Written by Chris Lambrinides
Welcome to Marketing Your Window Cleaning Business. In this book, I give a detailed overview of the marketing methods I used to generate millions of dollars a year. I explain how I did it with my window cleaning business and how you can do it better.
What follows is a step-by-step guide to creating and improving the marketing of your service. I will cover a wide variety of marketing methods and techniques that I used with success in my own business. Consider it a blueprint to filling your schedule with more jobs than you can handle. Marketing is the lifeblood of your company. When done right, it will fill your pipeline with an abundance of high-dollar work.
This book is for anyone in the window cleaning business looking to make more money in less time. It doesn’t matter if you have a new company or an old company, a small company or a big company. Heck, maybe you don’t even have a company yet, and you’re just thinking about starting one up. Either way, you are in the right place.
I started my window cleaning business, All County Window Cleaning, in September 1999. I grew it until 2013, when I sold the company and had a successful exit. At its peak, there were fifteen trucks on the road and over fifty window cleaners working in the field.
In our first five years in business, these were our sales numbers:
1999: $20,000—Me working part-time and alone
2000: $150,000—Me working part-time with a helper
2001: $425,000—Me deciding to hire people and build the company out full time; still operating from my dad’s basement
2002: $750,000—Me moving into the office full time and using all labor to complete the jobs
2003: $1,000,000—Me in the office with a sales team and operations manager; five crews on the road
The numbers continued to climb until I sold and exited in 2013. The key to the success and rapid growth of the company was marketing. I learned early on that our marketing efforts directly affected our bottom line, and I focused on it.
The company still runs today and still uses the marketing plan I implemented years ago. In this book, I share all the techniques I used to market and grow the business. To me, marketing has always been the act of creating actions designed to generate interest in my service—nothing more, nothing less. I like to make the phone ring.
June 1999: I started my career as a professional window clean- er. A local company hired me to assist one of their long-term employees. We cleaned homes but mostly storefronts.
July 1999: Just one month later, the company owner delivered news of my termination. The cause was “working too slow.” I didn’t feel as if I’d been working too slow, but time is money, especially in route work. This was disheartening news because I enjoyed this job quite a bit. It was great working outside, and it allowed me to see some amazing homes and properties.
For the next couple of months, I bounced around and did a few handyman-type jobs, small renovations, and light construction. I enjoyed it but not as much as window cleaning. My thoughts drifted back to window cleaning, so I decided to give it a try on my own.
October 1999: I opened the word-processing program on my family’s Gateway PC. It was awful, but it worked. It allowed me to dial in to the Internet and waste hours of time. But on October 2 when I dialed in, I did something useful with it for the first time: I created my first marketing piece.
The program included clip art of leaves. Because it was fall, I figured I would make a fall-themed ad. It read like this:
Window cleaning $5 per window
Inside and out
Free gutter cleaning with any job
I put some nicely colored leaves across the bottom and gave it a read. The print was in black and white, so the color didn’t matter too much.
The only thing missing was a company name and a way to contact me. I had my own phone line at the time because I was sharing a mother-daughter house with my dad. Although I had no real need for my own phone line, I had to have one because I was in a different part of the house. Cell phones were not common yet.
So, I added my phone number to the flyer and thought, “Hmm, a company name.” I did have one, and I certainly wasn’t a real business, so I gave it a thought and typed in the first thing that came to mind: All County Window Cleaning.
It was a rather unoriginal choice, as I knew of two businesses across town that used similar names. One was a septic company, and another was a heating-and-air-conditioning place. But it was the first thing that came to mind. I figured if I ever made it to the phone book, at least I would maybe get listed first. In hindsight, I never intended to make it into the phone book. I was only looking for a way to make some quick cash before the winter.
Back to my flyer. I had it all made up. I had my offer, my phone number, and my newly thought-of, plagiarized, and unregistered business name. I was all set! I printed off one hundred flyers and ran out to my truck to deliver them. I guess the whole process took maybe three hours from creation to print to delivery.
We lived in a lower-income part of town, but newly built Mc- Mansions were popping up all over the place. I figured that’s where I wanted to go, and so I was on my way. I headed about five minutes up the road to a development called Glen Harbor. Sounds swanky, right?
I guess it was for the time, although it doesn’t look so hot to me today.
I got there and then proceeded to drive illegally down the reverse side of the road and dump all one hundred flyers into the mailboxes of the McMansion owners. (Don’t do this.)
