On January 2nd, 2014, Mike Dunmyer bought Hot Steam Carpet Clean from a local operator in Sussex County, Delaware. Hot Steam had been in business for five years and had developed a solid reputation because the former owner was meticulous and cared about his customers, but he wasn’t doing anything unique relative to his competitors. At the time of purchase, Hot Steam was a $50,000 a year enterprise.
After buying Hot Steam, Mike pursued industry certification training and built relationships with the trainers in order to gain superior expertise. He used this knowledge to radically alter Hot Steam’s service offerings and to reposition the brand as a super-premium that delivered “carpet, tile and upholstery detailing” rather than simply cleaning. Unlike most other companies, Hot Steam would NOT compete on price, choosing instead to focus on delivering the best possible results and charging an appropriate price for this level of service. This differentiation worked as Mike was able to nearly double Hot Steam’s revenues in the first year.
Midway through Mike’s first year of ownership, the business had grown enough to bring on two employees and to begin transitioning to an employee delivered service model. The challenge at this point was to hire and train employees willing and able to deliver the service on par with the owner, and to create a culture that reinforced proper behavior at every point. While it hasn’t always been easy, Mike was able to do this and the business has continued to grow rapidly. Along the way, he decided to change the name from Hot Steam Carpet Clean to Advanced Degree Carpet Cleaning to better reflect the type of service and differentiated brand the team had built.
Part of the culture developed at Advanced Degree is a commitment to continual process improvement. No matter how good the company’s services are – and no matter how much better they are than their competitors – Mike and his team are never satisfied. This relentless pursuit of perfection has driven innovation and evolution of the services provided, and Advanced Degree is well established as the highest quality cleaning brand in its home region, with dozens and dozens of five-star reviews to back up its reputation.
The goal now is to establish Advanced Degree Carpet Cleaning as the best, most respected brand in the industry by helping motivated entrepreneurs build their own successful businesses using its proven model. With a highly differentiated, well-established business and service models, a rigorous training program and strong corporate culture, we can reach these goals together. We’ve learned which marketing channels and sales techniques work best and have developed a highly effective hiring / onboarding model for staff development. This expertise can prevent you from making the mistakes many startup businesses make.
This business model is a compelling choice for a franchisee who wants to build a successful local business and be part of a team building a truly great national brand.