Unprofessional Competition

Heres the situation:
There’s this bloke who does all the shopfronts in the closest 6-7 towns to where I live. He apparently has done so for around 17 years. I have seen him cleaning with his sleeve, smoking on the street while working (yes, with squeegee and washer in hand), squeegeeing a 3 metre squared window with what looked like a 12 inch squeegee from Target, getting a pizza for payment at Pizza Hut, spitting while working and with people around, and today I drive past him on the side of the road hitching with his gear. How can this guy have so much work?! :mad:
And the next question is, how can I show these shop owners that my company can do a quicker, better job for the same amount and from a legit, professional service? Letters? I have tried meeting the managers but they can’t face up to the guy and tell him that they have got a new wc after 17 years. Damn loyal small town business owners…
Any help would be greatly appreciated, as you can see I’m :mad:

I’ve had run ins with a few fitting that description. More often then not, the reason I get from store owners why they won’t switch is they feel bad for them. They see them as guys with nothing else going for them and figure they will lend them a hand, seeing as they sometimes even accept food as payment. I can think of two guys in our territory, one told me flat out he mainly did what he did for extra beer money and he had quite a few accounts in a prominent town that we need more accounts in. And another was a guy that just hung around a large plaza and one of the store owners there, in an effort to help him out, bought him some window cleaning tools (got that straight from said store owner himself) and told him he should clean the store windows to try and make something of himself. He started with that one plaza and expanded to a few neighboring ones and has been doing so for quite some time now. However, recently he did stop showing up at that original plaza and we are now servicing, I believe, every shop but one or two.

So, remain a presence to these shop owners. Eventually, your professionalism may win them over and you will be rewarded. Most shop owners will remain loyal, especially to someone they’ve been dealing with for seventeen years. Offer some free services, get them to allow you to show how much more professional you are and most importantly be persistent. You mentioned letters. Try that along with a little write up/brochure about your company and get one to every shop in those areas you wish to cover. Eventually, you may find that one shop that has become discontent with this guy and things may snowball from there.

Best of luck with it!!

Perhaps you dont want to be carrying out his jobs for the same amount, in all likelyhood this guy is being paid dirt cheap money

+1, Rob.

You probably don’t want his customers.
Be glad he’s doing them so they’re not bothering you. :smiley:

Make sure you also ‘support’ their efforts with this guy, at least in ‘word’.

Say something like “wow, that’s really thoughtful of you as a store owner, to let someone like that to have control over how your store looks, as a favor to him…the world would sure be a better place if everyone did that! It would be a bit dirtier too, but definitely friendlier!”

Then add “You know what, I think that what you’re doing is great, and I can easily see why you’re doing it, so I’m not going to be pushy and tell you that you need to switch today or anything like that, but here, please take my card and keep me in mind if you ever feel that its time to make a change, either because your store is starting to look rough, or this particular gentleman stops showing up for whatever reason! Before I take off, since I’m here anyway, would you like me to leave you with a free estimate?”

Something like that.

If the accounts are truly accounts that are worth having and you want them, buy the business from the poor guy. He may think having a $1000.00 cash in his pocket for a minute is better then the accounts.

This idea would be a last resort in my opinion though, kinda risky. I wouldn’t worry about him low balling the jobs as long as they’re in good areas, you could easily raise the prices, justifying the raise by the higher standards of quality.

I am sure this guy would not have a contract or anything of the sort with these shops.some of them are trading food for window cleaning.
if there is no Cash along with this food trade then you would have a problem…you could be buying a round which pays in gifts and grub…

In regards of easily raising prices, i am not so sure.why should these shops who have there windows cleaned so that they are for the most time adequately clean pay more…think of it from their point of you…they think they are receiving a average job they don’t have a eye for windows like a true window cleaner has.if you tell them hi i now own the round now i am doubling or tripling the price they might not be so happy.

most of these retail outlets aren’t always doing as well as might be perceived

i agree buying the round really is a last resort.

Porkie didn’t say that all, or even most, of the accounts traded with food, he only mentioned the Pizza Hut account.

