We have decided to change our van supplier for Franchisees. If you read my blog you will probably aware that I wrote a glowing post about the Peugeot Partner van which I bought last year and which was going to be our preferred van from a preferred supplier a local company. Unfortunately the company wasn’t able to get a van quick enough for my liking last year when we wanted one. And although I think the Peugeot is a fabulous van, it looks great, drives well, is robust, and looks great in our OvenGleamers livery there were some things that niggled me from a professional oven cleaner prospective. The supplier had increased the cost of the electrical fit on the last fit they did which, although I didn’t say anything at the time, was a bit of a cheek. And I didn’t like the fact that it only had one side door. If you’ve read some of my really old posts on oven cleaning van you would have seen that I mentioned that the best fit for an oven cleaning van is one with two side doors, and a tailgate. The only problem with this arrangement is that to get this spec with the doors you need to make a factory order and the vans I liked, the Peugeot Partner, the Citreon Berlingo, and the Nissan NV200 did come with a tailgate how ever you ordered it!
Enter the new Mercedes Benz Citan van.
In October 2011 I was training three new franchisees together and I remember being in the office and taking a strange call. The lady who rang was very nice and wanted to know what sort of vans we had. She asked me all about the makes, the age of them etc and then said, “I think your Ford Transit Connect qualifies you, but it may be a bit too old let me check”. Anyway she checked and said yes it would be fine and asked me if I would like to go to Germany that Saturday (it was Thursday when she was asking me) to view a van. I would be flown from my local airport and taken to the place where I would be asked my opinion of a van and they would pay me £150 in expenses! She didn’t actually tell which van it was, but it either had to be a VW or a Mercedes Benz. New Caddy – No, so I thought it had to be a new Mercedes and if they were asking for my opinion when my Transit Connect was a qualifying vehicle it had to be a similar sized one. So I booked the car parking for Saturday and then late on Friday night we got a call to say it all been cancelled. So I was disappointed, I had lost the £30 for the parking ticket but I thought “oh well I’ll learn”. A few weeks later a cheque arrived in the post for £150 – sorry for trouble etc etc.
So how does that lead to the Mercedes Benz Citan van. Well a couple of weeks ago I saw the advert in the Daily Mail for the new Mercedes van and then next day I rang the local dealer and they came out to see us. And the conclusion is we have decided to go ahead with buying a Mercedes Benz Citan for our Franchisee demonstrator van and also to start replacing our fleet. I have just ordered the Blue Efficiency one with Stop Start Technology and looking at the test figures they say it does 61 miles to the gallon; if we get that we will be laughing. They come as standard with two side doors which is an immediate improvement on the Peugeot and we have come to arrangement with our local Mercedes dealer that they will keep in stock models with tailgates for potential franchisees which is going to be absolutely fabulous for us and our new franchisees. The Citan van is a revamped Renault Kangoo which I have mentioned before was a target for us, but we never hit it off with the Renault dealer in Bristol (City Motors) and the last time we went to their showroom there were two female cleaners who showed us around! So the van is the same but the support, and relationship is different.
I am currently driving a loan model and so far it has been impressive.
What struck us about Mercedes is that they have a separate Commercial division, and they have an excellent support network across Europe (not that our vans are going to Europe – though maybe our franchisees may take theirs on holiday with them), and if they can’t fix your van on the roadside they will take it and fix it over night. Also servicing can be done over night. All big positive points for us and franchisees.
So the point of my van show in Germany story is you normally get back something if you give them something. The Law of Reciprocity.
So I should have my new Mercedes Benz Citan van in the next couple of days, it is going to be fitted out and it will be at the Franchise Show at the NEC on the 22nd and 23rd. You won’t be able to see inside it as it is static but you will be able to see its shiny-ness and how it looks with the Mercedes Benz badge. Oven Cleaning Franchise
at the NEC