Michigan's southwest coastal waters are a bit warmer in the summer than those up north, due to the lake being shallower, and the fact that winds are generally out of the west. Summertime water temperatures here reach in the 70's making water sports more enjoyable. This area is known all over the world as the Michigan Riviera because of the charming beach towns including many communities between St Joseph, Benton Harbor, and South Haven. This is part one of two or possibly three sub-dividable window cleaning books, to be developed in our 269 (area code) territory. The entire area code is a Master Franchise License, a potentially large business that can be developed for decades to come or split into three smaller lifestyle type businesses. At Happy Window Cleaning, we are here to guide you to realize your dream.
In life, someone once said, “there are things that we know, things we don’t know and then there are things that we don’t know that we don’t know”. That last thing has the greatest risk factor of the three. Here is a short story to convey the idea: I had just turned thirty years old and was enjoying a beer at the Alley Bar and Grill on James Street across from the Scott’s Janitorial and Window Washing building after a long workday. A young man sitting next to me knew who I was, but I couldn’t place him as he began to speak to me. He said: “There are quite a few people around here that wish they had known that there was a market in Mason County for what you do”. Ludington is a small town today and it was even smaller back then. There were about fifteen thousand people in the entire county. I hadn’t gone to high school locally and was virtually unknown there when I started my first cleaning company. The young man sitting beside me marveled that a "nobody" came along and found an opportunity where those who had lived there their whole lives had not seen the opportunity?
That is because we don’t know what we don’t know. The truth is I didn’t create an opportunity for myself. The opportunity was always there. I wasn’t special in a sense, I have simply been a good student and I had some great mentors. Markets are what they are independent of who we are. But it takes more than just seeing a need and filling the need to succeed in a business. It takes to some degree the preparation of understanding the trade and learning about all of the interconnected functions within a business. The more prepared one is, truly, the better he can perform.
As I drive around Michigan decades later I see many places that are more or less developed, markets that are more or less mature, and it can be said that the difference between a less mature market (one where a need is not being sufficiently met) and a more developed market is simply a matter of the stakeholder’s vision.
There is plenty of affluence in this area which hosted the Senior PGA Championships in 2014 at the Jack Nicklaus Signature Design Golf Course in Harbor Shores on Lake Michigan. In addition to golf, over fifty thousand vacationers flock to a cottage industry of summer rentals in the spring each year to spend time at area wineries, attend festivals, go shopping for authentic crafts, hike the dune trails and dine in local restaurants. These are places that hire cleaners for their rental properties. Even the winters offer cross country skiing, snowmobiling, and glorious sunsets! Benton Harbor the home of Whirlpool Appliances is forty-six miles southwest of Kalamazoo (another major area in the 269 Franchise), the Miles-Benton MSA has over a hundred and fifty thousand people. Just across the River is beautiful “St. Joe” as locals call it, Benton Heights and Fairplain adjoin the twin cities. There are several townships and unincorporated communities along the shoreline with magnificent homes (See below) in just the kind of settings that make the Happy Window Cleaning tagline “Happy Customers have the best views” rings especially true here.
The northern border of the 629 area stretches into Allegan County and encompasses all of South Haven. Like most towns on Lake Michigan, tourist activities bring in a lot of capital. People come from Chicago and other cities to attend the blueberry festival and for the fourth of July Fireworks, every year. Some vacationers have always become residents. It isn’t unusual for people from larger cities to buy land and build retirement homes in this paradise. With the reality of COVID -19, an accelerated urban flight is expected to continue to be a silver lining for this area for years to come.
At Happy Window Cleaning, we are not ashamed to speak about our “Core Values”. We chose character, excellence, and community impact as the principles we revisit constantly because they are the bedrock of our Christian faith. Without character, we cannot be impactful as individuals nor as a company. We are real people going through life and making our share of mistakes. Character is all about giving others space and the tools to grow into their best versions of themselves. We extend grace when our people make mistakes because God and others have done the same for us. We believe that real excellence is rooted in the paradox of humble-ambition. We believe that regardless of one’s talent and performance today, he should want to be better tomorrow.
The Happy Window Cleaning franchise system is a proven model of setting targets and measuring performance, and with the weather in Southwest Michigan (compared to the UP), you can bet your bottom dollar that it is a plus for a window cleaning business. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to operate your own Happy Window Cleaning business in this area. Call me at 616.913.8082 so we can discuss your bright future