Do you want to start a window cleaning business? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a window cleaning business with NO money and no experience plus a sample window cleaning business plan template. If you are an entrepreneur wondering what business you can start up easily, then you should think about the window cleaning business. The cleaning business industry is divided into two primary sectors – the consumer and the commercial sectors.
In the consumer sector, entrepreneurs usually concentrate on residential homes, while in the commercial sector, the focus is primarily on offices, business buildings and complexes. The cleaning business is not one that involves the use of too much technology and it can be done on a part-time or full time basis. It is quite easy to generate revenue and build a profitable business even if you are running the business from home or from a commercial location.
Deciding the right rate to charge your clients for your window cleaning services is very important especially if you intend to run this business on a full scale and employ others to work with you as well. You would need to consider several factors such as your competitors, additional services you might be offering and what kind of client you are offering your services to – residential or commercial. All in all, the window cleaning business is a good one to start and reading more of the article below should help convince you to go ahead and start the business.
17 Steps to Starting a Window Cleaning Business With No Money
Table of Content
- 2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
- 4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
- 5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
- 9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
- 10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
- 11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
- 12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- 13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
- 14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
- 15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
- 16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
- 17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
1. Understand the Industry
The window cleaning business is a sector in the cleaning industry and holistically, the industry is divided into commercial janitorial services, residential cleaning, specialty cleaning and dry cleaning services. As at 2015, there were 875,000 cleaning businesses employing close to 3.5 million people in the united states of America.
The cleaning industry is however one that is prone to economic downturn as most businesses in this industry experienced a tough period after revenue fell in 2008 through 2009. This is because cleaning services especially those in the residential category are deemed expendable when things become terrible in the industry.
The cleaning service industry however bounced back in 2015 as it generated close to $51 billion. The sudden growth in this industry can be attributed to more people becoming employed and therefore being able to spare extra cash without fear in order to pay for cleaning services.
Also, the growth in the economy has enabled more offices to spend for cleaning services. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy is bound to continue growing for the next five years. The BLS is also predicting a 6% growth for jobs from the period of 2014 to 2022.
According to IBISWorld, there are no companies with a dominant market share in this industry. The janitorial service industry which is a part of the cleaning industry is a $53 billion industry which had an annual 1.6% growth between the periods of 2011 to 2016. There are more than 900,000 businesses in this industry that has employed close to 1.9 million people.
The industry is one of the key ones in the commercial cleaning services and has grown quite moderately as demand had also been moderate only just increasing in the last five years. The increase has been caused by an increase in non-residential construction activity and a decrease in office vacancy rates.
The commercial cleaning service industry is the most common service that is being provided in this industry and it provides a wide variety of cleaning services as well as janitorial services. Services in this industry can range from industrial cleaning services on a full scale as well as carpet cleaning services on a simple scale.
The other sector of the cleaning service industry is the laundry and dry cleaning which consists of self-service facilities, wash and fold service, as well as dry cleaning business; and they are usually owned by families with some being owned by big chain stores. There are close to 33,000 of these kinds of businesses which as at 2015 generated revenue of close to $11 billion.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who require window cleaning services are not restricted to just residential home owners but also businesses – small or big, religious institutions, educational institutions, health institutions, foreclosure businesses, and damage and restoration businesses.
Also, the number of aged people who cannot clean their own windows are increasing in population, more couples are working to bring in dual income, including those that have health challenges, which makes it an all-encompassing sector that cannot be restricted to a certain group of people.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
The window cleaning business is one that is not only easy to start up but is also able to offer the entrepreneur the flexibility in offering other services that will allow for an increase in revenue and help sustain and grow the business to compete favorably against competitors in the industry.
Typically, those in this kind of business usually offer more services so as to attract customers thereby having a huge share of the target market. However, there are several factors that would need to be taken into consideration when offering more services such as staff strength and the financial capability of the business.
