Some people just do not want to pay. sigh So when I started out washing windows, not only did I have too cheap of prices, I also did not stand firm on pricing and was constantly cutting my prices down a bit so that I didn’t feel guilty about how much my clients were paying me. I didn’t charge extra for higher windows, climbing on the roof, or odd shaped or different sized windows, just plain and simple 2 bucks a pane. This resulted in houses that probably should have been 60$ being 45 and things like that. One of these in particular is owned by an older couple, I charge 45 bucks for their house, really should be 60, going to try and bump it up a bit. But here is the problem. The lady from across the street wants her windows washed. I ran a promotion in March that stated that if you booked before the end of March every 5th window would be free. I got a call from this woman after quoting her 50$ In march (but she hadn’t heard of the promotion at that point) but today she calls and says “My daughter can clean the garage windows and the window well windows, my daughter can do those”. This cuts the price down to around 40 dollars if not 35. Then she says “and my daughter showed me that you have a every 5th window free special, so I’d like that”. Me being the softy that I am didn’t have the heart to tell her that I have a $50 minimum, that I wouldn’t wash half the house, or that the special was only if you booked in march. So now I screwed myself, I’m going to do it for $30 (it’s an easy job, but I’m still a little upset with myself). Just another warning to you starters out there and a reminder for myself, hold on to your prices, stick to your guns, and be fair to yourself, even when it comes to sweet little old ladies.
Unfortunate. I only started my business recently and I don’t charge cheap because I don’t want to do the work. I have 2 storefronts that I do for both of them. Takes me 2 hours time and I have about 4 more that I have to follow up with.
Today I cleaned an apartment and this lady’s office all for $120. Took me two hours work. I also got her on the schedule for a biannual cleaning so I’ll call her up the first week of October. I don’t charge cheap / do stupid jobs because I don’t want to do the work if it’s cheap. Simple.
When I started I knew NOTHING about being a business, I truly was just the neighborhood kid washing windows. I was given about 15 clients by a family friend, but he didn’t know anything about business either, he was like me, just washing windows. He didn’t have a uniform, didn’t have a method for storing customers info (something that has made me upset cause he had some really great residential jobs and now he can’t even tell me names and numbers). So when I started out I didn’t know what I was doing, and honestly, when I made 180 bucks on a house I felt like I was ripping people off! What’s an 18-year-old doing making 60 bucks an hour, right?!? I’ve slowly started learning, I’ve got paperwork in order, I’ve got some basic Customer Management Systems in place, and I’m growing. I’ve got a uniform, proper cards, a website, a growing client base, but the hardest thing for me to do is be firm. Like I said, I’m a softy, and I want to please everyone, which is impossible. Next time this happens I need to remember that I have a minimum, that I can’t be giving window jobs away, and that I need to respect myself enough to not drop my prices for sweet old ladies. Glad you’ve got things going from the start, good luck to you!
It’s okay folks. I’m 60+++ did two retails that I wanted 130 for. Got 30 at one and 25 or thirty at the other. Now I charge 50 an hour, and if I don’t get it I just walk away. No problem…NEXT!
@ibprofen98 I totally know where your’re coming from. When I started out at 22 years of age I basically came up with arbitrary pricing and just went from there. This was before forums and groups on the internet. I was also just thrilled to be making $20-$30 an hour. Eventually the ‘thrill’ of being a window cleaner and sometimes a ‘hero’ wore off, especially as marriage and kids came along. I’ve gradually learned to view it more and more as what I do and not who I am. And definitely being well-organized is very important. I can thank my wife for that.
It is really hard and can tug on your heart when you realize you will have to drastically raise prices for some of those customers who ‘got you off the ground’, risk losing them, or even terminate service if it becomes impossible to make it profitable enough. Or you can just bite the bullet until you can’t take it anymore, which isn’t good at all for a robust business.
My suggestion would be to immediately start with a clean slate for any new jobs that come along. Raise prices far above $2/pane, perhaps raise your minimum as well.
I still make concessions once in awhile by dipping below my minimum or charging lower prices, but those customers don’t really know. They just know what I charge them.
Always good to see a few WC’s older than I am!
I believe we’ve briefly talked in a different topic. I remember you mentioned you inherited 15 clients from a family friend. I have to start working on the systems such as CRM, uniforms, flyers, etc.
Perhaps we could discuss business since we’re off similar age. (I’m 21). Shoot me a text at (862-247-2833). Not sure how I feel about putting my number out here publicly but f*ck it. Would love to share ideas about flyers, CRM, etc.
