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Woody86

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Hi All,

I just wanted to say a quick hi after lurking in the forums and flirting with the idea of starting up in the Warwickshire area.

I currently work a desk job and I am realising just how much time I am missing out seeing the family. Working from home, stuck in 4 walls working from 7am until 9pm is just not healthy and I need a bit more freedom. I have some initial concerns as I am earning a 6 figure salary (and I know how lucky I am to be fortunate to have that) but even to earn half of that to see my little boy and family more would be brilliant.

My current plan is to find a van and setup (water-fed) which I have allocated £10-12k. I dont yet have the balls to quit my job, so I was planning to build the business up slowly over the weekends (which will be even more time away from the family to start off with!) and some late afternoons, although the dark evening hours are setting in. Once its at a level where we can get by then I will drop my existing role.

I currently have my eye on a Ford Transit Custom with a Pure20 600L Titan System but any start-up advice or constructive critism I welcome with open arms.

Edited by Woody86
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Simple answer - don't quit your day job! It might take you 2 - 3 years to get anywhere near the earnings that to need to 'get by'. If you think window cleaning can earn you huge amounts quic

Calm down lads, you'll soon be grumpy old "experienced" WFP's giving advice to fresh faced keen and eager newbies 

Wish I had that money when I first started out.  One bucket 2 squeegees one applicator 4 scrims and a pole 

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Simple answer - don't quit your day job!

It might take you 2 - 3 years to get anywhere near the earnings that to need to 'get by'.

If you think window cleaning can earn you huge amounts quickly I think you are wrong. 

By all means give it a try. Either find a local spotless water supplier or buy kit to make your own. Get a backpack, pole and barrels, use your car as transport (get insurance Public Liability and business use on car). Create some leaflets and get out canvassing at the weekends. Get a few jobs and see how you go.

It might cost you £500 to £1000 but you can test how easy it is to get work and do the job. If it doesn't work at least you will know plus you can clean your own windows with your kit.

A six fix salary, holiday and sick pay plus I guess a pension is very difficult to beat even adding in the benefit of family time. 

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8 hours ago, Woody86 said:

Hi All,

I just wanted to say a quick hi after lurking in the forums and flirting with the idea of starting up in the Warwickshire area.

I currently work a desk job and I am realising just how much time I am missing out seeing the family. Working from home, stuck in 4 walls working from 7am until 9pm is just not healthy and I need a bit more freedom. I have some initial concerns as I am earning a 6 figure salary (and I know how lucky I am to be fortunate to have that) but even to earn half of that to see my little boy and family more would be brilliant.

My current plan is to find a van and setup (water-fed) which I have allocated £10-12k. I dont yet have the balls to quit my job, so I was planning to build the business up slowly over the weekends (which will be even more time away from the family to start off with!) and some late afternoons, although the dark evening hours are setting in. Once its at a level where we can get by then I will drop my existing role.

I currently have my eye on a Ford Transit Custom with a Pure20 600L Titan System but any start-up advice or constructive critism I welcome with open arms.

Good evening and welcome to the party.

6 figure's? Dam we are all in the wrong job haha.

As @ched999ukhas stated very precisely it's something you really need to think hard about.

Our industry is far more than splashing some water over a window and very physically demanding, with winter upon us you'll be fighting daylight hours and as you've mentioned family time is crucial.

As my fellow tradesmen said start small with a simple system and test the water.

In no time you could blow 30k on kit and end up hating it or loving it.

The Forum is a one stop information shop, We are a lovely bunch of old gits who will happily help you with answers if needed.

 

Have a lovely evening 

Austin 👍🏻

 

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8 hours ago, Woody86 said:

I have some initial concerns as I am earning a 6 figure salary (and I know how lucky I am to be fortunate to have that) but even to earn half of that to see my little boy and family more would be brilliant.

To earn £50k+ (assuming you're on 100k) as a self-employed window cleaner you'll need to be turning over £60k+ and even then you won't be getting paid holidays, bank holidays, pension etc, etc... You'll need to set your sights a bit lower otherwise you're going to be disappointed.

If there is anyway you can go part-time in your current job and start as @ched999uk advises? I think that's the way to go...

