Chicago area’s Carpet Chemist franchisee hoping to grow his business in Western Suburbs

A father of three young children chose to be the first Chicago area franchise of a floor cleaning service, based in Louisville.

Dave Hettiger said Carpet Chemist caught his eye when he was looking for a franchise opportunity.

“It just stood out to me, their truck, their emblem,” Hettiger said, and the startup costs were low. “For me, it sold itself,” he said.

The business includes a range of services, such as carpet repair, dyeing and stretching; rug, hardwood floor and upholstery cleaning, and air duct cleaning.

Hettiger, who launched his franchise in April, attended a 10-day boot camp in Louisville to learn the skills of the trade.

“Everything was hands on,” Hettiger said, “and we are not using run-of-the-mill equipment.”

If a dog tore up someone’s carpet and pulled strands out, “I will take a piece of spare carpet and seam seal everything in,” Hettiger said. The spare piece could be a remnant left over when the carpet was installed or taken from carpeting on a closet floor.

“If there are loose spots or wrinkles in your carpeting, I have a power stretcher I use to make it tight again,” Hettiger said.

If someone used bleach to try and remove a carpet stain and the bleach discolored the carpeting, Hettiger said he can dye the spot to match the original color of the carpet.

He has used Carpet Chemist products and equipment to remove stains in his own home, such as red wine, juice and Kool-Aid, to name a few.

“I have three kids, so I get a lot of spills,” said Hettiger, who lives in Oak Lawn with his wife and their 5-year-old, 3-year-old and 10-month old toddler.

Hettiger said he likes being his own boss and working alone.

“It is very peaceful.”

And with carpet cleaning or repair, he can instantly see the results.

“I can see the before and the after,” Hettiger said. “It is very rewarding.”

Hettiger has experience running his own business, having opened a juice bar, called the Flex Bar, inside an LA Fitness center in Broadview. The Flex Bar is still open, but Hettiger thinks the growth opportunity there has “maxed out.”

“I feel the opportunity for growth is so much greater” with Carpet Chemist, Hettiger said. “I wanted to start from the ground floor.”

He feels he is selling himself, along with his services.

“If I am going to clean someone’s carpet or tile, I am going to do it the best I can and better than the next guy,” he said.

He hopes that approach will lead to repeat customers, especially in the western suburbs, such as La Grange, Hinsdale, Burr Ridge and Oak Brook. But he and his purple and green van will travel anywhere in the greater Chicago area, and have gone as far as Kankakee or Indiana for a job.

“I am aware when you first start a business, it takes time,” Hettiger said, “and word-of-mouth is everything.”

The pandemic may have helped the carpet cleaning business.

“More people are spending time at home, so there will be more spills,” Hettiger said. “They are going to want their carpets cleaned more often.”

Carpet Chemist’s prices are slightly higher than other better known commercial cleaning services, Hettiger said, but he believes his products, state-of-the-art equipment and results are worth it.

For more information about Hettiger and Carpet Chemist, look at the website, or call 1-800-515-1342.

Kimberly Fornek is a freelance reporter for Pioneer Press.

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