Smart Carpet CEO, Robert Valois, Talks About the Smart Carpet Process
Thirty years ago, Robert Valois saw an opportunity to reimagine how carpets are cleaned and how a carpet cleaning franchise could function. Now, Robert’s bold vision is poised to come true as Smart Carpet’s breakthrough cleaning method and business model are ready to transform the carpet cleaning industry. In a wide-ranging interview, Robert talks about what makes Smart Carpet unique, why it’s the smart choice for customers and franchise owners alike, and what he’s looking forward to as CEO of a paradigm-shifting company.
What is different about the Smart Carpet process?
Robert: Everything about our process is designed to be as targeted and low-impact as possible. When carpets were invented 60 or 70 years ago, the only cleaning process was hot water extraction, or steam cleaning. It was the best solution at the time, but it uses a ton of water, up to three gallons a minute. This creates a whole host of issues, from damage to the carpet backing, to spot reappearance, bacteria and mildew, and a lot of time waiting around for it to dry afterwards.
The Smart Carpet method uses 90% less water and cleans just as thoroughly. We start with a dry vacuum. A lot of companies don’t use vacuuming simply because that extra step means extra costs, and the customer doesn’t know what they’re missing.
It’s common for carpet cleaners to rely heavily on cleaning products, which can dull a carpet’s natural colors. Our cleaning product, which we affectionately call the “little blue bottle,” is unique to Smart – nobody else has it. Its formulation is based on ingredients that have the lowest propensity to cause residue issues. To do that, you have to go to the high end of the cost selection for each of those ingredients, but that’s offset by how much less we rely on it to get results.
But the heart of our cleaning process is what we call “Rapid Soil Transfer technology,” because it uses static electricity to remove soil from the carpet fibers.
What is rapid soil transfer technology, and how is it different from hot water extraction?
Rapid Soil Transfer is our breakthrough technology. After vacuuming, we use a static attraction pad that literally transfers soil from the carpet fiber up into the cleaning pad. The pads are specially designed, and feature a distinct kind of yarn that aids in the static attraction – you can’t find them anywhere else in the U.S.
What’s more, the cleaning pads are washable and reusable – they typically last two to three years – making the whole process so much more eco-friendly than steam cleaning. Our rapid soil transfer method is so effective and unique, I’m confident it can revolutionize the carpet cleaning industry.
What makes Smart Carpet smart?
We’ve created a niche: we have a unique process that allows us to go to market with better price points, lower labor costs, and better margins. We have a repeatable business model that’s easy to scale, which makes it easier to find customers. That’s what we mean by Smart: it’s a very focused product.
We are different as a company in that we’re singularly focused. We’ve taken the luxury of dialing in the process itself, to achieve the same results in less time. And when that occurs, you have higher productivity, it means you get paid more, it means you can go to lower price points and still have a viable sustainable business. It means that you can take the whole market.
The incumbents, the existing players in the carpet cleaning industry, are still operating under old rules and old methods. Their process takes a lot more labor, which determines what your price point is going to be. So we’ve been fanatical, quite frankly, to see if we could achieve that, and we have.
Why is this a good business for a franchisee?
The learning curve is a lot lower because we’re focused so directly on carpet cleaning, and nothing else, not hardwood floors, tiles, etc. We also focus exclusively on commercial rather than residential spaces, which in the end is a more robust business model for a number of reasons.
We’ve streamlined our operations so much that you could run a Smart Carpet franchise out of a garage. And it’s a better product for the customers. By eliminating excess waste and drying time, we can offer lower price points, because we achieve the same result in less time. It took us 15 years to develop this method. We’ve already done the heavy lifting, so you don’t have to.
Learn More about Franchising with Smart Carpet
The carpet cleaning industry is primed for the kind of revolutionary methods that Smart Carpet has to offer. To learn more about franchising with Smart Carpet today, visit our research pages here. To start a conversation about investing in the Smart Carpet franchise opportunity, fill out our inquiry form here. We look forward to speaking with you!