Whether you’re looking to set up a new window cleaning business or expand your existing operation, buying a window cleaning round can be a sensible option. It allows you to grow or set up your business more rapidly that you could canvassing, and provides an almost immediate boost to your revenues.
However, it’s important to know how to identify the right window cleaning round for you, so we decided to take a look at some of the key factors you should be aware of.
Of course, before you get to that point, the first thing you need to do is find a window cleaning round for sale. Dedicated websites like windowcleaningroundsforsale.co.uk and industry forums such as Window Cleaning Forums and Clean It Up are an excellent place to start, but you may also find rounds listed on mainstream websites such as Gumtree and eBay as well as local classifieds.
When choosing a round you would like to purchase, you should bear in mind the following criteria:
Generally, the longer a round has been established, the more reliable and loyal the customer base is likely to be. Avoid rounds that are less than a year old, as some window cleaners build up rounds with the sole motive of selling them off and this isn’t always the best source of an established, loyal customer base.
You need to make sure the work is well priced. A round that generates £4,000 a month might sound good, until you find out it’s made up of 1,000 under priced jobs at £4 each. Ask to see the list of work and select a few jobs at random that you can visit and check to see the pricing matches up to what you’d expect. You’ll need to visit more than a few houses if you decide to proceed with buying the round (as we cover here), but it’s a good starting point.
How is the work distributed in the round? Is it compact and focused around one or several core locations, or is it spread out across a whole county? Remember, when a round is advertised, it’s usually alongside its monthly revenue, not profit. If a round is overly spread out, involving lots of travel between jobs, it can have a big impact on profitability and the time it takes to complete.
An obvious one perhaps, but where is the round located in comparison to your home or business base? You might not live in the same area as the person who built the round, so any travel you have to do may not have been considered in their pricing. As we’ve mentioned, travel costs can become a substantial cost for your business.
What window cleaning techniques have been used to complete the round? The seller should advise if it was traditional, water fed pole or a mix of both. It’s key to choose your round based on the method you intend to use, as trying to mass-convert an entire customer base is not a good idea and will result in substantial customer drop-off.
The biggest question many potential buyers ask is how much they should be paying. It’s a bit of a grey area but, generally, window cleaning rounds are valued based on a multiple of their average monthly turnover. On average, rounds are sold for between 3 and 5 times this figure, and this is a good target to aim for in most cases.
In certain circumstances and areas however, window cleaning rounds can demand higher values and are essentially always worth what someone is willing to pay for them. For example, a compact, well-priced round in a competitive, inner city area (e.g. Central London) is likely to be valued quite a bit higher than the going national rate.
The best thing to do is identify the ‘going rate’ for a round in your area – find other equivalent rounds for sale either in or close to your area, or in an equivalent area. Work out the average multiple of the monthly turnover across a few of these rounds and you can start to develop a benchmark.
The sale price of a window cleaning round is always negotiable, so take the above variables into account and negotiate a price you think is fair.
It’s very important to exercise caution when buying a window cleaning round though, as rounds do not always live up to their advertised claims. Our article ‘7 Steps to Reduce the Risk of Buying a Window Cleaning Round’ covers the steps you can take to help ensure that the round you are buying is a genuine, long term and rewarding investment.
Header image courtesy of Purerclean