give a fixed price to repair the cooker at £118 which is a totally inclusive price unless the oven is a write off, which I doubt. So in all with this company do the work the cost will be £177 to carry out the repair.
On Monday repair care didn't turn up at the time stated – that is they rang the client to say they'd be there at 1500 but at 1620 still hadn't turned up. The client rang the engineer and in course of the conversation they asked him if he had the new board. To which he replied no and it's not worth me turning up. So he didn't turn up. A quick conversation with Repair Care and they told us we could have a refund. I'll keep you posted.
In all from the other post it looks like these cookers maybe liable to this sort of fault so be careful when you are changing a bulb on a NEFF U1661
We've had a few problems with our otherwise reliable 30 Amp AGA Cooker. As it has been off (read the rest of our 30 Amp AGA Saga below) John our new operative and I took the opportunity to give a very special clean and now it really does look like new AGA sitting in our kitchen. Tonight it is heating up a treat and also smelling a bit but as it has had new parts today then I think it's just oil burning off them and it will be fine. So we are looking forward to a nice warm kitchen and house again.
We have been having some problems with our 30 Amp AGA cooker for a few weeks now. Our AGA is a reconditioned one that we bought about two and half years ago now. It worked fine up until a few weeks back when we started having problems:
The first thing that went wrong was the timer clock – it started working at double time which meant that it wasn't switching the AGA on at night during off peak electricity time and so the AGA wasn't getting so hot as it normally is and it was heating up in the day time. This is a timer which the AGA guy put into place which switches the AGA on so that it is charging up during the night on office peak electricity. So it's nothing to do with the AGA itself but is a requirement to get it to switch on at the right time as we don't want it charging up in the day time on normal electricity rates. We got an electrician in who said that he couldn't source a new timer; as we've had the plumber in our house replacing our old central heating boiler on the scrappage scheme we asked him and he said that he wouldn't be able to source it either. Then the electrician rang and said that Screwfix sold the exact same timer so I went and bought a new one and fitted it and the AGA was working again.
After a few days of working fine the AGA then went stone cold. So this time we called in an AGA specialist and as we recommend Spillers to our clients they came and had a look at it. As soon as the engineer walked into the kitchen he said "the fan isn't working and thats your problem as you can't hear it". Apparently the core of the AGA (the big solid bit of cast iron) will heat up but to get the heat to the rest of the AGA it needs to be circulated, on the 30 Amp AGA, by a small fan which is on the top under the top covers. They tend to go after a while as they get hot and dusty. So they replaced this fan – the cost of replacement was £80 for the call out fee, £24 for half an hour labour and £105 for the fan so a total of £209. We paid it, they left and then we switched the AGA back on, and yes you could now hear the fan making a whirring noise.
After a couple of days it was still stone cold. So we called out Spillers again. Today they arrived and this time the engineer did some resistance checks and told us that one of the elements had gone and he then replaced it. By the way the element is easily assessible from the front of the AGA you just take off the outer cover and there just under the insulation are all the tops of the elements lined up – the engineer just un-did the nut and slid the element out – they are long and thin and nearly the same as the depth of the AGA, so close to two feet in length. This time Spillers charged us £24 labour (no call out charge) and £55 for the element replacement so a total of £79.
Apparently our 30 Amp AGA is older than I thought as it has 14 elements in series and if one is broken none of the others will work and hence the AGA doesn't heat up. When he had replaced the engineer said "hear that hum that's the sound the AGA should make when all the elements are working and the AGA is heating up". We never really heard this sound before as the AGA normally heats up at night when we are in bed; but we know now.
In about 1998 AGA changed the configuration of the elements so that they now have 14 elements in 3 'banks' of elements. So instead of 14 single elements in series as in mine there are now three banks in parallel, one bank of 4 on the top, one bank of 6 in the middle and one bank of 4 at the bottom. if one of the elements goes wrong in one of these banks then the other two banks will soldier on and still keep the AGA hot and it will still be able to charge up. So if we had had one of these newer AGAs then it would have meant that instead of changing just the element we would have had to change the whole bank. So this means it could have been expensive! The prices for the banks were: for the 6 bank it would have been £213 and for one of the four banks it would have been about £150. So say you had had a problem with the elements on your newer 30 Amp AGA then the cost for Spillers to come out and fix the broken element would be (at 2010 prices) £80 for the call out, £24 for the half an hour labour and £150 for the new bank of 4 elements giving a grand total of £254. Or if the element had gone in the 6 bank then the total price would have been £317. So you can see this could be even more expensive.
