In this exclusive Q&A, I spoke with Robin McKenna about what it’s like to be a Window Genie franchisee.
Franchise Chatter (FC): Tell us about your background. When did you realize you wanted to own your own business? What attracted you to the franchise industry?
Robin McKenna (RM): Before joining Window Genie, a Neighborly company, I spent 20 years at a medical device company in sales and marketing. Throughout my career, I prioritized my time to professionally and personally grow and educate myself. In 2012, my company downsized and my position was eliminated. During that timeframe, unemployment was extremely high in New Jersey, and my age and salary were not helping me find a new job. A franchise representative from The Entrepreneur’s Source named Bill McGuire found my resume and approached me about business ownership.
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It became clear that I could be a successful business owner. So, I decided to take a chance on myself and utilize my experiences, knowledge, and skills from corporate America and my MBA education to work for me and my family. I needed to find the right franchise that could someday replace my corporate salary and give me personal satisfaction.
So many of my friends asked why I decided to go into franchising instead of starting my own business. Joining a franchise gives me the support and a proven system, and all the pain points from starting up a business from scratch have been worked out. After having a corporate job for 20 years, being a business owner would allow me to hold myself accountable and be in control of my own destiny. My successes and failures would be in my control.
FC: How did you know Window Genie was the right brand for you?
RM: I evaluated several franchise models throughout the process, and Window Genie remained my first choice for several reasons.
- Annuity Business – If we performed the services well the first time and had happy customers, they would continue to come back to us for their original service and even add on additional services.
- Corporate Culture – I felt like I was joining a “family” and felt the support and encouragement from day one.
- Windows for Wishes – I strongly believe in giving back. I was a Girl Scout, a Girl Scout leader, and a United Way day-of planning organizer and participant. I was very involved with the local YMCA that my children swam for, which also included a term on the parent board.
FC: What is your favorite aspect of being a franchise owner within the Neighborly family of brands?
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RM: The Neighborly family of brands focuses on helping people around the house. I spent 20+ years in corporate America developing, marketing, and selling medical device products that helped make a difference in patients’ lives. Now that I am a franchise owner, I am now in control of my own destiny, meaning my successes and failures are in my hands. I am still helping people, but in a different way. I am helping customers repair, maintain, and enhance their homes.
FC: How many locations do you currently operate? Where are they located?
RM: I own one Window Genie franchise with a household count of approximately 190,000. I service lower Middlesex County and Mercer County (NJ) and lower Bucks County (PA).
FC: How would you describe your style and approach as a franchise owner? What strategies do you have in place to ensure the success of your business?
RM: To be successful in the Window Genie business, it’s important to focus on a few key areas: Aggressively marketing my business and measuring results, working to be the employer of choice in my area as I recruit and retain good employees, and focusing on the customer to ensure repeat business.
FC: Because community involvement is a big focus for you, what strides do you take to give back to your local community?
RM: I donate free services (certificates) to local schools, non-profit organizations, and other charities to help raise funds for their cause. I also will provide free services or discounts for our veterans, senior citizens, and any individual or family who struggles with debilitating diseases. Lastly, I like to help organize food drives for local food banks.
FC: What advice would you offer someone considering a Window Genie franchise? Any tips you can provide to help them succeed?
RM: Thinking back to 2013 when I was considering purchasing a franchise, I knew that the work involved with starting my own business was going to be very different from the previous jobs I held working for other small businesses and corporate America. I also knew that a franchise business had proven systems that worked. I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel.
As a new business owner, you will wear many different hats. It’s important to ensure you only wear the hat for the jobs and skills that you are good at and like to do. It’s important to have other individuals involved with the jobs and skills that you are not great at and don’t like to do. It’s extremely important to follow the franchise systems.