Thoughts on buying a franchise

Hey guys I wanted to get your thoughts on the pros and cons of a window cleaning franchise vs just trying to grow a business on my own from scratch.
I know the initial investment is higher up front with a franchise but for the long term would it be more successful with a franchise since you would have the support and help from the franchise for things like marketing ideas and day to day business operations that you would otherwise have to figure out as you go.
I would love to hear your guys thoughts on this.

Welcome to Wcr! You’ll find more information and support here then you would with a franchise. Just ask away! In my opinion of course…


Why buy a franchise when you can get the same result on your own and not have to pay for the name. There are a few here who have bought into them, I know of one personally and when he sees this thread he will probably chime in, he is from Canada, he will tell you that looking back on it he would not do it again.

If you are thinking of buying a franchise, why aren’t you thinking of buying someone’s business instead?
You will wind up being independent instead of being hitched to someone else’s wagon. You will not have
to pay them for the rest of your life and do things their way.

Actually I did consider buying an existing business but there are none for sale in my area so that gave me the idea to consider a franchise.

My opinion is that I would never buy a franchise. One of the main advantages to window cleaning is
to be self employed with no one above dictating to you. You take responsibility for what happens and you
learn from your mistakes.

I would say either get your own busiiness going or find a business to buy and move near it if necessary.

Actually there is. Check craigslist. There is a guy selling his business with 2 employees.

Here is one of them Window cleaning business

I’d say grow your own business. No matter how much info you get on a company, you never know if you’re going to be inheriting their old problems as well.

Plus, you won’t have to pay the parent corp., and you can take pride in knowing that you did it yourself

I bought a window cleaning franchise from a company that had maid franchises. I bought their first window cleaning franchise in fact. They had 4-5 employees in windows the year before and decided to sell franchises so they could keep responsible guys instead of the constant churn of rookies and half employable experienced guys.

I’ll say this I was making good money right from the start, they had lots of work and I hired a friend who had as much or more experience then me and I hired one of their good rookies from the year before. But the franchise owner doesn’t have to be fair. The guy that bought the 2nd franchise had NO window cleaning experience, they gave him three days training. So what happened was I got all the crap storm window jobs and large commercial jobs and height work while that rookie got most of the sweet little residentials with fixed panes.
Basically as a franchisee you are just a fancy employee, at least that’s what I felt like. They have all your marbles and nothing you can do about it. Almost immediately once I tasted business all I could think about was getting my own business. Now I have my own business and I would never go back.

edit: another negative about my franchise was that the owner was bidding low on jobs. He didn’t have to do any of the work and would get 35% with almost no expense. He bid an army base for 22k and showed me what my old boss bid which was 35k. Thank god we didn’t get it… they had a budget cut.

edit part deux: Another thing, you can forget about growing your business. Soon as the owner has too much work, he sells another franchise. I was basically a foreman with lots of responsibility.

That is more then 100% true. I didnt’ even have the internet when I started business, forums are fantastic places to learn.

Personally, I couldn’t do it. For some, buying into a franchise may be the right choice. You wouldn’t have have to focus a lot of time in the marketing/promotional aspect of the business. I think they (franchiser) does it for you. If thats not your strong suit then maybe its the way to go. Or maybe hiring someone with marketing skills is an option too.
Either way has it’s challenges, I don’t believe one way is easier than the other. One of my main concerns would be on how much personal and creative expansion you will have in the future. Lets say you have ideas that you believe would improve your business growth. Will you be stuck in a mold, will you have to ask corp. to modify your business model, how much freedom will you have with your franchised business? You should definitely look into the possibility. But, also look into the option of starting out one your own. There is a plethora of info on this forum. You just need to weed through the BS and you’ll find everything you need to know for beginner. Good luck

This forum definitely has a wealth of information. It covers so many different aspects of the business. I believe it probably has more than any franchise handbook could ever offer. I guess my main concern is being successful right off the bat. I know owning a business is risky and that you have to take risks in order to be successful but I am concerned about taking the wrong risks with no guidance and causing my own failure. I guess my thoughts were if I was part of a franchise that had a proven system at least I know that I can follow their system and my rate of success is alot greater.

i would start from scratch. my boss owns a franchise and after seeing what hes going through, thats why ive decided to go on my own. because of the franchise i only make 20% of every job… which to some may seem like a good pay but when im the only guy risking my life everyday on ladders its not worth paying some other person sitting on their ass a percentage while i take all the risks. yea you may get a database but in my opinion i would rather start from scratch and get to know my customers personally. i want more than just money out of their pockets, i want to create a relationship with these people so that they can trust in me and my work at have no reason to look anywhere else for another window washer

technically though i would be starting from scratch but with a proven system to back me up. I would still get to develop relationships with my customers just as if I had my own independant company so i think as far as that aspect goes it would be almost the same. there is no other franchise that would be in my area and the royalty is only 7% which to me seems worthwhile considering all the help and support you get starting out and ongoing especially with marketing and business development if and when employees are brought in. The franchisor helps with certification and training especially when doing high rise work. to me this seems like a great benefit.

There are pros and cons to any decision. I have in the past been very against franchises mainly due to being the victim of severe undercutting experiences w/ franchisees. I have gotten to know a couple of individuals that own franchises and it has worked well for them. Ask yourself a few questions - Do I have good wcing skills? Am I a self starter? What can the franchise give me that is truly a valuable asset? Does that outweigh the amount of money I’ll be paying them? Can I utilize this forum to gain the same things w/ no cash outlay?

How much are they asking. Ill only charge you half. Thers a bunch of how to start outt= there on the net to start off with to give you basic info. Alot cheaper than a franchise. Are they giving you something special you cant get any where else. I bought my first squeege and window brush from home depot. Do they come with a name and reputation like mcdonalds or subway. I think your blowin your money. Learn by doimg. you will make alot of mistakes. but in the long run i think you will save alot of money. If you have problems bidding a job post here with pics and questions we will let you know what you think.

Our local FISH franchise owner went out of business last year after a short period of time. His YP ads stated 27 years of experience (they weren’t his years, of course.)

Here too

Maybe after hanging out here for a while, you’ll have a better understanding of the choices at hand. Are you interested in the technical aspect of the work? If you have less the adequate experience behind a squeegee, maybe going to work for a company would be beneficial. I want to recommend a book for you to read. Check out E-myth revised. Its a favorite for some here in the WCR nation.

Franchises are for people that don’t know any better…Build your own frankenstein monster…Play with it…Then sell it when you’re done. You’ll be far better off in the long run.