ALL POSTSCHEM-DRY franchiseCleaning FranchisesService franchise

CHEM-DRY Franchise Complaints

Chem-Dry franchise opportunity:  Are you familiar with it?

If so, please share your experience, opinions or insights with a comment below.

Chem-Dry franchiseAccording to Entrepreneur, Chem-Dry locations declined from 2531 US franchises in 2008 to 2150 in 2012.

According to data released by the Small Business Administration (SBA), Chem-Dry franchise owners who qualified for SBA-backed franchise loans have a high loan failure rate of 41%.

That earns Chem-Dry a spot in’s list of WORST FRANCHISES IN AMERICA (by SBA loan defaults)

Chem-Dry franchise owners have a 41% SBA loan default rate.

The apparent drop in Chem-Dry franchises in recent years and the high loan default rates are franchise due diligence red flags.

Chem-Dry Franchise
Chem-Dry U.S. franchises in 2008: 2531
Chem-Dry U.S. franchises in 2012: 2150
Growth in franchise units 2008 – 2012 (#) -381
Growth in franchise units 2008 – 2012 (%): -15%
SBA loans granted since 2001: 42
SBA loan failure rate: 41%
Sources: Entrepreneur (growth), Coleman report (SBA)

The inability to repay an SBA-backed loan (or any franchise loan, for that matter) indicates a serious situation for the franchisee.

It’s likely that Chem-Dry franchise owners who received SBA loans may have collateralized their franchise loan with their homes or other personal assets, and many were unable to repay those franchise loans… despite the serious incentive to do so.

Are you familiar with the Chem-Dry franchise opportunity?

What do you think accounts for the SBA loan failure rate of Chem-Dry franchise owners?

What steps should Chem-Dry be taking to stop further franchise failures?

Has Chem-Dry taken serious action to address the problems that led to these loan failures?

Please share a comment (anonymous is fine) or Contact

If you are a Chem-Dry franchise representative or employee, please feel free to leave a comment or email us at UnhappyFranchisee[at]




Corporate responses or rebuttals welcome:


Chem-Dry, Chem-Dry franchise, Chem-Dry franchise complaints, Chem-Dry complaints,  Chem-Dry franchise failures, carpet cleaning franchise, home-based franchise, cleaning franchise, mobile franchise, franchise failure rates, SBA franchise loans, worst franchises

27 thoughts on “CHEM-DRY Franchise Complaints

  • Hancock

    Chem-Dry has boiler room selling system that focuses on emotion, irrelevant statistics and hype.

  • Thomas Scott

    Chem-Dry, like a lot of franchises that provide home services, saw some tough years during the recession. The FDD information you mention is misleading; while the total number of franchises has declined, this has more to do with owners letting go of extra franchises during the recession so they could run more profitable businesses than it does with people going out of business. The total number of franchisees in the US has stayed pretty flat at around 1,100 or so.
    As for SBA loans, I don’t think there are many franchises in the system that use SBA loans. The company provides very good internal financing at much better than SBA loans and they have very few defaults.
    All-in-all, it is a well-run system with happy owners who provide a good service. With such a large system, there are always people coming on or exiting out; it has expanded more than anyone in its sector and same store sales are up from 2011. As for sales processes, ChemDry has one of the better franchise development teams in the industry and does a good job of recruiting people who are a good fit and trying to talk people who are not out of the decision to open.

  • OK. Talk about some BS. As a former Chemdry owner I can tell you the drop in Franchises is the fact they (Harris Research) cleaned house. They were sold, once again, (since we have owned a Chemdry the franchisor has been sold about 5 times0. They current owners came in, fired half the company, relocated to Nashville, and took away franchise for “technical” issues. Many franchises that were “stolen” away were smaller who did not have the resources to fight in court.
    Should have known, before we purchase a Chemdry went to SCORE and were advised by a retired CEO NOT to get into Chemdry because it was a product driven franchise, meaning all you do is buy buy buy from the company, constantly forched to purchase new equipment and un-needed chemicals.

  • Hancock

    Chem-Dry franchise sales is literally new and used car sales.

    They are selling a loaded up van with equipment on a lease to purchase program.

