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[FULL GUIDE] Starting a Window Cleaning Business (by @piano)

Anything considered a "hustle" and not necessarily a CENTS-based Fastlane

piano

Dmin7,8,9,13
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Preface​

This is a long guide with a lot of information. Before you read this, I just want to tell you something:

The reason you don't need this guide.
When I started out, I didn't have such a guide but it was ok because I had a starting point; I need the tools, ok I searched for them and bought them. Okay now I have to learn the technique, watched youtube tutorials and learnt it. Ok, now where can I clean windows?

You get the idea.

This guide is merely everything served on a golden plate and might overwhelm a few people because of that.
For those people, do it like I did and maybe read the guide only when you really need it.
I hope you enjoy it, I've been working on it for 2 months!

Have fun.


Lately, there have been quite a lot of window cleaning threads and I see people struggling, buying bad equipment (Leifheit cough cough) and a few other things that I can help with.

I myself are in the beginning stages. However I've made over 1000€ so far and that at the age of 16! No car! No girlfriend! And even no business registration!

I will talk about equipment, work ethic, sales and everything you need to watch out for. If you have a question, just ask me and I'll add it to this guide!

Budget. With how much can you start this business? This might be surprising to some of you, but you can literally do it for FREE if you're Johnny Hustling, however I'll just assume that you aren't willing to borrow a squeegee from a gas station and windex from a supermarket.
How much is it for without all the hassle? You can get an awesome Unger bundle for just 50 bucks and you're literally good to go ( https://amzn.eu/d/2lPlN6q ). However I spent around 100€ at the beginning.

Equipment. You're gonna need real tools and not just some paper towels.
You're gonna need:
  • A squeegee. I'd recommend going for a 35cm one. Just trust me with this... Try to aim for an Unger one (Ergotec), though Sorbo, Moerman, Ettore and a few others are good too.
  • An Applicator/Scrubber. Go for one that's the size of your squeegee, however it's not the end of the world if it's smaller/bigger, just more bothersome.
  • A bucket. The most important thing is that you can fit your applicator into it. It doesn't have to fit perfect, but you need to get your applicator wet.
  • At least one microfiber cloth. With this, you'll be detailing the windows and fixing a few slip ups. Just do yourself a favor and don't get yourself one of those 10x-towels sets for 2 bucks. They suck. A good one would be a "recylced surgical towel", just look it up.
  • The cleaning solution. If you're American, really just use DAWN dish soap. If you're European or whatever, go use some other dish soap. I use Pril. Don't, for the love of the window cleaning gods, use Windex or some spray garbage. How much solution to use? It depends. "Oh yeah, no shit". Well, more on that later.
And Ta-Da! That's it! Really. Nothing more. With this, you could make serious cash, however I'd definitely recommend more and that's why I'll go more in detail in the next segment. I'll also go into detail for what I use.
What you need and should get:
  • Squeegee: To be suited for every situation, I'd recommend you a 20cm-or-smaller-squeegee, a 35cm one and a 45cm one.
    For the 20cm squeegee, I cut an Unger S-channel (45cm) down into 2 20cm ones, I now have a spare 20cm channel and I am using an Unger Ergotec handle with it. You could though simply just get the Ettore brass mini squeegee, I think it costs less than 20 bucks and is pretty good from what I've heard. Oh what a channel is? The squeegee consists out of 3 parts usually: The handle, the channel and the squeegee rubber. A guide for cutting a channel down:

