Why charge $140+ for storefronts… Part 2

As inflation rises and the cost of living for everyone keeps going higher, you have to remember that your worker, like yourself, needs to afford to live there also. For those of you who live in San Diego like I do, you will know what I am talking about. If you don’t pay enough to compete with other employers, a good employee will not be around long. As Prices rise, Residential jobs are averaging $100.00+ hourly with Christmas lights paying $200/hr. during the slow season.

What I have found that works is Having a set price a worker will make per store. that way of managing costs is performance based and ideal. If they are efficient and focused, They will dictate their Ideal hourly rate. I do 72 storefronts every month and the time it takes for a proficient window cleaner motivated by the goal of $60+ hourly rate. I price it assuming all employee costs factored in. By the way, In my market, you need to make $60/hour to afford that one bedroom apartment. We have a $3000.00 average rent here in San Diego.

So how much do you need to charge to make that price in storefronts? I will break down the numbers using 4 models:

  1. Single owner/operator

  2. Owner operator and 1 employee

  3. Employee only both 1 and 2 person crew

  4. Independent contractor

Single owner/operator

This one is the most profitable of the lot when starting out. You need to factor in your future costs of Employees and all overhead. What you want to make is what your employee will want to make. No successful company makes enough to cover its expenses and worker wages and stops there. Profit starts after those 2 are covered. You are building a company. When you find and train the right people to fill your place and step away, that is what will be left over. For now, starting out, Save the overage for the slow period and also pay stuff forward. It’s always nice when you have everything paid out six months to a year in advance and keep putting money away to cover the next six months.

Working alone I have found that I can do 8 to 13 stores a day. To average $60/hr. I have to pay myself $75.00 per store.

Working with my son, who is also part owner, we keep it at $45.00 Per store. The average hourly is still the same. Some routes are more profitable than others and hourly rates jump. 10-13 stores can be done in about7-9 hrs.

Owner operator and 1 employee

By design you have geared up the routes you have so all the things needed to train and keep an employee are covered. Profitability is set. Protocols for safety such as setting out cones, how to address the customers as you will be asking them to move, and how to get the signature on your app for payment should be taught. Safety when driving and all other protocols should have been developed by this time. Make sure your new employee is ready to work on their own. While working with you, start them at $30/store and let them know that their pay rises when they are up to speed

They decide how soon their pay will rise. Give them the parameters of what they need to do to qualify for the raise and let them work on reaching your goals.

Once up to speed, Bump them up to $45 per store. Then when they are ready to go solo, $75 per store. Both of these pay rates come out to be about $60/hr. when up to speed.

Employee only both 1 and 2 person crew

Your employee is now solo and getting $75 per store. At this rate, He or She should average about $62.50 per hour worked. 10 stores can be done in about 10-12 hrs. The company’s gross costs should be about $1265.50. Profit will be slimmer than the 30% desired but employee will be making enough to continue living in San Diego.

Employee Model - 1 Worker

*** Inputs:**

  • Hours Worked: 12

  • Stores Completed: 10

  • Price Charged per Store: $140.00

  • Number of Workers: 1

  • Cost Paid per Worker (per Store): $75.00

*** Net Labor Costs:**

  • Net Labor Cost (per Store): $75.00

  • Net Pay per Worker: $750.00

  • Hourly Average Pay: $62.50

  • Net Cost of Work Done: $750.00

  • Overhead:

    • Vehicle Costs (Daily Average): $55.00

    • Gross Overhead (Daily Cost): $138.00

    • Workman’s Comp+SS+Medicare: $322.50

  • The Real Numbers:

    • Gross Income: $1,400.00

    • Employer’s Gross Cost: $1,265.50

    • Gross Costs Per Store: $126.55

    • Gross Hourly Costs: $105.46

    • Net Income (Profit): $134.50

  • Desired Profitability:

