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Thinking to startup in Australia.


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Gday all...looking to startup an external cleaning business - windows, softwashing, solar cleaning, pressure washing, in a small country town in Australia, population of approx. 10,000...not certain yet how many houses that might be.

The market here seems different to UK in terms of regular cleaning schedule so looking to connect with members down here who can offer more local advice.

As with everything, a trained and competent person makes the task look easy. In my mid 50's & I really want to work for myself after working for the big global company which has never really worked out for me. I'm more interested in the satisfaction of working for myself and steering my own ship as best I can. I realise it's not going to be all beer and skittles...

I have no experience at all in this work but a friend of a friend has setup as a successful window cleaner using WFP with no more than 1 days "training" from another window cleaner and he says there is so much work available, that I should be giving it a go. And I do know that he is flat out with work all be it in an area of multi-million dollar holiday homes and very dissimilar to my town.

As far as I know there is only one other window cleaner in town. I've never seen him advertise anywhere and only see him cleaning a few shops up the main street, so not sure how much of a go he gives it.

I have savings behind me to support myself for 12-18months to get up and running and after that I'd be skint and probably homeless lol...

I'd looked into buying a well known franchise but they wanted $37000 for franchise fee and equipment plus on-going monthly fees of approx $800 AND they said I'd need to buy a suitable van. So I gave that idea away.

I have a suitable vehicle to tow a trailer so that's covered. What is a realistic setup cost for equipment? Do I jump straight in and buy a WFP system and pressure washer or concentrate on first building the window cleaning round using traditional?

Looking to get started in our Spring - September...Lots of questions going round in my head and of course the anxiety of chucking in a well paid job with holidays, sick & superannuation, even though I hate it and get no satisfaction from the work I do at all.

Thanks for any contacts and advice you can share.

Cheers, Guv.

 

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I can't comment on working in Australia but a population of 10k suggests c3000 houses, that might be a big enough pool depending on how much competition there is, I think that's something you need to know for certain.

How far is it to the next town and could you service customers there if you weren't picking up enough work in your town?

I wouldn't do franchise, waste of money in my opinion. (Others will disagree) You will succeed on the quality of your work and building a reputation for yourself, in a small town that shouldn't be too hard.

WFP is not hard if you have a good work ethic and can think for yourself.

I wish you all the very best in your venture.

 

  • Agree 2
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5 hours ago, Guv said:

Gday all...looking to startup an external cleaning business - windows, softwashing, solar cleaning, pressure washing, in a small country town in Australia, population of approx. 10,000...not certain yet how many houses that might be.

The market here seems different to UK in terms of regular cleaning schedule so looking to connect with members down here who can offer more local advice.

As with everything, a trained and competent person makes the task look easy. In my mid 50's & I really want to work for myself after working for the big global company which has never really worked out for me. I'm more interested in the satisfaction of working for myself and steering my own ship as best I can. I realise it's not going to be all beer and skittles...

I have no experience at all in this work but a friend of a friend has setup as a successful window cleaner using WFP with no more than 1 days "training" from another window cleaner and he says there is so much work available, that I should be giving it a go. And I do know that he is flat out with work all be it in an area of multi-million dollar holiday homes and very dissimilar to my town.

As far as I know there is only one other window cleaner in town. I've never seen him advertise anywhere and only see him cleaning a few shops up the main street, so not sure how much of a go he gives it.

I have savings behind me to support myself for 12-18months to get up and running and after that I'd be skint and probably homeless lol...

I'd looked into buying a well known franchise but they wanted $37000 for franchise fee and equipment plus on-going monthly fees of approx $800 AND they said I'd need to buy a suitable van. So I gave that idea away.

I have a suitable vehicle to tow a trailer so that's covered. What is a realistic setup cost for equipment? Do I jump straight in and buy a WFP system and pressure washer or concentrate on first building the window cleaning round using traditional?

Looking to get started in our Spring - September...Lots of questions going round in my head and of course the anxiety of chucking in a well paid job with holidays, sick & superannuation, even though I hate it and get no satisfaction from the work I do at all.

Thanks for any contacts and advice you can share.

Cheers, Guv.

 

Hello there.

My best pommy advice would be to stay away from franchised business and those being sold without a full itinerary of the round, customers, equipment, turnover as it's you're money that would be gambled,

Equipment and techniques vary across the world as well as rules regulations and codes

Equipment wise you have

Window cleaning  - Ionics Australia

Pressure washing Jetwave Group

Get yourself onto YouTube and Instagram as there are many guys on there that can best advise you

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Posted (edited)

I saw your post about a half an hour ago and I've been mulling on it since to give you a properly considered and thought out answer from my perspective.
My worries are along the exact same lines as @Martynis  concerned about. Low population and low number of houses. I'd add to that the question of the likely attitude to our trade of the customer base. I couldn't see there much demand in the type of towns we saw in Crocodile Dundee for instance.

