Chem-Dry Carpet Cleaning Franchise Review: Q&A with Isreal Villarreal
Franchisee chose Chem-Dry carpet cleaning franchise because they?re environmentally friendly
Before he decided to open his own carpet cleaning franchise, Isreal Villarreal spent 25 years testing wastewater, overseeing water treatment facilities and evaluating storm water permits. His ultimate job: protecting the environment and the water supply to ensure the health and safety of Colorado residents. So when Isreal was ready to venture out and open his own business, he was attracted to Chem-Dry and its safe and healthy cleaning process that doesn?t waste water.
Isreal opened his business, Chem-Dry of El Paso County (Colo.), in October. We recently asked him to talk about his experience starting a Chem-Dry.
What made you want to own your own business?
Isreal Villarreal: I was in the environmental field for 25 years, working for the same company the whole time. I have always wanted to start my own business so I could have more freedom. I used to work a lot of long hours for someone else, and I wanted to liberate myself from living by someone else’s schedule. My wife, Esther, and I have a grandson that we take care of while his mom is at college, and he’s 6 and full of energy. He’s a really good kid? I like being able to spend time with him and take him to taekwondo after school. The nice thing about owning my own business is that I can arrange my schedule however I want. I can book jobs around practices and other time that I want to set aside for family.
There’s a lot I like about Chem-Dry. No. 1, they don’t use things that are bad for the environment. Their cleaning solutions are safe for kids and pets, and their core cleaning solution is green-certified. I really like that when I walk into somebody’s home to clean their carpet, I can tell them that the products are EPA-approved. I really enjoy that part of the business of Chem-Dry. And after spending 25 years focused on water, I also have a lot of appreciation for the fact that the Chem-Dry process uses 80% less water than other cleaning methods. Water is a scarce resource, especially out west. We don’t waste it.
How did you find out about Chem-Dry?
Isreal Villarreal: I was looking at Entrepreneur magazine, and the ads for Chem-Dry caught my eye. As I started to research the company and compare it to other businesses, it became clear that Chem-Dry was the fit I was looking for. I spoke with a lot of Chem-Dry franchisees before making the final decision, and one of the things I noticed was how much it felt like a family. They were really open to any questions I had, and it struck me were that they were both friendly and professional.
How was training?
It was great. (Quick Start Coach) Charlie (Erickson) and (Director of Training) Jotham (Hatch) were great. I really enjoyed training with them in Nashville. The ongoing support has been great, too. I’m in touch with Charlie and Jotham a lot, and I’ll call the technician line for help with questions. I also use a smartphone app Chem-Dry created for franchisees to help identify different types of stains and get quick strategies for removing them, and there’s a quick link to call the tech line if I need more help. I get quick answers when I have a question, and since I’m new to the company, I still have a lot of questions. It’s nice to be able to talk to someone and have them help you have a better understanding of what to do in certain situations. It’s a very nice feature of being part of Chem-Dry.
How is your business doing?
We started Oct. 17 and were immediately busy. I did a mailer in November and December that told people about the business, and that generated a lot of business. We started a Google AdWords campaign in January, and that has helped quite a bit in bringing in new business. January was a little slow because of all the bad weather? That’s something I heard from a lot of other franchisees, too, so I know it wasn’t just me, but the pace started to pick back up in February, and we expect to keep building momentum.
Is there a misperception about the carpet cleaning industry?
Isreal Villarreal: Customers are afraid they won’t be treated well. Maybe the last person they hired left their carpets wet or were dishonest in the way they quoted the job. There are trust issues, but by the time I leave, there is a complete 180-degree turnaround. I’ve been really impressed by the response I get from customers. They are like, Wow! I didn’t know my carpets were going to be so clean, and Wow! I didn’t know you were going to be so professional! We are definitely changing what people expect from a carpet cleaner: We come in well-groomed with a uniform, in a van that is clean, with equipment that is clean, and we do a great job. People have usually never experienced that.
Who are your main customers?
There’s a lot of variety. We have a large military population here, and I see everyone from soldiers to doctors to lawyers. One thing I think people appreciate is that we treat everybody with the same respect, whether they are a doctor or a single mom on a budget. You get the same service no matter what your income level. I think that reputation for fairness and professionalism will help us grow.
What do you like about the business so far?
I like the freedom. The ability to set my own hours. And I like being able to make people happy. People are very happy with our service! It makes me feel good about my business.
A great low-cost franchise opportunity
Chem-Dry has been named to Entrepreneur magazine’s list of top franchise opportunities for 26 years in a row, and is also ranked as a Top 10 low-cost franchise opportunity and a Top 10 home-based franchise opportunity. Want to learn more? Visit the research pages on our site to learn more about the business, why it has been a success since it started in 1977, equipment packages, startup costs and average financial performance. You can also find Q&As with Chem-Dry owners and news about the company on our blog.
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