Teaming up or staying solo?

I have read on here several times that this business should not be attempted without first working with a verteran cleaner.
So I am meeting today with a local WC company that is primarily doing commercial work but interested in what I do (scratch glass repair) and building his residential side of his company.
Is is smarter to team up with him to help me learn more about the WC side of the business or stay solo and figure it out myself?

Gary

I’d say it would have to depend on the individual. How did you get into and/or learn your trade in scratch removal?

If had to list the mistakes most window cleaners make starting off solo, it would probably be more towards lack of marketing skills long before anything to do with wc skills. (except maybe CCU jobs)

I’ve always been in favor of some mentoring. Even after years in the biz sometimes someone else’s approach is a way to motivate you to try something new. The opposite would be the recent post on the “wcer” who doesn’t use a pole. Obviously a guy that is stuck in his ways and incapapble of growth.

I don’t know if I would go that far with this guy. I would look to trade off referal service with him. Both take a % for referrals. I would not do any more then that. As far as cleaning the windows for residential. I drove up to see Chris and the guys when I first started out. But I was only there for a few hours. I thought there was some magic I might have missed or did not know about. Honestly, it’s just a window. Not putting down the industry but cleaning a window is not rocket science. Clean your homes windows for practice. Your skills will increase over time, mainly speed with quality, not just speed. Your knoweldge of the product you are working with is what’s needed in the end. That’s all, nothing more. Don’t make this out to be harder then it is.

Look at it like this. If you started a lawn cutting service would you go out with someone and learn how to cut grass?

Of course after I cut my lawn it never looks as good as those that the lawn care guys do! I agree Jugg anyone can “clean” a window but not like a pro. Why? We use the best tools and techniques. Plus we are always adapting and learning new ways to do the same job. Mentoring can cut down the learning curve big time. Also, if you don’t need help w/ technique, networking never hurt anyone.

I agree also. All I’m saying is don’t spend too much time with the guy. Maybe at most 1 day or so. Just shoot the breeze and get to know each other. Stay on good terms for sure. But one of my concerns is you are both in the same area and that can cause a conflict. Chris is like 2 hours from me and we both have a gentalmens agreement not to go into each others area. But it’s easy to live by as I am not driving 2 hours for a job and I’m sure he won’t either. Now with that said we both understand that if there is a job that is large money, sure come on in. But let’s not make it a habit. I am always asking Chris for advice. I prob call him once ever 3 months or so. But in the issue of honesty, if I lived by Chris I would prob not bother with him much. I am very competitive and cleaners in my area in my eyes can take money from me. I’m not looking to be friendly with cleaners in my area at all. I’m selfish an want all the glass in my county. ALL OF IT lol. I cannot get all of it if I have buddies in the same business.
I have a nieghbor down the street. He offers home handyman services, cuts lawns, cleans glass, gutters etc. He mostly does power washing. We met each other at a local poker game. We spoke and I found out he cleans outside glass on homes for $1 each. I wanted to punch him lol. But picked him brain a little and then explained to him how those prices do nothing but hurt my industry and business. He did not care. So I basicly told him. Stay out of this community and that community. If I find you are cleaning in them and taking some of my customers I will put you out of business. I will work for free for 6 months with my WFP. That’s right. I will tell every dam customer I’ll clean their windows & gutters, power wash an I’ll cut their lawn for free. Buy one get one free. I can afford to do this cause of my wife (thank god). But that would put him out of business quick.
All I’m saying is keep local competitors at arms length.

I understand Jugg. Just wondering, how big is your area? In my service area I couldn’t clean all the glass w/ a company twice as big as ACWC. I also don’t do storefront anymore. One of my local “competitors” does only storefront and passes along any resi to myself and 2 other wcers in the area. Those 2 guys also pass onto me anything large because they don’t have wfp and hate to spend too much time on a job. Plus if the house has storms one of those guys won’t even touch it. So he just calls me as he’s only dealing w/ his current customer list. I agree too much time spent isn’t a good idea until you feel the guy out.

My area is pretty big.

If you look at this map the darker color is my service area along with the one county directly below it. I don’t get much call for service west, mostly all coastal work. I have a 30 mile radius from my home which pretty much covers both of those counties. But with that said there are some parts of those counties I won’t service unless the customer is willing to pay extra because they are too far. It’s not that they are far away in direct miles, but there is no direct path to their homes. I have to either go north or south for 15 miles and then head out west. I only have 2 customers like that but like I said, they pay for me to come out. I think I could service both counties. It’s like any other business. If you have the man power and equipment as long as the business is comming in you can service. I don’t see myself getting all the glass in these two counties anytime soon. But I figure if your going to shoot for the sun, moon and stars then shoot for them. If you end up with just the moon then that’s not to bad.

Well I had my meeting and learned a lot about the residential WC business. The biggest problem I see is the time factor of working for someone else at 45% or making 100% on my own. I would have to work almost a 10 hour day to take home what I need at 45%.

Or I can slowly build my own WC route and make it all myself. Either way I need to learn to clean glass quickly and correctly. It looks like the up side to working for someone else may not that great.

Ask your friends and family in the area if you could practice cleaning on their windows should come across many types of windows, and do it for free or at a very good discount. You will gain the skill and speed there. Then maybe their neighbors will ask about your services when your at your friends and families homes.

Alberto E.

The up side is that you’ve picked up some basic skills. Now you can take those and build your business. Hope it really takes off for you!

A confession. For 12 months I believed that as long as you had good tools, cleaning glass was cleaning glass. Then I started applying myself to learning the trade like I had my other lines of business. Got on this board. Also followed a specific recomendation; study "Window Cleaning Techniques by Joel Andrews a.k.a. The Glass Wizard. I’m not saying this is the definitive DVD on glass cleaning. But I will tell you this. By the end of the first week of applying what I saw him doing on a DVD my productivity had gone up by 30%.

I have to go this route because: 1. My rural geographic area is large and lightly populated, 2. There is just enough competition in window cleaning that we threaten each others business. So, I have to learn from sources out of this area such as bbs and DVDs and practitioners/suppliers that will spend time on the phone with me.

Eric

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