I am 47 years old and this will be my 27th year doing high rise window cleaning. I have done very well over the last 27 years and can retire any time. ( good investments also helped ) I like to work this job and my body is still in good shape so I will go several more years before I call it quits.
For now I’m a one-man-show and I’m still not sure if I would need/want to change that. The work isn’t stressful and the money is good so…
I think in the future I would like to continue as I am and take on as much work as I can without burning out. As for earning more, there are plenty of ways to make money on the side in totally unrelated areas. In actual fact, I have another business that I set up a month ago which I plan to work more during the slow winter months and back away from during peak wc season.
I have started 2 window cleaning/janitorial businesses over the last 25 years, sold them and thought I would retire, and moved to start up another one. I have a graduate degree and every time I take a corporate job, I get so sick of it, I always go back to window cleaning…
I enjoy being outside and moving around. Every day is a new adventure…and the money ain’t bad either
I really want to get away from being involved with the work aspect of it. Spring is here and I am short handed and need to work with the guys alot. I have quotes that need to be ran out the wazoo and im not getting them out like I should in a timely manner. I need to implement a better system and hire a few good guys that are willing to stay around for a while. Probably with experience so that I can somewhat step away and get things done with the paperwork end of the biz.
I’m still brand new to the business but I think If I do well, 10 to 15 years full time. I’m at a phase in my life that I beginning to get serious about my financial future. After I pay back some student loans, become financially stable, and begin putting together a sizable education fund for my now 4 yrold son, I plan on seriously considering going back and getting a masters degree.
I indeed love the experience and adventure aspect of the biz., and meeting new people, making connections, the freedom of being on my own, making my own schedule, not living by other peoples social scripts, not simply being someone else’s tool to be used and discarded when no longer needed. I love the challenge of learning the business, since I know I will always be a lifelong learner. I like the fact that for once in my life, I am truely investing in myself And making money at the same time. I have my ups and downs though since I feel like Im making way less money than I need and less than what I get the impression that other newcomers make.
Well, from what I can figure, the commercial market here is only about 2/3 of what the averages are from what I have been reading. For residential, I have been charging about 2/3 also when I give quotes. I have good and bad weeks as far as getting a lot of calls and having a good bit of work one weeks, and not picking up any new clients, people saying can you “come back next week instead” or “later” which throws my whole schedule off since I group them together on my route.
A lot of my frustrations come mainly from my lack of experience, doing everything by myself and wondering if I could be doing better and trying to figure out the local market. I met one window cleaner who has been doing it for 20 years that I’m going to ask if I can spend a day with him on his route to get some good experience and traing, but I’ve been trying to get a hold of him for over a month now.
I don’t let people tell me to come back later. In some rare cases there is a very good reason. But they are on a route for a reason. If they really can’t get there windows cleaned, then they got to wait a week or two until I’m back in that area doing that route.
Sometimes when I know people have a tendency to wave me off, I start cleaning the windows before they see me.
But anyway, if they need to cancel, they have to cancel before I arrive. When I"m there its too late.
From what I can tell, Im charging about 2/3 of what the national average is. (http://www.activeboard.com/forum.spark?forumID=50569&p=3&topicID=8255024)
This seems to be about what the local rates are. I will definately be raising some rates by next year. I still consider myself relatively new to WC so Im holding off on making major price changes until I feel more competant. I ve been doing this now full time for 3 months - I started doing commercial about 4 months ago.
Here is the best example of my commercial pricing strategy. For a set of 2 windows ( ~3" to 4"wide, usually the top one is larger than the smaller) that go from ground to ceiling, I charge .75 + .50 = 1.25 per set. The same for a door and the glass above it. The average store front window size, I charge .75 - for every size that is + 1 of these larger, I add .25. So if a window is about 6’ x 9’ I would generally charge 1.25 per side. I have found this to be pretty consistant to what most are paying, unless the are in larger shopping centers. There is at least one WC company that charges a lot less than that though. In one shopping center, Im am doing a place for $30, a place a few doors down with the same kinds of windows pays only 20$. My client in that shopping center asked me to come back the next week - I would rather do that than potentialy loose it. I live ten minutes away so its not a huge deal, but it is annoying. I only have one client so far that is over 30 mins. away. I would spend more time building my route in that city if I wasnt trying to get my residential act together.
PS. I schedule my route by the # of weeks rather than month(s) unless they want it every 3 months or more. So a monthly cleaning is really every 4th week rather than once every 30.41666667 days. I am the only WCer I have heard of around here that keeps a schedule down to the day. Most are rather inconsistant in when they show up. I know this is off topic and I will remove it if CFP wishes.