Traditional carpet cleaning often utilizes chemicals and includes a lengthy cleaning and drying process. But the founder of Oxi Fresh felt that there was a better way.
Already interested in entrepreneurship, he noticed a gap in the market that he could leverage to provide a different type of cleaning service to consumers. Learn more about his business journey in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
What the Business Does
Provides eco-friendly carpet cleaning services.
Jonathan Barnett, founder and CEO of Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning told Small Business Trends, “Oxi Fresh is proud to offer green, fast-drying carpet cleanings that use the power of oxygen to get phenomenal results. We also offer upholstery, tile & gout, and wood floor cleanings as well as odor control services. All of these services are available for both residential and commercial clients.”
Using fast-drying methods.
Barnett says, “We pride ourselves on offering oxygen-powered, green cleanings that dry in just about one hour versus the 12-24 hours of steam cleaning. The company achieves this via a cleaning method that requires only two gallons of water per home – as opposed to the 40-60 gallons that other carpet cleaners use.”
How the Business Got Started
Due to an interest in entrepreneurship and franchising.
Barnett explains, “I’ve always been interested in entrepreneurship – something I owe to my grandfather. His spark and energy really inspired me to forge my own path. In college, that meant opening firework stands – Johnny B’s Fireworks – that did quite well. In fact, they helped pay my way through college, and I ended up selling them upon graduation. After college and graduate school, I owned an International Basketball League franchise called the Colorado Crossover. That and other experiences really heightened my interest in franchising. It was such a powerful business model with so much potential.
That’s when Oxi Fresh was born. I decided to take my knowledge of franchising, my experiences in carpet cleaning, and my entrepreneurial drive and put them to good use. I opened Oxi Fresh as a franchise business with radical differences from other carpet cleaners.”
The development of their Customer Relationship Management software.
Barnett adds, “Early in our company’s history, we booked jobs on spreadsheets. This involved a lot of manual data entry, which meant there were errors and inefficiencies. I knew that such an approach was unsustainable in the long run, so we invested heavily in the development of a custom-built CRM. The result was a live, online platform that did everything from job bookings to marketing reports. It truly was a revolution for our company that has allowed us to grow into what we are today. But we haven’t let the CRM stay where it was. We have and will continue to constantly update it, adding new features that will help our franchisees.”
A dip in online rankings.
Barnett explains, “Several years ago, we ran into an issue with our online presence that caused a marked decrease in our rankings. As anyone could tell you, online rankings are key to success, so it really hurt our bottom line.
In order to address this, we worked day-in, day-out to correct the problem at its source. In the meantime, we really encouraged our franchisees to try new marketing options, we pushed initiatives to help them during this challenging time, and we did everything we could to support them. Eventually, we got the issue fixed, but it was a challenging time.”
Barnett says, “Years ago, Oxi Fresh heavily relied on traditional marketing – as did almost every other carpet cleaner. You did mailers, you had print ads, and if you had the funds you did radio and TV. But the costs of these marketing methods were always going up, and at best the returns were stable. Often, they were going down. Still – those were the ways of marketing in the carpet cleaning world. They’d been in force for decades.
Oxi Fresh took a risk, though, and began pursuing the world of online marketing hard. We’d already invested in SEO at this point, but now we began to put an enormous amount of effort into local online rankings. We also integrated various online marketing tools into our platforms, greatly expanded our website, and made customer reviews a key part of our strategy.
Now, if this had backfired, it would have been pretty bad for the company. That said, staying where we were would have been equally disastrous, as we would have stagnated. Thankfully, these efforts, which continue to this day, have pushed Oxi Fresh towards greater and greater heights.”
How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000
Systems or staff.
Barnett says, “We’re a strong believer in “Speed through Systems,” the idea that implementing systems and tools that automate work are key to the success of any business. By creating systems, we free up our corporate staff to work on new projects (instead of doing a bunch of “daily grind” work. We also make life easier for our franchisees, who can in turn use their extra time to grow their businesses instead of just working in them.
Alternatively, I’d invest in additional staff members who would pay for themselves in time. This could be more marketing support, additional programmers, perhaps an extra coach for the franchisees.”
Opening day baseball.
Barnett explains, “Every year, we take the Management Team out to the opening day for the Rockies. We find a restaurant in downtown Denver, claim a big table, and have a great time. We get food, drinks, and even occasionally watch the game.”
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Images: Oxi Fresh; Second Image: Jonathan Barnett