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Thinking of starting


Guest Mdrake

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Hi guys

 

I'm thinking of starting in the new year in the Gloucestershire area. I was thinking domestic, am I barking up the wrong tree when I say the following:

 

Small van partner or sim

Wpf, what size? Where should I get this from?

Insurance

Assorted bits and bots, ladders etc

Then look for work!

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Ive got another job which I can rely upon so I'm not without money, hence the ability to purchase

 

The idea is to build it up and then make it my income. So hence the question.

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To be honest buddy, no offence but it doesn't sound like you have really did your homework. When I started the first thing I did was spend about £30 on some trad gear from homebase, then practised, practised, practised . I work out how long it was taking me after a good few weeks of practice, I then came up with a pricing structure based on how long it took me. Then I went out and started canvassing, going door to door.

 

Everyone is different, and you may have some more cash set aside that I did when I started, so can make some descent investments in equipement straight away, but my advice would be to spend a major portion of you time and money on building up your customer base. You can look at some other less important stuff later on.

 

One thing to consider is buying an estate version of a panel van like a renault kangoo, or Citroen berlingo, as the insurance is cheaper on the estate models, that with panel vans, and you can just remove the rear seats if you need the space for a WFP setup.

 

We usually do a comparison with simply business for public and employers liability insurance which is quite a good website, we are currently insured via Zurich.

 

There is loads of equipement that you could buy, but for trad I would advice the following items as the bare essentials, we dont use WFP's, so someone else will be able to advice you better on what you would need for that, one website I would look at for WFP though would be pure freedom, they do some pretty good budget systems.

 

Basic trad gear: -

Ladders, 20ft set about £80 - http://www.ladders4sale.co.uk/

Ladder clamps, usually on offer when you buy ladders from about website

Go to a local timber merchant, and but some posts to cut some wedges for levelling ladders, handy to have to pin open close doors etc as well.

For trad gear I would use 'window cleaning warehouse'

you will need: -

12" or 14" squeegee

14" applicator

scapper

soap

bucket

scrims

pouches

bucket on a belt

shoe covers for working in doors

 

Its not essential but if you have some money spare, some t-shirts will a logo on it can greatly improve your results when canvassing as you will gain peoples trust easier. I would recommend,

http://categories.engelbert-strauss.co.uk/workwear.htm

They will do the printing and embroidery for you as well.

 

Hope that helps.

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Guest colinvansmith

full diy wfp system with 250 litre tank with gardiner 27ft clx pole for around £1300 be careful what type of van you get as with this set up for two men you'll need a payload of at least 800kg's

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Guest badbusdriver

Good on you for thinking along the right lines, wfp that is!. Yes there is still a place for trad, and it can certainly come in handy to have some ability with trad methods, but in your particular situation, wfp is the way to go. If you read some of the mis-informed nonsense on this forum, you could be forgiven for thinking wfp is the work of the devil!. Getting an estate car for wfp is not a good idea. 1st off, the estate version of something like a kangoo or partner is going to have the lowest payload, 2nd, an estate wont have a bulkhead, which is a highly desirable extra safeguard when carrying a large vessel of water!, 3rd, a wfp system really needs to be fixed for the obvious safety reasons, and in a small fwd van, the tank needs to be as far forward as possible, so you wouldnt be able to use the rear seats anyway. Not sure what Col is thinking about, but with a 250l system, you could easily get away with a 600kg payload unless you are carrying heaps and heaps of other stuff!. I use a diy wfp 500l system in my ford transit connect 230, it has a 900KG payload. 500kg for the water, the tank itself weighs about 30kg, the metal frame my tank sits in is about 50kg, the rest of my stuff including pump, di vessel, hose reel (100 metres) and various other stuff would be, at most, another 150kg (but probably less than 100kg), and finally me, at 90kg (yes, remember, a vans stated payload is simply the gvw-the dry weight, the driver comes out of the payload!), that comes to 820kg. I use a pump controller and consider it essential for water consumption, but one of the other benefits is that you can wire it directly to your van battery, so no faffing about with leasure batteries!. One other thing, my connect is the lwb version, and i can fit my 36ft pole inside. If you plan to get a partner or kangoo sized van, you probably wont get a big pole inside it, that may not be an issue, but just so you know. As for your system, diy is def the way to go, there is nothing complicated at all, a pump, a water tank, and some hose, simples!. Just decide how you want to purify your water, di or ro, get a pole or 2, and you're sorted. Good luck :-)

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Guest ricoclay

If you are thinking of starting up and still are in employment, I would honestly say that you would be better off waiting til around March time before you make the leap.

