Good 1st week, but need some advice

In case you don’t remember me, you should know I’ve just started my window cleaning biz. After finding this forum, it reminded me how cool window cleaning is, so I jumped right in. I ordered a bunch of stuff from WCR and got 6000 postcards last thurs. All day fri and half of sat went door to door. Put out about 700 cards and I’ve made about $900.00 this week. I have 2 more jobs for the middle of the month for another $450.00. Went out wed and thurs put out about 200 more, got nothing. I have one more job to do mon for $150.00 but nothing after that and my phone hasn’t rang all day. At first I thought I was having a great start but now I’m a little worried. I see a pattern starting, pass out some postcards…do a few jobs…run out of work…pass out more postcards etc. Does anybody have a suggestion on how best to keep the momentum going? What else should I do to make the phone ring? Right now it’s just me. Funds are tight as I haven’t worked in three years, My wife watches over my shoulder to make sure I don’t blow what little we do have, so any suggestions must be cost effective. I already have signs for my truck, lawn signs and polo shirts and hats with my name and number on them. HELP, I need to make my phone ring!

unless I am missing something, you have 6000 cards & have passed out 900, so then go to work on the other 5000. And ask for referals on the jobs you do.

I feel your pain. This is what you HAVE to do- run EVERYTHING you do by your wife, especially when money is tight. Is she working right now or helping you? If she is not working, drop her off and have her pass out flyers and do door to door sales. You need to have her involved in your business, and your business decisions. You ARE the head of the family, but remember…she is the neck. Without her, there IS no you.

With that said, get a website. That will definitely help. Start calling up builders in your area, not the ultra huge ones like Shea or K.Hovnanian…the mid size ones and ask them if they would like to use you for the construction and final cleans.

Call up pest control companies and see if they would like to add pressure washing and window cleaning to the jobs they do before they spray.
Call roofing companies, and ask them if they would like to add pressure washing and window cleaning to their clean up after the tear off and re-roof job is done.
Spend ALL day out, even if you have no work passing out flyers- when your wife can be with you, she can be a very powerful tool with the lady of the house…so if she works, after she has a little break, go home pick her up and go door to door. The days are longer right now, so it don’t start getting dark until what? 7:30 or 8?

Bring printed calanders with you so you can pencil in those you sign up right there so you dont forget when you are supposed to be there.

Do you remember what you did when you were looking for a job? You pounded that pavement and made it your job to get one right? Same principle. It is your job to make that phone ring. So MAKE it happen.

Hold your company meetings with your wife. I am telling you, when you are stressed out and frustrated…to bounce your ideas off of her will bring back ideas that you would never have thought of otherwise, or ways to make work what hasn’t yet.

Hope this helps.

Where are you located in Colorado?

Shoot me an [email protected]. I’m slow at the moment, but could use help from time to time.

I almost forgot…NETWORKING…

Do what you have to do to get work. If your coming up to a day, or several days where you have no work scheduled, go back to your customers that you did bids for but did not get. Give them like 20 to 25% off to see if they will bite then. Only give them that discount if they schedule when you want to schedule. It’s better to have some work even if it’s cheap work, than no work at all. This is what I do and it works for me. If you don’t have a website, get one. That’s the best thing I did in the beginning. Keep passing out flyers, they are your best bang for the buck at the moment. Can you post your flyer so we can take a look at it? Make sure you give an offer and expiration date.

Thanks guys, really good ideas, basic stuff I should already know but seeing it in print is like having an Ahh-Haa moment. I do have a web site, it’s GetNorco.com.
It’s very sad I know but I did it one night just to have something. It’s a work in progress and I’ll improve on it over time, right now I’m working on the estimate page. My wife doesn’t work and can’t do much physical labor, including much walking, ( she’s a cancer survivor but the cure is worse than the disease ) but I like the ideas of calling pest control companies and builders and she would be good at that. She’s also doing my books cuz I hate paper work. I don’t really do pressure washing yet, I have a 3000 psi I got at home depot but I don’t think it’s really commercial grade. I could use it in a pinch maybe. I’ll try to a attach my postcard so you can give me some pointers on that. I don’t have anybody yet that I gave a bid to yet that I haven’t booked, but thanks, good idea, I’m going to keep a separate log for those people. I just found a flyer service that will pass out my postcards for .10 each. Not sure about this type of business, does anyone else use a flyer service? Can you trust them? I met this guy, seems OK. Says he’s 22 years Army service now retired, so I gave him 2000 cards for now. Well, my cards are dated so got to get out there and pass them out. I’m going to try to attach my card, if it doesn’t work I’ll try again later. Thanks for the input!

Yes, I have used a flyer delivery service, and no you can’t trust them. Not saying all of them, but the ones I used in San Diego were horrible. I got not even ONE call. Passed out (supposedly) 500 of them. 2 days later, I passed out about 75 on my own and got 3 calls and 2 jobs. Go figure.

I know that some of them will put your flyer in with several others…so it should either be bigger than the rest to make it stand out, or do it yourself.

