What separated you from the bucket bobs when you first began?


Newbie here. Getting things geared up to take a run at this thing. As everyone here is well aware, starting a business requires you to differentiate yourself in some way. And honestly, from reading everyone’s discussions here, a lot of that seems to be just showing up and not making a fool of yourself. But with such a low barrier to entry, and barely more than that to at least give the appearance of professionalism, what do you think separated you in the beginning? Anyone can get some black polos embroidered with a logo and website creation services are cheap and extraordinarily easy these days.

Love to hear your thoughts! Thanks!

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Hey Nathan,

Here are a few things I’ve done in my business.

  1. Professional and high quality business cards. Consider using a raised font on these to make it pop.
  2. Having insurance. This has helped me get several residential jobs which are now reoccurring clients.
  3. Comprehensive estimate sheets. I’ll try to find the template that @Garry posted awhile ago. It helps when people can see everything you do.
  4. Documented follow up process. I call my customers to remind them of the appointment and call after to make sure they are happy with the results.
  5. Screen printed polo shirts. This was expensive, but showing up with a professional shirt is huge.
  6. Take credit cards. I use square and this method is about 50% of how people pay.

Bonus: consider hand written thank you notes after each job. People love this.


I didn’t have a website until a few years after I started. I had logo’d T-shirt (now I have logo’d polo shirts), business cards, logo’d invoices, all of the tools needed to do traditional window cleaning. Five years ago I invested in water fed pole equipment. (starting 14th year in business this year). Guarantee my work, lay large bath towels on customers floor and furniture when cleaning interior windows. Drips will happen - don’t let it happen on a WHITE COUCH OR RUG!
Look the professional part. If you like your long hair and beard, at least be groomed to look like you put some effort in it. Have shoe covers if needed in the house. For me, I work inside upscale homes, so I try to always be mindful that I am a guest and want to have the appearance of someone they would invite in.
Bucket Bobs just don’t care.


Reviews !! Lots of them. I don’t have a ton , but I have enough. I have a lot of repeat business , and I do a decent amount of route work so it’s not everyday that I have the opportunity to get new ones.
It’s a tough game , but find a way to get them.
They help tremendously.
Everything @Cos78 and @Garry says. Except you don’t need polo shirts you can use T-shirts just have a logo and company name on them. Polo is nicier I agree with that , but not necessary.

Don’t worry about the competition be the best you can be , price to be profitable and do great work , be reliable, and if you say your going to be there at this time be there at that time. Bootys always in a house. Less talking more working. Sounds stupid , but Some guys do to much talking. They feel they need to make friends. No no your not therr to be friends your there to do a bang up job and get on to your next one.


Thank you for your time! I literally can’t help but think of the whole business card scene in American Psycho haha.

How long did you wait before getting insurance? I keep finding promotional material or ads saying it’s as low as $30/month. For a solo operator, is that in the general ballpark of solid liability coverage?

Love the idea of hand written notes!

Something you posted at one point actually drove home the point that we all need the shoe covers. So it’s nice to hear that advice again. Heard on the towels!

Do you find the upscale clients to be the best? Or did you find diminishing returns above “someone willing to pay a normal fee” due to complaining/penny pinching/etc.?

I don’t say this only as an introvert, but my God does dealing with the talkative fellows I’ve had in my home get frustrating. Personable is great, but it’s good to hear that you don’t have to make best buddies in every house.

Will do on the reviews!

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It all figures out to be the same per hour draw. Big job - lots of hours; smaller job - less hours, but the same rate of pay, right?
$125 per hour divided by 60 minutes = $2.09 per minute.
2 1/2 hours = $312.50.
7 hours = $875.

Ohhh, wait, hold that. :wink:
Some jobs actually end up being more. Set up a per window pricing. (do a search here for per window pricing). Some windows cost more than just regular double hung or single pane windows. Large hard to reach windows? There’s a charge for that. Stairwell windows, tough to reach? Cost more than a standard walk up to it and clean.
You could end up with large homes that bring you $1,100-$1,500 in 8 or 10 hours. try to convince them to have you back for your “Quarterly Maintenance Plan” where you come back every three months to keep them cleaned. Offer a discount for that. Maybe 10%, 20%, $50, $100 off - who knows, whatever makes you and your customer happy. My regular customers look forward to me coming back and sparkling their windows, tracks and screens again. I only have one old customer who gets 20% off. The rest are $25, and $50. Learn to not leave money on the table.

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Man, thank you for all of this. I think I found one of your templates earlier and I fully plan on utilizing the different window pricing. Love the idea of “guaranteed” (I know) customers. Makes it much easier than going out and pounding the pavement for each new one.

It’s true, it’s easy enough to get embroidered polos with matching cap, lettering on the vehicle, business cards, a website. It’s easy to look good, look the part of the professional. And no question looking good counts. However, if you show up looking good and can’t listen to what the customer wants, don’t treat their home with respect (dirty foot prints, drips not wiped, moving things and not putting back, etc, etc) don’t go the extra mile, won’t do small talk with them or do way too much, then you got your work cut out for you. Looking good can get you in the door easier, but customer relationships keep you coming back.


Believe it or not knowing how to properly clean a window makes a difference. Can’t tell you how many customers tell me there old window cleaner never fanned or couldn’t clean certain windows because he couldn’t get to them.
Start with being able to clean any window properly and the word will get out then fine tune from there.

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All the stuff already mentioned is gold for sure.
I’d suggest these things as well…

Under promise, Over deliver!!!

Say what you mean.

Do what you say you’re going to do.

Do it when you say you’re going to do it.

Also imo, telling the customer your exact procedure on how you are going to “do their house” is a nice touch.

I feel these things keep most customers paying much more than asking price :yen::yen::yen::+1::+1::+1: