One's windows are a defining feature of a home or office space. They provide a great link between the inside and outside of a space, and they can also be a great architectural feature.
The problem is - they can be really difficult to clean and maintain properly. Clean the inside in full sun and you could leave streaks. Clean the outside with the wrong solution and you may as well start over. But with this challenge though comes a great opportunity to build and monetize a side hustle.
Here is how to start a window cleaning business in 2023.
What is a window cleaning business?
A window cleaning business is a company focused on visiting customer homes and businesses in order to clean and maintain windows at a property. When visiting a job site, businesses will ensure that the windows are clean, clear, dirt/grime free, and clear of any other debris that could impact the clarity through the glass.
What services do window cleaning businesses offer?
Window cleaning businesses offer a number of services beyond just washing windows. Other commonly offered services include:
Window frame and sill cleaning
How to start a window cleaning business
Part of the reason why window cleaning businesses are such a good side hustle is because of the ease in growing your operation. Before that, you'll need to get up and running using these 7 steps:
Learn how to clean windows
Craft a business plan
Establish your business
Market your services
Impress your clients
1. Learn how to clean windows
Before you can grow a window cleaning business, you'll need to know how to perform the work at a high level. At some point in the future, you'll likely want to hire help to do the work for you, but that is down the line.
Start off by learning to polish both the inside and outside of the window area, as well as any other services you plan on offering.
While you'll decide on these services later, it is important to become a subject matter expert in the area.
2. Craft a business plan
Before you go any further, you should write a thorough business plan.
You can start off by naming your business, but your business plan should also address more pressing business decisions, including:
The exact services you plan on providing (reference above or add your own)
Who your target customers are (residential, commercial, etc.)
How you plan on pricing your services
A 3-year financial projection
Your business' strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
You're probably wondering how you should pick answers to these questions. As a side hustle and potential entrepreneur, you should always make data driven decisions. The easiest way to do so is by conducting market research.
Performing market research
Market research is the lifeblood of any product or service-based side hustle. The goal here is simple - by talking to people that make up your target customer base, you can gain insights about things like:
Exactly what window cleaning services they're interested in buying
What they think a fair price point is for these services
How interested they are in the first place
Remember - businesses are intended to solve problems or make life easier for customers.
If you're unsure who your target customer is, that's also okay. You can start by talking to all types of home or business owners and see what types of conclusions you may be able to draw that way.
There are two main ways in which you can conduct market research.
First, as I've alluded to, you can talk to others live, via phone, or via Zoom or Skype. In my opinion, this live contact works better, since it provides you the opportunity to ask immediate follow ups on anything you find of interest.
Others like to perform market research through surveying and polling with sites like Qualtrics. Keep in mind though that your surveys will need to be designed very specifically to be valid and that you may also need to pay for responses, which can be costly.
3. Establish a business
With your business plan complete, you should turn to fulfilling any legal requirements that you may face in getting started.
As I see it with window cleaning businesses, you have three key considerations:
Registering as a business
Getting a business license in your state and city/town
Purchasing a basic insurance policy
Register as a business
You have multiple options here, depending on how you want to structure your business. The most popular, though, include:
Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)
S or C Corporation
Get a business license
With many side hustles, you can get away without a business license early on, particularly with digital products or services. But anytime that you plan to visit a customer job site, you'll want to make sure you're protected.
Plus, getting a business license isn't this impossible task that it feels like either. To get started, I recommend that you browse your state's Secretary of State or Department of Business website. Most all states delegate small business licensing to one of these two areas.
Don't forget about any special county, city, and town requirements you may be subject to either.
Purchase a small business insurance policy
Similar to licensing, I highly recommend that you buy some insurance coverage. Given the fact that you'll only have a couple of clients when you're first starting out, you may be able to find policies with premiums as low as $20 or so per month.
And in my opinion, this is money well worth it.
Windows can be incredibly expensive, and any mistake that you make may cost hundreds of dollars to repair or replace.
These three steps may seem like overkill for something starting as a side hustle, but in the event that something happens, like damaging a customer window, you'll be glad you're protected.
4. Purchase window washing materials
Before you can start performing customer work, you'll need to acquire the tools and accessories to help you be successful.
Here is a list that you can use as a good starting point for both indoor and outdoor work:
Cleaning solutions: Safe glass cleaning solutions that will remove buildup but won't streak. Think products like Windex.
Cloths: To dry windows when you're done. Microfiber may be a good option. Just make sure they don't scratch or streak.
