How to Start Your Own Window Cleaning Business: The Complete Guide
If you’re an ambitious entrepreneur looking to start a business of your own, consider a window cleaning business. We can see the appeal: low startup costs, time outdoors, and quite lucrative depending on your market. Besides, there is always a demand for window cleaners in both commercial and residential markets, which means ample business opportunities for anyone looking for profit and growth. True, it has its challenges. Like starting any other business, a new window washing business means taking financial risks. But for many entrepreneurs, the potential benefits far outweigh the risk of losing money.
Having said that, remember that as a window-washing business owner, you’ll have the ability to control your day-to-day schedule, set your priorities to align with your goals, and make decisions related to how and when to expand your operations. In today’s age of automation and technology, this is something that you can achieve quite easily. Get yourself an automation tool like window cleaning scheduling software, invoicing software, CRM software, etc., and let them take care of the business part. And you will be free to focus on the more important aspects, such as acquiring new customers and delivering high-end service.
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Ready to dive into the window cleaning business, but not sure how you make your entrepreneurship dreams come true? Getting your business off the ground and keeping it afloat requires research and planning, as well as an investment in branding and marketing to stay current and grow your client list. Never fear, we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide to help make your window cleaning business dream a reality. Here are the main steps to starting your own window cleaning business.
Table of Contents
1. Choose A Target Market
For window cleaning businesses, you can serve commercial and residential clients. While you don’t necessarily need to limit yourself to one or the other, you do need to make sure there is a need for your business, that the market isn’t already saturated, and that you know who your target audience is. Determine who your ideal customer is and if that market is viable for your business.
List your main competitors in the area where you want to start your business. You can better calibrate your goals if you understand what sets your competitors apart, where they advertise, and their areas of weakness. Conducting a market analysis could be significantly beneficial for your business in this regard.
2. Write Your Business Plan
Learning how to start a window-washing business, like any business, starts with writing a business plan. Your business plan will ensure that you’re accomplishing the right things in the right order when starting your business. Write down why you want to offer window cleaning services and any relevant qualifications or experience. Estimate where you’ll be in three months, six months, and one year. How many customers will you have? How much money will your business generate in a week or month? Are there seasonal fluctuations? If so, how will you cope with downtime and keep up during busy times? Try to figure out the answer to these questions. And of course, come up with a clear vision and goal for your business. This will serve as the foundation for your business plan and help you flesh out the details going ahead.
Creating a clear business plan helps you organize your thoughts on what you want to accomplish. Further, if you are looking to grow your business, a more detailed and compelling new business plan will be essential. Most banks and lenders will want to see your game plan before providing funding for a business. Your plan should include a list of equipment and operational costs, short and long-term income goals, evaluation of competitors, local project opportunities, and more.
3. Create a Budget for Tools and Equipment
Starting a window cleaning business doesn’t require a lot of supplies or overhead costs, especially if you’re starting small. However, you’ll still need to spend some money upfront. Here is a list of expenses and startup costs you’ll want to include when creating a business budget:
- Gasoline and maintenance
- Commercial vehicle (if you choose to buy one)
- Liability insurance
- Microfiber cloths and towels
- Cleaning tools (ladder, buckets, squeegees, water hoses, hard hats, extension pole, scraper, buckets)
- Cleaning solution (both standard and eco-friendly)
- Sales and marketing
- Business licenses and permits
- Scheduling software for cleaning business
- Invoicing software
- Rent and utilities (if you rent office space)
Alternatively, you can also start your business from home. This can save on costs from renting office space—an attractive benefit for bootstrapping entrepreneurs on a budget. But if you decide to scale your business, you may want to rent a space to accommodate more employees. For example, you may hire customer service representatives and a dispatch team and have them operate from a centralized location.
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4. Get the Necessary Insurance and a Business License
To carry out your operations, you will need to apply for and obtain a business license. You will get this by applying to the local authorities. The requirements vary from state to state. Include your business name on the application form and submit it along with a vendor’s license application. A vendor’s license will allow you to charge sales tax for your services.
You will also need insurance for window cleaning, which can be done through your existing insurance provider. Because you will be using ladders, working from heights, and handling equipment regularly, invest in liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance. You should also get high-rise window cleaning insurance if you plan to offer this service. Insuring your business is a good protective measure when it comes to liability and will make it easier for you to hire employees down the line. It is also better for filing taxes as a business, especially as your revenue increases.
5. Open a Business Bank Account
To make business finances easy, open a business bank account with your bank so you can process payments from clients and file business taxes every year. You should also invest in business software to make invoicing and payment a breeze. An easy-to-use, comprehensive scheduling app for cleaning business integrated with Quickbooks will allow you to do your own bookkeeping and stay on top of your finances.
6. Decide Your Pricing Strategy
Research the market and your competition when deciding how to price your services. You want to attract new clients without losing money on your services. Within the window cleaning industry, the standard way to charge is either per hour, per window pane, or per project.
If you intend to work on office buildings, you may want to pursue charging by the square foot. For these jobs, per-window-cleaning estimating is time-consuming and inefficient. On the other hand, if you are working on a private, smaller home, it might be in your best interest to charge per window because there aren’t that many to service. On the other hand. You may want to set up pricing based on pane-to-pane for medium homes whereas, with large houses, you will more likely want to go the hourly route for the sake of efficiency.
7. Create A Marketing Plan
A unique business name is critical when distinguishing your brand. So, set your business apart with a catchy or memorable name that’s easy to remember. Once you decide on a business name, brand your work vehicle and supplies with a logo that features your name. You may also brand your uniform with your company name, so you’re easy to recognize and a free walking advertisement for your business.
In this digital era, however, traditional advertising will not suffice. You must enter the online arena to get things up and running. Simply put, you need to spend on digital marketing. To connect with clients, you can tap into a few simple but effective marketing tools that won’t cost you too much upfront. Create a basic website for your window cleaning business using a website building platform, or hire a web designer to create a simple website for you. Create a My Business Google listing, so you come up as an option when potential clients are searching online for window cleaning services in their area. List your business in local business directories and online service boards Social media can be an effective marketing tool as well.
Starting a window cleaning business will require time and devotion, but the opportunity to be your own boss and run a business can be very rewarding. With a thorough business plan, all that’s left is to follow through and execute. Soon, you’ll be marketing yourself, closing clients, increasing your bottom line, and most importantly, being your own boss!