In this FDD Talk 2016 post, you’ll learn the following:
- Section I – Background information on the Fish Window Cleaning franchise opportunity, including relevant news updates
- Section II – Estimated initial investment for a Fish Window Cleaning franchise, based on Item 7 of the company’s 2016 FDD
- Section III – Presentation and analysis of Fish Window Cleaning’s financial performance representations, based on Item 19 of the company’s 2016 FDD, including information on the:
- 2015 average labor cost (percentage paid to window cleaners), cost of consumables per month, office rent per month, office size in square feet, revenue per hour, and number of logoed vehicles for the 122 Fish Window Cleaning franchisees who responded to a questionnaire that the franchisor sent to all franchisees in the system as of December 31, 2015
- 2015 average number of new customers (commercial and residential) and total revenue for the 234 franchised Fish Window Cleaning outlets that were open and operating for the 12-month period from January 1, 2015 until December 31, 2015
- 2015 average revenue from a residential window cleaning and a commercial window cleaning, and annual price for a commercial route job for the 234 franchised Fish Window Cleaning outlets that were open and operating, and using the most recent version of Fish Window Cleaning’s proprietary software application, for the 12-month period from January 1, 2015 until December 31, 2015
Section I – Background Information
Michael Merrick had been managing a Savings and Loan in the St. Louis, MO area for the seven years since he had graduated from college, and he hated it. He wanted to be in charge of his own business, but deciding what venture to take on wasn’t easy. Then the guy who would come to clean the bank’s windows mentioned he wanted to sell his business.
Merrick looked into it and was shocked. Keep in mind this was back in 1978. The window washer was only working part time and yet was pulling in $13,000 a year – which was more than Merrick was making at the bank! So Merrick and his wife Linda bought the business and 20 years later had it down to such a science that franchising made sense, and in 1998 the first franchised location opened in Tampa, Florida.
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The number of locations has been growing steadily over the last ten years, from 212 in 2006 to the current 315. Here’s how Fish Window Cleaning keeps sightlines clear in the window washing segment:
There’s something to be said about experience. Merrick was in his window cleaning business for 20 years before he started franchising. In other words, he knows what works. The actual cleaning of windows is the easy part – it’s the business processes that are tricky for newcomers. But Merrick had 20 years to figure all that out – things like scheduling, which if you don’t know the tips and techniques can suck up a lot of time. Once he figured out the secrets, profits rose dramatically.
Finding a Niche and Filling (and Cleaning) It
In metro areas, everyone thinks about window cleaners being focused on the skyscrapers, but that’s not the Fish niche. Its specialty is ground-level storefronts — banks, restaurants, churches, schools — 1-3 story office buildings, and homes. Most of the business is commercial cleaning, but inevitably quite a few commercial customers end up asking to have their homes done as well – and newer homes today have a lot more glass than they used to.
The demand is there and doesn’t go away – all the glass you see on storefronts downtown has to be cleaned, and any store who does it themselves gets low-quality results. Plus, there is no national window-cleaning company or franchise competing in the niche Fish fills, which makes for a win-win for all parties concerned.
A Business, Not a Burden
When you think about it, there are a lot of franchise business opportunities that will keep you working seven days a week, and nights as well. Part of what attracted Merrick to the business in the first place was that it could generate all the income he needed while only working weekdays and daytime hours, which means it’s a business you can own without it owning you.
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Section II – Estimated Costs
- Please click here for detailed estimates of Fish Window Cleaning franchise costs, based on Item 7 of the company’s 2016 FDD (updated).