He also stated that he saw the guy using his sleeve to wipe windows, and using a 12 inch squeegee to clean a rather large window. I doubt the guy is doing an adequate job. I believe it is more of the shop owner or other decision maker taking pity on the guy, and accepting a sub-standard job.

I would play on this. On my first visit I would explain that the guy was having a tough time and you were in a position to help, so you bought his business to help him out. This wouldn’t be a lie, since if he’s using his sleeve to clean windows and using a 12 inch squeegee… he’s obviously having a tough time.

As far as raising prices, I wouldn’t on the first visit… Let them notice the work of a true professional for a visit or two. After seeing what sets you apart from him, and how much better their windows look, they’ll be more likely to pay for the actual window cleaning service then to be paying for charity.

But if I miss-interpreted Porkies post, and all of the guy’s route is traded for goods such as food, I’d find another area to concentrate on.

I have a similar problem in my town, he charges $10 for a $25 job…but has a junk load of them. Someone told me he’s not all in the head so they feel sorry for him

In all likely hood this is happening in a number of food outlets if PORKIE only saw it happening in pizza hut, think of all the food outlets in a shopping center, regardless even if it was only happening in pizza hut its still a definate problem with regards to servicing this shop from day one.essentially they are having windows cleaned for next to nothing, assuming no cash is changingg hands in this case

note that i stated that this is only a problem if there is no cash coming in in addition to this food in my last post you are referring to.

oh!!! when he said the window cleaner was using his “sleeve” i assumed that PORKIE was talking about a sleeve on a t-bar that he was washing the windows with…i was wondering why this was listed as one of his faults…are you saying that the window cleaner was using the sleeve of his shirt to wipe the windows?..i agree that this would be substandard work…i thought PORKIE meant a w/c sleeve and not a clothing sleeve.

also as i was saying in my last post a shop owner may not be able to differentiate a good job from a mediocre job even if a 12" squeegee was used. the windows would still be cleaner than previously, assuming he did the job quickly so as the solution did not bake on the window

I agree that the shop owners would probably not miss the chap in the case of one buying the round, however still wouldn’t think they would be so happy to increase expenditure on window cleaning…i think that they would look at from the point of view of “will doubling or tripling my window cleaning expenses per annum really increase my turnover so much so”.(although it probably would)…times are tough economically at the moment, retail owners are watching their invoices carefully…

They might not understand the difference between a poor clean and excellent clean

No i admit that if you miss interpreted PORKIES post, i miss interpreted it twice as much, especially in regards of the “sleeve”.

all i am saying is that it would be a pity to buy the route to find that is worth more hassle than it pays for…i think that there would be trouble ahead with the shop owners…17 years is a long time, the buyer would have a lot of wrinkles to iron out

Yeah the guy was cleaning with his jacket sleeve. Theres some good points put forward here, thanks heaps. This guy also lowballs hardcore, like a $50 job for $10. Actually I think that is what he charges for every shopfront. I’ll send some letters out like The Salesman said and see how that goes. Buying the round is interesting but risky…

[SIZE=“4”][CENTER]Would this be unprofessional?[/CENTER][/SIZE]

Love it Louie, that would be me above!

Why are you trying to take his work?

Find some dirty windows or buy a business.


The point is that he unprofessionally does a substandard job, and I know that my company can provide a much better service.

how is the actual quality of his work? Are the windows filthy when he’s done.?


His prices may be very low because there is always someone trying to take his work. Are you going to match those prices?

No one has a right to keep their customers if they are not doing what they were hired to do, namely clean the windows. If he’s falling short of cleaning the windows properly, he should expect that he may lose his customers.

IF someone is trying to take your work, don’t lower your price - [B]continue[/B] to offer the highest standard of service you can provide.

There’s much more room at the top than at the bottom!

No one is trying to take Porkie’s work. He’s talking about trying to get more work in the town’s he canvasses. Because there’s a guy there who’s been there 17 years who is unproffesional. I don’t know if he does bad work. But Porkie would be foolish to simply get the customers by matching the prices.

If he matched the prices, he might be tempted to take shortcuts, and do low quality work.