Franchise question from new member

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James01

New Member
Dec 11, 2017
2
0
1
Real Name
James Brian
#1
Hi all,

I am a newbie to this website and forum. And let me be upfront, I am really new to this industry and just starting to look at it. I’ve always been fascinated by the carpet cleaning process and industry; we were life-long customers of Stanley Steemer growing up and that’s continued since. I’ve always had a desire to work for myself and started to seriously look at the industry in the past couple of months. And that’s why I am asking for your feedback, not to be an annoying newbie to the forum but for any genuine guidance that you can provide.

Because I’ve never done this previously, I’ve been looking at franchises. Stanley Steemer unfortunately doesn’t offer them where I live any longer. However, I’ve been looking at Chem Dry, Oxi Fresh and Zerorez. I am wondering if any of you have experience as a current or former franchisee that you could lend?

Chem Dry, while established and presented as a ‘turn-key’ solution, scares me because it seems their business model allows multiple franchisees to compete head-to-head in the same market. Oxi Fresh does offer territorial protection, but I am not too familiar with their actual product – it is not truck mounted.

In any event, if there are any key threads in these forums you could point me towards, I would be happy to start reading their first rather than wasting everyone’s time upfront. I do thank you in advance, for any assistance, feedback and guidance that you can provide.

James
 

Scott W

Preferred Vendor
Premium VIP
Feb 14, 2006
15,106
5,435
113
65
West Jordan, UT
www.interlinksupply.com
#2
James, I have been in the cleaning industry over 50 years. For about 6 years I owned a franchise. For 3 or 4 years I did cleaning for other companies. 30+ years I was an independent owner / operator. I currently work for a manufacturer and distributor. I have some experience in all sides of the industry.

Many owner / operators are independent to the extreme. They want to do things their way. That conflicts with the franchise model. So, most O/O's will not like the franchise model.

A franchise offers brand name recognition. That helps with marketing. It also makes the business more salable asset when you want to retire or move on to something else.

A franchise also offers guidance in the marketing and management aspects of running a business. I have found that most O/Os are very good technicians who work hard to learn their craft and do a great job. But most are not great at marketing. Most struggle with management, especially when they try to grow the business and add employees. So think about your goals for how large you want to grow the business and how actively you wanted to be involved in various roles such as sales, or doing the cleaning.

An O/O operation can be more flexible. You can put your personal touch on it. Look at your market and see what is needed. Is there a niche to fill? Stanley Steemer and most franchises aim for a mass market. They want to grow the customer base. An O/O can go after the high end personal touch market if he chooses to. But there is only one of you. If you want to grow the volume of business, it is hard to replicate yourself. A franchise can help you do that.

A franchise also has steep up-front costs. Can you afford that and still have some reserves? A franchise is likely to take off quicker than an O/O model,but either one takes some time to get where you want. Financial reserves are a must.

If you decide to go the franchise route, look for a well known name brand with a good reputation. That brand is the key part of what you are buying. If the brand does not have that name recognition, it lacks one of the things you want to get.

I found that some franchisors cover most if the area or country but have a few "holes" in their coverage map. If you find a franchise that suits you but they don't have any coverage in your area, you may have a good opening. They would like to plug that hole. You may be able to negotiate a better price. I was able to buy my franchise for about 25% of the standard cost by taking the last few counties in my state that were not covered. I still paid all the on-going fees in full. The franchisor made some decent money on that they would not have if they territory was unfilled.

You can start a conversation if you want additional thoughts. Since several national franchises are our customers, I don't want to publicly say anything that seems to favor one over the other.
 

OldCarpetVet

Well-Known Member
Nov 2, 2014
4,417
2,582
113
60
Florida
Real Name
Richard Santoro
#3
Scott is spot on!!

I too am very familiar with franchises. I was best friends a guy who owned a Rainbow International Carpet Dyeing And Cleaning Company and did a lot of work with him
(I knew Don Dwyer and the company model has since changed)

I was best friends with a father and son team that owned the second largest Chem-Dry franchise in America back in the late 1980's and mid 1990's until Gene died.

And worked for another friend of mine who owned a Service Master franchise.

Do what you want but if you want to make the big bucks, and are stuck on buying a franchise, then I highly suggest you look into the restoration end of this industry. Names like Service Master and Serv-Pro are VERY well known names in the insurance industry and I can assure you that you will make far more money doing restoration work than you will carpet cleaning.

FYI: Most people call around looking for prices when it comes to carpet cleaning.

When you wake up to soot all over your house, or two feet of water in your basement, price goes right out the window. No such thing as "How Much Do You Charge" in restoration work. Understand?

