As the technological capabilities have continued to advance at an accelerated pace, one industry has proven that specific niches can provide some ‘evergreen’ services. ‘Evergreen’ in the context of window cleaning services refers to the ability of window cleaning as a service to remain a relevant need for which individuals are willing to invest over time continuously. Withstanding such a test of time, therefore, designates window cleaning services as ‘timeless.’
Beginning a home-based window cleaning business is not a venture anyone should begin haphazardly. Attempting to start a new business without an outline detailing each component would be like trying to assemble IKEA furniture without instructions–a near-impossible feat.
Although gathering all the needed information and developing a solid plan for running a home-based window cleaning business may seem tedious, taking on the project step-by-step can help almost any entrepreneur beginner or advanced succeed in the window cleaning business industry.
An Overview of an Easy-to-Follow Process to Start a Home-Grown Window Cleaning Business
The first and most crucial step when starting a home-based window cleaning business is to develop a business plan. Creating and sticking to a business plan is like reading the instruction manual before attempting to assemble a piece of furniture. The business plan will be the entrepreneur’s ‘roadmap,’ guiding each new business owner through the process of establishing a home-based window cleaning business from start to finish.
As their window cleaning business grows and evolves, the business owner should constantly update the business plan. The program brochure indicates various sections, including all the business’ basic information. A robust business plan will also outline a skeletal definition defining the business values, goals, and services offered in a straightforward step-by-step process.
Once the business owner drafts their business plan, the following steps get progressively simpler. The first step following the drafting of the business plan is registering the business name as a business entity, a process that varies from state to state and country. Once the state or country has confirmed a business registration, they will mail the business owner an officially registered copy of that record.
Following registration as a business entity, the new business owner will want to draft their first budget. After the entrepreneur drafts a budget, the owner should determine which worker classification is best for the business. Then, once the business owner decides on worker classifications, the business owner can create and place ‘Now Hiring’ signs throughout the community.
When business owners receive an adequate number of applications, they can review applications and conduct applicant interviews. Upon selection of candidates, the business owner should organize an employee/independent contractor briefing.
Additionally, the business owner will want to draft an immediate expenditure list and purchase any required startup materials. Next, the business owner should develop a grand opening campaign by creating flyers and electronic ads to advertise the business’s grand opening.
Develop a Business Plan
Beginning a window cleaning business may seem daunting, but breaking things into smaller tasks will make the project seem much less insurmountable than attempting to start a business without a concrete step-by-step plan. Therefore, the first step is to develop a business plan. A business plan is a planning and management tool that will help an individual analyze whether their intended project is feasible.
The first step when developing a business plan is establishing the business’s basics. The basics include:
- Determine the business name and logo/color scheme if desired.
- Next, outline the company’s operating days and hours.
- Next, specify what services the business will offer.
- Finally, calculate how the pricing schedule will be formatted.
- Determining the perfect business name
The first and most critical element in determining the perfect business name is to ensure that the business owner follows any mandated requirements when selecting the business name. Sometimes, a state may require a business to include LLC or similar nomenclature after the business name.
States such as California have online services available to assist in checking to ensure another entity is not already using the business name selected. Check with your state office to ensure the availability of the chosen business name. Because your business name is likely to be the first impression, entrepreneurs must take time to invest in selecting a name befitting the newly founded window cleaning business.
There are several tips an individual can keep in mind when selecting a business name. These tips are gentle reminders during the beginning phases of starting a new window cleaning business. For example, when choosing a business name, ensure that the name is unique and relevant to the services offered. For instance, as a window cleaning business, it would be confusing to potential clients if the company was named ‘Shiny Shoe Cleaners.’ Therefore, dedicate time to bouncing ideas off of a friend or family member until you can make an appropriate selection.
Outline the Business’ Operating Schedule
Being home-based can have its pros and cons when it comes to deciding the business’ operating schedule. Because the company is home-based, the hours of availability can be much more flexible. In addition, the overhead costs of renting office space, paying additional utilities for said office space, etcetera, will be removed when an entrepreneur begins a home-based window cleaning business.
Because of this, an individual beginning their own home-based window cleaning business truly has maximum flexibility in deciding how to structure their business hours. However, when determining operational hours, remember that most clients prefer predictability in a business’ hours.
This preference means that while an individual may have elected to start a window cleaning business for the flexibility of hours, it is imperative to remember that clients will have varying expectations, many of which they may demand the business owner meet to prevent negative reviews from off-putting publicity.
