How to Start a Window Cleaning Business

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Image of squeegee cleaning a window

A Quick Overview of The Window Cleaning Business

Read this before starting a window cleaning business including hand-picked resources to get you the answers you need.

Window Cleaning Business Overview:

Window cleaning can be profitable and very a low-cost startup. It offers great financial rewards for people who want to work alone but still generate a decent income, whether living in a small town cleaning windows for homeowners or working in a busy area cleaning windows for businesses. You can also bring you immediate profits within days of starting and running a few ads or sending out some direct mail letters.

Glass is constantly getting dirty, and there are most likely dozens of small stores per block in the commercial districts of your city. The way most of these places stay looking nice is by hiring a professional window cleaner.

If you choose to expand, you’ll need to look into some more equipment, and you may need to hire on some employees. This is especially true if you manage to get work from the owner of an office building.

Something to consider is using a more industrial cleaner than the blue cleaning fluid you’re using on your countertops at home. Do a little bit of research on the fluids and soaps available, experiment a little, decide on which fluids work best, and don’t be afraid to try a new product now and then.

While shopping for cleaning chemicals, do some research on the chemicals themselves and how to properly and safely handle them. One of the benefits of hiring a professional window cleaner is that they have industrial strength chemicals that most people don’t have laying around under the sink.

Skill Set:

  • Clean windows so they are streak-free
  • Using a scaffold
  • The ability to work effectively on a scaffold
  • Comfortable with heights
  • Understand the various uses and safety precautions of cleaning agents
  • List of Common Business Skills

Employee and Job Consideration During The Start-Up Phase or In The Future:

Approximate Daily Hours Needed:

Commercial and residential window washers work general business hours during the weekdays and occasionally on the weekends.

Before opening and after hours activities – Assemble and load cleaning supplies, inventory control, call back and follow up with clients make calls drum up new business, keep accurate accounting and scheduling records.

Equipment, Supplies, & Services During Start-up OR In The Future:
  • Scaffoldings
  • Harnesses and other safety equipment
  • General equipment (squeegees, sponges, washcloths, towels, etc.)
  • Stronger cleaning chemicals (you’re going to be covering a larger area, and you don’t want to rely on elbow grease alone for a twelve-story building)
  • Hoses
  • Pressure Washer
  • Essential office Equipment

Monthly Expenses and Operating Costs To Consider:

  • Cleaning Chemicals

See our list of common business expenses

Licenses:

You may need to obtain a license to handle potentially dangerous chemicals and for good reason. Again, do the research! Some chemical mixtures can create toxic fumes. Look into the regulations in your area and see if you need any special qualifications to handle the materials you’re going to be using.

It is not required by law, but certification through the International Window Cleaning Association is recommended. IWCCI was created to help companies and their employees maintain their safety training.

See Our Page on Licenses and Permits

Approximate Minimum Startup Cost:

Bare essential – Startup costs can be less than $150. The materials can be bought at your local hardware store and include a window brush, a squeegee, a telescopic brush handle, some pails, a ladder, rags, soap, and chamois.

Tips And Considerations:
  • If you’re looking to expand, incorporate scaffoldings and high rises, make absolutely sure to address all of the requisite safety concerns. It looks like fun, but working on scaffoldings is dangerous. Invest in harnesses and other safety equipment. You may need to obtain additional licenses for yourself and your employees to work on scaffolding, as well.
Joining a Franchise or Going it Alone
  • For people who want to own their own business but would rather choose an opportunity that has proved successful for many others than gamble on developing their own system, a franchise is a way to go. Most franchises provide a degree of marketing support, particularly in the area of national advertising and name recognition, that’s extremely difficult for individuals to match.
  • In the long run, you’ll likely invest far less money operating as an independent service than as part of a franchise. Also, as an independent, you’re not tied to any formulas for the concept, name, services offered, etc.
  • The advantage of independence is that you can do things your way. The drawback is that you have no guidelines to follow. Everything you do, from defining your market to cleaning a bathtub, is a result of trial and error. As an independent owner, you must research every aspect of the business, both before and during your business’s lifetime, so you’ll start right and adapt to market changes.
Pros and Cons:

The Pros:

  • Become Your Own Boss
  • Generate revenue very quickly
  • Can be operated on either a part-time or full-time basis, from home or from a commercial location.
  • You can build a company that suits your individual style and talents. If you like doing the work yourself, you can stay small and do so. If your skills are more administrative in nature, you can build and manage teams to do the work
  • For people who like working outside, the opportunities in service areas such as window cleaning and pressure washing are abundant

The Cons:

  • Depending on your area, window washing can be highly competitive
  • Can be seasonal and work not available during times of inclement weather
Type of Customers:

To start with, it’s completely acceptable and commonplace for you to walk right into local stores and ask if they could need their windows cleaned. Many shops already employ a such a service, but there’s room in every town for more work. If this method winds up working for you, the local store may let you put a small flier up on the window (an example of your handiwork,) as free advertisement.

You can build a base of continuous customers where you keep a list of accounts under contract. This way, their windows are cleaned on a regular basis, giving you an automatic income you can depend on. This is not always the case with a lot of other businesses.

Revenue:

It is possible to generate $4,000 per month as a window washer, especially in the commercial industry. Once you grow and hire part-time help, your income can grow into the six-figure range.

Charge $25 to $30 an hour depending on what your area can bear, and hire window washing help at a fraction of that when you have grown large enough to do so.

Resources:

Equipment and Supplies:

Window Cleaning Resource

JRC

CWC Supply

ABC Window Cleaning Supply

Franchises:

Window Cleaning Franchise Directory

Squeegee Squad

Associations:

IWCA

eBooks

How to Start Your Window Cleaning Business the Right Way!