Anyway, I just thought I'd throw that little tidbit of information out your way in case you weren't aware. Good luck to you. (y)
 

crash1big

Well-Known Member
Mar 18, 2011
4,197
1,923
113
Illinois
Real Name
Marlan Brown
Business Location
United States
#4
Hi all,

I am a newbie to this website and forum. And let me be upfront, I am really new to this industry and just starting to look at it. I’ve always been fascinated by the carpet cleaning process and industry; we were life-long customers of Stanley Steemer growing up and that’s continued since. I’ve always had a desire to work for myself and started to seriously look at the industry in the past couple of months. And that’s why I am asking for your feedback, not to be an annoying newbie to the forum but for any genuine guidance that you can provide.

Because I’ve never done this previously, I’ve been looking at franchises. Stanley Steemer unfortunately doesn’t offer them where I live any longer. However, I’ve been looking at Chem Dry, Oxi Fresh and Zerorez. I am wondering if any of you have experience as a current or former franchisee that you could lend?

Chem Dry, while established and presented as a ‘turn-key’ solution, scares me because it seems their business model allows multiple franchisees to compete head-to-head in the same market. Oxi Fresh does offer territorial protection, but I am not too familiar with their actual product – it is not truck mounted.

In any event, if there are any key threads in these forums you could point me towards, I would be happy to start reading their first rather than wasting everyone’s time upfront. I do thank you in advance, for any assistance, feedback and guidance that you can provide.

James
I have been in the business 34 years and never even considered a franchise. Now that I have gone through this many years I see it was good idea to do my own thing. Franchises for carpet cleaning have little to offer because no matter what you do; this type of service is elective. That is ; it doesn't absolutely have to be done. Unlike the restoration business where a basement floods and needs to be addressed NOW to stop secondary damage; carpet cleaning is something that if it is not done won't cause the house to collapse.
Marketing on different levels is key, especially to the new guy. I would rather pay money to a good SEO person to market my company than pay for a franchise and be in the same situation. Even the FDD agreement will have a clause that pretty much says that the success or failure of the franchise will be on your shoulders.

If you want to be in the carpet cleaning business; there is plenty of information on this site to get you started. Take your time and search the questions you have. I'm sure you will find some good answers.
 

rob allen

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Sep 5, 2007
31,171
14,225
113
Va.
www.drynclean.com
Real Name
Robert Allen,Jr.
Business Location
United States
#5
Use www.tmfacademy.com for training and let me mentor you for pennies on the dollar with zero contracts of monthly fees.
 

longkenn

Well-Known Member
May 7, 2011
4,681
2,153
113
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
www.sunbreezeclean.com
Real Name
Kenneth Long
Business Location
United States
#7
Hi all,

I am a newbie to this website and forum. And let me be upfront, I am really new to this industry and just starting to look at it. I’ve always been fascinated by the carpet cleaning process and industry; we were life-long customers of Stanley Steemer growing up and that’s continued since. I’ve always had a desire to work for myself and started to seriously look at the industry in the past couple of months. And that’s why I am asking for your feedback, not to be an annoying newbie to the forum but for any genuine guidance that you can provide.

Because I’ve never done this previously, I’ve been looking at franchises. Stanley Steemer unfortunately doesn’t offer them where I live any longer. However, I’ve been looking at Chem Dry, Oxi Fresh and Zerorez. I am wondering if any of you have experience as a current or former franchisee that you could lend?

Chem Dry, while established and presented as a ‘turn-key’ solution, scares me because it seems their business model allows multiple franchisees to compete head-to-head in the same market. Oxi Fresh does offer territorial protection, but I am not too familiar with their actual product – it is not truck mounted.

In any event, if there are any key threads in these forums you could point me towards, I would be happy to start reading their first rather than wasting everyone’s time upfront. I do thank you in advance, for any assistance, feedback and guidance that you can provide.

James
Where are you located, James?
 

Travis Teague

Well-Known Member
Oct 5, 2016
558
320
63
Real Name
Travis Teague
#8
Use www.tmfacademy.com for training and let me mentor you for pennies on the dollar with zero contracts of monthly fees.
I would have to agree with Rob on this one. Why pay someone else forever on part of your sales for some training and maybe some name recognition and maybe, just maybe, a few sales from the National call center. Now if someone can guarantee you 20 jobs a week then they have something but most franchises just charge you for training and a name brand. Rob can train you probably a hell of a lot better than any franchise and teach you. Also he can teach you how to get customers. His rates are really good. Even if you don't go with Rob find a cleaner on this fourm and ride with them for a few weeks.
Honestly Rob puts this fourm on for free and we all get to benifit from the free knowledge. This is the only industry where I see this happen. I was In financial services for 20 years and older people kept their secret to them selfs. No one wanted their peers to succeed. It was very cutthroat. In fact they might give you fake knowledge just to burn you out of the industry. Carpet cleaning is not like that. We all seem to want to better the industry without government intervention.
 

jtsunbrite

Premium VIP
Sep 4, 2015
6,362
3,070
113
55
Houston, Texas
Real Name
jeff kessler
Business Location
United States
#9
Use www.tmfacademy.com for training and let me mentor you for pennies on the dollar with zero contracts of monthly fees.
When I read all of the above posts, I thought of Rob Allen, why? because Rob can train you and teach you the business with ongoing education.. Need help with advertising, web presence, forms? Rob can help you with that and you don't have to pay Royalty fees and such.. I too owned a franchise, I even sold franchises for a while,, but I had that urge to do it on my own.

