To those that gave me the honor of servicing their homes windows, thank you!
This window cleaners wild ride!
The story of how Exclusive Window Cleaning came to be is a long one! I will try to put it down in writing here.
My beginnings are humble. My mom was from Oaxaca, Mexico and worked as a housekeeper. One day, When I was 7 years old, she said to me, “Mijo, you’re going to work with me today.”
“Mom!” I exclaimed in surprise.
“Yes mijo. You are going to vacuum the floors and clean the windows.” I got high praise for cleaning the windows. Everyone said I did a good job. From that moment on, I knew I wanted to be a window cleaner! I didn’t know it then but, my love languages were acts of service and words of affirmation.
She showed me how to pay attention to the details and do the best job I could and that stuck. I enjoyed my work and took pride in what I did.
One day, When I was in my late teens, I remember seeing guys cleaning windows with squeegees. They made it look interesting. The way they used the tools and how clean the windows turned out was amazing! I knew I would need to learn how to use the same kind of equipment and started to save my money to buy my own. When I had enough money, I went to the local janitor’s supply store and ordered an Ettore bucket and window cleaning kit. Boy I was excited. I didn’t know how to use it yet but I was determined to learn.
The day it arrived, I opened it and admired the shear beauty of it! Sleek black carrying case, brass squeegees, Golden color pole, and yellow bucket that said ‘Ettore’ in bold black letters. Now that I had my equipment, I needed to learn. I went to my local Yum Yum’s Donuts and spoke to Ramon, the owner.
“I’ll clean your windows for $5.00!” I told him. He jumped on that in a heartbeat!
“Sure! Can you do it on Sunday?”, he asked. “Okay.” I replied. I now had my first customer!
I remember I showed up that Sunday and I didn’t even know how to mix up the soap or how to hold the squeegee! But I knew I would learn. That first day 8 hours would pass by the time I was done. When I had finished, Ramon said “Man the windows look Great! Can you come every Sunday?”
“Sure!” I said enthusiastically. I now had somewhere to practice!
I showed up every Sunday, like clock work! Each time it got easier and easier!… and yes…. for five dollars. The first day it took me 8 hours. Three months later, it took me Thirty minutes! I had learned! Now I could go to any store, restaurant or mall and say “Hey! I am Yum Yum’s window cleaner. I can clean your stores window for this much.”
Roughly about this time, I came across a Magazine called “American Window Cleaner Magazine“. I had never heard about it before and as I opened it, I was surprised to see professional window cleaners sharing their own stories and tips on what they used and how they cleaned their windows. I was hooked! The advertisements were for equipment I had never heard of before. Ladders, different brands of equipment, Insurance information, Industry secrets on what to use and how to use it to get the best results! This magazine was a Goldmine of information and I could not put it down until I had learned it all! I looked for the phone number of the publisher and ordered all their back issues! Yes, this was my new Bible!
As time would go by, I would service a few customers referred to me by my mom but I didn’t know how to build a true window cleaning business. Instead of focusing on just window cleaning, I went on to take classes on all kinds of cleaning. Carpet, tile, stone, upholstery, wood. Knowing all this, I chose a name that would reflect what I could do. I chose “Custom Cleaning Services”.
The internet was starting to be a factor and I hired someone to make me a website. When it was done it looked nice. Little did I know it would take more than looking nice to get me customers.
A few years would go by and I still had trouble finding customers. I did Janitorial, carpet cleaning, tile and grout cleaning, and my first love, window cleaning. Still consistency of work and higher end work was not easy to come by. I didn’t know how to reach people effectively.
One day, in 2014, the phone rang. “Hello?” I answered.
“Hello. I am calling from Amazon. We just found your website on the 6th page of Google! We’d like to showcase your Company on our website!”
I was in Shock! “I can’t afford you. You’re AMAZON!” I exclaimed.
“Oh, well, we don’t make money unless we sell.” He said.
That sounded like it would work! “Oh… okay. I can do that”.
“Great! What do you want to offer, Carpet cleaning? Wood? Tile…?”
I thought about it. “You know what, let’s go with window cleaning.”
“Great!” Amazon came up with the “99 dollar, 25 window cleaning deal” and got me 500 customers!
Almost instantly, my phone started ringing! People had purchased a voucher from Amazon and wanted to book their appointment! I couldn’t book them fast enough! I was in Window cleaner heaven! In no time, I was booked 2 houses a day, 7 days a week, for 2 months straight! It was during this time that I would develop my method of cleaning windows. Just as fast as I could do them, I started getting 5-star reviews! I didn’t know it but Amazon would ask to see how I was doing and invite those that had purchased the voucher to give me a review!
Shortly there after, Living Social called. They wanted to run the same deal on their website. “Sure” I exclaimed. More customers wasn’t a bad thing! Likewise, I would get 5-star reviews from their customers also. By now I was so busy cleaning windows, I changed the name of my company to Exclusive Window Cleaning.
In Early 2015, Angie’s list would reach out to me and asked if I wanted to advertise with them. I had a little bit of money now and I agreed.
“Great! Give us your customer list and let’s see if we can get you reviews from past Angie’s list customers.”
Instantly I had 4 pages of 5-star reviews! Exclusive Window cleaning would go on to win Angie’s List “Super service award” for 2016, 2017, and 2018. From 2018 to about 2020, Exclusive Window Cleaning would rank #1 on Yelp for window cleaning in Chula Vista.
When Covid hit and everything went into lockdown, It seemed like the wild ride was over. No one was working therefore no one had money to pay for window cleaning right? I panicked! Those were the scariest 6 weeks of my life! Then at the end of April the phone started ringing. It was my customers. “Ruben. We waited long enough! Come clean our windows!” Not only were they back, but lot’s of new customers also! A funny thing. People stuck at home. Having to work from home… were finally noticing how dirty their windows were!
As I write this, it is January 11th, 2022 and God has blessed me far more than I deserve. To those that gave me the honor of being able to serve them, Thank you. To my fellow window cleaners that are just starting out, Welcome. If I can help you, I will.