Starting a window cleaning business is a great way to earn a living in 2020. The low financial investment coupled with the relatively low running costs are the main attractions of setting up a window cleaning business. Some other pros include: Working out in the great outdoors, making your own hours (your the boss now remember), building lasting relationships with your customers, and keeping in good shape.
Window cleaning is one of those jobs that takes a long time. People just don’t have time to clean the windows inside and out, dust their fly-screens and wash the tracks and frames of all of the windows of an entire house. It’s also a task where, if not done right, the results can be very disheartening. Customers constantly ask me what my secret is to such clean windows. “What chemicals do you use that makes the windows so clear?” is a common question. The truth is with a good squeegee and a little know-how it’s very easy to get results that will leave your customers wondering if you’ve removed their glass.
In this article I will go over some of the techniques that will have clients raving to their family and friends about their new window cleaner. I’ll also recommend some great equipment/products that professionals use in the industry. I’ll even offer a few tips on how to get the customers you need and want.
Like I mentioned before, the great thing about a window cleaning business is the low financial burden and overheads. For $500 you can set yourself up with enough quality gear to get you going and earning money.
First thing you need is a set of safe steps. Most people will have a set of these lying around in their shed or garage, which is fantastic, money saved already. But if you need to purchase a ladder try and get a multi-purpose lightweight ladder. A 6 foot ladder that can be converted from an A-frame style ladder to a 10 foot extended version is by far the most versatile and most used ladder in the industry. A small step ladder can also be extremely helpful for those high ceiling houses where you just need a little more height to reach the tops of windows. They are also easy to store, transport and easy to manoeuvre on the job. If it’s within your budget a small step ladder is a handy addition to your equipment list.
The scrubber is the tool that is used to actually wash the glass of a window. A good solid lightweight PVC T-Bar version of a scrubber coupled with a microfibre sleeve is your best bet. I personally use a 450mm (17”) scrubber. I find it’s the ideal width for efficiently and effectively washing the glass. Don’t worry too much about which brand to choose from when it comes to scrubbers. As long as they are microfibre they will hold enough water that you aren’t running back to your bucket every pane of glass you get to. And being microfibre they will remove dirt better than everything else.
Now this is probably the most important piece of equipment you will buy. Don’t scrimp on this tool. A Bunnings version or equivalent home hardware bought squeegee just won’t cut it, you’ll end up leaving more streaks than can be found at a Melbourne Cup race. Some of the top brands for squeegees include:
Now don’t dive in and buy the cheapest base level versions of the squeegees these brands have to offer. This is the most important bit of equipment a window cleaner has. Look at the top range squeegee these brands have to offer and choose wisely. I personally use the Unger Ninja it’s a rugged little unit with an ergonomic swivel handle, an easy release method for changing different sized channels and a simple system for replacing rubbers.
When you decide on the squeegee you want I would recommend comparing and buying online. These online shops are cheaper and keep far better stock ranges compared to traditional brick and mortar stores. Remember do not cheap out on your squeegee. You should be looking at spending $80 – $150 for a quality product. Don’t forget to buy some rubbers that match the width of your new squeegee either, your going to need them.
This ones simple. Any bucket long enough to fit the width of your scrubber will do. Bunnings or any home hardware store will stock these and they are relatively cheap. Only one thing to note though, make sure that you can rely on the handle staying connected to the bucket. No customer will thank you for dumping 10 Litres of soapy water onto their carpet.
A good solid soft bristled brush is the tool of choice when it comes to dusting your customers window frames, window sills and removing cobwebs. It is also the best tool for dusting fly-screens. Another brush that is very handy is a track brush. The long bristles allow you to sweep out the customers sliding doors and window tracks. Its little extras like this that will make you stand out from all of the other local window cleaners.
