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First day a lot learnt...


Flash_P

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Evening all,

Long time watcher/ sourer of forum information, first time posting!

I went out on my first day today after starting preparing the other side of Christmas and just wanted to chare how it went with someone 😄.

So I had 2 first cleans today which actually helped me lean a lot about my kit, time to clean and judging of quotes! I went and quoted these two jobs a week ago (so I had time to prepare) had a good look around, made sure I had plenty of parking to get the van in and access for my kit was good. 

Clean 1: Ground floor flat on a corner, 12 window frames (8 double, 4 single) van access was good but I needed to put my hose over a fence and walk round to get in the community garden etc... My initial thought was that it would take me 45 minutes to do the first clean and then I'll move onto the next one. What actually happened was it took me nearly two hours as the grime on the frames was a lot worse than initially thought and with the fact i wanted to ensure I did a good job I probably went over each window way more than I needed too. Under priced but as i was going round the window i was getting quicker.

Clean 2: This was a semi dethatched (2 bay, 1 small bathroom and window beside front door) but the garage joined onto the neighbours so had no rear access and I only needed to do the fronts which I though "yeah nice and easy". When I quoted this job there was plenty of parking access was good etc...So I assumed a good clean was going to be about 20 - 30 minutes. Drove to this job... NO parking what so ever! all cars in the road where bumper to bumper 3 o'clock in the afternoon so I came home. I spoke to the customer and said that due to access issues I wasn't able to park up anywhere and that I wouldn't be taking them on as a customer. All i kept thinking in the back of my head is this will happen again and I don't want to waste time coming here and not getting the work done... Was this the wrong thing to do or should I have given it a second chance?

One bonus I did get from today was that whilst doing the first job someone came to get my number and requested a quote (which I didn't do on the spot, waited till I got home). Will they sign up, most probably not but I just got a buzz from someone asking haha. Then i got home and had another quote to do and this person is pretty keen although i have estimated the price over the phone.

Plan is to keep practising on my own home and goal one is to have 5 customers by the end of January.

Anyway I'll stop waffling on... Have a good evening!!

Regards,

David

 

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6 hours ago, Flash_P said:

This was a semi dethatched (2 bay, 1 small bathroom and window beside front door) but the garage joined onto the neighbours so had no rear access and I only needed to do the fronts which I though "yeah nice and easy". When I quoted this job there was plenty of parking access was good etc...So I assumed a good clean was going to be about 20 - 30 minutes. Drove to this job... NO parking what so ever! all cars in the road where bumper to bumper 3 o'clock in the afternoon so I came home. I spoke to the customer and said that due to access issues I wasn't able to park up anywhere and that I wouldn't be taking them on as a customer.

I would have just parked on the customers drive.

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I still get a buzz from picking up a new customer, sad day when that stops. A couple of points, 2 hours to do 20 windows is 6 minutes a window. I didn't see the state of them but that seems an awful long time. I would be aiming for 10 minutes, working on the glass, for that, then up to 5 minutes, max, setting up and packing away.

When quoting for any job access is high on the agenda and a simple question to the house owner should resolve it. Could you not have reversed on to the owners drive, even half on, half off would've enabled you to do the job.

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My town is full of roads that are difficult to park. I've only ever turned down a couple of customers. I'm not sure what set up you're on but....

If you're on a backpack then get yourself some water containers and a sack truck. You can park up anywhere and easily take everything along to the customers address. This is something I don't have the time to do now but when I started out and needed the work it was worth doing, just make sure you stick at least a fiver on the job to account for your set up time.

If you're on a van mount then the 100m of hose will go a lot further than you think. Worth investing in a 50m extension too, this has all but eliminated backpack usage for me. The general consensus is that traffic wardens will leave you be as long as you're working, not blocking access and not in a bus stop so you can double park. Please don't quote me on this and come crying if you get a ticket as every council will be different, I only know what our traffic wardens do. Next time you see one ask the question.

