Hello from Homer, Alaska!


#1

I bought the cleaning company that I worked for the last two years, Homer Building Maintenance, Inc. We had cleaning contracts for 9 commercial buildings. Window washing was an additional billable for some and was part of the package for others. We did a wee bit of “on demand” work for other clients; carpet/upholstery cleaning, floor waxing and window washing. I ended up buying most of the capital assets and 5 contracts (we lost 2 and the previous owner kept the other 2).

I have picked up 4 new clients in the last 1 1/2 month for monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly and annual for one or more services. I am looking at window washing as the fastest way to grow my client list and it is a low cost (relatively speaking) way to get visibility and credibility with clients that need the other services. I hope to buy a WFP soon to accelerate the expansion.

I have a Masters in Public Administration and have worked full time at government jobs for more than a dozen years but I am tired of dealing with politicized preferential treatment for politicians and their friends.I was also doing a lot of military service (Army National Guard) and commercial fishing in my spare time.

I see a lot of similarities between the business models and practices of window washing/commercial cleaning and commercial fishing. The biggest differences I see are the safer work environments and a more predictable and narrower range of variable expenses. Gear loss and equipment failure can be brutally expensive and have huge opportunity costs.


#2

Welcome to the forum.


#3

welcome!


#4

Welcome

Homer is beautiful, are you servicing the entire peninsula area or just Homer?


#5

I’m focusing on the Lower Peninsula for now. I suppose if the job was big enough I would go further.


#6

Welcome aboard!


#7

Hey there @HBM welcome to the WCR!

If you ever need it, we have a guide for new members about how to use the most common forum features of the forum

Click Here

Angela WCR


#8

Yesterday I got my first client for full service cleaning from up selling my WC services. I was driving through town after doing a monthly storefront and doing a floor scrubbing bid at a gas station/cafe when I stopped at a commercial office renovation to give a WC bid.
My timing was good, they had just decided to look for a full service cleaner. After they gave me the scope of work I started walking out to my van then went back in and told them I would WC the entryway glass on the house. I just needed to get my zen on, the glass was so yucky and everything else was brand new. They appreciated the WC and were able to see the quality of my work, so they didn’t even seek competitive bids for the full service cleaning, which will include biannual WC.


#9

Do you have any competition there?


#10

Thats great!


#11

Yes, there is competition for commercial cleaning and WC but Homer is a small town at the end of Alaska’s only road (literally). Homer doesn’t have any purely WC companies. A chimney sweep guy also does WC and gutter work, a landscaper does WC and a sheetrocker does WC and there are probably a few more incidental providers that I’m not aware of.
As for the commercial cleaning, most of the part timer mom & pops don’t have insurance, so there isn’t very much competition for the corporate/institutonal accounts. There are a few carpet cleaners, one of them recently started doing commercial cleaning at the bank I go to but he is doing poorly and hasn’t touched the glass at the entryway for a couple of months and it looks terrible. I have the cleaning contracts for the other two banks, those contracts include WC as an additional billable service. My 4 other cleaning contracts have WC as an included service.
Here’s some Chamber of Commerce propaganda: http://www.homeralaska.org/


#12

We have a cabin on the iliamna river near Williamsport but man did I love visiting homer!! Hope to come back soon in the next two years.


#13

I love Lake Iliamna. Took a boat from Bristol Bay to Homer in 79, 88, 99 and did a round trip Homer to Bristol Bay in 2000. Spent 6 aye at Williamsport waiting for weather on the way home in 2000. Looking forward to seeing you the next time you stop by Homer.


#14

Sounds awesome! Ray and Linda Williams are good friends of ours. In the past my grandpa went up every year for salmon but lately it’s been a bit of a hike to come from Michigan.


#15

Today is my 30 year wedding anniversary and the three month anniversary of owning the business. I got another full service (floors, workstations cleaning, etc.) weekly cleaning account yesterday, which makes two new weekly accounts in the last six weeks. This account will have weekly cleaning of the big mirrors (it is a gym) and monthly WC. I have also had more one day jobs for WC, carpets and floors in the last three months than the business had in the last two years.

Oh yeah, for the wedding anniversary I bought my wife a 6 X 8 greenhouse structure.


#16

I just sent this off and would like to know if any of you have any recommendations. Thank you in advance!

"Hello,

While working on the bid for carpet cleaning I noticed that the windows need cleaning so I have prepared a separate bid.

My bid is $555 + $37.50 sales tax for a total of $592.50. This includes all exterior and interior window panes and frames, the 3 solar screens, 10 screens and 11 tracks. The cleaning will remove all organic residue from vegetation, insects, birds, dirt and other airborne residue.

A first time clean of windows and frames does not include removal of man made materials, such as paint/siding over spray, caulking, manufacturers tags and other items. This is due to the difficulty in assessing the type and amount of man made materials prior to a first time clean. I would be glad to clean them off on subsequent cleanings.

Thank you,"


#17

Just a little one story house and exterior WC only but it felt good because it was a referral and I got a $25 tip! The homeowner works at the hospital, which is probably the biggest employer in town so it feels good to get connectivity to that client base.


#18

Thats cool Malcolm! It always feels good to get referrals.


#19

A first time clean of windows and frames does not include removal of man made materials, such as paint/siding over spray, caulking, manufacturers tags and other items. This is due to the difficulty in assessing the type and amount of man made materials prior to a first time clean. I would be glad to clean them off on subsequent cleanings

I like that line, I’m looking forward to using it. Thanks.


#20

I had an unmoosual experience just now.

I forgot to move the DI filter to the heated garage when I got home this afternoon. When I got home from cleaning some buildiings at 2200 I remembered that I needed to take the filter in as the temp was forecast to be just a few degrees above freezing.

My dogs had to go out for their bathroom breaks first. The first dog I tethered went ballistic as soon as he got near the front yard so I immediately brought him in. I saw faint movement in the dark front yard and realized it was a moose so I went to the other porch to get a better view. I saw a cow and a large calf laying on my lawn chewing on my grass. They were making tearing sounds as they removed the grass. My mountain ash was also damaged, must have been them.

I didn’t feel like waiting for them to finish their sleepover on my lawn so I hit the cow with a potato. She immediately went to the neighbors yard and urinated. I scared the calf off by slamming the porch door a bunch of times and shouting “Shoo.”

Now that I have the filter in the garage I don’t mind if they do a sleepover on the lawn.

Sorry, no pics, too dark.