The whole thing took maybe ninety minutes. I got home, walked in, and saw my answering machine was blinking. A light went off in my head. “Surely, that couldn’t have worked so fast,” I thought. But it had. The message was from a nice lady named Karen.
She said she would like to get a quote on her windows. I thought it odd that she wanted a quote when my flyer stated that I would be charging five bucks a window. But I called her up. We chat- ted for a minute, and I got out of her that she had twenty-three windows. I told her it would be $115. “That’s all?” she asked. “That’s all,” I said. “And you get a free gutter cleaning.”
You have to understand this was a ton of money to me. I grew up broke and had been able to make only about $100 per day up until that point. I could make this $100 in two to three hours.
When I went out to do Karen’s job and counted the windows, she, of course, had more than twenty-three—she had twenty- seven total and a sketchy skylight. I wanted $10 for that in-and-out because her roof was as steep as hell, and I was scared to do it.
Her ticket jumped from $115 to $145. It was cool, though. She was thrilled with the work, and I had fun doing it.
As I did the job, and even more so toward the end, the gears in my head were turning: “My God, you can make a lot of money doing this.” And it was so simple to get the job. You put out flyers, you get work. Flyers equal cash and freedom from working for the man.
Marketing my window cleaning business always came easily to me. From day one, I saw the direct relationship between putting out an offer, completing the job, and getting paid.
Over the years, this has never changed. I had the same mindset for all the thirteen years I spent running All County Window Cleaning. You put out an offer, you get the work, you get paid. It’s as simple as that, and it always has been.
The ideas and concepts in this book are not original to me. I read a lot, up to fifty books per year. Most of what you will read here consists of things I have learned. Over the years, I have assembled all the best ideas into one marketing plan. Contained here are the best ideas from the books I have read.
There is almost no theory in this book. Most everything discussed in detail consists of actual techniques I have used. These include ideas and thoughts that I implemented in my own window cleaning business. I do touch on a handful of things I do not have much practical knowledge of, such as recent trends and methods that have popped up in the years since I exited.
Please also note: This book is primarily about marketing a business-to-consumer, residential-focused business.
NOT included in this book is marketing a business-to-business company. Think storefront, commercial, and high-rise window cleaning. They are a completely different animal, which I will not be covering.
Even More Disclaimers
This book should not be considered legal or financial advice. Do your due diligence and research to determine what is right for your business. The publisher is in no way shape or form recommending you spend any amount of money on the methods discussed. The publisher of this book is not liable for any damages or losses associated with the content in this book.
The book comes with fifty free templates and downloads that coincide with each chapter. They are sold separately and you can purchase them here. The templates are all created with Google Sheets and Photoshop. These templates are designed to give you a jumping-off point. They should help you sit down and start working on your business right away.
Google Sheets are your new best friend. Google Sheets are the ultimate tool to research, store, and plan your ideas. Aside from them being free, you can access these from any location or device. Did I mention these are free?
Book downloads and templates are all accessible through Goog- le’s free cloud service “Drive.” You likely already have a Google account.
But just in case you don’t, you can get one here.
Snag your free Google account here:
You can access Google Drive here:
You can access Google Sheets here:
You can access Google Docs here:
To make your life easier, store the files we discuss on Drive. Look for this symbol in each chapter where a download is available:
The downloads have been purposefully set up to have an inconsistent look and feel. I did this intentionally to ensure the whole “Sparta Window Cleaning” brand is not duplicated across the country.
How to Use This Book
After you read Chapter 3, feel free to skip around. There is no need to read in a linear fashion. Study what interests you the most. Think of it as an instruction manual or a how-to guide. Use the downloads! Most concepts covered have a corresponding downloadable document. You can use the exact templates I used in my window cleaning business. Of course, if you decide not to purchase the downloads the book can still be equally effective.
Define Your Goals
Before you start, you should at least set your goals. Where do you want your business to go? Do you want to build a mega huge company? Or do you wish to work by yourself with a couple of guys and just command more money for your services? Either is possible. Use the goal template provided to document what you want to accomplish.
Before we start, I want to point out the difference between marketing and advertising. Most people would lump marketing and advertising together. It’s important to note the differences, though.
Advertising is actually a subset or a type of marketing. It is just one small part of your overall marketing strategy.
Marketing is extensive. It includes but is not limited to your pricing, customer service strategy, offers, branding, specials, and promos.
Marketing is everything.