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How Much Does It Cost to Start a Window Cleaning Business? (Sales Forecast and Breakeven Analysis Included)

How to Start a Window Cleaning Business

If you are looking to start a window cleaning business, you can always start small with little or no money. But if you are looking to start a standard window cleaning business that can execute top-level contracts, especially for corporate organizations, then you must be ready to spend over $50,000.

Of course, you know that a window cleaning business is a service-oriented business that primarily cleans windows, but it is important to note that most window cleaning businesses also offer complimentary cleaning services such as hood cleaning, gutter cleaning, general house cleaning et al.

With the above explanation, it is safe to say that certain factors can determine what it will cost you to start a window cleaning business.

Estimated Cost Breakdown for Opening a Window Cleaning Business

  1. Business Registration and Licenses: $500 – $2,000
  2. Insurance: $1,000 – $3,000
  3. Equipment and Supplies: $5,000 – $10,000
  4. Vehicle: $10,000 – $25,000
  5. Marketing and Advertising: $2,000 – $5,000
  6. Office Space/Storage: $2,000 – $4,000 (initial setup and deposit)
  7. Training and Certifications: $500 – $2,000
  8. Uniforms and Branding: $500 – $1,500
  9. Scheduling, Invoicing and Payment Processing Software and Administrative Tools: $1,000 – $2,000

Operational Costs for the First Few Months

  1. Fuel and Vehicle Maintenance: $1,000 – $2,000
  2. Salaries and Wages: $0 – $10,000
  3. Emergency Fund/Contingency: $5,000 – $10,000

Total Estimated Cost of Opening a Window Cleaning Business: $28,000 – $66,500

3-Year Sales Forecast Summary

Year 1:

  • Jobs: 600
  • Revenue: $60,000
  • Net Profit: $28,000

Year 2:

  • Jobs: 900
  • Revenue: $90,000
  • Net Profit: $52,000

Year 3:

  • Jobs: 1,200
  • Revenue: $120,000
  • Net Profit: $76,000

Breakeven Point: 250 jobs

Sales Forecast Breakdown [Profit/Loss Statement]

1. Service Pricing and Costs

  • Average Revenue per Job (ARPJ): $100. This assumes a mix of residential and small commercial jobs.
  • Variable Cost per Job (VCPJ): $20. This includes cleaning supplies and transportation per job.

2. Fixed Costs:

  • Annual Fixed Costs: $20,000. This includes marketing, insurance, equipment depreciation, and any recurring costs not directly tied to the number of jobs.

3. Sales Volume and Growth:

  • Year 1: 600 jobs
  • Year 2: 900 jobs
  • Year 3: 1,200 jobs

Annual Revenue:

  • Year 1: 600 jobs x $100 = $60,000
  • Year 2: 900 jobs x $100 = $90,000
  • Year 3: 1,200 jobs x $100 = $120,000

Variable Costs:

  • Year 1: 600 jobs * $20 = $12,000
  • Year 2: 900 jobs * $20 = $18,000
  • Year 3: 1,200 jobs * $20 = $24,000

Gross Profit:

Gross Profit = Annual Revenue – Variable Costs

  • Year 1: $60,000 – $12,000 = $48,000
  • Year 2: $90,000 – $18,000 = $72,000
  • Year 3: $120,000 – $24,000 = $96,000

Net Profit:

Net Profit = Gross Profit – Fixed Costs:

  • Year 1: $48,000 – $20,000 = $28,000
  • Year 2: $72,000 – $20,000 = $52,000
  • Year 3: $96,000 – $20,000 = $76,000

Breakeven Analysis

To find the breakeven point in terms of the number of jobs:

Breakeven Point = Fixed Costs / (ARPJ – VCPJ)

Breakeven Jobs = $20,000 / ($100 – $20) 

Total Jobs Needed to Breakeven = 250 Jobs

This means that your window cleaning business needs to complete approximately 250 jobs per year to cover all its costs.

This forecast shows your window cleaning business can potentially be profitable in its first year and grow significantly over the next two years.

Key strategies that can help your window cleaning business become profitable in its first year include optimizing operational efficiency, expanding the customer base, and possibly increasing the ARPJ through upselling additional services.