If you buy a franchise after all the promises and Costs associated with the Franchise experience, you STILL HAVE TO GO OUT AND START THE BUSINESS BY YOURSELF !! If you don't work hard and put in the time to learn and master keeping yourself full of work, you can never master the carpet cleaning part of it...

You alone are there to put all of it together.... Take some advice let Rob give you the education and you can start everything on your own and be proud of what you build and you don't owe anyone 7-13% off the top of all your work.

You will regret buying into the franchise industry,, you wont regret educating yourself on it.


questions?
 

Travis Teague

Well-Known Member
Oct 5, 2016
558
320
63
Real Name
Travis Teague
#10
When I read all of the above posts, I thought of Rob Allen, why? because Rob can train you and teach you the business with ongoing education.. Need help with advertising, web presence, forms? Rob can help you with that and you don't have to pay Royalty fees and such.. I too owned a franchise, I even sold franchises for a while,, but I had that urge to do it on my own.

If you buy a franchise after all the promises and Costs associated with the Franchise experience, you STILL HAVE TO GO OUT AND START THE BUSINESS BY YOURSELF !! If you don't work hard and put in the time to learn and master keeping yourself full of work, you can never master the carpet cleaning part of it...

You alone are there to put all of it together.... Take some advice let Rob give you the education and you can start everything on your own and be proud of what you build and you don't owe anyone 7-13% off the top of all your work.

You will regret buying into the franchise industry,, you wont regret educating yourself on it.


questions?
Hi Jeff, I did that hardwood floor from hell today, used the 175 red pad and stripper like you said. First I sanded with a 80 grit screen but it got clogged. Them went to stripping. Stripped and flushed with bonzer. 5 times thought I got it all off but no. It was supper thick . Then I dried it then tried to stain the bare wood with stain. Looked decent. Then hit it with a coat of wax. Entryway look good and kitchen looked okay but dining room had more wax than I thought. I should have keep stripping. It was lumpy and I thought I could smooth it our with wax . I was wrong. It was a great lessons for me. As the job was not perfect I refunded her money. But she did refer me to her realtor for carpet cleaning and tile cleaning as I kicked ass o the shower. That's how I win them over, I won't leave their house and keep cleaning until they kick me out.
@jtsunbrite

 

floorclean

Active Member
Mar 31, 2016
471
224
43
Real Name
Dale MacDonald
#12
If the Restauration business is not a road your wanting to go down right now I’d suggest you look at alternative sources of revenue at the start. For a lot of markets and especially starting out, either due to high competition or just a smaller market there just isn’t enough revenue. Consider looking at adding hard floor care IE VCT floor stripping and finishing. There’s a lot of it out there and the over head is low. The learning curve short. And the return on investment is far far far better. I think we’re in the days of the one man one service are gone. Like the box store you better be one stop shopping for a lot of services. I personally would never recommend franchises for the same reason I’ve never cheapened my services by subcontracting. In my opinion in both cases your paying someone else for them to be the boss and your never done paying. Never having the full experience of building something on your own. Yes it’s really nice to have that company behind you to answer all your questions but that’s part of owning a business LEARNING.
I wish years ago when starting out I had the luxury of knowing such a service was out there like what rob Allen provides. I’ve never been involved with him but from what I do know and seen he’s a valuable asset to the whole industry. Use it, it’s worth ever penny of the investment.
 

Luky

Premium VIP
Nov 29, 2013
738
299
63
58
Chicagoland
Real Name
Marian Lukacisin
Business Location
United States
#13
Hi all,

I am a newbie to this website and forum. And let me be upfront, I am really new to this industry and just starting to look at it. I’ve always been fascinated by the carpet cleaning process and industry; we were life-long customers of Stanley Steemer growing up and that’s continued since. I’ve always had a desire to work for myself and started to seriously look at the industry in the past couple of months. And that’s why I am asking for your feedback, not to be an annoying newbie to the forum but for any genuine guidance that you can provide.

Because I’ve never done this previously, I’ve been looking at franchises. Stanley Steemer unfortunately doesn’t offer them where I live any longer. However, I’ve been looking at Chem Dry, Oxi Fresh and Zerorez. I am wondering if any of you have experience as a current or former franchisee that you could lend?