But on the other hand this is the first time we have had anyone to look at the AGA as a 30 Amp AGA doesn't need a service like other AGAs so we have saved on servicing costs. If we had had a gas AGA then we would have had it serviced twice and the cost would have been 2 x £125 so £250 total spend. If it had been an oil AGA we would have had it serviced at least four times (I'm not sure on oil AGA servicing costs but its got to be at least £100) so a total spend of at least £400. We have also saved a huge chunk of money on running costs too as our AGA costs us about £11 a week to run. If we had had say a 3 oven 13 Amp AGA cooker the running costs would have been £45 a week (yes the Spillers engineer confirmed this as the most expensive AGA to run) so a total of £34 more each week to run. If we had had an oil AGA then the cost would have been at least £25 a week to run. And the same for the gas powered AGA. Though I was told by a couple of clients, when cleaning their oil AGAs in their barn conversions in the Cotswolds recently , that they had staggering high oil fuel costs this winter.
So two 30 Amp AGA tips I have learnt over the last week – the fan on the top of the AGA makes a noise when it is working. The 30 Amp AGA hums when it is heating up – if it doesn't hum then the elements aren't working properly.
Yesterday our second new oven cleaning operative started. He is an experienced oven cleaner having worked for the Weston Super Mare Ovenu franchisee a while ago and when that business folded he started his own oven cleanig business called Oven Kleen which went out of business too about eighteen months later. So now to be working for Oven Gleam makes it, hopefully, third time lucky.
Yesterday we started the oven cleaning training by going through all the paperwork which now means the operative reading all the Health and Safety stuff we have put together and getting it signed up. Then we went through the process we have to clean an ordinary oven and then through the process to clean an AGA cooker. As my AGA cooker at home is cold at the moment (it has a problem see my other posting) we cleaned that together yesterday afternoon and now it is gleaming in our kitchen all beautiful and claret – what a fantastic AGA cooker colour! We now just need to get it fixed.
Well we got our new Citroen Berlingo sign written and this time we have gone for large "OvenGleam" logos all the way around. It really does look fabulous. We used a local sign writer in Bristol and Fiona of Speedy Signs did a great job (I'll give you a link Fiona when you get your website up). Also over the weekend I got the van fitted out so it now has the oven cleaning dip tank fitted and also the rinse system and all that looks very good too. I just need the auto electrician to fit in the electrics and our new oven cleaning van is ready to go.
We at OvenGleam.com are offering you the opportunity to be in control of your future by starting your own oven cleaning business. We we will train you and you will be up and running straight away and ready to clean ovens as a independent business owner running a single van operation. We will also be able to provide you with information to manage a multi van operation, like ours, as a profitable home based oven cleaning company.
An oven cleaning business that is van based is fabulous in that it will allow you to schedule your jobs to work around your family and social life. On our oven cleaning business course we will help you to set goals for your business and support you through our training and provide on going technical support. We will give you the best in oven cleaning training, enabling you to understand and operate your business with confidence and have an excellent start and momentum you need for a successful business.
The oven cleaning business is in a sustainable and ever growing market, as every home has a cooker, hob or extractor in need of cleaning. We will offer you a tried and tested business format built up and finely tuned over six years of operating a multi van oven cleaning business – we currently have five vans in operation. There is fabulous business opportunity for any hard working and ambitious individual.
There are franchise companies offering a similar business opportunity. However, we believe that by helping you start your own independent operation we can help you achieve your goals without spending on both start up costs and monthly management fees. We offer you training in the best processes and techniques in operation in the business, the best equipment, and we use both superior products and spare parts. We consider that this makes this opportunity the BEST in the industry.
Is easy for you to manage
Provides you with repeat business (some customers look at getting their ovens cleaned every few months)
Has low overheads and you can work from home.
Has an excellent potential for turnover and profit.
Can be owner operated, man in van, or multi van operation.
Low start up cost – Our fee is £1900 including VAT for the training. £1800 including VAT cost to fit out your van with our electrically heated tank and rinse system (this breaks down at £1200 for the tank and the rest is the fitting charge to a small van – larger vans may be more expensive). Local accommodation is available starting at £35 a night.
