Since we’re in the same area, Ill give it to you straight…
September is slow until the 2 or 3rd week. Then you will get a good hit into mid-October.
It used to be that Mid-October til Thanksgiving was insane, but now its hit or miss. Definitely enough work to get by.
After Thanksgiving, people will call and book, but a hefty portion of them will reschedule til the spring, depending on the weather. If its an early cold snap, consider the season over after Turkey Day. If its nice, you’ll get a dribble of people who are planning holiday parties coming in.
Christmas to Valentine’s Day you will be dead in the water for resi. Maybe a job every two weeks. Aside from answering the phone, we actually shut down completely from Christmas Eve til Valentine’s Day/ I used to keep a skeleton crew running, but now we just use the time to “reset” for the coming year.
Storefront can be decent in the winter. I actually started this biz in the dead of winter with all storefront accounts. If we get a good storm there’s usually a few panic calls from shop owners. Also, a lot of the vagrants that do storefront around here disappear for the winter, so its prime time to swoop in. We got rid of storefront in 2012, so we just pass the info along to SF companies in the area.
Valentine’s Day to St Patrick’s Day is also a crapshoot. The phone will start ringing again, but if the weather doesn’t want to play nice, you still won’t be working. Remember, some of the biggest blizzards we have ever had were in early April.
I have been at this 6 years and still struggle with winter in my opinion that is where route work comes into play. You’re not going to do large commercial stuff that gets done once or twice a year or homeowners that get done two to four times a year in the winter. Yes I do do homes in the winter but far less. One of the lessons I have learned is it’s better to work for less than to work for nothing. It sucks when you could go water fed pole a residential house in the spring summer or fall and you got to stop and do storefronts but look at it this way. Large commercial work is your big dollars it totally changes your annual income if you can get a hospital college etc. Residential work is your middle money. Route work is not the biggest of money but it’s always there it’s the money you can count on. As my financial advisor told me it’s great to have elephants but you also got to have rabbits and squirrels.
Been at it a lot longer (but thats just because Im older, not wiser), and i agree with your post.
I personally find, my downfall is dismissing route work, to squeeze in new calls (fairness, many are repeat/referrals these days.)
sometimes skipping/staggering times between service.
I’d really like to keep (for example) one solid time frame- maybe one week per month, where I schedule nothing but routework. (this is timely, because Im currently scheduling November, and my routework is all over the place, from the busy Summer)
I always recommend having a good mix of work. Never have all your eggs in one basket. Economic sectors fluctuate! Have a mix of different commercial accounts. Resterauts, offices, shops, gyms, ect… Residential is usually, and typically always more $. But a giant trap. You really have to be self disciplined in the summer, and spring, and save for winter time. Try to have at least 2 days commercial for every employee though.
Remember to sign up your good residential clients for extra work. Most embrace the idea.
I learned to sign up my residential for winter projects by doing high dusting, ceiling fans, blind cleaning, and outside of their main windows if the have casement, and decorative windows, mirrors, and more. Batteries changed in automatic blinds. Plus you keep in contact with your good residential clients. They think twice about other offers bc you do this, and that. I’m not saying to do plumbing, and other non cleaning jobs, but you’ll be surprised how busy you can stay if you want to.
Personally, I look forward to the downtime, and break. I’ve cleaned windows in -20 degrees before. For weeks in below zero temps. It stinks! Plus driving in bad weather. You can do it!
I have 27 years experience and work year round. I let new clients know that once winter hits it is weather permitting. All my business is regularly scheduled repeat business. I have some companies that I’ve been working with for 27 years and I still clean their windows on a regular basis.