While window cleaning can be a business in its own right, it is considered here as an addition to your core service of daily cleaning provision. There is, of course, nothing to say that, as you develop your cleaning business and add more and more window cleaning accounts, you might want to consider window cleaning as your core business. The choice will ultimately be yours but, in this section, we will look at this type of cleaning service in general and will examine some of its pros and cons.
For you to know that window cleaning is very worthwhile; you may need to consider these following:
- It is extremely profitable.
- A window cleaning business can be run successfully by one person only.
- The knowledge required is basic and simple to learn.
- Little investment is required to get a business up and running.
- Very little storage space is required.
- It is a service that is constantly required in both small towns and large cities.
- It is cash positive.
3 Ways To Start Window Cleaning Services
There are three ways you can provide a window cleaning service to your clients:
1. Do the cleaning yourself.
Positives: you will be able to assure the quality of your service and you will be able to protect your clients from being poached. You will also be able to learn the techniques and time involved, which will help you to price your work.
Negatives: you will be spending your time cleaning windows, not concentrating on the overall growth and development of your business.
2. Subcontract to an existing window cleaning company.
Positives: an experienced service provider will carry out the work and you will have no financial commitments to the contractor other than for the work provided. You will also have more free time to concentrate on developing your business.
Negatives: your profit margins will be reduced, and there is always the possibility the contractor will poach your clients or vice versa. You also have less control over a contractor.
3. Employ someone directly to carry out the work.
Positives: your profits will be higher and you can control the window cleaner and the work. You will have time to concentrate on developing your business.
Negatives: you may employ an inexperienced or poor window cleaner who will reflect badly on your business. You are also committed to finding work to cover your employee’s wages.
The choice, as always, Is yours. It is, however, best initially to subcontract the work to someone who is reliable, consistent and trustworthy. Don’t initially concern yourself with high profit margins but concentrate on the quality of the service as this will assist growth. When you have enough business, employ someone part time and also keep the subcontractor on-board. This will give you the time to assess and train the employee before you cancel your subcontractor.
If all goes well, you will eventually remove the subcontractor and carry out the work yourself, thereby increasing your profits and securing your position against the poaching of clients, etc.
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A further choice is whether to undertake commercial work only or to combine commercial work with domestic window cleaning. Depending on your staffing levels, from both a window cleaner and management point of view, ideally you should do both to take advantage of all the available business. Domestic window cleaning comprises sole traders, so you may find it difficult to penetrate this sector as a larger company managing not just window cleaning but also all the other cleaning services you offer.
The following are some tips for domestic window cleaning, should you decide to give it a go:
- Establish both a regular route and a frequency of cleans per client.
- Use your route to pick up other clients in the area.
- Concentrate on providing regular window-washing services for all the one and two-storey office buildings and shop fronts in your area, as well as your domestic cleans.
- Start with those closest to your home or office and expand your efforts outwards.
- Choose busy thoroughfares in which to target clients because this will mean more cleans in a shorter period of time, resulting in higher profits.
- Act on the complaint’s clients may have and always leave a leaflet or business card because they may come back to you later.
- Try to maintain your professional approach and provide quotes in writing or via email whenever you can – verbal prices suit some clients, but this is a less professional approach.
- Be competitive and undercut competitors if necessary, using not only price but also any other benefits you can offer.
- Be wary of undercutting, however, because this is not conducive to a good reputation and will also lessen your profit margins.
- Try not to take on too much too quickly – your quality of service will suffer for it.
- Move swiftly if potential clients call because you may find that they are simply going through a list of numbers and that the quickest reaction will get the work.
- Remember to ensure your quality service at all times. This must also be emphasized strongly to anyone you employ because they are your business’s face.
- Use good-quality cleaning materials and supplies.
A further point regarding commercial window-cleaning work is health and safety. Most city-center offices involve high-level cleaning, and a ladder, therefore, is not always feasible. By law, these premises should have safety eye bolts that are periodically tested for any work or access that is required beyond the windows. If these are not in place, you should not carry out the work. Gone are the days when window cleaners perched on high ledges without support or harnessing of some type. Your cleaning staff (and subcontractors, for that matter) should enforce the use of safety harnesses and lanyards for high-level cleaning such as this.
Risk assessments must be taken to ensure the safety of all the people concerned. For external cleaning, you should also consider the more modern method of window cleaning – the reach and wash system. This is a van-mounted window cleaning system that uses a telescopic pole that can reach very high heights. The windows are cleaned by pure water fed through the extending pole, which can reach to heights of six floors.