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Ovenu is defying the pandemic doom-mongers having added five new franchisees and created three new subcontractor jobs in recent weeks as demand for its oven cleaning service continues to boom.
Founder and managing director, Rik Hellewell, said: “Our franchisees have genuinely never been busier, despite the challenges presented by coronavirus.
“I know many businesses are in a much less fortunate position and, to a large extent, their hands are tied because of the restrictions.
“While we are definitely benefitting from people spending more time at home cooking and baking, Ovenu was able to break through that initial reluctance by some to invite tradespeople back into their homes.”
Rik used the period following spring lockdown – when Ovenu franchisees mothballed their businesses for some two months – to draw up robust covid-secure policies and procedures designed to instil clients with confidence.
During the past ten weeks, Ovenu has welcomed five new franchisees in North Derby, Newton Abbot, York, South Oxon, and Grantham. Two have started in new territories while the others replace franchisees who retired some months ago.
Each was able to return home from a week-long induction at Ovenu’s Wokingham-based training centre to a healthy order book. In the south of England, Tom Mungall of Ovenu Oxon South, had two weeks’ worth of appointments already confirmed. And in the north of England, John Duggleby of Ovenu York secured over 30 bookings by the end of his first trading week.
In addition, three current franchisees in Cambridge, Cardiff and Lytham have each taken on a sub-contractor to help them cope with the rise in demand.
Rik said: “Fortunately, for us, some of the dire economic forecasts have failed to materialise, most importantly the collapse of the property market. I’m relieved to find many of the doom-mongers were proved wrong.”
The continued healthy state of both property sales and lettings has provided Ovenu with valuable income. Since June almost every other booking has concerned a home move.
“I’ve traded through economic turndowns, but I’ve never faced anything like this, it’s a first,” said Rik. “However, our success is based on ongoing communication with our franchisees and clients, the fact that we have a unique training facility and an unshakeable belief in our product and procedures.
“In fact, we have had a flood of enquiries from people wanting to become franchisees – all of whom I meet personally to ensure they are committed and possess the right qualities.”
Several of the new franchisees also made successful applications for a government start-up loan to cover the cost of investing into the franchise. – a process made easier by Ovenu’s support in drawing up a business plan and creating profit forecasts.
He added: “Some of our franchisees are doing so well, that if they decided not to take any earnings from the business they would be in a position to repay the start-up loan in a matter of months.
“Business is booming, and that success is not just down to providence but a great deal of foresight, planning and investment. It’s proof positive that the franchise system works, even in the most challenging of times.”
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