Chem-Dry Franchise Interview

Franchise Interviews: For our listeners who don't know, tell us about Chem-Dry. What is Chem-Dry?

Erik Flores - Chem-Dry was launched over 35 years ago to clean carpets and upholstery. The process was developed when our founder, Robert Harris (a chemist- hence the "Chem" in the name Chem-Dry), was on an airplane and overheard a flight attendant offer a passenger some club soda to remove a stain on his clothing. Now, Chem-Dry uses a proprietary hot carbonating extraction cleaning process that provides a more profound, healthier, and faster drying process for carpets and upholstery. Chem-Dry is by far the largest carpet cleaning franchise in the world, with over 3,500 franchises in 47 countries.

Franchise Interviews: Tell us a little about your background and what you did before you decided to launch a Chem-Dry business.

Erik Flores: I am a serial entrepreneur and have been self-employed for eight years. I am now 32 years old. Most recently, I owned a car detailing business for four years called Untouchable Detailing. I used Chem-Dry upholstery cleaning products on the interiors of vehicles and was impressed with the results. So, a year and a half ago, I sold the car detailing business to purchase the Plainview, TX Chem-Dry franchise from my brother, who owned it then.

Franchise Interviews: Has technology played a role in your business?

Erik Flores: Harris Research Inc. is the parent company of Chem-Dry and N-Hance Revolutionary Wood Renewal. The founder of Chem-Dry was a chemist, so innovation is a big part of our business model. Chem-Dry recently released a new X.T.S. advanced portable unit (Cross-Over Truck-Mount System). Also, regarding innovation, Chem-Dry was a green carpet cleaning company when nobody else used green methods. Chem-Dry is a green company because:

Chem-Dry's primary cleaning solution, The Natural®, is green-certified and on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's G.R.A.S. (Generally Recognized As Safe) list. So it is non-toxic and safe for kids and pets. Many of Chem-Dry's products are green-certified. The Natural® is so safe you could drink it.

• All of the company's products contain no phosphates or detergents. All Chem-Dry products contain low V.O.C.s (Volatile Organic Compounds).

• The Chem-Dry carpet cleaning process employs Water Conservation: It uses 80 percent less water than a steam cleaner. Therefore, a carpet dries in a couple of hours versus a couple of days. (Steam cleaners use approximately 40 gallons of water, whereas Chem-Dry uses about eight). So, molds and mildew have no environment to thrive in.

There are approximately 132,312,404 households in the U.S. today. Assuming all of them get their carpets cleaned once per year with a steam cleaner, the annual U.S. water usage is 5,292,496,160 gallons. However, if they all switched to Chem-Dry for their yearly carpet cleaning, the annual U.S. water usage would be 1,058,499,232. This would result in approximately 4.2 billion gallons of water savings per year. That is the equivalent of 64 Olympic-sized swimming pools or filling the Superdome 3.5 times yearly!

Franchise Interviews: You describe yourself as a dadpreneur. What does that mean, and how does Chem-Dry fit into that picture?

Erik Flores: Recent studies have shown that the number of work-from-home dads has more than doubled in the past ten years. According to the U.S. Census, the number of stay/work-at-home dads has risen from 81,000 in 2001 (1.6 percent of the total) to 176,000 in the past year (3.4 percent of the total). I am an example of a work-from-home dad who left a career outside the home to launch businesses that would allow me the flexibility and independence that only a home-based franchise provides. I also have responsibilities associated with three children (ages 10, 8, and 7) and a local church where I have served as the director for the past four months. Before this, I was the youth pastor at the church. Now, I set my hours, travel, and have the time to devote to my ministry and my children. My wife works the second shift at her job, so it's great for me to be around during the hours after my kids get home from school. Click the play button below to listen to the show.