The 4 VERY Different Window Cleaning Niches
There are 4 different window cleaning niches you should be aware of as you start a window cleaning business. There are different advertising methods, customers, employees, investments, competitors, etc. Knowing about these 4 niches will help you strategize your entry into the industry.
Each niche requires a different business model from another. It can be difficult for an entrepreneur that specializes in one niche to enter another. It is important, however, that two or three of these niches are targeted and successfully entered in order to maximize, thrive, and prosper a window washing business in the long run.
1.) The Storefront Window Cleaning Niche
The storefront window cleaning niche is thought of by many window cleaners to be a low profit waste of time. Starting out in this niche can be very easy financially but is difficult to build a solid business. Due to the very low investment and simplicity of the actual technical service and required skills of the average employee, this niche is very competitive in pricing structure. However, it is one of the only niches that generates monthly recurring revenue regardless of the seasonality that all other niches are subject to. In larger metropolitan areas pricing is more cut throat than in smaller communities. In smaller communities pricing tends to range around $2 per pane inside & out and $1 per pane outside only. In some metro areas, price wars and new rookie low-ballers regularly drive prices down from there. It is important to have many storefront jobs all in the same vicinity and on the same monthly schedule in order to make a profit. It is difficult successfully start a storefront business without having knowledge and experience operating in the niche. It doesn’t mean you should disregard it however. This work can be valuable in the slow months when the monthly cash flow generated from your storefront jobs helps to pay the bills.
Free Pizza For Window Cleaners
Do you want to know how to eat a free pizza almost daily? Walk into a Domino’s Pizza, Papa Johns, or any other pizza storefront wearing your window cleaning gear and be ready to wash windows. Ask to speak to the manager of the store. When the manager comes, say, “Hi, I’m ___ (Your name). I’m a window cleaner and I’d like to clean your windows in exchange for a free pizza. You wanna do it? They’ll look way better than your delivery guy and some windex.” Adjust your sales pitch as you get better at it. You should be able to obtain many free pizzas. Please contact us (below) and let us know if you were not able to score a free pizza. We would be happy to give advice.
2.) The Residential Home Window Cleaning Niche
The residential window cleaning niche requires just a more investment than the storefront niche. The profitability is much higher. Most established window cleaning companies will charge anywhere from $4 – $5 per pane to clean a residential home. The residential niche offers repeat business but not on a monthly or bi-monthly schedule like the storefront niche. Residential customers tend to request services an average of one to four times per year. Each client varies and there will always be the occasional builder, real estate agent, special event, etc. that will use the service on a different schedule. This is one of the most steadily profitable niches in the window cleaning industry. Because of the stable profit margin, many companies pay their residential employees on a commission structure when cleaning homes. The average receipt can range from $200 – $800 per job (and sometimes higher) depending on the neighborhood and the market. Hiring, training, and managing employees to work in this niche is much different than the storefront niche. It requires a much more systematic method of making a window cleaner “house-broken”. Proper training is important if you wish to have a successful residential window cleaning business that retains customers. It would help if you have a good game-plan or at least advice from someone who has started a successful residential window cleaning business in the past.
3.) The Commercial & “Mid-Rise” Window Cleaning Niche
We define the commercial & mid-rise window cleaning niche can be defined as: “Large non-residential buildings or campuses that are 2 stories or more that may require the use of, or a combination of the use of; aerial lifts, rope access, hanging scaffolds, or other methods to access the windows.” This niche is more difficult to enter especially if you intend to enter it with no prior experience.
Commercial and mid-rise window washing requires more training, equipment, employee skills, and more knowledge of OSHA laws and regulations. The sales process is also very different. There are less fly-by-nights doing this kind of work. Pricing mid-rise jobs is a little more sophisticated than just counting windows and fitting the number of panes into a formula. Successful bidding requires experience doing the actual work. Each building is different and each bid requires experienced thought and calculation. One big mistake would be to underbid a large corporate campus in order to obtain the job. A rookie might find himself/herself deep in the red half way through the job. It is possible to get into the niche as a beginner but you should do extensive research and/or find a good mentor to help when you have questions. The advertising & sales process to attract mid-rise clients requires different tactics also. It really helps to illustrate technical expertise when selling the service to these clients. Safety training can help not only to make your employees safer but can also aid in your sales and gain new clients.
4.) The High-Rise Window Cleaning Niche
The high-rise window cleaning niche is the most difficult to enter even with mid-rise experience. In many markets this niche may not exist, but in large markets like downtown Chicago, Minneapolis, or New York, there is an added difficulty establishing clients and performing the work. You will need to be familiar and experienced with on-site installations of access equipment. You will also need to work closely with building engineers and equipment manufacturers regularly to inspect and certify the equipment. In some large markets there are union companies that have strongholds in downtown areas. In some cases, you might actually need to be a union company yourself in order to work on certain buildings. In many cases however, a good amount of experience, references, and a strong track record of serving large clients will prove your experience and legitimacy. It takes time to get into this niche without having a strong corporate name and proven experience and legitimacy.
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