Jump to content

Don't want to see ads? Become a subscribed member.

What are your most painful problems? I might be able to help.


Recommended Posts

Chris Fox

Hey there!

I would like to connect with Window Cleaning business owners and ask them about the really painful problems they face. My intention is to build a business around real problems instead of guess work.

I'm a software engineer and have been building Web and Mobile apps for the last decade. I'm looking at building an App that will be used by both Window Cleaning professionals as well as their clients. I have all the tech skills it takes and have identified a gap after a need I have as a client.

My hope is to be able to bring some Window cleaning business owners along on this journey and build an app that can help improve efficiencies and increase business. 

If you could spare some time and knowledge with me, it would be greatly appreciated, I have some ideas how I could return the favor so please reach out to me.

Look forward to hearing from everyone.

Thanks
Chris

Link to post
  • Replies 71
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • Chris Fox

    32

  • dazmond

    7

  • Apw1210

    6

  • Pjj

    5

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

tbh chris none of the above appeals to me.....the great thing about window cleaning is its a simple,straightforward business...   1.i text the evening before (customers who have locked gates

I think you're over-complicating things.... From an administrative point of view window cleaning is a pretty simple business.  A large proportion of my customers wouldn't even know what an app is

All personal data should be either under lock and key or on a device with secure password needed to access it , it it is then hacked you are fine it’s not a problem , but just leaving customers detail

Posted Images

8 hours ago, Chris Fox said:

Hey there!

I would like to connect with Window Cleaning business owners and ask them about the really painful problems they face. My intention is to build a business around real problems instead of guess work.

I'm a software engineer and have been building Web and Mobile apps for the last decade. I'm looking at building an App that will be used by both Window Cleaning professionals as well as their clients. I have all the tech skills it takes and have identified a gap after a need I have as a client.

My hope is to be able to bring some Window cleaning business owners along on this journey and build an app that can help improve efficiencies and increase business. 

If you could spare some time and knowledge with me, it would be greatly appreciated, I have some ideas how I could return the favor so please reach out to me.

Look forward to hearing from everyone.

Thanks
Chris

its never been a better time to be a window cleaner.......

 

no ladders needed for the majority of work

no evening collecting due to electronic payments

round software like cleaner planner (with a mobile app too) which makes organising work schedules,keeping track of debts and book keeping a doddle

Link to post
Chris Fox
11 minutes ago, dazmond said:

its never been a better time to be a window cleaner.......

 

no ladders needed for the majority of work

no evening collecting due to electronic payments

round software like cleaner planner (with a mobile app too) which makes organising work schedules,keeping track of debts and book keeping a doddle

Hi Dazmond,

Thanks for the comment, great to hear how advances in equipment and payments have made the industry better all round. I've come across cleaner planner, Squeegee and Aworka and they all look good.

My intention with this venture is to innovate in this space, not only with my own ideas and perspective as a client, but hopefully with input from business owners as well to develop the next great App/Software in this space.

Here are some ideas I have:

1. Have two Apps One for the Business owner and one for your clients.
2. Clients can use the App to communicate with your business 
3. Client app can Have direct integration with OpenBanking to make once-off and recurring payments a breeze.
4. Clients can use the App to refer Neighbors and Friends to use your services
5. Business owner app will have all the standard Route management calendar
6. Integrate into existing account tools like Quickbooks or have it's own lightweight accounting features
7. App could Notify your client when it detects you are in the neighborhood (Using Geotracking)
8. Low cost, thinking like £5/month unlimited users
9. Possibility and having an "On-demand" service, like Uber for Window Cleaners

These are just a few, I have loads more ideas and would love to hear yours, especially if you are already using Software to manage your business. There must be things you think would add value and things you don't particularly like?

Also, if you do anything in Excel, think about how those tasks could be incorporated into an App.

Cheers
Chris

Link to post
Chris Fox

Here are a couple scenarios I experienced personally that I felt could have been handled better.

