New Business - Power Washing or Power Washing and Window Washing?


#1

I have purchased a new trailer with 8 GPM cold/hot water machine, 500 gallon water tank, 65 gallon chemical tank, two hose reels, ladder rack, I’m sure I’m missing some pieces of equipment.

I am a Captain with the local fire department, I work 10 twenty four hour days per month, so I have plenty of time to invest in the business.

Would you recommend purchasing water purifying equipment and a water fed pole in order to provide window cleaning in your first year of business? I do not want to market window washing without a water fed pole as I think washing windows without one would not be an efficient use of my time, do you agree with this thought process?

If you could do your first year in business with the knowledge you have now what would you do?

Thank you in advance for your advice!


#2

welcome to the forum. I would go out and get some power washing jobs and see what kind of demand you get for window washing. Start with one service, power washing (house, drive, side walk, deck, fence…) and see how it goes. If you get a lot of people wanting windows done too, then get the equipment to do it right. It’s always better to have the work and need the equipment than have the equipment and need the work. Just don’t over promise on what you can do.


#3

I agree. I would take what you have and hit the ground running and see what the demand is for windows. You don’t have to start out of the gate doing everything. Pick something and get proficient with it. You can always add services and equipment down the road.


#4

Depends on where you’re located and what is the TDS of the water in your area. In either case I’d follow the advice given to you above. It’s always something you can add later or in my case you choose not to do. You don’t have to be all things to all people. In fact you’re probably better off not.


#5

Although I agree with my mentor Rick @Racer, I do both. I can tell you that if you never offer window cleaning as an add-on, you’ll never get a window cleaning job. It IS an easy upsell, but can be a pain in the tukus. I suggest getting proficient as a PWer, and you’ll know the right time to expand. ALAS, for my mentor, despite the squeegee I sent him, that time will likely never come.


#6

If you’re going to do windows strictly as an add-on to housewashing jobs, then I think it’d be silly to not use a WFP for that purpose. Whether or not that is a first year investment, or something that comes later, I think will come down to demand and how well you do getting established in power washing.

A WFP is generally not a great tool for first time window cleaning without doing a housewash first. It’s difficult to get the windows perfectly clean the first time without the assistance of the detergents. I also inform customers when I’m doing a housewash + exterior window clean, that I’m providing a pure water scrub and rinse treatment that will get the windows looking 90+% better, but probably not perfect. I prefer to under-promise and over-deliver.

That is a really tricky question to answer. A lot of the knowledge gained in this business is from experience, not reading. So it would require some sort of “Bezalel & Oholiab” brain-download to start off with all that information the first year.

But because I’m kind of bored, let’s entertain the idea that I received miraculous inspiration and had all the knowledge and experience I needed in my first year:

I would get a business loan for at least $50k. Go all in. Setup a 2 man rig on a 1 ton flatbed, with everything needed to wash houses, concrete, roofs, and windows. I would work with a full time helper for the first year, training him to be a lead tech. Reinvest everything possible into marketing, and saving towards a second rig. The plan would be to add one full timer each year, and another rig every other year. Build up to 4 or 5 crews of two. So it’s an 8-10 year plan. By year 3, I would want to be completely debt free, including vehicle loans, and expanding from the profits.

This plan would require that I was in a more populous area than I am now. It would also require living pretty simply, and not taking much of a personal salary. The focus would be on the long term goal of an owner-absent company. Then I’d probably get into commercial real estate or something that I could leverage my cash more easily.


#7

I’m currently considering the same thing.

From what I’ve been reading though, WFPs can have a tough time on stubborn finger prints / grease / etc where bronze wool might be needed. That being said I have seen setups with bronze wool mounted on the reverse side of a WFP. This sort of seems tough to manage and not being up close with a window (WFP to second story) I would imagine it could be easy to miss stubborn spots.

So, if one was to add on windows perhaps the good ol fashioned squeegee by hand method would produce better results and in turn happier customers?


#8

Doing a softwash prior to window cleaning pretty much levels the playing field for WFP vs Trad methods. If you have a really neglected job, agitating the glass before rinsing off the housewash solution should improve the outcome. Also using one of the bronze wool pads on an RHG “reach around” or similar tool holder should take care of 99% of contaminants found on a first time clean (apart from heavy paint overspray).

I always try and undersell the results of a post-housewash window cleaning, by calling it a “pure water scrub and rinse” that will make the windows look 90% better after I’m done washing their house.

But so far, I’ve been quite happy with the results. Happy enough that I don’t need to reclean the exteriors when the customer wants their interior windows cleaned, as well. And I’m quite picky about how my full in & out window cleaning jobs turn out.


#9

I agree with @Infinity… bleach and eliminator get the windows pretty clean. Especially where you would have problems with a WFP (oxidized/dirty frames, and dirty seals)

When I scrub after softwashing the house I barely feel any friction on the glass…rinse…boom your done

Go scrub a dirty window you haven’t softwashed and it wil feel like sand paper.

Other then raising prices , exterior windows is an easy way to increase your avg ticket.


#10

It’s also a unique selling proposition that can differentiate you from your competition. I LOVE offering external window cleaning for only $4 per window with a house wash. That’s a third-off my regular fee of $6 per window. WHAT A BARGAIN!


#11

Find 3 things your good at and stick with it.


#12

@MrSparkleVA does someone manage your social media or do you?


#13

I have Mr. Pipeline working away for me. They post on my Google page every week (sometimes I forget), however, I’m slightly out of date on my Facebook page. I’ll do more as we have more to talk about. I guess, to think about it, I’m actually not very active socially. HOWEVER, an active Google page is REALLY an important adjunct to a website in moving up in the ranks with Google search engine.


#14

I just hired mr pipeline. That’s why I asked. Your post looked/felt eriely similar lol. I signed up for SEO. I plan on creating a post and writing up a review in 3-4 months once I see some results. I’m excited to see them work


#15

i WILL ADMIT THAT i WAS HOPING FOR QUICKER SEO RESULTS from Mr. Pipeline, but the dashboard that Mr. Pipeline uses gives all the info at my fingertips to display progress with Google AND Bing, I seem to be doing better at this point with the Google adwords. As time and fine tuning go forward, I’ll find better results from the SEO. BTW, I also have Mr. Pipeline managing my website so that they are responsible for everything online for Mr. Sparkle, Elite Window Cleaner and Pressure Pro.


#16

It can take 6 months before you see much results from SEO, ie why you do the adwords.


#17

I’m giving it 6 months but hoping for 4


#18

Would you recommend the ad words? I tried it a while back managed by myself and went through $400 with one call. I had everything setup right. I did quite a bit of research and used a list from
another power washers Arsenal. Positive and negative keywords that worked for him. Theoretically should have worked for me, but it didn’t. I chalked it up to my area. I may give it another go come March. I’m not sure if Mr. pipeline will do anything different then myself.

Do they have a contractual agreement for ad words?


#19

I pay a set amount per month for AdWords I told them what my budget would allow but the market here is different. Since the 21st I’ve had 6 clicks. Overall all it’s been well worth it. I did one job that would almost cover my budget for the year


#20

I did ad words through them. I need to have a sit-down talk with them some time. Didn’t get a ton of calls, but obviously got a ton a clicks. I have AdWords turned off at the moment, because almost $500/month in AdWords, plus the $150 for them to run it, drains the account quick when it’s not pulling any work in. I think you’re right about AdWords for one location not working well in others. I only made enough from Google ads to break even with the cost to run them. Made more from word of mouth, Facebook, home advisor, and being first or second in local searches with a couple 5 star reviews. I do keep my Google business page active with posts and pics, which I’m sure has helped immensely.