Nature’s Quick-Dry: A Brief History
I am married to Donna Qualters, also a BC Eagle. Donna is Director of the Center for Excellence in Learning & Teaching at Tufts University, located just north of Boston in Medford MA. We have 4 grown children. Two reside in Massachusetts, one in New York City, and one in Santa Monica CA. We both enjoy traveling, long-distance bicycling, and trying new restaurants.
After about 20 years of making a living in city government, as an urban planner, I had been growing tired of city and town hall politics and the frequent long and tedious meetings involved in that field. I knew I needed to look at something new and altogether different from what I had long been doing. In 1990, after exploring a number of possible industries, I surprised even myself by zeroing in on the field of carpet cleaning. I came to realize that it was a business in need of serious updating. With a little research, I learned that customers’ biggest complaint with traditional carpet cleaning, beyond frequent poor cleaning results, was that it was too wet. Much too wet. Carpets took too long to dry, and often a few days later, when they were finally dry, many spots and even complete foot traffic patterns had returned to view. Very disappointing to the customer! I figured if I could remedy this problem I would stand a good chance of succeeding in this industry.
I decided that I would try to both greatly reduce the volume of water used to clean carpeting and rugs, AND find a way to obtain improved cleaning results. I think during my first few years in the business I bought and tried every type of low-moisture, rapid-dry cleaning system out there before settling on the one that I still use today, and that I will supply to you in my various Packages.
I decided to call my company Drysdale’s, to try and draw attention to my quick-dry cleaning system. I also realized within a few short years that many of my customers, and the public at large, had serious environmental and home health concerns – an increasing awareness of unhealthy chemicals found everywhere in our living environment. That information told me that I should further switch cleaning products from the standard commercial carpet cleaning product I had been using to something safer to use in the home – especially around small children, pets, and elderly people. Soon I had made the switch to cleaning products based wholly or primarily on natural ingredients, which were free of all the toxins, chemical solvents, and other nasty stuff contained in traditional commercial cleaning products. And odor-free as well. (Perhaps I should have changed the name to GreenDale’s at that time.)
You might think that to consistently achieve the results that we routinely obtain that you might need a complicated and expensive system of machines and supplies, as well as a long period of on the job training and experience. Yet the opposite is the case. The equipment you can be using if you purchase one of my five Business Start-up Packages is inexpensive to buy and as simple to operate as a vacuum cleaner or lawn mower. And compared with the tens of thousands of dollars that is involved in becoming the franchisee of a large national corporation, or with the purchase of a new truck-mounted carpet cleaning van, everything that’s needed to start doing business the Nature’s Quick-Dry way comes in at between $1000 and $2850. And unlike a franchise’s requirement that you pay them a stiff annual franchise fee, and probably some percent off the top of your gross sales, with Nature’s Quick-Dry, you’re the boss and all the profits go directly to you. After purchasing your Package of equipment, supplies, and training materials, you pay only one low licensing fee per year to remain a Nature’s Quick-Dry affiliated business.
The primary tool in four of my five Packages is the Challenger Pad Machine. While it may look somewhat like a standard 175-RPM rotary floor buffer, it is decidedly different. It is lighter, and therefore easier to operate and move about than a 175 machine. The main difference is in its operating style and speed. Its pad driver scrubs at 1750-RPM, or OPM. What is OPM? It stands for Orbits per Minute. An orbit is a small (under an inch) orbital or elliptical scrubbing movement, which agitates carpet fiber far more aggressively than the 175 machines are able to do. And since agitation is a key part of the cleaning process, results are decidedly better. I realized, upon first using a random orbital machine, that it was a great improvement over my old 175-RPM machines. I was convinced, and have been using them for maybe 15 years now. The Challenger has been described in some online carpet cleaners forums and chat rooms as “built like a tank”. These weren’t my words, but I wouldn’t disagree. They run on and on, year after year, with minimal need for attention, maintenance or repair. Totally unlike the headaches you might experience in maintaining something as complex as a truck-mounted carpet cleaning system – especially if you live in a cold climate.
Nature’s Quick-Dry’s signature feature, which more and more customers every day are responding to, is our reliance on vegetable-based, all- or nearly all-natural ingredients, and odorless cleaning products. Customers who know a little about chemistry realize that most sweet-smelling scents left behind in their homes are synthetic, industrial chemicals, not natural fragrances. I recently read online about a company which asked over 200 carpet cleaning customers which they preferred – a cleaning process with a scent, or an odorless process. The overwhelming majority (over 90%) said “Skip the scent”. The basic Nature’s Quick-Dry cleaning product leaves no odor, but for those customers who do like a scent, in my Training Manual I tell you how to easily accomplish this, adding an honest citrus scent – not a factory-made chemical – to the air as you work. It’s true! You can please everyone!
Homeowners, particularly those in the coveted higher demographic levels (more education + better jobs = more disposable income) place a high value on products and services which they believe will reduce their own and their family members’ exposure to chemicals. Nobody wants cancer. Chemicals cause cancer. Ditch the chemicals, for your own sake as well as your customers’.
The Nature’s Quick-Dry process is versatile enough that you will be able to serve and satisfy both residential and commercial customers. If you were to look at the names in our customer base, you might see more names of homeowners and fewer names of commercial customers. But if you were to look at our total of dollars of residential sales vs. total of commercial sales during a typical year, the higher number might well be on the commercial side of the ledger. This is because commercial jobs tend to be larger. Where an average residential job might bring in $250 or $300, a commercial job might gross two, three, or four times that much. Our commercial customers are an interesting mix, and include but are not limited to the following: hotels; country clubs; funeral homes; schools ranging from nursery schools all the way up to M.I.T.; medical offices; publishing companies; research companies; assisted living facilities; a school of acupuncture; Massage Envy salons; yoga studios; restaurants; property management companies who specialize in condominium common areas; churches, synagogues, and even a Bhuddist temple which has been calling us annually in late August for nearly twenty years. If you reach the point where you are frequently doing really large commercial jobs, you will increase your dollars-per-hour significantly if you move up to a larger orbital machine. On our larger commercial jobs, we often use our big Orbitek machine. It features a nearly 20” cleaning path, and comes with an attached multi-gallon solution tank and two up-front sprayer heads. One person can do a lot of work with this machine. We can get you a price on this machine lower than if you tried dealing directly with the manufacturer.
Are There Additional Ways to Generate Income?
There certainly are, and you may wish to pursue some or perhaps even all of them. For openers, you will be equipped to clean any and all wall-to-wall carpeting, carpeted stairs, and even valuable area rugs, including orientals. The 6” orbital stair tool you will receive also doubles nicely as an upholstery cleaning tool. Some people entering this business spend an additional $2000 to $2500 just to purchase a piece of equipment for cleaning upholstery. We do all of our upholstery cleaning work with the tool we initially adopted for cleaning carpeted stairs. I’ll explain how to do this in the Training Manual which comes with my Packages.
Furthermore, many of your carpet customers will have areas of tile & grout floors – kitchens and bathrooms for instance. All of our Packages include a brush for the machine cleaning of tile and grout floors, which will enable you to sell additional floor brightening services to your customers with areas of ceramic tile floors. The design of these brushes enables their bristles to dig right down into the grout lines – where the real dirt lies – and scour them right out.
Some customers will inquire if you can clean their hardwood floors, their vinyl tile floors, their concrete basement or garage floors, and sometimes even their wood decks? You certainly can, it’s easy, and you’ll learn how in the Training Manual component of my Packages.