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Hello,

I was hoping if any of you kind people could offer some advice. I’ve been working as an Autism diagnostician for the last few years, and one of the most frustrating things (amongst many) is the lack of employment in this client group. The National Autistic Society claim 84% are currently unemployed. The real frustration is because many of the high functioning clients I see would make incredible employees (attention to detail, focused, etc) but they’re social difficulties let them down as well as anxieties etc. My idea is to set up a cleaning company incl windows to help these people into employment. I have the skills to support the clients, and with the right environment I’m sure they’d cope. The one major problem is I have no idea how to set up a window cleaning business! I’ve obviously done research on canvassers, diy door knocking, buying a round. The problem is chicken and egg really around finances.

Do people think this is a viable idea? I certainly wouldn’t want to tread on any toes or undercut anyone. Are there any obvious problems in this line of work for people on the Autism spectrum who have social and anxiety issues? My research has suggested that if I deal with all the clients and the occasional issues they have, the employees should be ok?

Sorry for the long email, it’s something I’m really passionate about as these are good people who need a chance. Any thoughts or opinions would be really appreciated. 
 

Cheers

Ben

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If you scroll through the last 2-3 pages of recent activity there is a few newbie posts on starting up were lots of advice has been given, great idea and hope it takes off.

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I would suggest initially targeting companies that actually provide housing for the Autistic. If you can get them interested I'm fairly certain there would be money available to train them before you started.

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Brilliant. Thanks for the replies, I’m busy having a look through all the posts. Utmost respect to the businesses you’ve all set up and developed. 
 

To be honest many of the clients in residential care would I think struggle with the demands of the job. The clients I work with are very high functioning, some have degrees in engineering and IT, and put me to shame on their technical and practical ability. They just struggle with interviews and coping in busy work environments.  I know there are cowboys about, but do this properly and successfully a high standard of professionalism and ability is needed. 
 

I’ll keep myself busy reading all the posts. 
Thanks again. 

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My question to you would be, are you thinking of sending them out by themselves, in pairs, or with someone not on the Autism scale? I don't think they would have a problem at all with the actual work, in fact, the routine-like method would probably feel quite comfortable to them. My only concern would be (as you seem to have already planned for) if clients have questions or complaints and put them on the spot whilst working, would they feel up to the social pressure a bit like a busy environment or a job interview?

You may need to factor in a "any problems contact me not them" policy when you would go to quote etc. just to save some undue stress, of course, that all depends on where they are on the scale. With very high functioning I don't think it would be a problem for most. I'm pretty sure im on the scale somewhere (My wife was an ABA therapist, and the things she taught me, or that confused her about her client made perfect sense in my head🤣) and would find those the hardest things.

For building a customer base I would say Lead Gen might be the best bet, yes it costs (Although not as much as canvassing) but it directly targets those actively looking for a window cleaner, so you are more likely to be able to get a good price, and someone who doesnt have a window cleaner so wont be under cutting and....forgive me for saying this, its not how I feel but the atitude I have seen from people over the years....more accepting of having an 'autistic person' working for them. As no doubt some idiots out there would see that as a put-off for accepting your work.

Something else with the finances, especially with you saying about their practical skills, would be to maybe DIY build the equipment for the van rather than buying a kit, it would make a good project to mentally invest in the work. You may even find that they come up with some great ideas for growing the business that you never thought of!

I hope some of that helps, as it sounds like a really good idea!

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Lovely idea and a subject close to my heart as 3 of my children are Autistic. 

I agree with comments so far that as far as the work is concerned they will likely be very good at it as seems to be the case certainly with 2 of mine being meticulous about cleanliness. 

But the worry would be as already mentioned the social interaction which is obviously a struggle and can give the impression to some of rudeness when it isnt. Also how any criticism or unhappy customers would affect them, as Ive found criticism can have a devastating effect on them.

 

Lots to think about but great that you are trying to do something to help these ones.

 

 

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I think this is a great idea and has possibilities.

It would be difficult for somebody on the Autism spectrum who has social and anxiety issues to go out on their own however since there can be a lot of social interaction, on some days I clean windows for up to 25 customers (some of them will not be in but at at least 50% will & would expect some kind of social interaction - even it's just a "How are you today?"). Have you considered how you would deal with "walk-ups" for example? You would most likely need a two-man system and would need to be with them all the time. Large houses and residential care homes for the elderly would probably be best - but the competition to clean these would be more fierce than standard domestic housing.