 

As laddergarder says, start off small. Very little point spending thousands of pounds on gear/van etc to start with coz you will need your savings to live off of for a while (unless you can work and pick up around 30-40 new customers a week).

 

I would suggest though, that rather than going the whole hog and buying a van and kitting it out, get yourself a trolley system and work from the back of an estate car while you are finding your feet

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i have a van but i also have a garden business so needed one for clearance work ect.

 

its a berlingo van great on fuel.i wanted a transit connect but these mothers hold there cash lol.

 

if i was just to do window cleaning in the futer i would prob just buy my self a astra estate or something like that.im trad tho so all i need is a roof rack and abit of space.

 

i could do it out of a fiesta to be fair but need more room as i have two big dogs lol.

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Guest ClearVue Solutions

All good points above.

 

I would start with a practise first with some trad gear. Get out there in the cold at the moment (window clean ur friends houses and urs n do sum canvassing) and seriously think is this what you want to do....if u can cope with that then you'll be fine with the other less harsh months.

 

Lots of options for gear, tools etc....

 

If you have any questions or would like a chat with someone about anything window cleaning related just give me a call 0788 7777 252

 

Ps check out my website for uniform, logo design, web design n kit www.clearvuesolutions.co.uk. And I can sort you out :-)

 

All the best, Jeremy

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Guest maximus

Hey!

 

Domestic is definitely a good place to start! It's good bread and butter work.

 

I've had particular success recently with canvassing. When you call keep it brief and ask if they want a window cleaner. If they have one don't waste your time undercutting move on!

 

Price is normally pound per window and add couple of pound on, obviously looking at access, size of windows, type of windows etc.

 

I've never found being the cheapest matters, people care about customer service and having someone they trust!

 

I would start canvassing as you build and arrange your system. I set up my own, so if you need any help i'll message you where to find me.

 

Small van would be fine, I have a transit connect which is great small van. For insurance purposes check the payload on the van and don't go over it! Make sure the tank is secure in the van also, or have a low lying tank made (expensive).

 

You can get insurance for window cleaners, which covers your van and contents with companies like allied and i believe gleaming. My insurance is just for the van.

 

WFP wise, I use alluminium they are heavier but tend to be a little more durable. Carbon fibre you have to really look after. Brodex do good deals. Think about how high you need to go. A friend has made poles out of fishing rods. Not sure about that myself!

 

I purify the water in my van, and this works great. If you want more info on that, no problem.

 

Any other questions I'm happy to help. Ill send you my details.

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Guest colinvansmith

Good on you for thinking along the right lines, wfp that is!. Yes there is still a place for trad, and it can certainly come in handy to have some ability with trad methods, but in your particular situation, wfp is the way to go. If you read some of the mis-informed nonsense on this forum, you could be forgiven for thinking wfp is the work of the devil!. Getting an estate car for wfp is not a good idea. 1st off, the estate version of something like a kangoo or partner is going to have the lowest payload, 2nd, an estate wont have a bulkhead, which is a highly desirable extra safeguard when carrying a large vessel of water!, 3rd, a wfp system really needs to be fixed for the obvious safety reasons, and in a small fwd van, the tank needs to be as far forward as possible, so you wouldnt be able to use the rear seats anyway. Not sure what Col is thinking about, but with a 250l system, you could easily get away with a 600kg payload unless you are carrying heaps and heaps of other stuff!. I use a diy wfp 500l system in my ford transit connect 230, it has a 900KG payload. 500kg for the water, the tank itself weighs about 30kg, the metal frame my tank sits in is about 50kg, the rest of my stuff including pump, di vessel, hose reel (100 metres) and various other stuff would be, at most, another 150kg (but probably less than 100kg), and finally me, at 90kg (yes, remember, a vans stated payload is simply the gvw-the dry weight, the driver comes out of the payload!), that comes to 820kg. I use a pump controller and consider it essential for water consumption, but one of the other benefits is that you can wire it directly to your van battery, so no faffing about with leasure batteries!. One other thing, my connect is the lwb version, and i can fit my 36ft pole inside. If you plan to get a partner or kangoo sized van, you probably wont get a big pole inside it, that may not be an issue, but just so you know. As for your system, diy is def the way to go, there is nothing complicated at all, a pump, a water tank, and some hose, simples!. Just decide how you want to purify your water, di or ro, get a pole or 2, and you're sorted. Good luck :-)

 

I have two vans both with 350 litre 2 man set ups set ups in them, in renault kangoos with a 630kg payload both were hitting the bump stops on the suspention when the tank is full of water, i had to buy spring assister for grayston springs to help the suspention take the load and i only have the essentials in them, if your buying a small van as in berlingo, partner, kangoo size be wary about getting all your wfp equipment in

