Ryan McDonald owns the Athens branch of CitruSolution, an Atlanta-based national franchise that uses a low-moisture and environmentally-friendly process to more effectively clean carpets.
On an average day, Ryan is taking all of the customer calls from the Athens area, booking appointments, and following up with online leads. He makes a point to go out and meet people through commercial cleaning jobs and local networking opportunities.
St. Thomas, Denver, Athens
After graduating from the University of Georgia, Ryan sold his car and moved to St. Thomas to work for Ritz Carlton. After five years in the US Virgin Islands, Ryan had apparently had enough of paradise, and relocated to Denver to work for a liquor distributor. (Now we get it.) The distributor was a good, family-run business, but Ryan started to get the itch to move closer to home.
Ryan mentioned to his father that after a decade out of Georgia, he was interested in moving back south. Ryan’s father knew Paul Romanick, who had been cleaning carpets since he was 12. When he mentioned that Paul was selling franchises, Ryan couldn’t have been less interested in the business. But when he heard that an Athens franchise was available, his mind opened up a little: he flew out to meet with Paul and other CitruSolution owners to learn more about the operation.
The carpet cleaning business wasn’t something I thought I’d end up doing, but the product and the ethics of the company appealed to me. I also wanted to stop working for other people, and be my own boss.
After being part of a family business in Colorado, Ryan wanted the same for himself at home. He also sees CitruSolution as leagues above the average carpet cleaning business: it’s a customer-focused company that seeks to elevate the whole industry.
Overcoming a Bad Rap
For Ryan, doing business demands building real relationships. He makes a genuine effort to create trust in both his person, as owner, and his brand, as part of the greater CitruSolution family.
Carpet cleaners are often treated with the same suspicion as used car salesmen, and Ryan has to overcome the expectation that his business will implement shady business practices.
On the upside, CitruSolution has a reputation for doing its job at the time agreed upon, and for the cost quoted. Ryan’s team looks great on its own, but next to the competition, they look even better. Ethical business practices and customer-oriented service is the company’s big differentiator. And for that reason, the company is growing.
To the Windy City!
Ryan has teamed up with his good friend and fellow Citru franchisee to expand his ownership to CitruSolution Chicago, and he’s focusing all of his energy on covering his bases. Without spreading himself too thin, Ryan is making sure that Athens is adequately taken care of while he grows his business up north.
He knows the drill: the beginning is all about networking and marketing, handling appointments and cleanings, and coming home at night to do invoicing and thank you notes. As word spreads and business picks up, he’ll be able to bring on help and take on a more supervisory role.
Ryan believes in the CitruSolution mission of being more to the community than the service he provides. He donates cleaning services to charity auctions, and whenever he can find the time, he participates in events with the Jaycees and other business owners.