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How to start a window cleaning business.

 

 

Starting a window cleaning round/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 let's 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

Setting up - GOV.UK

 

I am not sure about other countries and their requirements I'm afraid.

 

opengraph-image-a1f7d89ffd0782738b1aeb0da37842d8bd0addbd724b8e58c3edbc7287cc11de.png

 

Cost of starting

For a very small outlay 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 exciting 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 WPF 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, won't 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, canvassing 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 footer (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)
  • Spare squeegee rubbers
  • Spare scraper blades
  • FIRST AID KIT

 

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.

 

Getting customers

You can ask more questions on canvassing 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, window cleaner directory, my local 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 you are round back
  • Get a website. This is one of those overlooked parts of owning a business. Some ignore it totally while others throw up a website from some free host. Both options are bad. Get this right and you will pull in plenty of business. Take a look at our cleaning business website design service and http://soe4cleaners.co.uk 

 

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 your 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 notepad 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 are some info and templates on basic business record keeping; this should a lot when first starting a window cleaning business.

Setting up - GOV.UK

 

You may also browse through our resources which have many document templates, image downloads, stationary designs and more. File & Image Downloads

 

Insurance

One thing you will need no matter what route you take is public liability Insurance along with any other insurance you feel necessary. Some commercial van insurance also covers your equipment so you need to ensure you do your homework. Liability insurance is a MUST. You can not run a good business without this cover, it only takes one customer tripping over your gear or you breaking a window and you're up that creek without a paddle!

 

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

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MajorClean

1. Don't forget Trip hazard cones if you've got trailing hoses

2. Leaflets with prices on get far more calls than without.

3. Use EVERY free listing you can! Yell.com and Freeindex are by far and away the best with regular queries if your content is good. Yell will give free links to your website and even video uploads. We get regular calls from Yell which we pay for enhanced listing with, and a trickle of work from Freeindex, Cyclex, Scoot and others

4. Getting customers to review you gets you found faster in Google and brings more customers.

5. Your van is one of the best adverts you have; keep it clean and use it! I position mine carefully wherever I park and get calls from people following me in traffic as well as whilst working. (A bit annoying when you get calls whilst driving somewhere non local, but better too much Business than too little)

6. FACEBOOK! Provided over 80% of my business when I started up. A little post every few days reminding people of what you do gets no end of work from your contacts, friends, relatives and and their family or friends.

7. A uniform is always advertising for you. Even if you can only afford a bright Tshirt with WINDOW CLEANER on the back, you'll get stopped and asked for quotes more often than not.

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kev
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)
  • Spare squeegee rubbers
  • Spare scraper blades
  • FIRST AID KIT

 

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

 

You may also find a browse through our resources are useful for documentation and document templates.http://windowcleaningforums.co.uk/resources/

 

Insurance

One thing you will need no matter what route you take is public liability Insurance along with any other insurance you feel necessary. Some commercial van insurance also covers your equipment so you need to ensure you do your homework. Liability insurance is a MUST. You can not run a good business without this cover, it only takes one customer tripping over your gear or you breaking a window and your up that creak without a paddle!

 

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

Can i just say i have a couple of hundred houses priced at £4.50 each and the way we have always done it is minimum of 10 houses and hour if you have the guys who have the speed and experience, £45 an hour, if out on my own 5 houses an hour £22.50. I've got other work with various prices obviously

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kev

P.s but wouldn't usually do more than 50 houses a day, only in my younger years

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kev
£4.50 for a house :eek: are you related to @cheapncheerful by any chance at that is bonkers cheap?

They are only small houses lol small bedroom and living room window at the front a side window or two and a few windows out the back, if they want doors done or got an extra bedroom it goes upto between £5 and £6. The houses are next door to each other, like full streets and take about 7 minutes each if going at a decent speed, that's why we can achieve 10 houses an hour doing they ones, back in the day sometimes 13

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Smurf

Wow that sounds like a lot of hard graft having to do 10 -13 houses an hour.

 

If it only takes you roughly 7mins to do each small house trad I'm now thinking changing over to wfp at those prices you would be actually losing money. Resons being it would probably take you longer by wfp and overheads would cost you more to do so.

