Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you’re a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brent and Melissa Windsor of east Phoenix opened their Window Genie franchise this October after relocating from a small town in Kansas to be near family in Arizona. New in town and new to franchising, the married partners describe how they are quickly growing their business while getting to know community members, providing them with window washing, window tinting and power-washing services in the often-harsh desert heat.
Name: Brent and Melissa Windsor
Franchise owned: Window Genie of the East Valley in Gilbert, Ariz.
Q: How long have you owned a franchise?
Our first day of operation was Oct. 5, 2015. We are new franchise business owners.
Q: Why franchising?
Why start from scratch creating a business when a proven, successful model already exists? A successful franchise has already gone through all the pains of a startup. They have already made the mistakes. They know what works and what doesn’t. We wanted to benefit from their experience and success.
Q: What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
Brent spent the last 25 years guiding marketing, sales and product development programs, most recently as director of marketing for one of the nation’s leading automotive aftermarket companies. Melissa also excelled in the advertising and marketing field. In her most recent accomplishment, she served for the past 10 years as the executive director for a non-profit arts organization.
Q: Why did you choose this particular franchise?
As new business owners, we wanted to buy into a system that was marketing-driven. Window Genie has a team of talented individuals who have built a system that brings customers to us. Window Genie offers multiple streams of business -- window washing, window tinting and power washing. All of these services can be sold to our customer base on a repeat basis.
Most importantly, it was the Window Genie corporate team who ultimately sealed the deal. Each and every team member is genuinely focused on making us successful. They know their industry and have an obvious passion for helping us build a successful business. During many phone conversations and visits to the corporate office, we knew that Team Genie would be able to guide us in the correct direction and maximize our opportunity for success.
Q: How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business? Franchise fee: $68,000 (territory of 123,000 households); startup package: $25,000; additional startup equipment, supplies and services: $18,500; total: $111,500.
Q: Where did you get most of your advice / do most of your research?
We worked with a franchise consultant -- the Entrepreneur Authority -- to help find franchise options that best fit our business strengths and investment parameters. They did a good job guiding us towards five franchises that met our requirements. We then spent four months researching each franchise on our own and eventually narrowed it down to the obvious choice -- Window Genie. During our due diligence, we were able to talk directly with franchise owners preparing us with good insight into what to expect during the startup and seasoned business phases.
We also worked with Guidant Financial in securing financing for our new business. As part of their services, they offered legal advice and completed all the paperwork to incorporate our business. We maintain an ongoing relationship with Guidant, as they manage our 401K program and provide end-of-year tax support.
Q: What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
We complicated our franchise opening by moving from Emporia, Kans. to Gilbert, Ariz. just one week prior to training and one month prior to our opening day. Entering a new territory was a great business move for us, but also had its downside -- we didn’t know anyone.
We quickly understood how time-consuming running your own business can be. The administrative side of the business can be overwhelming at times, but becomes more efficient through experience.
Being the first franchise location in Arizona, we did not have nearby franchise territory owners with the same weather and environmental conditions we experience. We learned through trial and error how to adapt our cleaning techniques to the harsh desert conditions.
Q: What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Go for it!! As soon as we announced to our friends and family that we were buying a franchise and starting our own business, we consistently heard that we were taking steps many of them envy. If you truly want to own your own business, be fully responsible for your own destiny and feel like your life’s experiences have prepared you appropriately, franchise ownership is a wonderful opportunity to create a business you will be proud of.
Do your research, and make sure the franchise will provide the backing and support you need to be successful.
Q: What’s next for you and your business?
As new business owners, our primary focus is growing our business. Our sales continue to increase every week to the point that we have purchased an additional work van and are in the process of hiring more technicians. We firmly believe that by focusing all our strengths on successfully marketing our franchise and providing excellent customer service, we can grow to be a top performer in the Window Genie franchise.