Chem-Dry Franchise Review: Joe Weiss, Chem-Dry of Washtenaw, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Joe Weiss. Courtesy of Joe Weiss.

Weiss, 38, bought his first six Chem-Dry franchises from another franchisee in 2005 and now owns 10 in three separate southeast Michigan territories. His frustration with a sales job led him to the entrepreneurial dream, and he?s now sitting on top of a small cleaning service empire.

What were you doing before Chem-Dry?

I was a sales rep for Verizon Wireless, working in one of the stores here in Ann Arbor, and I had a boss I was not getting along with. It was just one of those situations where we were one of the top-ranked stores in the system, and I was one of their top sales reps and doing all this great work, but they were taking all the credit for it. I wasn?t getting any recognition. I think they might have just been afraid of me climbing the ladder; I don?t know. But after a while, I thought I might want to work for myself instead.

How did you find out about Chem-Dry?

It was just timing. I was looking for something but didn?t have anything in particular in mind. Then my mother-in-law found them online, which is how I learned about the franchise opportunity. She?d been using Chem-Dry for years since she?s the head of a daycare center. So we tried them at the condo where my wife and I lived and were quite impressed at the results.

What sets Chem-Dry apart?

Professionalism. You?re dealing with all walks of life, but our primary customer is the customer who has money to spend on carpet cleaning. You?re getting a product that?s one of the best on the market. It?s green, it?s safe, you don?t overwet, there?s no residue, no soaps or detergents. You?re taking things out of the carpet, not putting them in. You use as little water as possible, so it?s about as green as carpet cleaning can be.

Who makes a good Chem-Dry franchisee?

Somebody with determination, good organizational skills and a healthy competitive streak, since it is a competitive field. You have to be willing to work hard and multitask, like you would in any business, but what?s great about Chem-Dry is that you see the results of your work almost immediately. You can see your customers recognize the Chem-Dry difference and see your client base grow through word-of-mouth referrals. It takes a fair amount of confidence, too, and some good leadership skills to run your team, plus some strong sales and people skills. It?s definitely more than just cleaning!

Is there a misperception about the carpet cleaning industry?

It?s gotten a bad rap because there are a lot of bad companies out there. Some people think they can just buy a truck and go out and clean carpet, and it?s not that easy. A lot of these guys work for cash and just show up with no training and whatever clothes they decided to throw on that day, and they just don?t look or act professional or do a good job, and customers think these guys represent the carpet-cleaning industry as a whole, and they don?t. We have professional-looking vehicles, well-groomed technicians with uniforms, patented cleaning products and the best equipment in the industry, we show up on time and we explain everything we?re doing so the customers know exactly what they?re getting. Since 2008, which was horrible for everybody, people have gotten a lot more selective about the professionals they allow into their homes. They need to know their home cleaners are people they can trust to be honest, professional and excellent at what they do, and those are qualities Chem-Dry has across the board. It?s kind of like natural selection. The strong have survived.

Is Chem-Dry better as a one-unit franchise or a multi-unit franchise?

For me, being an entrepreneur, I want to make as much money as I can possibly make, which is why I have five trucks and 10 franchises. You can be a success with just one truck and one franchise ? there are people in the Chem-Dry system who have done that ? but it makes me feel a little more comfortable as far as the money I can make with multiple franchises. That?s one of the nice things about Chem-Dry. You can be as big or as small as you want.

Would you recommend this franchise? Why?

I definitely would. I strongly believe in the brand, the product and the process. The home office will help you with whatever you need, and as long as you develop some loyal fans and customers, it?s definitely something you can use to secure a very good life. It?s gotten me freedom from the rat race and a chance to do my own thing. I make my own days, do things at my own leisure, support my family and own my own home, plus I have some rental properties on the side. Without Chem-Dry, I?d probably be more limited and restricted in my life

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