Window Genie window cleaning, window tinting and pressure washing franchise is CEO’s ultimate ‘lifestyle business’
Car enthusiast Rik Nonelle figured out early on that he wanted to be the guy behind the wheel. Working for Chrysler subsidiary Ryan Insurance in his 20s, he reached a point where he didn’t want to work for someone else. He was 29.
A family friend had been highly successful running a janitorial supply company; their family was successful enough to retire to Vail, CO. Another family friend ran a janitorial business and, with just a handful of accounts, was able to make more than he could have in a job. Rik had already ruled out food businesses — too complicated and costly — and was already leaning toward a business in the cleaning industry when a high school friend gave him the piece of advice that would eventually create a national brand: “You should focus on residential window cleaning.” And like every prospect who has ever looked at us, he asked, “What is that?”
Like so many people today, Rik didn’t realize how large the market for residential window cleaning was. “I never had a window cleaner growing up,” Rik says. “In my eight years living as an adult in Cincinnati, I never used one. I wondered: Is that really a business? Who needs a window cleaner besides a rich person?”
His research in the phone book and at the local library indicated that window cleaning was a serious business, and a booming one. There were 45 residential window cleaning companies in Cincinnati in 1994. Rik wanted to be more than just No. 46. Looking through phone books from across the country, Rik called as many window cleaners as he could, mystery shopping and taking notes on pricing, marketing and size. “That was my validation,” he says. “I was documenting how to build the business, based on what we learned from existing businesses. We were modeling the local business toward franchising from Day 1.”