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Guest ricoclay

Good on you for thinking along the right lines, wfp that is!. Yes there is still a place for trad, and it can certainly come in handy to have some ability with trad methods, but in your particular situation, wfp is the way to go. If you read some of the mis-informed nonsense on this forum, you could be forgiven for thinking wfp is the work of the devil!. Getting an estate car for wfp is not a good idea. 1st off, the estate version of something like a kangoo or partner is going to have the lowest payload, 2nd, an estate wont have a bulkhead, which is a highly desirable extra safeguard when carrying a large vessel of water!, 3rd, a wfp system really needs to be fixed for the obvious safety reasons, and in a small fwd van, the tank needs to be as far forward as possible, so you wouldnt be able to use the rear seats anyway. Not sure what Col is thinking about, but with a 250l system, you could easily get away with a 600kg payload unless you are carrying heaps and heaps of other stuff!. I use a diy wfp 500l system in my ford transit connect 230, it has a 900KG payload. 500kg for the water, the tank itself weighs about 30kg, the metal frame my tank sits in is about 50kg, the rest of my stuff including pump, di vessel, hose reel (100 metres) and various other stuff would be, at most, another 150kg (but probably less than 100kg), and finally me, at 90kg (yes, remember, a vans stated payload is simply the gvw-the dry weight, the driver comes out of the payload!), that comes to 820kg. I use a pump controller and consider it essential for water consumption, but one of the other benefits is that you can wire it directly to your van battery, so no faffing about with leasure batteries!. One other thing, my connect is the lwb version, and i can fit my 36ft pole inside. If you plan to get a partner or kangoo sized van, you probably wont get a big pole inside it, that may not be an issue, but just so you know. As for your system, diy is def the way to go, there is nothing complicated at all, a pump, a water tank, and some hose, simples!. Just decide how you want to purify your water, di or ro, get a pole or 2, and you're sorted. Good luck :-)

 

I have two vans both with 350 litre 2 man set ups set ups in them, in renault kangoos with a 630kg payload both were hitting the bump stops on the suspention when the tank is full of water, i had to buy spring assister for grayston springs to help the suspention take the load and i only have the essentials in them, if your buying a small van as in berlingo, partner, kangoo size be wary about getting all your wfp equipment in

 

 

 

 

That will be because it is a Renault Kangoo :) Notorious for having rubbish suspension

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Guest colinvansmith

Good on you for thinking along the right lines, wfp that is!. Yes there is still a place for trad, and it can certainly come in handy to have some ability with trad methods, but in your particular situation, wfp is the way to go. If you read some of the mis-informed nonsense on this forum, you could be forgiven for thinking wfp is the work of the devil!. Getting an estate car for wfp is not a good idea. 1st off, the estate version of something like a kangoo or partner is going to have the lowest payload, 2nd, an estate wont have a bulkhead, which is a highly desirable extra safeguard when carrying a large vessel of water!, 3rd, a wfp system really needs to be fixed for the obvious safety reasons, and in a small fwd van, the tank needs to be as far forward as possible, so you wouldnt be able to use the rear seats anyway. Not sure what Col is thinking about, but with a 250l system, you could easily get away with a 600kg payload unless you are carrying heaps and heaps of other stuff!. I use a diy wfp 500l system in my ford transit connect 230, it has a 900KG payload. 500kg for the water, the tank itself weighs about 30kg, the metal frame my tank sits in is about 50kg, the rest of my stuff including pump, di vessel, hose reel (100 metres) and various other stuff would be, at most, another 150kg (but probably less than 100kg), and finally me, at 90kg (yes, remember, a vans stated payload is simply the gvw-the dry weight, the driver comes out of the payload!), that comes to 820kg. I use a pump controller and consider it essential for water consumption, but one of the other benefits is that you can wire it directly to your van battery, so no faffing about with leasure batteries!. One other thing, my connect is the lwb version, and i can fit my 36ft pole inside. If you plan to get a partner or kangoo sized van, you probably wont get a big pole inside it, that may not be an issue, but just so you know. As for your system, diy is def the way to go, there is nothing complicated at all, a pump, a water tank, and some hose, simples!. Just decide how you want to purify your water, di or ro, get a pole or 2, and you're sorted. Good luck :-)

 

I have two vans both with 350 litre 2 man set ups set ups in them, in renault kangoos with a 630kg payload both were hitting the bump stops on the suspention when the tank is full of water, i had to buy spring assister for grayston springs to help the suspention take the load and i only have the essentials in them, if your buying a small van as in berlingo, partner, kangoo size be wary about getting all your wfp equipment in

 

 

 

 

That will be because it is a Renault Kangoo :) Notorious for having rubbish suspension

 

 

this forum is to help each, opinions differ, thats where the wealth of knowledge comes not froom trying to out do one another

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my berlingo is realy poor at carrying weight i had 20 bags of balast in it in the summer for a fencing job it was on its a$$ couldnt get up hills!!!and thats with a new clutch and belts and service lol it is gutless tho even when empty its has no power its a non turbo i aint bothered its cheap as chips to run and thats what counts.

