Brand New Company! Looking for Advice and Tips

Hello everyone,

I am brand new to this forum. I stumbled upon it after ordering supplies from WCR! I wanted to introduce myself to the community and hopefully get some advice from seasoned veterans in the trade.

Im a 23 year old recent college grad who removed from school has decided to go in a very different direction and start my own window cleaning company. I wish I would have seen the opportunity in the field sooner! I am based in the Central/Southern NJ Region.

I founded my company in January 2023 (Only about 9 weeks ago) after working for another company for several months and realizing the potential I had in the trade. What I thought would be a temporary stopgap job while I looked for work after graduation could very well end up being a career (at least I hope). Part of the reason I took the leap was because of the demand I saw in my area for the work, and because of the poor quality of work that other employees were delivering for the company I worked for. Customers were requesting me at significant rates and constantly complaining about the service they were paying for- it made me feel as though I could offer a better alternative and do much better for myself on my own.

I have been focusing significantly on commercial, trying to build a base of clients in strip malls/restaurants/fast food for consistent income while preparing to enter residential in the spring and summer. I just spent some significant money on advertising for residential by running ads in community newsletters around my area. I have invested in a screen cleaning machine for houses as well, and have invested in all the proper equipment for commercial and residential work (including ladders). Luckily, I had a truck already as my daily driver, so I have been well positioned as far as transportation goes short term.

I have been doing all my soliciting by “Cold Calls”- literally just walking into stores around my region.

In 9 weeks I have amassed 32 clients (about 3/week). Of these, I have grossed monthly about $1200. Most of these are very small with a few larger sized accounts in between. 3 are twice a month, 3 are every other month, and 26 are 1 per month cleanings. I am personable and a great communicator. Thus far I have not received any complaints and I am hoping to begin to get referrals. I have calculated that at the size (of each job) and rate I am adding accounts now, I will need between 100 and 120 commercial clients before I am busy myself full time 5 days a week 52 weeks a year. That would be without factoring any residential work.

Problems I have faced thus far include the fact that my former boss has discovered I founded my company and has threatened me with a “non-compete” agreement that supposedly is effective for a year after I ceased employment (last year). Because of this I have been very limited in the areas I have been targeting (As he has a massive client base in my region with hundreds of accounts), and I have begun to run out of areas within an hour radius of my residence where I can solicit, so I anticipate my growth will slow somewhat. His pricing is also extremely low (he charges as little as $1 a pane in some instances for commercial work and he pays his workers peanuts), so there have been a few instances already where he has underbid me and I have lost potential customers. I also have been unable to capitalize on clients that were unhappy with his company and wanted me to become their full time cleaner (I did NOT solicit them nor approach them with my business idea when I was still employed, but was eventually going to make my enterprise known to them). I am hoping that residential work will help offset and stagnation I may face in commercial growth.

This has been my long rambling way of sharing the story of my first two months in business. I remain hopeful for the long term.


What are some growth strategies others have used?

What should I do about the non-compete? I have tried to stay away from areas he has clients, but I am running out of alternate areas.

How is my commercial pricing? I have a $25 minimum for a job and usually charge about $3 pane but sometimes this varies storefront to storefront. What do others do?

I am preparing to enter the residential market in the spring. Every house will be a case by case basis, but I have a rough blueprint for residential pricing: $7 per window exterior ($12 total in/out), $3 per screen, $2 extra for 2nd story windows. How is my pricing? Am I too low/too high?

What did others gross in their first year as a startup? I set a goal of $40-50k for myself in the first year. Thus far I might not hit either, although it is still quite early in my existence. What were others experiences?

Any overall advice from veterans in the industry?

Thanks for taking the time to read my post. I know it was lengthy. As a first time business owner and relatively raw cleaner in the trade, any input helps.

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First. Welcome to this awesome community.

There are a lot of things to answer and address from your post, I’ll focus on the main thing I see…

Don’t start your life at 23 with a lawsuit. Do everything you can to avoid that from happening.
Just forget about even arguing whether a “non-compete” agreement is enforceable for a moment. You likely don’t have many assets at 23, and are not “worth” suing.
But people sue one another for unfounded and frivolous things all the time. If you get sued, you’ll have to pay to play with the attorneys, or you loose by default.

