Description: Join the Steri-Clean family and benefit from three well known names as a franchise: Steri-Clean, Inc, Crime Scene Steri-Clean and 1-800-Hoarders. These brands are popular and well-known names in the biohazard and hoarding industry! Opportunities: Single unit, multi-unit, and area developer opportunities available throughout the US. Master licenses being considered in Florida. Business Type: Franchise. Minimum Cash Required: $50,000. Financing Assistance: Yes, through a third party. Training Provided: Yes.
$15,000 discounted purhcase price
Interview with Cory Chalmers, President and Founder of Steri-Clean Inc.
Cory Chalmers started his company while working as a paramedic and seeing the grief stricken family members left to deal with the overwhelming task of cleaning up the remains of their loved ones. Unable to accept that there was no help available for them, Cory started Steri-Clean as a crime-scene cleanup company so that families were no longer left with the traumatizing chore. He opened Crime Scene Steri-Clean in 1995 out of his garage, and the business has since grown to a multi million dollar company. Steri-Clean focuses on educating as many people as possible on both hoarding and biohazards and aims to provide the same caring, compassionate, professional service that it offers in California to families all across the United States.
In this Success Story Interview, Cory Chalmers, Founder and President of Steri-Clean Inc., provides us insite into this unique Steri-Clean franchise opportunity. Read on to learn more about the day-to-day responsibilities of franchisees, what sort of support is provided, and the added value of the company's involvement with the Emmy nominated “Hoarders” TV show.
Can you tell us a little about the history of Steri-Clean and the part you play in the franchise?
My name is Cory Chalmers, and I am the founder and President of Steri-Clean Inc. I started Steri-Clean 21 years ago while working as a firefighter/paramedic. In 1995, there was a huge void in this type of service. I would respond on tragic suicides, shooting, natural death scenes and hoarding situations, yet I could find no companies to help these grieving families. After one extremely bloody suicide, and watching the wife in hysterics, I decided I had to do something. The next week Steri-Clean was born and no person would ever have to get on their hands and knees to clean up the remains of a loved one again. It may sound a little gory, but it is the most rewarding career I could ever imagine.
Describe the need that Steri-Clean fills in communities.
Steri-Clean fills a huge gap in the cleaning industry between your general housekeepers and your large fire and floor restoration companies. This niche business specializes in biohazard cleanup and hoarding cleanup, which until we started there was no such service. We are not simply cleaning a property, and our trademarked slogan of "Restoring Homes and Lives" is exactly what we are doing. We provide caring, compassionate and discreet cleaning at the worst time in a person’s life. And to our surprise time and time again, we get thank you letters, gifts and tons of positive feedback after almost every job. This is simply something that most cleaning companies cannot and will not do.
With such a complex and delicate service being provided, what does the training look like for a Steri-Clean franchisee?
The Steri-Clean training program is an in depth mixture of classroom and hands on training both in a controlled training environment and then in the field at real trauma scenes and hoarding homes. We train as much on the psychology of what we do as we do the skills needed to perform the work.
Our training is 3 weeks consisting of 2 weeks of classroom and field training in California, then one week back at our franchisee's hometown. We also offer an additional 5 days of onsite training for our franchisees in the first 6 months should they want it. Our franchise also includes annual online training, free to our franchisees, which includes any number of video training from our available library of over 300 courses.
For existing crime scene cleanup and/or hoarding cleanup companies that join our team, the training is a little less. Our brand is so well respected in the industry that half of our franchisees were already in this industry and wanted to join the most recognized name!
How has the show “Hoarders” helped the success of Steri-Clean as a franchise?
As we are in our 9th season of filming for the Emmy nominated “Hoarders” TV show on A&E, our franchisees have the incredible added value of brand recognition and free advertising to millions of viewers each week. Even when the show ends someday, it will continue to air as reruns for years to come. Steri-Clean is not just saying they are the industry leader, but are seen as the industry leader each week by the millions of "Hoarders" fans out there.
Companies pay tens of thousands of dollars for a 30 second commercial during the "Hoarders" show, when most viewers change the channel or go to the kitchen to get a snack. Steri-Clean and Hoarders.com is on the entire show while people are actually watching! No better advertising out there than that.
What sort of competition does Steri-Clean face in the industry and how do you set yourself apart?
