How to become a Window Cleaner
One other chore people hate is cleaning windows. It is one of those jobs we never get round to doing until we really need to. For many people the idea of standing on a ladder just to clean their windows is not for them – yet we have to unless we want to live with dirty windows! So Window Cleaning is another growth area and a fantastic home business idea – especially if you like the outdoors and meeting people.
Key skills to be a window cleaner
- Being in good health and fairly fit
- Good communicator
- People person
- Like working in the fresh air
- Well organised
- Have access to good transport/or have a car
- Excellent attention to detail
- Accept criticism
- Using a ladder/water fed pole
- Cleaning windows from ground floor upwards
- Keeping excellent records of customer payments
- Chasing for payments
- Safely store and transport your equipment
Before you start a Window Cleaning Business practice on your own windows and also your friends. See how long it takes, are the supplies you using working, are there other supplies you feel would work better? You will then know if this business is for you.
A good tip is to view You Tube to see any window cleaning tips as this will also give you more confidence when you go out to customers
Supplies you will need
- Mixture of Squeegees
- Several ice scrapers
- Cotton Towels
- Soap Solution
- Ladder – and make sure it is light weight
- Detergents/chemicals where relevant
Once you have secured a few window cleaning jobs the supplies will have paid for themselves. As you get more established you can then purchase higher end professional products.
Afraid of heights – but I am a window cleaner!
Yes you read that correctly – there is a solution if you do not like going up a ladder and it is much safer. Today many window cleaners (including my family relative) use what is known as a Water Fed Pole which is very lightweight and easy to use. (see below). This water fed pole can reach to over 50 foot while you remain standing on the ground. How this works is the window cleaner has an extended pole with very soft bristled brush which cleans the window. While this is happening jet of pure water rinse the glass – resulting in very clean windows which are cleaned much faster than traditional methods.
It can take a while to get used to the water fed poles but having seen my family relative use it I can confirm it did not take him too long to master. So if it is just heights putting you off then now you have no excuse
You will need insurance for window cleaning – as you need to protect your customers and their premises,
I recommend you contact a local insurance broker who can advise you on the best insurance you need.
However, you will need Public Liability insurance so if someone (including yourself) is injured while you work on their property they are covered. You re also covered for any damage to the property you are working on. Essential as you are cleaning windows and do not want to break any of them!
Important information on Insurance in Scotland
In Scotland you will need a licence from the local Council. This can take around 2 months to get. In some instances this can be considerably longer. You cannot clean windows without one. If you decide to take a chance and are found out you will be fined and be unable to continue to be a window cleaner.
You will be required to complete an online form, provide details of insurance, have a DBS check, supply two passport style photographs and pay a fee of approx. £305. The licence will last you for 3 years.
When you get your licence you always have to carry it around with you and make sure it is visible when you are working.
For full details of the Scottish Window Cleaning Licence see this link https://www.gov.uk/window–cleaners–licence–scotland
A family relative is a window cleaner and one thing he does is walk up and down streets and sees if any of the windows are dirty. He then knocks on the door and simply asks if they need their windows cleaned! If no one is in he then leaves a flyer and pops back at a later date.
This is one of the best ways to canvass for window cleaning. I recommend you get around 1,000 printed and deliver to large areas such as estates, new buildings, new developments, local trading estates, shops and also offices. Try to knock on the doors to see if anyone is in and introduce your service to them. People that are willing to pay for Window cleaning are likely to live in expensive houses or neighbourhoods. These people should be your main targets. Simply ask them if they need a window cleaner. They may say we have a regular window cleaner so you will then know if it is worth pursuing that area or move to another area to canvas. Ask them if the window cleaner does the whole area or just a few houses. Also ask how much does the person charge – but never undercut the current window cleaner they have – you would not like to be undercut by a rival. By finding out some information its will save you delivering further leaflets or knocking on doors in the area. If no one is in then leave a flyer for them to review and then when you are in the area again in the next few days knock on the door again, but try at a different time or day.
