Start up costs/ what do I need to buy?

Hello all! I have been reading a lot of the posts on here and I think I want to make a go at this!

A little background on me: I’m 26 years old and I live in Cincinnati. I studied at NKU and worked for Drummond Financial for two years prior to being let go in January. I use to issue the checks written to Fish every month and always thought the idea of owning a window cleaning operation was the way to go. Now that I’m tired of getting rejected from every job I try to secure I feel this is the best age and time to take a stab at this (no one wants me for some reason? Why not make the best out of this rough time?).

I was thinking maybe $1,000 would be a good starting amount to invest, and I was looking for some feedback on that amount. Also, more specifically, what items and other things do I need? I have a friend of mine from college making me a logo for free (thank the Lord because her services are not cheap) and another willing to start and maintain a site for me for a year at only $100 (he owes me a favor lol). I suppose I need some type of insurance? I assume liability is needed so any thoughts? Do I need any type of permit to become a window cleaner? Also, and this may seem odd but how does one become recognized as a business? I studied human resource management in college so I apologize if that seems out of my element (because obviously it is lol). I was thinking some type of sign on my transportation (one on each door) and then a few shirts and hats with my logo. The Equipment itself (specific items) I would need some coaching.

Sorry for the long post guys, I tend to be long winded when I’m seriously into something. I figured I’ll get maybe the $1,000 mentioned and hit the ground running.

Thank you,

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Holy cow. I wish I’d have had a grand to start out with. Assuming you’ve got a reliable vehicle that can hold maybe 22 foot of extension ladder… Get an extension ladder and maybe a ten foot step,then I’d buy a beginner kit from here.

Then get marketing. Guys swear by eddm on here for residential. For commercial get a nice pamphlet and pack up your truck and start introducing yourself to storefront store owners.

I would not use that startup cash on signage for your vehicle. A little teepee sign outside where your working once you get a job maybe.

Most of your other startup paperwork type questions are state/city specific, You’ll have to tell us your area and others might chime in if they know. Google is your friend, as is the search function on this forum.


This kit here?

That would do. Lol. I started with home depot garbage. 112 dollar total startup cost… make sure it has at least an eight foot pole, and sleep with that thing your first month, serious get good with the pole.


You May want more towels too until you get a grip on technique to eliminate the majority of detailing.

Well…maybe I should also start with the type of kit you did? Frees up room for more things. At a glance that didn’t include a pole (I’m just bouncing back and forth). Also, the not putting my logo on my car for a while saves me a bunch so I also appreciate that note greatly!

I started with $100 for fliers, had all equipment from a previous “life” as a window cleaner, and a 2 door cavalier… If I had $1000 oh man that first year would have been awesome

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How many fliers did that get you? Just go through a Kinkos?

You have a logo already that isn’t clip art? What are you going to be using for a vehicle?

The logo is being worked on. She does graphic design for a marketing firm, so she is dealing with the computer/ art for me. I know that sounds ignorant but I studied patterns and theories on labor usage as a career lol.

I have a Chevy Avalanche…it sucks for gas. I also have a Sante Fe.

40 bucks got 1200 of these third page double sided babies. Doubled themselves plus first job with them.

Gm is awesome for maintenance costs though. In my before life I coordinated maintenance for a 120 vehicle fleet. Dodges, Ford’s, and Chevy. Gms were always outlasting and cheaper to fix and better mileage then the other two.

Okay, next question…how do I handle taxes? I don’t have a liscence yet and I’ll probably wait a few months to apply for one (get going first). Do you just save the receipts of all the jobs?

I got three car magnets for $80.
5000 Door hangers for about $350
If you can’t wait for mail order find a good janitorial store nearby to get quality squeegees and such.
Do get a good pole or two. Unger. I have an 8’ and 16’. Does what ever comes my way.
Found two great ladders, 22 ft and 28 ft at a pawn shop. $100 each. Found a 6 ft for $40 on Craigslist. Should have found a 10 ft, but I can add that next time I need it for $150 new.
You can actually get quite a bit of good stuff for $1,000. Stretch it as best you can and you’re on your way running!

I’m just running as a sole proprietor. Save receipts and invoices for income purposes. Better yet ask an accountant, I’ve got no business telling someone else how to do taxes.

I guess it depends on where you live. Here in Florida you do not need a license, but you do need to register with the City DBA (doing business as) which I guess is sort of like a license to do business. You’ll also need a tax ID # from the IRS. Want some great FREE advice that is priceless? Find your local SCORE office and get an appointment to sit down and talk with one of the councilors. You will get all kinds of insight and information from professionals have been there running their own businesses successfully.


My advice as a fellow new guy, take it for what it is, don’t worry about spending money and just worry about making money. I had a decent chunk of change to start, and spent a lot of time planning, and spending. I wanted to be prepared, but I had no jobs to be prepared for. Finding work has been the hard part, I would say get some nice business cards, and door hangers/fliers (got mine from vistaprint) and hit the streets. Be prepared for a lot of rejection, I’m sure it varies from place to place, but I’ve had more rejection than I expected. In the end it’s a good feeling to get a job, and not be relying on an employer. Good luck, and there’s a lot of people on here with great advice.


I got ya fam: Getting started? Start here


Anything to stray away from for sure while starting?

Franchise. Don’t buy one.