So I’ve been at this for about a year on my own now.
I see guys posting they make $125 an hour at $5 a pane. I have a higher rate and yesterday I had a job where I did $43 an hour. I had quite a few snags but I was pretty hacked I always hope for at least $50 minimum. So what’s the deal. I’m all about getting things done. I work on my own like most but I’m just not pumping it out. I try to go like crazy but it’s not cutting it.
So I guess the question is where is time best spent? What part of the process do you slow down and focus on quality vs. all out speed, and thus gain speed/time/money?
Just looking for pointers. I don’t need to be the best but I wanna hang with 'em.
Some people talk a good game. Some have help. Some have easy windows with no obstacles in their way. Every job I have had the past couple of weeks I have had to move furniture, remove and clean screens, ladder jockey around landscaping and pools too close to the house, houses so close to each other that securing the ladder against a fence was precarious. That kind of stuff slows you down.
Set up can be slow sometimes, when it is, own the cleaning part and try to be as efficient and fast as safely possible with the set up.
single story house 18 d/h, screens, no tracks would take me about 1.5 hrs with set up. if glass is in good condition and customer doesn’t talk to me.
with track about 2 hrs if they are super dirty, but i just wipe them out if the want them to be as clean as possible then they have to pay more.
speed just takes time and have your tool belt set up efficiently.
Just remember $125 in Portland isn’t the same as $125 in say NYC…What I charge $10-12/window and know I am above market average here, there are guys in other parts of the country getting $15-20/window. That being said my cost of living is MUCH lower compared to many parts of the country as it is for my customers and it reflects in the price. I don’t know I think I am pretty dam efficient in my cleaning usually averaging $60-70/hour on residential, 5 years ago I was doing closer to $50/hour on average. I am guessing if I stopped being so dam picky and stopped chatting so much with customers I would be closer to $80-90/hour, but that is not something I am comfortable with and require a certain quality of work from myself and value my time spent chatting with customers…or having lunch with them!
Don’t beat yourself up, you will get quicker with time…and doing strictly repeat customers will help to as each time back gets quicker and quicker from my experience as you learn the flow of the job.
From what I gather super-fast window washers will make on average $70 an hour over a full work day. An average speed window washer will bring in $40-50 per hour. You seem to be doing just fine if your overall daily total is $43 an hour, especially if you’ve only done it for one year.
And some have decades invested under our belts… Your in this game a year, give it time and learn from your daily experiences. We have all been there and trust me, each of us still get burned from time to time. It happens. If your unhappy with $43 an hour, throw an application into McDonalds and see how optimistic you will become.
Only one year in I would pay more attention to what your getting per window/pane on your bids an what your market can bear than what your making per hour.
The more you do , an the more experience you get , that will increase your efficiency then your dollars per hour will go up
Pay attention to the things that can slow you down like obstacles, ladder work in the house can add more time to a job. add xtra money for stuff like that on your bid . I never give a detailed estimate like 40 Dh @ $12 per . Because if my price were $12 per window an 6 of those windows were inside ladder work well thar slows me down. My price would be 550 . my estimate would look like 40 Dh all cleaned in out screens cleaned sills wiped down 550.00.
Okay awesome feed back guy I appreciate it. I guess I just can figure how someone could do. 12.5 double hung in/out and screens in an hour. ($125÷$5pp) everything done in under 5mins per window. Seems a bit padded to me.
And the hourly is totally relative. I get a ton of jobs that are difficult access just because I’m not scared and willing.
But I guess the real issue is I don’t wish It was easier I wish I was better.
So what’s your best or favorite trick that adds speed. If you’re doing all that worm in five minutes I want to learn from you.
Is it spend more double checking so you don’t have to go back?Slow down on the squeegee so you have less detail? Etc.
Please don’t say wfp. Nothing against it I have and use one, but I am taking about down right technique and skills.
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Try this: go find a dh in your house, start a stop watch and casually clean the window as you would for a customer. How long did it take? That’s your control number. Take the time, divide it into an hour and that’s how many dh’s you have per hour then multiply that number by your rate and you’ll get an hourly rate (I’m sure you know this but others might not). Your [I]actual [/I]numbers will vary depending on having to move stuff, work around obstacles, set up ladders, wfp, or whatever.
When I started out I figured at $4 per pane, I was averaging about 60 per hour on residential. But several years later I’m at $5 and I’m averaging $75-100 per hour depending on those various factors. Well, and talking to customers.
Also look at your process. Are you cleaning tracks at $10 dh (5 per pane)? Because to clean a track, I’m going to add another $5 to the $10 dh price. It takes as long to clean a track as the window. So I gots to get paid to do it and customers understand that and those that want it will pay for it without balking.
Are you washing screens? My average includes washing screens, but if you’re doing them by hand you might want to either cut down on quality, get a screen washer, or charge more for washing by hand.
Are you climbing ladders instead of using a wfp? A wfp can save you a TON of time. If you don’t have a wfp you can tilt a dh in or pull a slider and clean that window from inside quicker than laddering.
Are you laddering those half round windows instead of wagtailing them? A wagtail is a GREAT tool for non-square windows. And taking the time to master it is time WELL SPENT! I don’t use the wagtail mop except occasionally. I just mop the window, put the wagtail handle on and knock it out.
Are you charging $5 for a large picture window instead of maybe $10-15? I think it was Mike [MENTION=7269]Majestic66[/MENTION] who pointed out that homeowners CANNOT get those things clean and it’s just easy as cake for us AND there’s no screen to wash.
Are you doing mirrors for free? Maybe tell the homeowner that for an extra $15 (or 20 or 30) you’ll clean the bathroom mirrors. Bam $15 @ 30 seconds helps your numbers.
Are you struggling around cacti to clean a window that you should just say “that’s not accessible?”
Are you scrubbing hardwater stains off? I’ll give a stain a quick scrub but if they want the spots all the way off, we’re going to talk about my hardwater removal rate.
Are you holding curtains back? Get some 18" gear ties from home depot to hold them for you.
Are you playing with the dog and tossing him a tennis ball? Then that doesn’t count towards averages…
Other guys are right, you’ve only been doing it for a year.
I remember going back to a job I did the year before and finished it quicker and quicker year after year. If you refine your techniques and systems on cleaning to be more and more efficient and precise you will get quicker. I would say it took me 3 years for me to fully peak in all circumstances.