It's certainly do-able but will require quite a bit of thought and organisation. If you need answers to any specific questions there's many on here who will be happy to help. I wish you the best of luck! 😀

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4 hours ago, Ben P said:

Hello,

I was hoping if any of you kind people could offer some advice. I’ve been working as an Autism diagnostician for the last few years, and one of the most frustrating things (amongst many) is the lack of employment in this client group. The National Autistic Society claim 84% are currently unemployed. The real frustration is because many of the high functioning clients I see would make incredible employees (attention to detail, focused, etc) but they’re social difficulties let them down as well as anxieties etc. My idea is to set up a cleaning company incl windows to help these people into employment. I have the skills to support the clients, and with the right environment I’m sure they’d cope. The one major problem is I have no idea how to set up a window cleaning business! I’ve obviously done research on canvassers, diy door knocking, buying a round. The problem is chicken and egg really around finances.

Do people think this is a viable idea? I certainly wouldn’t want to tread on any toes or undercut anyone. Are there any obvious problems in this line of work for people on the Autism spectrum who have social and anxiety issues? My research has suggested that if I deal with all the clients and the occasional issues they have, the employees should be ok?

Sorry for the long email, it’s something I’m really passionate about as these are good people who need a chance. Any thoughts or opinions would be really appreciated. 
 

Cheers

Ben

Hi Ben it's a very Good idea . I have a 9 year old Boy who has Autism so do understand the Difficulties . The work would be ideal to be Honest especially the Window Cleaning side to it I think  . Going back to People with Autism in work yeah it's a Poor Stat that Most people with Autism will Never be able to Hold down a Job and it Mostly Stems to the Social Side like Talking to People  . So I agree with the other Guys a 2 Man set up is Ideal the other guy to deal with the Social aspect of the job Talking to Customers . Work side these Guys who have answered already would know where to start and with whom . But what if you started with all the Schools First or the Council you are living in to ask them about it  , I am a Newbie just starting up I am still doing the Delivering of Cards and washing the few Customers I have . I am not Door Knocking due to the Current situation . Buying a Round is ok but some Guys are charging way to Much at the Moment .So I guess its Building your own if your Budget is not Massive . Where abouts are you in England 

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Thanks folks, that’s exactly the kind of info I was looking for, and really encouraging. Yeah it’s a bit of a scandal really the figures on unemployment considering how talented and intelligent many of the people I work with are, they just seem to struggle with this dog eat dog work environment. I’ve worked with Astro physicians, aeronautical engineers and one guy who went to study maths at Oxford uni aged 15 who has never been able to hold down a job! 
 

It will be a challenge as the majority of the people I’ve worked with have other mental health problems, so it can be very difficult to keep a steady emotional space. The slightest blip can cause massive problems and I worry Would end their enthusiasm for the job but I think it’s worth a try, even just on a very small scale. I know it won’t be easy as the difficulty Autism brings can make consistent stable employment almost impossible which is the thing I’d need! 
 

The development of the business would be difficult as I’m currently working. I’m seriously considering packing in sitting on my backside all day in an office and developing the round hands on myself then look to just take one or two clients on part time maybe. The best job I ever did was landscape gardening after leaving uni, I enjoyed being outdoors and the feeling of actually visually seeing something I’d finished. I’ll definitely look into the lead gen didn’t know it was a thing, thought it was canvassers. 

Just one question, on the buying of rounds. I know it’s impossible to give an exact figure, but if I was able to borrow a bit of cash to say invest in a round that brought in around 2500 a month what would a realistic drop off be of the customers? Is there a pretty much average amount? It would be a nightmare to invest say 10k and lose over half the customers! 
 

Once again thanks for your input, genuinely appreciated. 
 

Ben

Based in Manchester, although work based in East Lancs where most of clients/connections are. 

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On the early business development side, slightly more long-term, do you think it is going to be better (for them) to have multiple days a week, or maybe 5 workers, one for each weekday. Then you could wittle down maybe those who give up, and those who want more, and finally end up with maybe 2 or 3 workers, rather than suddenly ending up with half a week where you have to do two peoples work?

The low-cost 'test' would probably be a backpack system, and maybe 10 lead gen jobs, and just do a saturday with potential workers and see how it goes. If it all falls flat you can sell on the backpack easy enough, and 10 leads shouldn't cost much at all.

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23 minutes ago, Ben P said:

Thanks folks, that’s exactly the kind of info I was looking for, and really encouraging. Yeah it’s a bit of a scandal really the figures on unemployment considering how talented and intelligent many of the people I work with are, they just seem to struggle with this dog eat dog work environment. I’ve worked with Astro physicians, aeronautical engineers and one guy who went to study maths at Oxford uni aged 15 who has never been able to hold down a job! 
 

