This Husband-and-Wife Team Have Grown Their Carpet Cleaning Franchise Along With Their Family
Erin and Leroy Hamp of Beavercreek, Ohio, knew nothing about carpet cleaning before they segued into ownership of their Chem-Dry franchise. Erin had worked as a waitress and served as children’s pastor at their church. Leroy was the lead singer of the heavy-metal band War of Ages, but his touring and recording income wasn’t enough to support their family. Today, co-owning and co-operating their home-services franchise provides the income they need, work-life balance for their family, and band time for Leroy.
The couple’s path toward owning a Chem-Dry franchise began in 2016, when Leroy, 36, and Erin, 31, were parents to two young children. Leroy worked as an employee in 2016 to learn the business, and then the couple partnered with the original owners in 2017 before buying “100% as of Jan. 1, 2018,” Erin says. “This was an amazing blessing and opportunity for our family,” which has since grown by three more children.
The scheduling flexibility – the Hamps book appointments around their family’s needs – is an important reason the Chem-Dry franchise is ideal for them, Erin says. Their income has allowed them to hire Leroy’s mom as a full-time nanny to care for their children while the couple works on weekdays. “We decided in the beginning to have only Monday-through-Friday bookings, so Saturday is our family day. On Sundays we do church and activities,” Erin says. “We also wanted to support the families that work for us and give them weekends off.”
Erin recounts the journey of their Area Wide Chem-Dry franchise, which serves Montgomery County, Ohio, as an engrossing ride with continuing ambitions. That first year on their own set a simple goal: survival. At that point, the “business was very hands-on ma-and-pa. We wanted to build it so we would manage it. In 2018 we worked to build employees. We learned new services and upgraded equipment.”
Growing Their Chem-Dry Franchise
In 2019, they attended the Chem-Dry convention to improve their home-based home-services business by following advice they picked up there. “We latched onto other successful Chem-Dry franchisees and took tons of notes,” Erin says. “We had a few other franchisees take us under their wings and show us how they ran their businesses.” They further upgraded equipment in 2019 and “focused on taking our services to the next level. We started onTrack CRM [customer relationship management] software offered by Chem-Dry, which was a game-changer. We were so much more professional and could track things way better. We also upped our SEO [search engine optimization] and PPC [pay per click]. We tried new marketing ventures with Valpak,” and we improved customer service, Erin says. “By May 2019 we saw a huge improvement and ended the year with about 24% growth.”
Then along came 2020 and Covid-19. “We shifted the goal to survival. We received PPP [Paycheck Protection Program] loans. … We closed for a bit and reopened in May. From May to the end of the year, we were slammed. We ended the year only down 11%.”
During 2021, the Hamps aimed to build their owner-operator franchise, and it stayed happily busy. “We hired a full-time customer service representative and a part-time tech. We bought a new-to-us empty Chem-Dry van from another franchise, giving us three vans.” We focused a lot on training, added workers and evaluated ways to improve, Erin said, and “our year ended with 37% growth.”
This year they plan to expand their territory and pay off the last van. The Hamps will continue advertising with ValPak and mailing quarterly marketing postcards. A company runs their website and pay-per-click program. As always, they will take care of their employees, an ongoing activity that they consider crucial to success. Also vital is clear communication with everyone involved in their business, Erin says. “Be firm but kind. Be generous, gracious and positive. People will work harder when they love the people they work for.”
Husband-and-Wife Business Partners
The couple divided duties based on their individual skills. “We try not to step on each other’s toes. Don’t micro-manage,” Erin says. “We have always wanted to work together, so this was a huge blessing. We love going on lunch dates. We look forward to the Chem-Dry convention every year.” Leroy handles employee tech training, cleaning process, equipment care and managing employees. Erin takes care of the books and general office duties.
The Hamps tell their back story to potential Chem-Dry franchisees during the recruitment process, including how the franchise opportunity enhanced their lives. They’ve always been impressed by the support from corporate as well as the lessons learned and shared by fellow company franchisees. “Their generosity is one of the best things about Chem-Dry,” Erin says.
For more information, visit https://chemdryfranchise.com/.