My window cleaner came round, did a great job as usual and rang the bell to let me know he was done and to also let me know that I owed him for that day and the previous month. Now my wife normally handles the payment so I had no idea if she had paid him, anyway, when she got home she was convinced she had paid him for last month, and ended up having to go down an uncomfortable process of finding the payments on the bank statement and sending them to him. It just felt very unorganised. Now I know not everyone is like this, but it was frustrating as a customer.

Would be great if I had an App on my phone which sent me a notification when someone has been round and logs it so I also have a record of when my windows were cleaned and If I had paid. Even better if I know when he is in the vicinity and the app knows he will be visiting me that day.

Knowing exactly what day and when he will be round to clean would be awesome, mainly because we keep our side gate locked and I need to make sure someone is home to let him round the back.

If he was also only able to do the front of the house, perhaps the app could discount that clean (Might be pushing my luck with that one though) but hey, just ideas at this stage.

Link to post
Chris Fox

Also, what about a loyalty system built into the Apps (Client and Business apps) like I have when I get a coffee at Costa or a hair cut at the barber. Every 10th purchase I get a free one, or whatever but some investment that A. Makes the client feel like he is getting a good deal, and B end up with the business owner getting more customers by offering things other cleaners are not.

The clients App could also have a "Tip" jar which, when they felt so inclined (Horrible weather out, or Bank holiday) and the windows get cleaned, I could tip a fiver to show my gratitude.

Link to post
Chris Fox

Data protection also needs to be key.

All these websites and apps you use to manage your business, you should always have a way to routinely backup your data for safe keeping in the event that the software company goes out of business or you decide to change to a different software, you should be able to download all your raw data and import into your new App.

Would be great to get your thoughts and a company name for the Software/App

Given I see it having 2 separate Apps, one for your Customer and one for your business, I was thinking: 2Windows

Got a better idea? Let me know!

Link to post

tbh chris none of the above appeals to me.....the great thing about window cleaning is its a simple,straightforward business...

 

1.i text the evening before (customers who have locked gates)so they know im coming....

2.most customers pay by BACS within 14 days(as stipulated on slips through the door)i very rarely have issues...if i do it takes 2 seconds to email them a statement of account or for them to check their online banking for a transaction..

3.i never offer the customer anything for free(i havent in 28 years of window cleaning)

Link to post
Chris Fox
3 minutes ago, dazmond said:

tbh chris none of the above appeals to me.....the great thing about window cleaning is its a simple,straightforward business...

 

1.i text the evening before (customers who have locked gates)so they know im coming....

2.most customers pay by BACS within 14 days(as stipulated on slips through the door)i very rarely have issues...if i do it takes 2 seconds to email them a statement of account or for them to check their online banking for a transaction..

3.i never offer the customer anything for free(i havent in 28 years of window cleaning)

All fair points, and totally agree, simplicity is key, perhaps a real value proposition is building something that takes away all the bells and whistles and just does exactly what you want in the most intuitive uncluttered and simple way possible.

Thanks again for your honesty and feedback, all taken onboard!

If you do ever think of something your software could do differently, or doesn't do at all, please reach out to me, I'm open to any ideas!

Link to post

I think you're over-complicating things.... From an administrative point of view window cleaning is a pretty simple business. 

A large proportion of my customers wouldn't even know what an app is, let alone how to use it!

The following two I would definitely not be in favour of:

1 hour ago, Chris Fox said:

7. App could Notify your client when it detects you are in the neighborhood (Using Geotracking)
9. Possibility and having an "On-demand" service, like Uber for Window Cleaners

 Excel spreadsheet works fine for me as a sole trader.

  • Agree 3
Link to post
Chris Fox
2 minutes ago, Cookie said:

I think you're over-complicating things.... From an administrative point of view window cleaning is a pretty simple business. 

A large proportion of my customers wouldn't even know what an app is, let alone how to use it!