    View: https://youtu.be/WMuzcL0O1sM
    After you've done that, just go and cut a squeegee rubber into the desired size, it doesn't have to be perfectly clean. I think I used both knife and scissor for that and it worked.
    For the 35cm squeegee, I have an Unger Ninja one and it's amazing. The 35cm squeegee is going to be for smaller-medium windows, as the 45cm squeegee can be too big often. Alternatives are: Unger Ergotec, Moerman, Sorbo and a few others. For the 45cm one I use an Unger Ergotec one. I use it the most and it just really speeds everything up a lot, often I wish I had an even longer one haha (wait-). The 20cm one is for the really small ones and 45cm for the big ones.
    For pole work, I myself plan to get a Moerman Excellerator 2.0, however getting that one already is overkill.
  • Squeegee rubber: Not too much to worry about. Just get the same size as your squeegee and all is good. There are however 3 different kinds of them: Soft, medium and hard. Soft is for cold climates and hard for hot ones. And medium is the in-between.
    Good rubbers are the Ettore rubbers. Many window cleaners swear by them. I've been only using normal Unger rubbers and Unger-Green-Power rubbers and the latter one is more durable and generally just a dream. You'll know when to change your rubber, however as a general rule of thumb: after 2-3 days-worth of work, you should change them up (for regular rubbers). Unger green power rubbers hold for around a week.
  • Scrubber: I use an Unger Ninja scrubber 35cm. It has abrasive pads at the sides which helps me get rid of tougher dirt. I use it a lot. If you get a scrubber without one, maybe get an abrasive pad, such as walnut- or white pads. Also, think about maybe getting the Pulex Technopad with it.
  • Bucket: I use a "Keeeper thies" bucket with 12 liters of space. My scrubber doesn't fit well into it, so I have to fiddle around a bit, but the small size and the fact that it never broke down have served me very well. The small size is nice because I can usually just use sinks to fill it up with. I usually fill it up half way.
  • Microfibre cloth: I use Unger clothes and a certain glass cleaning-cloth that is basically the German version of the "recycled surgical towel" from the US. I take 5 of these towels with me. More on how to use them later. I also got myself one of these 10x-cloths sets for 2 bucks and I use them, but not for detailling, only to soak up dirty water and wipe the frames.
  • (Bath)Towels: These are especially important for residential jobs, because I lay them down below the window or doorsteps so I don't make a mess and often under the bucket as well. I have 2 with me always. Use them as you please.
  • Telescopic pole: I have a modified Leifheit pole that reaches to 4 meters (btw, never buy from Leifheit) and I attached an Unger tip on it (important!). I'd recommend you to get a pole. It doesn't have to be super long, so let me just say this: I've almost never used 4 meters, so don't worry too much. You'll see whether you can reach the stuff anyways. But like I've said, keep your filthy hands off Leifheit. I'd recommend getting an Unger Optiloc. I plan on getting one of them myself. A 3 meter one is like 30 bucks but if that's somehow too expensive, go do your own research.
  • Glass scrapers: Before I say anything, I just wanted to say that I haven't used any scraper actively yet. I once scratched my own window while practising but that's it [update while writing: I have actually scratched another window badly recently lol, don't tell anybody]. You don't need it, I certainly didn't, but it can be worth it! The Unger (Ninja) scrapers are good from what I've heard. Go watch this guide if you get one:

    View: https://youtu.be/-Zwm3hO0DVc
  • Ladder: I don't have one and do everything with a pole and hands. However, if you need one, just ask the house owner, or worst case, bring your own with help of an adult or ask a neighbour in that neighbourhood. I only needed one once (I got it from the house owner) but I could have done it without one too if I had the Moerman Excellerator.
    If you're an adult, go take one with you, but if you're a teen with no car, no worries bro.
  • Hip Belt and Pouch: A hip belt is essential for window cleaners. On it you have your poach where you store some of your things, most often for towels and smaller things (like a toothbrush) and on your hip belt you also have your bucket on a belt (BOAB) attached, more info on this in the next paragraph.
    J24364.jpg
    An example of a pouch.
  • Bucket on a belt/BOAB: On the BOAB you store your main tools (Squeegee, Scrubber). It also holds the water of the scrubber inside, so that you don't drip everywhere.
    I'm using the UNGER Ninja BOAB. It's OK, however am not too big of a fan of it. It is quite loose and has already fell over a few times, resulting in the soapy water splashing out onto the floor.
    If you buy one, you'll need to do your own research, however if you struggle; an UNGER (Ninja) BOAB is kind of a no-brainer.
  • Transportation: If you're an adult, just drive a car, but if you're a teen or don't have one, this is for you; I at first only moved on foot (with equip in hands and backpack) in my own city. After that I went with public transport aka busses and trains. Now, I built myself THE WINDOW WASHING MOBILE 1.0™ [update while writing: it broke down recently lol] which is just a bike which carries my stuff. On more detail, you can find it in my window cleaning thread on page 5 (I think). Here's the link:
  • Introducing to you...

