How far should I travel?

What would you guys say would be the farthest I should travel for 1. Store fronts 2. Resi’s 3. Bigger buildings ext only.

I’m new but I’m getting my game plan in. Wanted to see how far you guys travel before you say no.

Thanks so much for the extremely helpful info!

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Pay yourself $10.00 per hour travel time (charged to the customer); be sure the job is worth the time, travel, wear and tear on your vehicle. 1 Store Front probably wouldn’t be worth driving an hour. IRS only lets you claim 55¢ per mile, keep that in mind, If you can string some jobs together on that path to make it worth it, great. No use spending gas money and your time if the job doesn’t cover your cost. Only you can answer that.

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Thanks Gary. Appreciate it man. Going out this Wednesday I think to try to Scoop some jobs. Gonna plan a couple towns/semi city’s to see if I can grab up storefront. One video from Jordie made me realize that storefront are pretty much 100% worth my time to get them. Just got to get past that mental game with talking to the people/managers for their business. Gonna do my best will probably do Thursday too.


Some factors also would be the amount of possibilities you have nearby. How rural your locale is will likely determine how far you’ll probably need to travel. If you venture out ‘far’ it would be beneficial to try getting an ‘anchor’ account, one that will be reasonably worth traveling for until you can get more.

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Thanks dan! Also for squeegee river ive bought the super soft one. Would you guys recommend something else for winter and something for summer? Thanks again for the info

At first, I don’t think you have too much of a choice-- but you can try to stay 20 miles from your home address-- anything more than that you would have to have volume to make it worth driving there. However, at first you may need to do that one job— so that you can turn it into 5 or so in the same plaza.

You might be surprised what is local to you that is not being cleaned. I am not sure of your location, but where I am — there are many, many businesses that just don’t seem to get cleaned-- but the potential is there-- perhaps they weren’t impressed with who was trying to sell it. Many might just not be able to afford what you need to charge to stay in business and turn a decent profit.

As the years go on I see store fronts (mom and pop’s especially) shutting their doors while Amazon and other internet services take over. Hospitals, barber shops, government buildings, CVS/Walgreen type stores will stay open though-- but it will get rough for the store front owners in the future.

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No way would I bill out $10/hr for travel. If it’s over 30min. drive I figure in my hourly rate for travel time and that of my employees + mileage.

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They have to really want your service. Adding travel money to your bids is going to make you kinda expensive on smaller jobs. You have to do it though to stay profitable.

You wouldn’t itemize travel on the bill but figure it in on the overall price to stay profitable on long haul jobs. I actually have had a couple of customers tell me to add in at least $25 for gas as they were out of my general travel area. (Residential). A single Store Front would not be worth it if it is just a small job. You have to draw the line on low paying jobs that require “time - gas - added vehicle maintenance” to get to.

Windshield time sucks the profits right out of your business. I draw the line at the next town over from my town. Sometimes that’s to far.


Farthest I drive out for residential is 45 min. She tips me really well so it is worth it. I only have 2 houses that far out. Majority of my jobs are 15 - 20 min from home.

Try to keep all your jobs as close to your house as possible. If you have to go farther out, make it worth your time.

I’ll go to the moon and back to clean your windows… But I’m going to charge you for it.

I charge every minute of my travel at my target rate. I even charge more depending on how congested or bumpy the route is. (I’m pedaling)

I would never itemize my travel on a proposal or invoice.

Many years ago a friend of mine was a marine mechanic, really good. He had a couple of clients pay his air fare and lodging to go to Barbados and work on their motor yacht; he got to surf while he was there too while picking up a decent paycheck. Don’t travel for free!

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There are different variables that each person has to consider. Here in Texas, it’s not uncommon for us to drive 60 minutes each way for work for an employer. Many people don’t want to live in the city and feel the extra time and cost is worth it. That said, companies usually don’t pay you extra so you can live in the country.

So translate this to your business - why don’t you live in the city or closer to all of the work opportunities? Does your competition live closer to the work? Do you really think people are going to pay you more due to your choice to live in the boondocks?

These are questions that folks on the forum living in larger metropolitan areas can’t necessarily relate to. Personally, I drive 45 min to an hour each way to get to the bulk of my route and residential work. I’m forced to charge my rate based on city market averages. But, I save money overall living in a small town - taxes, cost of living etc. In DFW my house would cost nearly twice as much. I wouldn’t have near the space to work with for storage and shop work. Finally, all the city crackheads would try to rob me blind. And the peace of mind living in a small town as opposed to all of the cities I’ve lived in before? Priceless.

So do i spend more time behind the wheel than many? Probably. But it’s my choice. That said, I pick my markets and stick within the boundaries I set. Keep that it mind as you process the various opinions.

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Thank you all for the reply’s! This is just the info I was looking for! :slight_smile:

Travel time and mileage is pretty standard in the service industry and I can’t think of many who would not charge for travel outside their general area. If I could drive down the street 5min and do a job then I wouldn’t choose to do a job that required 2 hrs of travel if I wasn’t making my hourly rate and mileage. I recently itemized all of my travel expenses on a bid that was over 300 miles round trip, I indicated anything beyond the bid they would pay for my mileage + travel time at my hourly rate. They ended up asking me to come back a second time and I itemized every single item on the invoice. Mileage, travel time, per diem, & labor.

If a business owner were in the position they were forced to seek work outside a normal service area, then yes they might have to consider “eating” their travel time.

If your crew is costing you over $20 an hour per man and your vehicle is costing you .55 a mile which is over $30 an hour your post doesn’t make sense. The pie chart is only so big. $70 an hour for two men and a truck for windshield time seems like a lot of pie eating. Now if you’re working alone you can choose to work for free, but it doesn’t make sense unless you’re desperate. One hour up and one hour back is like giving the customer a $140 discount. Kinda.

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Not sure if you are replying to my post or not, but 1 hour each way is not a problem for me. I am solo, so that makes a difference I’m sure. But the majority of folks here drive that far or further to work for companies that don’t compensate for the drive. The point of my post, is that I still come out cheaper and happier than living in the city.

Rural America, esp in Texas where we drive a ton anyways, is different than Urban America. Many of us prefer not to pay twice as much for half of the return in housing and services. Windshield time is worth the trade.

Yes, I was addressing your point. Lots of solo window cleaners ignore the math and work for free because they can. I also said kinda. :blush:

I do understand your logic Mike. But we don’t consider it working for free, we call it commuting to work. Folks in Massachusetts do commute to work don’t they? Pay toll (lots of them, if I recall my last trip through Beantown). Sit in traffic or take a train? That’s similar to what we choose to do also. Its not so much working for free, but it’s the cost of the commute.