The following two I would definitely not be in favour of:

 Excel spreadsheet works fine for me as a sole trader.

Hi Cookie, thanks for your comments. Get your point about a certain demographic not even knowing what an app is 🙂 

I'd be interested to know what your thoughts are on the "On-demand" feature not being a good idea, just throwing ideas out there at the moment to get the creative juices flowing.

Here is what made me think of that. We get our windows cleaned once a month, and at £15/month it's not a lot to spend for the average person, however my elderly parents couldn't afford that but still need their windows cleaned at lest every 2 or 3 months. The idea was that using the App they could put a message out saying they want their windows cleaned and then select an open slot on your calendar that you will be in the area. You then fit that into your round, get one extra house in for the day and their windows get cleaned and paid for all from the app. Fortunately they are tech savvy enough to handle that with a bit of instruction.

Probably a bad idea (as it sounds more complicated that it is), but just spitballing 🙂 

Link to post
3 minutes ago, Chris Fox said:

I'd be interested to know what your thoughts are on the "On-demand" feature not being a good idea, just throwing ideas out there at the moment to get the creative juices flowing.

An "On demand" feature more often than not is likely to encourage 'messers' - for example filthy one-off end of tenancy cleans that take ages or people who haggle on price. In your example you may get someone book a slot who doesn't agree to your price - it just ends up being wasted time and extra hassle. I guess this could work for someone in the early stages of building up a round but not for someone who is well established. In the case of your parents I would happily accommodate an 8 weekly (2 monthly) schedule - In fact most of my customers are 8 weekly.  

  • Like 2
Link to post
Chris Fox
1 minute ago, Cookie said:

An "On demand" feature more often than not is likely to encourage 'messers' - for example filthy one-off end of tenancy cleans that take ages or people who haggle on price. In your example you may get someone book a slot who doesn't agree to your price - it just ends up being wasted time and extra hassle. I guess this could work for someone in the early stages of building up a round but not for someone who is well established. In the case of your parents I would happily accommodate an 8 weekly (2 monthly) schedule - In fact most of my customers are 8 weekly.  

Great to get your insight, it's exactly what I was hoping for when I started this thread. I can only speak from my point of view and I actually never even considered asking my window cleaner to clean my parents windows on a different schedule. Typing that out now, it's seems rather obvious actually. On the flip side managing multiple schedules and planning your route efficiently around the variations has got to be difficult especially for those new businesses that are rapidly growing. "Automated Route Planning" could possibly be a good feature?

Link to post

I don't think the services you are envisioning will work.

None of my customers would likely download an app for their window cleaning service.

"On demand" won't work because you are then getting down to detailed time slots, which we don't because there are many variables in our day to day work that affect our timing.  Cookie has already outlined a few other reasons - but primarily, we like to plan our schedules and assess jobs before we do them.  First cleans for instance, can take 2-3 times longer than a regular clean and we need to factor this in to our schedule and pricing.

Geotracking will not work because why do I want customers notified that I'm in the area when in fact I'm not cleaning their house on that occasion?  They will  get bombarded with useless notifications on their devices.

Customers can communicate via phone, text, Facebook or email already. Do they or us really need another option, and one that is or may be fettered?

There is a multitude of different payment options for instance, GoCardless which requires an initial set up by the customers and payments are then deducted automatically.  However, I find that the majority of my customers like to be in control of payment and will do bank transfers themselves, or even pay cash (which I hate).

Customers already recommend us by word of mouth or even via Facebook. They will not likely go into an app to make a recommendation.

The other features you mentioned are already available on the current systems you have already mentioned. 

I'm pretty much invested in technology and personally like Squeegee as it's cloud-base and everything is done via the app.  Yes, there are a few occasions when customers are convinced they have paid me when they haven't, but it's not a chore for them to cross reference with their online banking.  