    THE WINDOW WASHING MOBILE 1.0™
    ...
  • Deduster/dust-/cobweb removal: I use a brush with which I remove dust before cleaning the windows (but only on the exterior). It fits on my pole, I use a Leifheit one ("Leifheit Dusty") and it's the only thing that I can recommend from them haha. You can use this later to "add value".
  • Business registration: If you're a teen, likely nobody will care, but don't forget about it, you're gonna need it in the later stages.
  • Water fed pole (WFP): This is something you won't need right now and probably can't get atm. I just wanted to let you know that this exists. But for now, forget about it and let's move on.


Cleaning Solution:
This is pretty simple. Just use dishwashing soap. No, not window cleaner bottles/sprays!
Really, I'm not joking. Fill your bucket up halfway and put in Dawn, Fairy, Pril or whatever you have in your country.
Just be careful to not use too much. Around 1-2 big spoons per 5 litres should be good!

Pricing. It depends on where you live. If you're in North America, prices are F*cking nuts. Prices there can go up to 500 bucks for big homes, and with "big" I don't mansions or whatever, simply just big houses. In Europe, prices are more down-to-earth. To orientate, simply just figure out what other companies charge. Or... you can just say F*ck it and experiment. I personally charge around 4€ per window. But just keep in mind to not undersell yourself and also that very low prices are bad for 4 reasons: You screw up other window cleaners with stupidly low prices. You're not gonna be taken very serious if your price is very low. You don't get paid much. And you'll get cheap-asses who often are a pain.

Cleaning them windows. I can't really explain it very well on text, so I'll explain what I can and send you some tutorials. First of all, you scrub the glass with the applicator, then you use either fanning or straight pulls (more on that later) and "detail" accordingly to it (also more on that later).
Actually? You know what? Just go and watch the following guides and simply practise!

The "S" Technique, AKA "Fanning"
View: https://youtu.be/0v7Xlfa3twQ

Just go and watch this
View: https://youtu.be/_PCIWGEmR1U

Detailing
View: https://youtu.be/qAxtUoSALYA?t=190

Pole work
View: https://youtu.be/ojIeVOnn2es

Feathering (important for pole work)
View: https://youtu.be/MrxBpH4YCxM

Now you technically have everything to make money with!
I'm now going to explain to you a few ways on how to make money, their pros and cons.

Door to door (d2d) (and technically cold calling too, however I won't be focussing on that):
This (d2d) is likely the "hardest" out of them all.
You knock on doors and enter stores and have to talk to people (oh no!!!) and have to face rejection.
Why "hardest" is in quotes? Because it is relative. It's not inherently hard or negative, you simply make it that way.
"Oh no, what if I get rejected?!" "Rejection hurts me so much!" "I can't do this!" "What if he hates me?"
Think about it. Go write out your excuse and see if it makes sense. What is your argument?
You'll soon figure out that it's your value judgement about it (aka you're being irrational).
Don't get me wrong, you will very very likely be nervous about it when you first try it, no matter the preparation.
HOWEVER, it's what you do AFTER it. Are you going to whine and cry about it, telling yourself how supposedly hard it is and how much you got hurt?
Or are you going to say to yourself "He just rejected my offer, that's it" and right after that "I just started out, it's okay. What can I do better next time? Do I dress properly?".

There is simply just SOOO much to unpack about door to door, body language, tonality and everything. Honestly, writing everything I know out would perhaps take me 3 hours haha. However don't be overwhelmned, simply take it 1 at a time. I actually have still made quite a few sales while throwing confidence out the window and acting awkwardly, so don't fret.
I am going to link a few snippets, and also remember that I share pretty much everything in my own window cleaning thread ( HOT! - SIDE HUSTLE - I'm going to wash windows for money tomorrow for the first time in my life. Any tips? )!
-Advice on d2d:
Alright, here goes what I've learned so far (I assume you mean residential specifcally):

