Need some help getting started..HELP

Hey guys… I am new to the business and could really use some help getting started. More than anything need to know the best way to get new business. I am from Canada (Near Detroit MI) and am having trouble getting the business off the ground. Which is the best way to get new business? Door to door?? flyers? Newspaper ads? Also… should I invest in a WFP sysytem? it seems to be the way of the future? I have some money now… so I take advantage of it? It seems like a great business to be into… Please help me out…

What have you tried so far?

What [I]kind [/I]of client would you ideally like to service, and do business with?

I would like to do residential all year around… but because I live in Canada I can’t. I need atleast some commercial to get me thru the colder months. I have tried flyers and newspaper ads. I have heard in the past that door to door is the only true way to get customers… is this true? I don’t like doing that but I will if it works

If door to door were the only way to get business, a lot of us would be dead lol

For residential-

Fliers are the cheapest and best way to start. no doubt. In fact I would concentrate on that, then work on a website and get AdWords working for you (Google) too. From there you can start direct mail or whatever to get the machine working without your constant attention.

You can go from 0 - 60 fast (as long as you know what you are doing and do a great job)

For commercial Paneless or MikeP are the experts

We have found that advertising in the local papers of the towns you are targeting has been our best marketing tool. People around here seem to want to hire local companies. The absolute best marketing tool though is WORD OF MOUTH!!

Thanks guys… I will work on those… it’s just starting to get warm here so hopefully things will take off soon… I do good work… actually I think I take too long… worry about the little things that maybe I shouldn’t… it slows me down… but I guess better safe than sorry. Does anybody use a WFP here? is it worth it?

Word of mouth is excellent!

But we need to first get the mouths to express the words and spread the news. So focus on advertising in as many ways as you can afford. (let me rephrase that, focus on advertising on as many ways as you can [B]smartly[/B])

Also, happy customers are not always vocal, even if they love our service.

do most window washers work year around? I mean the guys that have a hard winter…

unless you go commercial too… Winters can be brutal

As a side note, I would not worry about a wfp yet. Depending on the homes you hit and the types of commercial you may be after, it is overkill. I would use one about 3 times a year with my current prospects.

First try to develop an income you can count on. Build a client list… you could do a lot with the money you plunk on a wfp in these delicate early stages.

Oasis…welcome to yet another Canadian to the forum. Yes you can do residential year round, you may not have much work in the winter, but it is possible, particularly since your at the most southern part of our province.

As far as storefront and commercial, yes winter is still just as busy if not sometimes busier than in summer.

I live in North Bay Ontario, if you want to know how to deal with the cold weather while window cleaning in the winter, just ask!

Try fliers, door to door, cold calls, letters, emails, everything you can do to try and get your business rolling.

there is a lot of Canadians surfacing…

That is cool, I hear the Americans can be real a-holes on here :slight_smile:

As others have said, if you’ve got the funds, throw it into advertising.

Flyers are the cheapest way to start off. Read all you can on this forum regarding wording, colour versus B&W :wink: etc. Try a few different variations in small runs and keep notes on what works.

Remember that selling window cleaning isn’t about approaching people with dirty windows, it’s about approaching people with disposable incomes.

For commercial storefront, door to door is really the only affective method. New stores are your best bet for getting jobs. Get to them before the competition. If a store has been around for a while and their windows are in good shape, they probably have a cleaner already. If you do approach this type of store, bid what you want for the job, don’t just go low in an effort to steal the business.

thanks so much for all your advice today… this is my first day on here and already I have learned alot… now I need to go out and do it… I think for now I am going to concentrate on residential… for sure during the early spring into summer that is where the money is going to be at… Thanks again

Hello and welcome Eh!

Other side of the GTA from you in Oshawa.

  • there is a Canadian only area look on the main page and scroll down to the Bottom, we are way down there!

  • Americans on the board are great, no one is an A hole, just spirited

  • Try all the free advertising areas that you can as well.
    eg. Kijiji, (craigs list in Canada, is not the way to go), Canada411, canpages, your local paper may have a free listing section as well, yellow.ca,

  • now take a piece of paper, write down in column form all of your questions;
    goods
    ads
    tools
    insurance etc
    swirl etc

now go to the main page, at the very top (well away from the Canadian section)
top right corner
search
then advanced search,…
now enter each question one at a time, open up the windows, now take out the cheap dollar store :wink: notebook and start writing all the pertinent points down, and what the link is as well for future reference.
(yes, you can copy and paste to word or wordpad, editpad) but writing it out takes longer and puts in more firmly into your brain than copy and paste.
Get the book with the tabs, sections, and each section group into categories.

