photo by Cleaner Windows LLC
In the world of window cleaning, every job you take on can provide new experiences to learn from. With so many shapes and sizes of homes, buildings, and exterior accents used nowadays, window cleaners know to work around new things never seen before on a daily basis. So, if cleaning residential or smaller storefronts is what you’re used to, but you’re interested in adding higher-ticket jobs to your schedule, commercial window cleaning can open a gateway to diversifying your skillset and growing your company by learning new methods of cleaning, expanding your knowledge, and deepening your versatility. In this week’s Window Cleaner University article, we’ll talk about the benefits of commercial window cleaning and how adding it to your skills can expand your horizons - and income!
Commercial vs. Storefront: What’s the Difference?
All storefront is commercial, but not all commercial is storefront, and here’s why. Storefronts are generally retail stores, restaurants, convenience stores, and other locations where foot traffic is typical and a customer goes for a product or service. Common locations for finding storefront work would be strip malls, main streets in small towns, gallerias, and shopping centers.
To differentiate commercial jobs from smaller storefront jobs, commercial jobs tend to be larger buildings with a minimum of 2-3 stories that can take 3-5 hours to clean, depending on how many windows there are. Think of business complexes, industrial parks, or factory districts. These kinds of buildings will have less foot traffic and are comprised of employees working there or trucks coming in and out to drop off or pick up goods. Getting to know the building managers for these types of locations can increase revenue for your business and provide you with all-new skills for yourself and your employees to take with you to other jobs.
Note: In this article, we will not touch on high-rise window cleaning, which tends to be buildings that are approximately seven stories or taller. We will focus mainly on the benefits of taking on mid-rise buildings that you can manage to clean with a 30-60 foot water fed pole, such as the XERO Micro Ultra Light High Mod Carbon Fiber Pole.
With commercial window cleaning, you also get to control your schedule more than you would typically with storefront or residential. This is because the hours of operation are longer. In addition, there are often janitorial service providers working inside the building after hours, and more likely than not, a security system installed with cameras to show the building manager the goings on outside, so they know they can be more protected. This broader timeframe gives more wiggle room for window cleaners to come in early in the morning or late in the evening if they need to. Commercial window cleaning gives you the upper hand in arranging the best time for getting the job done on your watch.
Diversify Your Skills
If cleaning residential or small storefront is what you’re used to, then taking on commercial jobs can present you with some oddities. These larger industrial buildings can often have metal bars covering the windows, railings in front of higher-story windows, water hookups only accessible from the inside, and some will require you to stand on rooftops or strange structures. Are you feeling dizzy yet? Well, think of it this way: adapting to these obstacles can make you faster and more efficient over time as your body learns to work with what you have in front of you. Working around them will also teach you always to be prepared and “expect the unexpected.” This mindset, when applied to other areas in your business, can help you, too, especially when learning to handle and communicate with troublesome employees, customers, or situations. Expecting the unexpected can lead to attaining a zen mindset that will evolve and mature your professional persona.
Gain Heftier-Paying Clients
Not only do larger companies or building complexes have more windows to clean, but they also have more at stake. There are numerous local and national codes that building managers have to keep up with, and they have a lot of small details to handle. Funds and resources are often allocated to electrical, plumbing, janitorial services, and more to keep the buildings safe and clean. Ensuring the exterior of the building is clean and sanitary is essential not just for looks but for the removal of allergens and bacteria. Hiring professional window cleaners is a must for facilities like these, and they are accustomed to paying a hefty amount. Once trust is created between the window cleaner and the building manager, it is common that they will be connected with other industrial complexes that need sprucing up, too.
Expand Your Network
This phrase about networking, stated initially by internationally known public speaker Porter Gale, "Your network is your net worth," applies to all kinds of professionals, including window cleaning business owners. Once you bring yourself or your team to your first commercial job, the check you receive at the end does not have to be the end of that transaction. Not only is investing in your team and gaining new business important, but investing in those relationships you make after the fact can even further your reputation. Social capital, or the ability to build a network of authentic personal and professional relationships, is one of the most critical assets in your arsenal. If you meet a building manager or building owner and have a conversation, you may have more in common than you think. Creating a personal level in your relationship can help you build upon a robust interpersonal safety net that can carry you through any possible issues that may arise. In addition, the business owner or manager you meet likely has other professional colleagues that could use your expertise. Once you’ve built trust, it can overflow into another relationship, branching out to more opportunities.
Improve Your Job Security
After experiencing the shutdowns that the 2020 pandemic brought that caused many businesses to suffer, it is vital now to have a backup plan for your everyday workflow. If you were relying on residential and small storefronts as your primary source of income, you know that to pinch pennies, homeowners and small businesses started to put services like window cleaning on the back burner. With people staying indoors and small businesses having to close their doors, there was less of a use for window cleaners, despite it being their job to clean, sanitize, and remove bacteria. However, commercial buildings were still active, as many included warehouses and industrial complexes that produced and manufactured the essential products and services we still needed during that tumultuous time. Having experience cleaning commercial buildings like these can prevent financial turmoil and improve your job security.
Ready to Dive into Commercial?
If you’re looking to diversify your skills, gain higher-paying clients, expand your network, and improve your job security, then trying out commercial window cleaning may be one of the best things you can do. Of course, residential and storefront cleanings can still be your bread and butter. But, adding commercial jobs to your calendar can enhance your and your team’s skills, scale your business, give your employees more experience, and generate financial and social capital at a faster pace.
Still Have Questions?
Don’t sweat it! If there is anything you’re unsure about, want to learn more about, or need advice on, do not hesitate to reach out to us. Window Cleaning Resource is here for you 24/7, with the help of our super-friendly window cleaning experts.
Having owned their own window cleaning business, too, they have tons of information on window cleaning products, business tips, and more, even if you want to talk shop.
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