Window washing may not be a glamorous business, but as long as windows continue to become dirty and people do not want to wash windows there will be demand for this simple business. Most window washers in the USA seem to focus on commercial accounts while in other areas of the world it is quite common for window washers to service a number of residential accounts as well.
Commercial accounts may offer several advantages over residential accounts. Commercial accounts often pay better than residential accounts since homeowners may be more likely to wash their own windows to save money. Commercial accounts may also be easier to clean due to the popularity of large pane windows rather than small windows with screens and storm windows that must be moved. Finally, commercial accounts usually require much more frequent cleaning due to the need to look clean for customers and locations that are frequently close to roadways.
The window washing business is ideally suited to operating as a home-based business since all work is done at customer properties and very few supplies are needed for the business. This business can also be started on a shoestring budget.
Commercial window washers use sponges, squeegees, and absorbent rags like chamois to clean windows. The choice of glass cleaner will vary depending on what is available in your local area from industrial supply companies. Choosing an eco-friendly cleaner can also be a marketing advantage.
Several ladders may also be required to reach higher windows. The size of the ladders you need will depend on how high you are willing to work. Many businesses will be most concerned with ground floor and possibly second floor windows. Higher windows may be a lower priority, but they would certainly command a higher price due to the additional time and risk involved in cleaning high windows.
Attention to detail may be the most important aspect of the window washing business. Leaving spots or streaks is not likely to result in callbacks or referrals. Details matter in the window washing business where appearance and cleanliness are literally everything.
Door-to-door cold calling is probably the fastest way to get your window washing business started. This approach offers several advantages for those who can tolerate in-person cold calling on businesses. Going door-to-door allows you to potentially sign up a number of customers in close proximity. This will increase the number of windows that you can wash in a given day because less travel will be required between each job site. This approach also allows you to meet potential customers directly and get a signed contract on the spot in some cases.
Direct mailings to target businesses can also be effective. Mailing lists can be purchased online or assembled manually based on your own knowledge of the area you want to target. Mailing a brochure, business card, and an introductory letter to target businesses allows you to introduce yourself and explain your business services. Follow-up phone calls or visits are often required to finalize the sale though.
Signs or lettering on your vehicle are a great way of spreading the word about your business everywhere you drive or park. Include your business name, phone number, website address, and a slogan or brief description of your business on your sign.
Wearing uniform shirts or jackets can also promote your business and increase the perception of your business as a professional operation. This is true even if you are only a one-person business. Uniform shirts can be custom printed inexpensively and will more than pay for themselves in value.
A business website can also be an effective marketing tool. This may be more useful for window washing businesses in larger cities than in rural areas though. Nonetheless, websites are inexpensive and allow you to present a lot of information about your business, as well as photos or videos demonstrating your services.
Business insurance can be a good idea for many businesses. However, it would definitely be a good idea for a window washing business. Business liability insurance can help to protect you from claims for accidental damage to property, and from accidental injury to bystanders or pedestrians should a ladder or tool fall. Workers compensation or personal injury insurance can help should you be injured while working on a ladder or washing a window. You will also need to have a business policy or business use rider on your work vehicle. Discuss any insurance questions with a qualified insurance agent.
Window washers in some areas of the country may find winter to be a slow season. Some window washers have other business ventures to operate during the off season for this reason.
Washing windows may not be glamorous, but it can certainly be profitable. Starting a window washing business can be done on a shoestring budget and the business can easily be operated from home.
Ron Dicker. Home Business Idea: Window Cleaning Home Business. About.com. Site accessed on 23 November 2010.
Samuel Muriithi. How to Start a Successful Window Washing Business: A Window Washing Business Survival Guide. Survival Insight. Site accessed on 23 November 2010.