I must agree with virtually all of the negative comments left on this site by 'disgruntled' former Chem-Dry franchisees. That Chem-Dry's spokesmen would choose to (feebly) answer all of the complaints lodged here by former franchisees by trying to marginalize them by labeling them in such a way pretty much sums up their attitude: Arrogant.
I purchased two Chem-Dry franchises back in the early 1990's; one in Florida and one when I moved back to New Jersey. Every step of the way, Chem-Dry put obstacles in the way of allowing their new franchisees to see a profit. Whether it was the vastly over-priced cleaning supplies they FORCED you to use (which were no better--and in some case, inferior to--than those offered at general supply houses. Even worse was the way they saturated 'your' franchise area with other naive saps. This inevitably led to bad blood between ALL of the franchises in the area that I did business within, and also resulted in price wars that hurt everyone.
Bottom line is, Chem-Dry makes it easy and attractive to get INTO the carpet-cleaning business, but their follow-up bleeding of their franchisees via over-priced supplies and other fees is really a sin. To read that they intend to now take a percentage of their franchisees' earnings is outrageous. They have NO national advertising program almost 20 years ago, and not much has changed right up until today. Turn on your radio and TV; you hear and see plenty of Stanley Steamer and even Rug Doctor commercials. How many CHEM-DRY commercials have you heard or seen? That's right: ZERO.
And for years they provided their franchisees and the potential customers for Chem-Dry with all of the negative advertising you could want about steam-cleaning. 'It DROWNS your carpets'; 'It ruins the backing and padding'';'It takes DAYS to dry'; 'Carbonated cleaning is superior to hot water'.
All lies. Obviously, since Chem-Dry itself embraced the 'hot water' method of cleaning some time ago. Oh well, there went any shred of truth that the carbonated method was superior I guess.
I, too, would like to belatedly apologize to all my steam-cleaning competitors and to the public at large for all of the false, pejorative things I ever stated about other cleaning methods, thanks to the propaganda and lies put out by Harris Research, Inc. and Chem-Dry.
If you are looking to get into the carpet cleaning game, the best advice I can give is for you to buy an existing steam cleaning business, pay the owner a little extra to show you the ropes and sell you the customer lists, and utilize all of the many online resources to purchase high quality, cost-effective carpet and drapery cleaning products. By judiciously researching all of the different machines and products out there, you should be able to put together a nice little carpet cleaning company for under $40K, a reliable, used van or pickup truck with cap included.
I eagerly await the day when the state and federal governments for once and for all crack down on Chem-Dry for their insidious business practices.