Meet Chem-Dry’s Brand Ambassador of the Year

Running a successful business alongside supporting other franchise owners
in their endeavors brings this Chem-Dry owner satisfaction

Every business owner wants to be as helpful as possible to the people he or she serves. When talking about the Chem-Dry cleaning franchise Brand Ambassador of the Year, however, that willingness to go the extra mile takes on a whole new meaning. The honor, which is awarded at Chem-Dry’s annual conference, is given to a Chem-Dry franchise owner who embodies the brand promise in every action, and who also works to honor and enhance the Chem-Dry name.

For Paul Moen, owner of Moen Chem-Dry in Summerville, South Carolina, the award comes as a very pleasant surprise and an acknowledgement of his efforts to always put his best foot forward when it comes to Chem-Dry.

How did your career as a Chem-Dry franchise owner begin?

I got caught up in a downsizing period in the retail environment, and after many interviews I realized I was not going to reenter the workforce at the same salary and benefits level as my former job. I was in my mid-40s and overqualified for what was out there.

I had a former employee who had gone into franchise ownership with Chem-Dry a couple of years earlier, around 2005, and I had lunch with him. He told me about the vision of his business, and I was really wowed. I left that lunch and contacted Chem-Dry to start a conversation. I created the LLC in June 2007, went to training that August and came back to book our first job.

What are the qualities, or accomplishments, that led to this award?

It’s hard to say, but I believe that the main thing is that we try our hardest every day to represent the brand in the manner in which we know it should be represented. We are a different type of service provider, a different type of carpet cleaner than most. We have spent the past few years focusing on making sure that differentiation comes through in our advertising, social media — everything we do. We go above and beyond, and that way we are building up the brand.

We see what other service providers in our category do, and we’re just the opposite. We represent Chem-Dry with dignity and professionalism. My wife and I both came out of other professional careers, very white-collar jobs, and we bring a lot of those lessons to what we’re doing now. Standing out doesn’t just mean the quality of service you offer, but how you address clients and any issues they have. It’s how you represent yourself.

What’s one example of that kind of attention to detail?

Four or five years ago we came back from the annual convention, and I had a list of winners and nominees for all the awards. I thought about the people who didn’t win, and thought they deserved some focus as well, so we mailed congratulations not just to the winners but also sent a card to everyone nominated or recognized. We really do appreciate what the other franchise owners do, because they elevate us all. We are all out working to do things right, to be an honest provider, and it’s more than just making money. We are all about providing a quality service and developing our brand.

How does the corporate team help you meet goals?

I come from a retail background, so I know how a corporate structure and hierarchy works — or doesn’t work. The Chem-Dry team is fantastic. I said from day one that I needed to learn how to be a carpet cleaner, that I was probably never going to be the best carpet cleaner out there, but that I did know how to run a business. They helped me with the learning curve in every area of training and development, and they still do. I went into business at the height of the 2007 recession, and they helped me to forecast, to weather storms and to deal with change.

What Chem-Dry differentiators help you as a franchise owner?

We actually have a sales-technique piece of training collateral that outlines some of those! One thing we do is train toward the technician’s personality, because they are all different. One of our guys is an introvert, and it’s hard to get him talking. We geared his training toward making him comfortable with client interactions. Now when he gets going he’s our best speaker when it comes to the Healthy Home study and all the data. He really wins people over talking about how healthy Chem-Dry is for children and pets, and all the green-certified materials. He closes by saying “I’ll drink my cleaning solution,” and while nobody takes him up on it, it’s quite impressive!

Something else we do is take “before and after” pictures, so we can email those to the client and let them see what good work we do. Things like that, as well as some other follow-up, really provide extra value and connect us to the customers.

How do new services, such as granite and leather renewal, help you build business?

I am really happy that Chem-Dry is always exploring new ways for us to clean homes and businesses. They give us a lot of upselling opportunity. Last year we got into upholstery cleaning in a big way, bringing new products on board and going through some additional training. Any kind of enhancement is a plus for franchise owners, but we have to take the responsibility of using what’s given and making it our own. Each of us has to decide what services are right for us, and what the timeline is going to be for rolling those out. You don’t want to grab everything all at once, but Chem-Dry makes sure we always have a new way to increase sales and raise ticket totals. You want to bring something new to your market, but you also have to be sure that you’re going to do it really well.

What advice do you give potential Chem-Dry cleaning franchise owners?

I don’t talk so much about this business as I do the costs of being a small business owner in general. Are they ready to be self-employed? I want to hear about what they are doing now, what their career path has been. There’s a lot to owning your own business, and while that includes flexibility it also means hard work, and you and your family being 100% committed to doing it.

If you’re strongly supported, have some operating capital and are aware of the risks, then you can do this. Chem-Dry is a family, and there are so many people who will help you. I let people know that Chem-Dry is a different kind of small business, that you can succeed if you work hard because you have a lot of help and encouragement. Sometimes I even have people come by and look around our facilities and shop, which is great. This is a hands-on business, so it’s good to take a look at the equipment you’ll be using. Whenever I can, I give a prospective owner the full view instead of the bird’s eye view.

Chem-Dry is the world’s largest carpet and upholstery cleaning franchise with nearly 3,500 franchises in 55 countries, serving 11,000 homes and businesses a day. Chem-Dry has been Entrepreneur magazine’s top-rated carpet cleaning franchise for 30 straight years. The Chem-Dry Hot Carbonating Extraction process delivers a faster-drying, deeper and more environmentally friendly clean that appeals to home and business owners. In addition to carpet and area rugs, Chem-Dry provides cleaning and renewal services for tile and
stone, granite countertops, leather and upholstery.

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