No ongoing management fee
Comprehensive training including AGA cooker cleaning specialist training on our on site AGA Cooker.
Phone support in case you get stuck on any jobs.
Expert marketing advice
No restricted areas of operation, start in your area now!
Membership of the Association of Approved Oven Cleaners on course completion.
Samples of advertising material.
Our course is four and half days long and you will learn everything you need to know to clean ovens, range cookers, extractors, AGA cookers and start your business with a bang.
Please contact me, Graham Rogers, either by email see contacts above or give our office a ring on 01275 370571. I will send you full details of our course.
If you are wondering what sort of solution is used in our oven cleaning dip tank then I have tried a few. Some you'd call eco friendly and others are a bit stronger and these tend to Alkaline solutions with a high PH value. You'd be surprised at what does a good job. I have tried ordinary washing up liquid which does a reasonable job and I know that a lot of franchise oven cleaning companies use this so the stuff they provide you with may well just be washing up liquid even though they package it in their brand tub and call it a different name.
For me washing up liquid doesn't provide a consistent way to clean the oven bits and it also needs a bit of work to get the final bits off which adds to the time for each job. But if you are stuck then its more than okay to do the job; it needs to be a hot solution to work. We use something that guarantees that everything is cleaned 100% . So we've found something else that works a lot better…
Well today we have got our brand new oven cleaning van and it's a white Citroen Berlingo 750LX. This is first new van that we have bought for four years and it really is a cracker with a 1.6 HDI 90HP engine. So it's nippy (though it might not be as quite as fast as our Daihatsu
Extols) and apparently is frugal too. It has three seats and lots of storage space, a really good bulkhead, but only one side door but the real bonus is the Traffic Master Navigation and Tracking system fitted to the van which has the fabulous facility where we will be able to phone the driver and he will be able to answer the call by just touching the Traffic Master screen whilst driving. Also it has built in tracking so the vehicle would be tracked if it was stolen.
If you read my post best oven cleaning vans about my recommendations for the best oven cleaning van to get then you would have noticed that the Berlingo was number three in that list and I put it there with two side doors and an extended guarantee. Number one was the Renault Kangoo and number two was the VW Caddy. My ideal van is a van with two side doors and a tailgate. But the reality of gaining a new van with this specifiction put paid to my ideal and I went for the best van that was available now without the wait for a factory order so a Berlingo with one side door (I didn't get the extended guarantee as they told me that I could extend it at any time before the current warranty expires and anyway the AA van warranty which we have on our other older Berlingo has been well worth the cost at a lot less than Citoren are quoting for theirs). For say a factory order of a Renault Kangoo they were quoting six to ten weeks and at one time there was one available with a side door but although the van had £7500 on the van in the forecourt that was apparently for a "cash only" purchase and in the end the price was going to be £12500 + VAT. I didn't bother with the VW Caddy as the price was more than the Kangoo and they were only available on lease. The other van I seriously was thinking about was the Nissan NV200 (number 4 in my list) but again as the second side door isn't standard (it also doesn't come with a tailgate which is extremely disappointing as the old Nissan Vanette did) there would have been a wait of up to eight weeks. They did say four but I didn't believe them! In all it looks like most van manufacturers have stopped making vans and if you want one especially with a side door then you've got to order it unless it's a Berlingo. I didn't check out Vauxhall or Fiat as I did like the thought of having one of their vans.
So with Berlngo's one side door how is it going to affect things? Well it is going to be fine and with just a small change to our system it will work well though the operative may get a bit wet if it's raining! But the real bonus is the Traffic Master system and if we get more of these vehicles we may look at using the benefit of the fleet management option of Traffic Master where we would be able to track the real time location of each vehicle.
A couple of weeks ago we nearly bought a second hand Renault Kangoo van that had already been fitted out as an oven cleaning van and was on Ebay but we couldn't verify the mileage on it.
So the next thing I got to do is to get our new Citroen Berlingo Oven Cleaning van kitted out and sign written which will all be carried out this week.
Last Thursday I had an AGA cleaning day in Newbury where I cleaned a pink AGA cooker, a Miele single oven and a Miele hob The AGA looked just like the one in the photograph here and when it was cleaned it looked just like new.