All of my competitors are charging ridiculously low prices, what do I do?

Ok so I’ve been putting more effort into figuring out the prices of my competitors and what I have discovered really shocks me. I’ve been experimenting with charging somewhere between $2 to $3 dollars per pane (per side) and I’ve been making a good income at this price (especially because I work slowly but do very high quality work). This has worked for me for the past 4 months or so that I’ve been in business, but as of late I’ve been hearing customers say “wow, your prices are very high”. After calling some of my competitors (posing as a customer :p), I’ve determined that they are charging roughly $1.50 per pane per side (so around $3 - $3.50 per pane for inside and out) and this includes screen cleaning. I should mention that this is in central Oregon and the cost of living is fairly low here, but it seems like it would be very hard to make a decent living at the prices these guys are charging (at least working at the pace that I do). At those prices it just seems like it wouldn’t be worth dealing with all the extra headaches of running a business just so I can make fast food wages. Am I missing something here guys?
So what do you guys suggest? Should I just keep charging the higher prices that I do while taking my time to do very high quality work, or do I lower my prices and sacrifice quality in order to do more volume per day? As an example of my obsessive work ethic, I almost never use an extension pole in favor of using my ladder to get over each window, scrub it with steel wool, detail the corners, etc…
Any suggestions would be very helpful

I usually offer 10% off the best I can do. More than half bite if I start telling my story in the industry & how much over head there really is to run top notch.
If they don’t bite & keep telling me to drop 40%, I wish them luck with the other company. And of course cuss em till arriving to next estimate

I see where you’re coming from and I am definitely willing to stand firm on charging a slightly higher price to do higher quality work, but if my prices are significantly higher in comparison to the the average rate around here then I feel like I’m going to become known as ‘the rip off guy’ and I won’t be in business for too much longer with a reputation like that. So what do I do here? Do I sacrifice quality in order to do a faster job and get to the next one quicker, or do I just suck it up and accept that I’m going to earn a lower income doing this business in this location.
To give you guys an idea of the pace that I work at, I would charge roughly $280 dollars to do a 2 story house with 56 panes (inside and out including screens), and this would take me anywhere from 6 to 9 hours to finish (depending on how dirty the windows are).

Stick to your guns.
Why would you lower your quality work?
Your competitors will not last that long doing residential customers at that price.

Over more value

Yes I’d like to think so, but the guys I got these prices from are some of the top contenders in the area and some have been in business for decades…it’s just hard for me to ignore the cold facts and then hand an estimate to a customer knowing that it’s like $110 more than what my competitors would charge.
But geez…$1.50 per pane per side, doesn’t that just sound so low to you guys? I think I’d have a hard time staying motivated to do a good job at that rate. I’d be better off going back to work as a wildland firefighter, but it would be a shame because I really do enjoy the freedom that being a window cleaner affords me : /

Does Friday’s let McDonalds dictate their prices?

Remember you provide a luxury service FOR PROFIT.

Keep your prices higher… Low BALLERS only end up doing MORE work for LESS money. Real quality clients will appreciate good hard work.

Quality work, good speed, and showem how you can work that tool and they may switch to your service.

O.K. so I’m hearing that people are willing to pay a bit more for a quality job and that I should stick to my guns on my pricing…does anyone agree with my that charging $1.50 per pane per side (so $3.00 per pane inside and out) is too low, or does that sound pretty normal to you guys? I understand that prices vary by location, and I am taking into account the fact that the cost of living is pretty low here

How long have you been cleaning windows? How much are you wanting to make per day? The first thing to do with criticism is to ask yourself if there is any truth in it. Evaluate your efficiency on and off the job in the office. Look at your marketing and ask how good your marketing and sales system is. you can fill a bucket a lot quicker and keep it full if it has no hole in it. In other words you might find that by simply correcting inefficiencies you might be able to reduce time and expenses and be able to produce more with less effort therefor increasing your gross revenue and net profits. THis may allow some wiggle room to either reduce your pricing a little or to offer more incentives to try your service over your competitors and give you a chance to show the difference.

Next After plugging any holes in your money making system really hone in on your marketing and sales system. To often guys have a more passive approach to marketing and pick marketing approaches that wait for customers to seek them out (internet, phone book, referrals, etc). The problem with this is that if they are seeking you out that means there is a good chance they are seeking out your competitors as well. Which means you will then have to compete with there pricing or other values they offer. The key to beating this is to be offensive with your marketing. get peoples attention before they are looking for your service. This way they are less likely or not likely at all to price shop. Go stronger on types of marketing take your product to the consumer rather than waiting on the consumer to search you out (double opt in email marketing, direct mail, telemarketing, door to door) . Focus on niches that fit this criteria (new home owners, people selling there homes, gated communities that are less accessible to your competitors and therefor less likely that they are being targeted). Choose more expensive marketing mediums that your competitors would not use because there prices won’t cover it high end magazines etc.

