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Just starting out! Advice and feedback please!


Mike Clear Windows

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Mike Clear Windows

Hello all! 
 

I’m Mike and based in Surrey! I’m in the process of starting out my own window cleaning business as I have been made redundant! I have researched all possible avenues and thought window cleaning is a good business model. 
 

On a very very tight budget here but thought you guys could help me out with your vast knowledge and experience if that’s ok? 

1) I do not have the funds to lease or buy a van currently... however I will have to invest in a WFP system and backpack, unfortunately the gardiner backpack isn’t currently available so was wondering what’s the next best alternative? (eBay and Facebook marketplace they are like gold dust!) 

2) I will be combining traditional method and WFP ? Or shall I just use WFP

3) I have created a website and Facebook page for now which I will post in local forums and Facebook pages once I have my liability Insurence etc - I’d like you all to look through at these and give me some feedback. The logo I’ve created on a professional logo design website and spent £35 to have it as my own. The website I’m still trying to tweak it and is no way complete but will give you guys an idea... 

https://www.facebook.com/Mike.CleanWindows/

www.clearwindows.webador.co.uk

4) marketing ... the only thing I can think of is door to door canvassing with a leaflet / business card? And local Facebook groups? 

5) would it be worth investing in getting a polo shirt with my logo on also? I’ve looked but not so sure on vista print? 

6) I’ve researched cleaning planner is good for record keeping but it’s expensive at £30 a month? 

Thank you all for your time of you have read this and whilst doing so I’m looking around the forum to pick up as much advice and knowledge as possible 

 

kind regards

 

mike 🙂 

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Welcome to the forum. 

Have a look around using the search bar. It will answer probably all your questions  and when you have other questions ask away.

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I'd get a Polo shirt with your logo and I'd be using pen and paper to keep your records initially. Just buy a diary, have all customers contact details and frequency at the front and update the schedule daily. When wash is complete put the next wash on the relevant page.

When you have 100 or so customers then look at software.

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12 hours ago, Mike Clear Windows said:

Hello all! 
 

I’m Mike and based in Surrey! I’m in the process of starting out my own window cleaning business as I have been made redundant! I have researched all possible avenues and thought window cleaning is a good business model. 
 

On a very very tight budget here but thought you guys could help me out with your vast knowledge and experience if that’s ok? 

1) I do not have the funds to lease or buy a van currently... however I will have to invest in a WFP system and backpack, unfortunately the gardiner backpack isn’t currently available so was wondering what’s the next best alternative? (eBay and Facebook marketplace they are like gold dust!) 

2) I will be combining traditional method and WFP ? Or shall I just use WFP

3) I have created a website and Facebook page for now which I will post in local forums and Facebook pages once I have my liability Insurence etc - I’d like you all to look through at these and give me some feedback. The logo I’ve created on a professional logo design website and spent £35 to have it as my own. The website I’m still trying to tweak it and is no way complete but will give you guys an idea... 

https://www.facebook.com/Mike.CleanWindows/

www.clearwindows.webador.co.uk

4) marketing ... the only thing I can think of is door to door canvassing with a leaflet / business card? And local Facebook groups? 

5) would it be worth investing in getting a polo shirt with my logo on also? I’ve looked but not so sure on vista print? 

6) I’ve researched cleaning planner is good for record keeping but it’s expensive at £30 a month? 

Thank you all for your time of you have read this and whilst doing so I’m looking around the forum to pick up as much advice and knowledge as possible 

 

kind regards

 

mike 🙂 

 

1) you'll end up putting the gardiner backpack on a trolley anyway, so have a look at the various trolley systems available such as the "purefreedom nano" , or even build your own - DIY Trolley, theres a couple of other tutorials on the DIY section on here. at the end of the day whatever you buy/use is just a battery, pump, controller, and a water container.

2) Just WFP as much as you can, it can end up being a little awkward when you have limited water supply. It'll be a while before you have enough regular customers that it starts being an issue for your business, then hopefully you'll be able to look at a van & system.

3) & 4) its all trial and error, some guys hate facebook customers and find they are mostly messers, others cant stand canvassing, or find leafleting a waste of time. theres no magic formula, you just have to find what works for you.

5) some kind of uniform is good, doesn't need to be logo'd up, scruffy hoodies or your favourite designer T-shirt probably not a good move!

