Meet the Chem-Dry Franchise Team in Laramie, Wyoming
Taking over an existing franchise can be hard, but these entrepreneurs have built a solid book of business and are looking at expansion opportunities
When Paul and Nell Kenehan took over an existing Chem-Dry cleaning franchise five years ago, they didn’t have a lot of entrepreneurial experience. But they did know that they wanted to own a business, and they knew that Chem-Dry was a quality operation with a good reputation. They seized the opportunity when it presented itself, and now they are looking at expanding their territory to cover more of the state. Nell says they are glad they took a chance.
What were you doing before you opened your Chem-Dry franchise?
I was working at a hospital, and my husband was driving a school bus for the area we live in. We also have a small ranch, and so we were both working at that, as we still are. Paul kept driving the bus for a year after we got going, because we didn’t want to just give everything up as we were getting started.
How did the Chem-Dry opportunity present itself to you?
A friend of ours actually owned the franchise for 11 years, and he did really well with it. He sold it to someone else, and they didn’t have as much success because they weren’t giving it the time and attention it needed. Our friend had the opportunity to buy it back, but he’d begun another business venture. He spoke with us about it.
We decided to give it a try, and we took the franchise over. Right away we began working on reaching out to current and former customers and rebuilding a client base. We also invested in more equipment, so we could offer all the services that Chem-Dry provides. We do everything now — rugs and upholstery, and we have added tile in the past six months. We also have added water damage services.
You’re in a pretty remote area. Do you interact with other owners?
We do, and we like to connect in different ways. We try to go the convention every year — when you live in Wyoming, it’s nice to get away for a little bit in the winter! We’ve made a lot of friends there and built a nice network with other Chem-Dry franchise owners.
It’s good to connect with other owners, because they may have a problem that you haven’t worked through, and you can learn how that’s solved. They also have some great ideas on approaches to take when you’re selling a service. These are people who have put a lot into their businesses, and so they have a lot to offer in terms of advice.
What else leads to success?
We get calls from people all the time who are looking at opening a franchise. I tell them that you’ve got to put in the time, effort and hard work. Treat every customer like it’s their mom’s house that they’re cleaning. Take good care of the equipment, and keep on top of all the new products that are coming out. They are phenomenal!
Also, I tell people to plan for the seasons. For instance, things get slow here during the winter, but adding water damage services has helped us combat that. Pipes burst in the winter, and we now can help with the aftermath.
Would you do it again?
Absolutely. I wish we’d been able to buy the Chem-Dry franchise earlier. We had some work to do to build it back up, and we’re getting better in terms of revenue every year. We’re setting goals, and we just bought a new area to the east because we feel like that’s something we can handle now. We’re buying equipment, we’re adding services and we’re getting more customers — so we must be doing something right!
Chem-Dry is the world’s largest carpet cleaning franchise with nearly 3,500 franchises in 51 countries that serve 10,000 homes and businesses a day. We have been Entrepreneur magazine’s top-rated carpet cleaning franchise for 28 straight years and one of its Top 10 choices for low-cost franchises. Our Hot Carbonating Extraction process delivers a faster-drying, deeper, healthier clean that appeals to both homeowners and business owners — and the process can be used to clean tile and stone, upholstery, area rugs and even granite.