It all started with a college drop-out and a dream. Brandon Cerrito, founder and CEO of The Carpet Chemist and The Carpet Chemist Franchising, began his carpet cleaning journey at the age of 18. The aspiring animation student would find success in the unlikeliest of places. Dirty carpets.
In 2000, hand drawn animations were quickly being dominated by graphic designers and computer animation. Cerrito took a break from school to get a job and figure out how to make a decent living and discover a new passion.
While walking around town, picking up applications from businesses an older gentleman approached Cerrito and offered him a job at Stanley Steemer. Cerrito began work the very next morning.
Fast forward 10 years, and Brandon came to a crossroads in his life where he said he had 2 options: remain stuck at a management level job until he retired or start his very own business. As you might have guessed, he pulled the trigger and made a go of it.
Carpet RX was established in 2000, the name Cerrito says was a nod to his father, John, a retired pharmacist. John loaned him the $1400 needed to purchase his very own portable carpet cleaning machine. Brandon would load up his portable carpet cleaning machine in his 1991 Mercedes station wagon and knock on doors, post flyers and post ads on Craigslist to try and drum up business. “It was brutal, knocking on doors of strangers in the dead of winter. I would hope to make enough money to feed myself and put a few more gallons of gas in the car. But looking back, I can see that it was developing my work ethic, and even testing my determination.”
Brandon met his future wife (then girlfriend), Tonya Cerrito in 2012 and “somehow convinced her to quit her miserable job as a clerical worker at the hospital to come work with me,” Brandon revealed. “It was definitely a big change going from being a ‘man in a van’ to a partnership with the same person I go home with at the end of the day. But we figured out how to make it work really REALLY good.”
In 2015 Brandon found a new niche in the marketplace that paired perfectly with his growing carpet cleaning business. Carpet repairs and stretching loose wrinkly carpet. “I was so excited about the potential of carpet repair as a service in the Louisville, Kentucky market that I sold my old 1991 Mercedes station wagon and bought a plane ticket to fly across the country to learn this new skill.”
Immediately after the training, he was bombarded with carpet repair work, which Cerrito says tripled his income. “We went from making $36k a year to $125k the first year we added our new services. It may as well been a million dollars, because that’s what it felt like. Completely life-changing”
After a few more years of continued growth, Cerrito states, “I wanted to expand our business into other parts of the country, to meet the high demand and teach others to do what we do. But building out separate locations just didn’t seem feasible. So he and Tonya decided that building a franchise model would be the perfect fit for what they had built over the years. So in 2018 The Carpet Chemist and The Carpet Chemist Franchise was born.
Carpet cleaning is a $5 billion industry, and it’s projected to continue growing by approximately 3% annually. The Carpet Chemist is poised to dominate that massive and growing market. “We identified a crucial gap in the marketplace, which is that most carpet cleaning brands don’t offer services beyond cleaning and they don’t even do that very well,” said Brandon Cerrito, CEO of The Carpet Chemist. “When most people run into issues with their carpet, whether it’s a bad stain or shrinking or it’s in disrepair, they call a carpet cleaner, the cleaner tells them they can’t solve that issue, and then they end up replacing the whole carpet. We’ve made a name for ourselves by handling virtually anything a customer throws at us, which saves them a ton of money and has made us a leader in the space.”
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