Store front bidding (new guy)

I just started my window washing business at the beginning of this summer. I am doing it part time for now. I have landed two store front accounts. I am charging about 1.50 for outside and about 1.50 for inside ($3.00/window pane). My question is, am I charging to much? A lot of store owners say that they have someone doing it for less, around 1.25 or less per window pane. One lady has a guy doing it for .80 per window for the outside.

Should I lower my price 25 cents or keep my price firm?

I am new at this. Thanks for any input!

Well every area is different, but 25 cents per side is way to LOW. $1.50 is still ok to charge, I usually charge 2.00 per side. Stick to your prices don’t lower them because some low baller or some window cleaner has them 10yrs old.

If $1.50 is O.K. in your area, go with it. Usually the lowballers aren’t doing near the quality work that you may be doing. Look at their work. Are they doing good detail, cleanng soap residue off the sills and frames, leaving streaks or just not cleaning the glass well? After they do their “Cleaning”, ask the store owner/manager if you could do an outside pane for them for free to show them why how much better you can do the job for just a few cents more. Show them “Your” value. I’ve done it and got the jobs at my price. Quality wins out most every time.

I hate to say this as it’s been said many many many times before. Get out of the store front game. It’s a losing game. I don’t care what anyway says, when you start to get larger it becomes more of a headache. Even worse when you ad on employees. More money can be made with residential work. If your doing this part time, resi is he way to go. You have two store front jobs which prob took you 1/2 a day to get and your lucky if the accounts have brought you in $50 on the day. Walk your neighborhood and knock on doors. People will rant and rave how store front keeps them alive during the winter months. That’s ok because they have resi work in the on season and the store front is bankable to help them survive the down season. I don’t know about MO but in NJ over the last two years I have been scheduling more and more work out till November. I have about 4 months down time which I spend getting ready for the up coming season. Of course if someone calls during those months and wants work done. I will do it but only if weather permits. We have more then a few days here in the winter that are 35 40 degree weather and I will push customers off until those days come. I let them know when they call off season it’s a hit or miss when I will be there and they will get a 48 notice when I’ll be there. Watch the weather every night.

Your headache may be someone else’s prize.

True. But just like a prize the excitment will wear off :slight_smile:

My advice is this: if $1.25 seems to be the prevailing rate, then book as many new accounts as you can at $1.25 per side. This will give you references (and some names to drop when making a sales presentation) and some cash flow. After your calendar is full (or close to full) with $1.25 clients, raise your rate to $1.50 per pane on new quotes. You may lose more frequently, but the accounts you win are the ones you want since they are more profitable. You can choose to keep your initial clients at $1.25/pane or to slowly announce your price increase over time so that you don’t lose all of your accounts at once. Some people will accept the price increase; others will discontinue service. You’ll know which accounts are easy to service and which you’re happy to let go. You might actually want to hang on to a $1.25 account that is easy to clean more than a tough job at the higher rate.

Again, once you’re booked solid with $1.50 clients, start quoting $1.75 and repeat the process. Eventually, you’ll be booked with clients at the highest price the market will bear.

Couldn’t disagree with this post any stronger. Storefront carries me thru the winter. As I’ve got larger with resi my business has grown. Unless you plan on never hiring, there’s nothing wrong (and alot right) with building storefront. If you’re a one man show then the above statement makes sense. I have my newest guy doing storefront and helping from time to time with houses. If all I did was resi he wouldn’t have a job due to his skill level.

If he’s just starting out, he isn’t going to have a full schedule for a long time. I’m sure he will have time during his part time to take an hour and do the storefront once a month. Eventually that 1/2 day of marketing to score the one account will have accumulated 100 accounts. Then you’re on your way. There’s an art to building storefront and way harder than scoring resi…

I’ve been charging 1.00 per pane per side and adjust the price up or down depending on the size of the panes.

I have found storefront to be a good complement to my Resi work, in more ways than one. I have two small monthly routes that net me more than 60/hr each. It’s true that my market isn’t filled with lowballers, though. The thing I like most about the storefronts, though, is being out in the public- it directly feeds my resi work. I’ll purposely choose busier times and days to do my routes, just for the added exposure :wink:

as far as pricing, make it worth your time. most all my storefront work is priced at more than $2/pane, which works in my market. it really depends on what your clients want, though. My clients enjoy seeing me detail edges and wiping up the sills- others may just want a quick wash and just have shinier glass. I do recommend marketing yourself as being the alternative to cheap, quick work, though… something better than just a “bucket bob”. Advertise that you have experience (once you gain some), nice tools, and insurance (if you have it, of course- if you don’t, you really should get it)- seperate yourself from your competition so potential clients can’t simply look at the price when comparing. you won’t win every client this way, but the ones you do will be worth it, IMHO.

