How To Start A Window Cleaning Business

Discussion in 'Chit Chat & Introductions' started by Gav, Dec 9, 2012.

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  1. Gav

    Gav Grand Master
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    #1 Gav, Dec 9, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2014
    Starting a window cleaning business
    As with setting up any business it can be a mixture of excitement and utter stress. The key is proper planning and realistic expectations.
    Starting a window cleaning business is certainly a great choice as a business model and one that allows a fair amount of freedom. Still you will only get out what you put in! So lets talk a little about why you want to be a window cleaner, what the best methods are and everything in between.

    If you decide after reading this and any other info you find that you want to start, you will need to register yourself as self-employed this is the UK form you need
    https://www.gov.uk/browse/business/setting-up
    I am not sure about other countries.

    Cost of starting
    For a very small out lay of a couple of hundred quid you can enter the world of window cleaning
    If you’re going down the Traditional route you will need:

    • Ladder (3.5m)
    • Bucket from B&Q or similar
    • Applicator and squeegee (10 inch is good)
    • Scrim or microfiber clothes
    • Bottle of fairy
    • Pouch to put your cloths and other bits in to keep your hands free
    • Bucket belt is really handy
    Lastly just add water and customers.

    I wouldn't recommend the use of ladders as there are other safer ways of cleaning windows but for starting out on a tight budget it may be the only option for you.

    Benefits of starting
    Starting your own business is exiting and frees you from the constraints of your normal job and nagging boss. You’re the boss now!

    You can start and finish work when you want, work as much or as little as you want and you are in control of how much you earn. You can earn a healthy living with a window cleaning business. At times it is hard work but can keep you healthy for years, all that fresh air and physical exercise.

    Once you have built up a decent sized round you are pretty much guaranteed a stable and reliable income, yes you will no doubt loose a few customer here and there but you will also gain new ones.

    Disadvantages of starting
    Although this is a great business to run and own there are things you will find hard.
    Freezing winters! The weather is a big factor in this business especially in winter. At times you will find your equipment frozen if wfp or water freezing on glass. Working with water in such cold conditions can be hard and at times frustrating.

    Annoying customers are another problem you might face; we have all had them at one time or another. Most are fine and pay on time but you will face some that are slow to pay, wont, pay or conveniently are not in all the time. You will have to learn how to deal with these customers but luckily they are few and far between.

    Getting customers is another hard and frustrating thing to do when first starting out. It can take some time and can feel like you are getting nowhere but keep at it with flyers, canvasing etc. Once you have a decent amount you will find word of mouth will also kick in and when you are out more cleaning more people will see you.

    Equipment needed
    Depending on which route you choose to go you will need different equipment.

    If you are going down the traditional route (Cheapest) then this is what you will need
    Discuss your traditional cleaning questions here.
    • Ladder (3.5m)
    • Bucket from B&Q or similar
    • Applicator and squeegee (10 inch is good)
    • Scrim or microfiber clothes
    • Bottle of fairy
    • Pouch to put your cloths and other bits in to keep your hands free
    • Bucket belt is really handy
    In addition to the basics above you may want to look at these below also.
    • 20 foot ladder
    • wedges, ladder mats, ladder footee (for decking)
    • ladder clamps
    • padlocks
    • 12" squeegee (30 degree and 0 degree for pole work)
    • 4" squeegee
    • 12" applicator
    • holster
    • pouches
    • belt
    • scraper
    • short handled extension
    • small extension for shops
    • ladder clamp for detailing pole work
    • scrims (prewashed are better)
    • microfibers (for frames)

    If you are going down the Water Fed Pole (wfp) route then you will need:
    Discuss your water fed pole questions here.
    • A baffled water tank.
    • TDS Meter
    • A pole and brush.
    • Pump.
    • Pump Controller
    • Filter system, DI and Ro
    • Leisure battery to power pump
    • Metal hose reel
    • 100m x 8mm Yellow 'Microbore' Hose
    • Heavy Duty 'Garden' Hose to connect the tank to pump and pump to hose reel
    • Connectors clips etc.

    Most of this equipment you can find from the suppliers on this page
    http://windowcleaningforums.co.uk/pages/suppliers/
    Here are some other suppliers that may be of interest.
    http://www.windowcleaningwarehouse.co.uk/shop/
    http://www.windowcleancentre.co.uk/


    Getting customers
    You can ask more questions on canvasing in the advertising online & offline area.
    • Canvassing/Knocking people’s doors and asking them if they want to use your service, couple this with dropping leaflets with them and those that don't answer then follow those up a day or two later.
    • Ask your neighbours, friends and family if they want their windows done, if they don’t they may know someone else who does.
    • Put an advert in a shop window
    • Use the Free listings on the internet like Yell.com, Touchlocal, windowcleaner directory, mylocal and many others out there you can put a listing on for nothing
    • Sign written van/car even if it has Window cleaner Phone 07xxxxxxxx people who need a window cleaner may see it in supermarket car park or when your round back

    These are all good methods of getting noticed and to turn them into customers you need to sell yourself, looking smart and tidy, being polite, closing their gate (not letting it slam) writing down the quote for them with your contact details.

    Doing the best job you can will get you recommended to others and recommendation is the best way to get loyal Customers


    Pricing
    Pricing is always a hard one and can only really be learned as you gain experience, you will no doubt under price and overprice a few jobs, I have! The main thing to do is work out what you want to earn an hour. Many claim they can earn £30-£40 an hour but I would say as a guide £20-£30 is closer to it. This of course all depends on the area etc.

    A rough guide to pricing a job is to price standard sized windows at £1 each, bay windows and patio doors at £2 and at the same time look at the job and decide how long it may take keeping in mind you hourly rate. Then with all that you can put a price together.


    Record keeping
    There is plenty of information in the managing your business section.
    • A small note pad to write customers address/name/price and frequency of clean (4-8weeks) keep this in your back pocket with a pen.
    • A Diary, you can buy an A5 one with a day on each page or a week on 2 pages
    • The above are great for starting out as they are easy to carry and cheap to buy. However as you get more customers you can invest in a computer program like George or window cleaning pro and the many others out there.

    As well as keeping track of you customers you will also need to keep good clear accounts on expenses and profits etc.

    Here is some info and templates on basic business record keeping; this should a lot when first starting a window cleaning business.
    https://www.gov.uk/browse/business/setting-up

    If you feel anything needs to be added to this, please feel free to PM me and I will update this post.
     
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