    The salesmen will say just like a car salesman would…we’ll get you into this low mileage econovan, I’ll just go talk to my sales manager to get you approved.

    You were a little light to qualify bu we made it happen.

  • Linda Leigh

    Who the hell do these people think they are. Both of my neighbors used this company. I had to listen to what sounded like a jack hammer outside of my house for hours. What gives them the right to be so invasive to the public. This DOESN’T end here. I’m reporting this to the BBB. Figures there used car salesman. They certainly do not care about anyone else.

  • Franchise owner

    I have owned 2 franchises for 10 years now and have spent a small fortune investing in Chemdry’s best equipment The CTS Carbonated Truck Mount System.
    I am here to tell you nothing comes close to the results you get when your carpets are cleaned with these truck mounts. I can take black traffic lanes out of white berber carpets and the carpets will dry in 1 -2 hours. its all about using their proprietary carbonated solution and the Power head which spins at 200 rpm to rub the spots out while extracting the dirty solution back into the trucks waste tank. We clean at 110 PSI, Steam Cleaners who just hook your hose to their truck clean at around 500 PSI they push everything down into the padding without any agitation, then when the carpets finally dry ( 6 – 24 hours later), the spots simply wick back up and reappear.

    So I keep all my customers.

    That is the good part. This system is very expensive to operate between maintaining the equipment and buying the carbonated solution from ChemDry, then on top of that you pay a flat monthly franchise fee and you have to buy a myriad of other solutions from Chemdry too, but a lot of them are amazingly effective.

    To be successful , you must be a worker who is willing to jump on a truck your self because getting help that has the qualities needed is damn tuff: work ethic, brain, communications skills and hard physical work.

    So you need to pay them a percentage of the daily sales to keep them interested.

    The current problem is Bain capital has purchased ChemDry from Home Depot and fired a lot of good people who had been there for decades. Now Bain Capital is trying to milk the franchisees for more money by instead of forwarding customers who go to the website to their local franchise via putting your zip code in a box then the local franchisee’s phone number would be displayed. Are now instead hiding the zip code finder and putting their 800 number “call to schedule an appointment” then you get a corporate sales person who relays the customer to the local franchise via computer software and expects to get a fee of 50.00 from the franchisee for each customer they talk to.
    So they are double dipping on the franchise fees. many of us are trying to fight this as in my opinion we pay our monthly franchise fee already and these customers are just looking for their local Chemdry franchise because someone told them we are the best in the business, not because of anything Chemdry corporate has done such as advertising on our behalf, (they don’t) but because of the hard work of the franchisee and the technology that we already pay for every month via franchise fees and expensive solution purchases.

  • I was a co owner of chem dry franchise a decade ago. They always preached about chem dry being the largest carpet cleaner in the world. However most of homes we went into no one ever heard of them. We had virtually no accounts through them and no national commercials educating the public.

  • They lied and stole my entire life savings

  • mark sauer

    Dont get mad get even stil cleaning carpet with a Cleanco 47 far outworks anything chem-dry makes still working 7 days a week love to clean carpets love my customers. On that note so glad not to be a chem-dry frachise. Save your money start your own carpet cleaning business and be happy.

  • Yianni

    My brother and I spent a combined 30 years of our lives doing everything they told us to do, running up costs while they kept making more and more demands out of us. The whole time they just built their profitability into the constantly changing franchise agreements.

    It was like renting a bad job from Hitler with no benefits. They over saturated franchise areas, created price wars among franchisees, were responsible for franchisee failures, and even competed against franchisees by selling repossessed franchises on the cheap to keep their revenue stream from being interrupted, making it very difficult for a franchisee to resale their franchise for a decent price. Return on investment = an F grade.

    The owner sold us out on two occasions to privately held venture capitalists while keeping a good share for himself. They are basically unregulated so they just kept the ripoff going.

    Now Baine Capital owns them. The original founder and his dad are part of the Mormon church (the dad being a Bishop), now the company who was founded by another big wig in the Mormon, Mitt Romney owns it. The founders showed little empathy for the franchisee and seemed to focus only on the money, why would this situation be any different. Profiting from others is what venture capitalists do.

