Fish Window Cleaning Blog

Franchise vs. Own Business: The Pros and Cons of Each
Posted on Monday, October 2nd 2023


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When looking to launch a business, you can either go it alone or you can choose a franchise. Fish Window Cleaning® has been franchising for 45+ years, and we’ve talked to many people who were comparing these options in making their entrepreneurial decisions. Here are some of the factors that come up as either pros or cons of franchising versus going solo.

Franchise vs. Own Business: The Costs

Both franchised and non-franchised businesses have costs, but they are distributed in different ways.

Startup Costs

A franchise has a lump sum (initial investment) you pay upfront to cover everything you need to get up and running for three to six months, allowing you to open and generate revenue more quickly. Items in a franchise package include:
  • Services: Services you provide, training to do the work, insurance, and employee needs.
  • Customer plan: A vetted territory, a defined target audience, and a plan to recruit customers.
  • Marketing: Your logo, website, email, social media, flyers, vehicle graphics, uniforms, signage, etc.
  • Operations: Accounting software, customer management tools, and technology.
For an independent business, you must create your own package from the services you provide, determine how you will find customers, and find the right person to design your website. You pay as you incur the costs, which will likely take six months to a year or more.

Ongoing Costs

Franchises have royalty fees for ongoing support and marketing. You pay a small percentage every month based on your gross revenues to have the franchisor manage this for you. Some important benefits are:
  • Time: You spend more time serving customers and less time on the administration of your business.
  • Expense: You will save money by making fewer costly mistakes following a proven system.
  • Buying power: You can purchase more marketing because many franchisees are contributing to the cost.
As an independent, you spend more time and money managing monthly marketing and administration. Even if you hire people to do this work, you still need to be on top of how the funds are being spent in your business. A U.S. Bank study found that 82% of the time the reason small businesses fail is because of poor cash flow management.

Franchise vs. Own Business: Responsibilities

In a franchise, your operations manual details your accountabilities. Although you are the boss of your franchise, you report to the franchisor every month to ensure you are maintaining your responsibilities. The benefit is that you stay on track with business operations and can access support whenever you need it.

Independent business owners must hold themselves accountable, and that can be a challenging task even for the most diligent people. In contrast, franchises are appealing because of the existing support systems in place.

Franchise vs. Own Business: Important Differences

A HubSpot article did a great job noting some key differences between a franchise versus an independent business. Here’s an overview:





Not required and training is provided



Can happen easily by adding units and pre-vetted territories

You will need to evaluate areas from scratch

Customer Awareness

Customers know the brand and what to expect

Customers do not know who you are

Risk Level

Venture is already successful

Will have a trial-and-error phase before getting to the best practices in operations


Rules, logo, and how the business operates are already decided

You can make all these decisions yourself

Financial Information

Shared with the franchisor

Not shared with anyone


Franchises have terms with renewal procedures

You set your terms

Making the Decision: Dr. Tim Weissman’s Story

Tim Weissman was a clinical psychologist who was looking to do something different with his life. He had no business training and he wasn’t even looking at window cleaning franchise opportunities when we met him. What sold Tim on joining FISH was the integrity and genuineness he felt with our interactions. Today, he and his wife run three territories with FISH. See Tim’s video here.

Explore the Fish Window Cleaning Franchise

Franchises do the hard work for you when it comes to creating a business that can be successful and, in our experience, that’s attractive to a lot of people. For those who want to do the creating for themselves, they choose the independent business route. If you’re undecided, find out what a good franchise can offer and then think about it.

We invite you to contact us to talk more about an opportunity to become a franchise owner with Fish Window Cleaning.

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