What I don’t understand is if store front is so great, why when companys get large, they sell off that side of the company? I mean if it’s profitable then why sell it? If your day to day operations are in order and it’s pretty much running itself then why sell? Also on that note if it’s so profitable then why can’t companys sell routes for large sums of money? Could it be that in the beginning people go for what they believe to be the easy market? They see hundreds if not thousands of stores around them and figure they are easy pickins? Only to find out in the end once the route gets large, they have such a small profit margin they can’t even afford to have their back office staff spend more then 10 mins on the phone with a store front client? Store front is a numbers game that is a waste of time. Be honest with this guy. For every 10 stores he hits he will be lucky to get one client. Not only that he will be lucky if that one client retains his services for the next month. It’s a constant fight for a living. That time is much better spent trying to build a solid residential client list. The 5 hours he spends pounding pavement for a $20 store front is going to land him more then if he spent that same time, knocking on doors? If store front keeps you alive for the winter, then something is wrong with your res accounts. Mine are priced so that I can survive. I dont see the logic in taking a valued employee and forcing them to work in the freezing cold? All you are doing is risking the employee quiting or getting sick.
This guy can make more money on a saturday with 1 or 2 res accounts then he will with store front in 1 month

From what I’ve seen (Exactly what you’re talking about) their route is trash. If it’s all bid out low it isn’t worth much. So you’re right, some routes aren’t worth anything. But if you bid it right in the beginning you’ll end up with something nice. Mine is nice :slight_smile:

There’s a company in my area that was trying to sell his route - appx 200k a year in storefront, but it was all bid so low no other company would touch it. It’s pretty easy to build this kind of route too, but who wants it.

EDIT: Oh and LOL and landing 1 in 10. It’s more like 1 in 50/100 - That’s more proof to me you don’t know what you’re talking about when it comes to storefront.

The best advice I can give to the new guy is do what your heart tells you. Seek advice, listen to all of it, but don’t take 95% of it for more than what it is = someone elses opinion…

I want to thank all of you for giving me your input. I have been doing some thinking about this and I might lower my price 25 cents because I think that is the going rate.

Don’t lower your price unless you’re not getting enough business at that level.

Well that’s cause your the super salesmen who lands 50%. lol. You should quit running a window cleaning business and go work for a large company. With sales figures like that you should get your 10 million bonus by the end of this year.
Your last point is stupid. It’s a waste of a persons time if they are not going to take advice, only listen to it. Heck if that’s the case he can just shoot darts and a board and have better odds and save himself a ton of time. I don’t know what I’m talking about? Well your experience is is your experience and if you notice no one else has jumped in here cause they know I’m telling this guy the truth for 99% of every window cleaning business on the planet. Here look what you are dealing with. He just lowered his prices 17% nice market to be in. Hey like the old saying says. The world needs ditch diggers too.

I make about $25 an hour storefronting, and it takes up waaaay too much time driving around and what not. Residential I clear about $70 and hour.

TMoore… my suggestion is to sell storefront accounts part time while you’re starting up, and spend the rest of your time pushing residential via postcards / internet etc. The marketing side may not be instant cash-in-hand like storefronting is, but you will, in short time, be making much more money in a less stressful marketplace.

I’ve been in business about 8 months, and weeded through a lot of route rot to end up with a decent SF route that I tackle once a month. I’ll tell you this though, once I hit my target numbers next year, I’ll be selling the route, no question.

A $25 per hour storefront route is [B]not[/B] decent. What could it possibly be worth?

Hmmmm - Maybe you misinterpreted what I said. You said 1 in 10 - that would be super salesmen. I’m saying the more realistic number would be 1 in 50 or 1 in 100. Which is where I’m at. I don’t think that qualifies for the supersalesman award, so I’m not sure where you’re coming from or what you’re about.

Second - Are you saying he should take everyones advice. He’d be all over the place. If I had followed all the advice thru the years, I’d be the “Ditch Digger you speak of” and probably out of my mind. Maybe you misunderstood what I was saying AGAIN!! It’s good to ask for advice, get opinions, but to try and follow all of it would be niave. If you’re saying he should take all the advice he’s been given, exactly which way is he headed ?

Third - If you’re only making $25 an hour doing storefront, you’re not doing it right. My route doesn’t produce what my resi does, but $500+ a day - 12 days a month, 12 months a year, isn’t anything I’m going to be cutting out anytime soon. I built my route scoring one at a time. There isn’t a short cut. But there isn’t anything if you listen to the non believers and don’t ever start. There’s no reason to not do both. He isn’t going to have enough resi for several years to stock him thru the winter. Having a couple hundred or couple thousand a month thru storefront will be there in the winter/summer. Build it right with good pricing and it really is a no brainer!!

I don’t know if you’re trying to start with me Ray. or if your reading comprehension is just bad, but I’m sorry I have no desire to argue with you.

$25 an hour isn’t going to be worth anything, gl selling it. Trust me the routes that are worth buying, aren’t for sale :slight_smile:

ray’s efforts at storefront obviously never worked, but he never utilized your efforts or plans.

Attaboy, Justin!