The best franchise business opportunities center on markets that are poised for growth — and surface cleaning fits the bill
It’s been a hard four years for the housing market, no question. But there’s reason for hope.
Some data released this year by the National Association of Realtors and other housing experts support the notion that the housing market, depressed and stagnant since the crash of 2008, is beginning to come back. The number of Americans who signed contracts in January to buy homes rose to its highest level in nearly two years, and buyer interest — fueled by low home prices and record-low interest rates — is at its highest point in several years.
That’s pretty good news for Realtors and homebuilders, and also for companies that specialize in home surface cleaning — carpet, floor and counter cleaners. Those are companies that thrive when people are buying and occupying homes and have the willingness and resources to pay to maintain them. At Chem-Dry, that’s the kind of business we depend on.
Despite the rocky economy of the last few years, the American surface cleaning industry is huge and growing with the population. Carpet is the most common floor covering, making up 47 percent of all residential floor covering in the United States. The industry’s gross revenues have risen from $1.8 billion in 1988 to $3.7 billion last year, and it’s expected to gross $4.4 billion by 2015. Every year, homeowners lay more than 14 billion square feet of carpet, and all of it has to be maintained. (Or ought to be, anyway.)
But these days, people are gravitating to surfaces other than carpet, which is why we’re diversifying to meet demand. We’re seeing more and more ceramic tile flooring and area rugs rather than wall-to-wall carpet. Chem-Dry has specialized in carpet cleaning since its founding in the 1970s. But we’re branching out into other services, such as cleaning upholstery, stone, tile and grout and area rugs, plus water damage restoration.
It just makes sense to diversify in this economy. As the economy and housing market recover and evolve, Chem-Dry intends to stay at the forefront of the surface cleaning market, not just the carpet cleaning market we’ve dominated for decades. Our hot water carbonation cleaning method is cleaner, safer and dries more quickly than steam or chemical cleaners, and because carbonation is naturally powerful, our cleaning method requires one-fifth the water of other cleaning methods.