Jump to content
Welcome guest/lurker! Read more... ×
Robt100

Hi Everyone! New starter here.



Recommended Posts

Robt100

Hi everyone,


I'm Rob and my wife and I are starting up a window cleaning business using WFP in the Norfolk area. I must admit, I've been a bit of a lurker on the forum recently, but having just bought a Van (VW Caddy) its probably about time I said hello!

As a newbie to all the window cleaning lark I will probably have 1,000 silly questions to ask. I have a couple of friends who do WFP work and we have been out with them for a few days and done a lot of proof of concept before going ahead. My main questions at the moment are more about equipment setup and getting the best of my money from Mr Tax Man.

So if there is anyone here who can recommend the best way to go about sole-trader/partnerships and also expenses (As I believe there's two ways of doing it, and as I've just spent money on a van that one way is better than the other if you're making big payouts??). And also whats best advertising wise, signwritten vans/facebook/websites etc. I've had a look through the "for starts/beginners" pages and trying to take it all on board.

And secondly, due to having no space for a 1000L tank at the house I am looking at getting a fully 'in the van' system, with the RO and DI resin and all the gubbins in the van and filling up at night (aiming to work 3 ish days a week). I just wondered the pro's and cons of having it in/out of the van and also any recommendations on systems? Planning on going down the DIY route as most fitted kits are pricey!

Hoping to have everything done and running in the next 6-8 weeks, so your input is most appreciated! Thought I'd add a photo of the professional in action (well, that's what I call my wife now anyway 🤣 ) Just hoping the female window cleaner acts as a business builder rather than putting people off.

IMG-20180605-WA0001.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Part Timer

I'll leave all the technical stuff to @spruce. Regarding the taxman, firstly I would advise going to see an Accountant, for your van if it hasn't cost you much and isn't likely to need a lot of money keeping it on the road, I would go down the route of claiming 45p per mile and pay RTF, diesel etc yourselves. The "Partnership" doesn't have to be split 50/50, for tax reasons you can do it what ever percentage works best. Every penny you spend that is business related keep the receipts, I would also think that you could claim for the cost of sign writing the van, even though it's yours. A lot of advice very much depends on how quick you think you will be up and running, and how quick you build the business.

Good luck on your new venture.

Share this post


Link to post
 
Incheck

Best of luck to you both i hope you make it. When it comes to advertising, your van is a big one. In fact its essential. Have “window cleaning” in big letters (our letters are too small) and list everything else you do also. Anything to pull them in off the street without having to pay for online advertising. With facebook, it’s good, providing you dont come across as cheap. If you look cheap your phone wont stop ringing, youll get hundreds of messers wanting something for nothing. Better to look professional, and expensive. You may attract a lot less attention because of this but then at least you know the ones who are ringing are “payers”
Up selling is also what you want to be doing. Don’t be pushy, but tactful. When you’re cleaning windows, always look for additional work, e.g. dirty driveway, blocked gutters, dirty white gutters, minging conservatory roof etc. these are all high earning jobs. And casually drop the line “if you ever need such and such cleaned”
Less customers for more work is always a good thing.
A gumtree ad linked to your website is ok, it doesn’t bring in a lot of work if theres a lot of competition though. Our ads always end up being sent down the list week by week as our area is swamped with window cleaners.
Google i found to be a fail, it’s cost for return wasn’t cutting the mustard in my opinion. And we’ve never paid one of those top of the rankings gurus either. For big businesses with multiple vans and employees i think google rankings are a lot more important, but for us small timers i wouldn’t say it’s necessary at all. Hope this helps!




Sent using the Window Cleaning Forums mobile app

Share this post


Link to post
Spartan

Nothing right now to add with regard to suggestions, but I wish you both all the very best with the new enterprise. 👍

Share this post


Link to post
scottish cleaning service

If I had a partner then I would make it two businesses. one window cleaning and the other domestic cleaning where the demand is. Its hard work but the customers are there and £20 an hour minimum I would be charging.

