For most window cleaners, the water-fed pole system is no longer a new concept. For a lot of potential customers however, you’ll still find you get the odd blank look when you tell them you’ll be using a water fed pole system to clean their windows. “A what?”
Many potential customers doubt the system’s ability to get the job done properly – it probably seems to defy anything they’ve ever known about cleaning with water. After all, when you clean the car, you leather it down right? The squeegee was invented for a reason, wasn’t it?
Many dubious customers that have finally decided to throw caution to the wind, let their hair down and give the system a go have had bad experiences: “No thanks, I’ve tried someone with that before and it didn’t work” This has led them to the (incorrect) conclusion that it’s the system that doesn’t work.
The reality is that the most common causes of people’s bad experiences are a) user error, and b) poor education of the client – not the system itself.
The first thing to highlight to a client is that the system is a tool, and like any tool, has to be used correctly to get the job done properly. A chisel in the hands of a child will not get a door hung, but only a fool could argue that a chisel is not a functional tool. This might go some way to re-adjust their concerns over the system itself if they’ve already had a bad experience. (Of course, it’s important to make sure you know how to use the system properly yourself!)
Secondly, educating your customers on how the system works is vital. Make very sure they know that the water is specially purified, and because of that can be left to dry naturally. Talk about the benefits of the water-fed pole system – the fact that there are no ladders, no risk of damage, no chemicals, better results and so on.
It’s also vital that you set their expectations from the start. This is hugely important when taking on new clients, or when making the change from traditional methods with existing clients.
For example, the first time you clean a window with the water fed pole system, the results are not always perfect first time, no matter how thoroughly you do the job. This is usually because large amounts of ingrained dirt around the window frame and seals, dirt that is never removed by traditional methods, are dislodged easily by pure water cleaning. Because of the amount of it, it’s difficult to get rid of completely on the first clean. In addition, particularly if the windows have been cleaned for any length of time by traditional methods, you will find a build-up of soap scum is released from the seals of the window (which is why you’ll sometime notice a window foam up) when you clean it. Again, you release potentially years’ worth of soap build up that can continue to seep onto the window after you have left, affecting the finish.
Take the time to look at the job in hand. Are there any leaded windows? Lead oxidises and forms a white powdery substance that can affect the finish in a very similar way. Wooden frames with old, powdery paint can also have a similar affect the first time they are cleaned with pure water.
Whenever I take on a new customer, I make sure I take the time to explain that this could be the case, and that after the first clean or so, the results are better than ever, even lasting longer.
Provided you set this expectation, it’s very rare that you will get any complaints over the quality of the first finish and, as long as you use pure water and the right technique, the results will speak for themselves in the long run.
I’ve found that if you get this right, even the most cynical of customers can become a convert to pure water window cleaning. Mastering this when you are developing your business will only help you gain more long term customers and ultimately more revenue.
By Mike Cooper, www.waterfedpoleguide.com
About the author
Mike has been involved in the window cleaning industry for many years, having specialised in the use of the water-fed pole system for nearly a decade. He has set-up and grown successful businesses in the UK and manages www.waterfedpoleguide.com
Starting your own window cleaning business and becoming your own boss is an attractive and exciting prospect. However, getting a window cleaning businesses off the ground is not as easy as many think; there is a lot more involved than buying a bucket and chamois leather and knocking on a few doors.
The following guide outlines what it takes to build up your business from scratch and develop the reputation you need to succeed:
- Starting out
Starting the sales process is the hardest thing, you have no reputation, no contacts and no customers. The easiest way to win new customers immediately is by asking friends and families. This will allow you to build up a selection of jobs and get you out there, cleaning windows.
Begin by turning your van into an advertising medium by promoting your name, company and contact details; this gives you an identity even when you’re not on the job.
You will then need to start canvassing for new jobs; this is the most crucial part of the trade. Canvassing should be subtle and detailed, you want to work out if an area is currently covered by another cleaner and see if there are houses in the area not covered yet.
