Cleanliness they say is next to Godliness! But is this limited to our bodies or clothes? Probably not. Cleanliness and neatness is one of the enviable attributes of humans, hence, there is always the need to keep our body and environment clean at all times.
But with the changing times in the society, where businesses are trying to make more money, as a result of the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and also the need for both man and wife/partner to work long hours, so as to earn more money, and businesses engaging their staff more, so as to scale their businesses in the midst of stiff competitions, has created a gap, with attendant squeeze for time, as routine and thorough cleanings no longer take place, as would have been expected.
This then implies that new opportunities are opening up for smart thinking men and women to start and profit from the window cleaning business.
In this guide, we will provide all the required information you will need to start and profit from window cleaning business. So the question on your mind, may have always been, how do I get started and profit from the window cleaning business?
I know some people who would have started window cleaning business, long ago, are still held back because some are scared of height.
But according to the British Window Cleaning Academy, modern window cleaners don’t necessarily have to use a ladder anymore, unless for low-risk short duration work, as some cleaning technology powered equipment, which can be operated from the safety of the ground are now the order of the day, and also with the introduction of extendable poles with brush, these can now help anyone get started on window cleaning business.
Windows, based on their positioning, will always pick up dirt, which means they will always need cleaning, hence you will never run out of clients, if you decide to start a window cleaning business based on the information we will provide here. So let’s dive straight in with all you will need ranging from set up costs, training, equipment and insurance.
How to get started
There are two options open to you in getting started with window cleaning business. You can decide to do traditional (domestic), which may just require a bucket and a squeezer, etc., but this method will limit the no of clients you can attend to, or you can decide to do it big with industrial window cleaning.
So it is advised that you first consider the following before you get started in your window cleaning business.
If you are going down the traditional route (Cheapest) then this is what you will need
• Ladder (3.5m)
• A bucket
• Applicator and squeegee (10 inch is good)
• Scrim or microfiber clothes
• Bottle of fairy
• Pouch to put your cloths and other bits in to keep your hands free
• Bucket belt
In addition to the basics above, you may want to look at these below also.
• 20-foot ladder
• Wedges, ladder mats, ladder footer (for decking)
• Ladder clamps
• 12″ squeegee (30 degree and 0 degree for pole work)
• 4″ squeegee
• 12″ applicator
• Short handled extension
• Small extension for shops
• Ladder clamp for detailing pole work
• Scrims (prewashed are better)
• Microfibers (for frames)
• Spare squeegee rubbers
• Spare scraper blades
• FIRST AID KIT
If you are going down the Water Fed Pole (WFP) route then you will need:
• A baffled water tank.
• TDS Meter
• A pole and brush.
• Pump Controller
• Filter system, DI and Ro
• Leisure battery to power pump
• Metal hose reel
• 100m x 8mm Yellow ‘Micro bore’ Hose
• Heavy Duty ‘Garden’ Hose to connect the tank to pump and pump to hose reel
• Connectors clips etc.
Commercial window cleaning typically includes four categories.
• Crane cleaning which requires the cherry picker and crane to reach the windows over the building.
• Abseiling which requires that you have specialist individuals.
• The reach and wash system in the exterior high levels.
• The squeegee, ladder, and bucket for general window cleaning.
You will also need:
- A vehicle
- Public Liability Insurance
- Logo design/marketing
Here are a few other things you can do besides getting a website that will aid your marketing, so you can get your window cleaning business up and running.
• Knocking on people’s doors and asking them if they want to use your service.
- Dropping leaflets
- Asking your neighbors, friends and family if they want their windows cleaned.
• Putting an advert in shop windows
- Using free listings on the internet on sites like ibusiness.com.ng, Yell.com, Touchlocal, window cleaner directory, etc.
• Signs/logos on vans/cars with contact details
• Get yourself on social media/local groups.
Now that you have a practical idea of all that is required to start your window cleaning business, let us now dissect each of them.
1. Understanding the costs of starting
Starting a window cleaning business is not as expensive as sending a man to the moon. However, there are more things to consider beyond buckets, extendable pipes and squeezers. You must bear in mind that there are costs, which are upfront, and this may include, but not limited to insurance and training. You will also need to pay for some equipment or possibly make deposits for equipment lease for instance.
But you don’t have to despair, as you can easily start with a bucket, ladder and squeeze. So even if you decide to start small, you should have a picture of scaling your business at the back of your mind at all times, and work towards getting the other equipment that you will need, and you can achieve this by considering your strategy and your long term goals.
So although you start your window cleaning business by buying equipment for as low as $100 for instance, but it is advised that you should at least, allow for an initial investment of a few thousand dollars in your new business.
If you decide to start with a few thousand dollars, you will be able to invest in training and marketing and grow quickly. The extra cash will also enable you to buy/lease a van, and also invest in a website and logos for the vans.
There is no doubt that visibility is key in window cleaning business. You can only achieve this visibility through marketing, painting your vans and creating loud online presence.
2. Sourcing your equipment
There are many supermarkets and shops out there, where you can buy the basic equipment like buckets and squeezers to get started in your window cleaning business. If based on the resources available to you, and you decided to start with the traditional way, you will only be needing squeegees, sponges and a scraper and blades; but if you have more capital, you can as well invest in a water fed pole and filtration kit, or ‘reach and wash’ system, which is made up of a 20 metre pole that runs with purified water.
