Question: I received an e-mail from a client saying they want their windows cleaned. They also mentioned that may be able round up a few neighbors for a package deal. I was wondering what kind of deals people give out and how to go about this? Do I give a discount to the first person, or all of them?
Sparkling Clean Window Cleaners - River Falls, WI
Sounds like a winning proposition for everyone involved. Your client gets to be a hero with her neighbors for getting a bargain, they get clean windows for a great price, and you get several new clients for the price of one. And when they brag to their friends, you get the referrals.
We have done this in a neighborhood of small cottage homes, offering a 10% discount for all homes done on the same day. Or you may offer a smaller discount, such as 5% even if not done on the same day. Such easy customer acquisition is great for you.
Alternately, you could offer a referral reward program where you offer a client a % discount off her next cleaning for each friend she refers to you, and then charge the friends your regular price.
Don't give the discount until the person actually produces another paying customer.
Douglas W. Hodgson
ABS Professional Window Cleaning - Greensboro, NC
I think I would reply that I was interested, but hold off on offering financial incentives until I was sure they were necessary.
I guess I don't expect a well to do customer to be very motivated - and even if the first customer was motivated, some of the neighbors may be put off by that.
Maybe you could make it interesting for your client (and the neighbors) by offering a restaurant coupon card to everyone in the neighborhood who wants their windows done that week, so they can all go to Red Lobster together. (Or Arby's - depending on how big these homes are.)
It probably wouldn't cost anywhere near as much as a discount, and it would get the neighbors involved in an incentive that's all about fun instead of money.
Window Cleaning Network - Oconomowoc, WI
We would normally give each customer in the area 10-15% discount based on the cost of the service. This applies to all the neighbors you service. Once you clean those homes I would also place a flyer in some of the other nearby homes to let them know you where in the area & perhaps offer them a dollar or percent discount to get them to call you.
Clear View of Eastlake - Chula Vista, CA
I have done the "group discount" thing before and what usually happened was that the first go around worked well. We cleaned all the windows at the same time and everyone was happy. But the next spring each customer called in at a different time and still expected the same discounted price. So just make it clear that regular rates apply after that first discount.
Valley Window Cleaning, Inc - Appleton, WI
This is worth pursuing because you could have a day's worth of work with little to no driving. I have offered discounts based upon them all being done on the same day. Make sure that any discount is contingent on them being done together. Make it clear on the invoice too. You want them all to know what the price will be if they call in on their own later.
Rileys' Window Cleaning - Toronto, ON
I would sweeten the pot for the person who "rounded" them up, not for the other customers. Then, if they do it again, take care of them again. We have a residential customer at a nearby lake that does this. He usually covers us up with work - and gets his done for a big discount (10% of all extra work he lines up)!
Leo's Window Cleaning - Stephenville, TX
Question: With today's economy and economic pressures, do you think that customers, prospective and attained will start trying to put the pressure to lower our prices and our bids? I mean when gas goes up and inflation increases, we raise our prices stating the higher cost of doing business etc., etc. Is there going to be more pressure from clients for reduced prices based on economic woes? How much pressure we will get?
A Touch Of Glass Window Cleaning Inc.
I'm thinking that while the amount of residential customers may be less, we do still offer a luxury service. So, those that call us will still be getting at least last year's rate, but no cheaper.
Metropolis Window Cleaning - Longmont, CO
I think everyone faces a different dynamic based on their established customers verses new, as well as commercial verses residential as well as what part of the world you do business in. In the USA alone there is a wide disparity in where the recession has had its greatest impact.
Personally, I have had well established commercial customers in my area who have been hard hit by the recent economic situation. They have been hard hit by all this, yet try to communicate with me what they are experiencing and how they would like to work with me, which I appreciate very much.
John Henry Building Service - Nashville,TN
I do not see that with residential clients, and my commercial has actually increased in business, with higher pricing. I have lost some commercial due to cutting back, but that usually happen during the winter anyway.
The solution is to market more and more and make yourself the best company in the area, thus erasing the price point people.
Love them with service and a little extra and they will love you back.
Bright Star Window Cleaning - Evansville IN
Question: What company do people use for invoices that the guys in the field can carry? Something professional but cheap to produce. Done some Google searching but nothing jumps out. Been using very basic generic forms till now and want something customized that will show my logo.
