Need help starting out but not going far

Hey everyone

Im 21 years old and this spring i decided to give the window cleaning business a go. I started working with a friend of mine and we started with door to door sales. For about 2 weeks we did that and averaged about 400-600$ worth of sales every 2 days. So about 200-300 dollars each every other day…sometime less. Doing door to door and cleaning ourselves got really exhausting. Some days we were out at 6 am and got home at around 11pm. The marketing/door to door is more exhausting then actually cleaning. Now, noticing that the money is not consistent and this is really tiring for what we get, we decided to do flyers. I made a quick amateur flyer and we distributed ~800 and got 0 sales. We changed it up and made a better flyer. 3 days ago we gave out around 300-400. We got sales, 4 sales actually, but all 4 were from people we talked to face to face (while handing out the flyers, they were in front of their house). It has been 3 days and no calls.

My question is, what am I doing wrong? One of my other friends gave up on this business because he got frustrated, honestly I dont want to give up. I see the money, I see the potential. I mean there were days we made 800 dollars…and its an enjoyable job for the most part. Plus everyone on this site is making a living off of this, so I must be doing something wrong.

My question is, what did you guys do to start a customer base? I feel like flyers are the best thing, lets say if I do 10k and get 1%…thats 100 homes. My prices are just slightly below the average window cleaner…I prefer to charge the average price actually, kinda dont feel right when I under sell myself. (plus it is bad for oher cleaners, I went to an area last week and they told me some guy was doing 40 dollars per house…these are 2 storey and brand new houses Im talking about…I was so pissed.).

Any advice? is it my flyer? should I do more distribution?

Im sorry if this post is scattered, I think like that lol. Im in Toronto BTW.

Join the WCRA and use those flyers, i am sure you will get some calls. After you do the flyers try sending post cards in the private gated communities. they posting ads on also

Face to face will always give you better return. Printed materials need to be seen over and over and over and over before it sticks.

Work smarter instead of harder: join some networking groups, visit with some realtors, get some yard signs to place in strategic locations, logo up your vehicle, etc.

Or start bidding commercial. If you have a uniform, people will see you and ask if you do houses.

You seem to have a good head on your shoulders! Keep at it! Persistence is key!

I was in the same boat when I started my company, Except I was 19, just
Had gotten married and needed to find some steady income.

My main focus was commercial/storefront windows, and now I have a decent route built up to fill in the gaps between residential customers.

I would suggest taking half the time you spend going door to door in residential areas, and try out door to door commercial sales, build up some reaccruing cash flow!

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For just starting out , it sounds good to me .

I agree with this post , just hit it front different angles. Online , door to door , and network. You’ll be ok , just don’t give up.
Sometimes homeowners hold on to fliers for weeks or months , hit up again the same neighborhood you hit first.

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Starting from nothing is hard - especially when you probably don’t have the funds to do the intensive marketing campaign you need to get your business off the ground quickly.

The good news is that you seem to be avoiding the most common newbie mistake (Concentrating on what equipment to buy & not concentrating on gaining clients!) - - but door knocking is exhausting and so is flyer distribution. What you need to do is spend time creating marketing pieces that will be seen by many people, instead of trying to individually deliver your message to each household - this will save you a lot of time and energy in the long run. My favourite methods for this are:

  1. Lawn signs or signs on lamp posts - you have to check the legality of posting signs in your area, and it makes sense to move all your signs every week so they get a fresh audience. Signs will go missing too,… I got an average 6-8 weeks out of mine before they got taken!

  2. Business cards in public places - near me banks have places for ppl to leave business cards in the lobby - and supermarket notice boards etc are often good too.

  3. Social media. Use facebook/twitter/google+/linkedin etc etc for your business. Create pages, update them regularly (daily if you can - even if its just a “We’re in xxxx area today” message) - build an audience, and use the social media logos on all your marketing printables

  4. Get a Google places business listing

  5. Signup for any free online business directories you can find - this can be time consuming, but it does have great long term benefits

  6. DIY yourself a free website - - diy isn’t the best option, but until your budget allows a pro build, its still infinitely better than nothing.

  7. DONT STOP door knocking and flyering - I just had a call last week from a flyer i put out 7 years ago,… flyers DO work,… they’re just not very quick to work!

  8. Create time limited offers on your flyers - “This week only”, “First 10 customers”, or “Limited availability” are always good - and re-flyer the same areas every 4-6 weeks with a different offer each time.

  9. Get some printed polo shirts with your company name & logo on - wear your advertising everywhere

  10. get some vehicle signs - drive your advertising. When not driving, park in very visible locations!

I love to see guys your age get into the business, I started at 24 with $90 bucks… I wish I could go back in time and start even younger… 17 - 21

I don’t think your necessarily doing anything wrong. Anything worth doing takes time. Experiment with different things until you find your groove. Any second your not working on a job, be working on [I]getting jobs. [/I]Hand out fliers, knock on doors whatever. Just use your time wisely.

I started off with all fliers, and eventually moved to all direct mail. Door knocking does work as well, my only problem with it was it never seemed to scale. The results were limited to just those I could talk to, whereas with fliers you could put them out at any hour of the day, or you could even have helpers doing it.

good luck and stick with it. Everything you need to learn about going your business is right here @ WCR. Ask lots of questions :slight_smile:

The word [B]scattered[/B] stands out in your post to me because I can hear your exhaustion from trying to do everything, at once. Super longs days trying to do everything is going to be exhausting. No one is good at everything. I don’t how many people are in your operation in total but I’d suggest dividing up duties according to each others strengths. If you’re great at cleaning windows fast then have someone else do sales that’s good at it. Have someone else flier (even temp help) to free you up to build your business.

One other suggestion is to pick a goal like (what we must gross a week to make this a success) and work backwards to how much gross per day, using how much man power, spending how much on advertising. If the individual numbers don’t work right now, make the necessary changes. Decrease number of workers, raise prices, reduce expenses, increase exposure. Sure it’s a tricky balancing act but as much as you may have heard that window cleaning is a great way to make money, it’s not like shooting fish in a barrel. Like any successful business it requires planning, analysis and constant tweaking.

Good luck with your business and since I am in Toronto as well I’d be glad to hear your situation in greater detail and offer advice where I can.

Thank you to everyone for the advice. I think its working guys, the calls are slowly coming in. You guys also mentioned storefronts…how exactly do I tackle those? Just cold call/approach? What type of stores? Like shopping malls?