Do you have skills with a squeegee and no fear of heights? Then the window washing business may be calling your name.
Running your own company empowers you to control your own schedule, set priorities, and decide how and when you’ll grow. But there are real risks involved with being a small business owner, especially in the initial opening phases. It’s important that you do things the right way as you open your window cleaning company.
Curious how to start a window cleaning business?
We’ll walk you through the steps so that your business model is squeaky clean.
Decide what type of window cleaning business you want
Window cleaning can be a highly lucrative career with relatively low overhead. For a business owner, this means that you can jump into the residential window cleaning and commercial cleaning world quickly without too many upfront costs. Day-to-day operations will likely include:
- Bidding on jobs
- Canvassing for jobs
- Visiting clients
- Running the business
- Managing a team
- Dealing with customers
That said, your daily tasks may change depending on the type of window cleaning business you choose to be. Typically, you’ll have one of two options:
- Residential – You clean the windows of people’s homes. This line of work requires less investment in materials and equipment.
- Commercial – You clean the windows of buildings, particularly high-rise buildings. This type of cleaning contract may pay more, but has greater risks due to the nature of the work. This type of cleaning may involve high rise window cleaning and pressure washing services that require additional equipment as well as insurance.
Create a business plan
If you want to start a window cleaning business, you need to confirm that it makes financial sense in the first place. You should consider questions like:
- Is there a market for it?
- Who is my competition?
- How can I distinguish myself in the marketplace?
A business plan can go a long way toward helping you adequately prepare for what’s to come. It works as an operational roadmap that you can use to inform your business decisions and attract outside investment. It will often include your goals, challenges, target customer, and business structure.
It’s generally composed of six critical sections:
- Executive summary – Provides a general overview of the window cleaning business and your expected business model. Create an overview of your successful window cleaning business and list your primary objective.
- Company description – Discusses your operational plans and business goals.
- Services – Covers your competition, your service offering, and how you plan to distinguish yourself in the marketplace.
- Operational plan – Reveals the business’ operational model, including the daily operations and long-term goals.
- Marketing plan – Analyzes the market and explains ideas for reaching new customers.
- Financial plan – Details your budget, revenue, and expected costs.
This will be a living document. Changes can and should be made as you go throughout the process. So don’t overthink it, but pay it the respect it deserves.
There are tools of the trade that you’ll need to invest in. Fortunately, most window cleaning equipment is inexpensive and easy to find. Items you’ll want to include are:
- A squeegee
- Extension poles
- Microfibre cloths and towels
- A scraper
- T-bar and sleeve
- Cleaning solution
- An extension ladder
- A bidding system
- An invoice system
Also, if you don’t already have a vehicle, you may need to purchase or lease a van that has the needed space to carry all of your equipment.
Register your business
The ultimate purpose of running a window cleaning business is to make money—lots of it. And, as you know, when you make money, you’ll have to pay taxes on it.
So, as you build your business, you have to prepare for paying state and federal taxes. This should be set up before you reach out to your first potential client or potential customer.
To do so, you’ll have to register the business and decide what type of legal business entity you’ll be operating as. You might want to consider a Limited Liability Company (LLC), or opt to be a sole proprietorship. It often comes down to the size of your business and how you want it to scale.
Once you’ve registered the business, you’ll be sent an employer identification number (EIN) to be used for taxes and employee tax withholdings.
Protect your business
Before you start cleaning, it’s critical that you protect yourself from the potential financial costs of frequently interacting with third parties. One of the best ways to mitigate the potential financial damages relating to window cleaning is to have the right type of insurance.
This starts with general liability insurance.
General liability insurance provides coverage for incidents involving third parties. It can help cover the investigation, defense, and settlement for third-party claims relating to:
- Bodily injury
- Property damage
- Personal and advertising injury
For example, if you’re working at a clients home, your equipment could pose a potential tripping hazard. Should your client accidentally fall and hurt themselves because of the work you’re conducting, you could be held liable.
But where do you go to get general liability insurance coverage?
You’re already there. At Thimble, you can get affordable, on-demand window cleaning business insurance that goes by the hour, day, or month. It’s insurance that works when you’re cleaning, and lets you save when you’re off the clock.
Getting covered is simple. Just download the Thimble mobile app or click “Get a Quote”, answer a few brief questions and we’ll generate a free quote instantly. Purchase the policy with a final click and the policy and any necessary Certificates of Insurance (COI) will be sent to your email inbox.
Yep, it’s that easy. Just like you clean windows, we clean up the insurance process.
In addition to liability insurance, many window cleaning businesses are legally required to have workers’ compensation (if they have one or more workers) as well as commercial auto insurance (if their business owns or leases a vehicle that’s used for work). However, this is dependent on your own state’s individual laws.
Start marketing your business
We live in a 21st century business landscape. That means you need to establish an online presence, especially for marketing purposes. For that, you’ll have to build a website and get set up on various online directories (Yelp, Angie’sList, etc).
Are you not computer savvy? Don’t worry. There are several website builders that are easy to use and master.
If creating a website is a little overwhelming at first, you can start by making your profiles on third-party sites as detailed and robust as possible. This includes creating a Facebook page, setting up an account on Yelp and other local directories. Don’t forget to ask customers to leave reviews and make sure you respond to them.
Before you know it, you’ll have customers fighting for your services.
Build a spotless reputation
Let’s perform a quick spot check, to ensure that you know exactly what you need to do to make your business shine. If you want to create a thriving window cleaning business, follow these simple steps:
- Decide the type of window cleaning business
- Build a business plan
- Purchase supplies
- Register the business
- Get insurance
- Build a website
Follow this plan, start building those key client relationships, and soon you’ll be on your own unique path to success.