“When I made 180 bucks on a house I felt like I was ripping people off!” - NO! You are providing a quality service. You are the proprietor. The innovator who goes out and takes the risks. You deserve to be paid an absolute premium. In order to run and maintain a legitimate business you have to know how to charge correctly. I charged this lady today $10 per window because they were pretty big windows and $5 each for two windows that I did on the inside.
My previous partner who handed me the business told me he charged her $75 for her home & $10 for her office. I charged her $100 for her home & $20 for her office. Just don’t come across like you’re ripping them off. Explain to the customer how you came up with the price. There was an extra $5 window but I did that for free and I also cleaned her table out which took like 1 minute work. Always try to “wow!” the customer. I learned that from the window cleaners blueprint book.
I try to tell myself this, haha! I’ll try to be more firm, there are a couple houses that I definitely should (and will) raise prices on a bit, and I’ll try and not rip myself off!
Perhaps we could discuss business since we’re off similar age. (I’m 21).
Mind if I get in on that? I’m 22, 23 in May. Just starting as well.
No, not at all, text me at 605-233-0628 and I’ll add you to the group!
There is your Kryptonite.
LOL Right on man
A new business’ motto?
That has to be the best thing I have read here so far, EPIC!
You’ve really got your stuff together. Impressive for your age, most impressive. You also have your own rules, like your minimum, and if you make exceptions for one, then you have to make exceptions for them all. If you make exceptions for them all, then you might as well have no rules. If you have no rules then you have chaos. Then again, you could look forward to all those other $30 jobs you are going to get when she tells all her friends about you.
Sure thing man. Shoot me a text. We can make a group chat.
I want to clarify that I don’t charge cheap because I don’t like doing work for cheap. It feels wrong if I do window cleaning for a cheap price. I want wealth, abundance, richness, etc and if I clean dirty windows for cheap then I feel like a slob. I can only clean windows if I get paid well. That way I see myself as providing a luxury service to my customers. Two different ways I view window cleaning.
When you find those customers who view what is a luxury as a necessity, you’ve got a gold mine.
Don’t be greedy you don’t have to bump them 15 dollars brother, just enjoy this simple job and the customers while they last, holidays are great with older cookies, cake, bottles of wine.
My favorite customer of all times was 93 one holiday I drove to her place to change out a fire battery that was going off …
Best holiday gift basket from her, she’s missed for sure!
True stuff right here.
You have to have a minimum. Your minimum is not flexible, but you can make some adjustments after that if you run into a customer that needs it AND YOU CAN RUN A PROFIT WITH IT.
If you are not profitable then you are out of business.
— Worth repeating —
If you are not profitable then you are out of business.
Probably every service business has a minimum to make a house call - you are no different. Plumber is usually about $125; Electrician? $80-$150.
Why a proper minimum? It eliminates the low ticket customers. It provides you with a little security to show up with a tank of gas, all the tools needed, insurance, desire to climb a ladder and also to do a good job. Bump it to $100 minimum and be confidant about it.
$2.00 per pane? Close on multiple pane standard windows. (Not French panes).
Single pane windows revert to a “window price” not a “per pane price”. $4.00 to $5.00 per single pane window.
Bending on price:
You will have occasions where you sales percentage may fall off a bit (less than 70%). Be willing to negotiate some sort of discount that sounds professional; “Mame, I know sometimes that window cleaning can get expensive, but I do offer good quality service that I am sure you will be pleased with. I have a couple discounts available - Senior Citizen, Military, Law Enforcement, Cancer Survivor all get 10% off, do you fit into one of those?” If none of those, all is not lost, make a reasonable offer that nudges a little off but still puts food on your plate - just not 50% off!
Be the look:
Ideally - clean uniform shirt, clean pants or shorts, clean shoes.
Acceptable - clean not worn out T-shirt, polo, or button up work shirt.
Unacceptable - worn out T-shirt, stained clothing, grungy dirty athletic shoes.
Why do you aim for $100 per hour?
Small Business Owner Tasks
- Oversee company operations, directing production, sales, administrative, and/or distribution activities. (Solo operators do this too!)
- Oversee and/or assist with personnel management, including hiring, training, and performance evaluation. (Solo operators do this too!)
- Oversee and/or assist with client acquisition and marketing strategies.
- Develop and/or assist with company-wide policies, procedures, objectives, and business strategies. (Solo operators do this too! Prepares you to grow)
- Direct and review financial activities, measuring productivity, setting prices, and/or managing budgets.
Now, for the sake of perspective, what if you hired someone to do some of those tasks? Your business would need to generate enough income (sales) to cover payroll. You cannot do that on $20 or $30.
My first house, Pastor friend’s mother. She died. She loved her windows.