I think your last point about practice is a good one. Get out and do as many as possible. Clean your friends, family, neighbours etc. If you endlessly clean your own windows you'll only learn how to clean your own windows, they'll be lovely and clean though 😂. Make sure you set up a FB page and ask your mates to like it, they'll appreciate the free clean, you'll appreciate the practice and they'll feel obliged to recommend you every time someone asks for a windy on FB.

 

Edited by P4dstar
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1 hour ago, Iron Giant said:

I would have just parked on the customers drive.

They didn’t have one, the garage doors where set back about 4ft from the public paths so had no way about it

@Part Timer I think I just wanted to make sure I did a good job. Also it was close to the sea front had the dirt was caked on. The second job there was a small drive of about 4ft in front of the garage door. 
 

@P4dstar I have a van mounted system but maybe in the future something mobile to help with those types of job would be a good idea. FB page is up and running and has 70 like from family and friends, also offered them free cleans for reviews which several have taken up 👍

 

Appreciate the feed back guys, I have been planing this for months and am not financially dependant on it so these mistakes are not a financial impact. 
 

David

Edited by Flash_P
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22 minutes ago, Flash_P said:

The second job there was a small drive of about 4ft in front of the garage door. 

Just drive or reverse on and  block the path. You need to work out ways to get jobs done until you're established. It is very easy to think that because of your financial situation you're in no rush but the danger is in 12 months time you're turning £1k a month and your financial situation isn't as robust as it was.

I don't "need" the money, I earn £1200 a month on another job I do, but left home this morning at 6.30 to do a job. Very easy for me to say I can't be bothered and drop the job.

 

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2 minutes ago, Part Timer said:

Just drive or reverse on and  block the path

Maybe I over thought this but my worry was that because the van would have covered the whole path meaning passers by would have had to go into the road possibly resulting in them getting hurt? I was anticipating being there for up to 30 minutes and it was a reasonably busy foot path. 

My comments about not being financially dependent was more pointing at the fact that I can accept mistakes this early and learn from them without so much impact at the moment but you’re right and I think I need to do what @P4dstarsaid and learn to use the fully 100m of my reel...

thanks for the comment, all very useful.

 

regards,

David

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Welcome, David.

A couple of things I'd like to add to the what the other guys have said. First, don't start out with bargain basement prices. If everyone did that it could eventually drive down the prices for everyone after all our hard work building lucrative rounds, on what at the moment can be a very good living. I'm old enough to remember when minicab drivers and driving instructors were fairly well paid. I don't think they are now.
If you pick up work through recommendations, or from customer's neighbours, they will expect the same low prices making it harder for you to bring the prices up to what they should be as some customers talk to each other.

If you get a walk up enquiry, as you did, it's better to quote there and then "Strike while the iron's hot", you have a better chance of securing and keeping the job if you don't give them time to go away and do the sums on the annual cost to them.

I wouldn't estimate over the phone. Go and walk round the job, meet the prospective customer and let them meet you. Assess the job properly while doing a mental rehearsal.

Look well ahead and start as you mean to build your business. Good luck.

Edited by Davy G
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1 hour ago, Davy G said:

First, don't start out with bargain basement prices.

Thanks for the advice Dave. Price wise, I have researched the local area and I am at the average price of everyone else. I don’t plan to come in at low prices under cutting others and ruining future custom as I’m not here to ruin business for anyone else. 
 

regards,

David 

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On thing about parking is time of day!!! My Mum lives about 300meters from a school and at 3pm the road is full because people are collecting kids. So if 3pm was busy before dropping custy ask if there is a quieter time, I know trying to stick to a time for a specific job wont be easy but maybe at start or end of day road is quieter - is it near local shops, pub (OK so not issue at moment), think of things that could make parking more difficult at certain times of day.

As for walk up quotes, if you have time then do them, you might even have time to clean there and then if quote acceptable!! When you get busy you might only be in a road once a month so quote and clean there and then makes sense for you and you can explain that to custy.