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3 minutes ago, Cookie said:

To earn £50k+ (assuming you're on 100k) as a self-employed window cleaner you'll need to be turning over £60k+ and even then you won't be getting paid holidays, bank holidays, pension etc, etc... You'll need to set your sights a bit lower otherwise you're going to be disappointed.

If there is anyway you can go part-time in your current job and start as @ched999uk advises? I think that's the way to go...

A very honest and transparent reply 

👍🏻

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There's probably a handful on here that make £50k a year as sole traders. If you want to make that figure you will either have to work in an area with little competition, have very good contacts or buy an established compact round.

The physicality of doing this will also impact on your work life balance. As for employing to get to this number your old office job will feel like a walk in the park.

If you said £30k would suffice I'd say go for it, personally I think your target isn't realistic, if you want a better work life balance. Good luck which ever way you choose to go.

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I can confirm as a new starter that you will only need to spend £700 for a brand new Gardiner WFP and Unger trad kit. I actually ended up under £700 by finding a good deal on Ebay. This will cover most of the scenarios.

 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks guys and appreciate the feedback. Just to note, I am not expecting to be at 50k straight away and in all honesty, as mentioned in my post, I would try to build up over weekends whilst keeping my current role. I may never hit those numbers, if I managed to target myself at earning 30k by the 18month mark I would be happy, including the use of add-on services like pressure washing setup and gutter vac. I guess I see the window cleaning side as the bread and butter, anything additional is a bonus?

I have pinged over an email to Gardiner asking for a recommended package buy of their Gardiner v3, pole, brush and hose including o rings and connectors. Any advice outside of that would be really appreciated.

I must admit, this forum is amazing and the feedback and advice I can see from members is so valuable. Again, appreciate it guys!

Edited by Woody86
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1 hour ago, Attila said:

I can confirm as a new starter that you will only need to spend £700 for a brand new Gardiner WFP and Unger trad kit. I actually ended up under £700 by finding a good deal on Ebay. This will cover most of 

Just one polite word of warning to anyone starting out as a window cleaner 

Do NOT buy your equipment from ebay.... you'll get your fingers burnt with total garbage equipment 

You can get the very basic to the best equipment from local cleaning equipment suppliers or national recognised trade retailers.

Shop local where possible and support your local community 

Or use the recognised channels 

Daqua 

Window cleaning warehouse 

Bladeright Cleaning supplies 

DA components 

Wintecs 

The Cleaning Warehouse 

Window cleaning stuff 

Window cleaning spot 

The window clean centre 

Price cleaning supplies 

Gardiner 

 

You need something search the forum or ask us for a recommendation 

 

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1 minute ago, Apw1210 said:

Just one polite word of warning to anyone starting out as a window cleaner 

Do NOT buy your equipment from ebay.... you'll get your fingers burnt with total garbage equipment 

You can get the very basic to the best equipment from local cleaning equipment suppliers or national recognised trade retailers.

Shop local where possible and support your local community 

Or use the recognised channels 

Daqua 

Window cleaning warehouse 

Bladeright Cleaning supplies 

DA components 

Wintecs 

The Cleaning Warehouse 

Window cleaning stuff 

Window cleaning spot 

The window clean centre 

Price cleaning supplies 

Gardiner 

 

You need something search the forum or ask us for a recommendation 

 

I bought a brand new Gardiner backpack supplied with an outstanding trolley and 5x25L containers for £125.

Should be ok.

The rest is from Gardiner website and WCW.

Edited by Attila
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I'm around 18 months in and you can earn good money but it does take a lot of persistence.  My figures are embarrassingly low compared to what everybody else states how they get on, but I've had ill health which has affected my ability to work long days, not making excuses but the job is physically demanding so if your health isn't quite what it used to be / should be then it does have an impact to how fast you can grow.

At the two year point I hope to hit 25k, I had hoped to hit that during this year but the lock down interfered with my marketing plan so I couldn't gain the same amount of customers as I did last year when I was just starting.  The customers I've got this year are either from a leaflet drop I did in February or word of mouth with a few from facebook, although I don't target facebook just have a very basic page set up.

