Jackie and Mike Clark
Jackie & Mike Clark purchased A&G Chem-Dry© in May 1995 as a going concern which had been operating for four years. Mike’s previous career in the flexible packaging industry, which saw him progress from a junior sales position to M.D, had run its course and he was looking for a new direction. Jackie, who was an area manager for the Imperial Cancer Research Fund had mixed feelings about going into carpet and upholstery cleaning business, but seeing the Chem-Dry© process in action was all that was needed to convince her. “To see carpet after carpet transformed was enough for me – I wanted to tell everyone I met about the fantastic results we could achieve!” Nine years on and Jackie & Mike are still as passionate about the business as they were.
A & G Chem-Dry© now covers all of Nottinghamshire as well as South Derbyshire and North-West Leicestershire, doubling the size of the original franchise. The business, which began with one technician working from a spare room at home, now supports eight people, six vehicles, new premises at Cotgrave in Nottingham and boasts the ISO 9001 quality accreditation. Sales have increased year on year and are split between domestic, commercial and insurance work, the ratio varying from season to season.
Jackie and Mike have no doubts that being part of such a well-known brand as Chem-Dry© helps to promote their business, but they are continuously carrying out marketing activity, giving A&G Chem-Dry© a strong local presence. They regularly enjoy local press coverage, especially following their recent Chem-Dry© Franchise of the Year 2004 Award and were particularly pleased to be featured in the Sunday Express business section.
With the combination of Mike’s sales background and the unique Chem-Dry© process, A&G Chem-Dry© has secured a number of large commercial contracts in their area, including Universities, Leisure Centres, Banks and Building Societies. Daniel Limon who has been with the company for three years now assists Mike in this role.
Jackie and Mike believe that a strong team spirit is a major factor in A&G Chem-Dry’s success and this is helped along with a sociable night out for the whole team and their partners, twice a year. “We have been bowling, to the races or out for dinner and it’s a chance for us all to enjoy ourselves together, away from the work environment. We spend a lot of time at work, so it’s vital that we all get on with each other!”
To enable A&G Chem-Dry© to better serve their customers, training is a priority. “We can’t afford to become complacent and keeping our skills up-to-date helps us keep at the forefront of the market. We attend the regular training courses and seminars organised by the Chem-Dry© Master Franchise and also local courses run by organisations such as the Chamber of Commerce. We constantly measure our performance with customer questionnaires and never forget who pays the bills! The feedback A&G Chem-Dry© receive from delighted customers is so good that a “comments of the week” board has now been installed. The one on current display reads, “Your technician certainly knows his stuff! You exceeded our expectations. Many thanks”. Comments like that are ‘a pat on the back’ for a job well done.