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kev

They are due an increase but the last time i put them up a lot of the fornightlys changed to monthly i have about 300 of them that i bought off a mate, the other 100 are mixed prices, and about roughly more than half are fornightly, so dont want to cut off my nose to spite my face, i canvassed about another 50 odd houses which are monthly, they vary between £7 and £30 averaging £10 a house, 3 to 4 days work between 2 men, that is the bit i am considering using the wfp for, as i am working on my own at the moment

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kev

It's not a bad deal to me mate £45 an hour minus £11 to a worker, it could be worse

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rshandyman

Sorry but Ihave never seen anyone doing good job in 7 minutes for a house,sills frames,detailling and so on

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kev

I dont do frames. Depends what size of house it is. That's two men

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kev

They arent big houses, 7 minutes that's if it's a slow guy on tops, if i'm on tops it's more like 5 or 6 minutes, because i'm talented you see and graft like a bitch, they call me the monkey, but i'm not getting any younger

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cheapncheerful

hey under my new management team I have to say....one rule stood out....ban the fifty pence....:whistle:

 

I know smurfy means well but....some of us are in a different position and areas are different price wise...

 

although....I know which way I want to go...

 

and fortnightly work has to be a piece of piss as I do think monthly is....not so much dirt...which is why my work tends to drift about a lot unless custys ask me twice then they end up WHAT EVER THE WEATHER..on my monthly list....

 

first two houses today a fiver a piece and seperated by several miles....and another later on... a new job...I wont mention here..well okay seeing as some of you like my waffle..

 

fecking council estates...boar your welcome to em...

 

she told me the name as she collared me on another job and said can you clean my windows? well...now let me think...

 

so I gave her my number and told her to text me her address..

and she duly did...and I thought...I just love lifes coincidences...as one of my said monthlies is on the same estate...

as i entered the estate....I noticed the name of her close on the main entrance board and thought oh great I will go and have a butchers as you do...although she had actually told me she would be there in the afternoon...

 

so I drove all the way to the end....no sign of it...I drove all the way back double checking every turn off...couldnt see it so did my due job and thought laters...

 

laters I turned up and still couldnt find it now I could put sat nav on but he takes half an hour to warm up so I guessed where it was and got my ladders and headed off...

 

I asked a guy who said he was a visitor and it wasnt what I wanted.....I walked away peeded off and met another man who sent me back to the same stretch of houses....eventually....after I went for a walk around getting really annoyed...I FOUND IT.....oh...I have never seen a sign for it ..but I did spot the bench the woman told me was outside the front door...

 

well I did the front and went for a good walk around the back and couldnt find a gate....eventually I figured it out but...council estates....hmmmmm

 

well I got my fiver...and left....hopefully she wont bother me again...they were not that dirty but I have much better things to do than walk for miles for a fiver....now as for the other job..

 

I pull on the drive never seen the person yet the money is waiting for me and I now...bang my wfp trolley smack in the middle and boy I fly....

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kev
So are you saying @kev 2 men do those propeties... I doing tops while the other is doing bottoms so to speak?

Yeah smurf, so for that price typically 3 windows for the guy on the bottom

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rshandyman
They arent big houses, 7 minutes that's if it's a slow guy on tops, if i'm on tops it's more like 5 or 6 minutes, because i'm talented you see and graft like a bitch, they call me the monkey, but i'm not getting any younger

Now I can believe 2 man no frames @daveyboy1 would say that you are glass cleaner no window cleaner.

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kev

But i'm working on my own at the moment so i try and achieve 5 houses an hour £22.50 doesnt always work out that way at this time of year with the weather and whatever, but any way when i was in my early 20's my record was 40 of those houses myself in 1 day and 30 and 30 odds was regular, that's why the guy ended up selling me them, because i was his star man i made him mega dough, and plus i could go off and work on a building site for 6 months and when i came back my window job would be there for me, i was too good a worker for him to say no. Dont get me wrong he would make me sweat for a couple of weeks first though before saying yeah haha but i knew his game. He's been a mate since i was 13 so it was more than just a work relationship

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kev

Window cleaners clean glass believe it or not, listen mate i am like john wayne with that squeegy, no one will tell me how to do my job, frames are and added extra where i come from, they will get a bog standard price for the house and if they want frames done that would be extra. Think of it as a gold,silver, and bronze service, then you are on my level

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rshandyman
Window cleaners clean glass believe it or not, listen mate i am like john wayne with that squeegy, no one will tell me how to do my job, frames are and added extra where i come from, they will get a bog standard price for the house and if they want frames done that would be extra. Think of it as a gold,silver, and bronze service, then you are on my level

I would not be satisfied doing only glass

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rshandyman

I can only do one service...gold otherwise they can get someone else.

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