Q&A with Chem-Dry Director of Training Jotham Hatch
Jotham Hatch oversees the training initiatives and personnel who help Chem-Dry franchisees
Chem-Dry’s Jotham Hatch, Director of Training, has a lot of passion for the Chem-Dry opportunity. A small business owner who ventured into the world of franchising to learn more about building a successful business, Hatch recognizes the value of a multi-faceted training program and the family atmosphere of Chem-Dry. Recently, we had a chance to sit down with Hatch, discuss his position, and find out more about his passion for Chem-Dry.
Please tell us about your background
I’ve been with Chem-Dry for nearly 12 years now. Prior to that, I spent a lot of time in college, acquiring multiple degrees in business, Spanish, and Instructional Technology, which focuses on the science of learning and teaching using a variety of methods. I’ve also had my own business for several years and experienced a lot of success in that endeavor; however, I quickly discovered there was a lot about business that I had yet to learn. I was presented with the opportunity to join Chem-Dry, and I came on board with hopes of increasing my knowledge and helping others do the same. From there, I fell in love with franchising and the support it offers business owners. My passion lies in training and watching people succeed in reaching their dreams.
What are the benefits of joining a franchise?
Franchising is an incredible opportunity for those who have entrepreneurial spirit, but who don’t necessarily have the industry background in the business they want to start. Franchising, to me, is an incredible way to get the best of both worlds — you have the freedom of being your own boss and running your business, but you still have a mentor and support team dedicated to your success. They are there to help you understand market pricing and marketing techniques, become subject matter experts, and learn the technical skills associated with the work. That kind of support is essential. Most entrepreneurs will attest to the fact that the vast majority of small businesses fail within the first five years of operation because they lack the necessary knowledge to overcome the obstacles they face. In franchising, we have years of history and a proven system to help entrepreneurs overcome those challenges. It’s not that these obstacles don’t exist, but we have a proven process to help you get around them.
What led you to Chem-Dry?
Chem-Dry is incredibly unique for several reasons. First, it’s a service that is ubiquitous. You can find the need for your services anywhere you go, commercial and residential. If the customer doesn’t have carpet, we can still offer them services. They usually have area rugs, tile, or upholstery. We have a saying in this business, “Everywhere you go, you have a potential customer,” and it’s true. The fact that our services are so widely needed is an advantage. Secondly, this is a cash business. For a lot of businesses, cash flow can be a real challenge. Often times, you have inventory or goods sitting on your shelves for days and even weeks, chewing up your cash flow and resources. The beautiful thing about Chem-Dry is people pay you immediately after service. Thirdly, I love the family atmosphere of Chem-Dry. Our franchisees are out to help one another be successful and see one another succeed. I often get comments from other members of the franchising world about how the culture at Chem-Dry is unique. There is a spirit of sharing, of helping one another succeed. In this business, you should never struggle in silence as there are thousands of people all over the world anxious to provide support and help.
What is your role at Chem-Dry?
My position and responsibilities are based on teaching franchisees how to follow our program and be successful. I wish I could say I do it all myself, but I’ve got an incredible team of people who support our franchisees in various areas. Franchisees can call for everything from technical support to marketing advice. We are also constantly working to collect data and feedback from franchisees to improve our systems. One of the advantages we’re able to offer is helping franchisees know if they are on track to meet their customer goals and get the tools they need to be successful. My role within that process is helping new franchisees get familiar and up to speed on the resources available to them and how to use those tools to their advantage. But it goes beyond that. Once a franchisee is acclimated to the business and has some experience, we continue providing training materials, support, hands-on classes, and webinars to combat the steep learning curve. With these resources, they can become masters of their trade and, more importantly, masters of their success. Additionally, they can train their employees to become masters as well.
What kind of training and support is available after the first year?
We strive to provide franchisees with a lot of mediums for support. As you begin your business, the materials are focused on teaching you the content you need right as you join. After the initial on-site training, you will go through a series of one-on-one phone calls, conference calls, and webinars to continue explaining techniques and best practices regarding marketing, equipment, on-the-job resources, customer service, and so forth. As you continue on in Chem-Dry, you’ll have access to our Chem-Dry University website that contains hours of training, which can be done at your convenience in the comfort of your home. You can earn special certifications through this resource that will be a benefit to your marketability. We’ve also ventured into the world of mobile apps, which function more as an in-the-moment job aid. You simply access your mobile device and you have a quick video or demonstration on techniques for solving problems you may encounter in the field. These areas are always growing and growing, and we’re constantly adding videos to the mobile apps or hosting face-to-face events throughout the country so we can appeal to all the learning styles. Some people like to read manuals, which we have in abundance, but others prefer having the opportunity to get their hands on the process, or interact with other franchisees and learn from them. My philosophy is, “Don’t just talk about it, do it.” When hosting training events, we talk about marketing techniques that are proven best practices in the industry, but we also do them. We demonstrate the method and then prompt franchisees to do the same while in class. Most people leave training with concrete goals they’ve already started working toward. We get the ball rolling with them, rather than just telling them they need to do this or this.
What’s your favorite aspect of your position?
My favorite thing about my current position is having the opportunity to see people succeed. It is gratifying to watch somebody who is just starting out, rattled with nerves or facing particular challenges, and watch them overcome those challenges. I see them progress and grow and get excited about their business — it’s my payback and what I enjoy. I value the feelings of togetherness and family that come with being part of a franchise.
What’s the best advice you would give someone considering the Chem-Dry franchise?
When buying a franchise, you’re typically considering multiple options. The best advice I can give is to learn about the companies you’re considering doing business with. They will become your partners in responsibility for your success. As a franchisee, a lot rests on your shoulders; however, the amount of support one franchisor can offer in comparison to another can be drastically different. Understand the positives and negatives of any business and choose a business that has a proven system and track record for success. Do your due diligence, make sure it’s something you know you can do, and understand all aspects of what’s required to be successful.
What does it take to be successful with Chem-Dry?
In my opinion, it comes down to one single thing: a person’s desire to take action. You can talk about it all day, and you can know everything there is to know about franchising or carpet cleaning or customer service or sales — but it’s people who are unafraid to implement and execute those ideas who are the most successful. We survey those who come into the franchise network regularly and ask them what they do to be successful: 97% of the time, they say they follow the program and implement the best practices they’ve been taught from day one.
Learn more about Chem-Dry
Chem-Dry is the world’s largest carpet cleaning franchise with more than 3,500 locations that serve 10,000 homes a day. It is Entrepreneur magazine’s top-rated carpet cleaning franchise and one of its Top 10 choices for low-cost and home-based franchises. Our hot carbonating extraction process delivers a faster-drying, deeper, healthier clean that appeals to homeowners and business owners — and the process can be used to clean tile and stone, upholstery and other surfaces besides carpet.