Jump to content
Park90

Looking to start a window cleaning business

Recommended Posts

Park90

Please forgive me for being an absolute novice. 
 

I am potentially looking at starting my own business specialising in window cleaning. Reason being, I've met two separate people recently who have quit their (very good) 9-5 jobs and tell me how better their life is now and the money they actually make. 
 

I am currently working in a 9-5 office based job myself which ive specialised in for the past 7 years. Ive picked up good skills within sales, management etc. I earn around £38k a year which includes bonuses. My job is secure, im just sick to the back teeth now of making someone else good money. Fed up of the industry and really wanted to find out how true the 2 guys claims were with Window cleaning. 
 

I have a list of questions that i would really appreciate some answers to please...

 

1. Can i quickly earn enough to cover my household costs should i leave my comfortable job? (£1500 per month)

 

2. What equipment do i need if starting from scratch? (I would be wanting to use the water fed systems)

 

3. What specific info do i need to know assuming i know very little? 
 

4. Are marketing leaflets a good starting point or is traditional door knocking still the one?

 

5. Should i aim for commercial work early on or residential?

 

6. What are competitive costs for an example of a 3 bed semi? 
 

7. What would my start up costs be if starting with a water fed system and van? 
 

Im sure there will be more questions when i start learning more.

 

My baseline fear is leaving a comfortable job to nothing, or to something that doesn't work out. 
 

I am money orientated however i also understand that quaity work pays for itself.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Perryb91

How you doing park, welcome! I'm still in the first 6 months of starting up so will give you my spin on it bit it's only my opinion. First thing I'd advise is to find someone you can do a few days with that's happy to give you a bit of work experience as this isnt for everyone. But on the the whole I love it! 

 

I'm lucky with my current shift pattern (4 on 4 off) I've been able to basically run it perfectly along my full time job which has helped alot as I'm not making a loss from.the get go. I'll try give my take on your questions below hope it helps! 

 

1) I'd say no on this one, stick to building your round on Saturdays and sundays for the time being while you have a safety net of a pay check. Will be a pain but wont leave your Bill's unpaid. 

 

2) gardener backpack and a CLX/SLX22 with 25l water containers and ideally a spotless water nearby bare minimum. Also a basic traditional starter kit mop and squeegee for internals. 

 

 

3) quite a bit...I'd advise you check out A&E mackintosh and green pro clean on youtube theres so much info on their channels!

 

4) leaflets do work for some and I get a few here and there but door knocking and facebook adds are what added numbers to my round the quickest. 

 

5) if you can get a few shops maybe, but dont over sell what you can do maybe offer sign cleaning with your pole and trad their fronts after. 

 

6) that ones harder but I'd charge no less then £12 for a small 2-3 semi but more often the not its £15+ always charge double for your first clean. It sorts the messers out and you'll be there longer. A&e mackintosh does a video on pricing on his channel which wont steer you too wrong. 

 

7) I still use my backpack system in my van with containers but it works for me perfectly as parking can be a pain. But 4k for my citron berlingo 200 for sign writing and about 500-700 on my pole trad gear etc etc . Good set of ladders you can find on market place 50 quid ish  (rarely use). 

 

Hope I've helped a little mate, if you do have more questions use the search bar up the top because someone prob has asked the quest before. Theres so much info on here and everyone is dead helpfull. 

 

Best of luck

 

Perry 👍🏼😉

Share this post


Link to post
Pjj

You certainly arnt going to be earning what you are at the moment any time soon it takes a long time to get quality work and learning the skills needed to earn that kind in money , it will also depend where in the country you are , how much competition there is in your area , doing commercial is a totally different game to just doing houses don’t try and run before you can walk , ime not being negative but people think that window cleaning is a way to riches and you can do very well but it takes time a lot of hard work , and a bit of luck , you might also find it hard going from an office job to a physical job , if you know people already doing it try and go out with them to see what they are doing it will give you some knowledge about the job 

Share this post


Link to post
Tango

I've been doing this about 7-8 months, only part time really, i was picking up clients on a fairly regular basis until i hit the wall with my door knocking.. now i've resorted back to leaflets which is a lot slower but anyway, i'll help you out with my POV but the ultimate newbie guide is GreenPro - he's got a youtube channel and has completely mastered window cleaning.