-Be confident
-Always try to find a convo opener, for example "Hey, nice garden, do you do it yourself?". And if there is no obvious/convenient one, try to find one, for example "Heya, no worries! I'm not from one of those scammy companies!"
-Be funny ^, just be goofy and lighthearted, I think that's how you form great humour over time.
-Be wary of their body language and your own. For example, you don't want to stand "face-to-face" with your body, so to speak. Try to have your feet angled somewhere else so that there is no tension between you guys. Although try both out.
-Adapt to the person: Old granny, speak slow, big dude, speak confidently and to the point, etc.
-Tell them you're known or act as if you should be "Heya, have you seen a great guy in a red shirt walking around here? He's doing awesome deals! Oh wait, that's me!" or "Yeah, so I just did Barbara down the street earlier"
-Show, not tell. Point at dirty spots at windows if there, show your equip perhaps, etc.
-ENGAGE with them! "Heya, just take a quick step outside" or ask them a question. It's best when you get a yes-ish answer: "Heya, which side is the gate on?" "The left (yes-ish)"
-Try to reflect and adapt at where they basically turn off with your pitch and improve on that.
-Once heard "You knock on random peoples' doors and try to sell them your stuff. That's kinda a$$, so why don't you try to make it as pleasant as possible?". Aka, be funny, have a convo, be fun.
That's also basically what @Johnny boy said in one of the top posts of my window cleaning thread "Be an entertainer".
-There is a youtube series by Josh Lester. Awesome videos, go binge them when you have time.
Basically, try to imitate what he's doing and see if it works. He's helped me out so much with these videos! I'm honestly pretty surprised at how similar I sound to him sometimes.
-Looping, there's a video by Josh Lester about it as well.
-Adding value (aka looping kinda), add dust-removal, etc.
-If it's about the price and not value, never go down without a reason. "Sir, I'm really empathetic with your situation, so why don't we call it 149€? (with reason)". Because if you do without it, your service basically just becomes kinda worthless. You could go down to 5 bucks and you'd look like an idiot.
-"Oh, what if they refuse me because of my humour or jokes?"
I've heard by Jeffrey Gitomer once that you only scare away 1 in 10 people with that, or something similar to that. You also have to ask yourself if you want your fun customer or grumpy customer.

And uh, yeah. Just go have fun!
(Also keep in mind that what I wrote here is not to be taken 100%, try it out and figure it out yourself)

EDIT:
-Go read Dale Carnegies How to make friends and influence others. Quite a few unintentional sales techniques in there as well.
-SMILE:), however, once again, experiment with the intensity, etc. I've kinda toned it down recently and feel like it's been doing me better. Experiment!
Click to expand...
-Dress appropriately.
Where would you go rather if you wanted to get your car reparied? The car mechanic that's getting dirty and has oil all over his clothes or the 3 tall white men in nice suits approaching you with their macbooks? Don't wear sweatpants. Wear Jeans with a belt. Don't wear Nike-Airforce-suck-my-a$$-those-cost-250-bucks, wear appropriate boots that... aren't those..
Look like a good worker, somebody you would trust your windows with!
-Go to my window cleaning thread and "sort by best posts", go through the first 1-2 pages or just read everything chronologically. Especially @Johnny boy's posts are great!
-Watch Josh Lester's window cleaning series. Just do it! You will enjoy them a lot! Just type his name on youtube.

And then there are marketing-based approaches. Basically, throwing flyers into mailboxes, creating ads and stuff like that. I honestly don't have much experience with this myself, but @Subsonic apparently had success with flyers so that might work wonders for you too.
Try it out your self! What are you risking? 2 hours and 50 bucks?

Another option, one that's probably attractive to rookies, is simply asking family and friends and also to be recommended by them (mouth to mouth).

*Insert 10 different approaches I forgot to name*


Hm, so what have we got now? You have the proper equip now, don't dress like a teenage girl, know how to handle your tools well, know how to get customers and handle rejection like a boss and... oh right.

The Cleaning sites:

Residential: Here you clean houses for people. Many people charge quite a lot to get their houses cleaned. However be wary, skill is needed, sales- and window cleaning-wise.

