I am new and need some advice please

Discussion in 'Chit Chat & Introductions' started by window washer, May 2, 2011.

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  1. Hi,
    I am new to this forum, and in fact this is the first forum of any kind I have ever joined!
    I worked in London for 20 years as an insurance broker and dreamed of working for myself. I was made redundant this January and have a little cash but soon found there is very little a 40 year old man can re-train for and earn cash quickly. My brother in law is a window cleaner and suggested I do the same. We live in a fairly affluent part of Essex so I though why not.
    Sadly I still had my insurance sales hat on and came up with all of these bright ideas. I bought a van, bought everything to clean windows the traditional way, and then read up everything there is to know about WFP systems (I used to be an engineer in the Royal Navy many moons ago) and decided that I needed a van system with an RO unit as the TDS reading is 480 where I live!!!!
    I have now had 2000 leaflets printed and dropped offering WFP or traditional and the first clean for free as I could afford to work a month or two for free.
    I am now worried that I have made a complete mistake as do I need to spend £3k having a van WFP system installed or could I just buy a trolley system for a grand (DI) and see how it goes?
    The DI will not last long as I will only get around 1600 litres of water out of a 25l bag of resin due to the very high TDS reading but as I have no customers hardly it is hard to tell. I could make do with a trolley system and see how it goes or I could have a tank and DI filters set upin my van for £2000 and just switch to an RO system if I get a lot of WFP customers
    Someone I know has a £1000 pcm round which they have had for 6 years, they are skint and he has smashed his arm and will never window clean again. He originally wanted £5k for the round but has had no takers partly because hebis seen as desperate and partly because it isn't in the best areas in town, although he is willing to knock on every door with me to ensure a smooth changeover (he cannot work due to his arm). He has offered me the £1000 pcm round for £1000 now and £300 a month for 5 months totalling £2500 which isn't bad. I figure I could take that on and as I will have an established round that I could build up with canvessing and get rid of the real ruish bits. The downside is that this meands I cannot then afford a WFP system (his round is all traditional) so I would just work traditionally and canvass as traditional. and completely forget about WFPfor the time being.
    So, after all that waffle, do I buy the round and stay traditional? Canvass my own and buy a WFP system? and do I buy trolley DI or Van DI/ or RO?
    Sorry to ask but itis very difficult to ask any local windowcleaners as they tell me to p'ss off!!!!

    I will be sooooo greatfulfor any thoughts.

    Richard (Window washer (sort of))
  2. Gav

    Gav Grand Master

    Dec 18, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Long post there!

    Well if you could afford to buy the round i would say do that as building a round is not easy and very slow. if you already have a round it is great because you can build on it and the more you are out the more people will see you.

    I does not matter much if it is all traditional for now do it for a few months and slowly save some cash to go towards a wfp system. then when you have enough get the system and slowly start transferring your customers over maybe the month or two before give them a leaflet explaining you will be changing over and the benefits of wfp.
  3. Thank you Cyberpedz, I really appreciate your views.
    I will buy the round and canvass on the streets I already clean in.
    Maybe I will try a trolley.
    Not sure whether to use Pure Freedom or the cleaning warehouse as both seem good.
  4. nearlyclean


    Dec 20, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Hi Richard, I would buy the work as cyberpedz has said building a round from scratch takes time.Plan to lose 35% of the round to cancellations and other reasons but you will also pick up more work
    http://www.diywaterfedpole.co.uk/ try this link and when you build your pole make it from a Harris painters pole 5m.
    read as much as you can and your brother in law should be able to guild you along
    any questions keep posting and we will try to answer
  5. Hinty

    Hinty Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2011
    Likes Received:
    I would buy the work, and do it Trad for a few months anyway before changing over.
    You always lose a some customers when you tanke over a round, but you will gain their loyalty before going for the pole system - which means you will probably lose less in the long run.

    When you do go over to water fed pole, would really consider trolley option.

    Where we live parking, and access can be a real problem.

    Over the years I have worked with 1000L trailer system, van with tanks, estate car with tank, and trolley.

    Now I only work with trolley system, and a backpack for going through the house to a few jobs.

    No hose reel over pavement, no parking issues - much easier.

  6. nearlyclean


    Dec 20, 2010
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    I would recommend the a trolley system,much more practical,cheaper to set up and you can carry a 100 m hose and leave it by your car and use it like a van mount (best of both worlds)
  7. Mr Glass

    Mr Glass Guest

    Don't waste money, if your not on a water meter buy a merlin and set up a van system its less hassle and cheaper to change or modify you can add other bits as you go. Shop around ! Good company's are daqua for tank Di pump etc. Gardiner for poles. Winters for merlin.
  8. Thanks to all for your advice, it is greatly appreciated.
    In the end I bought no work at all and have so far built up £1000 of work without canvassing. I just posted black and white A6 leaflets with a quote and it worked a treat. As of Monday I will be door knocking but to be honest there is little point in gettting too much work too quickly as first cleans take an hour on most houses as I took the decision to invest my time and clean very thoroughly in the hope that next time I can do a 3 bed in 10 minutes.
    In the end I built a two person van system myself and then had a local engineer build me a bespoke cage for £100.
    I used 2 pre-filters and a 40/40, a Shurflo 100psi pump which is powerul enough for two and a 500 ltr tank with a 9l DI vessel.
    I use a Ntec Gxtel 18ft pole which folds down to 4 foot so excellent for awkward places and I use a 36ft Brodex Ali pole for everything else. I know there are better poles at that height but DMI Supplies on Ebay sell the complete package for £175 so for the amount I use a 36ft pole it seemed the sensible option for now.
    My only regret is that I bought 8mm Microbore hose and not 6mm Minibore as I would have preferred a smaller hose and the gardiner fixings seem more robust but I do not think I can get them for a 8mm hose.
    I did post a pic of it on another post but here it is again and I don't mind saying that I am quite proud of it as 6 weeks ago I had never heard of a water fed pole.
    Al lis going well and I must say that this forum has been very useful to me as I have read every single post and picked up many tips - thanks to all.
    Unfortunately the wife now calls me a forum nerd as I spend so much time on it but hey, nothing wrong with that, better than watching Holby City!!!!!

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  9. nearlyclean


    Dec 20, 2010
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    I am glad your up and running and all is going well,your can change poles as they wear out and yes the ez snap fittings fit the 8mm hose just use jubilee clips to tighten them on
  10. kars

    kars Guest

    Hey dave can you tell me more about the trolly and back pack system you have. i am a complete beginner to all this wfp stuff but sounds interesting to start with as i cant afford to totally change to wfp just now. cheers