 

8 hours ago, Park90 said:

1. Can i quickly earn enough to cover my household costs should i leave my comfortable job? (£1500 per month)

 

If you're a marketing whizz with that magic touch you might get up to £500 a month pretty quick but that'll take some serious doing. Window cleaning rounds are built over time (or you could buy a round but even then there's no guarantee the clients will stick with you). My windy says it took them 4 years to get to where they are now - a £700 a week turnover.

 

Yes you read that right, £700 a week. It's worth getting into even if you only do it part time. This week i've got £85 of work lined up.. just 6 clients. 3 today (£10, £10 and £15), one Wednesday (£15), one  thursday (£10), one Friday (£20) and a £5 fronts only at some point when i remember to ring them lol. Many windys will do 10 clients per day. I spoke to another windy a while back who said it's been a bad day if he **ONLY** does £200 a day.

 

I have a very small round but i can still do £40 an hour sometimes. Typically it's £15 for me at the moment though - on a very small round.

 

8 hours ago, Park90 said:

2. What equipment do i need if starting from scratch? (I would be wanting to use the water fed systems)

 

Pole from Gardiner pole systems - you need to be able to reach 2nd floor so a 27ft pole or longer if you can afford it. The rest (tank / pump) is kinda down to you - you mentioned a van so the setup you'll want will cost a few grand in reality. It's worth doing but it'll take time to pay for itself.

 

8 hours ago, Park90 said:

4. Are marketing leaflets a good starting point or is traditional door knocking still the one?

 

I use A5 monochrome single sided leaflets. They're slow. Door knocking produces results, you get more messers but it gets you work faster (also drops you in it when someone says yes, you look at their back windows and think **** why did i offer?). Downside is unless you're really gifted at door to door sales, it can be literally 1 or 2 jobs per day - sometimes none! You'll also get a lot of "No", "Already got a window cleaner" etc replies - even when you can see their glass and frames are filthy. People do treat you like a thick idiot (when you're laughing behind their back at how hard they have to work for their peanuts lol).

 

8 hours ago, Park90 said:

5. Should i aim for commercial work early on or residential?

 

You can charge more for commercial but when you lose it it's a bigger hit. I lost the same job in two days a while back (binned me then texted me saying come back then binned me again the next day when i went back - all for a more expensive windy who offered less for the money). That was over £1k per year lost. Residential = eggs in multiple baskets giving you more security.

 

8 hours ago, Park90 said:

6. What are competitive costs for an example of a 3 bed semi? 

 

Whatever you want to charge. In some areas finding a reliable windy is hard so people will pay whatever you quote knowing that nobody else will even quote them.

 

 

8 hours ago, Park90 said:

My baseline fear is leaving a comfortable job to nothing, or to something that doesn't work out. 

 

Start up part time like everyone else. Make the transition gradually.

Share this post


Link to post
Stevieboy

How about if you had met a Plumber and he told you how well he was doing, would you have thought about plumbing?? 

Share this post


Link to post
Tango
31 minutes ago, Stevieboy said:

How about if you had met a Plumber and he told you how well he was doing, would you have thought about plumbing?? 

 

The sky high tuition fees would put most people off that.

Share this post


Link to post
kevinc250
1 hour ago, Stevieboy said:

How about if you had met a Plumber and he told you how well he was doing, would you have thought about plumbing?? 

nice call @Stevieboy

Share this post


Link to post
Part Timer

I don't know how long it will take you to get to £1500 a month profit so circa £2k turnover, as I don't know your area and I don't know how hard you will work. Very easy for you to say you'd work all hours god sends but getting told to F off a few times a day tends to dull the enthusiasm. To get to £38k a year profit, based on a 48 week year you will need to turnover £1k a week minimum. Don't know for certain but I would think around half the people on here, regular posters, are doing that.

