So I was contacted by our dominating all service cleaner today. Service master. They are looking for a window cleaning company to clean the windows at their customers facilities. So here is my positives and negatives. The local window cleaning company that dominates our local store fronts has been working with this company for years. That company has just switched owners and now is not doing the best job like the previous owner did. It’s a huge in for me and my company. Might be able to take over the area soon due to bad business by the other window cleaner. That’s the good news. Bad news is this big company gets a lot of my work after I send out my estimates due to them being way under priced. So I don’t want to go help this company if they are going to continue bidding jobs under my prices. I only have 4 store fronts and this could get my name out there more. I’m on vacation and have a time to meet with this company when I return. What are your thoughts
I personally think it’s a waste of money. Some people have had good luck with them but not me.
Just get out there, go door to door cold calling and if that other company is doing the ball you can get their business without having to pay service master.
You could do it on a job by job basis. They say “can you do this job for us”, you say “what does it pay”, Then you go look at it and see if if it works for your pricing. If not, tell them how much you would do it for.
I have went door to door literally on all our mom and pop stores. All taken by that company that just sold. But service master also has a lot. So I am planning on meeting with them and maybe get somewhere. If anything maybe they will change their pricing structure.
This is our mom and pop downtown area. I have walked up and down both sides and gave bids on all the small businesses. We prob have 5 chain restaurants like bdubs and jerseys but then we have mcdonalds, wendys and those places. I have went to all those also and been denied saying they have a cleaning company that does them… we only have one cleaning company in town. Service master.
I don’t know how service master works, but IF they are like the 2 different PM companies that have contacted me, I don’t believe you’ll benefit much from working with them.
Highlights of what I learned from the 2 companies that propositioned me:
1 Low pay. I mean insultingly low.
2 High bonding and insurance requirements.
3 Waiting on payment for 30+ days.
4 Contracts (with fines) that cover not soliciting, submitting your work orders JUST so, and other silly things that they used to screw you out of paying you what they agreed to initially (which was already chicken scratch).
So, yeah if your truck is lettered or wrapped, I guess you could count that as “getting out there”. I’m sure the pay, wait time, and requirements that they have, may make it quite unappealing.
You say " The Bad news is this big company gets a lot of my work…due to them being underpriced ".
I assure you that I am not being critical but want to ask you to think about the statements you made :
A- They Get a lot of my work ( Your Work ? )
B- They Are Bidding Jobs under my Prices ( If they are bidding at this price and as big as you say and dominate. Are you sure they are underbidding ? What if they are the ones doing it correctly and have the correct price structure for your area ? )
C - Bad Business by other company. ( Says who ? The customers who are still using them ? )
I am just trying to challenge how you are seeing this. And maybe ( just maybe ?) you are spending too much time being negative about what you classify as your competition. I had to learn the hard way to be very careful about projecting a negative image on my local competition. What changed most was my attitude. You asked for thoughts…
Take the oppoortunity and price the jobs they send you at your pricing structure. If they agree to your price then great. If not then just keep in touch with them just in case they need you or you need them.
The Service Master in my area is one of the largest in the country with about 300 employees. Honestly their window cleaning work is horrible. But its bundled into their janitorial contract so the customer just accepts it most of the time.
Many janitorial companies literally give away window cleaning for free to their customers because the real money is in the floor, carpet, and janitorial work.
hey man!! yup I did. I look forward to some of your guys info. Your one of them. Ok so my pricing for a large home with 90 windows. I was estimate 400 outside only and 750 outside and inside. i was told by the homeowner they had another company do outside and inside for 200… NOOO way lol but I just did a estimate for a ordinary home that typically would of been a 200 inside and outside job but the porch was all glass with like 40-50 windows. So my price was 550 for outside and inside. The lady said I was a couple hundred more then service master. She had just sat there and told me how bad service master was and how upset she was with the way they left her windows and screens.
Now I met the previous owner of that dominating company. They have been established since ‘93. He was headed to a job on the most wealthy road in town. I was recently told by the person whose home he was cleaning I was to expensive. the other company does the outsides for 150. I was prob close to 375. These houses require ladders at least 32’ in length and prob take 3-4 hours. So i asked why he does them for so low. Well his answer was they have been a customer from the beginning and he has not raised their prices. I am sure they have a better price for the area. I am def the highest priced. But I did a very large home that took us 6 hours the other day for 750. Inside and out plus screens. It was 98 outside and no shade. I made 100 hr or just under after paying some help. Why would I or anyone from this area want to do that for less I like all the thoughts good and bad. Slap me set me straight when needed. I have thick skin. Hey man send me a email. email@example.com Id like to talk sometime. Im on vacation now so hope soon.
I think you are getting good input.
I can see where @WDW is coming from. However, I see your point too about not working for peanuts. You’ll have to mull things over and make a decision.
Personally, I don’t care what other people charge. I have defined my own price based on expenses, expected profits, and what I offer. I seem to be the only one in my area able to do post construction cleans without tearing up the glass. I seem to be the only one to use water fed poles and do so effectively. I also seem to be the only one to clean glass CLEAN.
I have witnessed the competition leaving streaks and lines, dripping water on the floors, forgoing shoe covers, and using ratty looking equipment. The kind of client that accepts shoddy work, doesn’t care what crack head wanna be shows up at their home, just wants it cheap- ISN’T the type of client I want. I also refuse to play the race to the bottom game, with store fronts. My time and skill has value, and I’m not in the business of charity. So they can either pay my price, go without cleaning, or find some cheap-o that hires the dregs of society.
I would rather be high quality - high profit - low volume, rather than sub standard quality - low profit - high volume. It’s certainly my opinion, you can’t be high profit, high volume and be high quality.
Nicely said Hoosier
Are you convinced you quality drops when the operation grows in volume?
I am positioning myself as a “ boutique” solo window cleaner. Going back and forth in my mind whether growing the business is for me.
Going off original topic here, sorry…
Unless you can clone yourself, or are willing to stand over people’s shoulders, no one will give the same care and quality that YOU will.
But also remember, that what the clients sees as you “A” work, you might see it as your “B” work.
There are a lot of things to consider, when deciding to grow. Not just what your quality will be, though I think that’s important too.
Cruze, congrats on establishing a reputation…it’s happening for you. That said, you are the competition to who ever is out there. If you work with a franchise, they are eliminating their own competition. Also, the workers for franchises make the peanuts, not the profit. I believe also, taking on a huge low paying client base will take more time…you are part time at this…you would not have time to market and work for yourself. This is your business, not theirs. You need to be selfish with your fledgling business and continue to market yourself and your services, at your own pace…not someone elses. Stay your course as your own company. The nut is going to crack one of these days based on your quality work and stellar reputation. Don’t go for the dangling carrot when you can get your own volume going; it takes time; work your business at your pace and expect competition…but remember you are the competition and hot on the trail of real success.