Ladders: If you plan on cleaning windows on the second floor of homes
Squeegees: Can be helpful in washing the outside of windows
Buckets: To hold tools, cleaning solutions, and other things
Basic tools: Screwdrivers, wrenches, and rubber mallets could come in handy.
Towels: To put down inside a job site so you don't spill chemicals around your customers' homes or places of work
In addition to these job site tools, you'll also want to think through what you'll need logistically to operate your business.
I recommend a small business accounting software like QuickBooks, which is really intuitive and easy to learn.
The other thing to think through is how you plan on transferring your materials from one place to another. Luckily, you don't need a pickup truck or anything like that, but you may need something a little bigger than a traditional sedan.
5. Market your services
With many of your logistics solved for, you should next shift your efforts to marketing. Marketing can be challenging any time you build a brand or company from scratch, but I've found that service-based side hustles are best marketed through three different channels:
Google Business profile
Social media channels
Building a website
Create a Google Business profile
Registering a Google Business profile is probably the easiest thing that you can do immediately for a little marketing boost. Once your profile is complete and you designate your service area, you'll begin to appear in Google results anytime someone in your area looks for services matching what you offer.
If you're serious about growing your side hustle into a business, then you'll want to make sure that your customers leave Google reviews for you, which will drastically increase the legitimacy of your offerings.
Social media marketing
At the same time, you can also begin to build social media profiles that will, in time, bring you more visibility and business. Now, the exact social media platforms to use varies on your business offering, but for a window washing company, a combination of Facebook, Instagram, and potentially TikTok seems to make the most sense.
And while you'll need to build content and a posting schedule that works for you, you will be best served to post a combination of:
Client testimonials (with permission)
Before and after pictures
Facts about window washing and routine maintenance
Social media traction may take longer than getting traffic from Google Business, but it all depends on your skills and the time you have to dedicate to it. Plus, getting the option to connect with prospective customers can be valuable.
Build a website
Though more of a longer-term play, building a website can be your most lucrative marketing strategy.
But a website doesn't count for anything unless you're able to attract regular web traffic. The best way to do this is by writing good content and practicing good search engine optimization (SEO) skills.
I won't lie - it can be a huge time commitment. But if you're looking to grow your side hustle into a full-time business, this may be the best way to do so.
One factor that helps is that you don't really need to build content from scratch. Remember those social media posts you've started to create? Those may be perfect topics for written content on your website as well!
The reason why I like this approach so much is because you're simultaneously working on short-, medium-, and long-term marketing strategies. As such, you're unlikely to see incredible immediate results, but it will be worth it.
And you'll still have plenty of work to keep you busy in the short term.
6. Signing clients
Over time, your marketing efforts will be successful, and you will find customers willing to sign with you!
Generally, it is a good idea to have them sign an agreement with you that outlines the agreed upon work, the estimated time to completion, and any other important data points or timelines about the project.
Before any client signs on with you, though, he/she is going to expect to know how much it will cost. So, when visiting any prospective job site, it is important to provide competitive and accurate price quotes.
Pricing your window washing
There are a few strategies that you may use to quote your services:
By level of difficulty
By estimated time to complete
Quoting on a per window basis is likely the simplest approach, but it neglects that windows on second or third stories will be harder to reach and more time consuming to clean.
Your estimated time to complete seems like the fairest option for both you and your customers, but even this approach can be inaccurate if your estimations are off.
In a moment, I'll discuss what you can expect to make to clean the windows at an average home.
7. Impress your clients
Congratulations on signing your first customers! It is a huge step indeed.
But soon after you've been successful, your focus must shift to doing anything you can to wow them. After all, your most important customers are your first ones. This is your first opportunity to secure positive Google reviews, word of mouth referrals, and client testimonials, all of which will help you scale your window cleaning business more quickly that you could without them.
And when you feel like you've done a good job, don't hesitate to ask them for feedback and to write you a review and testimonial.
It has become commonplace across service-based businesses nationwide.
How much can you make washing windows?
The average window cleaning job costs around $250 for an average sized home. This may vary by location and the size of the home, though, from as little as $125 to as high as $400 - or more!
Ultimately, the amount of money that you'll be able to make with this side hustle depends upon a few variables, like:
How fast you can clean all of the windows in a home (and do a great job!)
How many jobs you can complete in a day, week, or month
The amount of competition in your area
As a side hustle though, cleaning the windows in just two homes per week will earn you $25,000 in revenue before factoring in your expenses. Not bad for a job that will probably take about 5 hours per week of your time!
Starting a window washing business may seem boring at first, but it can actually be an excellent way to grow a side hustle that is scalable.
What do you think? Is it a side hustle that you'd give a try? Tell me why or why not in the comment section below!
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