How did you get into the industry?
I was in the construction industry and doing quite well. We were headed into another recession. Construction can be feast or famine. I wanted to take the lows out of the equation. I decided the way to do that was to provide a service to existing homes. I didn’t want to be affected by the weather so I sought something inside the home. I decided that the carpet cleaning industry as it existed had major issues and that I could disrupt the industry and bring a much needed change. I resolved to create a more predictable stream of income. “When the economy is good people get their carpets cleaned. When the economy is bad people get their carpets cleaned”.
What’s new in the franchise model or how are you differentiated from your competition?
I wanted an industry that I could totally disrupt and I did just that. The processes were antiquated and ineffective. The CitruSolution process cleans better initially, dries faster, stays cleaner longer, and smells great. The industry pricing model was based on extra charges for everything. It was bait and switch. No integrity. Our flat rate per room pricing puts our clients at ease. They can add up their rooms and make out a check. All of our customer service techniques vastly positively affect customer retention and customer referrals, most notably, our famous bottomless bottle of spot cleaner we leave with our clients. A greatly appreciated gift.
Where do you see opportunities or challenges for the franchise moving forward?
My success has come from a business model that is quality-of-life friendly. We market to middle and upper middle income residential, light clerical office space, and real estate professionals. This allows us to be a boutique carpet cleaner and do what we do very well. This clientele has proven to be very happy to pay a reasonable price for an excellent service. They are also a more economically stable demographic in a recession.
My challenges as a franchisor have always been taking our story and the personality of the company and translating that into a marketable program that appeals to someone who is analytically looking at all the franchises, but doesn’t have the sense of the character of who we are. It has been that very story our franchisees have responded to, and the same story they tell their community to build their client base. Our current franchisees are on board ideologically. Many of them former clients. One of them was twelve years old when his family had us clean their carpets for the first time in 1989. Now he is married with his own child. I love the continuity.
What are your unique points of training and support?
I really take the time to train each franchisee on our company ideology. I always say “CitruSolution is 25% aptitude and 75%” attitude”. Some of these teachings have fondly been referred to by my franchisees as “Paulisms”. I understand how to take the old world mentality for customer relationships and apply it to the carpet cleaning business. I can teach the franchisees how to become fully integrated into the community and be more of a value than just the service we provide. I tell my franchisees that they can take projects important to them, incorporate those into their daily lives, and it will never feel like “work”.
Define your Franchise Model:
Training and Support Model
Our training program provides our franchisees with everything to launch, operate, and grow the franchise, as well as updates on new technologies or procedures through refresher courses
What is the Fee Structure
Franchise fee: $30K
What does your franchisee do in the business every day?
First and foremost, they need to take our attention-getting marketing and graphics and get in front of their community. One day a mom called to schedule a job. I overheard her say that she and her daughter were sitting in traffic and saw a CitruSolution Carpet Cleaning van go one way and then saw a second pass by. The little girl said to her mom “let’s try that carpet cleaning company next.” So they called us. I went out and personally did the job myself. When I was done, I asked “So which carpet company will you try next?” And the mother said “None. You are our guys from here on out!” And this family has been a customer ever since. Our marketing is designed to give you the ability to tell the unique story of our great process, our pricing integrity, and exceptional customer service.
As you build your client base you can choose to clean or be more focused on the management of the staff and the business. Franchisees can schedule jobs from 9 or 10 to 4pm and do 2 to 4 average jobs per crew per day. My package includes a second set of equipment which allows for growth to a second crew. Often that is the owner opting to clean part time until they build to two full time crews. Once they have put the second set of equipment to work they can buy additional equipment through our buying coop at great discounts.
Who is the ideal franchise candidate for Citrussolutions?
We enjoy working with people who want to be involved in the community. Host movie nights, be a part of the Chamber, get involved with the people that work and live around them, and network with other businesses. I want my franchisees to hold to the CitruSolution Carpet Cleaning company culture and philosophy, treating people right.and well. These activities help build a client base at a lower cost and that allows to franchisees to dedicate more funds to other marketing programs.
What goals do you have for the franchise model in the future?
I want to continue to disrupt the carpet cleaning industry. We have many stories of how we’ve done this already. Here’s one: In my metro area my franchisees and myself have done a great job of building a loyal base of “lifetime” clients. I was told that a competitor that has spent a lot of money on advertising said he sees our people everywhere he wants to be, but never sees them spend a penny to get there. Great franchisees telling our unique story to the right people. I am very proud of them.
This is a real life example of our overall goal with the future for our franchise model and our brand. To help our people build their own lifetime clientele. “If you become known for how you do business, and not just how much business you do, you can have all the business you want”.
For more information about CitruSolution Carpet Cleaning and our franchise opportunity, visit our website at http://www.citrusolution.com/.