    • Costs + 30%: $1,645.15

    • Actual Price per Store Needed: $164.52

Employee Model - 2 Workers

  • Inputs:

    • Hours Worked: 9

    • Stores Completed: 12

    • Price Charged per Store: $140.00

    • Number of Workers: 2

    • Cost Paid per Worker (per Store): $40.00

*** Net Labor Costs:**

  • Net Labor Cost (per Store): $80.00

  • Net Pay per Worker: $480.00

  • Hourly Average Pay: $53.33

  • Net Cost of Work Done: $960.00

*** Overhead:**

  • Vehicle Costs (Daily Average): $55.00

  • Gross Overhead (Daily Cost): $138.00

  • Workman’s Comp+SS+Medicare: $412.80

  • The Real Numbers:

    • Gross Income: $1,680.00

    • Employer’s Gross Cost: $1,565.80

    • Gross Costs Per Store: $130.48

    • Gross Hourly Costs: $173.98

    • Net Income (Profit): $114.20

*** Desired Profitability:**

  • Costs +30%: $2,035.54

  • Actual Price per Store Needed: $169.63

Thanks for your input .
Do you charge $140 for a storefront say a cleaners that has 4 windows and 2 doors inside and out that take 15 minutes ?

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Only when asked to come out as part of a contract. I do some smaller than that as part of my contract with a customer currently.

What are you even talking about here ??
How big are these stores. Store fronts come in all different sizes . Some store fronts have one window and one door. Some have 3 windows and 2 doors. Some have 10 windows , and 2 doors . Some have windows on top that you will need a pole, and then ones that you can clean by hand on the bottom.
If you’re taking dealerships in with these 8 to 13 stores well we all know how big those can be, and you could get up to 250.00 plus for a dealership depending on size.
So this is very vague.

I’m with you on having to make a living , and getting the most money possible , but you’re being very vague.
8-13 stores with 3 windows and 2 doors shouldn’t take all day. If they are close by that’s 2 hours worth of work. Unless you’re driving a country mile to get to each and every store

It’s unsustainable . Yes I’m sure you can find someone willing to pay 140.00 to clean their 4 plates of glass, and it won’t last.
After the sixth month they will realize WTF am I paying this guy to come here for 15-20 minutes an he’s gone , and I’m handing him 140.00 each time.

I’m the first guy that thinks you should make the most possible money, but 140.00 for 4 plates. Ya that’s a stretch. They’d do it themselves before paying that every month.

I’ve been doing route work for over 20 years. It ain’t happening. Don’t care what market you’re in or how professional you think your company is, or how great of a window cleaner you are.

Think chain stores. Some stand alone building, some inside a strip mall. Negotiate with Corporate a flat fee per store. The strip mall is fastest. Some have complicated windows so over an hour. Travel time between locations makes it take longer.

When you present your bid to the company, lay out realistic costs for why you should be paid your price. The mistake people make is not showing what I have shown here. All businesses have costs. They can relate. Put them down in your presentation. A well paid window cleaner is worth how much hourly? How much should I consider if I were to hire you? What is realistic? Think about it? You can easily pull in $100/hourly doing residential alone. As could anyone reading this post… and they do. Now tack on workman’s comp. Insurance costs. Vehicle daily average. Remember, for every $1.00 I pay you, I add .43 cents to cover the extra costs for having an employee. Your customer had the same costs in his business too. They can relate. And no company, which you and I are supposed to be Just charges enough to pay rent, lights, supplies, insurances, uniforms, workers, and that’s it. Even if you are doing the work, you are Overhead also. They price their product or service to include a profit. All businesses that are sustainable do.