This equipment and working system will allow you to work more easily and quickly, even without access to domestic water supply. The 20 metre pole for instance, will enable you to reach upper floor windows without the need for climbing equipment.
As a rule of thumb, domestic window cleaning is not where the big money is. The big money is in commercial window cleaning, and you should probably be aiming for that. If you decide to go for commercial window cleaning, you should as well consider and understand that commercial window cleaning comes in four categories.
Firstly, general window cleaning, secondly, exterior high level cleaning, which is cleaning of buildings of up to 60ft, thirdly, abseiling window cleaning, which requires special training and fourthly, crane window cleaning, where you will need a crane or cherry picker to reach over the building, before reaching the window.
3. Invest in training and insurance
In as much as window cleaning business has a low barrier entry requirements, it is very important to acquire some training. The most important training is health and safety. So before you get started, you must acquit yourself with health and safety rules and guidelines, you should also join safety bodies, and find out about government requirements, with regards to window cleaning business.
“Training is very important,” as according to Damian Whittaker of the British Window Cleaning Academy. “Training will not only equip you with the skills you need, but it will also give you the confidence to build your business”. You should also ensure to provide same training for the staff you will hire.
Window cleaning business entails some level of risks, so it is very important that you insure your window cleaning business, to mitigate against some financial losses in the future in the case of accidents. You and your staff may likely get injured, or your equipment may break down, so your insurance policy will come handy in situations like this. It should be noted that a good health and safety record, will help reduce your insurance premium.
It’s worth noting for instance that in the UK, since 28th February 2005, a sole trader or single person in a limited company is no longer required to have employer’s liability cover. However, if have any hired help, please ensure to have them covered in your insurance policy.
Here is a guide on the type of insurance policies you should consider:
- Public Liability Insurance – Provides cover in the instance of the members of the public or your clients getting injured by your business.
- Personal Accident Insurance – Provides cover and compensation in the instance of accidental death or injury.
- Business Equipment Insurance – Provides cover and compensation in the instance of damage, theft or loss of specialist window cleaning equipment.
- Employers’ Liability Insurance – Proves cover and compensation for your employees in case they are injured while performing their duties.
4. You must know the customers you want
As much as you are starting out with your business cleaning and may want to get as many clients as possible, you should be very specific with the type of customers you want for your business.
There is no need for instance, accepting a customer, who owns a public building and wants it to be cleaned only once in a year. You may accept the customer and after cleaning, leave your logo on the window/building, people will walk past and see your company name on the always “dirty looking window”, and hence associate your name with that, which indirectly will affect your reputation.
So rather, you should choose customers who will invest in your service. And if their windows always look great, it will reflect well on your business.
5. Define your point of difference and build a reputation on it
As with every other business, your window cleaning business should have a market penetration strategy. You must decide if you want to compete on price or quality service. If you want to compete on price or service, you have to decide if you will be the cheapest in the market, or if your service will be above and beyond, compared with what others provide.
Based on the quality of service you provide for instance, your name should give people an indication of the professionalism with which you offer your services. It is also good to keep the same faces in the company, as this encourages a sense of trust. The resultant effect is that clients will view you as a family business.
HOW MUCH DOES A WINDOW CLEANER EARN?
The amount a window cleaner earns is dependent on many different factors, such as location, how fast they are able to work, their pricing structure, etc.
However, it is very difficult to give an accurate level of earnings, it would be fair then to say that $30-$40 per hour is a generally conservative estimate for a domestic window cleaner.
To illustrate, an average charge for a 4 bedroom house is about $30, and an experienced window cleaner would be able to complete it in approximately 25 minutes (including setting-up time). There will be time spent travelling (which obviously depends on the individual round), but almost all window cleaners using reach & wash systems are able to quite comfortably turn over at least $250 per day.
Unlike most businesses, window cleaning has extremely low overhead costs and so almost all of the cash earned can be regarded as income.
Starting a window cleaning business is an attractive venture in almost every sense: amongst which are that you get to be your own boss, there are also no long or expensive training, and more so, as stated earlier operational/overhead costs are low, and there are millions of clients to serve and huge opportunity to grow your window cleaning business if done properly and professionally.
Here are additional ideas for window cleaning services you can offer:
• Gutter cleaning
• Pressure washing
• Soft washing
• Screen repair
• Christmas light installation
You can either advertise these services or only offer them on request.
Useful contacts for your window cleaning business
Federation of Window Cleaners http://www.f-w-c.co.uk/
Institute of Occupational Safety and Health http://www.iosh.co.uk/default.aspx
Health and Safety Executive http://www.hse.gov.uk/
The British Window Cleaning Academy http://www.bwca.co.uk/
This guide on how to start a window cleaning business, will only make sense if you are willing to take action. You can read a billion word guide or watch 1 million hours videos on how to start a business, but until you are willing to take action, nothing will change.
The ball is now in your court, as what you do with this information is entirely dependent on you. So let’s go!
Let us know your thoughts concerning this guide in the comments section and if you have any business you want us to write about, let us know also by commenting below.