By Camille Gillies
The ornaments have been boxed, the Christmas tree dragged down to the curb and the wreath has been taken off the front door. There’s hardly any evidence that a holiday celebration ever occurred – except for those pesky stains you’re now noticing on your carpet. Anyone at your house knock over a glass of red wine, upend the gravy boat or sneak the dog some disagreeable ‘people’ food? There’s no need to stress over spilled eggnog! Help is only a phone call or email away at Chem-Dry of New Port Richey.
Although the name indicates a western Pasco service area, the company also serves Wesley Chapel and all of Pasco and Pinellas counties (The Pinellas operations are under the name Chem-Dry of Clearwater/Largo). The carpet cleaning franchise is owned by brothers Rob, Joe and Mike McLemore. Rob and Joe live in Dunedin and Mike lives in Spring Hill, where he heads up the “northern” territory, which includes Wesley Chapel.
The siblings formed the partnership about a year ago, according to Rob, 36, who has more than 15 years of experience with Chem-Dry. He bought the company from the previous owner and brought his brothers into the business.
“We’ve always wanted to run a business together,” Rob says. “We’re a close family.”
After spending seven years as a carpet cleaning technician and eight years as general manager of the former business, Rob is the most experienced of the three partners in the carpet cleaning business. Joe, 41, had a military career, and Mike, 43, was a mechanic, but they have caught on quickly to the Chem-Dry operation.
“Mike is now close to completing all of the courses required to become a Master Technician, which is the highest level you can achieve in the industry,” says Rob, who happens to be a Master Technician, himself, although he says rarely cleans carpets anymore. “Becoming a Master Technician involves five courses and takes about five years to complete. If you have a serious carpet problem, then you should request a Master Technician for the job. We are fortunate to have six of those technicians on staff, including three Master Technicians and two senior technicians, one being Mike. And everyone in our business is an employee. We do not use subcontractors.”
Driving around Pasco or Pinellas County, you’re likely to spot one of the six company-owned vans, but you won’t see the technicians making any service calls in Hillsborough County – a territory that belongs to other Chem-Dry franchisees.
Chem-Dry is an extremely successful franchise that started in the 1970s and now operates in 42 countries, with more than 4,000 locations worldwide, according to the company’s website. Besides getting your carpet to look like new, one of the biggest selling points of Chem-Dry is the reduced amount of time it takes for carpets to dry.
“When you have your carpet steam-cleaned, it may take two to three days for it to dry completely,” Rob explains. “Because we use a fraction of the moisture that steam cleaning uses, carpets cleaned using Chem-Dry dry in one to three hours!”
This quick-dry benefit appeals to homeowners and businesses alike, especially those concerned about mold growth in Florida’s humid climate.
“The less moisture you put in the carpet, the better,” Rob explains, noting that steam cleaning often oversaturates the carpet fibers, prompting the glue to come loose and the fibers to come off the carpet backing.
Rob contends Chem-Dry is the safest cleaning method for carpet, and he says major carpet manufacturers, such as Mohawk, agree. Another company that promotes the company’s method is The Home Depot, which has added Chem-Dry to its nationwide network of hand-picked independent home maintenance professionals. If you buy carpet from Home Depot and purchase a warranty, during which time your carpet starts looking dirty, Home Depot will dispatch Chem-Dry technicians to clean it. In other words, Home Depot certifies that Chem-Dry is the chosen cleaning method for the carpets they sell.
Rob says the Chem-Dry process also is eco-friendly, using a base cleaning product called The Natural, which he says is derived from ‘Mother Earth.’ A hot carbonated extraction process that employs the green cleaning solution prompts millions of microscopic cleansing bubbles to lift dirt and stains from carpet.
“We were green before green was popular,” Rob says, laughing. “We don’t use any harsh chemicals, solvents, soaps or detergents. It’s the carbonation process that lifts the dirt and stains off the carpet.”
Have you ever had stains weirdly reappear not long after your carpets have been cleaned? That’s due to soap residue, according to Rob, who adds, “After we clean a carpet, we put down a product that will keep the stains from coming back.”
In addition to carpet cleaning services, Chem-Dry also cleans tile, grout and upholstery, and tackles water restoration projects.
As president of Chateau Belleair Condominium Association in Clearwater, Philip Schultz called Chem-Dry to rejuvenate the flooring in two foreclosed condos in his complex.
“After Chem-Dry worked their magic, the carpet, tile and even the laminate flooring all looked brand new,” Philip says. “We had tenants in those units after the first showing the next day.”
Tom Gulik, the head of maintenance for Emeritus retirement communities, says he has used Chem-Dry of Clearwater/Largo for carpet and tile cleaning for at least 10 years. Gulik says that a typical job at Emeritus usually totals 12,000 to 18,000 square feet and includes residence rooms as well as common areas.
“They do a great job getting everything cleaned, and you don’t need to babysit them,” he says. “When they’re finished, they do a walk-through with you to be sure you are satisfied.”
Gulik also likes the fact that the technicians are longtime employees and he describes them as “very polite.”
If you’d like to enlist the expertise of the brothers McLemore and their Better Business Bureau A-Plus-rated Chem-Dry business, call (727) 410-2710 or e-mail NprChemDry@gmail.com.
Chem-Dry of New Port Richey currently is offering an $89.95 carpet cleaning special that includes up to three rooms of carpet (up to 350 square feet); or $125.95 for five rooms (up to 500 square feet). Visit CDClearwater.com for additional information.