Last but definitely not least are the cloths or rags that any professional window cleaner would be lost without. Good cotton tea towels that have been through the wash (no softener) a few times I have found to be the best . Used to clean the edges and corners of the window, or marks where you take off from with your squeegee. These cloths are also ideal for removing any of the streaks, marks or splashes that may be left after squeegeeing. Ideally these cloths should be bone dry when being used as not to further mark the cleaned window. You may go through quite a few of these cloths when you first start out, so make sure you take plenty to each job.
Here’s a secret, the chemicals that professional window cleaners use on windows aren’t as important as they would have you believe. A decent branded dishwashing liquid is really all you need for a general window clean. Yep that’s right, plain old washing-up liquid. It leaves the glass sparkling, removes marks and grease from fingerprints, is easy on the skin, doesn’t damage or stain tiles, pavers and wood etc. Best of all, its cheap. So go get yourself a nice big container and go nuts.
Some customers may ask you to remove calcium or limescale from their external glass. Now, this work requires some thought. The only product that removes these stains is acid. I personally use CLR, which is a weaker acid mixture, that when diluted is relatively benign. Note, these products are corrosive and appropriate PPE should be worn. Read product descriptions before use and follow safety and dilution recommendations. Also be very wary of using this product where it can potentially drip onto expensive pavers or tiles. Being careless will not only cost you customers but could cost you some hefty repair bills. Sometimes the best option for everyone is to say no.
A great product for removing stickers and the remnants of adhesive tape is eucalyptus oil. Simply applying the product and rub until the marks have been removed (not with your good cloths). Being a natural product it is safe for surface and your skin, and it smells great. Eucalyptus oil can also be used to remove little splotches or marks of varnish. This is a common occurrence on pool fencing near wooden decking. This oil can remove these marks from the glass fencing. It will take a few treatments, a fair bit of elbow grease and a lot of patience but will leave the glass clear and undamaged.
So, with all of the equipment and products mentioned above you are ready to get out there to clean some windows and earn some money. Except wait a minute, other than grandma and a few friends no one knows about your newly created business. So, how do I let people know I’m ready to go? Well read on my friend and I will give you a few tips that I have used to get customers.
By far the best way to get new window cleaning clients is word of mouth. Do a great job and word will naturally get around that you provide a great service. Now this is obviously very hard considering you have just started and have no customers to laud your efforts to their friends and family. Keep reading and find a few techniques to get those customers calling your phone.
A website is one of the best ways for promoting yourself in today’s digital world. A simple website that show customers the services you offer, your prices, and how to contact or book with you is really all that’s needed for your start up site.
But how do customers find my site from the millions of other sites? Well, this comes down to something called Search Engine Optimisation or SEO for short. I was a bit lucky as I had friends at an SEO company called Pixel Pie. My friends not only built my awesome site, but also offered me their free Small Business SEO DIY Guide.
This, along with a lot of hours of typing at my computer, allowed me to rank my business high enough on Google for customers to find me. Get in contact with the guys at Pixel Pie for any of your SEO or website building needs.
Google My Business is a free platform to reach your local customers that are searching for your services. You will need to verify your business which usually requires Google to send a postcard to your address. The sooner you do this the sooner your customers can find you.
Now I’m no expert on these matters, but I have found that by completely filling out my GMB profile and regularly adding photos and offers, I seem to reach more customers than other local window cleaners.
Get yourself on as many local directories as possible. This is another free way for customers to find your business online. Do as many as you possibly can because, according to SEO experts, this will help rank your website and GMB rankings on search engines.
Everyone is on the big social media platforms. Facebook and Instagram being the biggest and having the furthest reach. Get yourself online, create a free business page, make some interesting posts and offers and let your audience know you are out there. Even if you just start out with your friends and family seeing your posts, your reach will widen and your customers will come as well.
I hope the above article is enough to get you started on your window cleaning business journey. It’s a job that allows a little bit of freedom, you’re not stuck behind a desk all day, and you make new relationships with customers everyday. Please let me know in the comments below if this article has been helpful or have any questions.
Thanks guys and good luck
Owner/ Operator of B1 Windows