Tech & Environmentalism Key for Oxi Fresh

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HOME BASED FRANCHISING COVER STORY SEPTEMBER 2015

Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning has two big advantages over its competition; its commitment to using technology to make franchisees’ lives easier and its commitment to being as environmentally friendly as possible.

Jonathan Barnett, founder and CEO of Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning, started the company in 2006 as a way to fund a non-profit organization he had started.

From there, the company grew to its current size of 150 franchisees with 300 units spread throughout 45 states — including Hawaii and Alaska — and up into Canada.

Barnett, who lives in Denver, CO where Oxi Fresh is based, knew a bit about the carpet cleaning business, having done it while attending college.

The entrepreneur knew from that experience that customers really loved it when a carpet cleaner used a low amount of water, as it not only saved on water, but meant shorter drying times for carpets.

Saving Water

One of the biggest selling points for the consumer is the fact that Oxi Fresh only uses about two gallons of water for a whole house while their competition uses about 50 gallons.

Since they’ve started, the company has saved about 25 million gallons of water, Barnett said during a recent interview from the Oxi Fresh headquarters in Denver.

Not only that, but the company has partnered with water.org — started by actor Matt Damon — and a portion of the revenue from each job booked online is given to water.org to help build wells and provide clean drinking water for children all over the world.

Also, as part of their commitment to being as environmentally friendly as possible, the company has engineered its own products and now has 22 products that are all safe for the environment. These products are exclusive to Oxi Fresh franchisees, meaning none of the competition has access to them.

The company spent years developing these products, Barnett said, to find products that could eliminate tough stains while still being environmentally safe and using minimal water, which is ideal for places like California that have water restrictions.

Using Technology

While saving on water and using their own specially designed environmentally friendly products is good for drawing in customers, the company uses technology to draw in franchisees.

“Some people say we’re a technology company that cleans carpet,” Barnett quipped.

The CEO said Oxi Fresh is big on speed through systems. For example, a franchisee never has to answer the phone themselves (or hire someone to do it), as Oxi Fresh answers the phone for all their franchisees through its dedicated call center. In addition to that, the company also books all appointments through software that they had custom designed.

Freeing up franchisees’ time allows them to work on building customer relationships, Barnett explained.

The company wants franchisees to be able to communicate with customers via email and text message at the click of a button. The software also tracks the efficacy of the various marketing efforts the franchisees use (and all Oxi Fresh marketing is turnkey) and it also emails customers so they can review the work done so franchisees can know if their technicians are doing a good job.

In fact, the pay structure for the carpet cleaning technicians is based on the customer satisfaction scores they receive.

“In the last 18 months, we’ve sold over a hundred units and it’s largely based on the fact that we have such superior software systems,” Oxi Fresh vice-president Kris Antolak said.

As part of Oxi Fresh’s own customized software, franchisees can easily provide feedback to the franchise, which is an important component of the business.

“We’re very big on listening to the franchisees’ feedback and improving,” Barnett said. “It’s never ending.”

The company even has its own internal social media network, Freshbook, which franchisees use to provide the aforementioned feedback, but also share best practices and bring attention to any problems they may be facing.

It’s all meant to make things as simple as possible for franchisees.

“We streamline everything by having just one sign-on platform so franchisees just go to one place online and they are able to get access to everything and makes it more likely that they’ll use those tools,” said Jordan LaBelle, who writes all of the company’s manuals, marketing material and website content.

Part of the beauty of having all these support systems in place is that franchisees don’t have to be present at their physical locations to effectively run their businesses.

Antolak, himself an owner of five franchisees in two different states, said the company is looking for people who are engaged, but who don’t necessarily want to be present all the time.

For example, Oxi Fresh has a franchisee who has eight different territories spread out across the country, but he lives in California. He can do this because of Oxi Fresh’s proprietary technology. He, like all franchisees, still needs to monitor the business, but he can do that with all of Oxi Fresh’s tools without actually being present in the locations.

This makes Oxi Fresh ideal for people who have a stable of franchise businesses and who are looking to add an easy-to-run business to their portfolios.

But, Barnett added, the company still does attract owner-operator franchisees who do just as well as the investors.

With its focus on both the environment and utilizing technology to the best of its ability, Oxi Fresh is poised for more growth, with nearly 1,000 units still available throughout the US and Canada, and plans to open locations globally over the next 2 years.

Perhaps Barnett said it best, when he stated: “We really put the profits back into the company because we just want to be the best.”

www.oxifresh.com