A previously uninspiring job role which focused on negative customer experiences left Pam unhappy in her career. Her supportive husband, who recognised how fantastic she was at working with the public, encouraged her to seek a new path. Together, they researched franchise opportunities and came across Ovenclean. Now, she’s happier than ever before.
Pam Patel has always had a customer-facing job role. Having worked for a national coach company and in breakdown cover for over 10 years, she went on to join the company’s customer complaints department. What she thought would be a role supporting the public with their travel challenges turned out to be a demanding job which left little to be desired.
She said: “The only way to describe my previous job, is ‘depressing’. I was working from home which meant I was alone for most of the day, and though I tried to stay positive about the situations I was presented with, some were very difficult to manage. I’d receive calls about the most ridiculous scenarios – such as customers asking for refunds because they didn’t like the person they had to sit next to.
“I thought there had to be something different out there, but I didn’t feel positive enough about work to actively search. My husband realised how big an impact my job was having on me, and made me see I could achieve more. He has a job as a salesman, visiting people’s homes and mixing with the public. He loves it, and he thought I would too. It turned out he was right.”
A fun and flourishing franchise
Pam and her husband researched jobs where she could make a difference to other people, offering a service they didn’t want to do themselves and which enabled her to regularly meet new people, and came across Ovenclean. She had reservations, but, spurred on by her husband, decided to take the plunge into self-employment.
She said: “Ovenclean was totally different to what I had always done, and I was worried that I wouldn’t get enough business through the door – there’s a lot of responsibility with being self-employed.
“But when I enquired about an Ovenclean franchise opportunity in my local area, I got reassurance very quickly. I attended an Open day where you meet experienced Ovenclean franchisees who explained how they had come from boring careers and would never go back. It made me think I could do it, so we invested.”
Learning from the experts
Anyone who joins the Ovenclean network is given on-the-job training and provided with a dedicated mentor who advises on how to get the most from your role. Pam was offered a husband and wife duo of mentors, who helped her get to grips with the job quickly.
She said: “I was introduced to Kevin and Jane who run their franchise as a couple. They gave me so much support, I’ll always be grateful to them – we’re still in touch today, in fact. Ovenclean also offered me head office guidance, to ensure my accounting and IT systems were ready for me to start taking bookings and issuing invoices.
“I chose not to actively market myself for the first few months while I learned the ropes, so my first lead came through Head Office. I was still technically in training and was nervous, but I focused on everything I had been taught so far, and drew on my experience of building a rapport with customers in all of my previous roles, and the job was a success.
“From there, I’ve slowly started building my own profile, using social media to develop the brand locally as well as newspapers and word of mouth recommendations. The business has grown quickly, and I absolutely love it.”
Preparation is key
Describing herself as super organised, as the business has grown Pam has identified ways to make her business more efficient and agile, ensuring she is prepared for whatever the day brings.
She said: “The key is to get ready for your day, the night before. I clean my van, top-up my solutions and make sure everything is ready for the next day so that I’m set to go bright and early. I’m super organised and leave reminders in my diary for when I need to get my cleaning gasses topped up, or when I need to replenish my micro cloths.
“Because we’re both in the home improvement industry, my husband and I can refer customers to each other which has been an efficient way of building up more demand. They meet one of us, see us do a good job and know the other one will deliver to the same standard – I suppose you could call us a bit of a power couple!”
Complete job satisfaction
Pam never anticipated owning her own business, or cleaning ovens for a living but says the satisfaction she gets outweighs anything she has ever experienced in previous roles.
She said: “The exciting part is not really knowing what to expect from each customer. Sometimes I’m in and out within an hour, other times I’m there much longer. But whatever the case, the best part is the result. I absolutely love looking at my customers’ faces when they see I’ve got their oven looking cleaner than they ever expected it to. I know how happy I am when I do my own, so they must feel really happy for someone else to have done it for them. I’ve actually had a few hugs off really satisfied customers!
“I form a strong bond with some customers; I’m in their house for a while and we get chatting. I know which ones will want me to come back, and which will refer me to their friends. It’s a hard, physically demanding job– but it’s so satisfying.
“On average, I do four jobs a day and then spend a bit of time getting rid of the mess and cleaning my equipment. My friend helps me with that part, so it gets done quicker, and every day I get to catch up with her which is another bonus.”
One eye on the future
Pam’s success as an Ovenclean franchisee has caused her to think big when it comes to the future. She’s keen to grow her business and create more of an empire. But whatever the future holds, she knows it lies with Ovenclean.
She said: “I’ve got my eye on a neighbouring area, and when that comes up for sale, I would like to purchase it and extend my network. It’ll mean I have to take someone on, buy a second van and potentially do more of the sales, booking and invoicing than I do cleaning. But who knows what the future holds – it’s promising and there are lots of avenues to explore.
“The main difference for me since joining Ovenclean is that I wake up happy. I wish I’d done this 10 years ago. My husband pushed me to get to this point and I’m so glad he did. I only have to rely on myself, and I know that I’ll do a good job. It’s my business, my time, my happiness. And that’s such a huge reward.”