Today me and Catherine are.standing outside John Lewis in Cheadle Hulme with Peter Richardson our franchisee doing the second day of his business launch. We did the first day last November. Well we are all wrapped up well it's a cold crisp day. Interest has been good with a couple of bookings and lots of leaflets given out. So if you are looking for an oven cleaner in cheadle hulme give Peter a ring on 0161 850 8899.
This month has been quieter than previous years and we have had to work very hard in the office to get the jobs booked in. It has just been a case of making contact with old clients and asking them if they would like to benefit from the special offers we have had on. So in all we have booked all four of our guys up every day for the month which has been an achievement. I have been in the office in the afternoons and have been out on a few days to clean AGAs and to cover when the guys have been sick.
This morning I was due to be working in the office but at 0715 we got a call from one of our oven cleaners to say that he had been sick in the night and couldn't work today. As all the guys were booked up it meant I had to go and do his jobs which was four double ovens at different locations including a bit of a drive to Frome in the late afternoon. So straight away I plugged the van in and then I then went to the office and printed off the jobs and then preped by van for the day. So I left home at 0820 to get to my first job on time at 0900, I had a few problems finding the place as the sat nav took me up the road a bit, but still got there on time. The oven was standard double oven and was quite dirty, the lady said they had never cleaned it and it was eight years old. I had a bit of problem cleaning it as I couldn't get the main door off, the locking mechanism wasn't working properly. Whilst doing the job I plugged my van in, it was easy as it was a farm yard, to get my tank up to temperature. The job went well and the lady was very happy. I then drove across Bristol to the second job which was in a rental. The tenants had just moved in and the oven was very bad. It was a bit of hard labour to get it clean as it was minging and it took me over two hours to do the oven and the ceramic hob. But it came up very well. During this job my wife texted me to tell me that the last job in Frome had been moved to next week so that was a relief. I drove back across Bristol to clean the last double oven and this time it was a relatively easy job, an older NEFF double oven where the door was a bit tricky to take apart but other than that it was fine. Then back to the office to clean the van out and top up my water tank. I booked a few jobs in for next week and then that was end of the day.
2011 was a fabulous year for us although we had to work the hardest we've ever had to work in the office to get the guys all fully booked up. We had a few very quiet days but this made us change some things we do. So we did some things differently and worked out some new ways to market our business and get the jobs booked in, and it worked really well!
So we went to five guys working for us in May. We then had our best quarter ever in our history with a huge quarterly turnover, though we didn't like the VAT bill! And the newest guy left and we were back to four plus me which we are staying at for the forseeable future. So I ended up doing lots of AGA cleans.
We changed the way we take payments. We now only take payment by card in advance. The reason we changed this was we were becoming increasing concerned about the potential risk our guys were taking carrying around the takings they were getting. Also the cheque guarantee card was withdrawn in July and because of this we could see the demise of the cheque so thought it would be a good idea to pre empt this and take card payments only immediately. Also on two occassions in two days we'd turned up at jobs and the customer had said "sorry not today"! So as both were big jobs we lost the money.
With OvenGleamers things took off and we sold another four franchise areas – and we have three more sold in the first couple of weeks in January 2012. We now have got our van fit process right, the oven cleaning dip tank spec right (they are now built by our own manufacturer to my spec so they aren't obtained elsewhere), the business launch right and everything has come together very well.
We changed the ovengleam.com site again, now with the OvenGleamers logo and with a search box so people can search on postcodes to find out if we cover their area. The franchisees also get theeir own sites and videos.
Also our social media went wild. This blog went through the 60,000 page views barrier. My videos on Youtube had just under 20,000 views.
The OvenGleam van of the year 2012 winner for OvenGleam was Nigel and the employee of the year 2011 was Matt.
Before Christmas I cleaned the AGA that belonged to Dick King-Smith the author of the book Babe about the talking pig. You've probably seen the film. The house wasn't like the farm house in the film, apparantly this house belonged to a friend of Dick's and was a farm house down the road, but was a modest cottage with a rather nice garden and a small pig statute. It wasn't Babe but was wild hog statue but I remember reading an article on Dick and it said in that that he actually called this pig Babe.
The AGA was a standard AGA with enamel tops but looked, after I taken off all the muck, like a new one so it was obviously a reconditioned AGA. Dick died a year ago and his relatives were cleaning up the house as they wanted to get it ready to sell. Anyway when I had finished the AGA looked fabulous.
This is a frequently asked question. How much does it cost to heat up our plastic oven cleaning dip tank? The answer is it isn’t a lot. I have never measured it but it a few pence a day as we have an off peak meter that provides electricity at a low rate during the night.
We have the off peak meter because we have a 30 Amp AGA which is effectively a huge night storage heater that does a great job of cooking too! The cost for the off peak electricity useage is £40 a month and most of this is for running the AGA. Therefore the cost to heat up my tank is minimal.
The guys who work for us heat up at home every night and they don’t complain about the cost even the one who had a card meter who worked for us last year. But I expect this is about £1 to £2 a day.
