All Posts by Graham Rogers

May 19

Fixing Stoves Oven Door Hinge

By Graham Rogers | Uncategorized

Hamburgerpaumelle

Hamburgerpaumelle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been enjoying myself today. I managed to get out the office to go and see a client of ours who has reported a problem with her door. She said it wasn’t like that before we cleaned it! We had already sent back our employee who cleaned it and also one of tour other more experienced employees but they both couldn’t see how to fix it.

So I went around there today. I had a look at it and it looked like the fault I was expecting that is the right hand side oven door hinge was coming out of the oven meaning that when you tried to close the door to close it properly you had to push that side in with your hand. And this problem is caused by a broken spring.

So I wanted to confirm the problem but how do you find the spring? I first took the front screws off and tried to see if the front split off but it didn’t. Then I took the whole oven out of its surround and put it on to the floor. so I could have a look to see how you got into the area where the hinge was. I took the top bit of the casing off first but under there was just the electrics for the oven control board. Then I took the back off but you couldn’t see the hinge from there. Then I took the side panel off and then right at the bottom I could see the hinge and the spring.

And yes there it was looking very rusty with its end broken off.

I told the client that it wasn’ t our fault it was just a a coincidence that it happened after we cleaned the oven.  But I still offered to go back and fit it and they have been a client of ours since 2007 and have their oven cleaned often with us.

I need to get a spring and looking on Espares the price is £2.50 for the spring so probably close to £10 once we put postage and packing on to that.

I have recorded taking the oven a part so I’ll put a video together in the next day or so.

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May 17

LaCanche Range Cooker Problems

By Graham Rogers | Uncategorized

 

We have a complaint this week from an owner of my favourite cooker (I am being sarcastic) the LaCanche Range Cooker. The problem was with a LaCanche Cluny Range Cooker which we cleaned a last week. It was cleaned by one of employees who

Think

Think (Photo credits: www.mysafetysign.com)

Thought (Photo credits: www.mysafetysign.com)

has been with us for six and half years. The customer had complained that the middle two hob pot stands had gone grey. We went back to sort it out. This is a problem that happens every now and again and I think there has been about one a year since we have been trading in 2004, I can remember going back to a Lacanche owner last year. Considering we clean about 90 ovens a week this figure is so low that there is no correlation between what happens and our process. On thinking about it before I have always thought there must have been a problem in the manufacturer process, either the hob racks weren’t enamelled or not enamelled properly – something a customer wouldn’t notice when looking at the cooker in the showroom.

The normal procedure for this is to go back to the client and we then oil the problem hob rack, and everyone has been happy with this until the customer this week. She said they were (the hob pot stands)  now ‘rough’ and she couldn’t now clean it with her sponge as it now left residue. So she demanded that we fix it as she said it was a problem with our cleaning process. I told her that the probability of the racks going grey from our process was so low that there was  another reason why they had gone grey.

As only the central two hob pot stands had “gone grey”, that is there were two other hob racks which were as they were at the beginning of the process at the end there had to be another cause of the problem other than our cleaning process as it had been a problem then all the  racks would have also “gone grey” together. But they didn’t.

So on asking her about her cleaning of the hob racks she told me that she regularly put the two hob racks in the dishwasher to clean them and had done this since buying the cooker in 1998. This got me thinking about dishwashers and I can remember a range cooker where all the hob racks went grey back in 2004; I oiled them and I remember the customer ringing me up about six months later to ask me “how I oiled them” and with what as she had put them in the dishwasher and they had “gone grey” again. So from this I think the reason why some racks go grey in our process is that they have already been damaged by regular cleaning in the dishwasher. If I am correct it is a combination of the strong PH in the dishwasher tablets and the hot temperatures that some dishwashers get up to. This produces in effect that removes, over time, the enamel coating on some racks especially if they haven’t been manufacturer properly but they look okay as a build up of burnt on carbon still leaves them looking black. And when we clean the burnt on carbon off they are left with a grey finish.

