Desire to get back in the field


Looking for thoughts and opinions to help me work through my thoughts.

Started my business 8 years ago just rocking it solo - added guys/crews/trucks on over the past 8 years.

Did $525k gross last year. The money is pretty good, although it is not easy. Managing 6-9 guys, 4 vehicles and countless customers is taxing… stressful. I don’t have the time to get out and clean glass like I used to. Phone rings too much, too many questions from my guys, quotes to give, books, etc yada yada.

I have a stay at home wife with 3 kids. It’s “nice” to be home with them throughout the day, although I don’t interact with them the same way as when I “get home” from work. Too many distractions on the phone, incoming calls, etc to deal with that end up interrupting time with my kids.

In many ways I feel like I am sacrificing quality of time with my kids for quantity of time with them.

If I scale my business back down to solo work I get benefits of less stress, less responsibilities, less overhead, less BS to deal with on a daily basis.

The trade off is I will make less money and will have to work harder (physically) for it. I will also have less quantity of time with my family at home as I will be out 8 hrs day/4-5 days/week.

I can support my family and fulfill my financial obligations going solo. So I am not trapped by any means. I am just curious if this is one of those grass is greener on the other side sort of things, or if it would truly make me a happier person and better dad if I have less job-related stress interfering with my relationships with my wife/kids.

Anyone been in this boat before?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

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You could trim back to just yourself and one other crew of two people. This would give you much less stress but also much more flexibility than solo. If you want to take a week off they are still working and the company is still running as opposed to being totally shut down if you’re off solo. This will allow you to choose the top 30 or 40% of your current customers and run an uber profitable threesome.


do you want the head ache or back ache ?

Can you train your best guy to start to replace you ? At least with the small day to day field decisions. Can you hire a PT office girl ? That can take calls and do small task from home ? It’s going to be a lot of training and time at first but it can be done.
Also , can you increase prices and trim down to 2-3 trucks ?

You have lots of options, I wouldn’t fire everyone and get on a truck you’ll feel super overwhelmed.

I did hear somewhere that going from 10 to 20 employees is really hard because at that point you need to hire people( general manager , sales and office ) to start to replace you . I think it was @Bruce that posted it


From the outside looking in it sounds like you need to hire an office manager to handle calls, scheduling, customer interaction, follow up and you take care of the things you enjoy doing. The way I look at it and run my businesses is if Im not there its still running and making money. And, if you want to go in the field you can pick and choose the accounts or just do ride along with your crew and enjoy.

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A lot of good points made. In addition to the brilliant points made by the everyone; you can sell the business which may buy you a several months to figure out next steps. You can also opt to work for the new owner, if you are okay with that.

In summary, these are some of the options that will enable you to maximize the value of what you have built (and also give you more free time):

  1. Hire an Office Manager/General Manager
  2. Streamline processes
  3. Sell the business

I’m strongly considering this myself as I grow my new business.

The question is, can you handle the work now?

Not gonna lie, I came out of the field in 2018 and packed on a few pounds. I’ll be 47 on Friday, so how long can I keep this up for?

I was forced back into the field last week because one of my leads got attacked by wasps and yeeted himself off a roof to get away from them. I’m definitely feeling the sting of time right now. Another week or two and I should be fine, but can I keep it up 40 weeks a year? Who knows…

All legit questions.

Oh, I LOVE this!

