Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As bellmen at Caesars Palace, Will Dibos and Justin Ruiz meet plenty of interesting people. One person they met on the job would change their lives: Kris Antolak, the vice president of Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning. While helping Antolak set up his booth at a Las Vegas franchise expo, the pair was introduced to Oxi Fresh and decided to explore the concept further. Today, they're franchisees themselves. Here's how they did it.
Name: William Dibos and Justin Ruiz
Franchise owned: Oxi Fresh in Las Vegas
How long have you owned a franchise?
We have owned Oxi Fresh, Las Vegas for over two months now.
Franchising provides a stable and proven method of success. Jonathan Barnett and the Oxi Fresh team have created a franchising system that has produced over 200 franchises in the United States. Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning has experienced the trials, failures, and setbacks that all start-up companies do in order to produce a company that is thriving and innovative. Oxi Fresh always finds a way to remain a step ahead of the carpet cleaning industry.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
We were bellmen at Caesars Palace before purchasing the franchise.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning has a proven record. They have won various awards from organizations such as Entrepreneur, Forbes, and Inc. The company was very informative and provided every avenue for us to address all of our questions, concerns, and aspirations. Carpet and tile cleaning are services that most homes need and we wanted a franchise that provided a service that would always be desired. The price of the franchise was very affordable and reasonable. We were surprised at the initial investment. The Oxi Fresh staff were very helpful and engaging during our exploration. We believed in the products, the system, and in their values.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
The cost of the franchise was $32,900, which included all the startup products for one operator. We purchased an additional setup and with licensing, incorporating, and insurance (about $2,000), which brought the total to approximately $40,000, not including our work vehicles. The great thing about Oxi Fresh is the equipment is small enough to fit in vehicles that get better gas mileage than your standard work truck or van.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
We got most of our startup advice directly from members of the Oxi Fresh home office. They have been incredibly helpful in getting us off the ground. Joshua Morse, the operations coach, is always readily available to answer any questions we have as well as Rob White on the product end.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
When you dream of owning your own business you tend to look right past all the work it takes before you actually open your doors. Getting our loan, as well as getting licensed and incorporated, took a lot longer than we expected. The rest was easy enough for two guys neither of who went to school for business or marketing thanks to the help of Oxi Fresh home office.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
It takes money to make money. Make sure your startup budget includes money for marketing or you could be dead in the water right off the bat. The two of us had jobs coming into the franchise and therefore had money to sustain the costs of the business. However, if you are planning on jumping in full force with no other obligations, then definitely be ready to spend on advertising.
What’s next for you and your business?
Most people who call us tend to wait until their carpet is in disastrous condition before having us clean. They’ve tried the standard steam cleaning service in the past and their carpets always go back to the way they were. With so many customers we get the last ditch effort response when we walk in the door: “We’re gonna get rid of all of our carpet and put in tile if this doesn’t work!” Because we don't currently have a well-known brand in our area, they don’t realize we have top-shelf technology that we can rescue and maintain their carpets with. We are soon adding tile and grout to our services after numerous inquiries our first month. However, I really think once we get the word out on our carpet services, we will be ahead of the competition.