Possible Route

Hey all,

I need a little help. I had a meeting with a fellow window cleaner today about possible buying part of his route. It’s all single story store front, but with big windows that require pole work. Right at 23 stores, most of them close to each other(Anywhere from next door, to down the street) and an estimated 150 windows. This guy is nice, but his prices are low. The whole thing will bring in an extra $500 a month with all but 4 or 5 being cleaned weekly. You can do the rough math, but that means about $15 bucks or so per week per store that on average will have 6-7 BIG store front windows.
Now what I’m running into is the fact that I’m not the best with fanning pole work yet. I.E. it’s going to take me significantly longer than him. Also, I think I do a much better job than he has to offer. The work is decent, but he doesn’t detail any of the edges or wipe off the sills.

He wants $1500 for the whole thing out right and I can pay him in installments. The other option is just helping him out for a while to see how it goes and decide later.

What is a reasonable percentage I can pay him if I decide to clean for him and pay him a referral fee for a little while?

Is it worth it? The area is highly competitive and it would be nice to get in there( Possible word of mouth and a nice reference)

Is there anything you can think of that would tweak this situation more to my advantage? I mean, how do I raise the price on somebody who has had the same guy for 10 years and are satisfied with just a “decent job”

Hope this is kinda clear. Sorry for the long post.

Thanks in advance

Well, you can go to all of the stores yourself, talk to them about your work and quality and his price, and try to steal them from him before he has a chance to sell to someone else or changes his mind. Or…

You can do it the right way:

Ask him to take you to all of the stores. Meet the managers, owners, people that you’d be doing the business with. Have him explain to them that you may be taking over (purchasing) his route. Be sure that they are actually paying him what he says that they are, and how often they are paying it. In essence, you’ll be digging to see if his money is where his mouth is.

As far as pricing goes, I’d wash them for a while (up to a year) and them mail them a really nice letter expressing how sorry you are to have to raise their prices, but that it is necessary for whatever reason.

Where the pricing is concerned, I think that it is right on track for a route purchase. Unfortunately, I am the type of person to always offer less for something that I want. I can always go up on the offer if they don’t like the first one. Here’s what I’d do: (please remember this is only my opinion. I haven’t seen these buildings, I don’t know you or this other guy, and this is only an opinion) Offer him a one time fee of $1000. If he doesn’t like that, then I would offer him a monthly price of $300 for three months–this will give you the opportunity to test the waters and see if this route is really worth it. If so, then you can pay him the balance in full, or pay it out for two more months depending on what you negotiate with him.

These are just my mad-man style ramblings. If you want a really good opinion, email Paul Gaston at Leo’s Window Cleaning. He has done this sort of thing many times over. He is the know-how guy for this.

Good Luck. I wish I could get one or two like that!

I’d say offer $1000. and tell him you’ll put 50% down and he’ll finance the rest at 10%…if he says yes, really it should only take you 2 months to pay it off plus that 10% interest (but he’s not expecting you to pay the other half all at once…Get the owners/mangers to sign a service agreement so they officially become yours.

Happy Hunting

I’d agree $1000 is more reasonable for what’s there. As for the big windows try using a bigger squeegee. When I still had my storefront work I used a 30" or 36" channel for the bigger windows and it really cuts down on the time.

The way I got into the window game was by purchasing a route. I had absolutely 0 experience in window cleaning, just a little business sense. I had a payback of 3 months, gave him half up front and equal monthly payments for the remainder over 4 months. I also stated in our agreement that if any customers were lost over the first 4 months, the monthly revenues for the customers * 3 would be deducted from the purchase price of the route.

It turns out all the contracts were greatly under priced, some as low as 20 cents per pane, so I was quite happy to lose a few customers that moved and went out of business. After talking to most of my customer they said they were unhappy with his service if I or anyone would have approached them before they would have switched. Since I started, I have been able to triple my business, so when I look back I could have saved alot of money and built my customer list by myself with much better prices, however I don’t regret the purchase because A) now I’m in business, and B) it was a great learning experience.

My advise, make a low down-payment, maybe 200, and tell him you will give him 400 at the end of the next 2 months. If after the first month you decide you don’t want the route you can walk away from the deal only losing 200 but making the $500 in revenue, you can’t lose this way as oppose to washing the windows for free with him, you’re almost wasting your time for such a small payback period. You’ll know after the first month if it’s worth your time, do the deal!! I would even at 1500 especially if they are all walking distance.

I would sell the route on a yearly salary have the guy walk thru it for a month or so to get acquainted with the route.

daaang… 6.5-year-old thread revived. gotta be a record.

#archive_KING [MENTION=13761]ThruGlass[/MENTION]

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