Million Dollar Company

What does it take to build a million dollar company? I know most of us won’t be speaking from experience, but what are some things that are necessary to make it to $1M? Also, How long is a good target goal to get there?

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from my observations -
strong marketing systems and dedicated sales position
a strong operations mgr to handle all the field staff and technical expertise to train
larger job sizes (comml) like avg ticket over $750
the population density that has enough of these larger jobs

in the end, I usually see downtown style “building services” type companies in the over mil role

it’s going to be 5,000 homes (population of 5,000,000 @.001%) @ $200 each
500 buildings at $2,000 each

take your pick I suppose
[MENTION=1]Chris[/MENTION] : ever figure the ratio of unique customers served in the last 12mos vs the population of the area served for ACWC? if not, try it out and let me know, I would interested to see if theres a correlation.

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good thread. there are a few guys that can help us with this idea on the forum. Larry, i think at your growth rate and the growth rate of companies comparable to yours, it could take as little as 4-5 years

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Million gross or a million profit?

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Annual gross revenue

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oh, gross for sure. a mil profit, whew… i almost wanna say no thank you


That would be like $10 Mil annual gross company.

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aw c’mon, it’d only take 10 mil to have 1 mil in profit :smiley:

that’d only be 50,000 $200 homes a year and 100 field employees plus all the other employees, woo hoo!

I think Valcourt bldg services out of PA(?) is 13 mil a year from last I heard a long time ago

Valcourt is all over the place, the closest I know of is NYC. They’ve gotta be doing more than that, theyre HUGE!

My last input was quite awhile ago, so they are still around, probably got their fingers in more pies by now than they did way back when

Oh yeah, they pretty much have a lockdown on hi-rise in the tri-state. Thats a lot of buildings there!

I compete with said behemoth at times. Their pricing is low and a hassle to deal with. They definitely don’t have everything wrapped up in the area.

We are not strictly a window cleaning company so I am not sure if our business model is what you want. For those that are looking to manage a million plus company I can share my experiences helping to build and manage in the at times painful process. One of the big lessons i have learned is the management of people is not going to be effective if you handle people like things, objects, to be pushed and manipulated. A business grows and is sustained by following certain principles. Gimmicks and tricks may work for a short term goal but will not sustain a business over the long term. I can post some lessons I have learned that may be helpful if you are interested. I’m on the road right now.


I plan on doing this once we slow down in a few weeks…

They kill us on every single low rise we bid on…

What a great thread!

[B]I think it all comes down to vision, and the discipline to make that vision a reality.[/B]

I know this sounds vague but I think the whole thing can be boiled down to the above statement. You just need to close your eyes for a while, picture what the company will look like… and then just reverse engineer it.

365 days a year

180 working days a year if you take out weekends and 20 days for holidays and vacation time. Then take out 60 more working days assuming you shut completely down for the winter say Dec 15th - Mar 15th

$1,000,000 / 180 = $5,555 per day for 9 months

To recap this scenario gives you every weekend off, 20 vacation days and 3 months off for the winter.

Now to get that $5,555 per day done I would recommend the following.

5 crews going out 5 days a week with 2 people in each crew. They would be responsible for doing $1,111 worth of work a day each.

6 trucks - have an extra one around so you always have an extra, this will allow you time for repairs and stuff, basically you’ll need the floater truck you never know what will go wrong.

12 good window cleaners - Even though the above scenario on paper would work with 10 cleaners, the reality is you will need extra people. People get sick, need time off for personal stuff, people will get fired and suspended. 12 will ensure you are always covered.

Office staff:

You - Marketing / Support / Finances

2 phone sales people - When they are not taking in bound calls from your marketing efforts they will be placing outbound calls to old clients getting them back on the schedule.

1 Operations manager type guy that will work 30% of the time in the office 70% in the field. He can use that 6th truck.

Boom there is your over simplified version on how to get to a million bucks in revenue…

good luck… I know you can do it Larry… (if you are trying to ) :slight_smile:


That’s a good blueprint, Chris. What are some characteristics of million dollar companies. What do they do really well, that companies less than $1M fall short on? I’m hoping to be there in 2015 or 2016. I don’t want to rush it though, I want steady consistent growth.

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Well other than discipline ( I always mention that)

I would say flexibility and the ability to change on the fly. Your ability to deal with change as soon as it happens will make you really stand out. We talk about that a lot in my office… You have to know when to pivot…

Fedex started out as a company that sent faxes for people… The personal fax came along and killed that pretty quickly… Fedex was able to pivot quickly and you know where they are today…

Theres this other company they started off as a human powered search engine, then morphed into a information database of sorts. They had amazing SEO. Googles Panda update came out and completely blew them off the map… They instantly lost millions of dollars… So they pivoted and now they are a really cool company that does how to videos, and ios apps…


What percentage of the gross does each service produce?
window Cleaning
Pressure/soft wash?
I feel windows only would be much harder to get there. Imo

Great points Chris.

It is important to see yourself as a businessman not a window cleaner. When the market shifted in 2008 it was the companies that had the vision, knowledge and capacity to change that thrived. Although vision is a key point to any goal setting and realization there are other important facets to keep in mind. There are several people on this forum that want to have a million dollar company, with vision, but will not reach that goal. Vision, Implementation, and Means. We call it VIM.
First you need to have a clear vision for your company. Secondly you have to have the competence in those areas, or staff with competence in vital areas to implement that vision. The killer of most small businesses is the entrepreneur! As an entrepreneur you have several natural abilities and skills that can make a company viable. Transferring some of the authority to those who can implement key parts of your success better than you can is a key maturation of your company potential. The how of implementation can be your systems, SOPS, etc. Cutting wasted time, energy, and money requires strong system implementation and renewal. Means are required to fulfill your vision and carry out the implementation. At the most basic level means can be money, required knowledge, proper tools, personnel. If any one of these three components is underdeveloped long term sustainability is questionable. There are many companies that hit a million but don’t last.

We are not heavily reliant on residential work so our percentages break differently than Chris’s projections. How you make your million is based on your business model and type(s) of work you do. Operate from principles. Invest in people. Constantly develop.

If you have key business principles clear you can develop a thriving business in nearly any industry.


Can you think of an example of a time you had to do that?

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