How To Start a Window Cleaning Business
If you want to control your own work-life, be your own boss, and manage your earnings, starting a Window Cleaning business is a great way to do so. Window Cleaning can be a simple venture that doesn't require a great deal of initial investment or any particular qualifications, but with hard work, it can be a profitable business.
Modern Window Cleaning is no longer the dangerous job that it has been in the past, with equipment now allowing Window Cleaners to work at height from the safety of the ground. Because of this, Window Cleaning has become accessible to those that previously would not be open to the risks. On top of this, with more and more residential housing going up every day, and the increase of commercial properties with significant amounts of glass in the design, there will never be a shortage of windows to be cleaned.
A Window Cleaning business is limited only by its own interest, there are many examples of nationwide companies servicing thousands of properties daily, and there are many examples of small family businesses looking out for the local community.
Whatever your vision for your Window Cleaning business, here are the steps to help you get started
Water-Fed Pole vs Traditional window cleaning
Traditional Window Cleaning is perhaps what people generally associate with Window Cleaning. Many years ago this included some newspaper and vinegar, then it progressed to the Chamois before finally reaching the classic Mop & Squeegee.
This method of Window Cleaning still has its place, particularly for internal Window Cleaning & deep cleaning (where a little more elbow grease may be required). However, more commonly used in today's world is the water-fed pole method.
The water-fed pole method utilizes pure water to clean windows without the need for ladders or access equipment (the term Pure Water in Window Cleaning describes ordinary tap water that has been filtered through a purification system - learn more about this process here).
The equipment needed to clean windows using the water-fed pole method is more costly to purchase but allows you to work quickly, from the safety of the ground, and to clean other parts of a property's exterior (frames & uPVC for example). Not only this, but many commercial properties will also only permit this method of Window Cleaning for safety reasons.
Many Window Cleaners report that whilst it might cost more as an initial investment, going down the water-fed pole route will future proof your business and allow for a higher-earning potential.
Our recommendation is to view each method as different tools in a toolbox, there are likely to be jobs where each will be advantageous and even some jobs where a combination of the two is ideal.
Understanding The Costs
Window Cleaning doesn't carry high start-up costs, but there are certainly a few things to consider. Whilst you may, in theory, begin with as little as a mop, a squeegee, a bucket & a plucky attitude, you may be limiting where your business can go in the future by doing so. Beginning your business on strong foundations can allow you to grow and acquire more customers quickly, whilst effectively managing the workload.
Choosing the right equipment is probably the most important aspect of starting your Window Cleaning business. Fortunately, we've put together this guide to choosing equipment that suits your budget.
You can certainly grow from humble beginnings with a traditional Mop & Squeegee, but investing in pure water Window Cleaning equipment will open up a whole new client base, particularly commercial contracts.
If you want to target large commercial premises specifically, you may need to also consider specialist equipment or training. This includes tasks such as abseiling that requires specialist equipment and training, or high access equipment, such as cherry pickers.
Regardless of whether you plan to target commercial premises or residential premises, accidents can happen. Having yourself covered with public liability insurance is a must, and of course, any vehicle insurances need to be accounted for also. Types of insurances are highlighted further down the page.
Do you plan to use a vehicle you already own, or will you need to purchase one? This is something that is likely to determine the equipment that you can use. Whilst a car may be large enough to carry a simple traditional Mop & Squeegee, you may not be able to carry a pure water Window Cleaning set up which can limit you as the business progresses.
There is an app or software to help with almost any of your day to day business and admin tasks. If you find yourself spending too much time every day chasing payments, planning routes for yourself or employees, finding customer records, or simply scheduling your day - there is software to help you manage. Particularly popular in this category are card readers and online payment processing.
Of course, when starting up - none of this is a necessity, but its certainly worth considering as you will quickly find yourself spending time on these that could otherwise be spent elsewhere. See our guide to software and apps, and be sure to check out our article on cashless payments
Website & Marketing
Once you have the business set up, how do you pick up customers? As a small business, it is important to reliably know where new customers are coming from.
Designing a logo, building a website, having flyers printed, online advertising, or having your vehicle covered in contact information all comes with a cost.
You may not be able to do everything you'd like to at once. Planning out how you are going to use your budget most effectively to attract customers will allow you to hit the ground running, and ensure you are consistently able to bring in new customers.
See our guide to Marketing your Window Cleaning business for ideas on how to do so.
How Much Do Window Cleaners Earn
Is Window Cleaning profitable and how much can a Window Cleaner earn? Whilst as an employee, a Window Cleaner may have a cap on the amount that can be earned, and can expect on average between £8-£11p/h, the earning capabilities of a Window Cleaning business are not capped. In fact, the only thing limiting a business is the owner's vision, commitment, and preparation.
A Window Cleaner can improve systems, invest in equipment that allows them to work more quickly or invest in software to automate daily tasks, however, there is eventually a cap on the amount of Windows that can be cleaned by a solo Window Cleaner in a day. However, a professional Window Cleaning business can add staff & improve systems and equipment to cope with a growing customer base. There are many examples of businesses turning over millions of pounds cleaning windows!
Primary factors influencing the amount of money that can be earned per job include the area and the type of work being completed. Commercial work in Westminster is likely to come with a somewhat different price tag to residential work in Inverness. However, along with that comes increased operating costs and so ensuring you charge sufficiently to cover your costs is vitally important to ensure your business can turn a profit.
When starting out, pricing can be a very daunting task, as a guideline for residential Window Cleaners, many aim to turnover between £150-200 per a full days work, as a minimum - but remember, the sky is very much the limit!
Window Cleaning Accreditation & Licenses
Most exterior cleaning work does not require any specific qualification or accreditation, however, it will likely vary from one location to the next and depend on the type of work. The same applies for licensing whereby some countries require licenses, and others do not, a quick search online will provide the answers for your location.
It is worth noting that some commercial premises may require general health and safety accreditation.
Window Cleaning Insurance
Ensuring you are sufficiently insured will bring peace of mind to yourself as a business owner, and cover you in case the worst should happen. Displaying relevant insurances can also be an excellent way to prove to potential customers that your business is professional, trustworthy, and reliable.
There are a number of insurances to consider, some examples are:
This protects you against members of the public suffering injury or property damage because of your business.
If you have staff, you're legally required to have this insurance.
This can help if your specialist equipment is lost, stolen, or damaged.
This covers you for accidental injury/death.
Business Vehicle Insurance
Your vehicle will require cover for business usage, particularly important to check and change your insurance if you plan to use a vehicle you already own.
Okay, You're All Set
Starting any business requires time and commitment, but the opportunity to be your own boss can be rewarding!
If you need any help, get in touch - we assist Window Cleaning businesses of all sizes on a daily basis.
Head back to the Starting a Window Cleaning Business Hub to find more information.