It will be a challenge as the majority of the people I’ve worked with have other mental health problems, so it can be very difficult to keep a steady emotional space. The slightest blip can cause massive problems and I worry Would end their enthusiasm for the job but I think it’s worth a try, even just on a very small scale. I know it won’t be easy as the difficulty Autism brings can make consistent stable employment almost impossible which is the thing I’d need! 
 

The development of the business would be difficult as I’m currently working. I’m seriously considering packing in sitting on my backside all day in an office and developing the round hands on myself then look to just take one or two clients on part time maybe. The best job I ever did was landscape gardening after leaving uni, I enjoyed being outdoors and the feeling of actually visually seeing something I’d finished. I’ll definitely look into the lead gen didn’t know it was a thing, thought it was canvassers. 

Just one question, on the buying of rounds. I know it’s impossible to give an exact figure, but if I was able to borrow a bit of cash to say invest in a round that brought in around 2500 a month what would a realistic drop off be of the customers? Is there a pretty much average amount? It would be a nightmare to invest say 10k and lose over half the customers! 
 

Once again thanks for your input, genuinely appreciated. 
 

Ben

Based in Manchester, although work based in East Lancs where most of clients/connections are. 

Hi Ben I am a Newbie the other Guys would give More Details .  What I do know if you want a Round that brings in £2500 a Month its Normally roughly 6 Maybe 7 times so you would be looking at 15k upwards . There are rounds out there small ones . But be Careful I do know that they will inflate the Rounds before selling . Good Luck 

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1 hour ago, Ben P said:

Just one question, on the buying of rounds. I know it’s impossible to give an exact figure, but if I was able to borrow a bit of cash to say invest in a round that brought in around 2500 a month what would a realistic drop off be of the customers? Is there a pretty much average amount? It would be a nightmare to invest say 10k and lose over half the customers! 

If you're spending 10k try and get some legal agreement drawn up so that if a percentage of customers drop out you get a percentage of what you've paid back....

I would suggest you perhaps try getting some pictures of the guys window cleaning on friends and families houses and get something published in the local paper with your story and what you're trying to achieve. I'm sure people would read this with interest and you'd pick up a few customers. Like this guy who used to be on one of the other forums:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2292095/Britains-unlikely-window-cleaner-35-stone-Gerald-big-ladder--scared-heights.html

Not sure where he is now ...

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On 16/06/2020 at 14:57, Cookie said:

If you're spending 10k try and get some legal agreement drawn up so that if a percentage of customers drop out you get a percentage of what you've paid back....

I would suggest you perhaps try getting some pictures of the guys window cleaning on friends and families houses and get something published in the local paper with your story and what you're trying to achieve. I'm sure people would read this with interest and you'd pick up a few customers. Like this guy who used to be on one of the other forums:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2292095/Britains-unlikely-window-cleaner-35-stone-Gerald-big-ladder--scared-heights.html

Not sure where he is now ...

 

On 15/06/2020 at 19:53, Ben P said:

Hello,

I was hoping if any of you kind people could offer some advice. I’ve been working as an Autism diagnostician for the last few years, and one of the most frustrating things (amongst many) is the lack of employment in this client group. The National Autistic Society claim 84% are currently unemployed. The real frustration is because many of the high functioning clients I see would make incredible employees (attention to detail, focused, etc) but they’re social difficulties let them down as well as anxieties etc. My idea is to set up a cleaning company incl windows to help these people into employment. I have the skills to support the clients, and with the right environment I’m sure they’d cope. The one major problem is I have no idea how to set up a window cleaning business! I’ve obviously done research on canvassers, diy door knocking, buying a round. The problem is chicken and egg really around finances.

Do people think this is a viable idea? I certainly wouldn’t want to tread on any toes or undercut anyone. Are there any obvious problems in this line of work for people on the Autism spectrum who have social and anxiety issues? My research has suggested that if I deal with all the clients and the occasional issues they have, the employees should be ok?

Sorry for the long email, it’s something I’m really passionate about as these are good people who need a chance. Any thoughts or opinions would be really appreciated. 
 

Cheers

Ben

Hi Ben there is a company local to me that are seeking charitable status. They employ x servicemen and young people whom find themself isolated from opportunity 

https://www.facebook.com/Gutters2Glory/ they would be a great starting point of research. They have received funding before and surely will have much advice for you with regard to structuring this venture. Best of luck. Chris 

 

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