This annual list of the best window covering franchises was revised and updated on July 25, 2023.
Unless you’re in a secret base or a nuclear bunker, the buildings that you live and work in will have windows, and that means that they need coverings. There are a variety of options, from hard shutters and shades to the wide range of soft and decorated curtains. Even in the field of blinds, you can choose between Venetian, vertical, and roller options. This variety has led to a thriving industry supplying and installing window coverings.
The US window covering market is doing well. It was valued at $6.4 billion in 2020 and is expected to see an average rise in value of between 7.9% and 4.42% annually over the next few years. The industry caters to two distinct segments – homes and commercial properties. The residential segment was 55% of the industry globally in 2022 and is likely to be the main source of income for a new franchisee, as you can more easily pick up work in the form of home installations. But with recent economic uncertainty disrupting the housing market, finding that residential work may be tougher in some areas than it had been recently.
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The home market is shaped by the availability of disposable income to go on home décor, such as paints and window coverings, and by house sales. Whether they’re moving into a new build or an older property in need of renovation, home buyers want to make their mark and to make a space that suits their tastes. Window covering franchises can help people make a new home their own. Providing a wide range of appealing styles is part of how you draw customers in, even if many of them end up buying classic designs or lower budget options in tighter times.
The Covid pandemic led to a growth in home renovations but a drop in the sales of bespoke window coverings, as visits to houses were restricted. Disruption in textile supply chains also impacted the industry, as materials needed to make specific coverings became delayed or unavailable. The result has been a more DIY-oriented market, in which supplying coverings for consumers to install themselves plays a larger part. Installation work is now easier to arrange than it was in 2020, but economic uncertainty may lead more customers to save money by doing their own installation.
Though an online presence is important in raising awareness of your business, the business itself mostly takes place offline. People want to see the coverings in person before making a decision, and so over 80% of distribution was offline in 2021. That said, technology is now helping people to make their purchasing decisions, as it can be used to show how their windows might look with different options, and this might lead to a shift into more online sales.
Technology is also benefiting the industry in other ways. The rise in smart homes and sensor-based window coverings has created potential for more specialized work installing smart window solutions such as connected shades. Customers who invest in these technologies can control their window coverings using a remote control, phone app, or voice control, options which make life easier and can be used to improve home security. While some of the hype around smart homes is starting to fade, there are enough enthusiasts for this to remain a factor.
Window coverings have practical as well as aesthetic effects, and these are increasingly important. Customers looking to reduce energy costs want better insulated curtains to keep heat and light in or out, as the season demands. Curtains can significantly reduce heat loss in winter while both curtains and blinds can limit unwanted solar heat through the windows in summer. Light-blocking curtains are invaluable for those who struggle to sleep while there’s light, and the growth in home theatre systems has increased demand for blackout blinds. Add acoustically protective materials into the mix and you have a wide range of options to make homes more comfortable through their window coverings, all of which give more options to a franchise outlet.
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Saving energy has environmental as well as cost-saving benefits, and environmental concerns are increasingly important in the window coverings industry. Green credentials can help you to get business from ethically conscious consumers and won’t do any harm with the rest. There are a growing number of companies working with environmentally friendly and recyclable materials, and this is an option that can broaden your customer base as well as providing a USP.
Catering to demand for trendy and innovative designs can provide another option for standing out from the pack. With their purchasing power and enthusiasm for innovation, younger generations are increasingly shaping the market. While this isn’t an industry with enough repeat business to make it worth thinking about long-term customers, there are advantages to appealing to that younger demographic, due to their cultural influence and the purchases they’ll make as they settle into their first homes.
While safety standards and government regulations aren’t a big factor in this sector, they do exist, and it’s important to ensure that products meet them. A recent dispute between an industry body and the Consumer Product Safety Commission is unlikely to lead to big upheavals, but if it does lead to change then companies providing window coverings will need to move with the times.
With the wide range of aesthetic, technological, and practical options available, window coverings are a surprisingly varied market. If you can find the skilled, customer-focused staff to help customers make the right choices and get their coverings professionally installed, then you should be able to find good business once consumer confidence and the construction market recover from their current uncertainties.