A1 The Clear Choice Window, Blind and Gutter Cleaning - Berkeley, CA
I use NEBS....preprinted invoice books. www.nebs.com. Nearly the cost of the generic, shows good company image
Clear Carolina Window Cleaning - Candor, NC
Staples print division - www.staples.com
Texas Best Window Cleaning - Dallas, TX
I print all of my own invoices through QuickBooks before heading out for the day. If there is anything that we need to charge more for (up sales) then we just hand write them on the invoice and adjust the price. This has worked very well for me. It looks very professional and it is good for record keeping as well.
A Better View Window Cleaning - Huntington Beach, CA
Question: Does anyone have a ladder safety plan? Or how do I go about putting one together?
Ryco Window Cleaning, LLC - Auburn, WA
A great place to start is with the information printed on the side of every ladder sold. Weight ratings, setting instructions, care around electrical conduits, etc. are all covered. You may want to add things specific to your business (having another foot the ladder on certain settings, standoff use, indoor protocol etc.).
Blue Sky Windows LLC - Stowe, VT
OSHA is proactive on topics like ladder use, so in addition to the actual OSHA regulations, you'll find some tools 2you can download at www.osha.gov. (Search for "ladder"). Also check the website for each ladder manufacturer. They will have a safety section that expands a little on the info labels. You'll want to do the same research for any accessories you use, like standoffs or leg levelers.
Window Cleaning Network - Oconomowoc, WI
Question: What is the name of the cleaner used for cleaning the outside of the gutter?
Attention to Detail - West Branch, MI
Gutter Zap is strong stuff�be careful. You should to test a small section of gutter to make sure you aren't going to strip the gutter down to a shiny aluminum. (Yes my guys have done it.)
I use a degreaser from a local pressure washing supplier. The ingredients are almost the same according to the MSDS sheets and it works the same as gutter zap. You might want to try a local source as the shipping on a 5 gallon pail full of Gutter Zap is pretty steep.
G&S Window Washing & Gutter Cleaning, Inc - Troy, MI
We've found Gutter Zap to be inconsistent. On one set of gutters it works like a dream, on the next, not so well. Don't know why. We also carry Simple Green and Greased Lightning on the truck and test each one; use whichever works best. Don't scrub too hard or you'll remove the paint.
We dilute the chemical with several parts of water, apply with a towel, allow a little dwell time, rub with the towel, and then rinse with a water hose. The number of parts of water depends on how hard the dirt is to remove. Be sure to use long sleeve rubber gloves to protect your hands and arms. Sometimes there is a fine line between using a strong enough solution to clean properly and removing the paint.
The idea with Gutter Zap is to spray on, let it set and then rinse off. That sounds great in an ad, and occasionally it may work, but in our area it usually takes some elbow grease to clean gutter faces properly.
One other possibility: sometimes the black stuff on the gutter faces (especially the top lip) is actually dirt, which has washed over the edge of a clogged gutter in a heavy rain. In this case, sometimes it can be removed with a pressure washer from the ground with a 0 degree tip. But most of the time a pressure washer will not help the gutter face much. Once your eye has been trained with a few jobs, you will be able to determine what will respond to a pressure washer and what needs hand scrubbing.
Douglas W. Hodgson
ABS Professional Window Cleaning - Greensboro, NC
We just started using Gutter Zap last year. I have tried a few of the gutter whitening chemicals including F-13 and Gutter Brite. I have found a few things that stand out in this process:
1.) Keep the area around the guttering you are whitening wet, including the gutter prior to the cleaning process. Gutter Zap can harm some surfaces but will not if they are properly wetted down.
2.) Unless the gutters are 3rd story high, you shouldn't need a ladder for this process. We use our 30 ft extension pole with a truck wash brush attached to it. Just clean in 3-6 foot sections and rinse with the garden hose with a nozzle.
3.) Apply on the ground with a pump sprayer by spraying directly onto the clean brush head. We have found that spraying the solution onto the gutter causes too much overspray that lands on windows, siding, eaves or lower. We approach all of them the same no matter how dirty they are. 50/50 mix of Gutter Zap and water and the area surrounding the cleaning and below extremely wet. We took the paint of some early on with the F-13 because we applied it while the gutters were dry and at to high of a chemical mix. We've found 50/50 with Gutter Zap to be productive but yet safe as long as you keep the surfaces wet.
Jencor Services, LLC - Severn, MD
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