As an established window cleaning business owner, I have years of experience in the window-washing industry. I have participated in the technical and management sides. I have been involved with research and development projects of multiple sorts. I have also seen the entrepreneurial side as well with creating and scaling a replicable model all while maintaining the ultimate goal of having clients willing and anxious to pay for the service.
Over the years, I have been asked by friends, associates inside and outside of the industry, and many unknown to me people online about building a window cleaning business. I tend to share more info than most and find fulfillment in the success of everyone around me. In this article, I want to touch on a few of these questions, many are very basic and some are more advanced and might take other dialogue or context to fully understand.
How much should I charge per window for cleaning?
You need to know how long it will take to clean each window and charge based on time. A system that charges a flat amount per window is simple but it has flaws. That system does not indicate how much time will be expected to clean the house. A 4’ x 4’ window at ground level will take significantly less time to clean than a 4’ x 4’ window that requires a ladder to reach. This creates a pricing issue for the client; clients with more than average high or difficult-to-clean windows will get a “cheaper” price while clients with more than average first story or easy-to-clean windows will get a “higher” price and subsidize the first example home. The small home subsidizes the big home, see the problem?
Although a quick dollar answer may be initially desired, it will pay dividends to do the groundwork to see how long cleaning windows takes and how much should be charged according to time to meet the competitive demands of the market and mathematically sustain your business financial needs.
How much does it cost to clean all windows in a house?
That depends on the size of the house, who is cleaning them, and how the cleaner charges. As this post is written for those considering or starting out in the window cleaning industry, the cost to clean all the windows in a house is determined by the labor, equipment, and other overhead required to clean the windows.
To really dial in an answer, it will require knowing quite a few other numbers. All fixed expenses must be known and divided into the number of jobs or windows cleaned in a given period, most likely a year. Employee training, payroll taxes, workers’ compensation rates, other insurances, vehicles getting to each job site, and equipment used will all factor into the cost. This is next-level math and I’d love to chat with anyone individually, just leave a comment or send me a message.
The bottom line is the price or revenue MUST be higher than the cost to clean the windows or the young company will be out of business quickly and fulfill the government-given statistics of how many businesses fail within the first 5 years of business.
Can you make a lot of money cleaning windows?
Yes! You can also lose a lot of money. To make money, pricing must be on point. Pricing must be competitive in the market and yield a good profit; 15% minimum. If the market dictates a lower price, then you will have to figure out how to provide the same quality of service (or even better) at a cheaper price. This is an additional subject and relates to all businesses but once again, it will sink the ship if it is not understood and applied properly.
A solid window cleaning business could expect to generate $50,000+ of PROFIT from each full-time employee equivalent per year. An owner/operator model could expect even more for himself with a two or three-man team but will be limited at what he is physically capable of doing. There is also the risk of injury or sickness at the owner/operator level that can be detrimental to a business should an injury or illness occur.
Do window washers make a lot of money?
This question is somewhat relative as “a lot” can be open for interpretation. If we are talking about an employee of a company rates around the country range from $8/hour to $80,000+ per year. The $80,000 is uncommon as most window washers earn in the $18-$24/hr. range; $35,000-$48,000 per year.
If the question is referring to an owner/operator setup, meaning the owner is washing the windows either alone or with a helper or two, the amount is generally higher as he can reap the technician and owner benefits. Ranges for this type of work vary significantly as it can range from a season side hustle to a 2,000-hour-a-year gig. A solo owner working full-time could easily gross $125,000 – $200,000 a year with a high (70%+) profit margin. (That is $87,500-$140,000 take-home case money.)
I’d love to answer any other questions you may have. Drop them in the comments below and we can set up a time to chat.
As always, the grass is greenest where it gets fertilized and watered.