I would think the work / life balance would be miles better for you, but it's whether you would be happy taking such a huge pay cut.  Also would you be happy with cleaning windows day in day out in all weathers.  It isn't rocket science it's just dedicated hard work but the lack of using your brain might feel a little unfulfilled.  Don't get me wrong you have to manage and run a business so obviously you're dealing with figures, customers, sales, advertising etc but compared to other businesses it's a doddle.  

I wouldn't spend any good money.  I've got to where I am just using a pure freedom trolley with drums for the water.  I also have an SLX22 Gardiner pole.  Including the canister to make the water I think the set up cost was less than 1k and if I quit tomorrow I could probably get most of that money back as the kit holds its value very well.

I'd test the water [excuse the pun] with a set up like mine, see what you think of it.  If you think it will suit you then I'd set your target as being 30k to 40k per year, reduce your living costs and use the excess money from what you should have now to invest in something that will bring you additional income without using your time.  So I would think window cleaning as being your bread and butter and your investments bring you your luxury extras.  

That's what I'm going to do but I'm coming at it from the other way round, in that my earnings were minimum wage and I'm going up from there to hopefully around 35k, then saving up money to re-invest it in other things as there is only so much money you can make from window cleaning.

 

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Keep the advice coming guys, really appreciate it.

So I ordered the below which may have been overkill or totally wrong. Stock was fairly low too. Now looking at RO and DI but im tempted to use a local water purification supplier for now.

 

ItemsQtyPrice

Gardiner Pure Water Backpack V3 - 22 litre

SKU: Backpack-V3

1£107.95

Backpack Hose End Coupling

1 x Pro 26 Female Coupling £8.00

SLX 30

SKU: SLX-30

1£372.50

QuicK-LoQ Gooseneck

1 x Upgrade to a QuicK-LoQ Gooseneck Valve Angle Adapter £21.50

QuicK-LoQ Brush

1 x Supreme 23cm Brush - DuPont Tapertec Hybrid £0.00

Brush Jets

1 x Small 1.4mm Pencil Jets x2 £0.00

Pole Hose

1 x Reinforced Flexible Pole Hose WITH FITTED VALVE - 15m Length for 30-35ft Poles £21.50

Pole Hose Connector Type

1 x Pro 26 Male Plug £4.50

Free Gift

1 x Gardiner Baseball Cap £0.00

QuicK-LoQ ANGLED SWIVEL Brush Socket Adapter

SKU: GGP-ANG-SW-DF

2£13.90

Push-Fit Pole Control Valve

SKU: PF-VALVE-NMPOV-08-NIN

1£9.50

 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Woody86 said:

QuicK-LoQ Gooseneck

1 x Upgrade to a QuicK-LoQ Gooseneck Valve Angle Adapter £21.50

QuicK-LoQ ANGLED SWIVEL Brush Socket Adapter

I wanted a swivel / gooseneck valve set up on my pole but the lady I spoke to over the phone advised me no to go with that due to "incompatibility". So I opted in for a standard gooseneck with fitted valve on the pole hose plus an optional swivel gooseneck that I can swap over in a few minutes if I really needed to.

She said that according to their customers, the swivel action is only used in cases when it's really needed so not all day long, not every case, every house. Therefore, it's not huge loss in terms of practicality.

But the pros will tell it better. It may be wrong info.

Edited by Attila
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15 minutes ago, Attila said:

I wanted a swivel / gooseneck valve set up on my pole but the lady I spoke to over the phone advised me no to go with that due to "incompatibility". So I opted in for a standard gooseneck with fitted valve on the pole hose plus an optional swivel gooseneck that I can swap over in a few minutes if I really needed to.

She said that according to their customers, the swivel action is only used in cases when it's really needed so not all day long, not every case, every house. Therefore, it's not huge loss in terms of practicality.

But the pros will tell it better. It may be wrong info.

Good point, If so I'll return it back.

The biggest pain right now is not being able to talk to anyone at Gardiner. I've emailed their sales address but it just feels like it's a cut and paste reply from the sales rep which hasn't helped me.

 

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1 minute ago, Woody86 said:

Good point, If so I'll return it back.