I'll give you an example or two from my own personal experience. I lived for a number of years in the west of Ireland, near Kilrush and Kilkee in County Clare. I bought the equipment and tried to make a living from garden maintenance. I was hired to clear a few massively overgrown gardens. I went in fairly cheap in the hope that once I got them up together I'd get the much easier and quicker and hopefully more lucrative maintenance work on a regular basis. Didn't happen! I sometimes came home with my clothing and skin ripped from going into and clearing bramble thickets 6ft high. My wife said, "Jesus, Dave! Have you been fighting tigers?" Once the gardens were up together folk either lived with them for a long long time till they were dreadful again before calling me back, lived with them and never called me back, or went into Aldi and bought cheap equipment and did the maintenance themselves. The area I lived in was in the general area where the TV sit-com Father Ted was filmed and the laid back attitudes of the general population was portrayed pretty accurately. The attitude towards window cleaning would be "ah sure it will probably rain tomorrow."

You must have a viable market! For that you need enough population, enough interest and not an overwhelming level of competition. Maybe be and hopefully you do have everything you need. Only you can answer that but the problem is you might not be able to answer it unless you make the investment to try it. If conditions are suspect or doubtful in your immediate vicinity could there be somewhere more viable within range?

The very best of luck to you from this side of the sphere. I hope it flies for you.

Edited by Davy G
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Having read the previous replies I have a different take on things.

How about investing in basic wfp kit and just working on weekends to start with? That way you can gauge how many houses you can get. If it looks like work is coming in thick and fast then you can quit your day job! OK so you won't be getting much rest but you will not be risking much.

So you are probably risking $1000 if that.

I have no idea if Australia is more like US market where regular cleaning isn't really a thing they are more normally once maybe twice a year, their windys take a portable RO and run it from outside tap as most US houses have those. In UK we process water either at home into a big container (1000litres) or directly into a a van mounted tank.

First thing you need to do is find out what your water TDS value is. If it's above say 70 then you need a Reverse Osmosis system (RO) if less than 70 then you can just use a DI vessel with resin in to remove the TDS.

Hope that gives you something to think about?

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I have several friend in Australia , mogo, surfers paradise ,and cairns , none of them are window cleaners but talking to them think that window cleaning in Australia seams to be done  only a few times per year rather than regular 4,6,8 weekly cleans like we do hear . Water fed pole would be the way to go but ware you are what’s the situation with water do you have to buy it in by the tanker load ? Or are you mains fed ?! I would defiantly recommend   trying a bit of canvassing to see what response you get . You could start doing some trad work like shops or bungalow as trad kit is very cheap if you get a lot of interest I would then go water fed pole . Let us know how you get on any questions just ask .

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There's a chap on here who's from Hervey Bay. Might be worth speaking with him to share experiences. I can't remember his name though! 

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stayclear
8 hours ago, Part Timer said:

@stayclear is the bloke, a link to his website below.

 

https://www.stayclear.com.au/

Hi,

Neil is the name and yes I run www.stayclear.com.au 

Your quite right, generally most clients are 1, 2 or 3 times a year, but then the homes have no comparison to the UK. Many take upto a full day to do and most cleans are inside and out. Bigger homes, bigger windows equals bigger charge but you get to do them on a less regular basis.

I left the UK (Stoney Stanton, Leicestershire in 2004). The homes Ive been doing are huge! I managed to get into the luxury home market when we lived on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. Due to the inept state government their and numerous covid outbreaks we sold up and moved to Hervey bay, Queensland in February. There's not much affluence here, truth is I'm probably getting only 10% of what I used to get in Victoria. In all honesty Ive been in a lot of pain last year or so and wanting to wind down. Ive made good money from window cleaning, but profitability can be patchy depending upon where you work. Wealthy suburbs around the main cities are the best spots for a good $.

A standard 3/4 bedroom single storey home I'd have charged around A$200 and be done in less than 2 hrs inside and out.

Larger luxury homes would take up to a full day to do and I'd have charged $800 or more for the day. 

I used water fed pole, I had a resin tank and carbon filter on a portable trolley. This is then hooked up to the properties own water supply and used their. Almost all Australian homes have a couple of outdoor taps protruding from either the outside wall or garden. Usually one on the front lawn and one at the back of the house.

I hope this answers all your questions, happy to help with whatever you need to know.

kind regards,

Neil

http://www.stayclear.com.au

 

 

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stayclear

This link shows a typical basic portable water fed pole set up in australia. No carting water around! ....and no worrying about water freezing either.

 

Complete Water Fed Pole & Water Treatment Packages (windowcleaningsupplies.com.au)

 

Complete Water Fed Pole & Water Treatment Packages (windowcleaningsupplies.com.au)https://windowcleaningsupplies.com.au/wwwcs/complete-water-fed-pole-water-treatment-packages/

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26 minutes ago, stayclear said:

Hi,

Neil is the name and yes I run www.stayclear.com.au 

Your quite right, generally most clients are 1, 2 or 3 times a year, but then the homes have no comparison to the UK. Many take upto a full day to do and most cleans are inside and out. Bigger homes, bigger windows equals bigger charge but you get to do them on a less regular basis.

