How much do I have to make?

I have a question regarding how much I have to make to live about the same lifestyle, I am a solo operator. I am just going to use numbers as an example. If I make $75,000 a year from a full time job and $50,000 a year from window cleaning, so a total of $125,000 a year from both incomes. How much would I have to make by just doing window cleaning to live about the same lifestyle? The obvious would be $125,000 a year, but do i have to make more or less? Of course I am sure there are a lot of variables, just trying to get an idea. If more info is need to make sense or a good estimation, let me know. Thanks.

If we’re just talking gross numbers, I’d say you need to add 30-40% to match the take-home for a salaried position.

For instance, to match your $75k salary, you’d need $100k +/- $5k in gross sales. Add that to your current sales from window cleaning, and you’d need about $150k to match your current combined income of $125k.


My wife and I have never made more than $75k gross a year window cleaning residential. 25 years doing this.

Pressure washing and screen repair on the other hand…they make about double per man hour.

You can work less hours to attain the income, so there is that benefit.

To address the question in the title directly (how much do I have to make?), my answer would be, “a lot less than $125k”. But you might have to make some lifestyle changes.

mr money mustache has a really informative (albeit occasionally vulgar) blog on how to live well on a small budget. His primary goal in living a ‘minimalist’ lifestyle was early retirement, but my goal in applying his strategies is to simply have to work less and live more.

$50k is not a bad start to a really comfortable lifestyle. You will find that there are a lot of tax benefits to making less, as well. Especially as a self employed individual. For example, you can get the Advance Premium Tax Credit for your health insurance, saving you thousands a year in premiums.

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wow this is awesome! I rely on my CPA, and book keeper to inform me about tax benefits and other stuff that has to do with saving money, they’ve never mentioned this before.

Any other tax benefits you can pass on? :slight_smile:

I’d say if you want to gross $125K you’d have to do close to $200K in sales. Years ago I thought about doing the same thing, but it would require me to hire more people to clear that amount in a period of about 6 months (weather here sucks the other 6). There’s plenty of work for expansion, I’m just not interested in dealing with the headaches.

do you mean gross, or net?

Thanks for the great replies. This would be Gross numbers. A salary of $75k and a gross sales of $50k. I am wanting to stay around those numbers. Just seeing where I would need to be if only doing windows. I really want to go full time.

Am I reading this right? You want to pull $75,000 out of $50,000?

Not sure if sarcasm, or serious :expressionless:

… but, I could potentially see how a cpa might not think to mention it. As experienced as ours is, we had to “advocate” for ourselves this past year by having them re-run the numbers for us, with maxing out our IRA contributions.

He had initially said, “You made too much last year, you’re going to have to repay your entire APTC for last year.”

But after talking it out further, we learned that making $12k in IRA contributions would amount to an approximate $12,500 in tax savings, between Fed, State, and APTC repayment.

The trick to making sure to qualify is the 400% of Poverty Line rule. And there are a lot of things you can do to make sure that your household income doesn’t exceed it. Maxing out your IRA is just one of them.

I’m not a tax professional, so take it all with a grain of salt and talk it over with your CPA. But I definitely advise everyone to look up the APTC income tables to see how much they might be over the 400% threshold right now. I would say that anyone who falls in the 401-500% range should seriously consider how they can reduce their household income on paper. The difference between qualifying for the aptc and not, typically runs ~$8k for a married couple.

Of course, this is all depending on what you do for health insurance, as well. If you have some alternative to buying through your state’s marketplace, then the APTC probably doesn’t matter to you. But for people who have always received a credit like we have, but then their income outgrew eligibility, it’s nice to know what options are available to avoid getting hit with an 8000% tax on their income exceeding the threshold.

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He has two sources of income at the moment. FT job @ 75k, and PT window cleaning @ 50k. He’s wondering how much in window cleaning he’d have to do to make up for quitting his job.


What Alex explained is my situation. Just trying to go full time window cleaning. Thanks

This is why I discontinued using a CPA and went with a Tax Preparer for small businesses who also used to work for the IRS. :wink:


Not sarcastic it was my Lysdexia getting the better of me, I just read it and meant to say

Net 125k if gross was 200k. In trying to clarify what @wagonhound was saying I made it more confusing. :joy::joy::joy:

Well this is kinda frustrating that I’ve never heard this from either of the CPA’s I’ve had over the past 7 years.

I may have to go with my grandparents cpa who used to work for the irs. That’s sounds like a good idea. Thanks @Infinity!!!

Just figure an employee will consume on average 35% of every dollar you make, add in your various other expenses, and you’d probably be taking home 45% of what an employee produces if they’re productive.

I could probably realistically clear $60K a year working solo, but that would require working myself to death.

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