Our recent article on using the water fed pole system covered a few issues that can make your task as a window cleaner harder, more time consuming and potentially less profitable.
When you’re trying to grow a window cleaning business and you’re canvassing for work, it’s tempting to take on any business you can get. However, there might be times when it makes more sense to be selective, or at the very least, charge higher prices than you might normally. We take a look at the factors you should be aware of when choosing where and what kind of jobs to canvass for how those factors should affect your pricing.
Whilst the same principles apply to commercial work, this article will focus on obtaining residential business.
The first aspect you need to be aware is access. Can you get to all of the property easily? If you’re using the water fed pole system, can you get your vehicle close enough to the job to complete the work? Even if you can, will you have to pay for parking? Are there any areas where trailing hoses might be an issue? These are all questions that you’ll need to ask yourself before approaching, pricing up and taking on a job. If access is likely to present challenges and increase the time you spend on the job, you’ll need to increase your price to allow for that.
Does the customer need to be in to provide access? Even on straightforward jobs, this can present an issue as your scheduling becomes subject to the customer’s availability – more on that to come.
Window Type & Condition
Before targeting and pricing a job, pay close attention to the kind of windows on the property and how easy they would be to clean. Of course, modern, double glazed windows are ever-more common these days and incredibly easy to clean. However, other styles like traditional leaded windows take longer, are more difficult to clean and easier to damage. Old aluminium frames and some painted windows oxidise and degrade, giving off a powdery residue that can make getting a good finish harder. Check for the condition of the glass and frames. Is there any damage that you might worsen or be blamed for? Are the frames rotting or is the paint flaking off?
Another key question to ask is whether you can get to all of the windows you need to clean easily? It might be that some jobs require ladders to access a flat roof or interior access to get onto a balcony. Again, consider the impact this will have on how long it will take you to do the job, or think about excluding problem windows from your quote.
Does your potential customer have any unusual requests to take into consideration? For example, customers that insist on being in while you complete the job tie you down to their own schedule, making your routine more inflexible. When rescheduling is required, for example due to poor weather, it might end up being difficult to move all of your work to the same day, and this lack of flexibility can mean that, if you’re not careful, you end up carrying out jobs in an inefficient order.
Bear in mind where the work is located and how it affects the windows on the property. For example, seafront properties can suffer from heavy salt stains and particularly stubborn bird soiling, especially in the winter. This can result in extra work and time being required to get a good finish.
Whilst all window cleaners work to varying schedules, generally the window cleaning business model is based on recurring income, so the more regular a customer, the better. One-off jobs, particularly when completed outside of an existing round area, are therefore not as desirable. The same goes for semi-regular jobs. You need to consider if it will be worth your while, and you may need to increase your pricing accordingly.