I’m struggling to figure this out, myself. Starting a business in November means a very slow start for residential jobs, whereas storefronts are (like you said) consistent and can help carry you through the dry months.
But then you have to deal with feeling underpaid and put more wear on your equipment. And, since they’re on a schedule, they’re always nagging at you.
Like J said, keep the ones you enjoy doing. In my opinion, even if they don’t pay much. Those fun and enjoyable jobs can help lift a difficult week of tough clients and stressful work.
When I worked for a guy that only did route work, there were two jobs I loved doing. Together, they paid maybe $40, but it was always a good day when I rolled up to the Little Caesars and Marge’s Donut Den on 28th St. It helped that they always gave me free food as a tip!
Personally I have a $120 minimum, so when a store calls me unless they are wiling to pay my minimum then I pass.
I do not have any store fronts anymore, I do have a few restaurants car yards and large furniture/whitegoods store.
IF you have been in the game for a while with your weeks booked with residential and commercial, I would avoid store fronts. However if you are newer with days you could be working but have nothing booked, you might as well do store fronts.
It generally takes considerable time to build a successful route.
I gave up storefronts a few years ago due to the opportunity cost they caused during busy season.
I would clear around $350-400 on one of my monthly routes, and around $250-300 on the other one. For the better part of a day of production (4-6 hours work, plus round trip travel of an hour or more).
Whereas a good residential job could pull $500-$600 in the same day. Since then, with power washing and commercial window cleaning, that delta between storefronts and other work has grown even more.
Then, like J mentioned, you end up pushing off these super nice, reliable storefront customers so you can keep up with the more lucrative seasonal accounts. It didn’t seem fair to them, to keep stringing them along like that, when they deserved a storefront specialist who could keep their windows clean, reliably, year round.
If you’ve got time in your schedule for storefronts, then more power to you. They can be a lot of fun, and reasonably lucrative. But as others have mentioned, if you’re booked full or mostly full, they can be a drain on your overall profits.
Supply and demand , if it gets to the point where your so busy with residential an the route work is getting in your way. Your going to have to make a decision.
A. you can hire someone
B. You can sell , and make up for that money by doing more residential
C. Just walk away
All in all if your doing route you still have to make a living. Understand this, all routes have shit jobs. It’s the way it is. For instance I clean this one center. I do a gym $50 a month , A pizza parlor $ 50 a month , a pet store $35 a month , then I have the little dry cleaner $14 a month. But it takes 3 minutes to clean . Yes I could raise the price , but she’ll just quite. So WTF… might as well make a quick $7 while I’m walking by it.
You have to look at it this way. I have X Amount of time per day , and I need to make X amount of dollars for me to be happy/Profitable.
Anyone who thinks you should make more for route work than resi is just not thinking correctly.
Whats your over head for route work ? Low if anything at all. Do you do ladder work on route work ? No ! Is there screens too pull out , walk down stairs, Walk back up an reinstall them. No ! Are there things that can break like in a house that you worry about ? No!
I have a love hate with route work. I hate it when I’m busy love it when I’m slow. I’ve bought both my routes. Along with adding on with my own soliciting an connections. Lost / Added , you always lose and you always add. It’s a constant Ying and Yang.
It’s hard to build a good route it takes time and lots of work , Yes I would rather be all resi , and not have to deal with all these invoices. Mailing out , collecting , chasing money form these idiots that don’t pay. It’s time consuming , that’s another thing that sucks about it.
I don’t regret buying , I’ve profited off it already . So no regrets. I paid a lot for my first route, and a lot less for my second, but the second was a lot less work , but it was also less in overall dollars.
I’ve added a lot of work myself , I’ve been a lot less agressive the last four years , but still maintaining. I do have two Vehicles now a van and a pick up for power washing /window cleaning
I used just the van for everything for 6 years. I needed to up grade my PW equipment , so once the van was paid off I pulled the trigger. No regrets there . But now I have two insurance payments, but I’m able to do more work with my new set up so that’s the pay off.
As for my routes they make me descent money so it is what it is. Could I cover them if I did resi instead of route work on the days I’m servicing the routes probably haven’t Dod the math.
It would be close , but I’m content for now.
Can’t say your making the wrong decision , but if you do decide to keep at it. I would just shoot for 1x a month accounts at a good price. See where it goes. Can’t hurt !! You might build something that one day you say , wow this was worth it.
Once a month accounts that are serviced when you want to clean them. Not what the Calendar says. Do you k so what I mean by that ?
So , with my monthly accounts I celan them once a month. Not every 4 weeks. Why , because I want to be in control of when I celan then not the Calendar.
I’ll never clean them in the 4th week then clean them in the first or second week. The third week is an option though.
My 2x a month accounts I celan the first week and the third week. What ever day i can fit them in. Sometimes it is every other Monday. Sometimes I have to clean it on a Tuesday. The trick is once you start an account you want to keep it like clock work for a good 6 months to a year, then once the see your the real deal. You can do whatever you want. Without being crazy like cleaning it the 4rh week then the 1st week.
Anyway I went on a rant. It’s raining I’m bored.
This is where I’m starting at. With shooting for good priced monthly accounts and see what I can string along while the weather is getting colder. Figure over time opportunities for residential will come along just from being out.Now again, I’m just starting so I understand other guys asking about it while things are slow for them but just having that being my game plan and tinkering with it and reading this is nice. Need to stop overthinking!
I have been building a small route, hope to add to it. I’m not sure if anyone is familiar with the FIRE community but we are working on coastFI + BaristaFI. FI= Financial Independence, CoastFI= I dont have to save anymore money for retirement (coast and let compound interest work). BaristaFi= An easy job to pay for your lifestyle (Routework for me). I find resi can be a pain, I prefer outsides only on new homes with casements. I do everything but route is so easy to make $40-60/hr doing little stores, no need for ladders, can be done in a small fuel efficient car.
I’ve done a few ‘one-off’ storefronts here and there but have never solicited any. I like residential too much.
I have one commercial job a couple times a year but only because I do owners house quarterly. Have dropped the hospitals and college I use to do as well.
Personally I love em. Easy way to make some quick money. Any small storefronts I have, 15-20, are right beside 7 more so it works out and the majority are within 5 mintues of where I live. The ones I leave the city for, I charge a lot more.
I do storefront and commercial. I like the work. There is less expectation for perfection and when there is alot of the same glass I can get in my groove after a few windows and just bang out the work.
I have a few strip centers and business parks and those are decent money recurring monthly.
Lol, ditto. I just did my last cleaning on Thursday and Friday for one of my favorite customers. She was totally understanding of why I was giving up her account, but hated to see me go. And the feeling was mutual.
Her house has dozens of true divides with either Marvin thermals or antique wooden storms. It’s at the very outskirts of my travel radius (50 minute drive one way). I would give her two days spring and fall, and just work on whatever windows needed it the most, taking storms apart as I saw the need. The most chill atmosphere I could ask for; fine with me showing up at 10 or 11 and working till 6 or 6:30 if I wanted. And a lovely conversationalist.
But the actual job was such a pain with all those cutups and storms and ladder work. And no way I could ever raise pricing high enough to make it “worth it” for me.