Advice to get more storefront

Hi all, I need some advice on getting more commercial storefront accounts. I have a handful of them but mainly stick to residential as my main source of income. Residential seems to be much less competitive for starters but I’m looking for a more steady residual income. Storefront is appealing, but the problem I’m having is getting more accounts. There is a ton of competition in my area for commercial storefront.
I’ve stopped at many businesses to hand out my cards and most are not even interested in taking my cards. “We already have someone” is the common response I get. One business told me their window cleaner has been cleaning in that area for the last 15 years. (I dont feel right about trying to take a fellow window cleaners business that has had those accounts that long.) That leaves me little chance to get any business when they are all happy with their current window cleaner. The ones that don’t have window cleaners are the one’s that are happy with their employees doing them. Maybe I should just stick to residential.
Any advice is appreciated, thanks in advance!

Clark McFadden
Harris County Window cleaning

PS: Sorry about posting it here. I meant to post it in the commercial storefront section.

Yea its a tough call Clark…

He cant be servicing them all, so I would hunt around a little bit more if your interested in store front. Maybe you could change your selling proposition up for those that you encounter that have employees do it.

Show them how it can be more cost effective to have you do it. Also store staff usually doesn’t do the best job… So you have an in there if you approach it right.

Thanks for your advice Chris. I’ll try that…I just dont want to be traveling to far if Im not going to get enough business to make it worth my time.

How is it more cost effective to have a professional wash the windows? If I charge $8 per large store window and I wash, lets say 6 windows that’s $48 plus doors. It might take an employee 2 hours to do that and they get paid $10 per hour. Even with the cost of the bottle of Windex and the roll of towels that they use, it is still less than me. Of course you can see all the swirls after they use paper towels, so quality is much less.

The employee may be getting $10 an hour but the cost to the employer is about $18 - $20 an hour to have that employee. If the employee spends 2 hours cleaning windows that is 2 hours he/she isn’t doing the work they were hired for = lost money for the emplorer.

Not to mention productivity loss w/ the employee doing the work, whereas if they hired you -
you could come in and blast it out in less time. doing a prefect spot free cleaning.

Funny you bring this thread up - I was inside a Pier 1 imports yesterday, you could see on the doors the swirl marks where (employee) someone could only reach.
I’ll try to go back and take some pics to post.

They must have more free money where you are from than down here in Florida. $8 per window panel for storefront, roughly $50 a pop? The store employee is perhaps standing around waiting for business and already on payroll - store owner puts them to work cleaning until customers show up - there’s $50 the store owner doesn’t have to shell out. Store fronts are cheap around here. If someone is paying with deep pockets a big MAYBE at those prices. I bid on 16 tall windows with one divider to each including 2 doors at a business inside and out for $74, (a little over $2.30 per side). They have someone cheaper!

You could try this… i have these flyers as above… in the White circle i write what i think the price will / would be then go inside hand to the Manager / shop assistant… or place in there letter box or shove simply through the glass where there is a crack or leave on the side inside

on there is written

Shop / Store window cleaning

1X monthly

Super cheap ( thats the eye opener )

the i write in the white circle what i think the price will be …

Jeez... I wish I could charge those rates out here.  Its much lower here in Houston, I can get away with $2.00 per outside window and $1.00 inside.  Funny thing is many store managers still find that too much money(cheapskates). I purposely overbid now so when they think its too much, I can come down on the price just a bit and still be happy with that. I does'nt pay to drive across the city unless I have an entire strip mall that I can clean.  There is just too many lowballer window cleaners out here that has made this job more difficult.  Say that I have  small job that I charge $12.00 for...some drunk with a bucket will come and do the same job for $6.00.  Im trying to run a business here, after expenses, advertising, gas, insurance, supporting my family, taxes, there isnt much profit too be made in storefront after these guys. Sadly, most small storefront businesses dont really care about top quality or professionalism....they want cheap. The ones that appreciate a good job already have window cleaners that do a good job.

Very nice design Peter! Hmm…do you have a format of this in MS Word? Lol

I guess it could come down to opportunity cost

Could that employee be doing something else for the company they work for to generate more money instead of cleaning the windows poorly?

Sometimes yes sometimes no.

My thoughts on storefront:

Look for stores “off the beaten path”. Are there smaller towns with a downtown area, that perhaps isn’t attracting as much competition? I have one town that is quite small, but because its out of the way a bit, I was able to walk in and pick up half the businesses there. It now brings in $300/month for under 5 hours of labor, taking my time.

Look for privately owned/managed stores. I’ve had particular success with hair dressers, artisan shops, and other businesses where the owners have an emotional investment to the store itself, and take pride in their location. Retail stores (even privately owned ones) have much less of that emotional investment- but they shouldn’t be written off entirely, either.

$8/ panel is crazy high for regular storefront, IMO*. those are resi prices. Storefront is about quantity. without skimping on quality, you can clean a lot more windows in a commercial environment than in a residential one, in the same amount of time. I charge between $2-$3/pane/side. That is still higher than a lot of storefront window cleaners, though.
[MENTION=885]peterpetersnbg[/MENTION] : I love your flier. do you have that in a Photoshop or GIMP format? The only things I would probably change for myself (other than the language) would be to flip the pictures so they’re left handed, and add a second bubble for in & out pricing. Nice Job.

*I won’t hate on anyone that is able to charge those prices, though. Power to you!