I think the obvious answer is, as the majority have said, to try it out around your current job. 2 full days a week should get you to your desired £1500. One thing I would always advise, and I know it will be hard to do, any monies made setting up put to one side and use it as your financial buffer once, if, you decide to go full time.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Park90
3 hours ago, Stevieboy said:

How about if you had met a Plumber and he told you how well he was doing, would you have thought about plumbing?? 

I heard about a guy called Jeff Besoz thats done alright from selling books online so was considering that actually. 


Funnily enough I know very little about fitting pipes, however I do know how to clean a window... I just wanted advice on how to potentially make a living from it. Thanks for the input it was really helpful. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Park90
2 hours ago, Part Timer said:

I don't know how long it will take you to get to £1500 a month profit so circa £2k turnover, as I don't know your area and I don't know how hard you will work. Very easy for you to say you'd work all hours god sends but getting told to F off a few times a day tends to dull the enthusiasm. To get to £38k a year profit, based on a 48 week year you will need to turnover £1k a week minimum. Don't know for certain but I would think around half the people on here, regular posters, are doing that.

I think the obvious answer is, as the majority have said, to try it out around your current job. 2 full days a week should get you to your desired £1500. One thing I would always advise, and I know it will be hard to do, any monies made setting up put to one side and use it as your financial buffer once, if, you decide to go full time.

 

 

Thanks for the advice mate, i think it would have to be a start at weekends and work it around my full time job. 
 

I do have genuine interest in it i just have little time to spare. Would it work to do it just on a Sunday every week to start? Then move to both days? 
 

The sales and rejection part is my biggest plus, where as i see its most peoples weakness. I work in recruitment, i get told to F off daily by companies and candidates, i understand door knocking and canvassing, ive done it every working day for the past 7 years. I have no worries that id be able to get business across the line.
 

If i could make enough to put into my household (£1500) and lets say another £200/£300 for myself each month id be happy. Im not expecting to get the £38,000 a year. Id rather lose £8,000 a year but work for myself around my own watch and answer to nobody but me. 
 

 

Share this post


Link to post
dazmond

i work around 30 hours a week for 46 weeks of the year(including admin,chasing debts,purifying water,cleaning the van,etc)but i only actually window clean for 20-25 hours a week and i turnover around £45k a year....after expenses(roughly £8k a year)and tax/insurances,etc im left with around £30k-£32k profit which i can comfortably live on in these parts(north west)....im happy enough...

 

BUT!its took me 26 years of window cleaning to refine/compact my round to these hours/earnings........you might do better than me in a much shorter time with your sales/management background......im certainly not much of a businessman...window cleaning is something i just fell into while i was in between jobs but its kept me going all these years....

 

id hate to work for someone else now......as most jobs mean working more than 30 hours a week which i dont think i could stand these days...i love my short working days....

 

if i were you id go and work with a window cleaner for a bit to see if you think you can do the job first before anything else....i worked with a window cleaner for 12 months first before slowly branching out on my own(back in jan 1993)......

Share this post


Link to post
Part Timer
8 hours ago, Park90 said:

Would it work to do it just on a Sunday every week to start? Then move to both days? 

This is the joy of being your own boss, you can work the hours you want to. You'd have to explain this to the potential customers though. One good thing, if their is one, about working weekends is you are more visible to the neighbours. 

Share this post


Link to post
mike007
9 hours ago, Park90 said:

Thanks for the advice mate, i think it would have to be a start at weekends and work it around my full time job. 
 

I do have genuine interest in it i just have little time to spare. Would it work to do it just on a Sunday every week to start? Then move to both days? 
 

The sales and rejection part is my biggest plus, where as i see its most peoples weakness. I work in recruitment, i get told to F off daily by companies and candidates, i understand door knocking and canvassing, ive done it every working day for the past 7 years. I have no worries that id be able to get business across the line.
 

If i could make enough to put into my household (£1500) and lets say another £200/£300 for myself each month id be happy. Im not expecting to get the £38,000 a year. Id rather lose £8,000 a year but work for myself around my own watch and answer to nobody but me. 
 

 

Was told years ago by a director of Anglian windows that a good canvesser will always get work!!