6) cleaner planner is well worth the money, no need for the pro subscription, unless you want to integrate gocardless. but a notebook is sufficient to begin with, especially if you stick to 1 cleaning frequency.

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Mike Clear Windows

Thanks guys! I’ve been reading lots and lots on this forum and has been very helpful! I’ll continue reading and contribute further to the forum! 😊

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Looking at the website, while it looks OK, there are a few things to consider. I know you are on a budget but:

First off you need your own domain as the 'webador.co.uk' system could be shut down at any time leaving you with links back to a site that doesn't exist!!! GBNames are cheap for domains and shop round for hosting that has software to help you build a site (not wix).

On the site you need to add a contact form or email address.

Be careful of stating things like 'Our customers locally have found us to be reliable and trustworthy' as you haven't started yet that can't be true!! I know it's difficult when you start as you want to come across as professional but don't make statements that are not true - all it takes is for someone on social media to point out you are a new starter with no customers and it won't help.

I realise trad gear isn't as expensive as wfp but why spend money on kit you don't need at the beginning? That said you haven't mentioned where you are getting or if you are making your own pure water as you can't use tap water to wfp.

To me uniform helps with your credibility - especially if you don't have a sign written van etc.

Hope that helps a little.

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When is first started in the early nineties, i canvassed before I had any equipment at all. 
All I brought were some business cards. 
I didn’t want to spend a single penny , until I thought it was a viable undertaking. 
 

I told any that said yes (not many!) that I was back in the area in 3 weeks time, just to give me some time. 
I think when I started I had no more than 6 or 7 customers. 
I brought a squeegee and applicator a couple of days before I started, so I could practice, I pinched my mums bucket and my Dads ladder,just in case it didn’t work out.

spend as little as possible to start with  

All you need to worry about is getting the work and doing a good job. 

everything else -websites, recording work , tax etc, can be sorted once your up and running with a few customers. 

sadly it’s much more expensive to start with wfp than trad, but better in the long run. 
 

 

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Mike Clear Windows

Really appreciate all the advice you have given me this far , I’m making changes to the website as someone mentioned above to have a contact form. 

and canvassing beforehand is good idea also! 
 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 24/03/2021 at 19:12, Mike Clear Windows said:

Hello all! 
 

I’m Mike and based in Surrey! I’m in the process of starting out my own window cleaning business as I have been made redundant! I have researched all possible avenues and thought window cleaning is a good business model. 
 

On a very very tight budget here but thought you guys could help me out with your vast knowledge and experience if that’s ok? 

1) I do not have the funds to lease or buy a van currently... however I will have to invest in a WFP system and backpack, unfortunately the gardiner backpack isn’t currently available so was wondering what’s the next best alternative? (eBay and Facebook marketplace they are like gold dust!) 

2) I will be combining traditional method and WFP ? Or shall I just use WFP

3) I have created a website and Facebook page for now which I will post in local forums and Facebook pages once I have my liability Insurence etc - I’d like you all to look through at these and give me some feedback. The logo I’ve created on a professional logo design website and spent £35 to have it as my own. The website I’m still trying to tweak it and is no way complete but will give you guys an idea... 

https://www.facebook.com/Mike.CleanWindows/

www.clearwindows.webador.co.uk

4) marketing ... the only thing I can think of is door to door canvassing with a leaflet / business card? And local Facebook groups? 

5) would it be worth investing in getting a polo shirt with my logo on also? I’ve looked but not so sure on vista print? 

6) I’ve researched cleaning planner is good for record keeping but it’s expensive at £30 a month? 

Thank you all for your time of you have read this and whilst doing so I’m looking around the forum to pick up as much advice and knowledge as possible 

 

kind regards

 

mike 🙂 

It sounds like you've done you're homework which is commendable.

 

Don't go out and start buying uniform as it's really not needed this early on.

Another expense you don't need at the start.

Backpacks are all the same

Big boy 

Gardiner 

Some clones on the usual amazon ebay.

If you are really stuck build a basic system 

 

All you need is a DA Components flow controller and diaphragm pump

12v 12Ah battery from toolstation £24.99 

Affordable trolley 

ABS project enclosure

25L water barrels 

4 hours ago, PavelMatis said:

At first you need website or app for you new business.