State the Specific Services Offered by the Home-Based Window Cleaning Business
Once the entrepreneur has outlined the business’ operating schedule, they can focus their intentions on specifying what services the company intends to offer. For example, three options for a home-based cleaning business are available when beginning a new business.
Commercial Window Cleaning
Commercial window cleaning is the first option available to a new home-based window cleaning business. Commercial window cleaning would involve the cleaning of windows at commercial buildings. Consider department stores, office buildings, warehouses, and the like. Cleaning windows commercially can be a great start because of the sheer volume of work available. Think for a moment of every commercial building with windows that need cleaning.
On the flip side, offering commercial cleaning services almost guarantees that the business will either need to hire employees or contract independent contractors to cover the work. So, though a substantial amount of work is available, it is likely that more than one individual is needed to juggle the volume of work required.
Residential Window Cleaning
Residential window cleaning is the second option for an entrepreneur beginning a home-based window cleaning business. Residential cleaning involves cleaning windows at individuals’ homes. Although slightly slower-paced than commercial window cleaning, residential window cleaning still allows entrepreneurs to generate substantial revenue.
Combination of Commercial and Residential Window Cleaning
Alternatively, a business owner may elect to offer a combination of both commercial and residential window cleaning services. In such cases, the individual will have the option to create any limits or standards to be considered when making a plan for services to be rendered.
Offering both commercial and residential services can be beneficial because it will allow the entrepreneur to gain experience in two separate sectors while also having the opportunity to interact one-on-one with clients to determine their needs and follow through on implementing corresponding plans.
Developing a Pricing Schedule
Once the entrepreneur has chosen one sector or a blended option, the individual must determine how the business will format the pricing schedule. For each step covered, understanding the importance of a well-developed pricing schedule will prove to be beneficial in preventing future headaches resulting from mathematical errors.
The window cleaning business’s pricing of services must be fair and proportionate. If necessary, budget the funds required to hire a CPA to assist in developing scaled pricing that will not land the business in unfavorable graces with clients who feel they are being duped by unbalanced pricing. For example, double-check that higher-priced packages provide much more substantial benefits if planning to offer membership tiers. The idea is like buying in bulk; the greater the quantity purchased, the lower each unit is priced.
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Registering as a Business Entity
Once the business plan has been completed, the heavy lifting, so to speak, has been completed. The next step requires the entrepreneur to register as a business entity based on state and country standards. Every state or country differs, with many now offering an online option to register a new business entity. Either way, the entrepreneur will want to visit their area-specific small business association in person or online to determine the steps for successfully registering their new home-based window cleaning business.
Drafting the Business’s First Budget
Budget is a word feared by many, often for reasons that entrepreneurs can avoid. The most critical point to remember when creating the business’s first budget is that budgets should always be realistic. The main reason for a failed business plan can result from an improperly planned budget. Budgets are significant because they allow the entrepreneur to plan how they will use revenue and assist in estimating future expenses and the viability of the business.
If an individual attempts a business venture without an appropriate budget, they run the risk of severely mismanaging funds or severely over/under-estimating expenses or related costs, leading to business failure if additional assets are unavailable.
When creating a budget, the entrepreneur will first want to estimate the estimated monthly revenue. As a home-based window-cleaning business, an individual can estimate based on their price schedule or find averages from data sites such as Statista to make an educated guess regarding the first month’s revenue. For example, if the three packages available are Bronze, Silver, and Gold, priced at $50 (1 hour), $90 (2 hours), and $120 (3 hours), respectively, then estimating monthly revenue is simple.
Business owners can comprise an 8-hour day of one Gold, two Silver, and one Bronze package. This would equate to $120 + $90 + $90 + $50 = $350 for one eight-hour day. Multiply $350 times five workdays weekly to reach the estimated revenue amount of $1,750. With 52 weeks in a year, the estimated yearly revenue for the home-based window cleaning business would be $91,000.
Once the entrepreneur has the estimated revenue, they will need to chart the fixed costs, such as an automobile payment for the vehicle used to get to job sites. Additionally, the expenses that fluctuate monthly, such as cleaning products, safety gear, etcetera, will also need to be accounted for. Using an excel spreadsheet is the simplest way to keep track of a budget since it can perform quick calculations, create charts and tables, and much more.
Determining the Appropriate Worker Classification for a New Home-Based Window Cleaning Business
When beginning a new business, two options for hiring individuals to complete window cleaning tasks are available. Each type of worker classification has pros and cons, so each entrepreneur will want to review the two options, weighing the risks and rewards to select the best option that suits their needs.
