Business

HOW TO START YOUR OWN SUCCESSFUL WINDOW WASHING SERVICE

Here’s a business that, almost more than any other with equal
potential for real wealth, meets the most stringent requirements
of just about any skeptic. In fact, there’s so much in favor of
the “little guy” with this business, it’s a real mystery why more
people don’t choose this one as the vehicle for their ultimate
independence and financial security.

This is a business that can make you rich very quickly…It’s a
kind of service business that can can very profitably be operated
by one person–male or female..The basic knowledge needed for
success is simple and easy to learn..Very little monetary
investment is needed for equipment–usually less than
$100…There are virtually no storage space requirements…You
can operate out of your home for virtually as long as you like;
and yet, there’s a real demand for this type of business
everywhere…

The success potential for window washing services is present in
the smallest of towns as well as the largest metropolitan areas.
Your risks will be minimal, while your rewards can far surpass
even your wildest dreams. Generally, a one man operation in a
city of 50,000 can expect to gross $4,000 or more per month after
90 days. Operating expenses for one person operations grossing
this amount should be less than $1,000 per month.

Ideally, your plan should be to solicit new accounts, do the
work yourself and establish a regular customer route. Once you’ve
established such a service route, and you’re beginning to realize
a good profit, you should hire part-time help to do the work
while you solicit new accounts and establish more regular
customer routes.

You should concentrate on providing regular window washing
services for all the one and two story office buildings and
storefronts in your area. Start with those closest to your home
and expand your efforts outward. Choose a busy thoroughfares
leading into your city’s downtown area. Select the one closest to
your home and begin calling on business owners and store managers
all along the street into the downtown area.

Usually, you won’t have to do much more than introduce yourself,
briefly explain your services, and leave your business card. We
did this regularly on a once-a-week basis, and after 6 weeks, we
had enough business to keep one man busy–6hours a day, 5 days a
week.

Until you become well established, don’t even bother soliciting
work on windows higher than the second story. However, it’s best
to call on every business, one after the other as you make your
way to the downtown area. Later on, you can call upon churches,
private schools, businesses located on side streets branching off
the main thoroughfares, and even homes if you’d like to try that
market. Generally though, you’ll find the residential market too
time-consuming to make your efforts really profitable, plus the
fact that you simply won’t be able to charge enough to make it
worthwhile in comparison to your commercial customers. Apartment
houses and condominiums are quite a different story however,
particularly when you can land several customers in the same
building.

As mentioned earlier, you can headquarter in and operate
completely out of your home. You can store your cleaning
equipment and supplies in a corner of your garage. Your
bookkeping and other paperwork can be taken care of at the
kitchen table, with whatever office supplies your need, easily
stored in a dresser drawer.

Speaking of office supplies, you should have a supply of
business cards–and an adequate supply of billing statements with
your business name and address, plus mailing envelopes and return
reply envelopes. You can get away with rubber-stamping your
business name and address on your statements and envelopes, but
your business will grow faster–you’ll probably save time and
money as well–by going with printed supplies from the beginning.

There are nor “real reasons” not to list your home address as
your business address, but listing a post office box number–if
you prefer–wil not really harm your image. Te important thing is
personal contact–someone from your company regularly calling
upon prospective customers.

Talk with them. Listen to them. Get to know them. Find out
who’s currently doing their windows for them, if they have any
complaints and how you can offer them a better deal. When you’ve
actually investigated the service they’re contracted for, and
you’re certain you can offer them a better deal, put your ideas
into the form of a written proposal and give it to them. Don’t be
afraid to submit a proposal for a better deal, remember when you
do, your proposal should offer more than just a price break.
Under-cutting a competitor’s price usually means less profit for
you, and an overall deterioration of your reputation. It may
temporarily result in more work for you, but you’re in business
to attain wealth–not work yourself into an early grave.

If your spouse is home during the day, she can answer the phone
for you and generally set up appointments for you, while you’re
out making sales calls. She can also type out your monthly
statements, see that they’re sent out on time, and pretty much
handle your bookkeeping for you. Should it not be feasible, or
for some reason inconvenient for your wife to handle your
incoming calls for you, look around until you find a good,
dependable Telephone Answering Service. Many of these telephone
answering services handle typing jobs as well, so if you’re
lacking someone to handle these chores for you, chances are you
can find all the services you need without much of a search.

