I am one month into my window cleaning business, and have been very pleased so far with my sales. (Probably not so impressive to you all just yet, but who’s comparing?) My goal is to scale as quickly as possible. I still have a full-time job, and am working 4 10-hour-days so I have Friday and Saturday for window cleaning. Most of my jobs have been a result of going door to door, but I want to spend more time collecting checks and less time hunting, so I purchased a direct mailer ad that will be going out to 115,000 homes next week. I’m afraid I may have bitten off more than I can chew, so I’m considering hiring a part-time employee to help me get the most out of my weekends, and eventually take care of some jobs while I am working during the week.
My question is, does hiring an employee sooner help me to scale-up sooner? Or is it too early, and is going solo for as long as possible a better route? (I have managed employees for a few years now, so I have experience with hiring good people.) My goal is to have a feasible path to self-employment by winter, so I really want to grow quickly by getting as much capital as possible in order to add other services that will provide income year-round. Thank you in advance! The advice I’ve gotten here so far has been excellent.
theres no wrong or right. you can plough on solo for 20 years or work parttime for 5 . or 50 !
if i was in your shoes id decide what I wanted to do,and dont EVER waver . not for anybody. dont listen to family or friends advice in particular
you want an employee now go find him Now .
I have got a guy in mind and I am considering calling him in the next few days. Ultimately, I’m not interested in being solo log-term. I’m just don’t want to overlook anything.
Thank you for the encouragement!
That is a lot of mailers for one guy…
I mean even at a 0.05% return rate you’re looking at 60 jobs
That is pretty much half the population of my entire city and we are the 71st (largest) city in the US. Not huge, but decent.
Is your desire to hire a part-timer solely based on your expectations for the EDDM campaign? Or are you getting enough steady work right now that you see the value of hiring someone?
Erica, that is a good question.
Am getting 1 or 2 jobs on the days that I have been out knocking on doors. So I could handle this pace myself, but when I’m cleaning, I’m not knocking doors and visa-versa, so I would like someone to be able to clean while I’m bring in more customers. However, I don’t think I would seriously be looking to hire right now if it wasn’t for the campaign. I would love to hire someone and handle this influx of work, then pay for another campaign to keep the work coming, but I’m not confident that it wouldn’t slow back down after a few weeks if that answers your question.
I am by no means an expert, especially when it comes to having employees. I think ultimately you’ll know what’s the right move for you since there’s probably other factors that you’d weigh that we don’t know or need to know. I just asked because our first EDDM did not get the response that we expected. You’re sending out WAY more cards than we did so of course the two can’t be compared. Maybe see how many calls you start getting before making the decision to hire? Maybe you’ll get a lot of interest right away and see the definite need to hire. Or maybe the calls will be more spread out. Best wishes in whatever you decide!
Good: have someone working with you on a job.
Bad: planning to send them out to clean on their own.
You are not experience enough yet to send people out to work for you. One pitfall wis your employee could start thinking “why am I working for someone else, let me give this guy my direct phone number” and then you lost a future customer. What happens if something goes terribly wrong on a job? Can you leave work to correct it?
Unless you are full time in window cleaning I wouldn’t have crews working for you.
Thanks. Yeah, I’m not sure what exactly to expect. It might be a good idea to have someone vetted ahead of time, but wait to offer until I see the response. Thank you.
John, what are your thoughts on subcontracting work until I get more experience? Or is that still the same kind of issue?
Is your guy a definite hire or a maybe? Is he experienced or new?
If he is new then hire right away and get him up to speed before you get busy and then he may be ready for small manageable jobs alone while you work your job.
I’m in the same boat. I work 3 or 4 12’s and have two to three days a week to clean windows. I’ve been going since the first of the year.
I just hired a friend who I trust with my life. He’s been working with me for three weeks and he’s pretty much up to speed. Now I am forced to grow in order to pay him and still make money, whereas without him I may have settled for the money I was already making alone. So growing is a win/win.
Now I’m looking to establish a solid route for him to work on my regular job days. I’ll schedule houses for us to work together on my days off. If we get a lot of demand for houses then I can hire another PT employee to pick up the route and have my guy pick up houses on the my regular work days.
In my unqualified opinion I think it’s a good idea to build a team now because you can absorb the cost to train them while you have steady income from your regular job. When they are up to speed and earning money throughout the week then you can bank your share as a cusion to get ready for the leap.
do you mean an ad in an ad magazine? if so i would expect 6-10 calls if you ad is ok.
The ad is in a group envelop mailer. So lots of other coupons are mailed with it. There is another window cleaner in a nearby county that uses the same service for his county and he said that he gets a lot of work from it. When I bought it, I had been hoping to get 10-20 jobs from it, but the other window cleaner said when it goes out, his phone rings almost constantly for 2 weeks. We do have slightly different demographics, so results may be different. I can’t be sure what to expect, other than what he has told me.
Gotlift, I liked the idea of leveraging my full-time job to get things going and get someone trained. That is why I haven’t jumped ship yet. I’m still investing everything right back into the business, so I don’t want my kids to go hungry while I’m building a business. The guy I have In mind isn’t for sure, but I think he would be a great employee and he is looking for flexible hours and to work outside, so I think it could be a good fit. I haven’t offered him a job yet, because I haven’t committed to going that route yet.
Subcontracting would be better. Then you basically don’t need to worry about an emergency on the job.
But once again, if the subcontractor sees you less as a professional business then they will be more likely to try and steal your customers. They could throw your cards in the trash can and give the customer their own card.
Trust is the main issue here…
be worth putting some others lines out in the water too,jus in case the mailer flops. i mean you need the work flowing in to keep this new guy busy. course he can be doling out flyers which kills 2 birds with 1 stone. hes not sitting around AND hes generating work . plan his route for flyer delivery carefully by getting a set of streetmaps that he colours in as he goes along.
get a nice sketch pad and a quality pen that clips on the top and keep it on you at all times, so youre ready to write notes on it as the calls come in .
I advertised in a magazine that went to over 100,000 residences and have always gotten a good response (maybe 50 per year). I didn’t do it last fall or winter because I didn’t get what I wanted, and that’s to advertise blind AND window cleaning, as it conflicted with other ads. They have since reconsidered and I’m going to buy in again ($575 for a 3 month Spring issue). I’m excited to see how it does this year. That being said, I am also eager to do an EDDM in a small community (1000 cards) and hammer it every 3-4 weeks to get the houses I really want. Find the most windows in the smallest homes that you can and keep at those types of areas.
Definitely hire that stud who you can rely on. That’s gold! I have a guy like you have as well. Loves to work. He’s a teacher and even makes himself available after school from 2:00PM on. That’s ridiculous. So I got him a truck and blind cleaning machine. Hoping it works well.