How to Start a Window Cleaning Business

Jul 14, 2020
9 minute read

Starting a window cleaning business can be a great way to get into entrepreneurship, especially if you have limited start-up funds and aren’t afraid to get your hands wet. After all, buildings will always need their windows cleaned, often on a regular basis, and most building owners would be happy to hire someone else to do the job. Window cleaners have no shortage of customers, and the potential for growth is high. With some hard work and smart business moves, you can make a decent return on your upfront investment in a window washing business and enjoy the freedom of being your own boss.

Ready to dive into the window cleaning business, but not sure how you make your entrepreneurship dreams come true? Getting your business off the ground and keeping it afloat requires research and planning, as well as an investment in branding and marketing to stay current and grow your client list. Never fear, we’ve compiled a step by step guide to help make your window cleaning business dream a reality.

Is a window cleaning business right for you?

Before you jump into entrepreneurship, consider if the window cleaning business is a good fit for your schedule, your lifestyle, and your start-up budget. The benefits of a window washing business include a flexible schedule, where you set your hours based on your clients’ needs, and the ability to be mobile, as you will need to travel to your clients. Another plus is that you don’t need a lot of start-up capital to start a window cleaning business, especially if you plan to keep your tools and supplies pretty basic. Often, $1,000-$2,000 in start-up capital is enough for you to pay for your upfront costs and dive right in.

To do this job well, you should be reasonably fit and able to do physical work for several hours at a time. Window washing is a highly physical job that often requires hours of lifting, wiping, and standing. If you are doing high rise window cleaning, you will need to be comfortable working at heights and able to dangle in the air while you clean. As an entrepreneur, you likely won’t be able to hire employees right away, especially if you are trying to keep your start-up costs low, so you will need to be prepared to do a lot of the work yourself.

Because people need their windows cleaned year-round, you will also need to be prepared to work during all seasons and in all types of weather. If you live in an area that gets really cold or really hot, you will have to accept you will be working outdoors on a constant basis as a window cleaner. But if you love the outdoors and don’t mind adverse weather conditions, window washing may be a good fit for you! 

To be successful as a window cleaner, you have to be self-motivated and disciplined, as you won’t have a manager or a boss to get you moving and connect you with clients. To grow your business during your first year of operation, you can’t be afraid to go out into your community, meet people, and market your services to raise your profile as a business owner. 

You will need to demonstrate that you are hard-working, trustworthy, and detail-oriented, so you rise above your competitors and grow your client list. Leaving a watermark or missing a spot on a window won’t impress your clients or encourage potential clients to hire you. Being tidy, conscientious, and clean during each window cleaning job will lead to repeat clients and referrals.

Identify the target audience for your business

In the window cleaning business, there are two main target audiences:

  • Domestic cleaning: These clients are homeowners or small business owners who require low rise window cleaning. This target audience is often easier to tap into than commercial cleaning, especially if you are not ready to invest in high rise window cleaning equipment and want to start small.
  • Commercial cleaning: These clients are office building owners or managers who are looking for high rise window cleaning. This target audience includes larger jobs with many windows to clean, often for tall buildings or skyscrapers. This market can be quite lucrative, but it requires a higher upfront investment in equipment as well as experience in high rise cleaning and safety.

You may start by focusing on domestic cleaning, particularly if you have limited start-up funds and are a one-person operation. If you have experience with commercial cleaning, working for another company or someone else, you might be prepared to jump right into this market. 

Regardless of which market you start with, always keep your target audience in mind when you brand and market your business. Focusing on the target audience for your business will ensure you are always connecting with current clients and encourage potential clients to pick your services.

Determine your window cleaning services and pricing

To determine your services, you first need to size up your competitors. Do a search for other window cleaning businesses in your area and contact them to see if they will answer questions about their pricing, their clients, and their services. You can also compare the services and prices advertised on their websites or on fliers in your area. 

Once you’ve done some research on your competitors, note which services are the most common or popular in your area. For example, you may notice your competitors offer a window cleaning package for small business owners that includes regular cleaning for a set fee. Or you may note that your competitors often run a summer special for clients to increase their business.

Price your window cleaning services within the range of your competitors. Most window cleaners charge by the hour, starting from $12-$15 an hour for private homes or storefronts. High rise window cleaning prices start a bit higher, at $15-$25 an hour, due to the extra physical challenges of the job. 

Some window cleaners prefer to charge by the number of window panes and the type of cleaning, such as inside and outside or inside only. The average price is $3-$5 per window pane and $2 per window screen. Consider lowering your price for customers who agree to regular cleaning for a set fee, as this can help you retain clients and create consistent revenue for your business.

Secure your cleaning supplies and transportation

Starting a window cleaning business doesn’t require a lot of supplies or overhead costs, especially if you’re starting small. Look up wholesale cleaning suppliers in your area and buy your cleaning supplies in bulk to save money. To do domestic cleaning for storefronts and private homes, you’ll need basic supplies like: cleaning solution, buckets, squeegees, scrubbers, an extension pole, microfibre cloths, and ladders. You may also want to invest in work boots and work overalls or clothing.

If you are focusing on commercial clients, where you’ll be cleaning high rises and tall buildings, make sure you invest in rope, a pulley, and rappelling equipment. You will also need to get a training license that shows clients you have been trained on how to safely clean high rise buildings.

Whether you’re focused on domestic or commercial clients, your business will need access to transportation like a work truck or vehicle so you can drive to clients to clean their windows. You may decide to lease or rent a work vehicle for your business so you can be mobile with all your supplies. Or you may already own a truck or van you can repurpose for your business. Having a vehicle for your business is a must, as your clients will expect you to come to them. 

Brand your window cleaning business

Set your business apart with a c