 

would like a open back tranny next make life easy for me.

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Guest badbusdriver

Col, 1st, in your original post, you spoke about needing an 800kg payload for a 250l setup, not 350l. With 350l i would agree totally that a 800kg payload is needed, esp if a 2 man set up, which with average sized blokes, will knock 160-180kg off your payload right there. 2nd, im still surprised your kangoo's are hitting the bump stops though, have you got your tanks too far back?. The payload needs to be spread as much as possible between front and rear axles, which is why i mentioned putting tank as far forward as possible. If all, or most of the weight of the tank, is over the rear wheels, you may well be putting too much weight on the rear axle.

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Cheers for the advice. So I'm now thinking of a mid size van, Dispatch or small Transit.

 

I've seen WFP system in WCW.

 

I'm mostly likely to purchase these in January time, when best to start looking for work?

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WCW systems look a little price'y, you could get some set-ups a bit cheaper than that, but you get what you pay for I guess. Once you have your system setup, you will want to spend some time practising then start canvassing straight away.

 

One of the pit falls when starting out is getting your pricing structure wrong. When you need work (and it does take time to find work) you will be tempted to charge a little less. Don't do it, when you are working for yourself, you can't think of you takings as your hourly rate, once it is all said and done you want it to be worth your while. You should be able to pay yourself ever holidays e.t.c cover expenses.

 

The best thing to do is work out what you think everything will cost, do your homework and get quotes and check on-line for prices. Even ask on here if you are unsure about things like how much petrol you might use etc.

 

Then incorporate other cost, like int nat insurance, holidays, phone bills etc. Then add on your salary that you want to pay yourself bearing in mind you have to be compe***ive, then take your total expected cost and break it down to an hourly rate that you should aim for.

 

Once you have an idea of how long jobs are taking you after some practice, you will be able to use this figure to give you an idea of what you need to charge.

 

Over the winter though you can be doing other things as well like designing flyer, business cards, stationery like invoice, receipts, we called today letters, welcome letters, written quotation forms.

 

Plenty to get on with :)

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Guest colinvansmith

Col, 1st, in your original post, you spoke about needing an 800kg payload for a 250l setup, not 350l. With 350l i would agree totally that a 800kg payload is needed, esp if a 2 man set up, which with average sized blokes, will knock 160-180kg off your payload right there. 2nd, im still surprised your kangoo's are hitting the bump stops though, have you got your tanks too far back?. The payload needs to be spread as much as possible between front and rear axles, which is why i mentioned putting tank as far forward as possible. If all, or most of the weight of the tank, is over the rear wheels, you may well be putting too much weight on the rear axle.

 

my tanks as far forward as i can get them, although the mgw is 630kg most of the smaller vans are not comfortable carrying loads near the mgw all of the time a mid sized van i think would suit better.

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Guest badbusdriver

Mdrake, unless you have a surplus of money, i would question the wisdom of buying a wfp system. They are not in the least bit complicated, so why pay far more than necessary for something you could do yourself?. I am curious as to which of wcw's systems you are thinking about, havng just been on their website. The complete 'compact' (360l) system i saw costs over £3k inc vat, and that doesnt come with poles, which frankly is a ridiculous price for something so simple!. Diy is the way to go, really, think about it. Here is a little shopping list for a comparison (all prices include vat and del. where applicable): surflo 100psi pump + controller £171.59 from cleaning spot, flat baffled 350l tank £136 on ebay, 100m 0f 6mm microbore hose mounted on metal reel £134.95 on ebay, 8l di vessel £52.30 on ebay, 25l tulsion mb-115 resin £74.50 on ebay, various other fittings you might need £50ish from cleaning spot. On top of that, say £150 to get a local fabricator to make up a frame out of 3" angle for your tank with brackets which line up with the load securing points on your van (remove the 'loops', and get bolts, prob 17mm to fit). That all comes to about £770, a saving of more than £2300 over your wcw system (if that is the one you were thinking about). Surely that money would be better off in your pocket?. For another £400 you could get a couple of half decent poles, a small one for downstairs and a bigger one 28'-34' for upstairs!.

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