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After layoff, spouses become carpet cleaning franchisees

Published April 3, 2010 10:10 pm

Business • Boones secure Chem-Dry franchise for Davis, Salt Lake counties.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Times were getting tough for the Boone family in the months after David lost his construction job in November 2008 and nothing materialized to replace it.

"We kept thinking 'Work will come. Work will come.' But when we started looking, we found dead end after dead end," said his wife, Heather. "Bills still needed to be paid and our unemployment was going to run out, so he was freaking out."

Their solution: Go into business for themselves as franchisees of Chem-Dry, the carpet and upholstery cleaning company owned since 2006 by The Home Depot.

"I had a part-time job cleaning a bank. My husband did carpet cleaning way back before we got married. We figured maybe we could open our own cleaning business," she said.

So the Boones did some research and determined their best prospects were with Chem-Dry, the company David had worked with before.

"So we applied," Heather said. "They interviewed us — we interviewed them, really — and it was a good fit. We really liked the family feel of it."

With financial startup assistance from David's father, who lives in Cottonwood Heights, the Tooele-based Boones landed a franchise and the rights to pursue cleaning jobs in Salt Lake and southern Davis counties — from Bluffdale to Fruit Heights.

Heather said an $8,500 investment provided the Boones with carpet cleaning equipment (they had to come up with their own van to haul it around) and the training to do the job and get their business up and running.

"Starting it up all brand new was kind of scary," she said, "but they teach you how to get customers, how to present yourself, how to go to businesses, how to get the word out that you're in business."

Word-of-mouth is the best way to get rolling, so the Boones started close to home — with family and friends.

"My very first customer was David's sister. She helped us a lot. The second was his mom and dad," Heather said. "We've branched out since then and gotten aunts and uncles, high school friends, people I've worked with in the past who referred customers to me."

And just lately, the Boones ventured into commercial cleaning, landing a job at a furniture company's big showroom in Sandy.

"We did it at night," she said, leaving their 4-year-old son, William, with a baby sitter. "David does the physical work and I help him. I enjoy working with my husband. It's a partnership."

This being the spring-cleaning season, business is starting to pick up for the Boones. Although "we're not nearly as busy as other franchises since we are brand new and trying to get our name out there," Heather said she has only one regret about taking the leap into small business ownership.

"I wish we had done this years ago," she said.

mikeg@sltrib.com

Meet the Boones

David, 33, grew up in Sandy and used to be a truck driver for a construction company until he lost his job in November 2008.

Heather, 31, was raised in Magna, has worked part-time cleaning and is mom to their 4-year-old William.

Today their Chem-Dry franchise pursues cleaning jobs in Salt Lake and southern Davis counties, from Bluffdale to Fruit Heights.