Back to my client, I agreed to get them enamelled for her. I went to our local enamellers Hytech Enamellers and asked them to enamel them. I went back on Thursday and picked them up. As they were already wrapped up I didn’t check them. I went straight to the client and then on unwrapping them in her kitchen found that they looked alright but there were still some rough bits on the hob stands. I wasn’t expecting this as I thought enamelling would be thick enough to take out any rough bits. The customer still isn’t happy as she still can’t use her sponge to clean it. I offered her a one of my microfibre cloths which worked very well without snagging but she wouldn’t have it. She and her neighbour who was there demanded I buy new hob stands.

But my next step was to go back to the enamelling company to see if they can put on a thicker finish to sort out the problem but they asked to have a look at the enamel on the quality of the original rack so they could match it. On asking the customer to get one of the undamaged racks she told me that she wasn’t prepared for me to take it away as she wouldn’t be able to use her cooker.  So I have now decided to put it through the insurance even though I have taken reasonable steps to sort things out. We will see what they say.

I checked the price of the Lacanche spare hob pot stands and they are a grand total £480 including VAT and posting, and as the cooker only cost £2000 back in 1998 it is daylight robbery! I tried to get a discount for being trade, but they told me that I can’t get trade because we are a cleaning company.  Strange as we have accounts to get trade price with lots of other companies, for example cleaning products and bits to repair other ovens.  In all the company with the exclusive right to sell everything Lacanche in the UK who I was dealing with weren’t very helpful at all. I think their attidute is that they have the exclusive rights so why should they budge?

On reading the reviews on the review centre http://www.reviewcentre.com/reviews50914.html the reviews there aren’t very positive so there are a lot of people on there who agree with me. This might be because it is a venting place for people who have had to buy spare parts and been shocked by the prices for replacement and on going servicing costs. For example I was shocked myself to see that people have been paying £600 for a LaCanche Cooker Service. What does the service involve that means it comes to that amount? And a thermostat is £250.

So my advice is if you are thinking about a Lacanche, I know they look great and are built like tanks, but  have a look at the AGA Rangemaster 110 or if you want something a bit posher go for the Falcon which is also made by the AGA Rangemaster Group but has a higher quality feel, forget the LaCanche. And of course if you want a real range in your kitchen I always recommend the one I have got a 30 Amp AGA Cooker.

 

If you have any ideas of why the pot stands on the hob went grey  please comment here.

 

 

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May 01

Oven Gleam is Nine Years Old

By Graham Rogers | Uncategorized

The last big event recently for us  was last week as it was OvenGleam’s birthday so my oven cleaning business OvenGleam is now 9 years old. That is nine years ago was my first day of cleaning ovens and I drove to Wellington in Somerset from my home in Taunton and cleaned a single oven for elderly lady and also for her sister next door, exactly the same oven again. I remember I had problems with cleaning an aluminium tray which was in the oven, I can’t remember exactly where it was but to make a good impression I scrubbed it to get it clean. I won’t do that these days as I know a quicker way! So it was all go on that day. I had the brand new Ford Transit Connect, all sign written and looking very smart and me brand new too.

So after those two jobs I then drove a short way down the road and cleaned an oven for an even older gentleman who was in his eighties. The oven was an older style one and I can remember that I thought it was an easy job. So in quite a good first day. But then it was just me in the business on my own, so I was doing everything on that day. I remember really taking a long time to get going I think really from lack of confidence but once I had ordered the van then I had to put things in place. When I started I had the other business too, which I had lost interest in, the Time For You Franchise I had bought a year earlier and which I found really boring to do as it was so straight forward. So it was me running both companies doing everything. It was really lucky that I met my now wife Catherine a month after doing all this and she started helping me by taking the calls and booking in appointments which allowed me to concentrate on the marketing stuff, such as Google Adwords which helped us to grow the business.