How to keep customers
Once you have secured a customer you do not want to lose them so keep in contact with them. Have some postcards printed as well with your full details and space on the back where they can write down appointment times. Give your customers referral discounts (one free window clean for every new customer or similar) when they recommend friends. One other way to increase your earnings with your customers is to offer additional services as detailed below
Additional services to upsell
- Cleaning the guttering
- Clearing rubbish from the garden
- Touch up paint work on the window frames and ledges
- Pressure washing
- Stain removal
- Putting up Christmas Lights in December and taking down in January
Be organised and efficient
It goes without saying that any home business needs good organisation. Make sure you keep a detailed track of your schedule with full name, address and how many windows you are cleaning per property. Group them into areas so you can do several houses in one area rather than stopping and starting moving to a different area after only doing one or two houses.
I recommend you have an index card for each customer with full contact details, date you started the service with them and the date and time of each further appointment. Make a note of when they have paid or if there is money outstanding.
Put a sign on your mode of transport
If you have a car or van (and you will need transport) then get a sign to stick on your mode of transport with your mobile number and name of your window cleaning business. You never know who will see it.
Once you that that first customer and you do a good job they are likely to recommend you to their friends and neighbours.
Being seen cleaning windows
You could be cleaning a customer’s window and if you are professional and doing a good job they may well come up and ask you to clean their windows.
Cleaning at weekends
You are more likely to see potential customers if you clean at weekends as well as more people are out and about during the weekend rather than during the week.
The best way to price a job is how many windows you will be cleaning and what size are they. When proving a quote make sure you ask if they want the insides done and the back windows as well, as your price will need to factor in these prices. On average you should charge around £3 to £5 per standard window. If you are cleaning a shop front then of course this would increase substantially and you could charge around £20 for a store front window (depending on the size).
Even though you are cleaning windows it is vital you have a professional appearance. I.e. be clean shaving and smart attire e.g. a smart pair of jeans and a polo shirt. Ideally try to get your business name printed on your shirt. This will also give peace of mind to your customer as they will know you are genuine.
How often will you visit the property?
Generally once a month is what most customers want. Some customers may want a weekly or even fortnightly clean. Always check what their preferred choice is.
Unlike most businesses you are at the mercy of the weather as window cleaning is an outdoor career.
This is one of the major drawbacks with window cleaning – the British weather. You need to be aware that if the weather is really bad then you simply cannot clean windows and so you should always have a Plan B for other work you can do if the weather is really bad.
If it is very windy then you cannot clean windows high up as standing on ladder could be very dangerous and could cause a nasty accident.
In the winter when there is major ice and snows then beware as you could slip off a ladder or fall off a roof. When the weather is bad the only solution is to have someone with you to hold the ladder so you do not slip. However, it may be worth not working if the weather is really cold as if are cleaning the windows the water could freeze the windows.
Raining– again some customers may not want their windows cleaned if it is raining as once you had cleaned the window the rain could make them dirty again so your customer may not want to pay. If you are going to work in the rain (and your customer is happy for you to clean their windows) then make sure you have a good waterproof jacket with you. After all you do not want to get a nasty cold or flu and be out of action for a week or so. You could lose your customers as you are not around and a rival could take your business.
The nights draw in quite early around 3.30pm from October to around March the following year. This means that you must start your round extra early say 7am so you can get your round it. Also note that some customers do not want their windows cleaned in the winter. If that is the case just move on and try to get more customers who are happy to have their windows cleaned in the winter. Say to the customers that you will be back in Spring when the weather is better but if they still wish to have their windows cleaned at any time in Winter to call you back. Never dismiss a customer who refuses to have their windows cleaned in the Winter – after all they may change their minds a few weeks later.
Never take on a customer who only wants the windows done every 6 months. Not only is this a waste of time for you but their windows will get dirty again after a month and this could be a poor reflection on your service to other potential customers. On the other hand if you regularly clean windows for a customer and they are always bright and shiny then this is an excellent advert for your business.
I would recommend you take the following courses
· Health and Safety Course
· First Aid Course
As you can see from this report running a window cleaning business can be very rewarding but you will have to put the time and effort in – and not just at the beginning!
As long as you have done your major research at the start and sourced the ideal locations where you know the demand is needed then you will succeed.
Good Trade Association
Federation of Window Cleaners
This is one of the most easiest home business ideas to start. Everyone wants their homes to look nice and having clean windows is vital. Yet for many people (particuarly the elderly) cleaning windows is a big chore. By having someone reliable popping round every few weeks to clean their windows would be something people would really appreciate.