How is your window cleaning business affected by the economy?


#1

Hey everyone,

I am in the early stages of starting my own window cleaning business, just a few months in. I am wondering what effect the economy will have on the success of my business in future, and thought I could get some insight from you more experienced blokes. Seeing as window cleaning is largely a luxury service (especially residential), I would expect it to be much harder to get work when people are reluctant to spend money, when the economy is bad. So how have you guys found it, is it much harder to make a living during a poor economy? Can you work around it by focusing on businesses etc. that always need their windows cleaned?

Thanks so much.


#2

Edited: Hello. For me, residential pays more than store front work that I have been able to land. As a new guy I personally have made 30 an hour and 50 an hour to do residential work. So I stick with that and have given up on storefront work…I can’t compete. As far as economy goes, there is no bad economy for wealthy people. But I see where you are at there are 3 million people; and probably 100 plus window cleaners right in your area. So you’ve got competition, as I do; there are 160 plus window cleaners right in my immediate area. Yet, I find good paying work. Pass out flyers at nice homes right in your area. Make their customer experience with you outstanding. I also see you have Acorn for supplies, and they seem expensive, but are near what we pay in America. Ignore the economy; find nice homes and service them well and you will find your own niche and customer base. :sunglasses:


#3

Economy will not have too much effect, the rise and falls are each short term and weigh each other out for the most part.

If the business you want to build involves hiring, that will be your largest challenge.

I can sell jobs all day and phone is off the hook with bids that many are just being turned away because the toughest part is finding a reliable work force. Even with increasing pay structure has not helped much.


#4

if they are stacked the right way we can kill it at $1 per pane, when i’m humming along i can do 60-80 panes an hour. we try for $1.25 per pane (per side) but $1 per pane is not too bad.

this is one of our storefronts, we did it for $48 for 22 panes (44 sides) it takes the two of us 16-18 min.


#5

I started my business in the middle of the economy crash 9yrs ago. still going strong.

the awesome part about self employment is you really get out what you put into it.

it is work and you cant think the phone will ring just because you have a mop and bucket. Gotta hussle and make contacts.

i have two service businesses. 1st was mostly all commercial then we got into residential.

we already had commercial dollars coming in too cover bills so we are able too charge a good amount in residential.

doing same with windows bought commercial route now we will focus also on high end residential


#6

Happy for ya. Thanks for the scolding. I don’t have a partner and I am done with storefront in my area. That’s just me. Wasn’t a put down. :hushed: Edit: Oh, and Ben, the glass is beautiful!


#7

Great post Ben!

I can bang out 65-85 on route work at $1 per side, that’s a relaxing speed.


#8

I didn’t intend it as a scolding, but just to let you know what the right tools you can do very well even at a dollar per pane. my speed went up probably 30% when I got the accelerator so that right there gave me probably 15 to 20 bucks more per hour.


#9

Started my business in 2010, just keeps getting better. How’s the economy doing?


#10

There will always be people with disposable income even with a downturn in the economy. As mentioned, the downturns are temporary.

I remember when we had a downturn in 2008. I was nervous. I noticed a lot of my customers were still traveling, buying new vehicles, etc. I did lose some customers, but the majority were still enjoying life.


#11

Yup same thing here started 9 years ago and thrived.

Something I noticed about bad economies: people sell their homes.


#12

I started in 93 right after a recession in the US. Next one that was felt was 2001 and especially after 9-11. There was a definite uneasiness and uncertainty especially after we went to war. My business grew slowly through those years. The only year that we did not increase sales one year to the next was the recession of 2008 ( then I was about 60 / 40 Com/ Res mix ). It was the worse I ever saw the economy in my lifetime. That recession lasted 18 months and was a dog even though we still had sales well over $100 K . By 2010 we were back to what was normal - adding to our previous years growth.

Should I be offended that you called me a Bloke ? :joy: I assume its not derogatory. What is a Bloke anyway ?


#13

Thanks LoveGlass. I have also been making $30-50 AUD per hour on my jobs so far. However I’ve found it pretty tough trying to get new residential jobs, so I figured I’d give storefronts a crack as I’ve never tried them before. It seemed that being able to walk into every store on a strip and speak directly to the manager could get a few storefronts, which would be recurring income each week or two, even if it’s somewhat low pay. I assumed I could get $15+ for each storefront and do them quickly, but I am really not familiar with the going rates, so I’ll have to see how it goes. Good point on economy for the wealthy, what’s a few hundred dollars when you’re sitting in a mansion & driving a merc, even if the economy’s not great! I am lucky that I live in a medium income area right next to some of the richest suburbs in the city/country, too. From a google search there are some competitors in my immediate area, however from the few customers I’ve had, it seems that they generally don’t shop around, they just get a flyer from me and go hey, let’s get my windows cleaned. Also what do you mean by Acorn??

Thanks so much mate.


#14

You must be super fast! Seems like $70+ per hour if you keep up the efficiency, which would be more than enough for me. Also here in Aus most of our storefronts have a few large panes of glass, rather than many small ones. I would expect them to be able to be cleaned even faster, but I’ll have to see how pricing turns out when I try it. Thanks for sharing!


#15

Most of my customers have said that the economy has not affected them much. Started my business 10 years ago and guess I just targeted the right demographics. As with most businesses it started out slowly but once it kicked in it has been good.


#16

OK seems like you guys are in agreement that the economy isn’t gunna outright kill your business, which is good news! Blokes just means guys, it probably wouldn’t be wise to go around insulting people I’m trying to get advice from hey? :wink: Although I suppose I could and you guys wouldn’t know the difference, Aussie slang is like a whole new language!


#17

Thanks for the input Garry, yep I’m definitely in the slow stage right now ha!


#18

Leachy, here ya go. I’m sure there are other suppliers, this one is in your area…I think.


#19

Bloke: from Urban dictionary: The Aussie Bloke is a stereotype of a typical Australian Man, i.e. loves sport, beer, bbq’s. It’s used in UK and Aus. in the same way guy and dude are used in America According to a local newspaper in the Midlands, the word originated in the Black country (an area near Birmingham, UK.) :smirk:


#21

Okay…maybe I’ll rethink this. Have just had bad experience with storefronts here. You are right, at 60 to 80 panes, that’s profitable. Have not found or done that yet. Thanks…might try harder.