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Franchisee Spotlight: Trent Peneston
Posted on Wednesday, May 29th 2019

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A Window Cleaning Career from the Ground Up

It may have been inevitable that Trent Peneston would be owning and operating a Fish Window Cleaning franchise. From his college days on, Peneston has tied his vocational fate to the company. For more than a decade — first as a window cleaner, then as a member of the company’s franchise support team, and now as a franchise owner — Peneston has been burnishing homes and offices as a representative of Fish Window Cleaning.

Twelve years ago, Peneston was a student at Missouri Baptist University in his hometown of St. Louis when he got a side job as a window cleaner for Fish Window Cleaning. He had been managing some local restaurants but “that wasn’t the best for my school schedule,” says Peneston. Thus, his career with FISH was born.

Peneston dove headfirst into the FISH brand and learned everything he possibly could. He continued his part-time work with FISH through college. Upon graduating, Peneston took a job at the Fish Window Cleaning Headquarters in St. Louis as a member of the franchise support team. He worked there for several years before he was promoted to take the company’s robust franchise support services on the road. He traveled across America meeting with existing and potential franchisees in person.

“I learned a lot while traveling the country seeing different franchisees’ operations, learning their practices — some good and some bad,” Peneston recalls. That experience would help him down the road when tried his hand as a FISH Franchisee.

Peneston took note of each franchisees’ best practices and began synthesizing them into a business model for Fish Window Cleaning. He calls it “six simple steps: Every week you have to recruit, hire, and train people on both the front and back ends of the business. Next, in order to grow, you have to continue to sell, clean, and collect the money.” This is the system, Peneston says, that allows FISH franchise owners to flourish in markets across the country.

For example, finding competent and skilled staff members is among the most important things a Fish Window Cleaning franchisee does. “I’ve learned that you need to empower your staff, not enable their shortcomings,” Peneston explains. “There’s a big difference between the two. It’s always a challenge in finding good workers. You can do more business with good people and with people who want to do good work.

“But what I’ve learned is that sometimes you have the good people right in front of you. You just need to learn how to develop them. And that starts at the top of the franchise. If you have good leadership, there’s a vision to create a culture and a structured process for this sort of thing. If you don’t have good leadership, then sometimes it’s just chaos. Fortunately, at FISH, our leadership is top-notch.”

Packing this kind of insight, Peneston purchased an existing franchise location in Kingwood, Texas, from an owner who was beginning their third year of business. “It was very small,” he says. “Positions weren’t developed yet, and we didn’t really have any management or even salespeople in place. The previous owners were doing it all themselves, wearing several hats.”

Peneston says he attacked the basics, building “a new team. We over-hired and over-recruited because we wanted to get some fresh faces and some new energy and new life. From there, we were able to identify potential in some staff members and develop those people and positions.”

As the Fish Window Cleaning franchise owner in Kingwood for the last five years, Peneston has hit his growth goals consistently. Additionally, he and his team have vastly multiplied FISH’s customer base in that market and quadrupled the Fish Window Cleaning staff at that location.

“The key is to be consistent every day of every week,” says the 34-year-old Peneston, who lives in nearby Conroe, Texas.

Fish Window Cleaning in Kingwood consists of three departments: operations, where managers supervise the actual cleaning of windows and also train staff; sales, who are the front line for FISH in the community and also acquire accounts; and an administrative team that answers phones, processes payments and troubleshoots questions that come in from the field.

Peneston and his staff enjoy being able to tell prospective customers that FISH is one of the nation’s largest window cleaning companies. FISH is also proud to maintain staff who are bonded and insured. “It’s great to be able to add that to our pitch to customers,” Peneston says, “but our human-resources practices also help create a good culture and better working environment for everyone.”

With all of that going forward, Fish Window Cleaning in Kingwood has been able to meet Peneston’s goals of growing the business by a significant amount each year. Their team has also added at least 500 accounts every year since he became the franchise owner. That’s the kind of success that is clear to everyone.

For more information on how you can join the Fish Window Cleaning team, visit FWCFranchise.com.