Storefront Frustration


#1

A little background, our bread and butter is residential, mid to high end. Recently I’ve had some inquiries about storefront in my town and decided to begin building a small route (mostly once a month). Went and priced two restaurants 5 minutes from my office that sit side by side, one owner haggled about the price slightly (came down $5 to make him happy) and the other said the price seemed well worth having his windows cleaned monthly. Great, right? Went this morning for the first service (also an initial clean, these restaurants have never been cleaned)… started on the exterior of one, got it done then popped inside when they opened. The manager comes over and says “just spoke with the owner, he found someone to do it cheaper, but go ahead and finish since you’re here.” I just kept a smile on my face and knocked it out. Went next door to double check with the second owner before starting and sure enough, someone had also come in and undercut me. I know storefront is pretty cutthroat and there are bucket bobs that’ll do it for the price of a tallboy and pack of cigarettes but the 2nd owner proceeded to tell me who he contracted with… not a bucket bob but a large company (not a franchise) who drives OVER AN HOUR to my small town and is doing it for HALF the price. Guys, I understand that storefront is all about volume and if you build a tight enough route, it can be worthwhile but I don’t see how any legit company can charge what they are and make a profit. I don’t want to make this a pricing thread but take a look at these and let me know what your price would be in & out monthly


#2

Top one I would be at $120 In & Out every 4 weeks.

Bottom one I would be at $60 In & Out every 4 weeks.

It happens to everyone.


#3

Price shoppers will drop you first chance they get. Unless you are in that game of landing all of the storefronts you can gather sun up to sun down, then you can’t compete with people who will undercut your prices.


#4

Yah, Storefronts are easy in one way, and hard the next. Usually easier and quicker to do, but business is business, and they want it usually cheap. Catch 22, the cheap guy/gal normally no-show no-calls after a few months, and does a low quality job. I too deal with it here as well. One thing that is constant is, businesses are for profit not friendship when it deals with our line of work in most cases; in my experience. I try to find a balance of being “like” a friend, and a serious professional without swaying either side. This allows me to not take it personal if I get cut (rare). Our prices are higher they say, but I make up for it because they can count on me both with quality and clock-work scheduling.


#5

Is the first image just that corner ? The pictures does not show the number of panes very well. Will there be blinds - and tables against the windows ?


#6

I know your frustration especially coming from doing mostly residential. I started out doing commercial and ended up doing residential so it’s not as frustrating to me. That’s why now I bid commercial windows with my residential prices. If I get a storefront, great! If not, oh well. I’ll find some more houses to clean.


#7

Yea, there’s 48 total but due to booths covering some of the interior panes there’s on 32 to do on the inside. There are retractable shades on the interior uppers but the rest as pretty accessible other than have to get on the booth benches for about 10 of them.


#8

Fortunately these were just me trying to add some revenue, not depending on them to pay the bills. It has however made me realize that storefront isn’t going to be an option for my current business model and it never feels good to have options jerked out from under you. Such is the life of a small business owner I suppose…


#9

No offense, but maybe they are hungrier than you. You’re looking for xtra money, they are trying to make payroll.

Maybe they are faster, more efficient as well. This allows them to profit making less than you.

You are right, storefront can be competitive, esp for new customers. It lends itself to the hungrier.

Not saying it’s you, but it may not be them either.

Rich
Richvanmatre@gmail.com


#10

Does this mean your are finished with the idea ? You said now it isn’t going to be an option for your current business model. If you want to build a route don’t let two failures or losses persuade you. Especially if you really wanted to build a route. I guess I disagree that an option was " jerked out from under you".
I want to respectfully challenge you to define who jerked it ?

Go build it !!


#11

Theses are bucket bob type clients , ^^^ this is usually a bad sign


#12

Residential, residential, residential. Go after that.


#13

top one $175 inside and out monthly

bottom $80 inside and out monthly.


#14

With these types of window set ups, the per window goes out the door for myself. If, for instance you bid the bottom set at 2 per pane in and out, then you are looking at about 66 if I’m counting correctly.

But, because of the layout being a wall of windows, they are the easiest to knock out. What would it take realistically, depending on the layout inside? 20 - 30 minutes? So, I could bid it at 30 total if I really wanted the job. 40 if I wanted some cushion. Combine that with getting the business next door and I’m set for a very nice couple of hours work. And I just cut you by 30%. Am I a bucket bob? I don’t think so.

Guys who do residential primarily often struggle to adjust to the pricing structure of storefront. It’s not necessarily cutthroat, But it is competitive.


#15

Thanks for the replies guys. I was at $75 for the top one (after coming down) and $60 for the bottom. Owner of the bottom said new guy is doing it for $30. If you’re a solo op and really moving, I suppose $30 is doable but again, this is a tech for an established company based an hour away. Maybe they’re doing such a tremendous volume that it’s profitable for them. Oh and neither owner thought it was worth their time to call and tell me they had taken a lower offer. More power to you guys who have built great routes but I think going forward I’ll just be sticking to resi and small/mid commercial.


#16

I agree TexasRich. I wondered if these estimates are Guys who do not have tightly networked routes. There is no way I would price at some of these rates. But the $30.00 is very low end for sure. I would be at $55.00 on the low one I would say - now lower price than that. Might push it to $65.00.


#17

One of the luxuries of residential is the ability to plug in a pricing formula and simply count windows. Usually, you will get the right price. And you don’t worry about the competition coming up on you with a better price. Not so much with storefront.

But honestly, as far as storefront goes, could you have easier jobs than the ones in the pics? No landscaping. No ladder work. 30+ windows literally within 20 steps of each other. If you could get a few of the shops like that in the area, the profit margin goes way up with minimal work. And that’s at the cut rate price.


#18

Hey Jeff - you’re in Ohio right? Can you shoot me an email? Got a question for you.

Rich
Richvanmatre@gmail.com


#19

Something else to think about is that companys sometimes do this to either get into an area or to keep others out. I know this because it something ive done before. Works alot of the time to keep people out, especially if you already have majority work in your area.


#20

I literally see these priced at 50$ and sometimes less in my area…realistically it should be double to do a good job and dealing with booths,blinds etc.
There 2 companies operating in my area that I’m convinced keep the prices at rock bottom.