The first option is to hire independent contractors to complete windows cleaning business jobs. Hiring an independent contractor means the individual has more autonomy over how their work is completed and is responsible for their tax liability, social security payments, etcetera.
While hiring independent contractors can be beneficial for a newly opened business because of the lower level of work initially required, it is vital to keep in mind that an independent contractor cannot be forced to be held to specific schedules, meaning a constant need to “Rubik’s Cube” the schedule each week. The continuous rotation and unfamiliar faces could be overwhelming, especially for a new business owner.
On the other hand, a business owner can hire employees instead of independent contractors. When hiring employees, a business owner can have a much higher level of control over how work is completed and specifics such as scheduling individuals for certain schedules and hours or requiring that particular products be used or avoided. In addition, although the employer must comply with tax regulations and benefits requirements, hiring employees allows for a more harmonious workforce.
Overall, it depends on the business owner’s needs to determine whether independent contractors or employees would be the better solution. As a new home-based window cleaning business, either option would be sufficient, mainly because the company is likely to need only one or two other work hands until business increases to a more steady stream.
Create and Distribute ‘Now Hiring’ Advertisements and Review Applications
Now that the business owner has established themselves as a legal business entity, created a budget, and determined the appropriate worker classification, the entrepreneur can begin searching for their first employee or an independent contractor, depending on what is selected as the best worker classification for the new business. As a new business needing only one or two individuals, it is best to tailor the help wanted ad to a few particular sites or locations to prevent an extreme overabundance of applications for so few positions.
One idea is to place only one ad in the local newspaper or city job board. This will help to limit the number of applications received. Additionally, if the job board allows, limit the number of applications to be accepted to 15. If this is not an option, monitor the applications closely until 15 are received, and then close the listing while determining if any of the 15 received are viable candidates. Of the 15 applications selected, a good number to interview in person is five if the business is seeking to hire two; otherwise, choosing three is sufficient if seeking to hire only one individual.
Conducting Meaningful and Useful Applicant Interviews
Conducting interviews is crucial to beginning a home-based window cleaning business successfully. The business owner’s interviews will allow them to determine whether an applicant would be a good fit for the company. When interviewing, the entrepreneur must pay close attention to cues such as facial expressions, body language, and changes in voice pitch.
The business owner should take notes during the interview. Additionally, they should enter the interview prepared with a set method of questioning. Asking a mixture of question types can help applicants relax, especially those feeling particularly nervous. In addition, this will allow the business owner to see multiple sides of an applicant by probing using relevant questions such as seeking examples of past work experiences and how they prepared the individual for the vacant position.
An interview also allows the employer to be highly forthcoming regarding the position. Because window cleaning sometimes requires strenuous physical activity, this is the time for the business owner to clearly state the higher-than-normal physical demands of the job. Applicants should be aware of the conditions they could face, such as being required to work very high up (so, for example, window cleaning would likely be a poor work option for an individual petrified of heights). Making sure to be up front about the position from the beginning helps to prevent individuals from beginning the hiring process only to give up midway through or realize this is not something they want to pursue any further.
Following applicant interviews, review each applicant, weighing the pros and cons to determine which applicant or applicants will be best suited for the position. Once decided, the business owner can reach out to each individual to extend an offer to work for the window cleaning business.
Conduct Employee/Independent Contractor Briefing
Although each applicant should be aware of what the position entails due to the interview process, having a dedicated day to brief individuals on what to expect can be immensely helpful in preventing hiccups throughout the first day of operation by getting ahead of any questions or uncertainties before they become issues. The briefing does not need to be anything particularly formal. Still, it should provide an overview of what the employees or independent contractors can expect from the business.
The briefing will also allow the new employees or independent contractors to meet and develop a rapport that will benefit the business as it grows. Conducting a briefing can also answer questions individuals may have regarding payment, benefits, or any other details before the grand opening. Getting the administrative tasks taken care of before the grand opening will greatly support starting a window cleaning business.
Create an Immediate Expenditure List and Purchase Startup Materials
Although a budget is created with estimated expenses, an immediate expenditure list differs slightly. This list contains items that MUST be purchased before any services can be offered. This includes cleaning supplies, a way to get from the business owner’s home to the job sites, etcetera. Once all expenditures have been accounted for, the business owner can purchase the materials and stow items away until the grand opening.
Developing a Memorable Grand Opening Campaign
Now that the business has been appropriately established and staffed, creative juices are needed to create a unique grand opening campaign. As a new business, there will need to be some quality or trait which sets this business apart from similarly situated companies. Developing a grand opening campaign will likely take longer than any other step.
