Women in Franchising Feature – Jennifer Cook, Oxi Fresh of Allentown, PA
Today, more than ever before, women are joining the male-dominated world of franchising and becoming entrepreneurs and leaders in their industries. Jennifer Cook of Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning has already been hard at work for well over a decade on that front. Her drive and focus have led her to stand out from the crowd and achieve astonishing successes in her carpet cleaning franchise in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Back in 2007, Cook was looking for an opportunity that would empower her entrepreneurial drive and provide the flexible schedule she needed in order to care for her family. So Jennifer was intrigued when she learned about a new franchise opportunity called Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning.
The carpet cleaning company, just a year old at that point, had already set itself apart from most of the industry. Rather than employ a steam cleaning system, they used a low-moisture, eco-friendly cleaning process that relied on the power of oxygen and an encapsulator. Together, they allowed for effective cleanings that dried in about one hour—versus the 12-24 hours of steam cleaning. The cleaning method also required far less bulk equipment, allowing for more streamlined and responsive approach to operations.
This modern approach to carpet cleaning combined with both the team’s passion and the overall low start-up costs led Jennifer to look into the brand. Meeting the company’s founder and CEO, Jonathan Barnet, and finding him to be a kind and genuine person ultimately sealed the deal for Jennifer.
Prior to entering the franchising space, Cook earned her Bachelor’s in TV and Print Journalism and her Master’s in Cinema TV. After completing her Master’s, Cook worked as a television producer at CBN for 17 years. During her time at the network, she was a guest producer for the 700 Club. Jennifer also worked as a national producer in Virginia Beach, PA, where she served as senior production team leader and editor for CBN’s world outreach affiliate.
Upon relocating to her hometown of Emmaus, PA and purchasing the 21st Oxi Fresh franchise in the U.S., she dived deep into the business. Over the past fourteen years, Cook has seen a tremendous amount of success. In 2016, she purchased a second territory, greatly increasing her reach.
Now, with a database of thousands of customers, over 200 jobs per month, a repeat business rate of over 50%, and +80% customer satisfaction scores, Jennifer Cook is one of the top franchisees in the Oxi Fresh System. She was even named to the President’s Silver Club Award.
As Jennifer’s business has grown, the Oxi Fresh brand has been developing alongside her. Over the years, they have continually added and developed various tools and programs to assist franchisees as they build their carpet cleaning businesses. These include a Customer Relationship Management software suite, online training courses, automated email marketing, automatic reminder postcards, and much more.
“Not many little girls grow up dreaming about being a carpet-cleaning company owner,” said Cook. However, Cook went on to say that Oxi Fresh ended up being one of the best decisions she could have ever made, not only for herself but for her family. “I can’t name a single time I have been made to feel lesser, been discriminated against, or talked down to, and I know not all women can say that,” said Cook. “The majority of my employees are male, and I have never felt anything but supported.”
Throughout Cook’s 14 years with Oxi Fresh, she has learned many lessons, such as the importance of finding and keeping quality employees, the value of flexibility, and—of course—the importance of customer satisfaction.
“I always put the customer first,” said Cook. “It’s the small things like handing out Oxi Fresh hand sanitizers or dropping them off on a customer’s doorstep that makes a difference.” Jennifer also talked about how much customers appreciate honesty and commitment. Her employees are always expected to be on time, provide exceptional cleanings, and go above and beyond for the clients.
Cook is proud to be a woman in the franchising industry and regularly contributes to the promotion of the Oxi Fresh brand by mentoring prospective franchisees and lending her time to discuss the benefits of franchise ownership. In addition, she is a proactive contributor to a variety of community and faith-based initiatives. One organization Cook is especially passionate about is Push the Rock, a family-oriented global sports ministry to which she regularly donates.
Today, as more women are creating their own paths in the franchise industry, there is no limit to what can be achieved. Franchising models allow entrepreneurs to build something of their own while still benefitting from the franchisor’s knowledge, tools, and branding power. Cook is an excellent example of the endless opportunities available when you take a leap of faith and decide to go into business for yourself.