Now come back and fire away with the questions and someone will help you and all will sympathize with you, if we remember when we started out and the lack of knowledge as well. Some are still learning and some are fully established companies.

register biz, insurance (biz insur and personal injury, blue cross, WCB is ok for staff but not for you, blue cross is 24-7, I can get my agents to call for both if you want shoot an email or pm), lettering on vehicle, biz cards (vistaprint.ca, free) flyer or hand outs, write out a small 15-30 sec script to say when you meet someone, and a 60-90 sec, more informative script. Practice Practice Practice, it will help you out.
Now lose your fear of meeting people and talking to them, the worse they can say is no and leave, thank them politely and walk out.
Go back in One month try again :slight_smile:

Ed, welcome Eh

Welcome to a small world. Very small. In fact this industry is so small, you would be hard pressed to find 1 cleaner who does not know another cleaner. Well maybe that’s a little over kill, but many know each other. You are in good company. Now on to your future. Don’t look at failed advertising as a failure. It’s a learning experience. I only say this cause when you are new you may try somethings that don’t work out. That does not mean your business is failing. It just means you either screwed up the ad or that marketing avenue was wrong. There is no failures, remember that. All the biggest players in the world don’t win everytime. My personal thoughts on store front is don’t bother. Why? Well for me it’s a money thing and I feel that playing that game leeds to not much. Sure the money can be great with many accounts, but the headaches that come with that high level of management might not be worth it. Try to focus all your efforts on residential. I say this cause in the end you will be happier. Build up a client list that can depend on you to get the job done at a fair price and great quality. Dont worry about speed it will come over time and the time will be short. I cleaned a house today that was one of my first cleans. Took 8 hours the first time with a friend. Cleaned it today with a helper and two 10 minute breaks in 3 hours. I could have done the job myself in 4. But I just hired on the guy so he needs to learn. Advertising for me last year was a local news paper. Not a large county wide one, but local town. This year I have no started advertsing in them again. Why? Cause I’m booked to July. I will start with them again in 1 week. I have also been getting a lot of calls from my website. You also have to look at your market. Are there many cleaners? That’s going to drive your price. Many cleaners usally means lower prices. There are plenty of cleaners in Jersey but the dam state has so many people there is still a lot of room for new companies. Also look at the market. What are the prices of the homes in the area? Sure everyone goes for the rich guy but look around. Is there a niche missing? Are the local condos being cleaned? Drive into the complex and look around. You can run some sweet deals in locations like that for outside onlys, really cheap and pull in some nice money. Other nice thing about condos, is you do not have to toss out a ton of flyers. Many condos have a location where everyones mail box is. Place a flyer there and you get a lot of people to see it at once. Do one of those rip off my number flyers. Or look for retirement communites. These people get their windows cleaned a lot. Many can’t do them or they just have the bread to pay for it. You dont have to charge them a ton. Just be fair with the seniors and you will get referal business with in the 1st month. I did a job the other day and got 2 other gigs on spot as the customer called a friend and her sister. The retirement and condo communities have news letters, with most you can get an ad from $25 to $50. Higher if you want a larger ad, mine is based off a business card size placement and this is Jersey so yours might be differant. Places of worship are not bad either. I payed $50 for a business card size ad to run in a Jewish Temple News letter. I have gotten great business from it. I don’t know who ever said Jewish people are cheap, but they never met the ones I do windows for. Some of my best customers. They dont talk to me, they let me work, they say thank you great job and they pay with no problems. I have never had one complain about price or service yet. You can also walk and knock. I think the door to door is a great way to pick up customers and work on a sales pitch. It helps to come in contact with many new people and pitch them in a short period of time. It will make you sharp to answer any unforseen questions, like “What’s this blue rainbow haze on my window? Can you get that off?” Well that’s about it for now. Good luck keep everyone up to date on how you are doing. Welcome to the group.

Good Christ Juggs… break up that copy with some spacing. I got dizzy just looking at it.

:slight_smile:

This may have been difficult to read (one huge paragraph) but it was also a pleasure. Plenty of gold advice in there. Thanks!

Yeah, basically Guerrilla Advertising. When you are in the start up stage, put your name everywhere (this is something that bigger companies stop doing). It is very inexpensive.

Definately buy some books on advertising. You can turn a simple pull off flier into a money maker. But not just anything will do. Remember, window cleaning does not sell itself.

Just because the ads are cheap, does not mean they can’t be very effective.

Thanks again guys for all your great advice… the weather is finally starting to break down here and starting Monday I am going out with a ton of flyers and maybe to some of the door to door thing… There is isn’t a whole lot of competition when it comes to residential around here… but alot in commercial. I went to one place of business, (now it wasn’t very big, just a standard store front) but the guy was doing it for $7. I was thinking how do I undercut that??? I am finding that most people in the area don’t have their windows done on their homes because they aren’t even aware that the service is out there… anyways Thanks again.

Don’t. No one would benefit. The other guy will lose his bread and butter and you will curse yourself every time you clean the windows knowing that you should be getting more.

Yes, get those flyers out to the residentials but don’t get over confident with the (There is isn’t a whole lot of competition when it comes to residential around here.) belief. It might not even come down to competition, some people just aren’t the type to pay people for window cleaning. Just seek out the ones that are.