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Start A Window Cleaning Business

Updated on September 27, 2016
Start a Window Cleaning Business: Window Cleaner, 1923.
Start a Window Cleaning Business: Window Cleaner, 1923. | Source

Maybe it's time to start a window cleaning business. With job losses accumulating quicker than new jobs can be found, thousands of people are now taking stock of their life and investing their time and energy in starting their own business, rather than finding another employer to work for.

If you start a window cleaning business you can generate yourself some instant income, choose your hours of work and start to be in control of your life. A window cleaning business isn't all about buckets of water and squeegee mops any more! These days window cleaners are much more likely to be using the newer "Reach and Wash" systems - meaning they don't even have to go up a ladder!

A modern window cleaning business can be operated more safely and more easily as you're saving time and money getting the ladder onto the roofrack and off and ensuring it's safely against the building you're trying to clean. You can now start a window cleaning business and never "get it off the ground at all" *groan*

These days a window cleaner is more likely to be using a water fed pole system than going up a ladder.

Reasons to Start A Window Cleaning Business

OK, so, bad jokes aside, what are the benefits to you if you do start a window cleaning business? Well, some of the more obvious ones are:

  • You can be your own boss
  • You get to work outside and get exercise
  • You can quickly achieve a good income, built on a repeat business basis too
  • There are low start-up costs, you can start with the most basic of equipment until you've earnt the cash to upgrade
  • The work is safe and pretty clean. You'll need a shower when you get home, but you're not going to be caked in grime and oil
  • You choose your working hours and days. Which means you also choose your days off and holidays. You could even start a window cleaning business part-time to supplement any other income you have, or any other business you're building.
  • Little or no credit is given to your customers, so you're paid for the work you do AS you're doing it.
  • There will always be new people that want their windows cleaning

There are dozens of other good reasos to start a window cleaning business. It's even a great business for somebody who can't drive or doesn't have a vehicle, especially now you don't need to use ladders!

Water Fed Pole System

I must admit, the one thing that has put me off starting a window cleaning business in the past has been the thought of having to secure ladders to a roofack on my car, then carry them up and down the road, making sure I'd secured them safely against a house ... and remembering to not step back to admire my handiwork!

I would just be way too clumsy for that.

Since 2005, new legislation started to control when/where a window cleaner could even use a ladder and so this has meant that a lot of window cleaners have started to look at the way they work and change their methods. There's been quite a rise in using a water fed pole system instetad, meaning they don't need to use a ladder at all.  A water fed pole system is effectively a long pole with the window cleaning brush at the end - and you simply clean the upper floor windows from the ground.

Now, admitted this might not work for all windows - and yes, many buildings are taller than just a ground and first floor, so the pole will need to be quite long to reach some upper storeyes, but don't forget: if you start a window cleaning company YOU are in control, so you could simply decide to ONLY wash the windows of houses that you knew you could manage. See, it's not rocket science is it?

Of course, in many areas it might be more difficult to start a window cleaning business that will only do the ground floor and first floor, but even in towns a lot of residential buildings are split into flats, so it's a different person living on the second floor and above anyway. Also, once you're established and have an income coming in, you can look at investing money in more sophisticated water fed pole system.

Some water fed pole systems can reach up to the 3rd, 4th, 5th floors and perhaps more. They are a lot more flexible and robust than you can imagine.  So don't let that stop you!

Window Cleaning Training

While you could just grab yourself a sponge and a bucket and go out right now to try to find people who want their windows washing, there are a few things you should look into first.  If you want to start a window cleaning business, then you do need to get off on the right footing and ensure you aren't breaking any laws you didn't know about and perhaps learn some tips, tricks and techniques of cleaning windows effectively.

There are some quite affordable short courses you can go on that will teach you everything you need to know from the basics of getting a window clean, through to equipment options and the law.  Again, it's worth finding out a bit more about everything because if you get it right from the start then your window cleaning business can be a very lucrative income in a few months' time.

What Skills Do You Need to Start a Window Cleaning Business?

The biggest skill is simply the desire to succeed and to not give up on day 2!  Really, you'd be surprised how many people talk the talk, but just don't actually get round to cracking on and doing it. 

Yes, it'll be a bit tough and slow going in the first few weeks - as you're approaching people who've never met you before and getting them onto your regular customer list.  Some will say "no" and that'll be the end of it, but some of those people will actually be approaching you in a couple of months' time once they've seen you doing the neighbours' windows!  People are funny like that.

So, what skills and abilities do you need?

  • It goes without saying that you will need to be physically fit - and expect to continue to enjoy good health
  • You will need to be self-motivated.  Nobody else is going to get you up and out each day except yourself.
  • You will need to be a good communicator, approachable, friendly and able to persuade people that you'll be the best window cleaner in the world and you can clean their windows right now ...
  • You do need to enjoy being outside.  If you're at all likely to skive off every time it's a bit windy, or a bit cold, it's raining, snowing, freezing ... etc .... well, maybe you shouldn't start a window cleaning business after all!
  • You will need to be well organised.  You'll need to keep records for yourself of who/where your customers are - and who has/hasn't paid.  Then you'll need to find a way to keep track of the cash/banking for your accounts.   If you're doing a rota and cleaning people's windows once every 6 weeks, then you do need to be able to build up your daily and weekly rounds efficiently - and without losing the list,or getting the wrong one.
  • Usually, you will need to be a vehicle owner and be able to drive - but if you can't then you could perhaps find somebody to team up with.  It'd be more fun with two or more of you anyway.

How Many Windows can a Window Cleaner do in a Day?

There are no meaningful figures. Every property is different, every area's different, then there's the speed at which the window cleaner works - maybe they're going as fast as they can, or maybe they're just filling time and whistling.

This is a figure you'll have to work out for yourself based on your local area.

How Much Do Window Cleaners Earn?

Well, this is something that it's difficult to put an amount on. It will depend on how much you're charging, how long you're taking to wash the windows, how far you're travelling to the next job.

You could be earning £10-20 to wash the windows of a 3-4 bed terraced house front and back - and if that were taking you 15 minutes and you were doing four in that road, it wouldn't be unrealistic to think that you might be earning £40-80 in an hour. But if you're having to drive between jobs and you can only fit in two per hour, then it's more like £20-40/hour. Certainly a good rate whichever way you look at it.

You really need to do some local research, find out how much your friends and neighbours are paying for a window cleaner.  Find out if they use one or not - and why.  You might even find that you have your first week's work already lined up just by asking around!

Could you Start a Window Cleaning Business?

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    • chronage profile image

      chronage 7 years ago from England

      I started window cleaning business in October terrible time if year to start but I purchased a water fed pole system which takes a lot of labour out the job however you will be spending time on equipment and making sure your water is pure otherwise complaints are inevitable good hub!

    • profile image

      Ken 8 years ago

      I have been cleaning windows off and on since 1966. It is easy work, and I have made a lot of extra money with it.

    • profile image

      EleanorL 8 years ago

      I really enjoyed your many house saving tips. Thank you for making working in the house less.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      There is money to be made and quite good money. It was interesting what all goes into it. Thank you.

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 8 years ago from Asheville, NC

      I knew a man who did very well as a window cleaner. Good Hub.