The Top Window Covering Franchises of 2023
1. Budget Blinds
Budget Blinds serves the interior window covering needs of residential customers with blinds, shades, shutters, and drapes. Prospective customers can request a free in-home or virtual initial consultation. During the appointment, the designer will get to know your style and the way you live, then show you their recommended window coverings solution to make life more convenient and beautiful, all tailored to your style and practical needs. While the front page of the website claims it is “backed by the best warranty in the business,” there are no details on the warranty because warranties vary by location.
Budget Blinds is one of eight different home service franchises within parent company Home Franchise Concepts. Founded by Brent Hallock (along with his twin brother Chad and three friends) in Orange County, California in 1992 and franchising since 1994, the number of locations has marched steadily upward from 904 in 2013 to the current total of 1,378 (up from the previously reported total of 1,320), of which none are company-owned and 120 are located outside the US (in Canada).
2. Made in the Shade Blinds and More
Made in the Shade Blinds and More helps homeowners find the optimal mix of window fashion style and function through stellar service with a personal touch. In addition to the usual blinds, shades, and shutters, they offer an extensive range of soft treatments (drapes with a variety of add-on features), motorization of window treatments, faux iron grilles (for windows, doors, walls, and ceilings), and accent area rugs.
Potential customers can schedule a complimentary, no obligation, in-home consultation, to explore options and see samples of recommended treatments. The company’s approach includes a deep commitment to its five-point value system: Quality, customization, service, price, and warranty (warranties are specific to each product manufacturing partner).
Founded by Cathy Morse in San Antonio, Texas in 2004 and franchising since 2013, the number of locations has expanded in recent years from 50 in 2016 to the current total of 135 (up from the previously reported total of 122), of which one is company-owned and 26 are located outside the US.
3. Gotcha Covered
Gotcha Covered offers “custom window treatments inspired by you” to both residential and commercial customers, including blinds, shades, shutters, drapery, and curtains. Because window treatments have a huge impact on a home’s look and feel, the goal is going “from drab to fab.” Most customers find they want to achieve the right mix of style and functionality. Functional considerations may include automation, energy efficiency, light control, privacy, and UV protection.
An exceptional customer experience is what Gotcha Covered promises with its Client for Life Service Pledge: “We pledge to provide high quality products and services that will exceed your expectations and add beauty and value to your environment. We are committed to maintaining our relationship with our clients long after the sale.”
Gotcha Covered is part of the Five Star Franchising family of companies that includes seven different service brands. Founded in 1991 and franchising since 2001, the number of locations has risen rapidly in recent years from 46 in 2015 to the current total of 128 (up from the previously reported total of 116), of which none are company-owned and 13 are located outside the US.
4. Bloomin’ Blinds
Bloomin’ Blinds lets customers truly visualize what different styles of window treatments will look like in their space by uploading photos of their windows into the Graber Visualizer and choosing different options. Products include blinds and shades (both corded and cordless), shutters, draperies, and motorized window treatments from brands such as Alta, Norman, Hunter Douglas, Graber, and The Window Outfitters. The company also offers window treatment repairs (see its list of 17 brands it can service) and cleaning, as well as window cleaning services.
As a family-owned, family-operated business, it works hard to make every client feel like they’re part of the family with a highly personalized customer experience. Customers can browse window treatments by type (blinds, shutters, shades) or by what function interests them most (light filtering, temperature control, room darkening, automation, exterior shades).
Founded by Kelsey, Kristopher, and Kevin Stuart in Dallas, Texas in 2001 and franchising since 2014, the number of locations now stands at 93 (up from the previously reported total of 72), of which nine are company-owned and all are located in the US.
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The franchises on this list were ranked according to the number of units in the franchise system. If you are a prospective franchisee searching for franchise opportunities that meet or exceed certain performance benchmarks for sales, profits, and return on investment, please check out this list of America’s Most Lucrative Franchises.