Starting a window cleaning business might seem straightforward, but it’s not always the case. Building a new business from the ground up requires effective planning and a comprehensive toolkit (not that old school one, a digital one). Once you're committed to the idea of starting a window washing business, you’ll need guidance at every step of the way.
That’s what we’ll help you with. If you’re overwhelmed at this point, we’ll explain how to start your window cleaning business and highlight the hurdles you might face. So stick around till the end, and let us clarify your doubts about a window cleaning business!
How To Start A Window Cleaning Business?
Since a clear roadmap will ease your business development and growth journey, we have curated one for you. No worries if you’re unfamiliar with all the nuances of starting a window cleaning business in the digital era because this step-by-step guide has got you covered.
Here are the essential steps of starting a window washing company:
1. Create a Business Plan
A written and thoroughly researched plan is the stepping stone of your business. When you start without determining your goals and resources, the chances of you wandering away increase. Therefore, start with a comprehensive business plan for your company.
Estimate your resources, specify your target areas, and note your objectives to give your business plan a shape. Don’t stress too much at this point because you can always add/omit things down the line. If you plan on pitching to financial investors, craft a business proposal citing everything you seek from them.
Your business plan should include everything from your initial budget, down to the emergency fund for unpleasant situations. But if you’ll be the sole investor in your business, estimate the cost of every essential item needed for the company and specify a budget accordingly.
2. Setting Up Your Business Identity
Gone are the days when print advertisement and on-call appointments were the only options for service providers. Today, you can digitize your business and leverage your website’s reach to earn more customers and increase your footprint. That’s why you should never overlook your business identity’s importance.
Here are the main things you’ll need to focus on when developing your brand:
Choose a name and logo
The first thing your potential customers will see on your digital or print ad is your company name, closely followed by your logo. So, you can’t stick to mediocrity here. Pick a memorable and unique business name for your new company to make it stand out. Get a professional designer to create your business logo, and you’re all set for the next step.
Decide which sector to target
Which areas of the neighbourhood do you plan to target? Will your company only offer residential cleaning services, or will you include the commercial sector too? Since going all-in can be risky initially, it’s wise to pick one side.
If you want to keep your company’s workload manageable and less complicated when you start, sticking to the residential sector is better. Once your window cleaning company earns a reputation, you’ll have incoming work calls from the residential sector that won’t exhaust your resources.
This is where the tough work resides. If you have specialized cleaning tools and the workforce to manage the workload, select the commercial sector for your business. This way, you’ll have a larger target market, leading to more cleaning jobs.
Set up your base
Where will your company’s main office be? Do you plan on renting a commercial property for it, or will you make your garage a make-shift office? Being clear about this point will determine how much money you need to start a window washing business. You don’t need a fancy office for your company initially - start simple, and expand things after establishing your business.
3. License, Registration, Insurance, And More
Specifying your new company's legal standing is essential according to the law. You must register your business and get a go-ahead from the local authority before starting.
Does a window washing business require a license? Yes, it depends on the legislative demands of the area where you plan to establish your business. Often, you might not need an exclusive license only for window washing but a general state business permit.
Other areas might require you to get a window cleaning license and more documentation. You will have to research your state's business requirements to obtain an accurate idea about the exact documentation you will need to set up your business.
In addition to a license, you might want to consider getting an Employer Identification Number. It's not just useful for when you want to hire employees and tax filing but also for business financing, credit cards, etc. It’s easy to get one straight from the IRS.
This part is integral to setting up your business because it can decide how your business will operate legally. It's best to consult a business attorney for this part to be fully aware of the legal consequences, advantages, and disadvantages of each entity you could register your business under, but generally, there are three.
A corporation setup is useful for businesses with excellent growth prospects, although it makes you do a lot more tedious paperwork than other options. However, the primary advantage of this is that you get not only liability protections but also tax perks.
2. Limited Liability Company (LLC)
This business entity lets you take advantage of personal liability protection. Taxes can be paid as a pass-through entity or as a corporation. You can sign up as this business entity alone or with business partners.
3. Sole Proprietorship
Although easy to set up, this business structure takes away the advantage of personal liability protection in the face of any financial or legal problem that might happen. You are taxed on your personal return.
Aside from that, you could also consider joining a franchise which might cost you more upfront but will make up for it in the services and support they provide.
For every business owner, getting their business insured is a must! Accidents, although unfortunate, are bound to happen here and there. Thus even in such unfortunate cases, having insurance will let you enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing that some of the compensation is covered.
In addition to being a step in the right direction for your business, it is also good for your brand reputation, employees, and clients.
Some types of insurances you might want to apply for include:
1. Liability Insurances
● Employer's liability insurance: This insurance is a legal requirement for having staff.
● Public Liability Insurance: This is useful in protecting you in the circumstance that your business causes damage or injuries to the public.
