Back in 1983, Robert Allen Jr. was busy managing five vacuum cleaner sales and repair shops in Southside, Virginia. Now he has one of the most recognizable names in carpet cleaning and a successful company, Dry-N-Clean. Like many in the industry, Allen found success in carpet cleaning after feeling unrest in another industry.
“Due to professional differences, I left a good-paying job,” Allen says. “[After that,] I went from door to door offering repair services until a client asked me to clean her carpet. Then I went from using small, portable equipment to my own signature, dual-wand truckmount.”
Allen created Dry-N-Clean of Virginia Beach in 1995. The niche company caters only to exclusive clientele with its 10 employees, five trucks, and two sales vehicles. It offers carpet, stone, tile, and grout cleaning in addition to pest services and water damage restoration to its high-end clients. It also houses a full rug cleaning facility.
How Dry-N-Clean came together
After Allen left his former industry and found his way into carpet cleaning, he first started Dyna Clean, which he built to five trucks and sold in 1991. With his earnings, he paid off his house and took a couple of years off of work. Allen says, “I came to the conclusion that man was made to work.”
That’s when Dry-N-Clean came about. He wanted to create a business that not only offered floor cleaning, but also ventured into other services, like water damage restoration and pest control. He quickly built the new business into a five-truck operation and created a company he is proud of.
“There is a lot of satisfaction in being an entrepreneur,” Allen explains. “There is something unique about satisfying a customer’s needs. Cleanliness is definitely tied to success, health, and happiness.”
Allen started off placing double-page ads in the Yellow Pages to grow his business, and over the last 10-15 years, he has transitioned to digital marketing and uses Housecall Pro, which he says helps manage his whole business.
At first, Allen found it challenging “being in an industry where there was a lack of constancy,” but he found a way to ensure he stayed top of mind for his customers to attain that needed loyalty.
“I made a point to stand apart from the norm of carpet cleaning, taking on a different direction in customer service and quality,” he says. “The goal was to educate the customer in process by going above and beyond in my knowledge of cleaning.”
Through developing his own knowledge of cleaning and creating education, he eventually developed Truck Mount Forums, which he is known for throughout the industry.
“The last 12 years I have focused on providing online education and branding while operating my businesses,” Allen says. “I have created a platform for other cleaners to educate themselves in the processes of the changing industry.”
Allen’s education of other cleaners online has spread industrywide and helped show him as a thought leader and knowledgeable source to his own clients at Dry-N-Clean. He adds, “We enjoy sharing knowledge to the entire community and outward. In return, our customers have provided a lucrative financial portfolio that continues to grow each year.”
When looking back on his history, Allen says there is nothing he would do differently. He says, “Everything has led me to where I am today.”
As to the future of Dry-N-Clean, his goals remain simple, to the point, and reflective of the company’s history: “I want to continue providing five-star service and grooming expert techs.”
Despite his years of experience. Allen still remembers what it was like to be first starting out. For those in the industry still trying to build their own success stories, Allen has some simple, sage advice.
“Focus on quality, education, customer service and people before money. The success will follow,” Allen recommends. “And never get down comparing yourself to others. We are all works in progress.”
See how three industry companies found success, learn from their journeys, and decide what your own path to success will look like. Check out the other companies featured in our 2020 Carpet Cleaning Industry Leaders Review: