Ovenu: Ben Khor
Ovenu's youngest ever franchisee shares how cleaning ovens in Sussex became his business opportunity
Name: Ben Khor
Cost of start-up: £4,000
Nobody likes cleaning the oven but this is all good news for Ben Khor who, at just 24, is Ovenu’s youngest ever franchisee.
Before he bought his own franchise Ben Khor didn’t really feel that he was doing that much for his career.
However, his father Dave was running the Worthing Ovenu franchise and Khor saw a chance to set up his own business.
“There was an opportunity in the Gatwick and Crawley area for a new franchise to be set up.
“I had been out with my Dad a couple of times before, so I knew about the job and I really wanted to do it.
“Cleaning an oven is a job that no-one likes to do, but I had seen by working with my father that that is why Ovenu is a successful business.”
Khor went to Ovenu and put his name forward for the franchise. However, Ben was very young to be put in charge of a franchise (the average age of a franchisee is 45) and so he was an unusual applicant.
However, Khor understood what the franchisor wanted and was totally committed to the company’s ideas.
So they struck a deal with Khor and his father and Khor took over the franchise for the Gatwick and Crawley area.
“We had quite a lot of help from them to begin with; they sorted out the van, the equipment and the chemicals, however it was my Dad that trained me up.
“We had to buy the franchise from them as well that was about £4,000 I think.”
Life as a franchisee
Khor has been kept quite busy since taking over the franchise in December 2004, he has at least one job a day to do and this is bringing him in an income of around £13,000 per year.
However, unlike some franchisees Ben doesn’t work excessive hours; he mostly does a normal 9-5 during the week and Saturday mornings too.
Ben’s attitude toward running his own business is relaxed and he thinks that running a franchise is within the reach of many people.
“You just pick it up as you go along. I think that you just want to have to do it. “Beyond that I don’t know if you need any particular personal characteristics or skills, just the desire to want to do it yourself.”
However working with the public can bring its own problems and Ben acknowledges that the customers have needs and wants and he is very sensitive to them.
“The biggest problem I think you face is getting the work done on time or within a reasonable length of time as you are in people’s homes and they don’t want you there for any longer than is necessary. I think that four hours is about the maximum.
“There is also a range of jobs to do it isn’t just ovens. We also clean barbecues, extractor fans and microwaves.”
Khor likes running his own franchise and feels it is giving him a direction in life, however his main motivation for running the franchise is financial. “For some people I can understand that it would be about the lifestyle, but for me it is financial reasons that make we want to run my own franchise.”