Business Failures


Tell me your failures, we all hear about each others successes but often failure teaches us 10x more than success. small example, i started offering screen repair after i broke a customers screen. we’ve under bid jobs, and lately though not exactly a failure i underestimated how long a big lift job would take since i’d never used a lift before.

tell me your failures, your mistakes and what you’ve learned from them.


I bought a franchise. Epic fail.


which one?


I could write a book on that subject and how many times I continue to bump into walls. I’d like to hear others first before I open my pie hole.


Good idea for a discussion. I’ll throw one failure of many into the heap…

We were doing some work for an organization. They kept giving us more work, they liked us, we liked them, there were puppies and unicorns everywhere! At one point they asked for a bid on some Hi-Rise work… which we don’t do. I assumed that if I didn’t give them a bid they would stop giving us work or view us as inferior or something like that… WRONG assumption.

I figured I’d sub to a Hi-Rise company; got a few bids, passed them on to the client with no markup. Long story short is the customer didn’t like the proposal and proceeded to pull ALL work from me. Lost tens of thousands of dollars in business.

What I learned was that I should have been more communicative with the customer. Should have just told them that we don’t deal in Hi-Rise but can refer them to 3-4 companies that we know do good work and they can contact directly.


all of them


it was your sharing a short story on another thread that prompted this idea


I’m happy to share. This is a great topic and question.

  1. Carl. My first attempt at employing someone. I paid him too much, too early, had to restructure his pay as we went on. He never actually worked under the new wage and the relationship more fizzled than ended.

There are more details but, to do it again, I would make sure my infrastructure is in place better:

  • Employee handbook,
  • systems documented and implemented,
  • appropriate pay,
  • sales/marketing to sustain employee and generate more work
  1. Adding on Powerwashing.
    This one is pending but could become a failure. There was a lot of up front investment and many hidden costs that added up quickly. The customers were in place, complete with pricing and schedule before I spent but still was a costly addon.

Additionally, information was difficult and time consuming to find. There is a lot more politicking and backbiting in the PW industry, as well as a general stinginess in providing help, with a few exceptions.

Not sure if I will continue with it. May cut my losses and refocus on streamlining the window cleaning end.

It is difficult to look at anything as a failure because there is always something to learn from and improve upon.

The vendor I used was a bit disappointing, not gonna name them. It would have been better to buy locally and once you are out in the field, you’re pretty much on your own to learn as you go.

I’d love to build trailers for people and supply them everything they’d need, plus 3 months of technical support as they get established. There is really nothing available like that right now.

Great question!


we have two friends (a brother and sister) who do some of our storefront work for us when we can’t get to it. i’m not un happy with it, we pay them 90%, they do a good job, but it has given me a heads up on a few things i’ll need to think about when i do hire. They don’t work anywhere near as fast as we do and i would need to pay an employee a lot less (obviously)

hey and i took this for you today, every time we do wendy’s i think of your videos.


Thanks, Ben. :star_struck: :money_mouth_face::relieved:


i want to hear about this




Wow…I haven’t been on this forum in like…years.
Here’s my most epic failure that everyone can learn from.

  1. Run your business or it will run you. Maybe even ruin you. Learn to delegate or you will die. Chasing money will leave you broke. Work smarter, not harder.

That’s pretty much my story. I built an extremely successful window, gutter, pressure washing business and it ruined me. I let it control me. I was running three separate business ventures at once- cleaning, online store, and retail almost single handedly. I worked like three years, every single day, 20+ hours a day.

It left me wealthy and bankrupt at the same time.

So I sold it all. Took three years off from it all.

Getting ready to start all over again. But things will be different this time.


What part of nc are you in


Thinking of things too long and not pulling the trigger.

Sometimes decisions seem to be life or death, they are not.


My first try at owning a WC business was a failure. There were multiple reasons for failure but I’ll mention two. And they are related.

  1. I jump started things with a living social/groupon type deal. This made me very busy for no real money and finding customers that never called again or referred me to anyone. It also had me driving to far to work.

  2. My second year I went in pretty heavy with a direct mail coupon deal in one of those envelopes. It was way too expensive for the volume of business that I could do and the customers were all bargin shoppers. And they didn’t call me back or refer me to anyone.

And that’s how you fail.


Basing your start with someone else’s middle. You always feel like you’re not doing enough while it appears everyone else is killing it


I’ll add one more mistake I’ve made/failure:
Placing too much stock in what people say online.

"I don’t do storefront for anything less than $100/hr."
So that means they make $800 in an 8 hr day doing storefront? Um, no.
Did they do one $20 job in 12 minutes, thus making 100 bucks an hour, in theory?

"Using this tool will make you 5x faster."
So, that tool will reduce my 8 hour day into 1 hour and 40 minutes?
That beast of a storefront that you do every other week, which takes you an hour and a half and which you have down to a science, will now be done in 18 minutes?.. Sound reasonable? Plausible?

Personal Lessons Learned: Consuming too much info can cause you to carry other people’s shame around with you while you work. Be happy with what you can do.

P.S. - this applies to things i say online too and in my videos.


Wanted to “Rescue” customers from their dirty, crusty windows. Now, my one "customer for life’ takes at least an hour to do inside and out for $20. Did a good friend’s mother’s house. She said she had 11 windows, so did not do walk through. Started house on new vinyls, the rest were ancient three piece aluminum covered over with vinyls. Lessons: Walk away from folks who won’t pay for initial clean nightmares. Count windows and hours, then bid. Am starting from scratch again. Respects for the great wisdom on this site…chew up the meat, spit out the bones.


i’m not, i left, and the NC is not for north carolina