Which direction to go with my business?

Discussion in 'Traditional Window Cleaning' started by Cleanz, Jan 18, 2014.

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  1. Cleanz

    Cleanz Active Member
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    At a bit of a loose end and keep finding myself going round in circles in my head with this so thought I'd share with you guys.

    Been window cleaning trad for about 5 years - but just don't have enough customers (I think somewhere in the region of about 130-140 half of which I've had to buy!). I get enough money to pay the bills, stuff for the kids etc but it's been a struggle keeping vehicles on the road when things go wrong etc..

    My customers are quite spread out and vary greatly, most are two monthly. I don't have a great deal of time for door knocking but when I do, it seems like a massive uphill struggle. Everyone already seems to have window cleaners or they only want one offs. Seems like when I get say two new customers, another two decide they no longer need a me! Also sent out 5000 leaflets last year, got 3 calls from it one turned out to be a regular customer....

    I've always offered other services (gutter vac, pressure washing etc) and do a few of those a year, but I'm wondering if I should give up trying to get window cleaning customers and focus more on these two aspects of the business?

    I know it's possible to build up good rounds, a mate of mine who is near me has done really well with his, but he seems to have more luck than me. Maybe I look dodgy? lol.

    Any advice please? feel like I'm in limbo...
     
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  2. Smurf

    Smurf Banned
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    First question is do you have a website?
     
  3. Tuffers

    Tuffers Hero
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    It doesn't read well mate. Are you doing a good job, how many of your customers have recommended you to others? If your mate has done well, pick his brains. Have you got a website (seen some good free ones on here). Get some leaflets put up in shop windows etc. Do you look proffesional ie wear t-shirts, sweatshirts with your contact details on.

    Not trying to be rude, but if you've not got enough work, how have you not got enough time to canvass? Look for for sale boards and keep a log of where houses have for sale/sold boards and go knock the door when it's been taken down.

    Chin up pal!
     
  4. rjacandwc

    rjacandwc Well-Known Member
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    Try not to be too disheartened!. We all get like this from time to time. Keep plugging away and think and build on what you have. The Winter is always a time when customers tend to fall asleep on us a little. But, come the spring you'll have a real chance to build even more. Keep doing a good job and remind yourself that your working for yourself and not some greedy firm!... When I get down. I always treat myself to a new piece of equipment to make my life easier when cleaning windows. And I am not talking loads of £'s worth... I get myself a new Applicator or a few Business Cards done. When they come through the post I always get excited and get back on it!... Motivation is the main thing... Keep that going and all will fall into place!...
     
  5. norm

    norm Grand Master
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    when was the last time you raised your prices mate?
    A wee price rise in spring maybe?
     
  6. Cleanz

    Cleanz Active Member
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    All good questions guys, which I will answer :

    Smurf - yes I do have a website,(currently in the process of changing the business name to try and get more interest) I've had the web addy on my flyers since I started. Nothing amazing but does the job. I've never really had much contact via the website to be honest. Maybe 10-15 enquiries over the 5 years, mostly for pressure washing or gutters. The flyers I had designed on a site and got 10,000 printed off.

    Tuffers - I always try and do a good job, polite, stick to schedule etc I've had a few recommendations from customers but that doesn't always equate to me earning a regular income from them- I.e might only want a one off. Also when I ask, most neighbours etc either don't seem to be interested or already have one. I always wear work 'trousers', and a smart long sleeved top (i've got tattoos) but do need to get some printed long sleeve etc..

    Not rude at all, I guess I didn't explain it right. Well in the winter when I get rained off I'll admit I don't go out doorknocking because from previous experience I've never got anything at all from doorknocking in the rain. In the summer I'm normally left with 1 week at the end of the month with nothing on, but obviously the summer doesn't last too long in this country!

    Rja - Getting a new name etc, new flyers and yes need some new applicators!

    Norm - I hadn't raised them for 4 years, until last year I thought I've got too! Unfortunately I started to raise the price with a few customers (maybe 10) and two of them left! Said they couldn't afford it...It was only a £1 extra per month :\ So I ended up leaving the rest...



    Anyway, thanks for the replies - I will keep plugging away at it. I bought a gutter vac last year and got some decent business off it for a month or so but I'm going to really give a go at plugging that this year with some seperate flyers just for that.

    That's another thing... anyone else find that people/customers hardly ever read the back of flyers? Mine has Traditional window cleaning on the front but I'd hazard a guess to say that at least half never read the back which has all my other services on!
     
  7. norm

    norm Grand Master
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    yeah prices can be sticky subject especially if there is other windys in the area you work and not much money about
     
  8. Tuffers

    Tuffers Hero
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    Double sided flyer doubles your chance of it being read IMO. If it falls on the mat blank side up, chances are it won't get read.

    Would it pay to travel further for work for you? I was asked to price a job (and got it) the other week way out of my usual area. A very affluent area that I'd never thought of trying. Needless to say, that area has been added to my 'areas covered' on my website. A couple more houses in that area would be very nice.
     
  9. Duncs

    Duncs Grand Master
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    hi cleanz
    first of all your almost there you have three weeks work you only need four to five
    it will come
    my thoughts are canvassing you have to door knock face to face , the lighter nights will soon be here
    this is your chance.
    leaving flyers , personally dont think it is the way.
    When your grafting chap all the doors near where your cleaning, if you get knocked back hayho forget it
    chapped a door thursday , I was working next door.
    the guy was,int keen but it looked gd house small bungalow i,m using WFP so you could tell he was,int convinced
    so i offered to clean front living room to show how gd the system was.
    so coo coo he ended up getting full house done and his gallery believe in yourself it will come.
    when i first started i asked the local windies if they had surplus graft going its a long short guys, will be surprisingly helpful gd luck
     
  10. rugbywolf

    rugbywolf Forum Addict
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    You haven't put your prices up in four years. You should put your prices up every year, but by a small amount, say, 50p. For example 50p on a house of £7 is a 7% increse, in the fifth year that house will be £9.50, £7 at a yearly inflation rate of 3% after five years will be £8.11. So what I'm saying is that it is that to most people 50p on £7 or £8 is not alot, but in the broader picture it will give you a real increase in money terms.
     
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