Customers (and us) like a simple life with little intrusion.  They certainly don't want a more inclusive role or involvement with their window cleaner and will not want multiple notifications letting them I'm in the area.

Personally, I think you're unlikely to have the wherewithal to come up with something that will successfully compete with the current providers based on your suggestions.  I do wish you luck though but perhaps you might wish to speak to your window cleaner in the meantime and ask him to send you text or email notifications the day before he visits (some of us do this as standard).  I do this everyday via the Squeegee app.  I also invoice via Squeegee too.

Link to post

I agree window cleaning is a very simple job we don’t need all this app stuff to run a proficient and successful business I openly admit Ime a technology dinosaur but have 5 staff and well over 4,000 clients and we use spread sheets we never have any issues , Ime not reliant on an app that can crash or have other technical issues , it may appeal to sum but it’s not something I would ever consider  using , sorry . 

Link to post
Chris Fox
6 minutes ago, NewGuy said:

Customers (and us) like a simple life with little intrusion.  They certainly don't want a more inclusive role or involvement with their window cleaner and will not want multiple notifications letting them I'm in the area.

Personally, I think you're unlikely to have the wherewithal to come up with something that will successfully compete with the current providers based on your suggestions.  I do wish you luck though but perhaps you might wish to speak to your window cleaner in the meantime and ask him to send you text or email notifications the day before he visits (some of us do this as standard).  I do this everyday via the Squeegee app.  I also invoice via Squeegee too.

Hey NewGuy,

Really appreciate you taking the time to provide your feedback, you raise some very valid points. I've thrown out some crazy ideas I know, but they really are just ideas. My focus is to start with the basics and provide a similar feature set to something like Squeegee and Cleaner Planner. The value proposition will be around creating a better user experience ad a more modern technology stack and offering that at a lower price with fewer limitations and as much engagement with the community of window cleaners as possible. I agree it may not be for all customers, but as an option, I think there are many who would love some insights via an App into the services they pay for, I certainly will be eating my own dog food 🙂 

I have been lucky over the past decade to have been involved with two very successful startup business in the Financial technology space and my knowledge around OpenBanking is going to be another value proposition that no one else is doing at the moment. I'm also working with two former colleagues who bring different skills and really do believe there is room in the market for something different to offer companies like yours. We are well positioned and have the funding and energy it's going to take to make this work. The coding has already begun!

Your input and criticisms are very constructive, and have certainly got me thinking differently already, so thanks again. Perhaps in a few months time I'll be able to convince to try a demo of our prototype. You never know, you may really like it!

Thanks again
Chris

Link to post
Chris Fox
17 minutes ago, Pjj said:

I agree window cleaning is a very simple job we don’t need all this app stuff to run a proficient and successful business I openly admit Ime a technology dinosaur but have 5 staff and well over 4,000 clients and we use spread sheets we never have any issues , Ime not reliant on an app that can crash or have other technical issues , it may appeal to sum but it’s not something I would ever consider  using , sorry . 

Hi Pjj, totally appreciate that Web apps and mobile apps for running a business are not for everyone and spreadsheets do the job just fine for many companies in all sorts of different industries. 

I have worked in technology across a number of industries and have an incredible amount of joy in taking Spreadsheet based systems and building Web and mobile apps based on them which have really been transformational to a lot of companies. I'm certainly not suggesting that applies to all, but I strongly believe that especially given the mobile nature of your industry, that there is a lot to be gained in efficiencies from combining both Mobile and Web (Cloud) based tools.

Based on so many here talking about the simplicity of running a window cleaning business, if I do this right, I could actually make something simple, even simpler and more productive than it already is. No harm in that!

Link to post
6 minutes ago, Chris Fox said:

Hi Pjj, totally appreciate that Web apps and mobile apps for running a business are not for everyone and spreadsheets do the job just fine for many companies in all sorts of different industries. 

