Chem-Dry’s Marketer of the Year Winner Talks Growth Strategy

Creating and curating a multifaceted marketing plan helps every Chem-Dry franchise build community recognition, brand awareness and business

Thanks to more than 40 years of quality service and professionalism, the Chem-Dry cleaning franchise brand enjoys strong support in its franchise owners’ markets. Even so, competition is out there — so it’s wise to have a solid ground game, says John Qualls, owner of Qualls Chem-Dry, who was named Chem-Dry’s Marketer of the Year earlier in 2018.


The award goes to a franchise owner who is aggressive and forward-thinking when it comes to marketing. A willingness to use multiple platforms, both traditional and new, to build brand awareness and loyalty is essential, as well as a proven track record of sharing great ideas and results with other Chem-Dry franchise owners.

Qualls, who owns two franchises and is adding a third later in 2018, serves Salt Lake City as well as an area that includes nearby Herriman, South Jordan, Draper and Bountiful. For him, marketing is a multifaceted process that, when done right, pays tremendous benefits.

What marketing strategies, or programs, led to this honor?

I think a lot of it had to do with our getting out to events in the community, such as the work we did as a Chem-Dry partner with Best Friends. When we do that, we are able to give out samples and collect email addresses, and we also book some jobs. Our other work includes what many Chem-Dry franchises also do, which is pay-per-click advertising and keeping our website current, which helps get our profile out there and book business.

How long have you been a Chem-Dry franchise owner?

I opened in 1997. Before that I managed some fast-food restaurants and wanted out of that, so I was debating about going back to school. A friend owned a Chem-Dry franchise and asked me to work a summer with him as I made that decision. I wound up taking over his lead-tech position and kept that for a few years. By then, I knew I wanted to be in this business, so I purchased my first franchise.

How has Chem-Dry evolved as a brand during your time as an owner?

In many ways — the products are better, the equipment is better. What got me into it 20 years ago was the idea of owning my own business and being my own boss. That’s still the core driver for most owners. We like the flexibility. It’s a lot of work, but Chem-Dry has allowed me to build a business that takes care of my family. That’s one thing that has stayed the same even as the company has evolved.

What are the differentiators you focus on in marketing?

A big one is the environmentally friendly aspect of our products, and the green-certified status so many of them have. We have the word “chem” in our name, which throws out an alarm for some people. When we can put it out there that our products are made of food-grade materials and ingredients, that really helps. People are very conscious of the environment, and a nice touch is to be able to explain how we are different.

How has online marketing changed the game for you?

We are given a model to follow, and it has removed so much of the guesswork I would have if I were doing it on my own. We have people who are explaining things to us and support us as we learn to do it on our own. Things like marketing make me a better carpet cleaner and a better company owner. It’s one of the many benefits of the Chem-Dry franchising system.

What kind of growth do you see in the brand?

I think we’ll have more owners, and more business, as we keep adding other services. We already offer things other companies don’t, and so we can get into homes and businesses and create bigger tickets. If I am spending all day in one site, I’m making more money and am more profitable. I think Chem-Dry will continue to find more ways for franchise owners to get a bigger piece of the pie.

Two decades in, are you pleased you went with Chem-Dry?

Yes, I am. It was like having a baby, if you will. There are things I might have done differently, but I had a solid blueprint to follow that has been great. I get a lot of help when I need to learn new things, as well as some remedial attention if I am not doing something correctly. We get walked through every angle of the business and are kept up to date on new developments. I really like that.

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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