ovengleamers van
Oct 04

Troublesome Employee Number 2

By Graham Rogers | Uncategorized

So after our last employee left we felt well that’s all over and lets try again. We quickly found someone, through a recruitment agency, who was suitable and  interested.

He seemed nice enough. As I was just about to go on holiday I took him out for a day and then let my employees train him. Big mistake!

It wasn’t that he wasn’t cleaning well enough after his training week. It was that he may not have been an ideal candidate to be trained in the art of cleaning in our OvenGleamers method. The subtleties of getting the process right were over looked. There were some things that if I’d known about I would have corrected or made a decision to get rid of him.  He got through the training week and went out on his own.

When I got back I looked at the reviews he was getting. They were good.He was getting to the jobs on time, and doing good cleans. One lady said she would have him back every time from now onwards, she was so impressed.

But then some things started to happen that got us thinking.  He said to me when he came to the office: “These jobs are TOUGH!”. Considering he was only doing standard single and standard double oven cleans, this got me thinking that he may  not be up to it. We were just about to train him to do the bigger ranges and AGAs. This was going to be after I had gone out to ensure it wasn’t only the end result he was getting right but our overall process as well. I had a feeling that he was just going through the motions as far as the paperwork was concerned.

So I think he must have known, I not sure how. I looked at the his schedule and decided to check all the jobs he was going to do in our village the following week.

Then he called in sick for a “back problem” on a Monday. Okay I know that it’s easy to get back problems, but this guy was a relatively young bloke and he said he got it from laying down on a kitchen floor whilst cleaning the ceiling of the oven. Beats me. We had to re arrange his appointments. He saw the doctor and he said he would be okay for the next day.

Then we got a call, on the same day that he had taken off sick, to say that he hadn’t returned a key to a local letting agent from whom he had picked up a key to do a clean on the Thursday before. The key hadn’t been returned on the day and it was now four days afterwards. This is something we are hot on and something we would never do! I went to see him to pick up the key. He said that it was too far from the job to get back to the agents and then to get to the next job on that day. We checked the job, it was last one of the day! He lives 5 minutes away from the letting agency. Why didn’t he just drop it off?

Then the next day things came to an explosive end…


Oct 03

New Oven Cleaner Employee Trouble Post Two

By Graham Rogers | training

Oven Cleaner: Things got worse:

I am going to give you the  list of all the other things that went wrong with our (first – we have just got rid of number 2!) troublesome oven cleaner employee of this year. There was quite a long list in the end.  His cleaning was fine. We were getting good reviews. But in the second week he had an accident in his van. He drove into the back of a car in slow traffic in Bristol centre. He told me on the phone that it was minor damage to both vehicles, “just a few scratches”. So I didn’t bother to follow it up and get the van to the office to look at it. (our guys work from home and only come in for supplies now and then).

When I saw the van, about two weeks later, the damage wasn’t minor at all. The van needed a new front wing and front section. We had to make our first insurance claim in the 13 and half years we had been trading. The insurance claim in the end was £7,000. £3,000 damage to our van and £4,000 to the car he drove into. I didn’t give him the sack then but a few months later.

Other things that he did wrong in that time:

Getting a speeding ticket on a Saturday close to his parents home in Herefordshire. “Why did you use the van for private use?” “I just popped to the shops”. “What shops that were close to your parents in Herefordshire?” No answer.

Phoning up with excuses to finish early on a Friday: “This AGA is so bad I’m going to have to spend the rest of the day cleaning it so I can’t do the two jobs booked in afterwards. Can you change those appointments?”. Straight away I got into the van and drove to the job. By the time I got there he had been there nearly three hours. I was expecting an old beyond help AGA Standard. But what was there was a lovely, newish, Wedgewood Blue AGA. It wasn’t bad at all – though he told me that the troublesome bit was burnt on carbon on the simmering top plate lid). I looked at it and thought “Easy Job”. It just need finishing off. I told him to go and do the two following jobs. He left. I finished off the AGA, I couldn’t get the lid 100% but it was nearly there. It took me an hour to finish it. The AGA is the photo on this post.

We had a bad review because he failed to take a hide and slide door apart telling the customer when the customer asked him why he wasn’t taking the door apart: “I’m 98% sure that they don’t come apart!” Even though the customer got the manual out and he could have phoned me to help him. Even though I had taken him trough how to do it.

I wanted to speak to him about this bad review so asked him to come to the office to see me after his last job of the day which finished at 1500. I sat in the office waiting for him and got a call at 1700 from him to say that the van had broken down in the centre of Bristol on the M32. He just had to drive from Cheltenham to our office in Bristol along the M5 to get to me. I asked him “why were you in Bristol?” He said “I went home to change as me trousers were wet”!

Two parking tickets outside the doctors surgery for two different visits to his local doctors. “Why didn’t you register the van at reception?”.

The question you are probably wanting to know is why did we keep him for so long? Well the answer is we were (and still are) REALLY busy. Letting him go would have meant losing a lot of money. We started advertising for a new employee and he saw the advert and asked us why we were advertising. We told him the semi- truth that we needed to get our spare van working, and needed an additional person in addition to him.

In the end we had to let him go as he started not turning up for jobs. So he started becoming unreliable. We can’t have that as our business relies on turning up on time. He took a day off work. We told him we needed to pick the van up as we needed it.

That day he gave us the run around, not letting us have the key for the van. He told us he was in the main Bristol library, we drove there, it was closed.

He just didn’t want to speak to us. He eventually left the key with the van unlocked outside his home.

We picked the van up and noticed straight away that the van had been in another accident (another insurance claim).

We told him that his services were not required.

We found a new employee. Though first we offered the job to two people and each of them  didn’t turn up to start. The third one did. He turned out to be a problem too…

To be continued.