2. Personal Accident Insurance
This insurance comes in handy to cover some of the costs in unfortunate cases when death or injury is involved.
3. Worker Compensation Insurance
This insurance helps compensate for injuries that your employees might suffer while on the job.
4. Unemployment Insurance
This insurance is essential for when you have employees, and it requires the government to regularly pay money to individuals when they lose their job.
5. Business Equipment Insurance
Although overhead costs are low, you should still get your equipment insured because you don't want to lose money if it gets damaged or misplaced.
4. Deciding Services Offered By Your Window Cleaning Businesses
An important step when figuring out how to start a window cleaning business is determining what services you want to offer. You might be tempted to include every window cleaning service in your list, but it’s not the smartest thing initially.
You should start by researching other window cleaning companies’ services in your area and conduct some market research alongside. This should give you an idea of the most demanded cleaning services in your target region - you can sort your list afterward.
We’re talking about money now! Who will fund your new window washing business? Will you be the sole investor, or you’ll need a helping hand to cover the expenses? Here are some funding options you can look at while starting a new cleaning company:
Taking a loan for your new business is easy if you’re short on money but want to get the ball rolling ASAP! This loan might increase the amount you’ll pay in interest, but you won’t have to use your savings or sell an asset to start your business. Pick a loan scheme with a manageable repayment schedule and easy-on-the-pocket interest rates.
If you can manage the expenditures for your window washing business from your pocket, there’s nothing like it. Get cost estimates for the cleaning equipment, calculate the money that’ll go into legalities, and find out your office’s rent. Once you have a rough figure, set it aside from your finances.
● Adding a partner
Onboarding a partner for your new window washing company is another viable option. If you want to avoid heavy loan interests but don’t have a pocket big enough to meet all expenses, find a partner for your business. This partner will invest an agreed amount into your business, and you two will divide duties to run the company. If you already know someone who’d be interested in a new hustle, take your business plan and meet them.
After deciding the source of funding, you’ll have to consider the pricing for the services that you’re going to offer. Let’s look at the different options available to get some inspiration while working on the pricing model.
5. Pricing - How To Price Your Services For Your Window Cleaning Business?
One way to get a good idea about how you should charge for your services is to look into the prices being charged by your competition. You need to find the right balance between valuing your services and not being overly expensive, especially if you're beginning from the ground up because that can scare off potential customers. Let your work do the talking.
As you start establishing your business and making a name for yourself, you can increase prices, quality, and quantity of services, which can help generate an even better profit.
Generally, there are three ways to price your services, and these include:
Charging by the hour
This method involves setting a standard rate you'll charge for every hour of work that you do. For example, if you charge 20$ per hour, you'll be making 80$ in 4 hours.
Advantages of charging per hour
● It's easy to determine the final revenue, and customers also find this charging method more convenient.
● You can either introduce fixed rates regardless of the work or introduce rates dependent on the kind of window cleaning required.
Disadvantages of charging per hour
● There might be customers that give you a deadline within which you have to finish the work as many customers feel unsatisfied if the job takes too long.
● You will have to be very organized and rigorously plan every second of your time.
Charging By Pane
Charging by this method means you'll have a fixed rate for each window pane you clean, which is usually between 2 to 8 dollars. This charging method is useful for commercial window washing, where you have to clean a large number of windows of roughly the same size. For example, if you charge 5 dollars per window pane, cleaning around 100 window panes on a building can earn you 500$.
Advantages Of Charging By Panes
● This way of charging is convenient when working on large projects because it will not constrict your workers to finishing the job in a limited time frame and thus will not compromise on the quality of work.
● This way of charging can often earn you the most money, especially when working on large-scale jobs with a multitude of frames.
Disadvantages Of Charging By Panes
● If you have a fixed rate for charging per pane, some of your labor might be valued less since the size of windows varies. For example, you will be paid the same for doing larger window panes as you will when doing smaller window panes. The time, effort, and energy it requires to do both are different, and hence you might be losing money on that end.
● The value of this pricing system relies on the number of window panes you get to clean. So, it will not be a suitable way to charge residential projects as houses alone do not have that many windows. You will have to find large-scale projects to make any real profit.
Charging Per Project
By charging per project, you can decide the price you want to charge depending on the work in each project. This method is suitable for businesses looking to target both residential and commercial fields. Since the type of work you will be doing will be different for both sectors, you can charge it accordingly.
Advantages for charging per project
● This method of charging is more flexible.
● You might get better value for your work.
Disadvantages of charging per project
● With such flexible rates and diverse projects, it might be challenging to decide what exactly you should charge for each kind of project initially. Over time, however, you will get a better idea of the value of your work.
● The price you’ll charge has to be decided before you take up a job. This might sometimes put you at a disadvantage when you lose a client who disagrees to pay your set rate. Your flexible rates might get exploited. Moreover, while working on the project, you might find it to be worth a lot more than you charged, and in that situation, you would be losing money.