I left the UK (Stoney Stanton, Leicestershire in 2004). The homes Ive been doing are huge! I managed to get into the luxury home market when we lived on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. Due to the inept state government their and numerous covid outbreaks we sold up and moved to Hervey bay, Queensland in February. There's not much affluence here, truth is I'm probably getting only 10% of what I used to get in Victoria. In all honesty Ive been in a lot of pain last year or so and wanting to wind down. Ive made good money from window cleaning, but profitability can be patchy depending upon where you work. Wealthy suburbs around the main cities are the best spots for a good $.

A standard 3/4 bedroom single storey home I'd have charged around A$200 and be done in less than 2 hrs inside and out.

Larger luxury homes would take up to a full day to do and I'd have charged $800 or more for the day. 

I used water fed pole, I had a resin tank and carbon filter on a portable trolley. This is then hooked up to the properties own water supply and used their. Almost all Australian homes have a couple of outdoor taps protruding from either the outside wall or garden. Usually one on the front lawn and one at the back of the house.

I hope this answers all your questions, happy to help with whatever you need to know.

kind regards,

Neil

http://www.stayclear.com.au

 

 

Thanks Niel, for your valuable contribution to this conversation outlining your experiences in different areas. You have reinforced the concerns of @Martyn
and I about having the right location to have a good enough market to create a thriving business. Hopefully there will be and then it's a matter of ascertaining the tds, sourcing the right equipment and getting stuck in. Hopefully all will be good. 👍

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Posted (edited)

Hi everyone.

Really appreciate all of your valuable comments based on your extensive experiences. Thank you.

My doubts have been exactly the same as yours and that is having enough local houses to hit up and the frequency of required cleaning. Windows here are definitely not cleaned regularly like they are in UK and the prices charged and time taken as quoted by Neil @stayclear seem similar to what my "friend of a friend" would charge for the mega mansions he cleans along the Great Ocean Road.

The infrequent schedule is why I was thinking to expand out into solar panel cleaning, softwashing weatherboard houses, gutter cleaning etc. - starting up a home "exterior" cleaning business.

Again as Neil said I'd have access to water at each property except for commercial up the main street so the system in Neil's link is exactly what i've been looking at, though yet to confirm TDS locally. And most homes locally are single storey so maybe I can start out with a cheap trad kit and step ladder. 

As I said as far as i know there is only one local window cleaner in my town and not sure how much effort he puts into his business. My town is growing at a rate of knots with several new subdivisions for new homes, not on the scale of housing estates in UK but it's expanding all the same. Other nearby towns are approx 40-50 kms away, easy drive on good roads and similar in size.

Problem with working on weekend is that it's a small town. I've lived here 30+ years. A lot of my colleagues live locally and with the old bush telegraph still in operation it would not be long before word got back to the big cheeses at work that Guv is trying something new!

From my girlfriends extensive network I seem to have a few jobs already lined up though not locally...probably will use as a learning experience rather than paid work, take my time and do a great job in return for likes and positive comments on FB.

I'm free to relocate to Melbourne and closer to girlfriend but I like the small country town, no crowds, clean air, no traffic...and Melbourne is like Manchester which I left 33 years ago haha.

ABN is registered. Business name to register next. Those are the easy steps! Just need to give it a go and as the great Brian Kidd said when he left Fergie for Blackburn Rovers "...yeah you can leave it too late...and i don't wanna die wondering!"

Thanks again everyone. Stay well.

Guv.

 

Edited by Guv
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stayclear

Solar is a good area to diversify into. Ive done plenty of solar panels and have a specific page to promote solar cleaning, just be very careful walking on colourbond roofing. Its a nightmare, slightest drop of water and its slippy as hell! Ive been charging $10 a panel with a minimum of $100 for getting on the roof of a single storey.

20201229_094124.jpg

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That's what I figured Neil though I thought with wfp and a "gooseneck"? you could avoid getting on the roof.

Do you need aworking from heights ticket and some fall restraint set-up?

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stayclear

My insurance covered me ona single storey roof. 

There's nowhere to leash yourself too on a standard single storey roof. I wish there was. I felt perfectly fine on tiled roofing but colourblind is a different game altogether. 

Many solar panels will be unreachable from the ground and you have to get onto the roof. If its colourbond I try to work on the Ridge downwards. That way the water is flowing away from me and keeping ,y walk area dry.

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6 hours ago, stayclear said:

My insurance covered me ona single storey roof. 

There's nowhere to leash yourself too on a standard single storey roof. I wish there was. I felt perfectly fine on tiled roofing but colourblind is a different game altogether. 

Many solar panels will be unreachable from the ground and you have to get onto the roof. If its colourbond I try to work on the Ridge downwards. That way the water is flowing away from me and keeping ,y walk area dry.

Can you not clean them from the ground ???

F23C3304-FB6F-4AE4-BAF4-146F9B0D8087.jpeg

7C4F76F5-9850-40F6-9EF1-DE9B536CF041.jpeg

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Hi Neil..."My insurance covered me ona single storey roof." Can I ask who you're insured by?

Thanks, Guv.

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