Share this post


Link to post
dazmond
On 02/12/2019 at 08:45, Perryb91 said:

How you doing park, welcome! I'm still in the first 6 months of starting up so will give you my spin on it bit it's only my opinion. First thing I'd advise is to find someone you can do a few days with that's happy to give you a bit of work experience as this isnt for everyone. But on the the whole I love it! 

 

I'm lucky with my current shift pattern (4 on 4 off) I've been able to basically run it perfectly along my full time job which has helped alot as I'm not making a loss from.the get go. I'll try give my take on your questions below hope it helps! 

 

1) I'd say no on this one, stick to building your round on Saturdays and sundays for the time being while you have a safety net of a pay check. Will be a pain but wont leave your Bill's unpaid. 

 

2) gardener backpack and a CLX/SLX22 with 25l water containers and ideally a spotless water nearby bare minimum. Also a basic traditional starter kit mop and squeegee for internals. 

 

 

3) quite a bit...I'd advise you check out A&E mackintosh and green pro clean on youtube theres so much info on their channels!

 

4) leaflets do work for some and I get a few here and there but door knocking and facebook adds are what added numbers to my round the quickest. 

 

5) if you can get a few shops maybe, but dont over sell what you can do maybe offer sign cleaning with your pole and trad their fronts after. 

 

6) that ones harder but I'd charge no less then £12 for a small 2-3 semi but more often the not its £15+ always charge double for your first clean. It sorts the messers out and you'll be there longer. A&e mackintosh does a video on pricing on his channel which wont steer you too wrong. 

 

7) I still use my backpack system in my van with containers but it works for me perfectly as parking can be a pain. But 4k for my citron berlingo 200 for sign writing and about 500-700 on my pole trad gear etc etc . Good set of ladders you can find on market place 50 quid ish  (rarely use). 

 

Hope I've helped a little mate, if you do have more questions use the search bar up the top because someone prob has asked the quest before. Theres so much info on here and everyone is dead helpfull. 

 

Best of luck

 

Perry 👍🏼😉

so your probably left with around £30k take home pay after tax/NI....... which is roughly the same as me....however i turnover around £45k to get that £30k profit after expenses/tax/insurance,etc......but i work no more than 30 hours a week on EVERYTHING to do with my business(actually window cleaning,admin,purifying water,chasing debts,etc)....im happy with my income but its took me many years to get to this stage as a sole trader window cleaner......

On 02/12/2019 at 01:26, Park90 said:

Please forgive me for being an absolute novice. 
 

I am potentially looking at starting my own business specialising in window cleaning. Reason being, I've met two separate people recently who have quit their (very good) 9-5 jobs and tell me how better their life is now and the money they actually make. 
 

I am currently working in a 9-5 office based job myself which ive specialised in for the past 7 years. Ive picked up good skills within sales, management etc. I earn around £38k a year which includes bonuses. My job is secure, im just sick to the back teeth now of making someone else good money. Fed up of the industry and really wanted to find out how true the 2 guys claims were with Window cleaning. 
 

I have a list of questions that i would really appreciate some answers to please...

 

1. Can i quickly earn enough to cover my household costs should i leave my comfortable job? (£1500 per month)

 

2. What equipment do i need if starting from scratch? (I would be wanting to use the water fed systems)

 

3. What specific info do i need to know assuming i know very little? 
 

4. Are marketing leaflets a good starting point or is traditional door knocking still the one?

 

5. Should i aim for commercial work early on or residential?

 

6. What are competitive costs for an example of a 3 bed semi? 
 

7. What would my start up costs be if starting with a water fed system and van? 
 

Im sure there will be more questions when i start learning more.

 

My baseline fear is leaving a comfortable job to nothing, or to something that doesn't work out. 
 

I am money orientated however i also understand that quaity work pays for itself.

 

 

sorry i meant to quote this post from the original poster in my above post!🙄😂

Share this post


Link to post
Adman

I left a similar situation, and it was an incredibly hard 24 months to get established.  I had £5k savings, and borrowed £8k off my mother and used £6k of my kids savings to get to a point where I had replaced my previous earnings.  That said, my situation was one where I left my job on Friday afternoon, and bought a van and went door knocking on Monday... 

 

Make sure you properly plan and provide for your setup period. 

