Made an attempt at a first account

Well guys, I am a newb but I am hanging around here and being a sponge around you. I am just starting this business and I am just looking to get going and not looking to make a killing. I have a very good regular job but I wanted to have my own business. Maybe something that I can still do when I retire and pass on to my kids one day. Cleaning windows is for me. Thanks for all of your advice.

On to the story…

My wife and I enjoy going to a Italian restaurant in our downtown, it opened about a year ago. It has 4 nice big windows. It would be perfect for a window cleaner. The windows are very dirty (to me they are anyways). Tonight we went into the place and had a good meal. It was near closing and we were the only ones in there. I asked my waitress when we received the bill if I could talk to the owner. I assured her that the service and food was very good. (I was a little concerned should would think I wanted to complain about something). About 2-3 minutes later, the head waitress(not the waitress we had serving us) comes over and ask if there is something that she can help us with. I explain my window cleaning business in town and give my little sales pitch. She explains that they clear their own windows but took my card. She also explained that the owner doesnt like to come out of the back (he must be the cook). I thanked everyone, paid and left.

Overall, I feel kind of so/so about it. It didnt feel great giving my sales pitch to a waitress when the owner was in the back. I am sure my card ended up in the garbage. [B]I realized that if I want to get some storefront accounts, I need to realize that about 99% of the time, I am going to hear “no thanks”. [/B] Right now, I am not that ready to walk into every place in town and try to sell my window service. It feels easier after you are giving them business to try to sell your business to them (aka, I eat at your restaurant and am a customer. Want to use my window cleaning service?).

Also, it is different for me on here than others. This is not a full time gig for me. I would like to get about 4-5 accounts where I am cleaning them twice monthly and also get some residential customers. Maybe I want to hear how others started to get some accounts and read some of your stories.

I’m not completely sure if you patronizing a business gives you leverage when it comes to offering your service. You would think so, but I can’t say I’ve found it to be the rule in my case.
I would suggest you go anywhere you feel to be a good prospect. If they are interested in your service, they’ll use you if the price is agreeable.

I work the exact opposite way. I try to stay away from places I go to regularly. For example, I have a quickie mart that I do twice monthly, yet I go in there first thing every morning for coffee. It drives me absolutely bonkers that the windows are a mess (after that insane storm 2 weeks ago), but they don’t want them cleaned until, well, actually, they’re first on my list tomorrow.

Also, it hasn’t happened to me yet, but God forbid something goes south. If they cancel, or you feel the need to drop them from your route, it will be uncomfortable when you continue to give them your business.

Uncomfortable for whom?

Don’t let a business decision be taken in a personal way. If service is stopped by either side, ensure that a positive atmosphere is maintained (ya never know about the future…) If you enjoy the restaurant, there should then be no reason to avoid.

With my experience, you probably are not going to get the restuarant. However you have a good chance at making and growing a window cleaning business being prepared and knowledgable of being told “NO”. This is huge, and once you have trained yourself to hear no all day and you’re ok with getting 3 accounts out of every 100 you go in, You’ll grow a nice route over time.

GL

if the place is quiet, maybe the boss has no money to spend (i watch RAMSEY KITCHEN NIGHTMARES ) , I see how tough it is for food businesses here due to this recession,even the ones who work like trojans(indians ) seem to be closing up.

I agree, one of my first accounts 20yrs ago was a florist I did weekly i/o. they were a high end company with lots of awards, so image was everything. about a year into it, I was informed that they had gotten a new cleaning service and that they were going to do the windows for free. I smiled and said that i understood. She looked at me and asked why I smiled like that. I said that I would probably be hearing from them again within 6 mo. She asked why and I just mentioned that people rarely do things for free and that when they did, it usually wasn’t done well. I wished them the best of luck and moved on.

3 months later they called begging me to fix what there cleaning company screwed up. I was thinking, how bad could it be. long story short they had used butane based can window cleaners to clean the windows and had apparently sprayed multiple areas on the tinting on the main windows and had not cleaned them before they damaged the tint. 3500 retint job later, they returned to being my customer again realizing you don’t get something for nothing.

If I had taken it personal, I wouldn’t have regained them as a customer and the tint job profit was equal to almost 2 yrs of doing that particular acct. plus I raised there leaning price by about 30%.
So sometimes it can work out better for you in the end.

EVERY “NO” BRINGS YOU 1 STEP CLOSER TO A YES.

Window cleaning is a part time job for me too, although i hope to one day make it a full time business. My first wc’ing job was for a storefront business that the wife of one of my wife’s former coworkers had. I still clean her storefront twice a month.

That kind of thing happens all the time. Look at the bright side, you can now count that dinner as a write off.
If the shoe was on the other foot, and he overheard you talking about how much you love a great italian meal, he would probably give you a card too right? He would just be trying to help you out with what he believes is the best. Same with you:D
I ALWAYS have cards on me, and always am on the prowl for new opportunities. You never know who your million dollar customer is going to be.

As far as keeping the relationship on a good note once they let you go, I agree. Even if they never call you back, leaving with a smile and handshake will always leave them feeling good about you, and comfortable with you. That could possibly mean referral, or like was said above a call back to get back to work where you left off.

I agree…business is business, dont take it personally (unless bad service is the reason theyve cancelled). Ive lost customers only to pick them back up a year later. My biggest acct was one of them. Never burn bridges,jmo.