Debbie and Glen Purcell of Upton, Mass. have owned and operated Colonial Chem-Dry for nearly 30 years. Before opening their own business they worked for other people. Owning a Chem-Dry franchise has afforded them a lifestyle they couldn’t have had in their prior careers. Here’s what Debbie had to say about being a Chem-Dry franchisee.
BeTheBoss: What were you doing before Chem-Dry?
I was a dental assistant before Chem-Dry. Glen was installing sprinkler systems for a fire protection company.
BeTheBoss: How did you find out about Chem-Dry?
Family friends had purchased a franchise and told my in-laws about the opportunity. It sounded too good to pass up, and so we just jumped in with both feet.
BeTheBoss: What sets Chem-Dry apart?
When we bought our franchise in 1983, what set it apart for us was that the overall cost and down payment were very reasonable. Also, because the Chem-Dry cleaning process offers some unique advantages over traditional steam cleaning, we believed it would give us an edge over the competition. Over the years, Chem-Dry has continued to innovate. I believe the cleaning system, products, and equipment are the best in the industry.
BeTheBoss: What kind of person makes a good Chem-Dry franchisee?
Somebody who is hardworking and driven to succeed. Someone who is friendly and enjoys meeting people. And someone who is obsessed with cleanliness and committed to quality.
BeTheBoss: Is there a misperception about the carpet cleaning industry?
I think one of the misperceptions is that all carpet cleaning services are the same. When a prospective client calls us, the first question they ask is, ‘How much do you charge?’ They don’t understand that not all carpet cleaning services are alike. It’s our job to educate them on the benefits of the Chem-Dry process. If we do that and then wow them with our service, we’ll have a customer for life.
BeTheBoss: How large is the opportunity?
It’s as large as you want it to be. There are solo operators, and then there are operators that have upwards of 15-20 vans. The size of our business is somewhere in the middle.
BeTheBoss: Who are your main customers?
Our main customers are homeowners who take pride in the appearance of their homes and are concerned with providing a healthy environment for their family. Eighty percent of our customers are residential.
BeTheBoss: What do you like about the business?
I like that it’s given us an opportunity to enjoy a lifestyle that we wouldn’t otherwise have been able to afford. We’ve also formed some lifelong friendships with other Chem-Dry owners. It gives us the financial freedom to take time off for the activities that enrich our lives. It’s also allowed my husband and I to work together for 30 years. Overall, owning a Chem-Dry franchise has been a great experience for us.
BeTheBoss: Would you recommend this franchise and why?
Sure, for the right person it’s a great opportunity. I think the current management is very focused on supporting their (franchise) owners. They realize that the company is only as good as the people representing it.