Share this post


Link to post
scottish cleaning service

I've been doing windows for two years now. First year not really interested in canvassing for new customers. Now the motion is rolling and I am picking up new customers every week. I got a call yesterday through Checkatrade to fix and clear two gutters which I did today and charged £50. I now quote to clean their windows because they have just moved in and it's an area I clean. I would advise having a local name of the area you clean on your van. A website is good but the most new work I get is through Checkatrade which costs £80 a month. If anyone wants to join then I would recommend you and give you whatever they give me (50 or £100). Your first two years will be hard because every penny you get in, will go straight back out on new equipment. I have just finished my second year and have all the equipment now so its all downhill for me now. 😉

Share this post


Link to post
Chris33
On 02/12/2019 at 01:26, Park90 said:

Please forgive me for being an absolute novice. 
 

I am potentially looking at starting my own business specialising in window cleaning. Reason being, I've met two separate people recently who have quit their (very good) 9-5 jobs and tell me how better their life is now and the money they actually make. 
 

I am currently working in a 9-5 office based job myself which ive specialised in for the past 7 years. Ive picked up good skills within sales, management etc. I earn around £38k a year which includes bonuses. My job is secure, im just sick to the back teeth now of making someone else good money. Fed up of the industry and really wanted to find out how true the 2 guys claims were with Window cleaning. 
 

I have a list of questions that i would really appreciate some answers to please...

 

1. Can i quickly earn enough to cover my household costs should i leave my comfortable job? (£1500 per month)

 

2. What equipment do i need if starting from scratch? (I would be wanting to use the water fed systems)

 

3. What specific info do i need to know assuming i know very little? 
 

4. Are marketing leaflets a good starting point or is traditional door knocking still the one?

 

5. Should i aim for commercial work early on or residential?

 

6. What are competitive costs for an example of a 3 bed semi? 
 

7. What would my start up costs be if starting with a water fed system and van? 
 

Im sure there will be more questions when i start learning more.

 

My baseline fear is leaving a comfortable job to nothing, or to something that doesn't work out. 
 

I am money orientated however i also understand that quaity work pays for itself.

 

 

You'll be able to match and make more than that wage you are on now too. Defo when full time and doing perhaps 2 or 3 add on shifts a month ie gutters. 

Share this post


Link to post
harunh

If your hungry and determined to do well then u can do it, but u also need time, if u cant give time to door knocking/leaflettingetc when first starting out u will struggle,

I started up over 7 years ago, and today i have 5 van son the go with over 2,000 clients, and it all started with door knocking, i started off as a part time window cleaner as i had a part time job bringing me in £500 a month, without this job i would not be here where i am today, so make sure u keep hold of your current job.

It is more tougher then u expect,  it is very hard work. It is a lot more easy working for someone else 100% i sometimes have days where i wish i worked for someone, 38k per year working for someone sounds pretty healthy.

Coming from an office job to outdoor cold work in January-February is not an easy task, i seen a lot of people fail due to this, but if you got the willpower then i recommend u go for it.

I have seen a lot of people buy fancy systems nice vans and then 2,3 months down the line they are selling up, it is not easy as it looks, dont forget once u become a window cleaner u also become a debt collector aswell as u will always be owed money.

Expect that the window cleaning prices will be going down in all the UK as lot of people are starting up like yourself and the prices in the window cleaning industry will slump year on year in the next decade, this is a market that will have cut price outfits operating offering low low prices just like your local foreign car wash, there will be that many people equipped with a reach and wash sytsem this is how the market will end up becoming, it seems very luxirious at this present time but in the next 10 years this window cleaning game will become a dead end business just like car washes but there is still money to be made dont get me wrong. I been in the game long enough now to understand it and i know this market in and out mate and this market will be slumping in the next decade but the only way to make a living out of window cleaning will be to work hard, so if your a grafter then i suggest u go for it 😉 it will be tough for you because u are starting out with a lot of other newbie window cleaners aswell, i can guarantee you that in your area there will be 5+ other window cleaners starting up aswell, but dont let that put u off.... just concentrate on knocking on them doors every day and u can achieve mega mega results.

