Derek Lancaster, the owner of oven valeting business, Ovenu Darlington, is again accepting customer bookings after introducing a range of precautions to ensure a safe and responsible return to work.
He made the decision having received several enquiries from householders concerning oven cleaning during the past few weeks – together with the results of an Ovenu poll that found almost half the public would invite tradespeople into their homes as long as measures were in place to reduce any possible spread of coronavirus.
A former sergeant chef in the RAF, the father-of-three is now accepting bookings at his discretion, with the strict stipulation that both parties observe the two-metre social distancing rule, along with guidelines on hygiene and cleanliness. PPE may also be worn.
In addition, with payment only accepted electronically, it is possible to complete the whole process with minimum or zero contact with the customer.
Derek, who runs the business together with wife Deb, said: “I, along with many other tradespeople across the region, temporarily mothballed my business when lockdown was imposed – a very difficult thing to do when it is your livelihood.
“Since then, I’ve been preparing to re-open at the appropriate time with the appropriate measures in place. My priority is to keep myself and my customers safe.
“Given how much time people have spent cooking and baking during this lockdown period, I would imagine there is quite a bit of work out there for me to do!”
During the downtime, he has busied himself by updating his company’s web pages to improve the client experience.
Rik Hellewell, founder and managing director of the Ovenu franchise, said: “Derek has taken a very responsible approach to reopening his business and has clear guidelines in place.
“I hope this provides reassurance to his customers and allows him to preserve the future of his business and make a contribution to the local economy.”
The poll, involving a sample of 2,110 people, was conducted by independent market research group DEG for Ovenu at the beginning of this month. It found that 46 per cent of respondents would consider allowing tradespeople into their home to carry out work.
As well as Darlington, Derek also covers Bedale, Leyburn, Northallerton, Richmond, Catterick Garrison, Barnard Castle, Newton Aycliffe, and Bishop Auckland.
The Ovenu valeting process involves dismantling key components of an oven such as the door, interior panels, fan, and shelves and placing them into a design registered tank, using non-caustic cleaning products. The whole process leaves the oven in immaculate condition.