It’s important with this type of business that you have a
“live” voice answering your calls. selecting the right people to
handle your calls, and spending the extra time necessary to train
them according to your desires–even paying a little more to have
things done the way you want them done–is almost always well
worth the time and added expense. Remember, this is a service
business with your growth dependent upon the personal contact you
and your representatives have with prospective clients. Work on
it, develop it, and cultivate your personal contact transactions.

As the size of your company increases and you hire crews of
people to handle work assignments, you can usually get your
answering service to take on the added duties of job assignments
notification or dispatcher. All of this simply points up the
possibilities of operating your business out of your home
indefinitely, should you choose to do so.

If someone along the line you decide to set up an office in a
location other than your home, you might want to make an offer or
otherwise induce one or two of the people from your telephoning
answering service. Regardless of how large your work force
becomes, it’s always best if you supply the window washing
equipment and supplies.

Employees should be allowed to take the equipment home with
them, and required to use their own vehicles for transportation
to each job site. By all means, spend the extra money to supply
your workers with uniforms. Matching shirts and trousers with a
big patch on the back of the shirts, listing your company name
and phone number, is not only impressive in projecting image,
it’s also one of the cheapest and best advertising methods.

Once you’ve hire people to do the actual window washing for
you, get a couple of magnetic signs showing your company name and
telephone number. Be sure to “wear” these signs on your car as
you make your sales calls and spot check on the progress of your
work crews. Later on, you can get similar signs for your crew
chiefs. If you should opt for company-owned vehicles, you’ll find
vans to be the most convenient and serve your needs most
efficiently. Be sure to have your company name, phone number and
logo painted on each side of these vehicles–and allow your crew
chiefs to drive them home at night–all of which benefits you
with practically free advertising.

The kind of equipment you’ll need to professionally wash
windows is relatively simple…A12 or 18 inch window brush,
aluminum telescopic brush handle…6 inch, 10 inch and 18 inch
squeegees with replacement rubber blades…A couple of plastic or
galvanized water pails, one 2 gallon and the other 5 gallon…And
an 8-foot step ladder, plus maybe a 16 foot straight ladder…

Your start-up should include 5 gallons of liquid soap..a good
supply of clean rags, towels and chamois..And a sharp razor blade
scraper…

This entire list of supplies and equipment should total no more
than $250 in cost. You’ll need to add to your equipment only as
your business grows and you have need to hire more personnel…

Some professional window washers are proclaiming an alternative
or “better method” than with the use of window brushes and
squeegees. They’re advocating the use of “strip washers.” These
are 3/4 inch pieces of aluminum pipe covered with a nylon sleeve
that fits the pipe. These are similar in appearance to the handy
do-it-yourself paint rollers, and are used in much the same
manner. These strip washers reportedly work very well on all but
the dirtiest of windows.

Another alternative is an extension pole and brush device.
Water is pumped thru the handle and out the brush in a
rinse-wash-rinse cycle. Most professionals claim this device is
ideal for second story windows, but for best quality workmanship,
they still prefer the basic brush and squeegee approach.

Still another alternative is a hose-water-fed brush that
utilizes de-ionized water where ladders aren’t feasible.
De-ionized water is a kind of water from which all minerals and
foreign elements have been removed. Using this kind of water
assures the window washer an easier and faster job with no
worries about streaking or water drops.

Your prices should range between $20 and $25 per hour. Pay for
hired help should start at $5 per hour. It’s important that you
do some homework on the various glass treatments in vogue these
days. Many of these coatings and coverings require special
treatment such as the use of soft towels instead of brushes that
might scratch the surface of the window coating.

The professional technique for washing windows cleanly and in
the least amount of time is as follows: A few drops of cleaning
solution in your bucket of water. remember, too many soap suds
are detrimental to quality work. Wet your brush from the bucket
and then scrub the window. Take your squeegee and make one wiping
pass across the top of the window. Be sure to keep the end of the
squeegee pressed firmly against the molding or top sill of the
window frame. Wipe the squeegee, and then do the same thing down
each side of the window. from this point on, it’s just a matter
of wiping the window clean with one continuous stroke. You do
this by arching and looping your wiping strokes across the window
pane, back and forth, never stopping or lifting the squeegee
blade from the glass. With this in method, you can wipe even the
largest window clean in just a matter of seconds. Practice at
home on your own windows and those of your neighbors. You’ll
quickly develop a knack for this method and wonder why you never
discovered it before.