6. Marketing Your Window–Washing Business
Now that your business is created knowing how to properly market it is what will get you a solid clientele. This involves creating an outstanding online and offline presence for your business and promoting it the right way.
Marking Your Online Presence
Set up your website, get your page to rank on Google, and consider hiring a social media marketing team to manage your official business social media accounts. A strong online marketing campaign can give you an edge over competitors.
The world might have moved on to more digital methods of marketing, but that doesn't mean old-school methods have lost their charm. You can still hit the streets, go door to door, introduce your business, and hand out fliers. This is still one of the swiftest ways to get customers and increase public awareness of your brand.
7. Get Ready For Everyday Operations
Now that you are set up, you must also make sure to maintain, manage, and take care of your business to help it grow. From financing your budget to restocking supplies, scheduling appointments, executing jobs for clients, marketing your business, and securing good customer reviews, you have to be mindful of these tasks.
Start with creating a business plan and building your brand identity, then move towards targeting and creating value. Once you’ve set up the base, work on your products and services and slowly move towards pricing. Pay special attention to the 4ps of marketing- product, price, placement, and promotion. Then focus on your marketing and be ready for everyday operations.
Additional Information You Should Know (Top 5 FAQs)
Here is some additional information you should know about starting a window cleaning business.
1. What are the Overhead Costs Of A Window Cleaning Business?
Overhead costs in this business usually include equipment, cleaning solution, transportation, cleaning supplies, and employee uniform costs.
If you choose to operate in the residential sector, then you will need:
● A Squeegee
● An extension pole
● A Scrapper
● Microfiber Cloths and Towels
● T–bar, and Sleeve
● Water Hoses
● Hard Hats
For working on commercial high–rise buildings, you will also need:
● Rappelling Equipment
You might want to rent or lease a truck for transportation of your employees and supplies to the required work area.
2. What is the average income Of Window Cleaning Business Owners?
For window washing company owners, their average annual salaries lie anywhere between $30,000 to $45,000 depending on the state they live in. The BWCA states that all window cleaners with even an average setup can earn at least $20 every day.
3. Is A Window Cleaning Business Profitable?
Now that you know how to start a window cleaning business, you must be wondering if it is worth it. Well to answer your question, yes, absolutely! One of the best things about this business is collecting payment on the spot, which makes it very profitable.
Revenue generation is also consistent, and since window cleaning is something that needs to be done regularly, you get repeat clients! Thus, if you get the job done well, you can build a loyal customer base needing your services on a consistent basis.
According to a market research report, the window cleaning business industry's worth grows by 2.2% to $1.9 billion every year. In total, its worth is roughly $5.1 billion.
4. Career-Wise Advantages Of A Window Washing Business
For those wondering whether a window washing business is a good career to consider, look no further. It is absolutely a good career option for a multitude of reasons!
There is an increasing demand for window cleaning services in the commercial as well as residential sectors. From apartments to skyscrapers and large buildings, all have windows that need cleaning to maintain their appearance. This is why, in this business, you will find it easy to come by many clients should you market your brand properly.
Not only is the market booming with clients, but if they are satisfied with your work, your clients are also bound to return for your services.
Affordable And Easy To Set Up
You won't need to invest a substantial amount of money to start a business. Window cleaning is much more affordable compared to other startups. If you are wondering how much does it cost to start a window cleaning business, you could start with as little as 600$.
Solid Growth Prospects
Growth prospects for this business are also relatively solid, and with the proper planning, management, and tools, your business can flourish in no time.
Another advantage of starting a window cleaning business is that you don't have to go through expensive, complicated, and time-consuming training procedures to get the hang of the job. You'll need minimal training at most and can easily manage to take care of things from thereon.
Once you are running your own business, you get to call the shots, making many things much more convenient.
For example, you're in charge of deciding how much you want to charge for your services, what will your work schedule be, and where you want to work from (it can be an office or even your home).
For those wanting to take the reign and make decisions for themselves, starting a window cleaning business would be an intelligent strategy to adopt.
5. What Kind of People Should Consider Starting A Window Washing Business?
Anyone looking to start their own business on a budget should consider setting up a window washing business. It is especially ideal for young beginner entrepreneurs wanting to invest in a safe business that is steady in demand and inexpensive, and easy to set up!
Now that we have covered the crucial aspects of starting a window cleaning business, the whole concept should be clear by now. Plan your new business realistically and analyze every aspect of it to stay at the top of your game. Once you have the budget, a workspace, and equipment, start offering window cleaning services to your target area, and that’s all.
In this business, you’ll be the one deciding things, so it’s wise to also keep the downsides in your mind. Running a business is not always smooth; there will be highs and lows, but you can make it work. Good luck!