How To Build A Window Washing Business

by Samuel Tran on January 27, 2013

Despite weak economic conditions, building a small business like a window washing service is not impossible. In fact, starting a small business might be easier than you think!

Consider Southland Window Cleaning, a small business based in Southern California entering its second decade. Twenty years ago, the Lynch family acquired equipment, supplies, and clients from a friend who wanted to shutter his own window cleaning business. Over the next several years, through booms and recessions, they built the company from forty clients to several thousand satisfied customers. This past summer, the business experienced a record profit-making week after hiring additional summer help.

Given the statistic that over half the small businesses fail in the first five years, how did Southland Window Company buck the trend and become a successful enterprise?

First, compete on value, not on price.

Josiah Lynch, now a junior partner in the business, said that his father built the company not on price but on value.

Window washing was not a difficult market to enter, but Josiah credited Southland’s personal and superior service as the differentiation point. They also learned from their failures, whether in hiring or in cleaning.

Be sure to lean on your staff, even part timers, to offer up ideas on how to do things more easily or efficiently. These basic principles helped Southland become an established business in the neighborhood.

Second, they followed up every lead like their lives depended on it.

This established relationships with customers and reduced their cost of client acquisition. Though technique and skill are important for any job, building and maintaining a loyal customer base was the key to predictable revenues.

When a potential customer contacts Southland, Josiah and his father drive out to the location to conduct an estimate and build a face-to-face relationship. This demonstrated the company valued potential customers in a way few other businesses did. Also, Josiah and his father guaranteed the best service.

They would clean a window to the customer’s satisfaction, no matter how long it would take. This lowered the customer’s purchase risk. In a risky economy, offering guarantees should improve sales closure rates.

Third, they invested in the right tools.

Though the cost to build and maintain a window washing business was only a few thousand dollars, investing in quality equipment for the long term showed customers Southland cared about providing a superior service. New technology also improved the quality and range of services Southland could offer. Southland did a better job than competitors  in half the time. That means more gross margin per hour and happier customers.

The example of Southland Window Cleaning serves as an inspiration for anyone trying to build a small business. Though difficult times do arise, starting and sustaining a small business can be easier than you think. All it takes is a person with the ambition and the idea to build the best window washing business in town.

How do you build a window washing business?  Compete on value and expertise, not price. Keep track of leads and inquiries like your life depends on it because it does. Last, invest in the right tools and the right people.



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