Why I Converted My Existing Carpet Cleaning Business to a Chem-Dry Franchise

Rolen Ross reviews the Chem-Dry carpet cleaning franchise, which he joined after 18 years as an independent carpet cleaner

Rollen Ross, left, and his son Jonathan.

Rollen Ross, left, and his son Jonathan.

Rollen Ross is no stranger to the world of carpet cleaning. As an independent carpet cleaner for more than 18 years, Ross knows the ins and outs of every carpet care method out there, from traditional steam to foam. He thought he had seen it all, but on a fateful day about a year ago, Ross discovered a company that changed everything he knew about carpet cleaning: Chem-Dry. After coming across a mailer from Chem-Dry, the seasoned home service provider began learning all he could about the company and their innovative approach to carpet cleaning, eventually deciding to convert his existing business into a Chem-Dry carpet cleaning franchise. Recently, we had the opportunity to speak with him about his passion for Chem-Dry and why he believes he is now a part of the “best carpet cleaning company in the world.”

What were you doing before Chem-Dry?
I actually started out going to people’s homes and selling vacuums and carpet shampooers. For a long time, I was a little scared of talking to people, but then I discovered that I loved helping others. I enjoyed going into homes, demonstrating products, and helping customers get their homes clean and healthy. I’d say it was doing this that got me interested in cleaning carpets. Eventually, I moved away from selling vacuums and started my own carpet cleaning company. My family and I worked really hard cleaning carpets for about 18 years. We used a foam cleaning machine, which to my knowledge at the time, was the best technology available. When I learned about Chem-Dry, that definitely changed.

How did you find out about the Chem-Dry carpet cleaning franchise?
It’s kind of a funny story actually. I walked to the mailbox one day and found a card in it from Chem-Dry. For some reason, I just held on to it. I had heard of the company before, but finding that card inspired me to do some research and find out more. I didn’t share this with anyone, not even my wife. One day, she told me about a dream she’d had where we were cleaning carpets with a wand instead of our regular old machines. I thought that was pretty ironic because the Chem-Dry equipment uses a wand, so I took it as a sign. We had been in the business for awhile and things were good, but it was time to take it to the next level. So, I told her and our son about Chem-Dry, and encouraged them both to look into it. Within a few days, we were all ready to make to the change.

What made you consider becoming a franchise after years of independent ownership?
One of the best things about being a Chem-Dry carpet cleaning franchise owner is the name recognition. I worked as an independent cleaner for years, and I can tell you that having a name people know and trust makes a big difference in how much business you get. Chem-Dry is a name people are used to and it’s a good name on top of that. I’ve had several people call and book appointments just because they have seen the ‘Chem-Dry’ on our vans. It’s invaluable.

How is the training?
The training is excellent. They have an amazing team of people that work really hard to make sure you know what you’re doing when you get out in the field. Our trainers not only know everything there is to know about Chem-Dry and the carpet cleaning business, but they were able to share that knowledge effectively with us. I also picked up a lot about marketing during our training week. As an independent carpet cleaner, I just didn’t get the value of marketing before. I was focused on going out and doing the job, but I wasn’t letting people know about our business. It was all word-of-mouth. I realized in training that you have to get the word out and make sure people know you’re there and ready to do a great job on their carpet.


What sets Chem-Dry’s carpet cleaning methods apart?
When it comes to cleaning carpets, no one can do it better. In my years in the business, I’ve worked with every type of cleaning system, from steam to foam, and none of them compare to Chem-Dry’s hot carbonated method. I can tackle any stain on any carpet. On my first job as a Chem-Dry franchisee, I worked with a client who had a classic red juice stain in her carpet that had been there for years. She laundry listed all the methods she had tried to get that stain out, and nothing worked. But guess what? Chem-Dry got the stain right out of there. We made her carpets look brand new, and we used less water in the process. That’s the thing I like most about our methods: we use way less water than our competitors. The hot carbonated solution doesn’t saturate the carpets, but still gets them really clean. When we clean your carpets, they’re dry within a couple of hours, there’s no leftover residue, and they look like new.

Who are your primary customers?
We do a lot of residential work, but we’ve also started to build up our commercial clients as well. We’ve worked with several large companies, who have already booked their next cleaning and even recommended us to other companies.

What’s it been like during the first few months as a Chem-Dry franchisee?
Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 4.01.51 PMI am gradually building up my customer base, but we have already more than doubled our average income per job. I’ve learned that if you just listen to your customer, they will tell you what they need. And with all Chem-Dry has to offer, there is always an opportunity to upsell. My team and I always ask the customer to refer us after we have completed the job, and we also make sure to book their follow-up appointment before we leave their home. Our clients are so impressed by what we’re able to do for their carpets that they’re eager to make sure we come back regularly.

What would you say are your biggest challenges?
Honestly, I don’t know that I have come across anything that I haven’t been able to handle. The training really prepares you for any situation, but if there is something I need help with, I can go online to the franchisee portal or pull up the mobile app and figure it out right there on the spot. The resources available to us make it easy to do our job really well.

What do you like most about the business so far?
I get excited every time we go in the house and clean the carpet. I get to work with my son, who is following in my footsteps, and we are overjoyed whenever we can make someone’s home a better place for them to live. The Chem-Dry products and processes are truly the best and every time I see them at work, I get excited. And we get to do something new with them everyday. It also brings us so much joy to see how happy the customers are when they see the difference in the carpets and furniture. Just the other day, we were working in a home where the carpets were in pretty rough shape and the homeowners were worried that they would have to replace them soon. But we were able to make them look like new. When the husband and wife walked upstairs and took a look at the change, they were almost in tears they were so happy. It’s satisfying when you see people’s faces and what they think about the job you just did.

What makes a good Chem-Dry Franchisee?
Someone who can treat their customer like they’re No. 1. We are the No. 1 carpet cleaning company in the world, so we should treat our customers like they’re No. 1 in the world. How you treat people goes a long way. If you respect them, their homes, and their carpets, they will tell others about you.

Would you recommend this franchise?
Absolutely. We are an excellent company. Chem-Dry does an outstanding job on people’s carpets, and it’s also a great company to work for. The product is easy to sell and it does what it says it will do. I’m always amazed by the end result and it brings me so much satisfaction to make the customer happy. Chem-Dry is the best in the world. I just wish I had known them 20 years and got to start this journey earlier.

Interested in starting your own Chem-Dry?

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. For a convenient in-depth look, fill out a form to download our free franchise report and start a conversation. We look forward to learning about you and answering your questions!

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