If you want to be your own boss, starting a window cleaning business is a great option. It can be a simple venture that doesn’t need much initial investment to get going.
In this how-to guide, we talk you through what you need to start a window cleaning business, from equipment, to training and insurance.
How to start a window cleaning business
If you’re thinking of starting a traditional window cleaning business, you could start (in theory) with just a bucket and a squeegee. But by starting small, you might be limiting where your business could go in the future.
You could start window cleaning with as little as £100. But keep in mind, you’ll want to put your business on a firm footing with the right equipment, training, and marketing.
With this in mind, creating a business plan will help you nail the specifics of what you want to do with your new venture.
It’ll get you thinking about how your business will grow, who your competitors are, and the size of your market.
You’ll also need a legal structure for your business, whether you choose to be a sole trader, limited company, or enter into a partnership.
Window cleaning kit – what do I need?
Buckets, sponges, squeegees, scrapers, and blades – these are well known as the traditional window cleaning equipment.
For domestic window cleaning, you should also think about buying:
Keep in mind that the above equipment can also set you up to do commercial window cleaning for high street shops and small offices. Many commercial window cleaners will also have a base of domestic customers.
Window cleaning equipment for larger businesses
If you want to target larger commercial premises, it’s likely you’ll need more specialist window cleaning supplies. These could include:
Water-fed pole vs traditional window cleaning
Traditional window cleaning was the norm for many years, but now water-fed poles are also commonplace.
Despite the newer technology, it’s vital to train yourself and your employees in traditional window cleaning skills. Many businesses still use them for cleaning interior windows.
Some customers might also request that you clean windows in the traditional way. Water-fed poles can suffer from equipment failure, and might not always be able to access hard-to-reach windows.
You’ll also need to have the ability to carry your water-fed pole equipment around with you, and it’s a more costly investment.
Although using water-fed poles may take some time to master, many window cleaners say that the results achieved are better than traditional methods. You need to weigh up the pros and cons of each method and decide what’s right for you.
How much do window cleaners make?
As with any business, this depends on several factors. These factors include:
the location and size of your round
the type of customers you’re targeting
how much you receive in tips from your customers
However, it seems that investing in the right window cleaning tools now could pay off in the future.
For example, according to the British Window Cleaning Academy (BWCA), almost all window cleaners with reach and wash systems could quite comfortably turn over £25 an hour and at least £200 a day.
Water-fed poles allow you to get through more jobs, but the earning opportunity for traditional window cleaners is still substantial.
Some window cleaners even combine both techniques. By focusing on your customer service and working hard, you should be able to earn money whatever window cleaning set up you choose.
Window cleaning training
Although window cleaning is perhaps safer than its reputation suggests, it’s vital to give health and safety proper consideration.
You’ll need to check all the laws and health and safety regulations that apply to window cleaning businesses. To get started, read the Health and Safety Executive’s guidance on window cleaning.
As well as reading health and safety regulations, take some time to research the training and qualifications that window cleaners need.
These courses can be both for you and your staff. Just like investing in equipment, investing in training will pay off as it cements your business’s reputation as trustworthy and reliable.
The BWCA and FWC (Federation of Window Cleaners) have accredited training days and window cleaner courses.
How to market your window cleaner business
You can definitely think big when it comes to marketing your business. Window cleaning can be competitive, so you’ll want to stand out from the crowd.
Consider your business plan and remember that your marketing efforts will drive your business growth.
Your business plan should also make it clear what your unique selling point will be.
For example, are you going to provide a cheap service, or base your business around providing quality? Your marketing can then reflect that.
Things to think about include:
online marketing – pay-per-click, SEO, and social media marketing can help you to generate leads
listing your business – use sites like Google My Business and Yell.com to make sure you come up when people search online for window cleaners
traditional marketing – business cards, door-to-door canvassing, and flyering are effective ways of building your window cleaning company
Read our comprehensive guide on how to market a small business for a full overview of social media, email marketing, SEO, content marketing, reviews, networking, and traditional marketing.
Alternative marketing tips for window cleaners
Other ways to create brand recognition include getting your logo and brand applied on your window cleaning van, putting your logo onto t-shirts, and teaming up with other tradespeople to cross-market your services.
You can even buy established window cleaning rounds from other window cleaners, so if you want a ready-made solution (and have the money to make the investment) this could be something to explore.
Window cleaning insurance
Whether you opt for the traditional method or water-fed pole, accidents can happen, so anybody thinking about starting a window cleaner business should consider business insurance.
Having the right insurance will not only give you peace of mind, but will also help to establish your brand as trustworthy and reliable.
Your clients and staff will trust you to be an expert on health and safety, and they would expect you to have the appropriate covers in place too.
These might include:
These are some of the key covers, but there are plenty more you can add as part of a tailored policy.
Is window cleaning the right business for you?
If there’s one thing that puts a lot of people off a career in window cleaning, it’s the prospect of regular work at height.
But as the BWCA explains: “The reality is that modern window cleaners don’t generally use ladders at all.” In fact, the Health and Safety Executive recommends that ladders are only used for low-risk, short-duration work.
Current window cleaning technology allows people to operate from the safety of the ground, should they prefer. Lightweight extendable poles with a soft bristled brush can clean the window, while a jet of pure water rinses the glass at the same time.
This means that even those terrified of heights can become a window cleaner if they really want. And as windows always need cleaning, there’ll always be a market.
Ready to start a window cleaning business?
Starting a window cleaning business will require time and devotion, but the opportunity to be your own boss and run a business can be very rewarding.
Make sure you’ve done all your research and identified locations where demand will be high. Come up with a great business plan, and then put it into action.
Here are some useful guides to help you get your business up and running:
Are you looking to start your own window cleaning business? Let us know in the comments below.
Photograph 1: Coka/stock.adobe.com