The biggest pain right now is not being able to talk to anyone at Gardiner. I've emailed their sales address but it just feels like it's a cut and paste reply from the sales rep which hasn't helped me.

 

My experience is totally the opposite. They have been really helpful and responsive and I could actually save some money on my order by not buying stuff that either don't work together or not a necessity in the beginning.

I spoke to them over the phone today, not sure why you didn't get a hold of them. I think there might be just one person working in the office as everyday someone else was in contact with me.

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Cancel the SLX30 and get the SLX22.  The extra weight will your kill your arms and it's unnecessary.  I can reach 2nd floor town house windows with a 22, for the odd window that's higher I have the extension 6 that you just add to the pole, but even that isn't really needed.  I've only got 1 job that needs that and to be honest it's a pain, luckily it's only a once every 8 week job.  For all my other work the SLX22 reaches everything.

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22 minutes ago, Woody86 said:

The biggest pain right now is not being able to talk to anyone at Gardiner. I've emailed their sales address but it just feels like it's a cut and paste reply from the sales rep which hasn't helped me.

Just ask here, we will help.

As for the slx30 if you are using that all day you are going to be aching big time. It might be worth ordering an extra smaller end cap and removing 2 sections for everyday use. The weight is fine when going near vertical but when you are reaching over a conny or extension then you notice the extra weight. It's always a debate as to 18ft, 22ft, 25ft, 27ft etc.... You want the shortest pole that will reach 90% of your work then either extensions or a second longer pole for the last 10%. That way you are using the lightest pole you can most of the time.

The swivel valve should be fine, it's not compatible with a scraper and may take a bit of adjustment with a brush swivel but other than that it should be fine.

You also have a valve in your hose sand a push fit valve??? Do you need 3 different ways to switch off the water? More joints = more opportunity to leak 🙂

1.4mm pencil jets are on the small size but some people love them, no big deal to change if necessary.

Unless you have tds meter and know your tap pressure I would just start out buying pure if it's fairly local.

Pro26 fitting is a little larger than the rectus 21 (EZ Snap) but it doesn't matter really as you will just stick with the pro26 or you can change to ez snap if needed - doesn't really matter.

 

Edited by ched999uk
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Also get 2mm jets.  Everybody has different opinions on jets, some swear by 1.4mm, I hate them and use 3mm pencil jets.  2mm is a good starting point to compare everything to.  In fact considering they're cheap I would advise just getting every jet they have, then you can make your own mind up.

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1 hour ago, Woody86 said:

Keep the advice coming guys, really appreciate it.

So I ordered the below which may have been overkill or totally wrong. Stock was fairly low too. Now looking at RO and DI but im tempted to use a local water purification supplier for now.

 

ItemsQtyPrice

Gardiner Pure Water Backpack V3 - 22 litre

SKU: Backpack-V3

1£107.95

Backpack Hose End Coupling

1 x Pro 26 Female Coupling £8.00

SLX 30

SKU: SLX-30

1£372.50

QuicK-LoQ Gooseneck

1 x Upgrade to a QuicK-LoQ Gooseneck Valve Angle Adapter £21.50

QuicK-LoQ Brush

1 x Supreme 23cm Brush - DuPont Tapertec Hybrid £0.00

Brush Jets

1 x Small 1.4mm Pencil Jets x2 £0.00

Pole Hose

1 x Reinforced Flexible Pole Hose WITH FITTED VALVE - 15m Length for 30-35ft Poles £21.50

Pole Hose Connector Type

1 x Pro 26 Male Plug £4.50

Free Gift

1 x Gardiner Baseball Cap £0.00

QuicK-LoQ ANGLED SWIVEL Brush Socket Adapter

SKU: GGP-ANG-SW-DF

2£13.90

Push-Fit Pole Control Valve

SKU: PF-VALVE-NMPOV-08-NIN

1£9.50

 

 

 

Wish I had that money when I first started out. 

One bucket 2 squeegees one applicator 4 scrims and a pole 

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17 minutes ago, Apw1210 said:

Wish I had that money when I first started out. 

One bucket 2 squeegees one applicator 4 scrims and a pole 

Ahh but I bet you were in profit by the end of your first week 🙂

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