Commercial: Shops, restaurants, car dealerships and offices. The place where business is being done and things bought or eaten.
This type of cleaning site is the easiest to get jobs from for a numeral of reasons. Even as a beginner, you don't have to fret too much about making a sale, since there are many people who (sadly...) want to get the lowest price possible and don't see anything else accept the price. However, while fine to perhaps do at the beginning to gain confidence, don't make this your main strategy as you'll lose quite a bit of money in the long game and you kill the local window cleaning business: People will believe that extremely low prices are the norm and you will kill everyones' fun, even the competitors'. If you're not dominant enough, you also might risk being sucked into recurring cleans for a pay that will later seem laughable to you.
So only stick to cheap prices in the beginning or better yet, never start with that in the first place.
Also, these are usually the easiest to clean however always have a ladder or extension pole with you (unless you definitely know you won't need one of those).

Construction: When a new house is being built and finished, the windows have many debris sitting on it. Paint, dust, glue and probably your mom too. You get the idea. This is something I haven't had done myself and I don't know how the pay is, however you really need to be careful and experienced in that field. Steve0 The window cleaner doesn't like those himself if you were curious about his opinion.
Oh I also don't fully know how to even aquire those jobs lol so you'd have to do your own research. However this field is usually so small, you can basically forget about it for now (focus on residential and/or commercial!).


Okay... now we got that too... I think that's it?

So basically in easy steps:
1. Approach the target and knock on the door/enter the store
2. Be really funny but still professional and simply ask if they want their shizz get cleaned
3. They say yes, you close the deal and get to work. You finish it and get the money.

If you failed #3 and they said no, start from step #1 please and repeat that until step #3 happens.

That's it. You're done.
That's all you need to know.

From here on I'll write optional things and stories which might help out one or two guys. (I might add more in the future)

Knocking on die Haustüre:
@Subsonic wanted to knock some doors and he asked me for help so I said yes and we knocked on doors in a suburb.
We arrived and I told him "Go ring that bell" at a run-down house (lololololol).
It was cold, later supposed to rain and the sun was slowly going down as he rang the bell, me standing in the background.
A man came out of the house and he asked Sonic what he wanted from him. Sonic was nervous. His voice was high and he stuttered.
"HeLo i cLeAn Wiiidnos" (<-- 100% what he said) and the man ridiculed him. "Can't you see this house is being torn apart? Half the roof is already missing!" and told him shit that would've traumatised me if that were my first door :rofl:. Like, even I felt slightly uneasy.
He closed the door and I felt like Sonic just dodged a murderer LOL.
Most normal people would've went home, start paying for therapy and quit Entrepreneurship after just 2 weeks.
But Sonic? He moved on and chuckled (albeit nervously). We kept knocking and Sonic actually got a property trespassing warning by the house owner (something that hasn't happened to me EVER :rofl:) but he also kept going.
We were actually having fun and didn't let fear tell us what was "bad" or "dangerous". We kept a cool head, joked around.
It's all in your head. And know what? We managed to get 5 leads in about an hour.
Be like Subsonic in that regard.

(Of course Subsonic wasn't alone and had me, thy greatness, but the message is the same. And who said you can't do it alone too?)

Maybe sing some time:
Something I noticed while I was teaching Sonic was that his voice wasn't very prominent. I'm not saying it's a bad voice, I'm just saying it's not really fully developed yet. And I don't necessarily mean that in a puberty-/age-meaning. He simply doesn't fully know how to bring it out, or at least back then that was the case. And that's definitely something he has to work on.
I told him he might want to join a choir. Why?
I'm in a choir and go there every week. I've been going there for almost a year now and sing bass.
Singing and performing in a choir (or by yourself) has 2 benefits:
You develope your voice and learn how to control it.
And you fight stagefright/social anxiety.
See how these might help d2d or...IN YOUR WHOLE LIFE??
Of course you don't have to and some people already naturally have good control over their voice. For those that don't have a prominent voice yet, maybe look into singing. It's quite fun and you get to be around girls a lot (I mean that in the least-creepiest way possible :rofl:).


