Window Genie Franchise Review: Gil Moskovitz, Bergen County, New Jersey
Owning a Window Genie franchise gives father of two plenty of freedom
Gil Moskovitz tried everything from day trading to managing a trucking firm before he found his true calling: entrepreneurship. Now, after well over a decade as a Window Genie franchise owner, the 38-year-old father of two can’t imagine ever working for someone else again. The support he gets from Window Genie’s corporate headquarters has afforded him the flexibility to grow his business at a rate that suits him. In fact, the Ridgewood, NJ, resident recently downsized his franchise so he could spend more time with 8-year-old Jacob and 10-year-old Ethan, young athletes who participate in baseball, basketball and wrestling. With the help of subcontractors, Gil finds that even with a smaller business profile, he’s making nearly as much money as before. And that’s great news for the boys, who enjoy skiing and movies with their dad when he’s not working. Gil talked with us recently and shared his experiences as a 13-year Window Genie franchisee.
What were you doing before you owned a Window Genie franchise? For about a year or so, I did some day trading. I actually took a break from my previous job managing a trucking company. I kind of got burnt out. I have a good friend who’s a stockbroker who introduced me to the trading world. It was very hectic. I decided this is not going to be long term. At the time, I was dating my now ex-wife, and a friend of her father’s suggested I open a window cleaning business. I said, “people actually clean windows (professionally)?” I had no idea people did that.
How did you find out about Window Genie? I looked up different businesses. I had no experience; I knew nothing. I knew I could work for a competitor and learn the business and and eventually open my own, but with a franchise, I’m going to get all the help I need upfront. It’s a business in a box, basically. Someone else has already done some of the legwork for you. I looked up different businesses, and I came across Window Genie. I wanted a service business because I wanted something that would generate repeat customers. I’m outdoorsy and I like being outside, and it was a low-cost investment. And I like keeping my hands busy; I actually liked the window-cleaning aspect of the job.
Did you perform any of the services yourself? Absolutely, at first. I originally did it on a day-to-day basis for the first few years until I hired my first employees. Eventually, I went from five days to four days and then three days. Maybe six years into my business, I stepped off the trucks for good.
Is it important to know how to perform the services you offer? It’s crucial. It’s the only way you’re going to learn the core of your business. When you perform them, you know how to provide an accurate estimate to a customer. If somebody quits or calls in sick and you don’t know what to do or how to train someone new, you’re losing money. Every time a truck doesn’t go out or an employee stays home, you lose money. To me, it’s crucial that you know how to perform everything your employees do.
How many employees do you have? I now have three full-time.
You mentioned that you have downsized your business a bit? Why? Having a bigger business is not necessarily more profitable for me. I subcontract out my window film work now, but I do collect a nice percentage. That cuts everything down as far as expenses. I subcontract some of the gutter work as well. When I had four trucks and eight employees, it was chaos — too many problems for me. I couldn’t keep my head straight and I couldn’t spend much time with my kids. Back when I was younger, it was okay. But after I downsized, my numbers are still almost as good as when as I was bigger.
How important is it to have window-cleaning or other home services experience before joining Window Genie? It’s not really important, because you get all the training you need. The training you get nowadays is actually far better than what I received, and it’s more than sufficient.
What do you like about being a franchise owner? First of all, we’re business owners. Having your own business is a dream many strive for; it’s doing what you want, when you want. Not to say that it’s easy, but it’s a privilege having your own business. As a franchise owner, you get so much more in the way of support and marketing and software. Being able to pick up the phone and call another franchisee to talk about a job site or an estimate or a problem or just to say hello — it’s priceless. You pick up the phone and you’ve got everything you need — not just from the franchisees, but from corporate as well.
What sets Window Genie apart? I don’t think there’s any other franchise that offers the same exact bundle of services we offer. I know others offer window cleaning and pressure washing, but we offer much more than that. The organization as a whole is greater than so many other businesses out there. That puts us ahead.