I have worked in technology across a number of industries and have an incredible amount of joy in taking Spreadsheet based systems and building Web and mobile apps based on them which have really been transformational to a lot of companies. I'm certainly not suggesting that applies to all, but I strongly believe that especially given the mobile nature of your industry, that there is a lot to be gained in efficiencies from combining both Mobile and Web (Cloud) based tools.

Based on so many here talking about the simplicity of running a window cleaning business, if I do this right, I could actually make something simple, even simpler and more productive than it already is. No harm in that!

I appreciate that , but feel many of the features you are offering wouldn’t benefit a lot of window cleaning companies , a one man band certainly wouldn’t , Ime not being critical of what you are trying to accomplish but the old adage of kiss is very true ( keep it simple stupid ) or if it ant broke don’t try and fix it , I feel all theses  things are making a simple job complicated  with the potential for  creating problems by the complexity of the programs , also I don’t want to be reliant on a 3rd party for my customers data and my business and work schedules as things can and do go wrong all the current software providers  have had issues at one time or another some minor sum major , in over 22 years I have never seen the need to embrace theses new ways , but as I said Ime a techno dinosaur 🦕🦕🦕🦕😂😂😂😂  

Link to post
Chris Fox
2 minutes ago, Pjj said:

I appreciate that , but feel many of the features you are offering wouldn’t benefit a lot of window cleaning companies , a one man band certainly wouldn’t , Ime not being critical of what you are trying to accomplish but the old adage of kiss is very true ( keep it simple stupid ) or if it ant broke don’t try and fix it , I feel all theses  things are making a simple job complicated  with the potential for  creating problems by the complexity of the programs , also I don’t want to be reliant on a 3rd party for my customers data and my business and work schedules as things can and do go wrong all the current software providers  have had issues at one time or another some minor sum major , in over 22 years I have never seen the need to embrace theses new ways , but as I said Ime a techno dinosaur 🦕🦕🦕🦕😂😂😂😂  

I think my main takeaway so far from this feedback plays to that old adage you mentioned of KISS, especially when it comes to features and trying to get to complicated. I'll be sure to keep coming back to this post to make sure we stay focused on the core features that are needed and work, and try not get sidetracked building bells and whistles that no one wants! 🙂 

On a side note, it's sounds like you have a great system set up in Excel, I know it's cheeky to ask, but if you ever feel like showing me and helping our startup out by sharing you knowledge, that would be amazing! I know I could learn ALOT from seeing how you do it in Excel and porting some of those ideas into our software. Anyway, Thanks again for your comments Pjj.

Link to post

The one thing that would make my life so much easier on Squeegee is the ability to automatically recognise when customers have paid their balance by BACS.

I have customers pay me and my banking app alerts me, and I then need to go into squeegee and record the payment. However, there are occasions when I'm away or busy and forget to record payments which means on squeegee I still can have customers showing that they owe money. 

I appreciate that it may be impossible to set up an app to record payment received in a third party account but if you could, you might be onto a winner from my perspective. 

I'm an innovator and I always welcome new ways of working. If you can devise something that offers a USP that blows the competitors out of the water, I'll most certainly be interested. A word of caution though. Don't get hang up on being the cheapest. I for one understand that costs can escalate, especially if the service is a niche market. 

 

 

Link to post

I just have a spread sheet with the address in one column, the price in the next column, frequency in the next , and if they owe anything in the last one . I have a master copy with full names , and all contact details for the customer that is just used for reference in the office and on the computer . I don’t get involved with the paperwork my wife does  it all takes her about 1-2 hours per week to update around a 1,000 accounts per week . 

Link to post

Don't want to see ads? Become a subscribed member.


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.

Ad Blocker Detected

Please disable your ad blocker

Our forum relies on ads to pay for the servers and our time maintaining and running the forum.

Sadly running a forum like this is not free, and due to our popularity, we need servers that can handle the amount of traffic and resources our forum uses.

 

If you do not wish to see ads on our site, please consider supporting the forum with a membership subscription.

 

Accept