In this Salute to American Success, we’re taking a look at Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning and its millennial founder Jonathan Barnett. The company was created in August of 2006 in Denver, Colorado.
“The start of my entrepreneurial career was when I was 21-years-old,” Barnett said. “My grandpa gave all his grandkids $10,000 and I bought a bunch of fireworks in Kansas. I drove in my Honda Accord back to Oklahoma with a U-Haul and sold those fireworks for about three to four years and made a good amount of money.”
Eventually, Barnett went on to study franchising in some of his graduate school courses.
“I love the business model because you’re creating ownership and giving jobs to other people, but they’re also owning their own businesses,” he said.
Barnett said he chose to go into the carpet cleaning business for two reasons.
“I decided on carpet cleaning because of the low overhead and simple model,” Barnett said. “You can get started without a lot of money… I used my student loan money to get [Oxi Fresh] started.”
Since starting in 2006, the company has completed more than 500,000 jobs, according to Barnett. In 2014, Oxi Fresh added 55 units, which he said was “one of the biggest years of growth ever.” Today, the company has about 300 franchises in the U.S. and in Canada.
Around 30 of the company’s franchises are located in California, where a major drought is plaguing many areas of the state. One of Oxi Fresh’s goals is to be an environmentally-friendly business, according to Barnett.
“The difference maker with us is that we use about two gallons of water versus our competition that uses 50,” he said. “We’ve saved the planet 25 million gallons of water.”
Looking ahead, Barnett said his plan is to add around 50 units per year over the next five years.
“Over the last nine years we’ve really been working on our systems,” he said. “We want to dig deeper rather than wider. If we grow more than 50, we can’t support our franchisees the way they need to be supported. We’re focusing on Canada and the U.S.”