    We have been out of it for nearly 10 years now since I’ve gone independent. I cut my costs dramatically, have received Angie’s List Super Service Award 7 Times and from this large metropolitan area which at one time had 50 Chem Dry Franchises, and this year is the first year a Chem Dry has made the list.

    Save your money, your health, your back, your dignity, your family’s future and just say no to Chem Dry!

    They do not care about you! I knew a gentleman who had his franchise for about 10 years, when he was diagnosed with a heart condition, he tried to sell it. He could not sell it so he just gave it back to them and walked away. He went on a heart transplant list and shortly thereafter died while waiting for a transplant. He was not able to leave anything to his family as a result of the 10 years he invested, the blood, the sweat, and the hope he had put into the position of being an owner of a chem dry franchise.

    It is Bad, they are immoral, and most of you will Lose more than I can say.

  • CORRECTION: Franchise owner and Yianni stated that Bain Capital bought and own Chem-Dry. Actually, it’s BAIRD Capital that bought Chem-Dry and is the current owner.

    Otherwise, excellent comments.

    I have posted Yianni’s franchise warning here:

    CHEM-DRY Franchise Warning

  • Yianni

    I stand corrected.

  • Go to and check out their business equipment packages. Better equipment, lower cost and no franchise fees.

  • Adam

    I bought a chem dry franchise in Australia. It was the worst decision I ever made!
    The preach how they are the worlds biggest carpet cleaning company, but nobody in my area had heard of them. I spent 6 long years breaking my back building their brand out of my pocket. Their royalty fees and over priced chemicals did nothing except put me behind the 8 ball. If you are going to get into a carpet cleaning business, go independent, it’s not rocket science. The bottom line is, all Chem Dry want is YOUR money

  • Traad

    I’m talking to chemdry to buy territory in Cleveland OHIO, but after reading your comments I hit the breaks, I have no experience in this carpet cleaning business.
    what do you advice to do? I think it’s a good field for me but I’m 57 years old and the back is not as strong as it used to be. I have to do something for me and my family.

  • Can documents upload to this site?


    Aj: You can email documents to be uploaded to Admin at UnhappyFranchisee[at] Please make sure you use the subject line and a message so I know what it is. Thanks – ADMIN

  • We had a chem dry franchise in Australia. Like many others above we found nobody knew them or the brand. The royalties are very high and the chemical that you MUST buy from them is overpriced. They also have minimum chemical purchases every month regardless of whether you need it or not. They can refer you business but take 30% of your revenue and then charge royalty on top of that. They also tell you that you have an exclusive territory but that is rubbish. We had an exclusive territory but other franchisees were permitted to advertise they worked our area and we often saw others in our “exclusive” territory. All up, we couldn’t sell the franchise, handed it back and was a much worse financial position than before we ever heard of Chemdry.

  • Ken kretschmer

    Chem Dry is a rip off. Just look at the name Chem ( chemicals) Dry in a society heading toward green everything! No national exposure! TV , radio , magazines , Internet ! Nothing! They will try to sell you on their name but many people have no idea who or what they are! They are a product franchise not a carpet or upholstery cleaning company.Their products do work but are not cost effective in a market where price is everything, especially when you are new! You start in the shoppers market! Check your local shopper magazines for competitors prices, you will be amazed! Don’t forget your franchise fees,website fees, SEO charges to move your website, equipment payments, software charges! They fill you full of lies at Chem Dry school ! Numbers don’t lie they are loosing franchises everyday! I dumped two! Not profitable at all! Oh yea ,they will send you to the franchise who started 10 – 15 years ago to show you success but times have changed ! Zero Rez , Sears and others are in the market with National advertising! Go to your nearest carpet cleaning supply house and ask them!!!!

  • I owned 3 Chem-Dry Franchises for a period of 11 years. I sold them to one of my employees of 10 years. After Home Depot bought them out; pressure was great to buy new equipment and fees charged for referrals by HD took all of the profitability out of the operation. Sorry to say that my former employee was bankrupted by Chem-Dry. He lost everything including his home. We, (and he) invested 17 years of our lives and only received pain and heartache as a result. Sorry I sold to him.

