Pricing is always a subject that's fun and exciting to talk about because it relates to money. . . Or more specifically how much money you can really make in the window washing business.
I'll tell you right now that there are window washers who scramble around all day and make very little-$100, $150 or some similar amount.
Maybe those amounts are not little to you, but if you follow the advice provided here, you should make at least $45 per hour, so for a typical 10 hour day, you should pull in at least $450.
Let's clarify some things first though. This hourly amount assumes you've completed perhaps a couple of dozen jobs or more under your belt. As with anything else that is new to you, it will take a little time to gain the confidence and speed you need to make a good consistent $45 per hour.
Ok. . . let's assume you are in a groove and you know your stuff.
The sad thing is that many window washers make the mistake of estimating window washing jobs based on price.
Price, or I should say “low prices" may be the way to go for some businesses like carpet cleaning, pizza, or Dry cleaning. It seems like there are always price wars in those industries, but you don't want to get caught up in any price wars in the window washing business.
You don't want to be known as the cheapest window washer in town. You want to be known as the best.
Keep in mind that your prospects are not your everyday run-of-the-mill prospects. They are people who are generally successful, have money, and they're not afraid to part with some of it if they can get clean glass with no hassle.
I don't want to give you the impression that every one of your window washing prospects will have a money tree in their backyard, and I don't want you to think you'll be able to charge any ‘ole high price and get away with it. No.
After all, some of your clientele will be retirees who are on fixed incomes.
What I am saying is that you'll be able to charge more than your competitors and walk away with plenty of business IF you present yourself the right way.
In my manual How to Start Your Own Residential Window Washing Business, I tell the story about “sloppy" Pete who was a window washer I saw out and about one day.
He was driving a raggedy beat up truck with smoke billowing out the back and white, uneven, tore up stencils on the side advertising his company name. It said “Pete's window washing". He had tattoos everywhere, long greasy hair, a big ‘ole stogie sticking out of his mouth, and he just generally looked like a slob. Sorry to be so harsh on the poor guy, but let's compare him to you.
You're the professional. You pull up in a nice clean vehicle with magnetic signs on the side and you're dressed in a company polo shirt. Your own appearance along with your rolling advertisement is top notch.
Then you present your estimate on your own letterhead (not scribbled on the back of a business card like Pete does). Your estimate package consists of a well written cover letter, reference page with past satisfied customers, and the written estimate page.
Your prospects will obviously feel more comfortable with you because you've created a solid image of professionalism and trust from the very beginning.
When you've accomplished the task of putting your prospect at ease, you just won the battle. The prospect will gladly pay more for the privilege of having you take care of their home.
I routinely, day in and day out, charged $20, $30, $40, and even $50 or more than my competitors, but I was busier, I made more money, and I was backed up with work for weeks at a time.
Meanwhile, my competitors are running around all day wondering what they're doing wrong.
"Charging more" is the exact opposite of what most businesses and window washers do. And it may be something you're not used to hearing.
But again. . . you have to understand your customers. They have expensive furnishings, personal items, kids, and a whole bunch of concerns/issues going through their head about you, so do you think they'll pay a little bit more if they feel that you'll treat their home like your own? You bet!
What about good ‘ole Pete? You think I could have charged $30 to $40 more than him and gotten the job? Absolutely.
I spoke to one of my brand new system owners not too long ago who didn't follow my advice on pricing, but he wanted this job he was estimating badly so he gave the prospect a deep discount.
The job was priced at $66. He told me it took him over 8 hours to do. He vowed never to do that again. Who wants to make around $8 an hour as a business owner? You may as well work at Walmart.
To give you another example, I got a call one day from a customer of another window washer. She was tired of waiting around for this other guy to come by and clean her windows, so she called me.
I gave her the estimate and the best I could do as far as price was $168. The other guy charged her $105. She told me this before I began estimating her windows, but even after shaving a few bucks off here and there, I just could not, and was not willing, to go any lower then $168.
But I knew that if I could prove to her that I was worth it, then she would take the price. So I presented my estimate package like I always did. . . with a nice cover letter, references with phone numbers, and the price listed on the estimate page in the back. A quality business card was paper clipped to the front of the package.
Then I stressed that I was fully insured and bonded. And if she'd like to check out a little more about me, I asked her to please visit my website.
My professionalism was there and I could tell she trusted and felt comfortable with me. The ball was “in her court" as they say. The end result was she said yes at the door. Now don't forget. . . I was $63 HIGHER than her other window washer.
When I got done with the job, she was just ecstatic. It took me an hour longer then the other guy, but I actually got right on top of the glass and scraped each window (the other guy used poles).
I proceeded to clean her windows on a regular basis over the years and I received many referrals from her.
I'd like to stress to you that when she was recommending me to a friend, co-worker, or neighbor, I can assure you she didn't say “His pricing is great". Or “Steve is cheap. . . you have to use him".
No. More than likely she said “Steve did a fabulous job on my windows. You just have to have him do yours also. He's worth it". Like I said earlier, you don't want to be known as the cheapest, you want to be known as the best.
Your long term success in the window washing business will be because you have a reputation based on quality, not low prices.
Sure. . . there will always be those unrealistic prospects who expect you to spend all day at their house for $50. Simply walk away to greener pastures. Not everyone will use your services at your higher prices, but that's ok.
The beauty of this business is it doesn't take many quality, higher paying jobs to have a successful window washing business.
I never worry about competition. Let them try and undercut me on price. More power to ‘em. Meanwhile I'll go in there looking like a total professional and get the job at a higher price.
Sure you can make an ok living being the low priced guy in your town, but resist the urge to be the Kmart of window washers. Your income will thank you for it.
Steve Wright is the highly acclaimed author of How to Start Your Own Residential Window Washing Business. Through Steve's manual and his ongoing teaching and consulting, hundreds of individuals are now enjoying their own extremely profitable window washing businesses as you can see by checking out the many testimonials he receives. Mr. Wright has also developed a revolutionary online web-based system to assist all window washers in maintaining and growing their businesses. It's called The Customer Factor. Using both of these resources provides the one-two punch needed to catapult anyone from zero to six figures per year in the window washing business.
For more information, give Mr. Wright a call at 256-546-2446 or visit either of the websites posted.