Earning Accounts, Not Stealing

I have a question about picking up an taken accounts.

I went into a large Quiznos Subs and talked to the assistant manager about cleaning their windows. The first thing they said was, “If you can beat the current guy, you can have it”, and he told me the price. The price was a little high but not bad and the work was not to bad. As I talked to him he then gave me the Managers number to talk to because she was at her other store in the next city over…which I work in too.

I called the Manager and we hit it off well. She basically told me to come in next week and hand deliver an estimate to do both Quiznos Subs stores…which are currently done by the same window cleaner that I know kinda well.

I have never stole an account as I think that’s not right unless the price is crazy high and the work it shoty. Should I bid it at the price I would do it, or should I leave it alone?
I know this window cleaner kinda well and we both have a lot of accounts near each other…would it not be in my right interest to pick up both Quiznos? I’m not stealing them or hacking the price in half or bad mouthing him…the manager simply said to go ahead and bring an estimate, which I’m fairly confident they will go with me because the manager really liked me.

I’m kinda torn in my decision because i don’t want to take someones accounts, especially if we work near each other, but on the other hand they are both big Quiznos stores that I would love to have because I also do 6 places behind one of them and I’m working my way into this new strip mall with the other

That’s a tough one. Your decision either way will affect the relationship you have with this other guy more so than the relationship you have with any of us on this forum.

Me personally, I would walk on this one. If they called me specifically and said they wanted someone new because of a quality issue I would go in and just give my price and see what happens. But in this case you approached them.

I’m not really good freinds with this WC, but we do bump into each other often and chat.

Me personally, I would walk away. I only go after taken accounts if there is a quality issue, reliability, or personality issue. Even if they are priced way too high, I wouldn’t go after them for that reason alone. There are far too many people pricing low, that I’m not going knock someone trying to price at a high rate.

I would also not go after this one, because if you take this one from that guy, what stops him from going after some of your jobs out of revenge?


There are times that you might go after an account that is someone elses. For example, if the windows are filthy, or if their window cleaner is irregular, I have no problem, In trying to get the account.

Their is a “contract” between the window cleaner and the customer. The window cleaner is to provide regular window cleaning that cleans the windows, the customer is to provide payment. If the window cleaner fails to provide regular window cleaning, then that contract is broken, and others should feel no shyness to purse the job.

Of course at times there might be a reason why a window cleaner neglegts a job, perhaps a family emergency, or a medical emergency. But in general sloppy workmanship, abandoning the customer, showing up irregularly, is grounds for a window cleaner losing a job.

I however, don’t pursue jobs, where the window cleaner does a good job, and the customer is happy.

yeah, I’m not gonna go for it. It would be nice, and it would be easy to get it because the manager likes me, but after thinking about it I’m just going to tell her to contact me when he stops showing up or when they become dissatisfied.

If I never targeted “taken commercial accounts”, I wouldn’t have any commercial clients.

If you’re in a competitive marketplace, likely every commercial WC client worth having is being done right now. You’ve got to ‘take it’ from someone else.

This is simply the nature of business.

You seem torn more over a “friend” issue than a “taking” issue. If he wasn’t your friend, would you go after those Quizno’s?

Clients will only change if they are dissatisfied. Don’t assume they’re not. In fact, never assume they’re not. Solicit whoever and whatever you wish, but avoid your friends jobs if that bothers you. For the record, I wouldn’t take a friends job ever, either. But if you’re not my friend, I’d like to offer this business reality:

[B]If you lose a commercial client to another window cleaner, it’s probably your own fault, so blame yourself. [/B]

Commercial clients usually only switch after much frustration, in my experience, anyway…and conversely, if you look after your clients properly, it won’t matter if the “other guys” are soliciting them, they’ll be told to hit the road in no uncertain terms.

you’re right. He’s not my friend buy someone I run into.
thank you Obi-one

Good advice Kevin, I’m about to get a juicy restauraunt contract, because they were not happy with their past window cleaner.

