Hi, I am brand new to the window cleaning business. My plan to build a customer base was to knock on at least 100 doors per day, and expect a ROI of 1%. Lately, I have been not even close to this target, getting only 1 job for the last 500+ houses. I have also been stopped by a police officer that told me I needed a license to solicit that costs roughly 2K/year.

Before that I just tried to stay away from the no soliciting signs, and I would just leave if someone told me that I couldn’t solicit that neighborhood. Now I am really rethinking my strategy, especially if I can’t even get a 1% ROI!!! Anybody that has build business through soliciting, is this fairly standard and why most people don’t like doing it!?

For those wondering my sales pitch goes something like this, “Good afternoon, my name is Tyler with Good Cause Window Washing, I realize I’m stopping by unannounced but I was just wondering if you have someone that washes your windows?”

If yes, then “thanks for your time, have a nice day”

If no, “Would you be interested in a quick estimate?”

For the most part I have gotten over my fear of ringing the door bell and talking to the homeowner, but now I have a whole new fear of going a entire week and not getting a job, or even worse getting arrested!!!

What do you guys suggest??? I don’t have the money to send out mass mail, and I leave a flyer/business card at every house that doesn’t answer and this has only lead to 1 phone call and 0 jobs. I fear that I am quickly running out of options, PLEASE HELP!!!

Have a price with you by the time you knock on the door. When someone answers the door we say something like:

“Hi my name is Eduardo with California Service Pros (I hand them a flyer and business card) and I am here to tell you about our window cleaning promo where you can get your windows cleaned for only $$.”

If they say no I thank them for their time and ask them to keep my card for the future.

If they dont say no right away and seem to be thinking about it I follow up with how often do you have your windows cleaned? and then I tell them about our follow up, reminders, satisfaction guarantees and so on and then go for the close.

Try something like this where you already have a price for them and I am sure that your closing % will go up.

By the way be smart, if the police tells you not to do knock on door in a certain area then dont, and make sure that you call your city and try to find out what permits you need to solicit in that area. A few years ago I had a similar situation when I was passing out flyers and after calling every office I could think of in the city I decided to contract a company to pass flyers out for me.

Starting out is though, I know, even today for me during the slow season it can get hairy sometimes but keep going at it and follow the law and rules of each city and neighborhood you visit.

how do you have a price w/o walking around the house, which you wouldn’t want to do before knocking on the door?

one simple thing that I think helps a lot is to spend the little bit of money that it costs to get a nice polo shirt embroidered with your logo. for the first one there may be a set-up charge, but besides that the cost probably won’t be more than $35, and it makes you look very professional and trustworthy. people know how easy it is to get cards and flyers printed, and may think it’s nothing more than a fly-by-night effort otherwise.

I would call the police and ask them what office you need to contact and get legal. I have one small town in my coverage area that dosn’t want any knocking door to door so I hit the neighborhoods just outside the city limits and thumb my nose at them. and if I get called to do a job inside the city limits, I charge extra and let the customer know that because their small city is anti-business with their high business lic. they are paying more than what their neighbor is just outside the city limits.

In my area most neighborhoods have 4-5 models you can walk around the neighborhood and see what the houses look like from every angle without going into their yards. After you get familiar with the neighborhood you can be better prepared to knock on doors, with a price and an offer for them to consider. And if you get the job and find out that you missed a couple windows so be it. Let the customer know and inform them that in the future you will adjust accordingly.

If someone walk up to my door and said to me hey can I walk around your house or yard to give you an estimate I dont care how good he/she looks I am not going to trust them. Anyone can have a logo made up it only cost 5 bucks and print a business card, and order a polo shirt online it doesnt make them trust worthy.

At $6.50 a window I’m sure you close a lot. Try pushing that number up it helps out everyone

This seems kind of self-serving to me. After all word of mouth advertising is free advertising. If getting business inside this zone is negative, then turning it into positive when you do get your “foot in the door” of the zone and not taking out your frustrations on the client, why tell them you are charging them more because you can’t solicit door-to-door? Telling someone that you are charging them extra because you don’t agree with them is bad for business I would think.

I do that so that the customer knows that doing business inside their small city drives cost up. That city alone has business lic that is 3 times higher than any other city in the area. if enough customers start complaining to the city then they will rethink their prices. Apparrently it has started working because last year I had a city council member call me and asked why I thought they were Anti-business. I had a chance to explain my position. I have to pass the cost alone to the customer or stop doing business inside that city all together.

Do you think a customer wants to hear that?

I am at a point that I don’t really care if I loose them. This city is one of the smallest areas I work in. The other alternative is to stop working inside that city and turn down those jobs. That city only has a population of 1200 although some nice houses, but I only pick up 3 jobs a year inside with business lic running 150 per pear. I have 21 different city enities each charging 35 to 60 dollars a year and this one wants 150 and wont let me solicit inside the city limit? The customers often ask if that is the reason more window cleaners are not doing business in their small town.

Sorry guys for me ranting and raving…this one city is a big burr under my saddle and gets my dandruff up everytime I think of them.

Thanks a lot for all the responses guys! The first thing I did before going out soliciting was to check the cities regulations and whatnot, and it was a ridiculous amount of money that I couldn’t/can’t afford (over 2K/for one year). So I have just been trying to be inconspicuous by staying in areas that cops won’t be roaming around, and looking out for no soliciting signs.

I’m wondering if you guys can help me out with what type of ROI or success rate that I should be expected for a start up company? Should I expect to only sell 1/500 houses during certain times of the year, or always?? If it isn’t realistic to sell 1/100 houses in the spring time, then I need to come up w/ a new strategy especially with the added thread of the cops.

Thanks again!

your roi will go up a bit after the homeowners see your name 4 or 5 times. It IS realistic to get 1/100 customers to contact you in the Spring, however, you still need to sell them your service even after they call.

It probably me but I have never had much luck knocking on rezi doors. ( works for storefronts for me)
I have a much better response fliering the neighbor

Neighbor hood

If the cost is that high for a license, the fines when you get caught again are probably going to be steep also!

Try contacting Real Estate agencies, they can help line you up with their clients to clean some windows and start word of mouth advertising.

Also contact House cleaning services, and see if you can work out a referral agreement or subbing. House cleaners usually don’t or atleast don’t enjoy cleaning windows. If you work out a system where they basically sub the job to you, they can charge the customer $11.00 per window and you charge the house cleaner $10.00 to clean the window for them. They make $33 or whatever for being there and opening the house up for you and you get to make a living.

Are the neighborhoods really “anti-business” or just “pro-neighborhood”?? I mean can’t we get some relief from the non-stop commercialization?? I understand the need to get business as I’m in the same boat, but when someone starts knocking on my door to sell something I get pretty irritated. I’m in my own personal place here but people don’t seem to even want to repect it. I’m at home and don’t particularly want people knocking trying to sell me lawn service, magazines, God, politicians, roof inspections, siding, windows, someone to clean the windows, etc, etc.

For me it is just too annoying to join in and do the same thing. I will leave something at the door or mailbox newspaper slot, but I won’t knock simply because I respect people’s privacy. I understand the law allows people to do this, but for my business I won’t do it, … even if it means not getting a couple jobs. There are plenty of ways to acquire business but the door to door stuff crosses the line IMO even if it doesn’t cross the legal line.

I agree 100%. I dont like it so i won’t do it to others. Besides that, i feel uncomfortable cold calling residential. Many people are suspicious of people coming to the door. I would much rather mail or put flyers in the newspaper box and respond to interested parties.