So the point is, make peace with your previous boss pronto.

Not trying to be your conscience, but you did sign an agreement. It’s reasonable that since he trained you and employed you, he expects you to uphold your end of the agreement.
Why not try to work things out with him? I would not contact his clients, even the ones that are unhappy with him.


Pay $25-%50 to a business attorney to discuss the do’s and don’ts of “Non-Compete” clauses. (You should have a copy of whatever you signed.)
It may be kind of tacky to target his customers, including the unhappy ones. So if you are aware of those then steer clear of them for the time period outlined. Everyone else is fair game.


Nice! I’m 26 and in northern NJ but a college dropout lol


Which county are you located in?

Sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders but try not to underbid jobs I would say. If your current pricing can support you and you want to be a sole prop then great but if you want to hire, your pricing should be able to support that.

Non competes are not enforceable I heard but don’t listen to me. I would avoid throwing stones at the old boss and just do my own thing.

Your in & out pricing is similar to mine about $15 a window with screens & tracks wiped down but I don’t charge extra if it’s 2nd story.

This is my 3rd year in and in the first 1-2 years it’s fun and exciting. Then you realize how much actually goes into a company. From taxes, insurance, marketing, sales, pricing, equipment, branding, etc.

But this beats working a job since my success is based solely on my own effort alone.

Best of luck!

Thanks. Im in Monmouth/Ocean, with a base primarily in Ocean.

I guess thats a forewarning (lol). I already see the money required just for startup- once I pay my taxes my eyes will be open even wider. I have a good general liability rate right now cause its only me, but if I hired someone I’m sure it would be substantially more. How large are you in year 3?

My strategy thus far has been to avoid towns/lots where he has people entirely. I worked for him for a total of 35 days (over 3 months part time). He is simply the manager of the business- never cleaned a window in his life. But you are right, I did sign the agreement and thus I am bound by it. For now, ill just wait a year until its expired and then be able to further grow.

And yes, I find it strange that he thinks me a threat as well. His pricing is bottom of the barrel and I simply cannot compete with it. He has guys on commission and is a franchise. As a sole proprietor with as you said no significant assets, it is quite strange.

I own New Jersey window washing and I’m in Ocean and Monmouth. Tell your boss to pack salt and sue you. He won’t get far. Although he can come after you, most courts in Jersey would not enforce it. Can’t train someone in a skill and then never allow them to earn a living with that skill. I doubt it will hold up in court. If he is paying his employees pennies he probably doesn’t have the funds to go to court. Even if he does and you explain to the judge you’re just trying to make a living, again I doubt it will hold up. So I say keep cleaning. There’s enough glass in monmouth and ocean for everyone. There’s about 1.2 million homes in the area and I doubt he’s cleaning it all. I have been in business since 2004 and seen them all come and go. Only a few guys in this forum have lasted the test of time. Why? Because the others didn’t plan on expansion. You’re pricing is fine but personally I stay away from store front. It’s a losing game in this area. I don’t and won’t do it. It’s a management headache for pennies. Focus on senior communities to get your foot hold and bank roll. After that, target homes that will give you no less then $500 for 4 hours of work. The $200 homes will kill you in the end. You won’t be able to keep staff working because of the last minute cancelations and reschedules. People say they charge for cancellations but that shit don’t work in Jersey. You get paid when you work here. Tell someone you’re going to charge them for a cancellation and you’ll lose the client and they’ll contact the bank and tell them the charge is fraud. Good luck and if you need anything, let me know. I’ve helped a few guys get off the ground. If you do great work you don’t have to fear any of the companies around here.

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Thank you so much sir, for your kind words and candid advice. Id love to talk more about your experience in this industry, how you got into it and how you got it off the ground. The quality of my job is what drove me to start my own business in the trade, and I take a lot of pride in my work. I ignored my former bosses messages thus far. I do plan on targeting some of his clients in my area next year because I know many who are unhappy with his work. I cannot compete with his pricing, though.

Why would the $200 homes be a problem? Short term (year 1), my goal is to gross no less than 40 but would like to hit the 50s. I have been doing all my own invoicing, but will likely be moving it all into a software service soon.