  • Brett Fick

    I was the director for the Chem-Dry Franchise for 3 years and they failed to support many of my franchisees. Especially the ones with multiple franchises purchased. They had only 1 business coach to help over 200+ franchises. They also have equipment that is very expensive compared to what you can buy from Don Jon and Klean Rite on your own. My suggestion to anyone looking to get into carpet cleaning is to just hire a business coach separately and buy your own gear! You can get great GREEN / NATURAL products from

    You may ask why I’m spilling the beans? Well, Chem-Dry decided to try and screw me over by not paying me my hard-earned annual bonus that I need to pay my bills. Karma is a b$%&*!!!!

    Good luck to all the entrepreneurs out there!

  • Kyle F

    We owned a Chem-Dry for 11 years and this year finally decided it wasn’t worth the money we were paying them to keep using the Chem-Dry name so we went out on our own. Just got served papers yesterday stating Harris Research is suing us because we didn’t wait two years before starting a new company, and also not sending them our customer list that we built up the past 11 years using OUR OWN advertising dollars to get.

  • John W Feller

    The reason my franchise fail was due to the repeated sale of the company. Every time a sale they would charge each franchise at least 4 thousand dollars and you could do nothing about it

  • I was a franchise owner years ago. The negative comments I read above are true. When Robert Harris owned the company it was a joy and pleasure to be a Chem-Dry owner. Thanks Robert, you were good to us! They did start chasing patents and that’s when the problems started. After the company was sold and went public it was a down hill spiral. They forced us to purchase products at a minimum volume. Many were small mom and pop owners that didn’t have the volume or need of the amount of product forced upon us at high rates. They said they charged no royalties however the royalties were built into the cost of the product. Then came the VELDA, a extraction machine we were forced to purchase at about five times what the manufacturer sold it on the open market. The only difference was the blue color. It was brought up at a west coast convention (Yep it’s me again, the one that sued Harris Research) they had to return my legal fees but got off the hook due to a lenient judge that allowed arbitration. They just never seemed to get a foothold after that. We became numbers to the CEO to bilk money out of for the share holders. The reason for the lack of name recognition was we were on our own for advertising. One of the biggest expenses in any business is name recognition. There was a time when Chem-Dry was becoming a house hold name and our competitors “hot water extractors”, purchased franchises and brought there bait and switch tactics in to play. Name branding went into the toilet but the company was making their quota’s for the share holders until the name became tarnished. Well so much for a good thing. Chem-Dry switched to hot water extraction and it’s been down hill ever since. Just my option and two cents.

  • Charles Larga

    I have no idea what everyone here is talking about. I have owned my Chem-Dry franchise for 23 years and I have nothing but positive things to say about HRI and the rest of the support team. I have 6 territories and 4 fully operating vans with well taught technicians running each van 6 days a week. The marketing support you get is incredible, the flat monthly royalty is great too because then the only thing I am spending money on is solution. We also get to offer the best cleaning solution in the business! The solution cost is minimal in terms of the amount of money we bring in per van. My wife handles the books and she said calculates it to about 6% of revenue costs. That is nothing! I understand that not everyone can be successful at running a business, but they give you the formula and you just have to follow it! Ed Quinlan and Shawn Rodeback have been a godsend at times for me and my family’s business. Since Dan Tarantin came on to run the company in 2011 it has been better than ever! Don’t believe everything you hear!!

  • Bruce lounsbury

    I purchased a Chem-Dry franchise from 2007 to 2017. Worst mistake I had ever made in my life! 10 years later and almost $200,000 gone I wish I would have done more research on Chem-Dry before I purchased a franchise. I would have been better off physically and financially if I had purchased equipment and started my own Carpet Cleaning Service. If you have money you want to lose and a five-year contract in harassment from Chem-Dry Corporation then go ahead and purchase one. You have been warned

  • I love my Chem-Dry franchise! Shawn and Ed and Joe are awesome! The margins are great and we’ve got a couple trucks after just a few years in business! My wife and I get soooooo much help from HRI and the network is like a big ‘ol family! It sound like some of these folks above owned a different franchise from me. LOL! Chem-Dry changed my life for the better!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *