After 20 years in the trade show industry, Scott Phillips began to consider a career change. Three years later, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that had taken a heavy toll on trade shows, he and his wife, Bonnie, decided a cleaning business made sense.
“The only thing COVID has shown me is how little control I have in terms of employment,” he says. “TO [age] 51, the prospect of doing something else in American companies was much less desirable. The property was something I wanted to explore. “
Phillips and his wife opened a Chattanooga-based Oxi Fresh carpet cleaning franchise in July. They chose Oxi Fresh “partly in response to COVID, but not entirely,” Scott said.
“All of their systems seemed really well thought out,” he says. “It made sense. It felt like we could take this and move on.”
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic – or perhaps because of it – business start-ups hit an all-time high in the first half of 2021, according to documents filed with the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office. In the past year, 70,118 companies applied for a license and 19,983 applied in the second quarter of 2021, the highest quarterly total on record.
New business filings in Tennessee in the second quarter of 2021 were up 61.6% compared to second-quarter filings in 2020 – the second straight quarter where Tennessee broke the previous record for a year-on-year gain. another in the 28-year history of data. being collected.
Although Phillips completed his work in 2019 for a degree in business administration, he feared he didn’t have the natural skills to start a business. He and his wife hired Bruce Krebs from The Entrepreneur’s Source.
“He presented us with several options,” Phillips recalls. “They were all duty free, in the service industry.”
Together, they narrowed the field down to three, when he and his wife took notes independently of each other. When they compared those ratings, he says, Oxi Fresh was on top.
Make a clean sweep in Chattanooga
The Oxi Fresh cleaning system, according to Phillips, is “rock solid,” low in humidity and environmentally friendly.
“A traditional steam cleaner can use over 40 gallons of water in an average home. We will use two to three. The result is that we have a very fast drying time, ”he says. “The process is very environmentally friendly, very child friendly and customer friendly. We also clean tile and grout, do a sand free finish on hardwood, and are great at removing animal stains and odors.
Phillips says he and Bonnie got a small business administration loan and now have two fully-equipped service vans for residential and commercial projects.
“We get a lot of business from the people who see us outside,” he says. “They say to us, ‘We saw your van and decided to call.'”
He recalled his first job at Oxi Fresh, saying it was residential work that was nothing remarkable – except stress.
“I was like, ‘I’ve done all of these things before and I’m comfortable with people,'” he says. “But now I’m juggling, taking it all and doing it in real time, and in someone else’s house.
Oxi Fresh carpet cleaning
* In line: oxifresh.com
* Spear : 2021
“You might be thinking, ‘How exciting can carpet cleaning be? “But when you see the difference, when the customer says it looks good and you know you’ve delivered value, it’s rewarding,” he says.
Phillips in particular notes his wife’s role in their new business, saying she has a job outside of the cleaning business, but is a vital part of the operation.
“If I can afford it one day, maybe that will change,” he said. “She’s a marketing professional, very good at what she does, and she’s where she wants to be.”
Making the leap to business ownership has been a team effort, he adds.
“The past few years, Bonnie has been a sounding board and my greatest cheerleader,” he says. “Owning a business always seemed like something other people did, but she saw the opportunity and told me I had to do it.