Usually, smaller businesses offer few services compared to bigger businesses, which is why smaller businesses strive to offer more personalized services in order to compete favorably against other businesses. If you intend offering other services in addition to your window cleaning service, here are some niche areas that you might need to look into in order to generate more revenue for your business;
- Residential cleaning
- Commercial cleaning
- Damage restoration cleaning
- Exterior window cleaning
- Janitorial services
- Specialty cleaning services
The Level of Competition in the Industry
The window cleaning business might be a simple one that offers the entrepreneur enough flexibility, but according to analysts, this industry even though there might be an increase in demand for its services, may not be growing so much due to the fact that there is stiff competition especially as the barrier to entry is very low when compared to other industries.
However, no matter how simple the business might be, it is best to go into such business with an aim of getting a large share of the target market by offering services that will allow you have an edge over your competitors in the industry.
It is usually difficult for new window cleaning businesses to get a huge share of the target market as already established window cleaning companies usually have an advantage especially with the clients’ relationships that might have been built over the years and the ease in offering other services as well. However, smaller window cleaning businesses are usually able to compete by offering discounts in their prices or personalized additional services to their customers in order to also get a fair share of the target market.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
Having well-known brands is something that is common across all industries regardless of what kind. Well-known brands are those that are known not only by the intended target market but also by competitors and other stakeholders in the industry.
Some of the leading window cleaning brands in the United States of America and even globally are;
- ABM Industries
- Pro One Janitorial
- Service One
- Anago Cleaning Systems
- Cleaning Wizard
- AMC Cleaning Group
Even though the rates for a window cleaning business varies depending on the location, the kind of clients, and the type of windows cleaned, there is still an average price that one shouldn’t go below when charging the customers, and so these are one of what you would need to find out before starting your window cleaning business. If you however intend to go below the standard price, it should be because you are handling a high volume of jobs for your client and therefore offering a discount.
The window cleaning business is one that requires little money to start up especially when it comes to buying equipment, however, if you intend to go into the commercial sector and handle high rise office buildings, then you would need to procure more equipment and your start-up would be higher than an average window cleaning business who will not need equipment such as scaffolding to start up.
The window cleaning business no matter how easy to start up is an economic dependent business which means that demands increase when the economy is in good shape and decreases when the economy experiences a downturn. However, any entrepreneur going into this business should be able to add other services in order to be able to run the business in case of an economic downturn.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
Starting your window cleaning business from scratch or buying a franchise is a decision that you would need to make on your end and it would depend on what the end vision of your business is. In buying a franchise, it is very important that you conduct a thorough research on which franchise would be best for your business.
However, starting off your business from scratch has its advantages as well because you are firmly in control of your business and can take the decisions you feel is right for your business without having to follow a predetermined guideline. Starting your business from scratch will lead you to conduct a thorough research on every aspect of your business and also allow you to make changes and successfully ensure that your business is able to adapt to these changes.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
There are several threats and challenges that will be faced by an entrepreneur starting a window cleaning business in the United States of America. Usually, these challenges and threats are not something that any entrepreneur can control, which is why innovative entrepreneurs usually prepare for them.
Some of the threats and challenges that you are going to face during the course of running your window cleaning business are the downturn of the economy and intense competition from your rivals in terms of prices and additional services.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
Knowing which legal entity would best suit your business is important and so most entrepreneurs usually approach a law attorney or an accountant well versed in this kind of business to help decide which legal entity is best for the window cleaning business.
Basically, there are four types of legal entities that you can consider in starting up your window cleaning business and they are; sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC) and a Corporation. Each of these legal entities come with advantages and disadvantages, such as varied types of liabilities, ease of set up and procedures needed to start up these legal entities, income tax as well as the investment needs of the business.
The sole proprietorship is one of the easiest legal entities to start up and doesn’t require you having to deal with much paperwork, however, you should be aware that should you run into any debt or legal trouble during the course of running your business, you are likely not going to be protected from any sort of liability.
