Cheryl Pittiglio Builds New Life with Chem-Dry Carpet Cleaning Franchise

Q&A with Chem-Dry Carpet Cleaning Franchise Owner Cheryl Pittiglio of Clinton Township, Michigan

Cheryl Pittiglio of Chem-Dry

Business is booming at Cheryl Pittiglio?s Chem-Dry carpet cleaning franchise in Clinton Township, Michigan. But a few short years ago Pittiglio?s life as a single parent of two young boys was not as promising. The economy in Michigan hit the skids and, as Pittiglio puts it, ?life began to unravel.?  She knew she had to do something. That ?something? for Pittilglio meant reaching out to her brother Dino, a veteran Chem-Dry franchisee. She ended up working for him, began to learn the ropes of running a successful company and eventually bought her own franchise.

What were you doing before Chem-Dry?

I?m a single mom with two teens. Prior to my divorce, over 10 years now, I worked for corporate America selling advertising and cars. After divorcing, things got pretty hectic with work and family. I was juggling life the best I could and then the economy fell apart. It hit Michigan pretty hard. I was already barely hanging on and then I lost my job. l lost my home, my automobile and my pets. I had to depend on my folks for the first time since moving away from home in the 1980?s. It?s not always easy to ask for help from your family, but I did. I called my brother to see if he had something part-time for me, and the rest is history.

How did you find out about Chem-Dry?

I got to know about Chem-Dry while working for my brother Dino, who is also a franchisee. I began to learn about the great products and services. I loved seeing customers? reactions after seeing their carpets and upholstery transformed. It was exciting and gratifying to see them get so emotional over getting their houses cleaned. I began to ask my brother questions. At first, he played devil?s advocate with me, probably knowing that owning a franchise could be challenging for a woman ? moving machines around, getting in the trenches, etc. But I kept asking him, ?what do you think, what do you think?? When he realized I was serious, he supported me all the way and still does.

I have learned a lot from watching my brother. He?d owned his Chem-Dry carpet cleaning franchise in Oakland County, Mich., for almost 20 years. I have always admired him for running his own business, and I?ve seen how much his customers love him. Chem-Dry allows him to take time to do special things with his girls and he?s able to enjoy his hobby of hunting big game. He showed me what is possible.

What sets Chem-Dry apart?

No more squishy, smelly carpet! I can spray out my carpets with great smelling stain fighters and see the carpets already looking clean before I even set a machine on them. I love the reaction each and every customer has ? some even get teary eyed when they see the transformation. It?s a great feeling.

Chem-Dry?s black light idea also sets us apart. We never enter a home without a black light, and I mean never. When you?re confident enough to show a potential customer what?s under the carpet, they get the sense you?re there to take care of business. We love the black light!

Cheryl Pittiglio with her sons, who are starting to help out with the family Chem-Dry business.

Cheryl Pittiglio with her sons, who are starting to help out with the family Chem-Dry business.

What kind of person makes a good Chem-Dry franchisee?

You need to be the kind of business person who goes over and above for clients. That?s really what it?s all about.  If I weren?t selling something of value, I wouldn?t be able to sleep at night. I tell the women who work with me to find something to do in a customer?s house that will create an ?unforgettable moment? for them, something to be remembered for. Only have one chance to make a good impression, I tell them to work like they?re on camera. These days you probably are!

How unusual is it to be a woman in the industry?

People absolutely love women cleaning their homes. Women are often extremely fussy cleaners, right? Mom?s drilled it into our heads! I get a kick out of people?s reactions when we show up at the door.

Are there any specific challenges and rewards in being a Chem-Dry woman franchisee?  I think it helps us stand out. There are some technical challenges. Equipment is made to break ? and it does. But we figure it out! We call corporate quite often and get help whenever we need it. I can reach out to my new Chem-Dry friends on Facebook and have an answer to a problem in less than 5 minutes. The internet is awesome for that.

Is there a misperception about the carpet cleaning industry? I think so. Everyday we hear the crazy stories people experience with past carpet cleaners. Just when you think you?ve heard it all, it amazes me. Many people have the old mindset that carpet needs to be wet or steam cleaned. They only know one way until they experience Chem-Dry. Carpet cleaners in my area have given the industry a bad rap. They are often seen as doing shoddy in-and-out rush jobs leaving carpets soaked & still dirty. When customers find Chem-Dry they change their minds and vow to never use steamers again. No one likes to walk on wet carpet that leaves footprints.

How large is the Chem-Dry opportunity?

It?s huge. Maybe my boys will build on what I started. For example, water damage is so much opportunity for the grabbing!

Who are your main customers?

They are regular people ? moms, dads, sisters and brothers. They are families who put their trust in us to clean all their fabric washables. Our major specialty focuses on people with pets. Who would have thought dog and cat pee could be so lucrative? It’s amazing how many people need pet urine removal treatment! We have the products to get the job done.

What do you like about the business so far?

I enjoy running my own company. Corporate America was hard for me. You were only as good as your last sale. I just bought my own home after waiting 10 years to get a mortgage on my own. I just leased a new car without a co-signer.  I have a second van on the way. My kids have more confidence in themselves. They put their trust in me, and we found a way to get us through some pretty tough times. My sons are learning the business with me and come on the truck to earn their own money. It is teaching them a lot.  Chem-Dry is a good match for me, the day flies by, I always enjoyed working with the public. I believe deeply in customer service and in treating people the way I would want to be treated.

Would you recommend this franchise? Why?

Yes, I would. Chem-Dry has hung in there for a long time and is a great brand. The training network is exceptional. There are many changes taking place when it comes to public exposure for Chem-Dry these days. Now more people than ever can find out about our great services. Chem-Dry has so much to offer and lots of room to grow, and when you do a good job, the customers will tell all their friends and family. They will want to do business with you. It?s a great feeling!

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