Share this post


Link to post
Craigmac
2 minutes ago, scottish cleaning service said:

If I had a partner then I would make it two businesses. one window cleaning and the other domestic cleaning where the demand is. Its hard work but the customers are there and £20 an hour minimum I would be charging.

My partner who started a domestic cleaning business says she would rather be cleaning windows now that she knows the earning potential lol.

Share this post


Link to post
scottish cleaning service
8 minutes ago, Craigmac said:

My partner who started a domestic cleaning business says she would rather be cleaning windows now that she knows the earning potential lol.

 

Probably more to the point, she knows how tiring cleaning is compared to the lightweight poles we now use. :1f609:

Share this post


Link to post
Craigmac
Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Robt100 said:

Hi everyone,


I'm Rob and my wife and I are starting up a window cleaning business using WFP in the Norfolk area. I must admit, I've been a bit of a lurker on the forum recently, but having just bought a Van (VW Caddy) its probably about time I said hello!

As a newbie to all the window cleaning lark I will probably have 1,000 silly questions to ask. I have a couple of friends who do WFP work and we have been out with them for a few days and done a lot of proof of concept before going ahead. My main questions at the moment are more about equipment setup and getting the best of my money from Mr Tax Man.

So if there is anyone here who can recommend the best way to go about sole-trader/partnerships and also expenses (As I believe there's two ways of doing it, and as I've just spent money on a van that one way is better than the other if you're making big payouts??). And also whats best advertising wise, signwritten vans/facebook/websites etc. I've had a look through the "for starts/beginners" pages and trying to take it all on board.

And secondly, due to having no space for a 1000L tank at the house I am looking at getting a fully 'in the van' system, with the RO and DI resin and all the gubbins in the van and filling up at night (aiming to work 3 ish days a week). I just wondered the pro's and cons of having it in/out of the van and also any recommendations on systems? Planning on going down the DIY route as most fitted kits are pricey!

Hoping to have everything done and running in the next 6-8 weeks, so your input is most appreciated! Thought I'd add a photo of the professional in action (well, that's what I call my wife now anyway 🤣 ) Just hoping the female window cleaner acts as a business builder rather than putting people off.

IMG-20180605-WA0001.jpg

What setup do you have in the picture?

Are you using a backpack or is it connected straight to the hose?

1 minute ago, scottish cleaning service said:

 

Probably more to the point, she knows how tiring cleaning is compared to the lightweight poles we now use. :1f609:

As a fully fit 34 year old I can concur that domestic cleaning is brutal. 

Give me a pole and a dirty window any day 😄

Edited by Craigmac

Share this post


Link to post
Robt100

Thanks all for your hellos, advice and encouragement so far. Quite a few handy tips!
@scottish cleaning service the Mrs has already 'been there done that' with the domestic cleaning, not wanting to go back. Though as an 'alternative income' she is also looking at vehicle re-upholstery.

@Part Timer@Incheck Thanks both for the info with the taxes and advertising, sounds like you both know what you're doing!

@Craigmac Setup is a mate's. 650L Van setup with twin pumps and poles, he was round the back whilst the Mrs did the front :1f609:

Share this post


Link to post
spruce
Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, Robt100 said:

Hi everyone,


I'm Rob and my wife and I are starting up a window cleaning business using WFP in the Norfolk area. I must admit, I've been a bit of a lurker on the forum recently, but having just bought a Van (VW Caddy) its probably about time I said hello!

As a newbie to all the window cleaning lark I will probably have 1,000 silly questions to ask. I have a couple of friends who do WFP work and we have been out with them for a few days and done a lot of proof of concept before going ahead. My main questions at the moment are more about equipment setup and getting the best of my money from Mr Tax Man.

So if there is anyone here who can recommend the best way to go about sole-trader/partnerships and also expenses (As I believe there's two ways of doing it, and as I've just spent money on a van that one way is better than the other if you're making big payouts??). And also whats best advertising wise, signwritten vans/facebook/websites etc. I've had a look through the "for starts/beginners" pages and trying to take it all on board.

