A California Success Story, Naturell® Poised to Fill U.S. Demand for Eco-Friendly, Eco-nomic Service
July 10, 2008 // Franchising.com // SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – A patented seaweed-based solution and its business-savvy inventor are set to change the way America cleans carpet and furniture with the launch of the nation's first green franchise to enter the $5.3 billion carpet and upholstery cleaning segment. Ironically, it's the gentle cleaning process that makes Naturell – the promising new franchise – such a potent force in a traditionally environmentally-unfriendly industry.
Already booming in the California Bay area – turning away more customers than it can currently handle through its sole corporate office – Naturell is set to jolt the competition as the nation's first truly green carpet and upholstery cleaning franchise concept. Naturell, which uses sea kelp from the pristine waters of Iceland, is green in multiple ways. As the safest, most environmentally friendly carpet-cleaning process available, Naturell uses 20 times less water than traditional carpet cleaners and saves energy with a process that eliminates the use of gas-guzzling, vehicle powered equipment. It also prevents gallons of chemicals from being dumped back into sewers.
Based on current demand, the Naturell concept is projected to grow a sea of franchises with 500 locations that will easily double in size in 10 years. Currently, just 12 percent of the U.S. carpet cleaning segment is franchised brands – the rest are small independents, leaving huge opportunity and growth potential for the first green franchise in the category.
"Naturell is poised to take a commanding percentage of market share and become one of the best known brand names in the industry," said Mike Nero, CEO and founder of Naturell. "As consumers continue to demand green alternatives, Naturell will be the country's go-to carpet cleaning service brand. There's no question about it."
Way before "green was cool," Nero spent 10 years experimenting and perfecting the ideal organic solution that would eventually welcome him into a new and popular eco-friendly craze. He was inspired to create the natural cleaning process while working for a major carpet cleaning franchise in the 1990s.
"At that time, with so many hazardous chemicals in carpet cleaning solutions, the idea of children and animals rolling around on the carpet being exposed to dangerous chemicals was unsettling to me," Nero said, noting that the industry has made great strides in the past decade to reduce the use of harmful chemicals. "I was also concerned about the health hazards posed by mold, mildew and other bacteria that develop over the long period of time that it takes soaked carpets to dry."
After developing the ideal natural and effective cleaning solution, Nero set out to improve upon the method that would set Naturell apart from any other independent or carpet cleaning franchise. The Naturell cleaning process reduces drying time for carpet to 30 minutes by using a low moisture method, eliminating the need for powered equipment and using 20 times less water than traditional carpet cleaners.
Successfully operating Naturell for over four years, Mike and Jeff Nero, brothers and business partners, run Naturell with great "natural chemistry," – balancing each others strengths to position the business for unprecedented success. Cleaning more than 1,000 homes a year and having an abundance of business that they have to turn away, the Nero brothers took the leap into the world of franchising as a way to help them fill demand, as well as offer entrepreneurs a simple, inexpensive way to start a business in the increasingly green marketplace.
As a home-based business, the $9,000 franchise fee and other starting costs to open a Naturell franchise are remarkably low compared to other franchises. The fee includes a complete Human Resources package that includes guidelines on recruiting and hiring new employees, as well as a full-time bookkeeper and a centralized program for tracking financial transactions. Nero says the tools were created to allow franchisees to focus on other key areas of the business, such as marketing and customer service.
In addition to environmental concerns, Naturell prides itself on a culture and philosophy that focuses on honesty and integrity. Its flat rate prices are clear and easy to understand, with no hidden or extra charges or surprises for customers upon arrival. "We tell customers what our process costs over the phone, which is a simple flat rate per room, and then that's the final price they pay when we are done with the job. They're happy, and we sleep at night knowing we've done a great job, helped the environment and upheld best business practices. Those practices will be at the core of every Naturell franchise, no matter how big we get. And we're going to get big – believe me."
Naturell was established in 2004 by Mike Nero, who tested carpet cleaning solutions for nearly 10 years in his garage before developing the patented version of the sea-kelp based gentle solution. After finding a completely natural, chemical free, deodorizing, fragrance free, hypo-allergenic and doctor recommended solution, Nero patented the product and founded Naturell and began franchising in 2007. Naturell is the first "truly green" franchise opportunity in the carpet and upholstery cleaning segment. Powered by Nature, Naturell uses sea kelp, a seaweed found in the cleanest waters of the world in Iceland. For more information, please visit www.naturellclean.com.