In my opinion you don't need a website.

A ridiculous initial expense 

2000 leaflets 

Family friends & neighbours 

Facebook page 

And legs 

Edited by Apw1210
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laddergarder

First thing you need is a vehicle and equipment, and insurance.

Uniforms, I would recommend, your own clothing probably cost more, so wearing logo's polo's will save you money.

Don't buy the basic cleaner planner, it doesn't come with goCardless or txtLocal. I would second starting off with a diary or spreadsheet 

Honestly I wouldn't have a website before I had a vehicle, but its good to grab the domain name, so others can't claim it.

On that, I tried clearwindows.co.uk which is for sale, probably want something obsorbenant for it, and clear-windows.co.uk, already exists. So you could be creating a headache for your online presence there.

I wouldn't use check a trade when your just starting out. I have never used check'a'trade or associations like fwc.

I can understand wanting to appear professional, but keep it, small, simple and affordable. Go for the cost effective things to brand yourself, and help you get jobs. Start with flyers/ door knocking, see how that goes, Facebook page, sure. Logo's polo's, even vehicle vinyl - mine was around £300 it will probably last longer than I'll keep the van. Once you have some customers, use referral marketing. Get your self listed on Google.

Good luck! I hope that helps. 

 

Edited by laddergarder
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scottish cleaning service

Best piece of clothing is a Hi-Viz bib with your name on the back, costs a fiver each. I have ordered my final piece of equipment is a £7 baseball cap with my name on it. So I have the long sleeve T-shirt with name and logo on it, Beanie hat with name and log on it, Hi- Viz with name on back and soon to arrive baseball cap with name and logo on it.

bib (2).jpg

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PavelMatis
On 20/04/2021 at 15:19, PavelMatis said:

At first you need website or app for you new business. I advise you https://mlsdev.com/services/mobile-app-development

OOP is another big issue. There are many ways you can implement an OOP model into your mobile applications. One popular way is to write the code by yourself in Java or Cocoa. However, since most Java Beans models are rather complex, it may not be the best approach for you.

Edited by PavelMatis
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18 hours ago, PavelMatis said:

OOP is another big issue. There are many ways you can implement an OOP model into your mobile applications. One popular way is to write the code by yourself in Java or Cocoa. However, since most Java Beans models are rather complex, it may not be the best approach for you.

Totally bewildered why a window cleaner would need an app. 

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5 hours ago, Iron Giant said:

Totally bewildered why a window cleaner would need an app. 

I can't really see a windy app that a custy downloads being any help or a selling point.

I am considering making one for canvassing so I know which people I have spoken to and which I need to try again. Sort of maximise the number of potential custy in each road.

Plus maybe down the line a hypo ratio calculator for remixing.

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5 hours ago, Iron Giant said:

Totally bewildered why a window cleaner would need an app. 

Roger that, a diary doesn't run flat and need recharging, syncing or java cookies html and all that other 5hite that makes it work 

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18 hours ago, Apw1210 said:

Roger that, a diary doesn't run flat and need recharging, syncing or java cookies html and all that other 5hite that makes it work 

I was directing it to the OP as he seemed to be saying have an app built specifically for ones own business which is what I was getting at 🙂

With well over 400 jobs to mange I couldn't rely on myself and a diary, I use a cloud based app and couldn't be without it. 

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2 hours ago, Iron Giant said:

I was directing it to the OP as he seemed to be saying have an app built specifically for ones own business which is what I was getting at 🙂

With well over 400 jobs to mange I couldn't rely on myself and a diary, I use a cloud based app and couldn't be without it. 

Sounds good. With the sheer amount of children in schools now days learning coding and web based technology I'm hoping my 12 year old niece will create something useful that's free to use, no subscription no payment just runs with an Internal clock and syncs via an Internet connection and all you do is enter clients names address and job and it selects a monthly work block 

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6 hours ago, Apw1210 said:

Sounds good. With the sheer amount of children in schools now days learning coding and web based technology I'm hoping my 12 year old niece will create something useful that's free to use, no subscription no payment just runs with an Internal clock and syncs via an Internet connection and all you do is enter clients names address and job and it selects a monthly work block 

I'd be amazed it would happen as you need the security to ensure all client data is safe. 

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