NORTH COVENTRY — When Kyle Lepkowski left the Marine Corps in 2011, he wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do with the next chapter of his life. He had joined the military in search of adventure — which he found during two tours in Afghanistan.
On Nov. 9, Lepkowski of North Coventry Township started a new adventure — launching his own business as a franchise owner with JDog Carpet Cleaning & Floor Care, part of JDog Brands.
The Berwyn-based JDog Brands includes JDog Junk Hauling & Removal and JDog Carpet Cleaning & Floor Care, which create business ownership opportunities exclusively for veterans and their families.
Lepkowski’s path to becoming a business owner wasn’t a straight road, however.
The road to business ownership
Originally from Syracuse, N.Y., Lepkowski went to his local community college when he got out of the military, pursuing a general business track, and taking on some jobs along the way.
“I always liked using my hands and creating things,” he said. “I went down the path of becoming a diesel mechanic, which brought me here. I went to school at Universal Technical Institute in Exton, then worked in West Chester.”
Once he started working in the field, however, Lepkowski realized it wasn’t really what he wanted to do. So, he went back to school — getting a bachelor’s degree in finance from Penn State in 2020.
Lepkowski said he always wanted to help people and own a business.
Once he had his degree, Lepkowski started looking at franchises and businesses.
He had been seeing JDdog signs all around the area, which he said made him curious about the company. Over the past two years, he looked into the company, eventually reaching out.
“It was a brand I could get behind,” he said.
Kyle Lepkowski with the distinctive JDog van. Lepkowski, a military veteran, has just launched a franchise of JDog Carpet Cleaning & Floor Care. (PHOTO COURTESY OF KYLE LEPKOWSKI)
Lepkowski said he thought a franchise would be a good route to take because he would have a base to work from, rather than building the business entirely from the ground up. And, it would offer him some flexibility with his time — to devote to his family.
Lepkowski’s wife, Christina, is a third-grade teacher at Franklin Elementary School in Pottstown. The couple has two children — John, who was born in 2020 and Emma, who was born in October.
Lepkowski began working with a franchise coach and looked at several different companies.
In January, he began talking with JDog, and by spring knew that was the company he wanted to work with.
“In September I said, ‘Let’s go,’” he said. “The territory was still open, so I thought, ‘It’s now or never.’”
He went through the training, got his JDog van and officially launched the business Nov. 9.
Lepkowski services portions of Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties — “all the way to east Greenville, down to Collegeville, down into Exton and then Elverson over to Reading and past Boyertown.” He added that he does it all — carpet cleaning, floor care, hardwood, tile and grout.
“If we can get our hands on it, we can clean it,” he added.
Lepkowski is getting the word out about the business by advertising on social media, handing out his business cards and talking with as many people as he can.
Not just a slogan
JDog Junk Removal and Hauling was founded in 2011 by Army veteran Jerry Flanagan. Marketing himself as a veteran, Flanagan told MediaNews Group in 2019 that sales doubled, and within one year, he began hiring local veterans. He then began franchising, and the company has since grown to nearly 300 franchisees across the country.
The company provides services “the military way — with respect, integrity and trust.”
It is that motto that appealed to Lepkowski as a potential business owner and that he says makes the company stand out for customers.
“It’s not just a slogan — it has a meaning to us because of our background,” he said. “We take that with us to every single job we go to. At the same time, I want to take care of customers and surpass their expectations every time.”
For more information visit Lepkowski’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/jdogcarpetcleaningpottstown. Or, visit https://www.jdogcarpetcleaning.com/locations/pennsylvania/pottstown-carpet-cleaning/ for information or to schedule a job.