Jump to content

You have £X to start up and build a round from scratch tomorrow. How do you do it?


Recommended Posts

Hey guys, just for a bit of fun and for the chance to learn from the more experienced guys on here I'm asking: Knowing what you know now, how would you go about starting a new window cleaning round tomorrow with £X to spend? The 3 budgets I'm interested in are £5,000, £12,500 and £20,000. The reason I'm starting off at £5,000 and not something lower is after being on here for a couple of months most of the advice I see for lower budget start ups is to `Buy and ladder and some trad gear (or a backpack) and work out of your car if you've got one' and doesn't really require the budget allocation I'm interested in. I'm not a window cleaner myself but I am looking into it and seeing how you experienced lads would approach it would be a great help to me and no doubt many others.

Of course there are many parts to a budget and but the 4 main categories I'm interested in is: Transportation (How much would you spend on a van and which van), Cleaning system (WFP system whether DIY or buying a complete system), Marketing budget to gain custom (Leaflets, lead generation, facebook ads, canvassing) and Miscellaneous costs (Various insurances etc)  . You can be as in depth or not as you like and here's a rough template:

 

Budget: £12,500

Transportation: £8,000 - SWB Transit custom 

Cleaning System: £2000 - DIY WFP 1 man setup delivery only, 35ft Gardiner SLX, 22ft Gardiner CLX, Various trad gear & Ladder

Marketing: £1,000 - Leafleting, Canvassing, Possibly a small amount of lead generation.

Misc: £1,000 

Leftover: £500 

 

Probably not the best effort, I've spent a lot on the van and you'd be lucky to get a nice custom without a million miles for that amount but I have tried to allow for future growth. The WFP system will rely on spotless water which again isn't ideal but could be upgraded in future. The marketing budget isn't massive but it's relying heavily on low cost leafleting and free canvassing. I'm not sure whether £1,000 would cover the misc costs or whether being left with £500 to operate on would be enough. I haven't financed or leased anything in this scenario as I like to idea of not having to make monthly payments.

I'm interested to see how you'd tackle it, what you'd do differently and how you'd approach the different budgets aswell.

Thanks

Edited by Redrum
Link to post
  • Replies 66
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • scottish cleaning service

    7

  • P4dstar

    7

  • harunh

    6

  • ched999uk

    6

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you turn a helpful thread bad

When I started, initially it was going to be a business for my son, I bought a 2 year old Vivaro and a 2 man 650l hot water system with booster pump, circa £20k. Didn't  have one customer and had

Yes!! far easier to start out on a budget and see if you can make it both you and me started out trad which is as budget as you can get. I foresee loads of people blowing their redundancy on a pipe dr

Posted Images

I wouldn't start now as there far to many window cleaners around my way. I would look at a different business. 

  • Like 1
  • Agree 1
Link to post
Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, wee man said:

I wouldn't start now as there far to many window cleaners around my way. I would look at a different business. 

Edit: Misread your response

Sorry to hear it, hopefully you'd still be able to gain custom though by offering a good service? I'd still be interested to see how you'd approach the various budgets if you were starting up. Or possibly what other businesses you would consider?

We're not short of window cleaners in my area but I'm hoping if I did start I'd be able to gain customers here and there and build up.

Edited by Redrum
Link to post
Master Jedi Alejandro

I would allocate more to online advertising, lead gen, personally. Leafletting has a small return so need to leaflet a lot, though with that type of budget you could spend to have the posted.

I HP my van and would do this again as it frees up cash for equipment and advertising. And if you have that sort of money to spend, I would get a crash tested system so you know you're safe.

It's a good question, by the way. A lot on here, like me, were start small and upgrade as you grow. But having money to put into it would allow faster growth, only issue is if you spend all that then you can't do it or don't like it. 😂

Link to post

Not a window cleaner myself, but I would try to spend the absolute minimum on transportation, when getting started. Get an oldish van, as long as it's in reasonably clean condition and runs/drives, then that should be perfectly fine for the beginning. No need for a fancy van when you're just starting out.