When you’ve finished with the squeegee, take a chamois and
carefully “blot-wipe” any excess water that may have not have
been picked up along the sides and bottom of the window frame. In
reality, that’s all there is to it.

You’ll find the spring and summer months to be the busiest, but
because of the increasing popularity of painting holiday scenes
and special sale announcements on business windows, be alert for
year ‘round opportunities along these lines as well. Keep
plugging away and offering your services to businesses throughout
your area, particularly along those busy thoroughfares where
moving traffic contributes to the build-up of dirt & grime on
windows.

When you’re ready to hire helpers or people to do the work for
you, a simple ad in your local newspaper’s “help Wanted” column
should bring you more applicants than you’ll ever use. After
you’ve hired the one or the ones you want, keep a record of the
ones you liked but didn’t hire, and check with them when you want
to add onto your crew of workers again.

Bulletin Board notices will also bring in a surprising number
of applicants. Another good idea is to spread the word that
you’re looking for part-time help, amongst your local firemen,
policemen and teachers. depending on your area’s pay scale, you
can do pretty well by contacting the temporary help services in
your area.

About the only regular advertising you’ll need to do is a
medium to large display ad in the yellow pages. This is a must
because once you’re established you’ll find at least

50% of your business coming from having seen your ad in the
yellow pages. An “insider’s” trick to advertising in the yellow
pages–Try to name your business with the very first letter of
your business name beginning with A-B-C, or X-Y-Z. Statistics and
surveys tend to prove that when people look for a service in the
yellow pages, they invariably pick from either the top or bottom
of the alphabet.

Aside from the yellow pages, your next best advertising will be
the “reminder” kind, such as note pads with your company name
imprinted on them, special calendars or holders, special date or
appointment books, and/or sports caps with your company
name/emblem on them. However, as this kind of advertising is
quite expensive, it’s good to keep in mind, but best to hold off
until you can well afford it.

Any radio, television, newspaper and/or direct mail advertising
efforts will cost you much more than any business you receive
from it, so don’t even consider this type of advertising.
However, do think about, and submit “press release” material to
these media as often as you can, because any publicity coverage
they give will surely be well worthwhile.

Telephone soliciting for business works well, but you should
have a list of businesses and their telephone numbers, plotted
out according to new routes you’re trying to build. Time spent
travelling between jobs will cost you money, just as time spent
looking up telephone numbers along a certain planned route will
seemingly take forever. If and when you decide to drum up new
business by phone, you’ll have much greater success if you can
offer some sort of promotional gimmick to get them to try your
service.

We had great success one time by offering to do windows for
free if they’d let us put a sign in the window–These windows
cleaned by AAA Window Cleaning Service–666-5824… Another time,
we did the windows for half price as an introductory offer..And
still another time, we joined with our telephone answering
service–on a combined promotion…half price on three months of
telephone answering service just for trying our window washing
service…The ideas, gimmicks and promotions you can use are
limited only by your imagination…

Later on, we hired some good-looking college girls–on a
commission basis–to call on businesses along the new routes we
are trying to develop. They just introduced themselves as
representatives of our firm, explained our services and offered a
half priced introductory service. They ended up selling better
than 60% of the business they called upon.

During one summer, we even tried a crew of these young ladies
as window washers–they weren’t the best…We dresses them in
snappy red & white suspender-type short-shorts and drew quite a
crowd on each job. It was good advertising for us–we got free
newspaper and television coverage, and an untold number of new
business leads–but the glamour of the whole thing grew old very
quickly. But it was a gimmick that brought in new business,
caused a lot of people to recognize that we were in the window
cleaning business, and made our selling job easier.

Truly, this is an easy business to start…and with just a bit
of imagination on your part, as well as persistence and quality
workmanship, you can easily become financially secure as you
want…And it takes is action on your part, so reach for it and
may you always enjoy the fruits of a bountiful success!

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