To Franchise or Not to Franchise!


#1

Why would someone want to join a franchise? I know mikeup is an owner of one; many are (was that the right use of a semi-colon?). So there must be some valid advantages.

But, I would think that since window cleaning isn’t really branded, what kind of benefits would franchising include (in my area the average person has never heard of the main local franchise that tryed to buy me out and then pay me 14 buck an hour to work for them! Pah!).

I’m would never want to pay a royalty fee- I want to still be able to afford to eat 3 meals a day (or six mini-meals if I’m feeling physical-fitnessy). I already have to fork out a lot as a business owner.

I’m thinking that as a franchise owner you could tell potential customers that the company is huge and its been in business forever, but what else? And is it more advantageous if you are a commercial window cleaner?


#2

I Yahoo’d (no, not Googled!) window cleaning franchise:
http://search.yahoo.com/bin/search?fr=ybr_sbc&p=window%20cleaning%20franchise

Pick a result and see what the various franchises see as the advantages of joining their team.


#3

Biggest advantage: They ALREADY have the work. You just WORK it.


#4

As Paneless said the work is there, they can work it. In Ontario at least franchises are set up for legal protection. If one just subcontracts all their work to one subcontractor, and that subcontractor gets all of his work from that guy, then the government looks at that arrangement as employer/employee. Then the government would want you to pay Workers Compesnation. So the franchise is setup to protect against that.

In my case, my franchisor is extremely kind in his arrangement, and is very reasonable. I still make a very good living after paying the franchise fee, and I even get bonuses for new jobs I get. Please don’t ask me for details, as I keep these confidential.

Your right, no one cares about the name of your business. At least in the fact that people think of such and the such the window cleaners. They don’t think, oh I have X Window Cleaning company. As well, people would rather deal with one business owner than a big bad company.


#5

So they give you all the work? I thought you had to build it up. How do they give you work? Is it that they advertise for you? Not your franchise in particular, mikeup, but any franchise.

Thanks for your replies, guys!


#6

I wouldn’t think they do advertising for you, maybe the idea behind it is national brand recognition? We have 3 Fish Franchises and 2 Window Genies in our area. I occasionally see them around but rarely do I see any advertising. maybe once or twice I got a window genie ad inside a valpak.


#7

In my case the regular commercial route work was given to me. From there I could build up my route through canvassing which I got bonuses for. If my route became too big for me to handle the route was adjusted and new franchises were sold


#8

Did they give you a big full route, or was it bare bone with the expectation to sell more?


#9

It was bareboned.


#10

Yeah - but barebone is a subjective term.

Having 10 clients in an area is a huge starting point advantage to having ZERO.

And thus the draw of the franchise.


#11

I agree with that


#12

Yeah I’m not complaining.


#13

But it seems that if you tough it out in the beginning by building your own non-franchise company, you win out in the end. I want to know that I will be the one benefiting from my efforts without royalty payments that I’m stuck with, even if that means sweating it for a couple years.

No hit on the guys who do it the franchise way because there does seem to be some pretty significant benefits to franchising.


#14

You got it, Acclaim.

Operating a franchise for a couple of years or more is excellent training for taking the plunge from ZERO for your own business, too.

You also hit the nail on the head when you said

[INDENT][I]‘as long as you can sweat it for a couple of years’.[/I][/INDENT]

This is much much much easier said than done. And I say this only because I’ve done it.

I am a fairly confident, outgoing person, with a lot of pride in my workmanship, and I can talk to anyone anytime about anything, not that I know about anything, but I don’t mind speaking to anyone about stuff that I may not know…know what I mean? (i may even be confusing myself here…)

Unfortunately, my pride blinded me to the real-world difficulty of starting from scratch, and some unrealistic expectations almost sank me a few times.

So, give yourself time, Rome wasn’t built in a day. But it did get built, and man was it something when it was done.

That being said, speed is attainable with intelligence and implementation of proven smart stuff.

Which, again, we have big thx to Chris & Alex for, with this forum of smart window cleaning folk.


#15

I guess it depends on your perspective. If you’re starting in an area that has plenty of work or you can buy a small route from a local company you may be better off than having to pay franchise fees. I’ve been told that those fees can be hefty as much as 25%. Is that true?


#16

I earned about 73% for 4 years as a franchisee.
Solid work, though, and loads of money.

It is common for franchisees around here to earn only 75%.

Franchising is an excellent option for more competitive markets, where there is not a ton of work up for grabs, but a commercial route CAN be generated anywhere, it will just take longer to build…

If you can buy a piece of something, that can be a good starting point, too, as long as you are buying quality work.


#17

I have always wondered why people would franchise? My reasons against are: (I may be wrong so please correct any info please)

Franchise requires like a $15,000. - $50,000 initial investment?
Pay royalties on every job even ones you aquired on your own.
I do understand they provide sales help w/preprinted brochures and gifts to gain accounts.

I feel that if I did the intial leg work solicite yourself until you gain a few jobs especially residential which are easiest to advertise for, get and be paid the same day. You would save the overwelming initial franchise fee and future profits for yourself alone. If a personhad that type of money for the initial investment couldnt that go along way to get yourself started?


#18

I think the main problem is that most of us think Fish when we think franchise. They stink it up so bad that even the mention of franchise makes us a little sick.

I think there are some decent franchises out there. Just taking the Fish model and identifying and correcting the main problems and it would be worth the cash.

Franchises of all kinds are SUPER HOT right now. LOTS of money being made by all parties. Would any of you turn down a Mcdonalds? Hell, if I could afford one I would buy into it in a second. Who wouldn’t.

Fish… not so much.


#19

Exactly.

My franchise deal, incidentally, was ZERO initial investment, and the monthly costs of both franchise fees and royalties combined to be around 27% of EVERY JOB I did, and every new job was automatically theirs too.

ZERO marketing support too, but a solid weekly commercial client base to immediately start servicing.

In other words, huge pros, and big cons. but definitely no large initial investments, no.

If you have $50,000 and want to buy a franchise, let me give you some advice instead: Spend $1,000 and schedule a one-on-one meeting with either Chris, ALex, CFP, myself, or someone else on here that has built something from nothing very effectively, very quickly, and hire them as your personal coach with some of the rest of that money…

1 year from today, you’ll have a window cleaning business that it takes most people 3-5 years to build. And it will all belong to you.

If you DON’T have even $1,000 to rub together (like me 8 years ago), then consider a franchise that has reasonable terms, but only until you can afford to hire some professional help, and/or take the plunge and strike out on your own!


#20

Wow Paneless, you really made me stop and think about my first few years. I have not even scratched the surface of where I want to go, but if I could take just what I know now back 5 years…

I would much rather work with other companies rather than running my own window cleaning business. I have a skill as do you Paneless. It is a skill to see the forest through the trees, and it is a rare skill. We love what most hate, that is how new ventures start.

If we were to be unleashed on a struggling company’s marketing efforts… look out!

It is soooo much easier and more challenging finding and developing ways that do not include my personal emotional attachments that sometimes cloud and restrict me in my business.

I am humbled for you mentioning me in your list