Now nine years later I haven’ t been out cleaning since January and am in the office working on marketing for the business and doing other stuff like, still managing the Adwords, thinking of videos to put together and sorting out some new training for AGA renovation which I intend to roll out across the network, and I am remembering the reasons why I went into oven cleaning in the first place. Being back in the office is, well boring, it doesn’t match a day out oven cleaning, with the effort to get things done and the satisfaction from the great comments, and driving the van around, and the visits to the coffee shops.

But the reality is now we are a larger business and we now we have lots of franchisees and have employees in our office and the best bit is we also have the new Mercedes Benz Citan van for the business – with another one turning up at the beginning of next week, so really exciting times.

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Apr 18

Oven Cleaning franchisee Testimonial From OvenGleamers

By Graham Rogers | Uncategorized

Oven Cleaning Franchisee Testimonial from OvenGleamers.

This is a testimonial from Jason Luck our franchisee in Lewes East Sussex. He has now been going for about fourteen months and I recorded this video when we did his business launch in Lewes in February of 2012. I have never liked the video as the sound was rubbish on it. I think I must have forgotten to switch my mike on or something. But I have decided to put it on to You Tube as I am using the video on my new Franchise page so thought it would be good on there. Jason has a fabulous area in Lewes with the oven cleaning market being particularly strong and he continues to grow his business. If you are looking to get your oven cleaned in Lewes or East Sussex give us a ring on 0800 45 92 357 or click through to his website here: oven cleaning lewes . Also if you would like a franchise opportunity in an area that adjoins Jason’s, say in Brighton or Mid, West or South Sussex then go to our franchising information page here : oven cleaning franchise

Apr 17

Oven Cleaning Services Video by OvenGleamers

By Graham Rogers | Uncategorized

Oven Cleaning Services video from OvenGleamers.

Here is a a ‘new video’ of my old oven cleaning video, so the old one edited and updated a bit. I have noticed that the line up for my employees has changed a bit with two of them having left and we have now a new operative. This is was when we were operating 6 vans in the Summer of 2011. So we managed to maintain the work for the five employees and get me some additional jobs. When one of the guys left (he set up his own oven cleaning company which lasted for three months) we decided not to recruit anyone and have had four employees since then, changing one of them.

Apr 13

Is oven cleaning business Seasonal?

By Graham Rogers | Uncategorized

I have been asked recently is oven cleaning seasonal? This was from someone who had had a weed control business and his business was dependant on the weather and was also seasonal.

Well oven cleaning as a business does have its higher points in the year. For example the Yellow Pages rep showed us the graphical representation of calls to us and it showed a steep curve upwards from September onwards. So that last quarter is our more busier time of year but we still keep our four vans booked up for the rest of the year but it means more work from us to get it. For example marketing to our client base with offers etc to get the full days.

Also January can be quiet but for the last couple of years we seem to have got around that by running different offers. We have increased our prices as of the 1st of December and then run an offer in January saying get last years prices which were the ones before we changed them in the December.

We have just had a quieter few weeks because of the school holidays (we think) and then suddenly last week it all changed when the kids went back to school after their Easter break. Looking at the bookings for the next few days we seem to be doing well.

 

Apr 12

Living Social Deal oven cleaner out of business

By Graham Rogers | Uncategorized

I’ve mentioned a few times that I think it is madness for an oven cleaner to take the risk of a Living Social deal or Groupon Deal as if they sell too many deals they end up working until the end of the deal for about £20 to £30 a day every day for three months which in the end effectively puts them out of business.

I noticed a deal a few weeks ago in Bristol where the company sold 200 cleans at a price of £19 a clean of which they probably got £8 a clean. The company wasn’t even a specialist oven cleaning company but a general cleaning company, with a bad web site, who from what I could see from their site had been in business for only a short while. My guess is that they probably aren’t in business now as they would have struggled to get the jobs in.

