Down And Dirty: Diversify Services With Professional Window Cleaning
Don’t do windows?
My first thought was to beg off when first asked to write about building service contractors adding window cleaning to their list of services. Then I met Jake Coad, owner of Clearview Services in Sarasota, Florida. Jake not only offers window cleaning as one of his full complement of services, but window cleaning was how he started out. His company is not only unique in being a premier window cleaning company in his market, but also for the additional services related to window cleaning that he has added to his company’s offerings: sliding glass door rejuvenation and maintenance, balcony cleaning, etc. Clearview Services provides many standard services for its customers as well. Jake and I met to discuss how window cleaning could benefit the average BSC.
Skip: “Jake, how long have you been in business?”
Jake: “I’ve been in the business for 11 years total. All 11 years with Clearview Services. After five years as an employee, I was able to purchase the business in 2010.”
Skip: “I’ve been told window cleaning is too specialized and low profit for the average building service contractor.”
Jake: “That’s funny. Maybe I think it’s funny because I’ve been in the business from the beginning, but the fact is window cleaning is easy and profitable. First of all, window cleaning is a fast procedure, therefore, labor cost is minimal compared to other services. Second, training is easy. I can train a new employee on basic window pane cleaning in a matter of minutes.”
Skip: “OK, how about windows higher than one story?”
Jake: “Other than high-rise condominiums, there are not too many high rises in my market. Condominiums are a different customer base than commercial customers; however, both are profitable target markets. Most of my customers are four stories or less. If I wanted to add a new window cleaning service to my business, I would start with my existing customer base, targeting one-story buildings. After the employees were trained I would move on to two- and three-story buildings.”
Skip: “Now, aren’t we talking high-dollar equipment and higher insurance premiums?”
Jake: “Great question. Let’s address insurance first. It has been my experience when a startup business is for window cleaning, the insurance premiums are substantially higher than the premiums for a janitorial service. The initial equipment investment is minimal.”
Skip: “Jake, can you tell the readers some of the benefits a building service contractor may enjoy by adding window cleaning service?”
Jake: “Sure. You are already there, minimizing travel and labor expense. The equipment takes up very little room in the service vehicle. I receive bids all the time from companies who already have a cleaning company, which opens the door for me. It would be better for those cleaning companies, who the customer already knows and trusts, to offer window cleaning. Window cleaning significantly adds to my bottom line.”
Skip: “Do you have any advice regarding pricing?”
Jake: “I would start out asking four dollars per pane, inside and out. Pricing will be modified with experience. After the first cleaning, offer to schedule on a regular basis. Clean the main entrances weekly, or even daily. The other areas can be scheduled less frequently — anywhere from quarterly to weekly.”
Skip Seal is a trainer and consultant with more than 30 years management experience in the cleaning industry. He is a LEED Accredited Professional and a Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) ISSA Certification Expert (I.C.E.). Seal and his team offer support across the country with sales and operation analysis, new market penetration, and sales training. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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