Do more marketing. 80% closing rate on 100 ads is the same closing rate as 40% of 200 ads. It may cost more but in the long run with high customer retention will yield a higher ROI. Be consistent with your marketing. If your competitors are charging less there is a good chance they are not consistent and you can be there when they are not.

Lastly if your pricing is high enough and your efficiency is high enough you can focus on just one job a day which can allow you to add a high degree of value to your service which would be worth the cost to the consumer. This will also greatly increase your referrals, which are consumers who are less likely to shop around because they already feel they have a connection and trust with you. Go the extra mile in everything you do (drop cloths, booties etc.). Do a bunch of little extras for free like brush cobwebs down from eves, dust some high ledges, wash down the front entrance etc. Go the extra mile in keeping in contact with your customers and keep track of when there due for service, send out Christmas cards, birthday cards to customers etc. Enough extras and your customers will easily see the difference in service they are getting with your price.

Lastly you will have to think of a creative way to emphasize your extra value in your marketing to increase the closing rate over your competitors.


People will lay more for some one to take really good care of him or her. Yes price matters, but they want to be taken care of.

I agree 100%, but what is a hardworking guy to do when it seems like lowball prices are the standard around here? Could it be that window cleaning is just not a profitable business venture in this area? Has anybody else experienced this kind of situation? I should add that there are a LOT of competitors in this town (Bend, Oregon) so I’m sure that is no small factor in driving the prices down here. And it seems like the companies that charge these low prices are keeping their customers happy with quality work, so maybe the ‘workmanship’ angle doesn’t give me to much of a leg to stand on when bargaining with customers here. Still though, even though the cost of living is low here this is still a fairly high-income town with plenty of yuppies willing to throw cash at a chore they don’t wanna do themselves. Hmmm…

Start doing homes. The pay is much better.

Your only seen as the rip off guy if you don’t do a good job of communicating the higher value of your service and showing it. If you land the customers that trusted your price and they get amazing service and then they see an ad of a competitor they are going to think he must not give good service.

I recenlty went to a new Brazillian steak house that I could never afford. They gave service I have never had before. They did everything short of accompanying your to the restroom and wiping you booty for you literally. I did not leave there thinking they where way over priced but rather I left there thinking of when I could save up to go back. Even if people can’t afford it if they love the experience they will scrape and save to come back.

Some good info in there, thank you. As far as marketing goes, so far I have just been using door hangers (I went the extra mile to have some high quality door hangers made, and the ROI has been pretty good), I’m looking to get into direct mail for my fall advertising campaign primarily because putting out all these door hangers is really wearing me out. I don’t have a website yet, but I know I should and I’ll be working on that soon.
I think I generally build a good rapport with my customers and I do get the sense that thet feel they are being taken care of. I just worry what will happen when they talk to their neighbors and discover how much less they are paying (especially if the neighbor seems happy with the product they are getting). I really am considering lowering my prices here. I don’t know that I’m willing to go down to $1.50 per pane, but maybe $2 per pane would still be worth my while. At the prices I’ve been charging ($2.50 - $3.0 per pane) I am content to do one house per day and really focus on doing a good job, I think I’d still be willing to do that for $2.00 a pane but I’d definitely be taking a break on my income.

Make a facebook fan page for your website. It’s free and easy to update. The roi is way better than fliers.

Just based on your response I would say that your pricing is fine you just need to market more. It sounds like you need more calls coming in so even though there are the ones that will get away you will land more overall and it should solve your problem. And create a marketing budget so you can market regularly and ongoing and you should see the response rate go up as well.

So from what I’m hearing from everyone is that I shouldn’t lower my prices even though the norm around here is to charge significantly less than what I’ve been charging, I respect that. I guess my big thing is to stop worrying about what will happen when my customers find out that I’ve been charging them almost double what my competitors charge and have faith that they will stick with me for my workmanship rather than feeling like they’ve been getting hosed. It’s interesting to note you’re from Dallas, I used to wash windows in Plano and found that it was the norm to charge $2-$3 per pane there, but it just doesn’t seem to be the case here. I should add that the area I live in here is less prosperous than the Dallas area (I think the average income here is around $50,000 for a town of 80,000 people, compared to Plano where the average income is $80,000 or higher in a city of 250,000).
Oh and just to make sure I’m being clear here, when I say $3 per pane I’m talking about PER SIDE, so in and out would be $6 per pane total (i.e. a double hung I would charge $12 to clean in and out). Still sound reasonable?

I am from Eugene originally so I understand the area. I would say you are a little high. You can make 400-$600.00 a day charging $8 per window per side for non true divided lite windows if you are efficient. And that is ding a great job. at 9-$10 per window per side you should be able to average $500.00 per day easy. I’m not sure what you need to make but that’s pretty good.