Just to clarify, I pursue all commercial leads. But If after speaking with them, they are happy with their window cleaner, and the window cleaner is doing a good job. I don’t press the issue.

right…i didn’t press the issue of taking my service. After listening to Kevin, I’m thinking that they might not be happy with their current guy or his work is slack because she was open to change very quickly with out any pressure on my side.

Like mikep said,

(not a quote)

I would not go after this for price alone, but if there are some underlying issues then I’m all over that contract.

How would you know the underlying issues unless you asked, and in that case you may have the oppurtunity to present your service and possibly be pronouced the new account holder.

When they have a window cleaner, I try to ask them how they like the service, if they are unhappy I try to ask why. Often knowing why they are unhappy, shows you how you can sell your service to them, and write a good quote letter.

Come to think of it, there are several jobs, that I have not even approached the store, or spoken to the manager, because I have a friend, who I like, and respect, and I don’t want to take his customer away.

However, being in a big city like Toronto, those jobs are but a drop in the bucket compared to the other jobs in the city.

I’d be absolutely nowhere with this company if I didn’t go after “taken accounts.” Now, let me clarify that. I don’t actively pursue said “taken accounts,” I simply pursue every opportunity I come across. Kevin said it best:

"If you’re in a competitive marketplace, likely every commercial WC client worth having is being done right now. You’ve got to ‘take it’ from someone else.

This is simply the nature of business."

I have received many a angry phone call from other window cleaners demanding I stop my efforts. Why would I do that? I’ve also run into a few of these guys on the road and that has led to some interesting altercations. My main goal is to build our commercial account total. It is nothing personal against any other window cleaner who may be cleaning those windows at that time. It’s just business. It’s not an attack on them, it’s me trying to make a living while building the commercial side of ACWC.

That being said, I’ve never received any word that window cleaners that have stolen accounts from me had any huge moral dilemma in doing so. Therefore, I have no problem taking anything from anybody. There would be no advancement in this business if everyone thought about the other guys feelings or what they think is the right thing to do.

Matt, I think it would be a mistake for you to pass on this. You mentioned it would be a great acquisition for you, so you should go for it. It may sound heartless but you have to put yourself first. And ask yourself, would this other guy do this to me? It’s been my experience with the “other guy” that yes he will.

right on

I would pass on an account if I knew you guys had it. But then again that’s just me. I stick to my word. I told Chris I would never go in your area and I never will. The only time I will enter your area is to eitehr see you guys and say hello, or when Chris tells me he sold the company. If he sold it, then the gloves are off lol.

Ahh but you and I are good friends. We would never touch your accounts either.

I had an experience where I was out trying to pick up accounts and was asked to give a quote for a moderately sized business. She said ‘maybe if you can beat the other guys price, you can clean our windows’ or something like that. After sizing up the job, I estimated what the other guy charged (I was right) and said I would do it for the same price but not under. If asked to under different circumstances, I might have lowered the price but I didn’t want to ‘steal’ accounts or deal with a choosy-customer. I now do the windows anyways because I check in ever so often to see if she wants them cleaned and schedule that way.

While I out one day, somebody told me ‘you got to be competitive! find out what the other guy charges and charge a little less. It’s a Dog Eat Dog world!’. It has been my philosophy to leave the dog-eating to the dogs and be respectful to other humans making an honest living.

There still may be other ways to get business from others who have a regular window cleaner. Yesterday, I had a decent day of window cleaning, mostly from stores that already had a regular window cleaner. One of my regualr clients gave me a tip that an international event was going to take place in the downtown area and that that week a lot of the store owner do a lot of extra cleaning and work that week. I didnt steal any accounts but I know I got my foot in the door if the regular window cleaner doesnt show up at many of the business in that are since the store owner are familiar with me and the quality of my work.

Event seeking may be a good way get a little extra work and getting your foot in the door down the road if someones window cleaner doesnt show up, they need emergency service if a corporate boss is coming in, etc.

I am moving to NJ :slight_smile: