New Mexico Chem-Dry Franchise Featured in ‘Entrepreneur’ Magazine
Business publications that follow franchises love Chem-Dry’s franchisee-friendly model and frequently share owner success stories with readers
Familiarity certainly doesn’t breed contempt between Chem-Dry carpet cleaning franchise owners and Entrepreneur magazine. The publication has listed Chem-Dry to its Top 500 list as the No. 1 carpet cleaning franchise for a remarkable 28 years running, and on occasion has chosen a Chem-Dry franchise owner for its widely read Franchise Players column.
Recently, Chem-Dry carpet cleaning franchise owner Glenn Buckland talked about his Albuquerque, New Mexico, business, and the Entrepreneur staff was all ears. Here are a few highlights:
How long have you owned a franchise?
I have owned a franchise for 28-and-a-half years, since I was 22 years old. While working for someone else, it didn’t take me long to realize that my real success would come through ownership, not employment.
I knew that with franchising, I would have a better chance of success with a proven business model. My wife, Kati, and I also enjoy working for ourselves and having the flexibility to balance work and life as we see fit.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I worked in a grocery store in Austin, Texas, as a customer service manager and was doing well. If I had stayed, I would have climbed the ladder pretty quickly. For my first real job, I was lucky to be working for a company that cared for its employees. Having a boss was the one thing that didn’t sit well with me, however.
Even though I liked the job and could see myself being successful there, I liked the idea of having something that was mine even better. I’m glad I was able to have the experience of working for someone else first, because it shaped how I run my company and work with my employees.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
There was a franchise available in my area, and I saw that the opportunity with Chem-Dry could be as big as we wanted it to be. We run seven routes a day, and there is still a lot of growth potential out there for carpet and upholstery cleaning, tile and stone cleaning and wood renewal in the residential and commercial sectors. Anyone can be successful with Chem-Dry if that person has good organizational and resource management skills and knows how to plan, forecast and scale a business in a measured, careful way.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
I first read about Chem-Dry in Entrepreneur magazine in the 1980s, and what grabbed me was the affordability of the franchise and the fact that it was a unique service. To prepare myself, I took advantage of the large network of owners Chem-Dry provided to use as a resource. Talking with current and former Chem-Dry franchisees showed me the pros and cons of owning a franchise.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
Making the phone ring and executing effective marketing programs. Managing cash flow is also a big lesson. The volume of work naturally ebbs and flows, so understanding how to manage the business during the ebbs was critical when starting out. For those reasons, building brand loyalty among our key customer demographics remains a huge focus. Once we get customers, we are good at keeping them, because they appreciate how professional we are when it comes to carpet and upholstery cleaning and wood-renewal projects.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Make sure the business has enough working capital and established markers for hiring the first employee, and stick to that timeline. Work at least 40 hours a week on some part of your business. Have a business plan and work it, measure it and revise it every day.
What’s next for you and your business?
I’ll continue to refine processes and make sure we are replicating successes. I want to develop our company’s culture and further empower employees to provide the best customer experience possible.