And secondly, due to having no space for a 1000L tank at the house I am looking at getting a fully 'in the van' system, with the RO and DI resin and all the gubbins in the van and filling up at night (aiming to work 3 ish days a week). I just wondered the pro's and cons of having it in/out of the van and also any recommendations on systems? Planning on going down the DIY route as most fitted kits are pricey!

Hoping to have everything done and running in the next 6-8 weeks, so your input is most appreciated! Thought I'd add a photo of the professional in action (well, that's what I call my wife now anyway 🤣 ) Just hoping the female window cleaner acts as a business builder rather than putting people off.

IMG-20180605-WA0001.jpg

 

Welcome. If you both work hard at getting business and cooperate with each other then there is no reason for you not to succeed.

 

I worked together with the wife for a few short days and found that we got a lot of walkups from women in the street because they felt more comfortable with a husband and wife team.

 

To work with your misses takes a very special relationship. Sadly we didn't have that relationship so our working together ended rather abruptly with a standup altercation on a customers front lawn. All those customers we gained because the wife was there slowly but surely discontinued our service. So within a year of her final day out cleaning we had lost the lot.

 

We had a very jovial yet serious discussion back in January about working with one's better half.

 

I'm not into Facebook and website advertising. That's for the young ones. I still believe that the best way to get customers is to knock on doors and ask if they would like your services. If you use leaflets, then put a few in the neighbours letter boxes when you have finished the clean and the customer is happy with the job. I would still prefer to knock on doors though.

Speak to anyone you see and ask them if they need a window cleaner. (Interestingly, I've been passing new enquiries onto a local window cleaning business with multiple vans. On a number of occasions those speaking to me have seen him on Facebook and recognised the name. However, they didn't respond as they weren't sure of who he was. I believe people still need to talk to people in person before making a business decision.)

 

Ask your customers if they have any friends or family living nearby who would also benefit from your services. And as has been said look for add on services from your existing customer base. I would price to include the garage door and just do it for them. The clean would cost you £X every 4 weeks and we will do the garage door for you as well. Their house is your advertising board.

 

Vehicle. A VW caddy isn't a particularily good size van for twin operator use IMHO. So ideally you will need to store water. The problem is that 350 or 400 liters won't last you through the day, so you could well have to go back to base and top up, especially in summer. Whilst having an on board r/o system is very convenient, it can also stiffle your business growth. Ask me, I talk from experience. When I first started I processed water into my trailer. It was a small r/o and took all night. On more times than I want to remember I forgot to turn it on before going to bed. Or the wife switched the r/o to use the back tap and never switched it back on again when she was finished. But she never did that even when she was caught with her hands in the proverbial cookie jar. There was also an issue with the float valve to as it would sometimes stop allowing pure to flow into the tanks. This meant I couldn't work that day as I had no water. That one I did sort out though.

 

Now a days we have a 4040 which seems to be the r/o of choice with manufacturers because of its water processing speed. But at best we get 2lpm of pure with 2lpm of waste. So filling a 400 liter tank is going to take over 3 hours.

 

Also try to get her the lighest pole and brush you can find. If you can afford to go for an Extreme pole and Extreme brush head then it will make it much easier for her. The big issue with us was that the wife, although having a very strong back didn't have the strength in her arms to use a pole at height. (A young husband and wife team have taken on some of our work and doing it in our behalf. She is of small stature but she looks like she's a weight lifter. But 2 years into window cleaning wfp she struggles to use an SLX18 at height. I've watched her and some of our customers have made the same observation.)

Back to us; So hose management with me doing tops and her doing bottoms become the challenge. The only way that worked was to have a hose around the back and one in the front. I would clean the top windows at the back, uncouple the pole and leave the hose for her to use while I cleaned the front upper windows with the other reel. But she insisted that she use her hose all the time. We ended up with tangled hose at each house. The end result is that it took twice as long to clean each house as she didn't think she should have to reel in her hose in and left it for me to do, wipe cills and doors down and/or write out 'windows cleaned' tickets. When I thought she was finishing the job off round the back when I asked her to do it, she was sitting in the van because she was cold, needed a drink, or some other feeble excuse.

 

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by spruce

Share this post


Link to post


Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.