Green oven duo unveil franchise expansion plan

The couple plan to grow the firm by employing one more member of the team and buying an additional van

Derek and Debbie Lancaster
Derek and Debbie Lancaster

Green oven valeting firm Ovenu Darlington plans to expand its franchise after seeing sales continue to rise in its 10th year in business.

The firm, set up in 2003 by husband and wife team Derek and Debbie Lancaster, generated £45,000 in sales for the year ending April 2013.

The couple now plan to grow the firm by employing one more member of the team and buying an additional van to add to their existing one.

Lancaster said: “If sales continue like they have been, we hope to take on a new member of the team by the end of the year. This will enable us to work both north and south within the DL postcode area.”

The business has just completed its 10,000th oven clean and provides an environmentally-friendly oven valeting service to homes, letting agencies, estate agents and holiday park camps. The firm covers from Bedale in North Yorkshire to Spennymoor in County Durham.

Derek, 51, was a chef in the RAF for 26 years, while Debbie, 52, worked in childcare before they set up in business.

Derek said: “Business has remained strong over the past 10 years, which we are both delighted with. You have to be committed in this line of work because it is hard, but things have paid off and it has been an enjoyable experience for the both of us.”

The opportunity to create their own schedules and be their own bosses is what drew the pair to starting out in business.

“After being in the same job for so long, we were interested in working for ourselves and Ovenu was the ideal fit. Our schedule remains flexible and business has been really good to us over the years,” said Lancaster.

The business is part of a UK-wide franchise operation made up of more than 100 UK franchisees.

Rik Hellewell, founder of Ovenu, said: “I am delighted for both Derek and Debbie that they have celebrated this significant milestone, which just goes to show that dedicated people can use the Ovenu franchise model to create a successful small business.

“It is clearly evident that the couple are amiable and personable people and a pleasure to have working in homes around the Darlington area. To have undertaken 10,000 jobs over the years is awesome and I personally wish them further success over the coming years.”

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