The Corporation and the Limited Liability Company (LLC) are a more formal kind of legal entities as they are difficult to start up and usually require the help of an attorney or an accountant that is knowledgeable about the kind of business to help set it up.
Most entrepreneurs who start this kind of business usually choose the LLC kind of business structure because of the protection it offers their business especially in terms of liabilities. Also an LLC offers great tax benefits for the entrepreneur. While you might start up with a sole proprietorship kind of legal entity, you can change to an LLC as your business grows.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
Choosing a suitable name for your window cleaning business is very important as your business name must be one that is unique, creative and easily memorable especially for your clients, stakeholders in the industry and even your competitors.
The name that you choose for your business must also be one that tells of the kind of business and industry you are into, this will lead to spending less on publicity to educate those in the industry about what you do. If therefore you are stumped on what names to choose for your window cleaning business, below are some good names you can choose from;
- Professional Window Cleaning Services
- Clean Chinks Window Services
- Kelvin Windows and other cleaning services
- Clean Right Windows LLC
- Wipe Clean Windows Services
- TTT Windows Cleaning Services
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
Because this is a kind of business that would require you to be on the property of your clients, it is highly important that you get the right insurance before starting the business. Insurance is mandatory in most states in the United States of America as there is a probability that you or your employee might fall while climbing to clean the window or might get injured in the course of carrying out your job.
While there are basic insurance policies that you might need to purchase, it is also essential that you approach an insurance agent or broker to help guide you on the best insurance policies that would be suitable for your business.
In the window cleaning business especially one where you have to use scaffolds to get to certain places, clients would usually want to see that you have insurance so that should there be any sort of trouble in the course of carrying out your job, they wouldn’t be held liable.
While, there are basic insurance policies that you would need to get, it is still best to approach an insurance broker or agent so that you will be put through on what insurance policies would best suit your kind of business. Therefore some of the basic insurance policies that you should consider purchasing if you intend to start your window cleaning business in the United States of America are;
- General Insurance
- Liability Insurance
- Workers’ Compensation Insurance
- Long term Disability Insurance
- Health Insurance
- Payment protection Insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
The window cleaning business is one that falls under the services industry and is therefore not seen as the sort of business where there is a need to apply for intellectual property protection. This does not however mean that during the course of running a window cleaning business, you might not discover something that you would deem important enough to intellectually protect, however such occurrences are few and a rarity in the service industry.
Some entrepreneurs usually however apply to protect the name of their business, their logo, slogan or even jingle and if this is important, you might consider doing this as well. However, it should be noted that most entrepreneurs in the window cleaning business do not usually consider this a reality.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
Depending on the kind of window cleaning services you intend to offer, you might need to go for some sort of training to handle certain kinds of equipment. However, it should be noted that the window cleaning business is not one that needs a professional certification before starting the business.
Most of what is required from clients is the skill and ability to ensure that all windows no matter where they are placed are cleaned well and with the right chemicals.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
Not having the right documents in place might lead you to be banned from running that kind of business and even paying a fine as well. Therefore, some of the basic documents that you would be required to have in order to start and run your own window cleaning business in the United States of America are;
- Business License
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Operating Agreement
- Business Plan
- Contract Documents
- Insurance Policies
- Employment Agreement
- Federal Tax Identification Number
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
The window cleaning business is not one that requires huge capital to start up, it however requires capital all the same especially if you intend to go into the commercial sector and also employ people to work with you. Having a business plan is therefore important as it allows you to be able to seek a loan or approach an investor to get the necessary capital you would require for your business.
Some of the available options that you would therefore need to explore whilst starting your own window cleaning business are;
- Generating start-up capital from personal savings and sale of stocks
- Sourcing for soft loans from friends and family members
- Applying for loan from the bank
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
The window cleaning business is one that can be run from anywhere – home or via a commercially leased office facility. Wherever you intend locating your business does not matter as long as you are able to get to the location of your client on time to carry out your window cleaning services.