Chem Dry, while established and presented as a ‘turn-key’ solution, scares me because it seems their business model allows multiple franchisees to compete head-to-head in the same market. Oxi Fresh does offer territorial protection, but I am not too familiar with their actual product – it is not truck mounted.

In any event, if there are any key threads in these forums you could point me towards, I would be happy to start reading their first rather than wasting everyone’s time upfront. I do thank you in advance, for any assistance, feedback and guidance that you can provide.

James
I've lost you at SS
 

Mama Fen

Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2012
2,021
1,722
113
44
North Carolina
www.shopcleansource.com
Real Name
Amy Barnes
Business Location
United States
#14
If you're an independent, self-motivated person, then franchising may not be for you. My franchisees here tend to grumble incessantly about being told what they can buy, from where, and for how much. And they don't like being told the processes they must use, or how much to charge.
 

jtsunbrite

Premium VIP
Sep 4, 2015
6,362
3,070
113
55
Houston, Texas
Real Name
jeff kessler
Business Location
United States
#15
Hi Jeff, I did that hardwood floor from hell today, used the 175 red pad and stripper like you said. First I sanded with a 80 grit screen but it got clogged. Them went to stripping. Stripped and flushed with bonzer. 5 times thought I got it all off but no. It was supper thick . Then I dried it then tried to stain the bare wood with stain. Looked decent. Then hit it with a coat of wax. Entryway look good and kitchen looked okay but dining room had more wax than I thought. I should have keep stripping. It was lumpy and I thought I could smooth it our with wax . I was wrong. It was a great lessons for me. As the job was not perfect I refunded her money. But she did refer me to her realtor for carpet cleaning and tile cleaning as I kicked ass o the shower. That's how I win them over, I won't leave their house and keep cleaning until they kick me out.
@jtsunbrite

that's all you can do is keep trying , once you get a few wood floors under your belt youll gain a lot of experience.
 

PistolPete

Well-Known Member
Sep 28, 2014
883
406
63
Real Name
Peter Dymond
#17
It really depends on what you want.
If you want to own your own business and make the decisions then O/O is the way to go.
If you're simply looking at a business to scale up quickly (as in 10 years Vs 20) then a franchise may work for you.
The upside of a good franchise is that they have the systems and marketing pieces solved.
The downside is the business start up still demands the same tenacity, employee management and cash flow that any small business deals with.
The idea that you can wave a Zerorez sign and people will flock to your door is a fallacy.
You get the marketing materials but YOU have to place the ads and that takes $$$
Initially you have to do the work yourself or hire employees and make payroll for weeks until you get enough work to break even.
That's why most of us start out as O/O. A couple of lean years up front turns into a decent living and potentially a great scaled up operation after several years.
The same rules apply to any service business, AC repair, plumbing, landscaping etc.
 

the rugman

Well-Known Member
Feb 11, 2006
2,453
968
113
57
Warwick, NY
Real Name
Bob Cairns
Business Location
United States
#18
Here's my 2 cents (for what it's worth after 30 years in the biz). Find something that nobody (or not many) are offering. I started my biz by specializing in upholstery cleaning when nobody else liked or wanted to do it.
If I started over today I would probably learn to restore natural stone and polish concrete. Every town/city has lots and lots of carpet cleaners - not to say you can't work your way in but it can be a fight.
Franchise wise - I would go restoration.
 

OldCarpetVet

Well-Known Member
Nov 2, 2014
4,417
2,582
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Florida
Real Name
Richard Santoro
#19
Here's my 2 cents (for what it's worth after 30 years in the biz). Find something that nobody (or not many) are offering. I started my biz by specializing in upholstery cleaning when nobody else liked or wanted to do it.
If I started over today I would probably learn to restore natural stone and polish concrete. Every town/city has lots and lots of carpet cleaners - not to say you can't work your way in but it can be a fight.
Franchise wise - I would go restoration.
I couldn't agree more. No such thing as "How Much Do You Charge". (y)
 

James01

New Member
Dec 11, 2017
2
0
1
Real Name
James Brian
#20
Thank you all for your feedback. This is very much appreciated. As I said, it is still very early days for me. I like that franchise concept because, candidly, I have zero experience (but a lot of interest) in this space. I don't mind paying someone for that experience and business model. I don't need to reinvent the proverbial wheel. I want to work in the business, but I don't want to be an owner-operator solo operation. I'd like to grow it to a point, which of course will take time, so I can have technicians actually out doing the jobs.

I wasn't aware of a lot of the feedback or perceptions of some of the brands in this space. I thought Stanley Steemer was highly regarded!

Does anyone here have experience with either Chem Dry or OxiFresh as a franchisee? Different models and costs, and different stages of development. Chem Dry is well established and uses truck mount. Oxi Fresh is younger, there are no existing franchises in my county and it is a portable unit.

Many thanks!
James