Congrats on the wife man! I am sure it has been a stressful time for you both. I am sure you will do what you need to do to make it.

The only suggestion I would have on the flyer is to put some sort of actual pricing on there. The reason is that people who did not have window cleaning on their mind may not call unless they have some idea of what it will cost. 15% off doen’t tell them anything. So maybe a per window price or a 20 windows for whatever price you want. I’m not a marketing genious though, but it’s my two cents worth. I actually just started using a flyer delivery service. I’ll tell you how it goes.

I think this is outstanding…just don’t ever go home at the end of the day without putting out 100 cards. Every day. No exceptions.

I’m curious…how much are you charging for double-sided residential windows in CO? And are these typical 2- and 3-story homes?

That’s a good idea to pass out at least 100 a day. I think tonight I’m going to bundle the rest of my cards into stacks of 100. Right now they are in a couple of boxes, very intimidating.

And yeah I’ve heard that theory before about putting in an actual price as opposed to a percentage off in all the marketing books I’ve read. I think I’ll do that next time. The problem this time was I didn’t have a price at all. I just decided about 3 or 4 weeks ago to start cleaning windows. I recently moved here from California and things are a little different here. I didn’t want to be too low or too high and have 6000 cards committed to one price. As it turns out, after doing a few jobs, I’m think I’m too low so I’ve raised my prices now.

I haven’t done a job yet I didn’t use my 24’. The houses here are typical except a single story with a walk out basement can look pretty modest from the front but from the back it turns into a McMansion. I’ve decided that for every story I go up I’m adding an extra dollar to each window.

I have never tried a flier delivery service, but I would try to stay away from one, When I pass out a bunch of flyers/postcards I bring my kids along and have them help. If you don’t have school age kids yourself you might try kids at church, or a friend or relatives kids, or just kids you know in the neighborhood.

I paid my daughters (17,19) to do this for us. It a way for them to make some extra money and I know I can trust them to do the work.

I am confused. I did not read the whole thread so this may have been answered.

You pass out 700 cards and gross $900

If this is true I am not sure why you still have a surplus of cards. If your conversions
stay true to this you are looking at around $6000.

Most people in this business stray from this to that… when “this” is working. We
always try to find something better and faster… then end up struggling.

Keep pumping out ads. If you can’t afford to get someone else to put these
out then you damn well do it yourself. It is the most profitable thing you
could be doing. Most spends hours talking on forums instead of a couple
hours creating more sales.

Pass out your cards, then order 10,000 more.

Consistency is a must

I hope this helps

A couple of notes…

  1. Your postcard states 15 years of experience…probably not the best way to start off in business anyways…just my opinion.
  2. I have never used the X amount of windows cleaned for X dollar amount. I feel that either way it gets spun, say less than 20 more than 20 windows, the customer is going to be confused or feel taken advantage of. What is they count 18 windows, but really they have 36??? See where I’m going here? So for the ease and lack of confusion, I use a dollar off discount. It works for us…
  3. I wouldn’t trust ANY delivery service, as they usually bundle your items with other companies ads, and then I wonder what’s the point?
  4. When it comes to marketing…do ANYTHING. Anything that gets your service in front of potential customers…do it! For example, the other day in Perkins I saw a huge group of those “red hat” ladies having a get together. As they all started to pack up and leave, I casually questioned them what all the red hats were about. Even though I knew the answer, it broke the ice, and these are usually all older ladies so I managed to drop a few biz cards, and picked up one job so far.

I think if you focus too hard on selling something, it blows up in your face. Be natural…and be creative. Good Luck.

Keep going and don’t give up. Also, don’t shoot yourself in the foot by letting your customers go. Be possessive of them. Keep good records of their name, address, phone number and the amount of time that it takes you to clean their house inside and outside times. This way you can call them in the fall for a cleaning and have an idea of how long it will take you. Maybe you’ll have 2 4hr jobs that you could fit into one day. Ask your customers for referrals. If you have a no work day call those that you’ve worked for and ask them if they know anyone that would like to have their windows cleaned. This will show them that you didn’t just leave their life when you got the check.

That last line was golden! My best customer are the ones that I see more than once or twice a year, the more you see or talk to them the better it is.

Not sure what you meant by point #1. Could you elaborate? As for point #3, The fiier service was to deliver 1500 cards last Friday, I gonna call him tomorrow to see what he’s done. I hope he didn’t get to it because I’ve gotten NO calls! #4, good point, cool story.

I make a point to grab every customers email and plan on sending them something at least every two months. I’m planning on suggesting exterior cleaning after so many months and maybe throw in a $10.00 coupon. After every job I mail them a Thank You card and I’ll mail a card around special events and major holidays. In every card and email I always ask for referrals. Last Friday I did my first referral and FISH lived across the street from her. I’m going back Tuesday to hit that neighborhood.

Great advice… If you just commit your self to doing this everyday NO EXCEPTIONS - You will be in pretty good shape.

Hang in there.