Building a window cleaning round is not an overnight achievement, it takes years to build the round that you desire, so if u got the patience then go for it
 

Edited by harunh

Share this post


Link to post
mike007
8 hours ago, Haz said:

If your hungry and determined to do well then u can do it, but u also need time, if u cant give time to door knocking/leaflettingetc when first starting out u will struggle,

I started up over 7 years ago, and today i have 5 van son the go with over 2,000 clients, and it all started with door knocking, i started off as a part time window cleaner as i had a part time job bringing me in £500 a month, without this job i would not be here where i am today, so make sure u keep hold of your current job.

It is more tougher then u expect,  it is very hard work. It is a lot more easy working for someone else 100% i sometimes have days where i wish i worked for someone, 38k per year working for someone sounds pretty healthy.

Coming from an office job to outdoor cold work in January-February is not an easy task, i seen a lot of people fail due to this, but if you got the willpower then i recommend u go for it.

I have seen a lot of people buy fancy systems nice vans and then 2,3 months down the line they are selling up, it is not easy as it looks, dont forget once u become a window cleaner u also become a debt collector aswell as u will always be owed money.

Expect that the window cleaning prices will be going down in all the UK as lot of people are starting up like yourself and the prices in the window cleaning industry will slump year on year in the next decade, this is a market that will have cut price outfits operating offering low low prices just like your local foreign car wash, there will be that many people equipped with a reach and wash sytsem this is how the market will end up becoming, it seems very luxirious at this present time but in the next 10 years this window cleaning game will become a dead end business just like car washes but there is still money to be made dont get me wrong. I been in the game long enough now to understand it and i know this market in and out mate and this market will be slumping in the next decade but the only way to make a living out of window cleaning will be to work hard, so if your a grafter then i suggest u go for it 😉 it will be tough for you because u are starting out with a lot of other newbie window cleaners aswell, i can guarantee you that in your area there will be 5+ other window cleaners starting up aswell, but dont let that put u off.... just concentrate on knocking on them doors every day and u can achieve mega mega results.

Building a window cleaning round is not an overnight achievement, it takes years to build the round that you desire, so if u got the patience then go for it
 

Agree totally with Haz, especially with having another income stream or enough savings at start up. You just aint gonna start earning a decent living from the get go, and there will be days, maybe week when no income comes in due to no customers. and you still have to put food on the table and pay bills.....even a part time job will be crucial to help finances .....and your future at the beginning. Of course juggling 2 jobs will be tiring....but look to the future.

Share this post


Link to post
Tango
14 hours ago, Haz said:

Expect that the window cleaning prices will be going down in all the UK as lot of people are starting up like yourself and the prices in the window cleaning industry will slump year on year in the next decade, this is a market that will have cut price outfits operating offering low low prices just like your local foreign car wash, there will be that many people equipped with a reach and wash sytsem this is how the market will end up becoming, it seems very luxirious at this present time but in the next 10 years this window cleaning game will become a dead end business just like car washes but there is still money to be made dont get me wrong. I been in the game long enough now to understand it and i know this market in and out mate and this market will be slumping in the next decade but the only way to make a living out of window cleaning will be to work hard, so if your a grafter then i suggest u go for it 😉 it will be tough for you because u are starting out with a lot of other newbie window cleaners aswell, i can guarantee you that in your area there will be 5+ other window cleaners starting up aswell

 

This has been a problem in my area. We're saturated with window cleaners and I know of one who has an entire estate stitched up as trad work and it's a big estate too - probably a minimum of 15 roads but everywhere you knock it's a no - got a trad cleaner. Spoke to him a while back and he openly atmitted he got well over 6 weeks of rolling work to keep him busy and didn't want anymore unless convenient to him - oh and he's been doing it 25 years. Fair play to him he's done well but it does make it harder for us newbies to get established. I started in March / April and it's been a constant uphill struggle to pick up regular work. I'd literally canvass all day and get one regular client if i was lucky and the odd one off job maybe two. Some days nothing - those are hard!

 

I suppose we'll just have to keep fighting upwards price wise so that the undercutters don't undercut too much...

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

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.