Experienced window cleaner starting own business

Hi friends,
I have been cleaning windows for a few years and have learned a lot from this website, SteveO and Luke, among others. I cannot thank all of you enough for all of the advice and tips.
I have had the itch to run my own professional business for quite a while, and pulled the trigger to start my own window cleaning company this spring. I have filed a dba, set up liability insurance, am getting my truck ready for the season, and I am working on my promotional materials.
My questions are, how much advertising to start? Is there a need to establish my brand or just get out there and do it? How much advertising should be paper vs online? Does downsizing to a minivan make sense? Do you advertise to friends/do you discount them? Is storefront work broken due to Fish? Do I let my former employer know I am starting my own business?( he was completely unprofessional, never had me sign a non compete clause, and yet still makes 100k a season cleaning windows)
I guess what I am getting at is that I have been doing my due diligence reading small business books, getting legitimate, and am confident in my skills but still have a lot of questions. Any advice is appreciated.

No need to establish brand right off, spend what your budget allows on advertising, door hangers are probably cheapest, do eddm if you can afford it. Online marketing too if you know how. I’m computer challenged so I don’t do much there. Yes advertise to friends but don’t discount too much. I don’t do storefront but I don’t believe it is broken because of Fish, lots of guys doing it from what I read here. Definitely let your former employer know, it’s a gesture of of goodwill.


Hi Joe. I’ll try and answer your questions.
Advertising: Start with everyone you know. Offer a 20% discount in exchange for a google review. Next reach out to your existing customer and prospect base (if you have one) with an outbound call with special offers. Depending on the size of your company, up to 20% should be allocated for marketing.
Branding: Yes, very important if you want to break into the upper middle class, affluent, and super affluent. This is where the money is - for referrals and upsells.
Your marketing should be multi-channel: offline and online. Google if approached correctly should become your #1 lead generator. But there are MANY more.
If you plan to hire and I hope you do, your trucks and vans should be duplicatable in size, price, etc. for an easier scalable business model. I have a fleet of trucks and I have never paid more than $5,000 and have no vehicle debt.
Storefronts can become a money printing machine if you go after it. My company cleans more than 3,000 storefronts, all on a frequency. I have 3 Fish franchises here. They all hate me. I’ve been working the same area for 24 years, my sales guy has picked up $1,000+ per month in store revenue in the last 2.5 weeks. It works…anywhere if you do it right.
Keeping doing what you are doing, reading books, and learning. Leaders are readers. But learn from those that have what you want - from experience not just advice. If you want to know more, go to my site WindowWashingWealth.com or call me at 704-451-0409 and I’d be glad to help you.
Good Luck. Someone has to be #1 in your market, it might as well be you!

I have a company for sale, complete van setup with wrap etc it’s beautiful. Am I allowed to post that in these forums ? You may be interested.

You have been at it a while now. Here ya go…

The business owners guide to determining what to charge

Factor in your cost of living: Use the 50/30/20 model to set this up. Consider the amount of money you need to cover your essential spending such as rent, food, utilities, Clothing, transportation, and Health insurance, daycare, etc. Your essential spending should be no more than 50% of your after-tax spending. The next 30% should be your expendable income. Here is the money you use for eating out, Netflix, entertainment, etc. Next you should save at least 20% of your income for annual vacation, Down payment on your next home purchase, Rainy day fund, or retirement.

Next: add up your business-related expenses for the last 2+ years. Divide the total by the number of years you included to get an idea of your overhead costs. These expenses include:

Laborer/employee costs
Bank fees & service charges
Software and subscription services
Wages and Payroll charges
Equipment and supplies
Workman’s Compensation Insurance
Legal and accounting fees
Office expenses
Answering service
Merchant account fees
Office supplies
Shipping & postage

Add the total of these business-related charges to what you need to earn to cover your personal taxes and living expenses. Now divide the gross by the number of hours you work in the year. If you expect to work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year, then you will divide your gross income by 2080 which is the number of hours you expect to work for the year.

Now you have the price you need to charge per hour for your services.

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