Little Things Make a Big Difference for the Fish Window Cleaning Franchise

FIsh Window cleaning franchise

Transparency Drives Quality Franchisee Relationships at FISH

When it comes to building a thriving franchise operation, it’s the little things that make a big difference. For the Fish Window Cleaning franchise, intangibles like believing in the business model, staying true to company core values and offering a franchise opportunity with a good work-life balance have been key. “It really helps that founders Mike and Linda Merrick ran FISH for 20 years before franchising,” says John English, Fish Window Cleaning’s director of development. “They knew it was a great business and that franchisees would absolutely succeed by following their systems,” he says.

Complete transparency has been a driving force in finding the right franchise partners. The Merricks believe in their business model but always tell candidates the good, the bad and the ugly about running a FISH franchise. “Their candid approach finds folks who are a good fit, most of whom are then won over by the culture at Discovery Day.”

Fish Window Cleaning
President Randy Cross introducing the corporate team at the 2020 Fish Window Cleaning convention.

Much of FISH’s system is built on the best-selling book “The EMyth” by Michael Gerber. The book inspired FISH to instill a business practice that guarantees sustainable growth: running the business rather than working in the business. “Hiring good employees is the biggest challenge for any business, particularly in service-based ones and especially in this current climate. However, keeping employees is what allows you to keep growing,” English says.

FISH’s Repeat Business

FISH took a growth-driven approach from the beginning by focusing on repeat business from commercial clients. “Our franchisees continually grow a book of business that’s serviced weekly, biweekly, monthly and year-round even through the cold and snowy winter. FISH’s motto of “a business that you can own without it owning you,” is true to its words.

The FISH culture is centered around family values, work-life balance, and treating employees well.

Franchisees and employees do not work nights, weekends or holidays. “The FISH culture is centered around family values, work-life balance, and treating employees well,” says English.

Looking Ahead

FISH continues to grow by partnering with the right franchisees who can work themselves quickly into semi-absentee and absentee ownership but are willing to jump in with both feet on day one. English explains that part of FISH’s success comes from the nature of the business. “The most basic principle to our success is that glass is everywhere, and it all has to be cleaned by someone … and we want it to be FISH. It is just that simple.”

FISH Window Cleaning Throughout the Years

FISH Window Cleaning was founded in 1978 when Mike Merrick was laid off from Farmand Home Savings and Loan. During that time, he noticed a window cleaner working and struck up a conversation with him. Merrick was amazed to learn that the window cleaner made more money than he did at the bank! He decided there and then that he never wanted to work for anyone again and bought the window cleaning business.

First location: 1978
Franchising since: 1998
Total units: 270
Fun fact: It takes the current FISH franchise system just 20 minutes to clean the amount of glass Merrick cleaned his entire first year in business!

For more information about the Fish Window Cleaning franchise, visit

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Jill Abrahamsen’s career spans more than 20 years in editorial, design, and marketing roles. She serves as editor-in-chief of Franchise Consultant Magazine and FranchiseWire. Through both platforms, Jill reports on franchising news and helps Franchisors spread the word about their brands.
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