I used to do a dealership back in the day It took me 12 hrs. So I charged $600.00

I gotcha ya , so you’re doing chain stores. Not mom and pops.
Yes !! Lots of windshield time , and if that’s your business model , then yes you need to get enough to cover your drive time , gas , and all other expenses, or it wouldn’t even be worth it
I only do work in a consolidated area. Any time I get chain stores I’ll do what’s in my area and sub the rest to other window cleaners .
I know most of the other window cleaners in all the areas I don’t cover.
They give me there stores in my area and Visa Versa
No matter how you slice it we all need to be profitable. For mom and pops I don’t see 140.00 for 4 plates in/out though
If you were more consolidated there would be more flexibility in pricing.
That’s basically how route work is, and anything off the Beaton path you give a high price to make it worth it.
By no means did I say all you can get is 250 for a dealership. I just used and arbitrary number.
Dealerships come in all shapes and sizes.

What ever works for you. If you feel a presentation about costs to operate a profitable business to the prospect is the way to go. who’s to say it’s wrong.

maybe what you mean is referring to job size - a sorefront should be $140 minimum (for whatever number of panes at your rate equates to $140) for a maximum amount of allotted time

btw 12 hour days are some long days to seem to base things on

Very curios . how many different chain stores out of those 72, and how long have you been at this ? I do a hand full of chain stores. Anthony’s Coal fire pizza , California Pizza Kitchen, Burger King , Panera Bread, Five guys , And I’m in the process of bidding Just Salads. Probably more I just can’t think of them as I’m writing.

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Just 2 chains currently. What’s your model? Do all the work yourself? You and an employee? Employee only? I do it with my son currently.

I know you’re going to think I’m trying to rain on your parade. I’m just trying to keep it real , and anyone could correct me if I’m wrong.
I’ve been around this for a while. Chain stores come and go. I’ve seen it with a good friend of mine. His whole route was based around Genevese drug stores. He did a lot of them , and he made good money doing them. Until one day when he got the notice they’re discontinuing service. I just got a notice Anthony coal fire pizza is discounting service. I lost California Pizza kitchen too last year. I can’t imagine if I did 20 of them :face_holding_back_tears:It happens with most chain stores
I hope you’re building residential customers too
If route work is your ultimate goal. My opinion would be to expand in and around those chain stores. You won’t get the over all dollar value. , but you could get more glass cleaned in a day , becuase less drive time.
Nice of you to put up your game plan that landed you these stores; but I just figured I give you food for thought. I hope you never get a discontinuing service notice. Even the few stores I jade was a gut punch. I hate losing anything , but it happens
The one thing that I have noticed of all my years in business for myself is lose something get something , and I jace replaced the dollar Value of those two already, and I’m not as aggressive with storefronts as I once was.
That’s another thing staying motivated is key to expanding. I just don’t have it anymore as far as storefronts go.
I’d rather just be all Residential. All the paper work sucks with store fronts.
I’m grateful I don’t Chase that much money , but I do enough of it, and it’s annoying as f****

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Another thing I’m getting sick of is the winters. Most my work goes 2x or 1x a month.
I got everything cleaned the first week of January , but here we are in the 3rd week and it’s a cold front in the 20’s, and teens this week. Next week looks like the temps are going up. So I could blow everting off, and do it next week. I didn’t work today. Probably go out tomorrow 22 low 34 high no wind chill which is fine I can deal with that.
Something you don’t have to worry about. You have the best weather in the country.

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This is my first season taking off the winter completely. While it was nice at first (and still is), I quickly found myself wanting to solicit stores to cure the boredom lol


Curious. I have excel spreadsheets that I use to enter all the above variables. I can change any one input and it automatically changes the numbers on everything thats affected. Is there a market for this?

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oh, i see, chain accounts that are spread out and different locations, window sizes, shapes and window quantites etc of stores in different locations and you’re arriving at a per store average charge, got it

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Yes. That’s what I do.

I find it amazing how chains want a per store charge when their stores can be vastly different in access, quantity and style

reminds me of builders who want a sft charge, yeah right, who knows what type, style, quantity and height of windows your putting in those different homes

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this is a big Corp. Think World wide. Gets disappointed when it only makes 5 billion in a year.