There are hundreds of companies that have popped up across the country, but most are mom-and-pop independent companies that work out of their garage and typically close down within 6 months. This is an industry that is booming, and Steri-Clean has proved over the past two decades that we are not only still around, but are extremely successful at what we do.
Compare other companies with what we have to offer and you will see there is no competition. We have the company name and reputation throughout the industry, the most recognized websites and phone numbers, the best training program, the most experience, and the most customer leads.
Steri-Clean is always leading the industry, not following. We are asked to speak at dozens of conferences and training symposiums each year across the country. We are consistently setting the trends for the industry and watching the others play catchup. We are currently working to expand CleanNet to include paperless estimates and invoices, so every job is input easily on an iPad and uploaded directly to the main server before you even leave the job. This means simplifying the entire customer process, saving our franchisees time and money. This is completely free, and nothing comes out of our franchisees' pockets to support this technological growth.
Can you tell us about the day-to-day responsibilities of a Steri-Clean franchisee?
The day in the life of a Steri-Clean franchise owner can be extremely rewarding, but busy. Our call center fields a ton of calls each day for our franchisees, as well as areas we don’t even cover yet. The calls are input into our proprietary CleanNet system which is a calendar and CRM program. Once the call taker gets the basic information from the caller, they are transferred directly to our franchisees. We understand that our franchisee may be busy at a job, an estimate or our marketing and we don’t want them to miss a single call, and our call center, CleanNet and shared phone system allows them the freedom to grow their business and not worry about losing customers or jobs.
Most of our franchise owners are out working in the field either at estimates or jobs. Our franchisees rarely have a day where they don’t get phone calls with customers needing services, and that is with them doing no marketing on their own.
What are the most important traits Steri-Clean looks for in prospective franchisees?
Steri-Clean is not an easy team to join, but if you have the right stuff…we want you! We look for people that understand customer service and that love helping people. We want our franchisees to be driven not only by success but by knowing they are completely changing lives. While our franchises can make a lot of money very quickly, we don’t want that to be the main priority. If you are patient, kind, caring and driven, we have a territory for you!
What sort of demographics is a Steri-Clean franchise best suited for?
The best part of Steri-Clean is that this business model can work literally anywhere. Crime, suicides and death unfortunately happen in every community across America. Hoarding affects 1 out of 20 homes and affects the poor as much as the rich, male and female, every nationality, and is not age specific. What better customer base could you want? And the best part is that we are completely recession proof! In fact, we can often get busier when the economy struggles.
What’s the biggest mistake you see from your incoming franchisees? How can it be avoided?
The biggest mistake I see our franchisees make is not hiring sooner. Many of our franchisees want to experience working all positions of their new career to learn it firsthand, which is great, but they wait too long to pull the trigger. Steri-Clean has some territories that receive anywhere from 50 to 70 calls from customers needing services each month, without our franchise doing any marketing at all. Some of these jobs can take a week to complete so keeping up with the work flow can be difficult for the franchise owner. We have created amazing systems for customer leads, estimates, jobs and follow up, but one person can’t do it all. My best advice is hire the right people for each position and watch your company flourish!
What advice would you give first time franchisees?
I would definitely say follow the system. You are purchasing a franchise because you don’t want to start from scratch. The system and model have proven to be successful, so follow it 100% to reach your own success! I would also say, lean on the franchisor for support. Nobody knows this industry more than the people with years of experience and thousands of customers under their belts. Use them with whatever questions you may have. That’s why you buy a franchise and pay royalties.
What’s next for Steri-Clean in terms of expansion?
Steri-Clean wanted to start slow, selling only 4 to 5 franchises per year. That is exactly what we have done. We did not want to rush into franchising and fail or have franchisees fail. Now that we see the system is working, look out! We plan to open 10 offices in the next 12 months and obtain more national contracts/customers. We are in the process of a huge online marketing campaign in each of our territories, and we are working to dramatically increase our biohazard sales. We can’t say in a public form exactly what the marketing plan is, but it is already working!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
If you are considering a crime scene cleanup or hoarding cleanup franchise, I highly encourage you to take the initial 1 to 2 hour meeting with me. During this screen share you will see right away what sets Steri-Clean apart and how we have managed to beat the competition year after year, decade after decade. If you love helping people and want a job that is different every day, this could be a perfect match. Fill out the form today to request more information and get ready for a life changing career move!
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