If you are living in the hub of your target market, you can decide to run your window cleaning services from home but you need to consider how many competitors are operating from your area, how fast you are able to get to your customers compared to your competitors, if you would be able to generate a steady stream of income as well as other underlying factors. Running your business from home might help with your overhead expenses, as you can use your garage to store your equipment and also create a desk for paperwork.
While running your window cleaning business from home is a wise decision if you are starting your business newly or if you are running a low scale business, but there are several advantages that you would however get by running your business from a leased facility especially if you are going to be offering several niches.
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
The window cleaning business is one that is very simple to start up and requires little or no technicality. Also, the tools and equipment that are used in starting the window cleaning business is one that can be easily gotten online or from a hardware store.
Also, fairly used tools and equipment can be purchased and used in running the window cleaning business. There are certain basic tools that you would need to start the window cleaning business in order to carry out a neat job for your clients. However, you would not be required to break the bank in getting these tools.
There are; buckets, water hoses, gloves, cleaning pad, cleaning chemicals, scaffolds (for commercial purposes), first aid kit, multi-ladder as well as a vehicle.
Regarding the number of people that you would need to run your window cleaning business efficiently and also be able to grow it to the scale and level you want, you would need to get; a chief executive officer (which is usually the owner – you), a human resources and administrative manager, a front desk officer, field workers, a marketer, a driver as well as a cleaner.
Therefore, in order to be able to run your window cleaning business efficiently and effectively, you would need a minimum of 8 key staff.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
While it is usually easy to clean windows that are in residential homes, it is not so easy to do so in the commercial area where you might have to clean windows in offices and high rise complexes.
It is important that the right chemical be used in cleaning the windows so as not to leave streaks that might make your clients not to be satisfied with your services. Wearing gloves is a necessity as the chemicals used might be a little harsh on the skin. Wearing a nose mask is also necessary as you should not breathe in the fumes from the chemical or the dust from a thoroughly dirty window.
In cleaning high rise buildings, a scaffold is usually necessary as it will allow you to clean windows that are in high places that cannot however be reached otherwise. While having a scaffold might seem like a huge investment, you could always rent one for use when you have jobs where the windows are high up.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
There are certain things that must however be in place before you create your market strategies and part of this is a company profile. Clients want to know about your company when you market your window cleaning services to them such as how many of such jobs you have handled, and if you are going to be able to handle the job and meet their expectations. This is why it is usually necessary to start your business by working for close friends and family members in order to build a profile that will keep on attracting clients to your window cleaning business.
Another thing that would help you in drafting the right strategies for your window cleaning business is your overall goal and corporate revenue generating objectives. The right marketing strategies will help ensure that you not only generate revenue but also grow and sustain your business.
Therefore, some of the platforms that you will need to market your window cleaning business include;
- Create a professional brochure with services, rates and contact information attached and use this to attract corporate clients to your window cleaning business
- Ensure that you advertise your window cleaning business in local newspapers and magazines as well as on radio and television stations
- Ensure that your window cleaning business is well listed in business yellow pages as well as online directories
- Use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to market your window cleaning business
- Distribute handbills and paste fliers in strategic locations
- Create flexi banners and place them in conspicuous and strategic locations in order to market your window cleaning business
17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
Ensuring that the brand of your business is boosted is very important because it is a form of communication that will change how customers perceive your business. It is therefore important that you think of strategies that will boost your business and allow your business grow and boom. A well-crafted publicity strategy is what will ensure that your business is recognized as one of the well-known brands in the industry.
The internet has made it possible for businesses to reach their customers effectively and yet inexpensively as well. One great advantage of the internet apart from its inexpensiveness is its ability to penetrate the target market and get a fair share of the market.
Below therefore are some of the platforms that can be used to boost your brand awareness and create a corporate identity;
- Create an official website and use this to raise awareness for your business
- Place adverts in local newspapers, magazines as well as on radio and television stations
- Distribute handbills and fliers in strategic locations
- Encourage your loyal customers to help spread the word about your business
- Use social media platforms to help create awareness about your business