Also as they were first cleans and by sound of it particularly dirty it might have been worth using some degreaser (screwfix universal) or upvc cleaner (Ubix 2000 or Virosol). That helps remove the grime although you do have to rinse it off!

A backpack is great to spray on degreaser/cleaner but also when you can't park easily it gives you an option. Gardiners ones are good.

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2 hours ago, Flash_P said:

Thanks for the advice Dave. Price wise, I have researched the local area and I am at the average price of everyone else. I don’t plan to come in at low prices under cutting others and ruining future custom as I’m not here to ruin business for anyone else. 
 

regards,

David 

My tip would be to go in at least a few pounds above the average. As most of those window cleaners will have been going a few years and may not have put their prices up with inflation etc. The higher you go (within reason) with a high standard of clean, the more the cheap guys feel they can 'get away with' pricing, and over time the prices will go up in general. If you keep to the average or slightly lower, then it'll be a battle to the bottom and then everyone suffers😉

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1 minute ago, Robt100 said:

My tip would be to go in at least a few pounds above the average.

Cheers for the tips @Robt100 appreciate it. I’m making loads of notes of off theses to keep on me and try to remember 😂

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2 hours ago, Flash_P said:

Cheers for the tips @Robt100 appreciate it. I’m making loads of notes of off theses to keep on me and try to remember 😂

Get your partner, how PC am I, to test you on them tonight as you can't go the the pub 😭

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I can't really add much more that what's already been said but well done on your first day, keep persevering with it and don't worry about spending too long on a first clean you'll soon speed up as you get busier.

Always worth having some Screwfix Degreaser in the van for those minging first cleans, mix some in a bucket and dip your brush in it if you haven't got a back pack, spray bottle for lower windows and you're wining 

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I try not to block the path ever. People will take photos round where I live and post them on the local Facebook groups to shame you, not good for the reputation if your van is signwritten  

Something along the lines of “have a look at this inconsiderate parking, what if a wheelchair user or mother with a pram wanted to get by” 

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Parking issues can be an absolute 💩 and are the reason I don't take work in town.

Pure water is brilliant for cleaning windows but if frames are really dirty it can help to spray with Virosol/Ubik/TFR.

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23 minutes ago, Doddy111 said:

I can't really add much more that what's already been said but well done on your first day, keep persevering with it and don't worry about spending too long on a first clean you'll soon speed up as you get busier.

Always worth having some Screwfix Degreaser in the van for those minging first cleans, mix some in a bucket and dip your brush in it if you haven't got a back pack, spray bottle for lower windows and you're wining 

Thanks mate appreciate the encouragement. I have some screwfix degreaser in the van but there was a few spots that needed the old pink stuff to remove. 

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Just now, Flash_P said:

Thanks mate appreciate the encouragement. I have some screwfix degreaser in the van but there was a few spots that needed the old pink stuff to remove. 

So you did a restore not just a first clean

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14 minutes ago, Oli said:

I try not to block the path ever. People will take photos round where I live and post them on the local Facebook groups to shame you, not good for the reputation if your van is signwritten  

Something along the lines of “have a look at this inconsiderate parking, what if a wheelchair user or mother with a pram wanted to get by” 

Where I am am that’s the sort of thing that is straight onto the local buy and sell pages.... people need reaction and they know they know they’ll get mass reaction too it 

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Hiya Flash, I accidentally sent this to you by personal message..I thought I was replying to the thread.🤣

Welcome to the world of window cleaning; it's downhill from here so enjoy the ride. 

Just a little tip that might help with those 1st cleans, get yourself a bucket and put some BIOLOGICAL washing powder in it, fill up your bucket using wfp,  and then mix the solution up using the head of the brush (shake it) so you got good suds, and brush the solution on. 

It will digest all the organic matter, mould, green stuff, bird ****, ect, and keep your brush clean.

Once you have given them a good scrub with the solution, wash off as you would normally do on cleaning, make sure all the solution is cleared away.

You must use BIOLOGICAL powder, non bio will not work.

Don't use soap for obvious reasons.

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