This week I have noticed a deal in Cardiff where the deal is £21 for the clean of which I would expect the, this time a proper oven cleaning company, to get about £9 per clean. They have sold about 90 cleans and there is still four days left on the deal http://www.livingsocial.com/united_kingdom/cities/213-cardiff/deals/645250-deep-clean-for-single-oven

So if they get close to 200 that will be 3 to 4 ovens a day for the next 14 weeks. 14 weeks at £27 a day? Seems like madness to me.

We clean ovens in Cardiff too. Our price for the same single oven clean is £77. Our normal day in Cardiff would be three to four jobs returning us £240 to £320.

Which company would you prefer to have?

Apr 05

How long to train

By Graham Rogers | Uncategorized

So here is a question how long does it take to train when starting an oven cleaning business?

Well I suppose the answer is how thorough and detailed do you go in the training? For me when training new employees and new franchisees I want to be happy that they can do the job straight away after training, that is I want to be sure that they are able to manage any job that we book in. For employees it is slightly different in that us usually we will only book in standard single and double ovens For a few weeks to get them up to speed.This is because we will be booking in 3 jobs a day from day one. Once they are managing this satisfactorily then we will start booking in range cookers and then later after they have been doing this for a while we will do some additional training on AGA cookers before booking these in. For franchisees we do all their training, including the AGA cookers in the same week but I ensure they all know how to clean every different oven, hob, extractor which they may encounter. In our training kitchen I can ensure they gets lots of practice  on taking doors off and putting them back and also ensure they can strip down the Creda Continental which can be tricky to take apart.

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oven cleaning vans
Mar 17

Goodbye Transit Connect and Citroen Berlingo

By Graham Rogers | Uncategorized

We said goodbye to my Ford Transit Connect van that I have had for the last seven years. We traded it in for the new Citan as they gave us a very good deal on the trade in. The trade in price was £1250 which for this van with 130,000 miles on the clock to me was, yes oven cleaning vansreally too good. The van has been pretty sound for the last few months; the last big problem we had with it was when the chasis needed welding and we weren’t sure whether it was going to be able to done and it had to be done to get it through its MOT. So if it hadn’t been done we would have scrapped it straight away. Luckily it was a straight forward job that Robins and Day Peugeot in Bristol sorted out for us. So  the van was top of my list to go as I wasn’t sure how long we could keep it roadworthy ourselves without big expensive bill or scrapping it. If you read through my blog you will realise that we had some major problems with the two Ford Transit Connects we once had, with my first one’s head gasket going and having to be replaced, luckily under warranty, at 60K and then that one’s engine going completely at 117K at the same time that the turbo and then the engine went on the second one. We had to make a decision and scrapped the older one and replaced the engine on the newer one. So even though it had 130,000 on the clock it had done only 70K on the new engine. We stripped out the oven cleaning dip tank, the partition, the water tank and hosed and cleaned the interior, and this reminded me that we actually paid someone back in 2005 to fit it out at a cost of £2500 for the fit and another £1500 for the dip tank, so in total £4,000 to turn the then new van into a working oven cleaning company van. Now for our new vans the fit including the tank is £3K and it is like chalk and cheese, our new fit and tank are a lot different from that old van fit. We have a completely lined back ‘wet area’ that is sealed, that is the joins on the plastic are welded  which makes the back look very clean and smart, and the dip tank is now insulated so it means that it doesn’t need charging up so much each day. And for this cost I put in internal lights and get everything professionally wired. So that price for the van fit back in 2006 then was a bit excessive, but I think I paid it as I needed to get the van on the road ASAP as I had a new employee on board who was driving my first van and I need  a new van for me as soon as possible, so it was the time when we went from one to two vans and I needed to get a van on the road fast.

