Brand New to the Game, Hoping for some Advice


#1

Hey Everybody,

I’m brand-spanking new to owning my very own window cleaning business, and I wanted to introduce myself, and hopefully gain some wisdom and insight from the vets. I’m 29, and I have spent most of my adult life in sales. Overtime I really grew sick of the office job, so I began to think of other career paths. When I was in college I would wash windows in the summer because it was decent pay and enjoyable work so I figured, “Why not give that a try?”

Well, after a few weeks of research, shopping, and thinking/stressing, today I did my first job! It was a gimme because I washed the windows of the Domino’s I work at in the evenings, but it was a great opportunity to discuss business with the Domino’s owner, and earn some points (and hopefully a referral or two).

A few take away’s from my job today:

1.) I need to slow down and retrain my technique
2.) I definitely need a smaller ladder for store fronts, or an extension pole
3.) I need to dial in my soap to water ratio

A few questions I have are how did you market when you first launched, what is a good rate to charge (should I be cheaper than my competition)? Is the “S” technique the best technique? I have my business licence, but what kind of insurance will I need (it’s just myself currently)? What equipment am I missing (see list)? I feel like I’ve poured all kinds of thought and effort into this, but I’m probably missing something, what mistakes did you make early on that I can avoid?

Thanks in advance for your insight!

Equipment purchased so far

17’ Little Giant Ladder
24’ extension ladder
Ladder rack for car

Large Ettore Bucket 6 Gal
Ettore Ext Pole, 5’
Holster
Unger 18" and 12" Squeegee & Unger 14" Scrubber
Dawn Dish soap

Business Licence
Business Cards
Web domain


#2

Hello and welcome to the forum!

Don’t price lower than average for your area. Your business won’t be sustainable with below average revenues.

The S technique is best for some situations, fanning is best for some situations and str8 pulls are best for some situations.

Edit: 0000 bronze wool is another auto include.


#3

Thanks for your reply! That’s good advice on the pricing. I think I will go about 10% lower and then raise prices for new customers when I’m able to quit my day job.


#4

Welcome to the Forum and Congrats on starting your business. I think you will find that most of us didn’t start because we had a passion for cleaning windows, but, as you said, more because we needed to be more independent and knew we could do better.

You have a lot of questions. I RECOMMEND: Spending time every morning or evening searching and reading old posts and topics ( including watching videos of established professionals ). All of the questions you asked have already been covered. Search history and fill in all of the gaps in your knowledge base - learn - and don’t be fearful of making small mistakes. You will learn as you go.


#5

There is no plausible reason to charge less than you should other than for fear of rejection. Be confident in yourself and your business plan.

S pull, straight down or straight across pull, 7 pull or L pull, fanning - they all have their place - learn them all.

You may find an A-frame ladder is your companion in many situations. (8 or 10 foot).

Telescoping pole that can go up to 12 feet may be a better choice than just 5.

Have a 6 inch squeegee too; you’ll run into smaller panes that it makes you breeze through.

Don’t be afraid to switch out your rubber as needed. Worn edges, blade, or nicks leaves streaks.

Welcome, and best of luck to you.


#6

bad idea, very few people won’t book because of a 10% price difference and those that would you don’t want as customers


#7

Thanks for your input, that’s good advice. I’ve been doing quite a bit of vid watching and practicing my technique.

I doubt you’d find a small business owner that is passionate about their particular product from a functional perspective. What I’m more interested in is the crafting and selling of the product. I really like the idea of building something tangible and growing with it. I’m sure you’re built the same way!


#8

Very valid point.


#9

Thanks for your response. Seems like under charging goes against the consensus so I’ll reconsider that plan of attack. Yep, realized yesterday how handy a few different sized A-frames could be.


#10

If you do something like that offer it as — “I have an introductory price of $$$ that shows off my services, then goes to regular price after that.”


#11

Awesome. I was thinking of offering 15% off for a customer’s first cleaning, but I like your phrasing more


#12

Just be sure of your percentage off. People expect to pay for services, and you should expect to get paid for your services.
Is 15% off a well thought out offer, or just something that “sounds good”?

$400 job - 15% ($60 given away; why?) = $340
$800 job - 15% ($120 given away; why!?) = $680

Oh, but wait…Most anyone appreciates saving $25-$30, right?

“Mrs. Twostorywithpoolhouse, as an introductory to my services and working in this neighborhood this week, I can offer $25 off for this clean. As an incentive, if you like my work - going forward I will still offer that $25 off as a quarterly maintenance clean.”

You still offer a discount and don’t leave a bunch of money on the table.


#13

I always offered “$30 OFF your first cleaning” when I started my business. It worked really well. Any more money off than that can add up quickly on the bigger houses especially if you are using percentages.

Keep us posted on your success!


#14

This is what kills you. I offered 20% off on quarterly for a long time. Have a slew of $800 to $1,000 jobs - adds up! Weaning those out for $25 off.


#15

I agree. 20% off a $800 job that will be on your quarterly schedule adds up quickly. That would be $160 off each clean x 4 cleans a year = $640 a year you would lose out on.

People like knowing they are getting a discount. $25 Off is a fair discount for sure.


#16

Don’t jump over dollars to get to nickels is the saying.


#17

Congratulations on entering this business. Lots of god questions. Commercial and residential are vastly different business models when approached correctly. Marketing, structure, pay, equipment, and pricing are important when it comes to laying the foundation of your company. I want you to go to WindowWashingWealth.com and read it in its entirety. A lot there. Then call my office and ask for me and I will give you some great insight to help you - 20 years in, 4,000 on-going storefronts, 4,000 residential jobs completed last year. Again, congratulations!


#18

When I started I was able to workfor two days in my retail job whilst setting up and getting clients
As has been stated, YouTube is great for seeing what works and what doesn’t.
When you go and see business clients, try and see the workers and sell your business to them too. I clean the windows at the local ambulance stations and now also have most of the staff on my books as they don’t have the time to think about their windows as they work shifts/nights.
Aim to be awesome at what you do, nothing sells your business as someone recommending you.
Here in New Zealand clients are able to have the government pay for household services like gardening and window cleaning if they are on a benefit/pension, something else to look into perhaps. Again, build networking links with businesses, aged care facilities, etc - people will trust someone who has been recommended to them by a friend.
All the best


#19

Thanks for your reply! Yeah I’ve been eating up Youtube Vids. This Tuesday is my “D-Day”, so to speak. I’m going to go out and do some cold sales, door to door, at businesses around town.


#20

When I was starting out I gave a “10% discount for first time customer” to one of my first clients, which was my insurance provider. I had already underpriced the job due to my ignorance. When I contacted them two years later to see if they wanted another cleaning for their extremely dirty windows they said no.

No need for @jaypeejay to repeat my mistake.