The same goes for the equipment. Yes, you will need to get the van kitted out, but otherwise it might be worth looking into buying all the other stuff second-hand, just to save some cash.

The most important thing you'll need to focus on is actually marketing, because no customers = no income. A lot guys recommend start by just knocking on doors in your local area, which is fine and it works, but if you don't fancy running around all day, then look into paid online advertising, like Google Ads or Facebook. Yes, it will cost you money, but the results will come fast and if done right, you'll gain plenty of genuine customers in a short time.

  • Roll Eyes 1
  • Agree 2
Link to post

battered old van.. piece of **** system and knock loads of doors.(as many as it takes to make you busy)

The biggest expense will be the amount of trainers you get through canvassing.

 

Link to post

Not sure if it's my imagination but van prices seem to have gone up massively relatively recently, no idea why.

You do need a reliable van though, nothing more off putting than a trades person who doesn't turn up when they say they will. I know any van can break down but an unreliable van will cost you income, reputation not to mention the expense of repairs if you can't do it your self.

You can buy less expensive kit like a CLX over a SLX but you will be working harder with the CLX.

As for pumps, well there really is only Shurflo. Controller wise there is a bit of difference but there is not a huge difference in cost if you factor in the adjustability to get a flow you are happy with and pump protection via Dead Head detection.

As for a tank, well the water goes in and it comes out. The mounting frame is a different story. Get a decent one that is designed for securing the tank in the back of a van ( aluminium isn't that strong and the ones made out of uni strut don't look that strong). Bearing in mind you may have close to 500kg of weight that wants to carry on moving forward in the event of a crash!!! It wants to squish you!!!! So don't scrimp on the mounting or frame of the tank.

You need a good quality, reliable system that doesn't need bells and whistles at the start. Don't set a budget as such, put a system down on paper cost it out and see if you are happy to pat the amount you need. You can add hot water, powered reels etc in future if you feel the need. It's also much better if you know how the system goes together as you can then repair as necessary without waiting for someone to be available to repair...

Sometimes a basic system allows you time to understand what you really need. Going too cheap will be a compromise and make your life difficult.

Link to post
1 hour ago, madeads said:

Not a window cleaner myself, but I would try to spend the absolute minimum on transportation, when getting started. Get an oldish van, as long as it's in reasonably clean condition and runs/drives, then that should be perfectly fine for the beginning. No need for a fancy van when you're just starting out.

The same goes for the equipment. Yes, you will need to get the van kitted out, but otherwise it might be worth looking into buying all the other stuff second-hand, just to save some cash.

The most important thing you'll need to focus on is actually marketing, because no customers = no income. A lot guys recommend start by just knocking on doors in your local area, which is fine and it works, but if you don't fancy running around all day, then look into paid online advertising, like Google Ads or Facebook. Yes, it will cost you money, but the results will come fast and if done right, you'll gain plenty of genuine customers in a short time.

This

Link to post

Everyone has a different method which will work for some and not for others

For me get yourself a nice van you will be in it 5-6 days a week its your office and workhorse 

First impressions count, turn up to quote in a nice van customer thinks successful make out you are really busy they dont know they will be your first customer

You did say you had the budget for this

Others are happy in a s**t van that works for them

Everyone has a different method       

  • Agree 2
Link to post
scottish cleaning service

This is quite a difficult one but I was lucky because I already had a finance free van which is the biggest expense. I guess i would begin with Trad gear, roof rack and car. Canvass round all the neighbours first and post as many as possible free ads on the net, like facebook and anywhere else. That's how I started and it was by pure chance after my windy fell off his ladder and never came back. I bought an £80 starter pack from net and was going to clean mine and a neighbours till all the rest asked me. Then I ended up round the corner and traded away and loved every minute of it till winter arrived. Every penny I received I bought more equipment with it and after 3yrs I have everything I need and more. Never in my life have I had so much disposable income, must have £500 in pound coins alone. Buying a £2k scaffold and that's me complete thank goodness, will take a rest now.