You said the money is pretty good not “really” good that leads me to believe what you see on shark tank which is that gross is nowhere near net. Do you feel like if you scaled it back to you and one helper you could make in the BALLPARK of what you make now or even with a price increase. Your post never said the money is so drastically different with a crew just pretty good

you’re job duties have changed to manager where you oversee the work instead, but having started by working in the field you enjoy that too

window cleaning is one of few businesses where working solo can provide just as managing can provide, other businesses can only function with many employees, so there’s always this push/pull with window cleaning since it can work fine employee based or not. a luxury and a curse lol

525 with 6-9 guys is 58-87k per employee, granted some may be part time or seasonal, but that is pretty low per employee, meaning you have a lot more people management going than is desired

my suggestion, having been thru a similar scenario, is to optimize instead of growing more

think of how to be more profitable on every front, how to be more efficient with the employees generated revenue (less guys or more revenue from the guys you have)

with your wife at home with kids, an office person, even part time, means either an outside office or a remote worker which will then mean a crm and programs to work in that are standardized for someone to learn and work in remotely

optimize your jobs, which are most profitible? can you pursue more of them? are you into too many services? are you into too many service areas?

Could you make 525k with 3-4 guys instead?

I would recommend reading/listening to Pumpkin Patch and Profit First. Profit First also has some tables of diff size labor companies and typical % of revenue spent in diff categories, good stuff to refer to and check your biz numbers

going solo from 525 is a lot of jobs that need to be sold or routes sold, but if you optimize, you can take off some of the pressure and build in a way that keeps things within your ability to keep up. Sounds like you’ve reached/found your personal max, so it’s time to bring things down within your reach. hope this helps

I read what you have written and I would love to reply along with all the other great replies you got here is mines have been at this part-time for 2.5yrs and trying to build now I am at it full time.
I understand you want to spend more time with your family which i commend you for that.
now that i working my Window Cleaning Business all the time and trying to build where i am making 525k a year for i am working towards that goal but i have certain rules i am an Orthodox Judaism no matter what during the summer by 4pm i am done no work just for the Sabbath and by 1pm in the winter months.
i relax with friends and family and on Monday I am back at work.
So here is my solution you have an office hire a office manager make sure they care about your Business as much as you, have them deal with your team and also with the maint. of the the tucks and any questions that customers and you team may have, next hire a a book keeper have that person do your billing, collecting ,payroll, taxes .
Finally everyday check in with the Office Mgr. see if you need to go out do any Quotes, check on your team so they know you out there with them even if you take on small jobs for yourself they know the boss is there if you have no Appointments you have the option of since its summer time to take a few hrs and goto the movies, the park with your wife and kids then when the kids go back to School you can take time with your wife and relax then pick up the kids and have dinner.
I know you cad this its also time Management dude, I have worked in places where i see people who are in Business and they all said the same thing everyone here is telling you and i wish i was making that 525k right now and a team of 6-9 people wow.

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525k is gross lol

I’ve been thinking about getting a helper, paying him between $15-$18 per hour or a percentage per job.

That way I can lighten the work load a bit and not spend too much $$ on employee cost yet.

I’m trying to save up as much as I can at the moment but it’d be nice to have an extra hand to do the basics like setup the wfp, hose management, take out screens etc.

And maybe, over time he can grow into a lead guy.

My dads in his 50s and still works, idk how he does it.

He’s up 3-4am heading to NY to start work, gets home afternoon time and helps me out here and there. I try not to have him work with me but only if needed.

Sometimes he does overtime. Works evenings in NY, stays there, and does morning right after.

Sometimes he does that for 1-2 weeks straight and helps me out if needed :sweat_smile:

He’s a machine but the benefits and $ a motivator I guess.

I’m too much of a lightweight for that and not a morning person.

Edit: Oh by the way happy bday lol

Thanks bro!

Is he commuting in from our neck of the woods every day? Thats pretty hardcore.


Get a virtual assistant to answer the phones and book your appts for estimates. It will take a bit to set them up and train them properly, but it’s well worth the cost and free you up for more important things.
If you put procedures down for your guys to look at and refer to, write all job duties down specifically for each job (repetitive ones especially), it will reduce the calls with questions. Be proactive. What are the most common items they call about. Find a procedure that will avoid them having to call you. Then tackle the next most common item you deal with daily. Paperwork can also be done by the virtual assistant but you may pay a bit more. However, you’ll sell MORE jobs with that free time to make much more than the cost of the assistant.
I hope this helps.