December 12, 2007 // Franchising.com // - Ovenu franchisee Paul Clark, who recently established his business in Warrington, has hailed the decision to become his own boss as 'the best move of his life'.
In less than two months Paul, 44, has created an impressive order book with his local reputation growing at pace.
"To be honest, I wish I had made this decision 10 years' ago," said Paul.
"It really has been the best move of my life. The reaction from local people has been superb and I believe I have a really bright future ahead with this business."
Becoming an Ovenu franchisee was not a decision Paul took lightly. After nearly 30 years in the social work sector he felt he was ready for a change, but was unsure of what direction to take.
"Franchising looked like a good option for me and my family, but it was important to do the research," he said.
"Although I wanted to leave social work it did provide me with an excellent employment package including sick pay and generous holidays. If I was to become a franchisee then every detail had to be perfect."
Paul spent several months researching franchising and, specifically, the oven valeting sector. He contacted a couple of companies in the industry, including Ovenu, and presented them with a long list of questions to help him with his research.
"The British Franchise Association gave me some good benchmarks to look for, which helped when approaching franchisors," said Paul.
"I needed to know if any of these companies were right for me and my circumstances."
Paul also met with companies in the sector and came away with the view that working with Ovenu could be a fruitful arrangement.
"I was impressed that, in addition to answering all of my questions, Ovenu were very open with me and didn't pressure me into any decision," he said.
Paul met with Ovenu Managing Director, Rik Hellewell, at the company's head office and training centre in Wokingham where he was encouraged to speak to existing Ovenu franchisees for their views and experiences.
"One of the companies I spoke to gave me names of a couple of franchisees to speak to who turned out to be trainers as well, which didn't fill me with a lot of confidence," said Paul.
"Ovenu, on the other hand, gave me the names of their entire network and encouraged me to call any of them, which I did. They were all impressive and proud advocates of the business."
After taking the decision to join Ovenu, Paul was quick to discover the true benefits of becoming one of the business' franchisees. A comprehensive training programme, which included a mix of practical valeting skills, business planning, accounts and marketing strategies, revealed Ovenu's highly-effective 'turn-key' franchise offering.
"Quite simply, Ovenu has a very attractive, practical approach to operating a franchise. All of the constituent parts are there and the business is ready to operate even before you leave the training centre," said Paul.
During his training programme Paul took part in confidence-building shadowing sessions by joining established franchisees on jobs in customers' homes. He also underwent in telemarketing training, which helped secure his first set of bookings in Warrington.
"Ovenu's national enquiry service was already active in my area so, even though I was following up enquiries as part of my training, I was, in fact, putting the first bookings in my order book," he said.
"I couldn't believe it; I left Ovenu head office with four confirmed jobs and more enquires on the way."
Paul's telephone enquiries are supplemented by Ovenu's Internet offering, which has been designed to support franchisee's local marketing. Ovenu creates a 'mini-site' for each franchisee, which is linked to the main site, www.ovenu.co.uk and provides local information for customers.
He said: "The mini-site is excellent and is generating about two or three bookings a week. It also helpful for people who want to know about the service because it has a really informative video, which explains everything they want to know."
Paul has also promoted the business to potential customers through targeted leaflet drops and advertising and editorials in the local media using Ovenu's PR and marketing services, which is also included in the franchise offering.
"The reaction from customers has been very positive and, in addition to the marketing plans I have implemented, the power of referrals is also paying dividends," he said.
People interested in enjoying similar success to Paul can contact Ovenu by calling Ken Roston on 01325 251455.