I plan on expansion but I worry that I have a tendency to underbid my commercial routes. Any tips on preventing this? I can see why it is a losing game because the money isnt really there, but I feel like it would be necessary to have at least a staple amount of them for the winter months to keep the bills paid. I would be happy to form a business connection with you. Its good to have a good relationship with competition. Id rather support another business owner than a franchisee any day of the week.

Again, thank you for your comment and response. Id love to talk more.

sole prop, close to 6 figures last year.

This year I’m just trying to get a better hang of all of the business stuff a bit more and to trim the fat.

To drop the unprofitable or PITA jobs I don’t like doing.

I really don’t like storefront so I do very little now but do like residential and commercial.

Having previous business experience can help you like it did for me since I had a job where I learned valuable business skills but its not necessary. You can learn a lot on here and with your own research.

I wanted to hire and I still do but I’m not so crazy about it now. I just want to have good paying jobs and some free time (winter was nice).

I might stick with this sole prop lifestyle for a bit lol.

But the first stage is to see yourself make enough to not starve and to get by. Right now you’re in hustle mode which is good but to make decent money to live off of you have to branch in to residential / commercial. Maybe you can do just storefront but I was never a fan of it.

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Six figures is my goal. Id like to hit it within 5 years. Im a brand new business owner, so I am gonna learn a lot simply through trial and error. As far as residential goes, I do plan to do plenty. Starting with the senior communities this year to get my bearings, and maybe a few regular single family’s, and go from there. My motive with Storefront was just to build a consistent base that I can make good money off it in the winter or slower months/ have work for people to train them on and provide if I expand to multiple employees. Thanks for all your input. Ill definitely be on this community in a good deal as I grow.


Find your niche.

Offer the best product in that niche.

Charge more than everyone else.

Operate and live as simply as possible.

Use those profits to perfect your operation and innovate ahead of everyone else.

Pay yourself first.

Invest wisely.

Don’t fall for lifestyle creep.

Semi-retire early with a conservative investment drawdown.


They are a problem because they hinder expansion of the company. If you want to remain a 1 man band they are not a problem. But if you plan on hiring they become problematic or can become problematic. You hire a guy/gal an the goal is to have them work 5 or 6 days per week fulltime. The $200 clients make that possible but if one cancels or reschedules last minute you are now in a position where you can’t or most likely will not be able to send the employee out for that day or you cut their day in 1/2. This causes high turn over in the company. Remember, if you pull in 50k or 100k for yourself and then you hire someone you are going to give them 1/2 of that at least so in order for your business to keep growing you have to fill the schedule double what you earned in the year alone. Window cleaning is great as side gig or for owning a job. But when/if you try to grow it becomes harder, much harder. Taking on a higher value customer ($500) per day can help offset that. Less management in the office for more money.

You can call me anytime.

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That’s what I realized. If I myself am not busy at least 5 days a week then it’s not time to hire yet.

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a balance between creating demand as well

and demand from the type of jobs that lend themselves toward supporting employee based business (hospitals, resorts, mid rise, hotels 1.5k+ jobs)

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Aw I remember when I was in my early 20’s, I wanted to grow grow grow really fast .

Just try slow down a bit , work on building a strong business foundation. Work on your customer service , quality , online presence, business management, accounting, work on getting 5 star reviews. Homeowners will pay you more if you have these qualities,. The money will come , but I’ll let you know since now . Window cleaners are not wealthy, we don’t own mansions or drive lambos . Yes we have humble homes , nice work trucks , a little money in our pockets and most importantly we solo guys get home around 1pm. Don’t get me wrong , you can gross high six figures if you like In this business , but it’s going to come at a cost .


Hey man, thanks for the comment. Im not the type of guy who needs a 4,000 square foot mansion, lamborgini and designer clothes. If I could make enough to support myself, have a loving family, a few acres of land and a modest home where I live, I’d be happy. My father was a union carpenter for 35 years and just retired. My grandfather before him was an electrician. His father was a machinist, and his father was an engineer at a plaster mill. You get the point- I come from a line of working class men. I intend to live in the same old. Thats all. What do you mean by cost?

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Quality is my main focus. I do not finish working until my work is damn near perfect. That costs me sometimes, though, and I make less money. For now its okay though as I try to build my base.


Time , headaches, friends , family , relationships, marriages , happiness, health


That’s great , many young ones don’t have that same work ethic