Graham Rogers Story
Hello my name is Graham Rogers and I am the founder of OvenGleamers The Premium Oven Cleaning Franchise. I started my oven cleaning business in April 2004 cleaning my first oven in Wellington in Somerset UK, followed by two more in the same town on the same day.
Why did I start an oven cleaning business?
I was in the Royal Air Force for thirteen years and I was a technical tradesman working on Avionics. For the last seven years of my service I was stationed in North Wales and lived in the wilds of North Wales in a traditional stone cottage.
For the last five years, because I had been studying for a Computer Degree with the Open University, I was moved into an IT section and became a programmer, working on automated programs for technical authors. I was signed up for a full 22 years term service but in 1996 I was made redundant and I got a payout of £46,000.
The first thing I did was to buy an AGA cooker for my cottage. I actually bought it in Taunton when I was down there visiting my parents and got the guy to travel all the way up to North Wales to install it for me! I remember the call from him when he had got Oswestry (still an hour’s drive to my cottage). I had just got back from New York (something else on top of my list of things to do after redundancy) and I was heavily jet lagged. But I got up and drove down to Oswestry and met the plumber and the AGA restorer in a lay-bye and then led them back to my cottage.
The AGA was an old original AGA cooker – ‘Standard AGA‘ which had been converted from coal to run on oil which meant I had to get an oil tank installed at the time. It was cream and had a black top and the guys took a couple of days installing it and we paid for them to stay locally and after the first day we had a good drink in the pub next door!
Straight away we loved the AGA it added heat to our small cottage and was a joy to cook on. I got a job as a freelance computer consultant and started working on freelance projects all over the place. From Manchester to Amsterdam. The money was very good I was turning over in access of £120K per annum. But the lifestyle wasn’t great. Because I couldn’t sell my house in North Wales, I lived in hotel accommodation during the week and travelled all the way back to North Wales at the weekends. After a while it was just not fulfilling and after being in the RAF with all its variety of life I started to struggle, more mentally than anything else because I lacked direction.
In 1998 I bought a house in my home town of Taunton in Somerset because my Mother was seriously ill and I wanted a base close by to her. It was a Georgian house and I started renovating it and moved into it in 2000 just before my mother died. One of the first things on my list was a new gas AGA cooker for the kitchen. I bought a brand new one locally and had it properly plumbed in so that it would heat the water supply. For the design of my new kitchen I copied a photograph in the then current AGA brochure – with a racing green AGA. I copied the cabinets by buying an Ikea copy kitchen cabinet design and getting mahogany knobs for the cabinets made, copying the red colour of the walls, and got the paintwork to match the cream of the cabinets It all looked fabulous.
Struggling to find work in the IT recession of 2001/2 because I think mentally I had said goodbye to contracting but I still needed money so there was a conflict there I looked at lots of business ideas. I eventually bought, at a last grasp, of having to find something to do to get some money, a cleaning agency franchise in December 2002. I followed the plan and it worked well but it was just plan boring!
About ten months later that franchise cleaning agency company ‘partnered’ with a well known oven cleaning franchise. They put their logo on the website. I phoned up one of the local franchisees and she told me how great it was, she was dropping the kids off at school in the morning and doing three cleans and then picking them up at the end of the day. She said ‘she loved it!’
I had my new AGA serviced by the company who had installed it and chatting to the engineer I found out that they had a fleet of 15 vans and serviced 5 AGAs each a day. Wow I thought what a market? About then I noticed an AGA cleaning advert in the AGA Living Magazine.
After a lot of thinking and deciding I was going to go ahead with the oven cleaning business and looking at all the possibilities I arranged to go and see the well know oven cleaning franchise. The night before I was due to go searching on the internet I found a company offering ‘training’. I cancelled the appointment and went to see them. Eventually I paid for a training course with them which was six days long.
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I bought my first van new and had it fitted out. The total cost to get my business started was £3000 for the training, £2500 for the oven cleaning dip tank, and another £1500 to have this fitted to my van, and as I paid a VAT deposit on the van that was £2500. So a total of £9500 to start for me in 2004. What happened next? Well my dream was to clean all the AGAs of the world, so to become an AGA cleaning company, but I realised then that I would have to clean ovens too, so OvenGleam was born.
I put adverts into posh Devon magazines, and newspapers trying to get the ‘AGA market.’ As I had got all my business from leafleting with the other company I put out leaflets. Neither were that successful. It wasn’t until I discovered Google Adwords that things started taking off. Then Google Adwords was a new thing and it was very cheap to advertise on. Today the equivalent is Facebook advertising. It worked very well and I grew my business with it.
Over the years I have become an expert in Google Adwords, and now Facebook advertising and using YouTube to grow my business. Within eighteen months I was booked up 5 weeks in advance and I was doing 5 jobs a day. I took on my first employee and then six months later took on another person and then six months later took on two. By early 2006 we had four employees and I was going out cleaning too.
In 2007 when we moved to the North Somerset village we are still located in we started running training courses for people interested in starting their own oven cleaning business. In 2010 we got our first franchisee who became our pilot franchisee. In 2012 we became Associate Members of British Franchise Association. Because our pilot had been running well, they could check his performance, checked all our franchise information and Franchise Agreement and we went straight in as Associate Members.
Today in 2016 we have 19 franchisees, with lots of interest in our opportunity. We are hoping for a best growth ever in 2016. If you want to be part of it – get our franchise pack today! Click HERE to Get Your INFO PACK and FREE Guide