Factors That Influence the Cost of Opening a Window Cleaning Business

  1. The Cost of Equipment and Supplies

The truth is that no matter the size of the window cleaning business you want to start, you must make provisions for some essential equipment and supplies.

For example, if you are looking to start a window cleaning business, then you must have a budget for squeegees, window cleaning solutions,

Extension poles, scrubbers, buckets, ladders, microfiber cloths, razor blades, window cleaning applicators, T-bars, window scrapers, window cleaning brushes, safety equipment (e.g., gloves, goggles), cleaning solution dilution system, and water-fed pole system.

Note that the amount you are expected to spend in this regard will depend on the scale of operations or the size of your window cleaning business.

  1. Business Licenses and Permits

You know that without the requisite business licenses and permits, you may not be allowed to legally operate a window cleaning business in some jurisdictions in the United States.

In case you are not sure of what obtains in your city as it relates to licensing and permits, you may want to consult with local authorities.

But generally, you should at least make provisions for licenses and permits such as business license, contractor’s license (if required by state or local regulations), trade license (if applicable, such as for chemical handling), sales tax permit,

Environmental permit (if using chemicals), sign permit (if placing signs on properties), occupational license, and home occupation permit (if operating from home).

Note the jurisdiction where you want to start your window cleaning business will determine how much you will spend on licenses and permits.

  1. Insurance Costs

As a window cleaning business owner, it is expected that you go to sites to work, and in some cases, you will be required to climb buildings.

This can be risky hence it is required that a window cleaning business owner purchase the required insurance policy cover for the business.

The types of insurance you should subscribe to for a window cleaning business might differ and will usually be based on the risks that the business is exposed to.

But generally, you should make plans to purchase general liability insurance, worker’s compensation insurance, commercial auto insurance, property insurance, professional liability insurance (errors & omissions), umbrella liability insurance, and business interruption insurance.

  1. Marketing and Advertising Expenses

Unlike someone who sells products in his or her store, a window cleaning business offers services in the facility of its clients hence it must reach out to its target market to market its services.

This is why you must not fail to create a budget for your new window cleaning business. You can start with door-to-door marketing and reach out to residents and businesses in and around your community.

Apart from that, you can also post adverts on billboards, newspapers, coffee shops, train stations, social media platforms, local television and radio stations et al.

  1. Training and Certification Fees

As stated earlier, if you are looking to start a window cleaning business, you may have to create a budget for training and certifications.

Even if not for yourself as the business owner, but for your employees who you will deploy to the field to carry out window cleaning services. There are different types of training and certifications you can subscribe to for a window cleaning business.

Depending on your budget for training and certification, you may want to consider International Window Cleaning Association (IWCA) Certification, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Training,

American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Window Cleaning Safety Standard Certification, Water-Fed Pole System Training, and High-Rise Window Cleaning Training.

  1. Vehicle Costs (if using company vehicles)

Another factor that can influence how much it will cost you to start a window cleaning business is your vehicle costs especially if you have a dedicated vehicle for the business. When we talk about vehicle costs, we are talking about the costs that are associated with keeping the vehicle in shape.

For example, your vehicle cost will include expenditures such as fueling, servicing and maintenance, tool fees, renewal of vehicle licenses, and any other costs that come as a result of using the vehicle for business.

Interestingly, you might not be able to have a concrete budget for this initially until you have successfully run the business for a while.

  1. Labor Costs (if hiring employees)

Usually, if you are looking to start a standard window cleaning business, you are required to hire some employees to work with you.

The only reason why you may not want to hire an employee is if you choose to go solo. But as expected, for a standard window cleaning business, you are expected to hire key employees to occupy key roles in your organization.

In essence, you should create a budget for your employees such as window cleaners, an office manager/administrative assistant, sales representatives, a scheduler/dispatcher, field supervisor, and an accounts payable/accounts receivable specialist.

  1. Initial Operating Expenses (such as office rent, utilities, etc.)

These expenses may cover office and storage rents, your utilities (software, phone, internet), and your launch party expenses. Interestingly, there is no fixed amount you are expected to set aside for this cost.