What services do you offer? Window cleaning; window films; gutter cleaning, repair and installation, and gutter protection; tile and grout steam cleaning for kitchen floors and bathroom floors; pressure washing houses and decks and many other related services like staining, washing and repairing decks — we can even do a facelift on a deck.
How large is the opportunity to grow with Window Genie? Huge. We have guys who’ve been in the system for 5-6 years who are bigger than me already. It’s what you want out of it and what you make out of it. If you want to grow and have a huge business, you can do that.
Who are your target or ideal customers? Mostly residential. We do have some commercial customers, but the commercial competition is very stiff here. Commercial customers are not looking for quality, they’re looking strictly for price. We’re more about quality.
What’s your territory? Bergen County, and some of Essex County.
How does Window Genie compete with independent contractors? People look for a company that is professional. We look cleaner, we wear uniforms, our trucks all have logos on them and we do background checks; many companies don’t have that. Our marketing materials are nicer looking and more professional, and our online marketing is far better than theirs. If I’m an individual owning a small business, I’m doing everything myself. If you join with a corporate office, you have so many hands working together doing something that an individual can never achieve.
What attracts customers to Window Genie rather than its competitors? Let’s look at how carpet cleaners do estimates, for instance. I’m Joe Schmo carpet cleaner and I go in looking like a schlub. Then Stanley Steamer comes in with their yellow van and their uniforms and I know the brand, and if the price is comparable I’m going to choose them. It’s a known name. Window Genie is not yet a known name everywhere, but it will be. We have a professional-looking image that definitely sets us apart from the competition, especially when we’re face-to-face with the clients. The guys who charge half the price and write their estimates on the back of a business card are no competition. We offer quality. Our guys are clean-cut, they wear protective shoe booties in the house — we don’t hire just anyone. We don’t hire some college kid just to clean windows for a couple of months. We don’t hire just for the sake of day labor. These are people making a living, adults with kids and families. At the end of the day, when they walk into your house you appreciate having an adult coming out to service you who cares. You appreciate that.
What does your typical day look like? Typically in the morning we meet at the office; I get in around 7:30 and the guys come in at 7:45. I print out all the work orders for that day and handed them their invoices and work orders, and they all have their trucks loaded up with what they need and go out for the day. I go back to the computer and continue with scheduling, moving things around and confirming jobs, responding to emails, talking to people on the phone. I schedule about 200 jobs every month. It’s a lot of work behind that desk. I may go out during the afternoon to look at job sites for a couple of hours every day. Time flies every day.
What kind of person do you think would enjoy owning a Window Genie franchise? Someone who’s outdoorsy and likes to be hands-on and doesn’t mind getting dirty. You can sit behind a desk, but when equipment breaks you’ve got to go out and get dirty. An ideal Window Genie franchisee is someone who likes being involved in different things, and you’ve got to be a people person. You’ve got to have that face-to-face interaction with someone. People take a liking to someone immediately, and you’ve got to be comfortable talking to people.
What does franchise ownership allow you to do in your personal life that you couldn’t before? If you have a 9-5 job, you have a 9-5 job. As a franchise owner, when I need to go see a play in school at 10 in the morning, I leave the office and see it. If my mother needs a ride to the airport at 1 in the afternoon, I go do it. If I want to take the day off to go skiing, I’m going to take the day off. I don’t have to ask anybody. On the flip side, sometimes I have late days and work weekends; it’s not all on a gold platter. It’s nice that the freedom is there, and there are definitely a lot of advantages. I don’t know that I could work for anybody else ever again, I’m so accustomed to having my own freedom. I don’t have to answer to anybody.
Learn more about Window Genie
Window Genie franchisees need a net worth of $150,000 and liquid assets of $40,000. Our 20 years of experience have helped us carve a solid lead in the home services market, and we have few national competitors. We added 50 units last year, bringing us to a total of 196 Window Genie franchises across the country.
If you’re interested in learning more about our simple, scaleable business model, please fill out the form at right. We’d love to start a conversation with you!