Compare this with a gas burner system using propane. I’m guessing you’d get through a cylinder every ten days or so, so say two working weeks. The cost of a 6KG refill is going to be £20 top end. So not much in it really.
Just before Christmas I was cleaning a couple of ovens in the Cardiff area and the day before I'd eaten something very spicy. I mean really hot stuff – it's called ENCONA West Indian Sauce. I've got into the habit of putting this stuff on everything but on this day I over did it a touch and then ate the lot. Anway that day in Cardiff I was in desperate need of the loo. If you are out driving around like we are you know that public toilets are now like Chicken's teeth. I mean a whole load of them in Bristol were sold off and one, in a posh area of Bristol, was changed into a house and is shown above and is now for sale fo £260K .
So where is the best place to go now if you need to. Well it's McDonalds of course! They are nearly always the same in layout, though I have noticed that the new ones have better toilets, and whilst there you can now get a decent cup of coffee. So no brainer a great British McCrapper.
Really I try and avoid Customers toilets as I really don't want to go through the process of using their sink etc as I feel that I need to make sure all that is clean too. And I've got to change my gloves and there is that time I got dog pooh on the fluffy carpet in the downstairs toilet. So best to keep to McDonalds or at a push if you can bother with the parking at Tescos.
Whilst we are talking about McDonalds over the Christmas period I went to Germany for short break. In Germany they have a McCafe in the McDonalds where they serve ultra good coffee. So McDonalds can we have this please in the UK?
At this time of year we can get problems with the water pump in our vans. Because it is plastic if the cabin gets too cold and the water freezes in the pump then that can be the end of the pump. The plastic casing of the pump splits and it is a case of getting a new pump. To get around this problem we wrap up the pumps with insulation – we buy the fibre glass in plastic from B & Q. Or if the van is going to be left for a few days we disconnect the pipe from the supply tank and get all the water out of the pump by spraying out what is left in the system giving a dry pump.
Also now our franchisees have come up with another way to ensure that the cabin stays warm – putting in a small 40W heater that you plug in to the mains and it keeps the cabin nice and warm. They are quite cheap, about £14 from Ebay.
Really for us with plastic dip tanks that is our only real problem when it gets cold but if you are an oven cleaner with a propane or gas burner set up then you are looking at some big problems when it gets cold as the burners freeze up and then heating of the solution can take hours and really you just can't get anything done, the racks just don't get clean. So perhaps a little heater might sort this problem out for you too!
What an endorsement for Nissan and the NV200? Really fabulous news. Nissan won this deal to replace all of the 20,000 cabs in NYC with Nissan NV200s. One of the other competitors in the running for the prize was the Transit connect – phew great escape from that bag of nails for The New York City Taxis and Limousine Commission!
One of the great experiences of 2011 for me was getting to drive the Nissan NV200 van – both Brad and Brian two of our franchisees bought one and they are just fabulous vans. Really they are very much like my Daihatsu with the upright sitting position but with the modern touches of a great engine that does lots of miles to the gallon and of course a lot better constructed from a safety point of view.
I've been told in the past that the sort of wear that oven cleaning vans get from going from job to job during the day and all the stop start work is very much like a taxi so for Nissan to get this deal where they will supply all the taxis for New York City is really a huge deal worth billions of dollars. They went for the Nissan NV200 because of its space and its upright sitting position and of course that very economical engine that does over 50 mpg. Also Nissan are currently experimenting in London an electric Nissan NV200 and the hope is that by 2017 they will start having electric cabs in NYC too. The Nissan for NYC will be the van variant to be built in Mexico and then with further upgrade of the interior in NYC. Doesn't it look great?
Hmm can anyone tell me why this video has got all these views in just one month? Who said oven cleaning wasn't interesting! What did she say? Nice tips! Whoops nearly a typo there. Who said oven cleaning couldn't be sexy…
Glad that even pyrolytic ovens need cleaning and that people are afraid of it; really its like normal self cleaning ovens people can't be arsed to read the manual or carry out the process. Not sure if she is saying is right about not using blades though. From what I have seen the finish is very much the same as that found in a NEFF or BOSCH and that cleans up very well with a bit of blade work. The only difference when you look at them is that instead of the normal seal they have a metal seal, like those found on commercial cookers and also the door is like those on a microwave – so the door is like the one on a NEFF microwave door.
Last week as Alan took an extended Christmas Holiday I spent a couple of days doing the jobs that he would normally do. So on Tuesday I droved down to Devon to a place near Honiton and cleaned a Stanley Cooker and standard double oven and hob in one property. This probably about the tenth Stanley I have ever cleaned, so not many. The thing to remember is that they have plastic brackets that hold the handles. These can easily be stratched if you forget this. On this Stanley I unscrewed these brackets so I could dip the large, well large when compared with an AGA cooker, handles. The rest of the clean was relatively straight forward, the inside door panels are enamel so thses can be cleaned a lot quicker and with less effort than the those on the AGA. I had to do a bit more work in the main oven as there was some grease and burnt on carbon on the floor of it. But in the end it all looked good.