By Steve O on Dec 30, 2019 1:47:00 PM
Starting a business is a huge step. It can be one of the most challenging things you'll ever do in your life, with so many variables to consider. There are many highs-and-lows along the way that will challenge you. In this article, we are going to explore some of the essential business tips, advice, and insights into the cleaning industry. Keep reading to learn more about opening a window cleaning businesses, and doing it right from the get-go!
Work Out Your Finances
Starting a window cleaning business - or any other franchise, requires much planning. Budgeting and finances are crucial for you to consider at this stage. They will dictate the scope of the process, as well as the extent of your resources. When you are starting a window cleaning business, and working out your costs, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, there are a lot of hidden expenses that you should account for.
For instance, cleaning products and tools can be pricey. These items are essential for the job, but they will also represent one of the most significant investments in your business. Some companies skimp on their cleaning products, and it is possible to find cheaper alternatives. However, keep in mind that these tools are going to be the cornerstone of your business. Investing in better supplies and tools may translate into more satisfied customers, which will, in turn, translate into a better reputation, and more sales. Cleaning businesses (especially smaller window cleaning companies) might rely heavily on networking and word-of-mouth from satisfied customers, so it is important not to underestimate the value of investing in quality supplies.
These are only some of the many reasons why it is essential to purchasing high-quality products that have industrial strength. Some companies try to save money and purchase cheaper products from overseas suppliers. This might be an effective solution in some cases. Still, some providers sell cleaning supplies that might not be compliant with safety/health hazard standards and regulations in your area. Always be aware of what you are buying and what the rules are in your jurisdiction before you commit to an expensive purchase of window cleaning products and supplies for your upcoming business. There is nothing worse than being stuck with an expensive stock of gear that you cannot really use or resell easily.
Some franchises actually have different MOs about the equipment every single store can use, and they even have specific suppliers they work with, often providing more affordable solutions. If you are looking to start a franchise with an existing brand, it’s important to get a clear idea of what they will be asking in terms of criteria to meet.
You are also going to need to account for other real-life expenses needed for the job, including logistics (vans, trucks…) as well as real estate (i.e., renting or buying a location for your headquarters).
In addition to equipment and logistic expenses, branding and visibility also cost money. You need to make yourself stand out next to the competition. Logo design, websites, social media management, merchandise, business cards, flyers, stickers, and other brand-awareness items are expensive but essential. However, this should not be a primary concern if you still have not covered your basic needs as a business first.
There are many new companies, including window cleaning businesses, who get excited about getting started, and the first thing they do is work on a brand, logo, marketing, and more. While it can be fun and rewarding, it is probably better to start with the building blocks and focus on branding at a later stage. Before you start investing time and money on advertising or marketing, make sure you have the basics covered. This could be anything from cleaning tools to a work vehicle, staffing, or even a professional phone line, among other basic needs. Once you get the fundamental building blocks of your soon-to-be business organized, you can work out a specific budget for all the extra costs!
Advertising and Marketing
Taking care of your marketing needs is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure the quality of your new business, especially in terms of reach and branding. Also keep in mind that franchises want to be as consistent as possible with their brand. This means that you are going to need to comply with certain standards and that you o probably will not be able to go out on your own with whatever branding idea you might have in mind.
At the same time, you are going to need to promote your company and increase brand awareness, so that you can keep an upstanding reputation as a stand-alone business as well. Unfortunately, many burgeoning entrepreneurs take a DIY approach to business marketing, thinking that they can cover the essentials on their own.
Creative jobs are always tricky because some people might not understand the value of a person creating a logo or writing a short business blurb. A professional could help you see things that you might be missing out, and in some cases, it could save you from some embarrassment as well. At times, people who are not trained in branding and design might not understand that some color combinations or fonts might be out of place or frowned upon, for example.
The moral of the story is - don't try to do everything independently without any experience or industry know-how. Think about this; would you build your house by yourself? Or medicate your pet? Of course you wouldn't! That's because you leave the important things to a professional. Marketing and visual branding should be no different. Poor marketing or advertising can break a business, and it's essential to invest in a foolproof marketing plan. Luckily, there are some budget-friendly options out there that won't break the bank. If you're looking for help, jump online and check out some freelance platforms - a great way to hire a professional, yet keep the cost down to a minimum.
Do you have what it takes?
This is an important question to ask yourself before you start your new business or a franchise. Unfortunately, many people become entrepreneurs without any prior experience in their chosen industry. Jumping into a business with a blindfold on is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Not only will you have unrealistic expectations, but you may also get stuck in a business you hate.
For example, would you ever open a coffee shop if you don't like coffee or if you don't know anything about it? It might surprise you to know how many people would. They might see a business idea as a quick opportunity to make money. However, they don't realize that starting any sort of business, including a window cleaning company, without any basic knowledge of the industry, may result in failure, loss, and unexpected issues.
Have you ever worked in a window cleaning business before? Are you familiar with how a franchise is run, owned, or operated? Have you answered phones, managed clients, hired personnel, or cleaned windows? If you answered no to these questions, maybe you are not ready yet. Get yourself a menial job or apprenticeship in a cleaning company and see how everything works from the ground up. Gaining some knowledge can be an invaluable experience, and it can help you see if window cleaning is the right fit for you. You could also get an insider look at how the competition works and what you can do to improve your businesses from the get-go!
Regulations and Paperwork
Before you start investing time and money into a window cleaning business, make sure you get regulations and paperwork out of the way first. As the owner of a new window cleaning business, you have a lot of responsibility and a strict duty-of-care. As mentioned earlier, franchises might have a set of rules and guidelines that must be closely followed. If this is the case for you, it is paramount to gain a clear understanding of what you’re in for, if you want to make the most out of your experience.
Window cleaning can be a dangerous job, especially in a city where most clients might be in skyscrapers. This is why you need to keep updated on council policies, regulations, and any paperwork that you need to file. When you're dealing with Government bureaucracy, it can take a considerable amount of time to get anything completed. This is why this should be one of the first things that you do when you're starting a business. It's up to you to keep updated on current policies and rules, so make sure you're always aware of local laws. If you miss out on anything important, it could completely derail your business and ruin everything you've worked so hard for.
Are you passionate?
This is something that many budding entrepreneurs forget to take into account when they are starting a business. Are you passionate about the industry you're starting a business in? When you're running a business, there are many up-and-downs. You may have to face challenges that you've never dreamed of before. The only thing that can get you through is passion. Now, of course, you don't need to write a university thesis on window cleaning! However, you do need to have a passion for the work, industry, and clients. If you don't have pride and respect for the work you do, you'll be failing before you even begin. If you don't feel like you have this passion, then you should have a good think about whether this is the right industry for you.
Networking and Customer Loyalty
Most window-cleaning companies thrive on customer loyalty. Clients generally want to find one reliable and trustworthy company and stick with them. Failure to attract customers is one of the reasons why window cleaning could be a tough industry if you don't know what to expect. Once you get a new contact, it's essential to build on the relationship. After all, the majority of clients are going to need to use your service at least once a month. Window-cleaning companies are built on strong client relationships. Companies can flourish for years on just a handful of regular customers. On top of this, the vast majority of new clients may come from word-of-mouth and recommendations. With this in mind, make sure you always value and respect your long-term clients. Your business would not be the same without them!
Overall, window cleaning can be a difficult business to start. However, with some preparation, hard work, and passion, you can build a thriving business that's an integral part of the community.