Start on a road, knock on a few doors and ask a few pertinent questions. If another cleaner has the entire road, move on to the next, you will soon find gaps emerging.
There will be a lot of competition out there. Undercutting the competition will create more enemies than customers, so please avoid doing this.
Dropping leaflets through doors will not win your business on its own; you need to go out there and talk to customers, wining sales through face-to-face contact.
Window cleaning is a something everyone needs without realising it. Explain the service; be friendly and charming. If somebody is not home or needs to think about it, drop in a leaflet and pop back.
- The Deal
Once you win a customer round, sealing the deal with a price is very important.
Judge the amount of time the job will take by looking around the property; don’t just accept the customer’s opinion.
First cleans will be more time consuming so you can potentially charge more, unless, of course, you are really keen for their business!
You will then need to discuss how frequently you will clean the property – suggest once a month and then negotiate from there. Be honest and find the right solution for the customer.
Get their name and contact number and then call them back to confirm the time and date you have arranged.
Most important to building a reputation is the quality of the job you provide. Too many jobs and not enough hours and you won’t do the job properly.
Word of mouth is key, so you need happy customers and good recommendations.
Plan your time effectively: estimate how long it will take to carry out each job and don’t take on more work than you can service.
In time you will become more efficient and take less time to do the same number of jobs well.
Equipment is also vital: do your research and find the right products. Unger window cleaning products sell a range of affordable, high quality equipment which will get the job done. For other equipment information visit cleaning supplies from Click Cleaning.
- Building your customer base
Soon you will generate business without having to do anything; customers will approach you or recommend you to friends and family.
This is now a good time to advertise; put an advert in the local paper or on Google ads and set up a website that gives you more exposure.
Social media is now also a popular method of advertising and is easy to set up and maintain at no extra cost. Create a Facebook profile, share it with your friends, post some attention grabbing news items and you will soon have a recognised local name.
With more work coming in you will need to manage your growth with new staff and more equipment; always plan ahead and keep an eye out for employees who will help you develop your trade.
Work hard, take pride in your work and your reputation will grow in no time!
Studio Arts are the leading UK based web design company specialising in providing websites for window cleaning companies.
To view some of the website designs available you can visit their site by clicking the picture above or visit the Window Cleaning Services directory which is an exclusive directory of websites already designed for clients.
Building a window cleaning round from scratch is like sowing a lawn.
It would be fantastic to have a nice, thick, luxurious, lawn – the kind that you find on a well kept golf course. But ask any groundskeeper and they will tell you that you don’t get those kind of results overnight!
Do you sow seed and grow your own lawn – or buy rolls of turf and have an instantly finished garden?
Similarly, anyone that has built a good, compact and lucrative window cleaning round from scratch will tell you that it takes lots of time, lots of determination and lots of will power – but it is achievable.
When laying a lawn you have two options: Sow seed and grow your own lawn – or buy rolls of turf and have an instantly finished garden.
Although it may cost more, the obvious advantage of laying turf is the speed in which you can have your lawn. Turf is simply rolled out and although it needs to be laid correctly, you can reap the rewards of having a nice lawn for the kids to play on immediately. On the other hand, if you sow grass seed the shoots will appear after a week or so (depending on time of year) and the kids will have to wait to play on the lawn for several months. Growing your lawn from seed will mean weeding out all the undesirables and lots of regular watering to get the lawn looking good and healthy.
Yes, you could canvass a round from scratch and the satisfaction in doing so has its own rewards. It takes time, a lot of weeding out unreliable customers, lots of watering with more advertising and more canvassing to pad the round out – but it is achievable.
Or you could buy an established round where most of the hard work has been done for you. It may cost more initially, but the time it would take you to reach the same level of earnings (and the loss of potential earnings working a ready made round in the meantime) could very likely make buying a round a sound investment. A combination of the two would likely be the ideal.
If you are looking to buy or sell window cleaning work in the UK then you should definitely pay a visit to www.windowcleaningroundforsale.co.uk where you will find hundreds of window cleaning rounds for sale. – If you are looking to lay a lawn then you are best to visit your local garden centre!