Link to post
13 hours ago, madeads said:

Not a window cleaner myself, but I would try to spend the absolute minimum on transportation, when getting started. Get an oldish van, as long as it's in reasonably clean condition and runs/drives, then that should be perfectly fine for the beginning. No need for a fancy van when you're just starting out.

The same goes for the equipment. Yes, you will need to get the van kitted out, but otherwise it might be worth looking into buying all the other stuff second-hand, just to save some cash.

The most important thing you'll need to focus on is actually marketing, because no customers = no income. A lot guys recommend start by just knocking on doors in your local area, which is fine and it works, but if you don't fancy running around all day, then look into paid online advertising, like Google Ads or Facebook. Yes, it will cost you money, but the results will come fast and if done right, you'll gain plenty of genuine customers in a short time.

Yeah but you're hardly about to advocate knocking doors are ya, that like a labour MP telling you to vote for Boris 🤣

Serious point though, an old battered van breaks down. If you have a full round and ended up off the road for a week you've lost in excess of £1k. There's always something to upgrade and the van will always be bottom of the list as you need to move the system and re-write the signage too.

Link to post
5 hours ago, P4dstar said:

Yeah but you're hardly about to advocate knocking doors are ya, that like a labour MP telling you to vote for Boris 🤣

Serious point though, an old battered van breaks down. If you have a full round and ended up off the road for a week you've lost in excess of £1k. There's always something to upgrade and the van will always be bottom of the list as you need to move the system and re-write the signage too.

I'm advocating prioritising marketing over buying a fancy van, when you're starting out.

I did make it clear in my previous post that you should buy one in a reasonably clean condition, meaning it's not necessarily an old banger, but it looks decent and is reliable. You don't need to spend £10k to buy a working van - it can be a few years old, but looked after and presentable.

As for how you do the marketing, I can't recommend you to do Google Ads, if you don't have an advertising budget, hence the reason why door knocking is absolutely fine, as it costs you nothing apart from your time.

Link to post

 Buy the best van you can afford and get it sign written with matching business cards,leaflets,logod polo shirts,etc....a decent DIY system with electric fixed reel and an xtreme 25 pole and your good to go.....

 

Leaflet/canvass every week,advertise in local magazines,etc.....build a website(although I've never needed one you probably will)

Link to post
1 hour ago, harunh said:

Buy the cheapest van possible is the key and just look after it , no need to spend thousands on a van

Any good sources? Ebay and Auto trader seem very expensive at the moment.

Link to post

I bought a van for £1300, system with carbon pole and brush from wcw for £1200. 
Leaflets got me no business. People get so much junk they normally chuck it in the bin without looking at it, I’ve got to admit I do the same. Get knocking them doors and speaking to them. Higher conversion rate for sales and if you look professional you’ve got more chance of getting them on board, so I got 4 polo shirts and had some printing done which cost about £20. Business cards from vistaprint, about £30. And that is all I used to start up. Nothing more. 
Advertising just included taking pictures of all my work and posting it all the Facebook selling groups which is free, I also opened a second Facebook account as well as a business page and randomly added loads of people from my area. Get them seeing your pics on their pages. It’s all free

Link to post

image is very important if your targeting affluent areas to build up your work(which you should be)......your van,work clothes,stationary,etc should be smart,clean and professional looking.....

  • Agree 4
Link to post
23 hours ago, ched999uk said:

Any good sources? Ebay and Auto trader seem very expensive at the moment.

It's weird, I paid £4200 for my citroen dispatch 3 1/2  years ago.  If I sold it now after an extra 30000 miles I recon I'd make a profit 🤯

  • Agree 2
Link to post
29 minutes ago, Adman said:

It's weird, I paid £4200 for my citroen dispatch 3 1/2  years ago.  If I sold it now after an extra 30000 miles I recon I'd make a profit 🤯

I thought it was my imagination, so thanks for posting your figures.

Thanks

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.