Revised and updated January 4, 2020.
There are more than 140 billion square feet of carpeting in American homes, apartments, and businesses. Many people have no desire to clean their carpets themselves, and entrepreneurs who want to help meet the need have some great choices among these 5 best carpet cleaning franchises of 2020.
The carpet cleaning industry is worth $5 billion divided up among nearly 35,000 businesses. With the longest economic recovery still going strong more than 10 years after the Great Recession, this is one industry that’s expected to continue strong growth thanks to declining office vacancies and increasing residential construction.
The key to success in franchising in the carpet cleaning industry is establishing a growing base of loyal customers who will refer new customers. There are many independent companies operating in this industry that offer very low pricing but deliver subpar work, which is why reputation is so important in this franchising segment. Here are the top 5 carpet cleaning franchises of 2020:
1. Chem-Dry Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning
Chem-Dry Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning has been the industry leader in residential and commercial carpet cleaning for decades thanks to the years the founder spent experimenting to come up with the best process to get results in less time.
A big claim to fame of Chem-Dry’s Hot Carbonating Extraction process is that it uses 80% less water than regular steam-cleaning methods, which also means carpets are dry in just a couple hours instead of a couple days, which can be enough time for mildew and mold to develop. Chem-Dry’s process is also completely non-toxic (no phosphates or detergents) and doesn’t leave any kind of residue behind that can actually hold dirt and require more frequent cleaning.
Other services offered include upholstery, tile, stone, granite, and grout cleaning, pet urine and odor removal, and water damage restoration.
Founded by Robert Harris in 1977 and franchising since 1978, the number of locations has held relatively steady since 2013 and currently stands at 3,576 (an increase of 23 from the previous year’s total of 3,553), none of which are company-owned and 1,541 of which are located outside the US.
2. Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning
Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning positions itself as the “greenest” carpet cleaning service for homes and businesses, first by saving as much as 58 gallons of water per house compared to other techniques because it relies on the natural cleaning power of oxygen as a purifying agent. It also claims that the carpets it cleans are dry in about an hour.
Every time customers book a carpet cleaning service through the company’s website, Oxi Fresh donates a portion of the service fee to Water.org, a charity that helps people who don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. Other cleaning services offered by the chain include those for tile and grout, upholstery, and rugs.
Founded by Jonathan Barnett in Denver, Colorado in 2006 and franchising since then, the number of locations has steadily expanded in recent years from 169 in 2009 to the current total of 385 (an increase of 21 from the previous year’s total of 364), of which 12 are company-owned and eight are located outside the US.
3. Stanley Steemer Carpet Cleaner
Stanley Steemer Carpet Cleaner is a family-owned chain that makes its own cleaning equipment and cleaning products to clean the carpets of both residential and business customers. It has staked its reputation on consistently delivering superior results with 24/7 responsiveness, well-trained technicians (background-checked, drug-tested, never contracted), and a customer satisfaction guarantee.
Besides carpet cleaning, the chain also offers other services, including tile and grout cleaning, upholstery cleaning, leather cleaning, oriental rug cleaning, hardwood floor cleaning, air duct cleaning, boat and RV cleaning, natural stone cleaning, area rug cleaning, and 24/7 water damage restoration. For those with allergic sensitivities, Stanley Steemer claims to remove 94% of common allergens from anything it cleans.
Founded by Jack Bates in Dublin, Ohio in 1947 and franchising since 1972, the number of locations has declined slightly during the last eight years from 302 in 2009 to the current total of 269 (same as the previous year), all of which are located in the US and 54 of which are company-owned.
milliCare is different from the other companies on this list as it only serves commercial customers, not residential homeowners. It can provide floor and textile cleaning services to any type of business or industry facility. The chain is careful in taking enough time to really get to know the client’s cleaning needs, and if an annual cleaning plan can be collaboratively established, then milliCare will show up according to schedule without the client needing to make contact first.
The “textile” part of its cleaning services can include lobby and reception furniture, task seating, lounge seating, conference furniture, waiting room furniture, panel fabrics, draperies, wall coverings, and more. In addition to carpet and textiles, milliCare also provides tile and grout care, entryway systems that help prevent dirt being tracked into a building, protective care services for carpets and textiles, and performance coatings on hard-surface floors.
This company says it uses 99.5% less water than the competition because of its dry care technology of water-activated dry polymers that bind to dirt and other debris in carpets that is then pulled out by vacuuming.
Founded in 1967 and franchising since 1996, the number of locations currently stands at 56 (one less than the previous year), none of which are company-owned and 11 of which are located outside the US.
Zerorez provides both residential and commercial carpet cleaning with a “no residue” commitment. While other companies on this list claim something similar, Zerorez had made it a central distinguishing characteristic of its market positioning, starting with its name.
It accomplishes its work without soap or harsh chemicals, relying instead on a patented method it calls Powered Water. Basically, it takes the customer’s own water and runs it first through a softener to remove anything that might inhibit cleaning, then runs the softened water through an electric generator, which heightens cleaning power by splitting some of the hydrogen from the oxygen so it can bond with sodium. These hydroxide molecules are what do the heavy lifting in cleaning. The result is a superior clean with no residue left behind.
Founded in 2001 and franchising since 2003, the number of locations has expanded in recent years to the current total of 56 (up five from the previous year), all of which are in the US and none one of which are company-owned.
An Important Note About Our Methodology
The franchises on this list were ranked according to the number of units in the franchise system. If you are a prospective franchisee searching for franchise opportunities that meet or exceed certain performance benchmarks for sales, profits, and return on investment, please check out this list of America’s Most Lucrative Franchises.