The title of my manual is How to Start Your Own Residential Window Washing Business so 98% of my business was residential window washing and that's what I teach, but window washing is window washing whether it is residential or commercial.
Although I will say there are certain differences and a few twists when it comes to commercial window cleaning. So we're going to talk about that and a whole more in this article
There are 3 primary ways to approach a commercial window washing account.
1. This approach, in my opinion, is the best way. Just walk in, introduce yourself, and offer to provide a free estimate to get their windows cleaned. Here's a sample conversation:
Store Clerk / manager / owner: Can I help you?
Window Washer: Sure … my name is Steve Wright and I own SparkleClear Window Washing in town. I was wondering if I can provide you an estimate to get your windows cleaned.
Store Clerk / manager / owner: Whaddya crazy?
Window Washer: Yabba dabba doo.
Sorry about that. Strike the last two from the record.
Seriously though … this approach gets to the heart of the matter very quickly, so if there's any interest or lack of interest at all, you'll know about it fast so you can move on to the next
They may say "we currently have someone, so we would not be really interested", or they may say, "we have someone but he's not too dependable so go ahead and give me an estimate", or they might say "not right now, why do not you leave me your business card and I'll give you a call if we need someone ", or they might say" Man we've been looking for someone … when can you do 'em? "He said.
If they're not interested, always leave them one of your business cards anyway. Timing is everything and maybe at the present time, the timing is not right. A few months down the road, their current window washer screw up, so they'll be looking to tap into a new window washer.
In my monthly newsletter Window Washing Success Tips , you've heard me write about playing the numbers game. And that's all we're doing here. Say what you have to say, either do the
estimate or not, and then move on. The more accounts you talk to, the more you get, and the more you can sing "Hi Ho Hi Ho, it's off to the bank I go."
Although I personally do not think there's a lot of salesmanship involved in the above conversation with the store clerk, I have spoken to window washers who do not feel comfortable just walking in off the street and asking to do an estimate.
So this leads me to the second way of approaching a commercial prospect.
2. Simply use a flyer as the door opener or "crutch". And you can let it to do the "selling" for you. In a recent article, I talked about the use of testimonials so make sure you include 2 or 3 testimonials in your flyer.
With flyer in hand, I would say:
"Hi … my name is Steve Wright and I own SparkleClear Window Washing in town here.
And then just leave the flyer and off you go to the next store or business. Easy and fast.
3. This approach is a combination of the two listed above. You simply walk into the business with a flyer. I would say:
"Hi, my name is Steve Wright and I own SparkleClear Window Washing Service in town. company. Oh by the way … Since I'm here, can I go ahead and give
you a free window washing estimate? "
I personally like number 1 the best but number 3 comes in a close second. Asking them a direct yes or no question is usually much more effective then just handing them something and then walking
away, like what happens when we use approach # 2.
One last thing on the flyers … some window washers have created flyers that offer an introductory special regardless of the true estimate value of the store or business.
Overall people have told me the response has been favorable, but some window washers do not feel like doing jobs for $ 10 (for example) when the true estimate value is $ 40.
I personally think it's a great idea. It gets them committed to you so there's a very strong chance you'll be going back on a repeat basis. If not … you did not really lose that much. And
you did gain additional exposure for your business by being there working in your company uniform. Anytime you can do that, it's a plus for sure.
In last month's newsletters, I talked about why it's important to not make a price the central theme of your business, but that was for your residential customers. Commercial is a whole different ball game. That's one of the twists I referred to earlier in this article.
Speaking about pricing, here we go …
Be cheap. How's that for a short answer?
Yes … you do need to bring down your pricing vs. your normal residential pricing. The commercial side of the business is cutthroat and there's some pricing wars going on. So you're going to be up against some competition usually.
It's hard to give you exact numbers without seeing the glass, but an average size pane of glass would be priced at $ 3 to $ 4. Keep in mind that the average size pane of commercial glass could be 2 to 3 times the size of a window that you would see on a house. The good news is that it's just one pane vs. a two pane (or more)
regular double hung window at a house.
And then adjust upward or down accordingly. What I mean is your final presented price is a judgment call based on 4 things …
1. Are you desperate for the business?
2. Did the store seem really interested or was it one of those "Yeah … you can leave us an estimate if you want to" kind of sentences.
3. Do you know or have an idea whether you might be competing against another window washing bid?
4. Are you providing an estimate to a store who currently has a window washer?
The best scenario obviously is if a store is willingly in need of a good window washer or they currently have a window washer who they're looking to get rid of because of dependability and quality issues (you'll hear this a lot).
In these situations, you may want to bump up the estimate a few dollars (just a few).
Otherwise, you may want to drop your estimated price a little bit. Again … use your judgment. As you probably know by now, the estimating process certainly is not an exact science.
Just remember that commercial window washing is all about price. There's always another commercial window washer right behind you willing to do it for less.
With your residential customers, you'll generally have the loyalty of the homeowner (unless you did a poor job), so they're not going to make the change to another window washer to save a few measly bucks as readily as a business owner Egypt manager would.
In Part 2, I talk about presenting the estimate, quality of the job, service contracts, and wrapping it all up.
See you then and happy cleaning,