Hello! I do commercial route work exclusively

hey this is my first thread.

I just wanted to say hi. As I said before Chris I love your site, and I’m glad to visit another forum for another perspective. I love to get new ideas for window cleaning, and to take advantage of the free advice and correction forums provide.

I’m a window cleaner in Toronto for 5 and a half years. I’m an owner of franchise, and I’m very successful at getting new clients. I do solely commercial route work, and love the relative cleanness of the windows, and having work all year round. I earn a good buck for commercial route work, and encourage others to not get discouraged by the people who put commercial route work down.

Thanks again Chris, I look forward to seeing others join your site.


I’ve never understood why some window washers/companies feel commercial work is unprofitable. Sure there are pro’s and con’s, just like residential work, or any work for that matter, but I too love commercial accounts and defend it’s valuable place in our companies growth.

I also am doing strictly commercial work now.

Since I work alone, I decided it was better that I not continue with the residential work I was doing.

So far, so good.

I recently had one of my best paying customers drop their weekly service until next spring. They said that they’re experiencing financial trouble right now. I cleaned three of their stores and was hoping to take on a couple more.

I visited them today, and sure enough, their windows are alful, and one of the store managers even complained to the supervisor (in front of me) that the windows looked terrible.

At least I know they didn’t hire someone else to replace me.

So Mike, what suggestions do you have for adding new clients?

I used to have a decent storefront route and also did residential. I gave up my route some years back to concentrate on residential. I’ve never looked back. Funny how some pursue one or the other. Or sometimes both. Weird:confused:

I do both commercial and residential. It can be a bit hectic in the busy spring and fall seasons to keep up w/ the commercial but when the slower months hit I at least have a fallback income.

Good man, how much money per hour can commercial route work get in your area?

<quote> So Mike, what suggestions do you have for adding new clients? </quote>

I find the early bird gets the worm, if you are the first person to talk to a new store opening up you will likely get the client. Try talking to the manager of a new store [B]before[/B] opening day. That is where most window cleaners make the mistake, they are busy, which is understandable, but when new business come in they might ask them three weeks after they open when they already have a window cleaner. And you might never get that client again, because if they are good people they will hold on to their window cleaners for years.


Well, some routes are better paying per hour than others, but when it’s all said and done, it’s normal to average between $22 and $28 an hour.

If you make that as an employee of a window cleaning company that is reasnoable. If you are business owner and making that much money that is on the very low end. Usually the lowest priced proffesional window cleaning companies charge about $40 an hour. Many window cleaners try to make at least $50 dollars an hour I usually make at least 60 dollars an hour. But in truth, I don’t bring that amount of money home because I have to pay a modest royalty fee.

Anyhow 22-28 is on the very low end of the spectrum, if you are a business owner, and are therefore in a position to control prices, consider raising your prices or raising your prices on an old customer after you find a new customer of equal value, and then you won’t lose any route value.

To give you a suggestion on pricing, I price currently at a $7 dollar minimum, any I price $1 per window for the outside windows, and $1.50 for the inside windows.

Currently I’m raising my minimum price to $10 for the new jobs I get.

Wow, I didn’t catch that one. Yeah, thats what my guys usually make, but thanks Mikep for your advice. I know we are still on the lower end of the pricing scale and I have raised some of my larger corporate accounts after I had them for a year, but I’m really hesitant to raise them again.

A company I learned how to price from in Atlanta charged $1 a window total (yes that’s 50 cents a side!). So, when I branched off and started my own company here, I just adopted their pricing scale. With these prices, however, I was picking up big accounts left and right. Being young and stupid, I didn’t know the only reason these commercial accounts were switching to me was because I was low balling the hell out of my competition

Having more experience and learning what other compaines charge, any new commerical accounts I pick up now are charged more, but still not as much as you.

I know that pricing is a personal matter, and its hard to price jobs at higher than you feel comfortable. I know overtime you will raise prices.

Here are a few ways to look at future price increases. Let’s say you need to raise prices 20%, you have 12 jobs that pay 10 dollars each, so you earn $120, if you decided to raise the prices 20% or each job to 12 bucks, then you only need 10 jobs to earn $120. So you can lose 2 jobs. You would make the same amount of money, and not work as hard.

Another way to is simply to not raise prices on one job until you have a new job of equal value.

I understand that you wouldn’t raise prices till you feel comfortable, but I wanted to give you an idea about what many window cleaners charge.

Keep in mind that if you are making just 22-28 bucks an hour, that is not how much you are going home with, you have to spend some of your earnings on taxes, gas, insurance, car repairs, and so that money shrinks.


I like route work because it gets you a regular income. Once you get a route established, as you pick up more business, you can consider hiring help and they have an established route to start on.

I recently tried offering my services to the small commercial storefront market, at a $50 minimum, with surprising results.

I recently obtained 2 clients that have jumped on at that price point over the last month alone, and have a couple of others, too.

These jobs I would have charged $20 or $15 for before, now I charge $50. One takes 4 minutes, one takes 15 minutes, and the other also about 15-20 minutes. They are all in ‘downtown Toronto’.

Oh - and they are all thrilled with our services/value/us!

Give it a go. Crank up the prices.

Try a crazy high price when people call, and then bargain from there, if you feel like it, or tell them to take it or leave it.

You may be surprised at the results. No guts, no higher per-hour rate…

I don’t know if I would charge $50 minimum for a 4 pane customer, but if you can get the business why not?

I find that charging higher gives you better customers, and you don’t have to work like crazy to make money


I hear you on the ‘4-pane’ customer thing.

Wanna know something crazy? That 4 minute job is actually 2 large windows, one glass door, and a little window above the door, in & out.

4 panes. WEEKLY.

$50. WEEKLY.

And they LOVE us. Pretty funny, actually.

And they recently hired us to do another job across the street from them, 2nd and 3rd floor work, once only. It took me and a helper 2 hours, and my helper guy only held the ladder. I did all the actual window cleaning. They paid $280 + tax.

Lesson : WE make the rules. Not the clients. WE do. Get out a piece of paper and write out some new rules for your window cleaning business today.

That’s pretty sweet.

I just wrote that down. Its to easy to forget, but so important!

I have a combination of Route and Residential close to 50/50. When i started, winter was a concern, so i marketed the monthly route more than the resi. I now have a $12 minimum, charging anywhere from $1.25 to $1.50 per side. I seriously don’t know how i would make it thru the winter without my route.

Yea the $22 to $28 isn’t a very good number. My route doesn’t make quite what my residentials make, but its still near the $60 hr. Atleast when i’m doing it, i talk to all my customers. My route employee finishes in record time every time. He’s not much of a talker.

Mike is right about getting into new business’s before they open. I will take time from whatever i’m doing to stop and talk to whoever is in the building. Electrician, plumber, doesn’t matter, i’m going to get the owners # or a time i can catch her/him.

Mike, please tell me some more about your route. how long you been at it, and how much biz you have?

I missed the 2nd page of this thread before posting. MAN that is sweet paneless. WEEEEEEEKLY WOW --> HUGE