Although the entrepreneur may have decided on a color scheme or specific character to represent the business, the grand opening is a one-chance opportunity. A successful grand opening campaign keeps the audience engaged while introducing the new service and soliciting signups from potential customers.
When deciding the setup for the window cleaning business’ grand opening, remember the kind of customer the company seeks to attract. Try to outline in as detailed a manner as possible what qualities the demographic of customers would possess. Understanding the target audience helps the business tailor its products and marketing techniques.
Create Flyers and Electronic Ads to Advertise the Home-Based Cleaning Business
Following creating a unique and memorable grand opening campaign, the entrepreneur can create flyers and electronic advertisements for the business. Although pounding the pavement is often most people’s least favorite task, spreading the word, even to just one additional individual, dramatically increases the business’ exposure and the likelihood of finding new and lasting clients.
The flyers and advertisements used to draw in clients should be just as unique as the grand opening campaign created. If, for instance, a business were to post its flyers on a community board but only used faint grey lettering in ten-point font, it is unlikely that many people would take notice of the posting. On the other hand, if a business uses neon yellow paper and different bright colors to create a colorful poster board sign, the company is much more likely to get recognized than the previously mentioned flyer.
For online advertisements, there are several ways that a business can get itself out into the community. Simple actions such as creating social media accounts for the company can allow the business to begin being seen and recognized by community members, increasing the likelihood that their interest will be piqued enough to try the services of your new home-based window cleaning business.
Further, social media accounts can provide a way to humanize the company. Although your window cleaning business will start small, most individuals are accustomed to dealing with large, disconnected corporations. Adding a touch of personality can go a long way for a business. That feeling of exclusivity received from personalized service is something many are willing to pay higher than standard fees for.
If a business can tap into the personalized side of the company, many new doors will be opened. Of course, as the entrepreneur and business entity become more significant parts of the community, less advertisement will be needed, but keep in mind that advertising should never cease altogether. Whether it be through free ads or paid ads, the business should always be even minutely generating new traffic and potential clients.
To conclude, beginning a new home-based window cleaning business entails a sizable list of steps. Despite the numerous stages, taking each one at a time will allow an individual to slowly make their way through each process until they find they have suddenly reached the end of the process. What initially appears to be an insurmountable mountain turns into a climbable molehill.
With that, it is essential to remember that entrepreneurs often know they possess the ability to own and operate their own business but are unsure of the steps they will need to follow to translate their dreams into reality. However, by following the steps mentioned above, an entrepreneur can, with reasonable effort, become a business owner and, in the first year, be within the six-figure range in terms of salary.
So, an entrepreneur seeking to begin a home-based window cleaning business only needs to follow the process steps. First, the entrepreneur must develop a business plan. Next, the individual must register the business as a business entity based on state or country regulations. Many states and countries offer the ability to complete this process entirely online, simplifying the process even further.
After officially registering as a business entity, a budget should be drafted. First, the budget will estimate the business revenue based on estimated services or using pre-calculated data such as Statista. Next, the business owner must determine the appropriate worker classification they intend to employ. Finally, the business owner can hire independent contractors or employees, each having pros and cons.
The selection of worker classification is followed by the creation and placement of ‘Now Hiring’ signs in specific locations to limit the number of applications received due to the limited number of openings. Once the business owner has received an adequate number of applications, they must review the applicants and select five for in-person interviews and an extension of employment.
Further, the business owner can organize a briefing to ensure everyone is familiar with the processes of the business and can ask any questions before the grand opening to have a smoother rollout. Additionally, the company will need to draft its immediate expenditure list detailing what items and provisions MUST be purchased before beginning offering services.
Finally, the business owner can buy any required startup materials to prepare for the grand opening day. The business owner then creates a grand opening campaign that is unique and memorable and stands out enough to draw in new potential clients. The business owner will also advertise the grand opening through flyers and electronic advertisements.
Advertisements will likely be potential clients’ first impressions of the business. Because of this, business owners will want to be sure to share quality artistry that reflects the business as a whole. In addition, first impressions are always stated to be lasting impressions, so the new home-based window cleaning business can create the kind of lasting impression that anyone would remember fondly.
This opportunity allows the business owner to paint the company in the favorable light they would prefer the community to see them in. Planting this positive perception can benefit the business in the long run as it becomes more deeply rooted in the community and familiar to nearly all that frequent the area. Through each of the covered steps, an entrepreneur can transform their idea into a fully functioning home-based window cleaning business with reasonable effort.