(There are other ways to achieve the same effect, choir is something I just personally do)

Confidence boosters:
I recently gave in to the earbud craze and bought a pair myself and went into the gym for the first time in like 4 weeks.
Normally I would've been nervous but that music slapped so frikn hard I didn't care at all and after over one hour I was like "If I don't stop now, I might have to skip school tomorrow" :rofl:.
And I haven't tried it out yet but I'm 100% it's the same with d2d.
So perhaps listen to your most motivating music or motivational speeches before you knock doors.
2000's music btw gives me a care-free "back then everything was good" feel so that or something similar could be helpful too.
Another confidence booster are friends. Together, you often feel invincible. I don't think I have to explain this one.

And perhaps the strongest is purpose;
I'm not even entirely sure if it fits into this category, as I wasn't confident in the beginning even though my purpose was strong, however it still pushed me to the brim and was what made me gain confidence afterwards.

Struggling to get going:
Imagine this; You want to go out but you might be just a little bit afraid or a bit lazy.
In this case, several things help;
-Prepare for the day. Have everything set up, the equipment, the route you'll take today, etc.
Or in other words; remove the resistance factors. Make it as easy/accessible as you can. After all, you'd rather go to the gym when your bag is already packed than when it's not.
-Confidence from doing. Wash your own place's windows. This will ease stuff up.
-Be completely ready to leave the door. Put on all your equip, all that shizz so that you could walk out that house RIGHT NOW. The important thing to remember is that you don't have to force yourself to go out (unless you know that that works for you). This too will make it even easier.
-Combining these tips will make it easier to get going!

Screw Jupiter's disciples (Scew weather forecasts):
Now, before I rant about this segment, I want to say 2 things:
-Don't go working in tough conditions if you get sick afterwards or aren't very healthy
-Don't go working in dangerous conditions; thunder, volcanic erruption, forgotten anniversaries

So what do I mean by the title?
I'll explain this by an example of my own.
I was checking up on the weather forecasts and the forecasts looked terrible. Rain, all day, all week.
And so I didn't go out! And guess what; Those days were half bad! In fact, the weather often was astronomically more better than these weather forecasts predicted! And so I got fed up one day and went anyways. Needless to say; that day the predictions actually were kinda right lol and it was raining the whole day but I made 95€ in less than 4 hours!
So in other words; go out even if the weather is slightly bad. That way you don't lose any precious days and can still make decent money!


[For any other questions, just ask and I'll likely edit it into this post or answer directly]


And that's everything you'll need.

At least for now...

Good Luck.

Edits (D/M/Y):
08.08.2023; added hip belt and pouch and BOAB to Equipment section, Added "Struggling to get going" and "Scew Jupiter" to Optional section.
28.10.2023; fixed a few typos, removed immature language
 
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Subsonic

How you do anything is how you do everything
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Preface​

This is a long guide with a lot of information. Before you read this, I just want to tell you something:

The reason you don't need this guide.
When I started out, I didn't have such a guide but it was ok because I had a starting point; I need the tools, ok I searched for them and bought them. Okay now I have to learn the technique, watched youtube tutorials and learnt it. Ok, now where can I clean windows?

You get the idea.

This guide is merely everything served on a golden plate and might overwhelm a few people because of that.
For those people, do it like I did and maybe read the guide only when you really need it.
I hope you enjoy it, I've been working on it for 2 months!

Have fun.


Lately, there have been quite a lot of window cleaning threads and I see people stuggling, buying bad equipment (Leifheit cough cough) and a few other things that I can help with.

I myself are in the beginning stages. However I've made over 1000€ so far and that at the age of 16! No car! No girlfriend! And even no business registration!

I will talk about equipment, work ethic, sales and everything you need to watch out for. If you have a question, just ask me and I'll add it to this guide!

Budget. With how much can you start this business? This might be surprising to some of you, but you can literally do it for FREE if you're Johnny Hustling, however I'll just assume that you aren't willing to borrow a squeegee from a gas station and windex from a supermarket.
How much is it for without all the hassle? You can get an awesome Unger bundle for just 50 bucks and you're literally good to go ( https://amzn.eu/d/2lPlN6q ). However I spent around 100€ at the beginning.