Also last week we had to get our old Citroen Berlingo MOTed and it failed on lots of things will a bill to repair  and get it through the MOT of £1000, and on top of this would have been the cost of the service and the MOT which added another £250 on to the bill. I had the van again since 2006 and I had originally ran it as a lawn care van, when we ventured out into the world of lawn care (it didn’t last that long – I’ll do a post about the comparisons of the two business concepts). As this was going to be the second van I was going to trade in we have decided to get what we can from the Mercedes-Benz dealer for trade in as it stands. They had already offered me £700 on trade in, and again for a van that has done around about 140,000 miles that wasn’t a bad price for us, so we will see what the new figure is. In the last six months we had fixed the gearbox linkage and a clutch problem so problems seemed to be becoming more regular with it. I have already ordered our second Citan, but as it is a factory fit , so we can get the tailgate on it, we may have to wait a few more weeks before it gets on the road. But we can cope, as the van I was using as a ‘franchise’ demonstrator van, the Peugeot Partner, is now on the road and is being driven by one of our guys who has reported to me that the tank makes a huge difference in the time he now has to heat up each day – its an hour a day heat up time and it stays hot all day, meaning now additional heating up for the day. And my own working van – the Daihatsu Extol – is now out being driven by one of the guys.

So once the trade in price is confirmed on the Berlingo we will be stripping that van out this week too. We are looking at getting both of the Daihatsu Extols replaced this year too as they are both getting to the end of their life. We are faced with a bill to replace the exhaust on one of them of £1500 which is more that the van is worth (trade in offered against the Citan was £350) but I may be able to get one from a scrap yard or exhaust manufacturer cheaper than this. But we have the same problem with the other van (I broke the exhaust flange when I reversed into a low wall) and parts for these Japanese vans can be difficult to get hold of.

I am also getting the  older oven cleaning dip tanks which I am taking out of these vans, upgraded with the insulation and other bits to bring them up to the spec of our new tanks.

So our current van line up is:

62 Plate Mercedes-Benz Citan – OvenGleamers Demonstrator.

12 Plate Peugeot Partner – OvenGleamers branded van

56 Plate Daihatsu Extol – OvenGleam van

06 Plate Daihatus Extol – OvenGleam van

10 Plate  Citroen Berlingo – OvenGleam van.

With the old Citroen Berlingo just about to be off on trade in.

New Mercedes-Benz Citan van due in the next few weeks.

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Feb 25

Oven Cleaners Top Tips for Cleaning Burners

By Graham Rogers | Uncategorized

English: Spirit Vinegar Français : Vinaigre bl...

English: Spirit Vinegar Français : Vinaigre blanc Svenska: Ättikssprit Dansk: Gaeringseddike ‪Norsk (bokmål)‬: Eddik ‪Norsk (nynorsk)‬: Eddik Suomi: Väkiviinaetikka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I thought I’d share some top tips with you for cleaning cooker hob burner units that I have known about for a while but have been asked about more than once lately so is worth sharing.

 

Question one is: How do you get the black carbon off of the aluminium burners surrounds?

 

Well for this the normal process to clean them is to use a steel scourer or a soap pad and just grip the burner in your hand between finger and thumb with one hand and with the other holding the scourer in the same way rub the scourer along the aluminium. I tend to hold the burner close to my chest which means I tend to make my shirt wet. Doing this is hard and makes your forearms really ache, but you get huge forearms after a while. This method works 99% of the time and I get a great shiny end result. I have tried wearing an apron but found it too impractical and I and got too hot. But the tip is this if the burner is really black and just won’t move with the steel scourer, then I use a product called ‘Astonish Grease Buster Tablets’ which I keep as an emergency item in the van. You need to be careful with this product, and it does mean using some hot water from the customer. You need to read the full instructions and take the appropriate precautions! But I have found that for the really tough ones this product gets all the black off and gives a brilliant finish every time.

 

Question two is: How do I get the brass bits of the burners, that is the rings around the burners that are on some ranges, clean?

 

Well the normal answer would be again I use the same method as the for the aluminium rings as above with the scourer and elbow grease. But for a fantastic finish I use White Vinegar. You just soak them for 30 minutes and they come out looking like new. Again be careful with the vinegar and take appropriate precautions!!
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