The golden age of window cleaning.

Discussion in 'Chit Chat & Introductions' started by Green Pro Clean Ltd, Jan 23, 2016.

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  1. Green Pro Clean Ltd

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    Some thought I have been having this past couple of weeks is that we are now starting to enter the 'Golden age' of window cleaning.

    When I started as a window cleaner it was any old car with a ladder on the roof and the 'big boys' were all driving an Escort or Astra van with a couple of ladders on the roof and one or two lads working for them and that was considered the pinnacle (where I am from in Jersey at least)

    Now just about a decade down the road it seems to have evolved to having a standard of a new van with quality sign writing or even a wrap and and equipment in the back that would not look out place in the engine room of the U.S.S. Enterprise. The crews have gone from trakkies and cargo shorts to slick matching uniforms.

    Weather you are cleaning commercials, domestics or both it seems that the customer is now starting to accept window cleaners as 'professional' tradesmen and the old image of the 'beer money' and 'dole boosters' seems to finally be dying out and we seem to be starting to get the level of respect that we as professionals are worthy of.

    Some customers look like they are about to have a stroke when they ask about my machine in the back of the van and I tell them I probably have £4'000 invested in it and that is not even near the top end of monies that can be spent on equipment, and all that to do a job for which they are paying £10 or £15.

    It is all about impressions in modern society, people buy the latest iPhone wear the latest designer labels and drink in certain bars cause that's the in thing to be 'seen' doing. The same is becoming true (in my opinion) with window cleaners, to the point where some lads are getting so good at marketing that their companies / outfits are becoming brands in themselves and we all know the 'in' crowd have to have the latest greatest brand.

    Window cleaning is an industry that has now (thanks to the birth of WFP) become an accessible option of vocation to one and all, you can make a good go of it using nothing more than WFP these days unlike us old dogs that had no choice but to master traditional window cleaning methods as well as safe ladder use.

    A fortune is a matter of perspective, to some £20K is a fortune whilst to others it needs to be £20 mil before they call it a fortune and it is with this in mind that I state my net thought that now is the era where fortunes will be made and lost. Some will be lost quite simply by investing all their life savings of £20k in a new van and system, put an add on facebook and wonder what happened, others will get out with the bare minimum of gear and knock door after door until there are no more doors to knock and then they will go back to that first door and start all over again until they have every last piece of business to be squeezed out of their 'area' and they will not stop till they have made their fortune.

    I'm proud of my occupation on a couple of fronts, the instance where you can be standing in a bar chatting to strangers and the topic of occupations comes up and they suddenly have that expression on their face and that 'oh' sound come out their mouth when you announce you are a 'Window Cleaner' and they instantly feel the need to look down at you as they are store managers, recruitment consultants, account managers etc, and I take pride in their reaction as I smile and think 'If you knew how much more than you I earn in a year you'd start cleaning windows tomorrow' but more importantly I am proud because it is good honest work, it has no diverse effect on anyone and I can see the results of my effort daily not only in the glass but also in my bank account.

    Back when the only qualification required to be a window cleaner was the ownership of a scrim and a bucket, these days you can get your City & Guilds, certification from various 'training institutes' you can be a 'Safe Contractor or Trusted Trader' or a member of the Federation or Guild (not that you need any of these to be a window cleaner)

    It is almost a gold rush if you look out there with guys (and girls) scrambling to build monster rounds, rounds (and companies) being bought and sold as tangible assets and even banks and financial institutes being able to 'value' a round to hand out loans against to help acquire new equipment or even rounds.

    In summary I predict that over the net decade we will see a lot more window cleaning companies becoming regional and national brands and literal fortunes being made, and in some instances lost. It is truly an exciting time to be in this industry.

    These are just the ramblings and observations of someone that has spent the past decade with a close interest in the industry, they are neither right nor wrong, they are merely opinion.

    Post Script: There are still many lads out there that go to work with a ladder on the car and have a nice stable round that supports the life style they want and they are happy with that and I, in turn, am happy for them if that is what they want, not everyone is in the game to build an empire and I do appreciate that.
     
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  2. Solarpanelcleanington

    Solarpanelcleanington Forum Addict
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    I 100% agree. You're bang on.
     
  3. Markyboy 50

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    Think that last paragraph sums me up perfectly. A van a ladder a scrim a bucket. 3 days a week and I earn more than I can spend. I'm not ambitious enough to do more. I don't need it. This is merely my opinion :thumbsup:
     
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  4. adamangler

    adamangler Wakefield Window Warrior
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    Its certainly one of the simplest and best business models out there.

    wfp has made it much more appealing, i wouldnt have considered doing it with ladders on an old astra

    but when you talk of brand new vans, uniforms and expensive carbon poles and technology it becomes a lot more appealing and adds a certain glamour to it
     
  5. peter rogers

    peter rogers Grand Master
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    u can build a cleaning empire but remember evryone the bigger u climb the greater the fall :-(
     
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  6. Gav

    Gav Grand Master
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  7. kahoona

    kahoona Well-Known Member
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    The world is a rapidly changing place, look at what the internet has done (is doing) to so many industry sectors, recruitment has changed massively, travel & tourism a sector I spent 20 plus years working in, the short break package is now a DIY thing with web site like expedia, lastmin.com hotel.com so on. even graphic design with sites like fiverr have seen prices fall through the floor with global competition from the lesser developed Asian economies where $5 is worth a lot then it is here.. To see the effect on retail, just look at how many delivery vans are on the road these days, people art going to the stores anymore.

    for window cleaners the web is primarily used as a channel to market their business.

    I agree with Green though the window cleaning trade itself appears to be maturing into a professional and profitable business and with current government policy and consumer demand driving more housing and commercial developments it looks like a growth industry to me at least for the foreseeable future.

    Just as a side note fun fact on technological developments. Pablo Picasso the Spanish painter was born in 1881, the wright brothers first flight in the Albertross 1903, Man walks on the moon 1969, Picasso dies 1973. How much things changed in that mans life time! and the pace of development is getting faster and faster.
     
  8. steve garwood

    steve garwood ginger lion
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    Excellent post Mr. Green, very articulate. Agree whole heartedly with each and every word.
    With the birth of w.f.p, sign written vans and uniforms, I now feel prouder than ever to be a window cleaner.........no, scrap that, a visual technician:thumbsup:
     
  9. Markyboy 50

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    I still don't see what's wrong with driving an un sign written van and no uniform. The only reason my van is un sign written is cos I don't want anymore work. I'm happy with it as it is:)
     
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  10. steve garwood

    steve garwood ginger lion
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    No one is saying theres anything wrong with it, the point I was making is, I personally feel very professional with my set up. Just my opinion:thumbsup:
     
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