How to start a window cleaning business for rookies.

A quick heads up on marketing your business.

Any one running a business will tell you that in order to establish any growth, even in these hard economic times, you are going to have to get a grip and understanding of marketing YOU and your company.

Throughout your life, you have been marketing yourself and you probably did not even know it. From your first job interview to your first date to meeting people for the first time at a meal, you are selling YOU.

Marketing yourself or selling your business to a facilities manager should be seen as no different to having a normal job interview. In a job interview, we tell the ‘prospect boss’ about our training courses attended and our experiences. We talk about the high profile companies we have worked for and the tasks we had to carry out. In addition, we demonstrate issues that we had to tackle in order to show how we came to positive solutions.

Lets start with the need for marketing: Marketing is a process whereby you advertise your company to you prospected target market. Marketing can be carried out in many forms, some of which we will explore.

Once you have mastered the art of marketing, it does not stop there.

Marketing and selling your service is an on going project. The process has to stand as a main supporting pillar of your business. Getting yourself conditioned and in the right mind set is key. At the very least, getting marketing onto your radar is necessary.

Imagine your business is like a ‘bath tub’. You worked so long and hard with marketing and selling techniques that you have filled your ‘bath’ with business.

However, there is a problem with this ‘bath tub’!

You see your bathtub has no plug. No matter how good your business retention is, you will loose business through default and need to replace it. Do nothing and over time, you will see your turnover dwindle.

Your ‘bath tub’ leaks and so marketing and selling your business are important when it comes to ‘topping up the bath water’.

Therefore, we have established marketing as a very important tool. How do we apply this to our window cleaning business?

Where do you want to be?

The first thing to consider is where do you want to be with this business. Are you happy earning £120 per day for 6 hours work, 4 to 5 days per week and sticking just with residential?

Do you want ten vans, 20 employees and concentrate on multiple region commercial work?

Alternatively, maybe you are happy somewhere in between the two examples.

The good thing about residential window cleaning is that its retention rate is very high. Moreover, residential work is a lot easier to build up. This is because you are talking directly with the decision maker and in fact, in most cases, it is not a lot of money and most people will agree to a fair price.

This type of work is very good in a recession too!

The good thing about commercial work is that although it is more involving the rewards are far greater. You do not get decisions instantly many of the times, as your quotation may have to be discussed within the prospect company.

Retention rates can be high depending on the commercial customer. The more branches or nationalised the commercial prospect is the less loyal they can be.

One example of high retention commercial work would be a fish and chip shop, launderette or other small family business. An example of a low retention commercial work would be a brand name business.

Buy or build?

You can buy window cleaning work both commercial and domestic on any forum or in the local newspaper. You may come across rounds for sale by word of mouth.

Therefore, the next decision is to work out if you would like to build a business up from scratch or buy one.

The far cheapest is to start your own and we will come back to this.

However, what if you want to buy? What do you pay? How do you handle the deal? What do you need to look for?

Make sure you catch the next issue of WCM to learn more on Buy or Build.