Equipment. You're gonna need real tools and not just some paper towels.
You're gonna need:
  • A squeegee. I'd recommend going for a 35cm one. Just trust me with this... Try to aim for an Unger one (Ergotec), though Sorbo, Moerman, Ettore and a few others are good too.
  • An Applicator/Scrubber. Go for one that's the size of your squeegee, however it's not the end of the world if it's smaller/bigger, just more bothersome.
  • A bucket. The most important thing is that you can fit your applicator into it. It doesn't have to fit perfect, but you need to get your applicator wet.
  • At least one microfiber cloth. With this, you'll be detailing the windows and fixing a few slip ups. Just do yourself a favor and don't get yourself one of those 10x-towels sets for 2 bucks. They suck. A good one would be a "recylced surgical towel", just look it up.
  • The cleaning solution. If you're American, really just use DAWN dish soap. If you're European or whatever, go use some other dish soap. I use Pril. Don't, for the love of the window cleaning gods, use Windex or some spray garbage. How much solution to use? It depends. "Oh yeah, no shit". Well, more on that later.
And Ta-Da! That's it! Really. Nothing more. With this, you could make serious cash, however I'd definitely recommend more and that's why I'll go more in detail in the next segment. I'll also go into detail for what I use.
What you need and should get:
  • Squeegee: To be suited for every situation, I'd recommend you a 20cm-or-smaller-squeegee, a 35cm one and a 45cm one.
    For the 20cm squeegee, I cut an Unger S-channel (45cm) down into 2 20cm ones, I now have a spare 20cm channel and I am using an Unger Ergotec handle with it. You could though simply just get the Ettore brass mini squeegee, I think it costs less than 20 bucks and is pretty good from what I've heard. Oh what a channel is? The squeegee consists out of 3 parts usually: The handle, the channel and the squeegee rubber. A guide for cutting a channel down:

    View: https://youtu.be/WMuzcL0O1sM
    After you've done that, just go and cut a squeegee rubber into the desired size, it doesn't have to be perfectly clean. I think I used both knife and scissor for that and it worked.
    For the 35cm squeegee, I have an Unger Ninja one and it's amazing. The 35cm squeegee is going to be for smaller-medium windows, as the 45cm squeegee can be too big often. Alternatives are: Unger Ergotec, Moerman, Sorbo and a few others. For the 45cm one I use an Unger Ergotec one. I use it the most and it just really speeds everything up a lot, often I wish I had an even longer one haha (wait-). The 20cm one is for the really small ones and 45cm for the big ones.
    For pole work, I myself plan to get a Moerman Excellerator 2.0, however getting that one already is overkill.
  • Scrubber: I use an Unger Ninja scrubber 35cm. It has abrasive pads at the sides which helps me get rid of tougher dirt. I use it a lot. If you get a scrubber without one, maybe get an abrasive pad, such as walnut- or white pads. Also, think about maybe getting the Pulex Technopad with it.
  • Bucket: I use a "Keeeper thies" bucket with 12 liters of space. My scrubber doesn't fit well into it, so I have to fiddle around a bit, but the small size and the fact that it never broke down have served me very well. The small size is nice because I can usually just use sinks to fill it up with. I usually fill it up half way.
  • Microfibre cloth: I use Unger clothes and a certain glass cleaning-cloth that is basically the German version of the "recycled surgical towel" from the US. I take 5 of these towels with me. More on how to use them later. I also got myself one of these 10x-cloths sets for 2 bucks and I use them, but not for detailling, only to soak up dirty water and wipe the frames.
  • (Bath)Towels: These are especially important for residential jobs, because I lay them down below the window or doorsteps so I don't make a mess and often under the bucket as well. I have 2 with me always. Use them as you please.
  • Telescopic pole: I have a modified Leifheit pole that reaches to 4 meters (btw, never buy from Leifheit) and I attached an Unger tip on it (important!). I'd recommend you to get a pole. It doesn't have to be super long, so let me just say this: I've almost never used 4 meters, so don't worry too much. You'll see whether you can reach the stuff anyways. But like I've said, keep your filthy hands off Leifheit. I'd recommend getting an Unger Optiloc. I plan on getting one of them myself. A 3 meter one is like 30 bucks but if that's somehow too expensive, go do your own research.
  • Glass scrapers: Before I say anything, I just wanted to say that I haven't used any scraper actively yet. I once scratched my own window while practising but that's it [update while writing: I have actually scratched another window badly recently lol, don't tell anybody]. You don't need it, I certainly didn't, but it can be worth it! The Unger (Ninja) scrapers are good from what I've heard. Go watch this guide if you get one:

    View: https://youtu.be/-Zwm3hO0DVc
  • Ladder: I don't have one and do everything with a pole and hands. However, if you need one, just ask the house owner, or worst case, bring your own with help of an adult or ask a neighbour in that neighbourhood. I only needed one once (I got it from the house owner) but I could have done it without one too if I had the Moerman Excellerator.
    If you're an adult, go take one with you, but if you're a teen with no car, no worries bro.
  • Transportation: If you're an adult, just drive a car, but if you're a teen or don't have one, this is for you; I at first only moved on foot (with equip in hands and backpack) in my own city. After that I went with public transport aka busses and trains. Now, I built myself THE WINDOW WASHING MOBILE 1.0™ [update while writing: it broke down recently lol] which is just a bike which carries my stuff. On more detail, you can find it in my window cleaning thread on page 5 (I think). Here's the link:

  • Deduster/dust-/cobweb removal: I use a brush with which I remove dust before cleaning the windows (but only on the exterior). It fits on my pole, I use a Leifheit one ("Leifheit Dusty") and it's the only thing that I can recommend from them haha. You can use this later to "add value".
  • Business registration: If you're a teen, likely nobody will care, but don't forget about it, you're gonna need it in the later stages.
  • Water fed pole (WFP): This is something you won't need right now and probably can't get atm. I just wanted to let you know that this exists. But for now, forget about it and let's move on.


Cleaning Solution:
This is pretty simple. Just use dishwashing soap. No, not window cleaner bottles/sprays!
Really, I'm not joking. Fill your bucket up halfway and put in Dawn, Fairy, Pril or whatever you have in your country.
Just be careful to not use too much. Around 1-2 big spoons per 5 litres should be good!

Pricing. It depends on where you live. If you're in North America, prices are F*cking nuts. Prices there can go up to 500 bucks for big homes, and with "big" I don't mansions or whatever, simply just big houses. In Europe, prices are more down-to-earth. To orientate, simply just figure out what other companies charge. Or... you can just say F*ck it and experiment. I personally charge around 4€ per window. But just keep in mind to not undersell yourself and also that very low prices are bad for 4 reasons: You screw up other window cleaners with stupidly low prices. You're not gonna be taken very serious if your price is very low. You don't get paid much. And you'll get cheap-asses who often are a pain.

Cleaning them windows. I can't really explain it very well on text, so I'll explain what I can and send you some tutorials. First of all, you scrub the glass with the applicator, then you use either fanning or straight pulls (more on that later) and "detail" accordingly to it (also more on that later).
Actually? You know what? Just go and watch the following guides and simply practise!

The "S" Technique, AKA "Fanning"
View: https://youtu.be/0v7Xlfa3twQ

Just go and watch this
View: https://youtu.be/_PCIWGEmR1U

Detailing
View: https://youtu.be/qAxtUoSALYA?t=190

Pole work
View: https://youtu.be/ojIeVOnn2es

Feathering (important for pole work)
View: https://youtu.be/MrxBpH4YCxM

Now you technically have everything to make money with!
I'm now going to explain to you a few ways on how to make money, their pros and cons.

Door to door (d2d) (and technically cold calling too, however I won't be focussing on that):
This (d2d) is likely the "hardest" out of them all.
You knock on doors and enter stores and have to talk to people (oh no!!!) and have to face rejection.
Why "hardest" is in quotes? Because it is relative. It's not inherently hard or negative, you simply make it that way.
"Oh no, what if I get rejected?!" "Rejection hurts me so much!" "I can't do this!" "What if he hates me?"
Think about it. Go write out your excuse and see if it makes sense. What is your argument?
You'll soon figure out that it's your value judgement about it (aka you're being irrational).
Don't get me wrong, you will very very likely be nervous about it when you first try it, no matter the preparation.
HOWEVER, it's what you do AFTER it. Are you going to whine and cry about it, telling yourself how supposedly hard it is and how much you got hurt?
Or are you going to say to yourself "He just rejected my offer, that's it" and right after that "I just started out, it's okay. What can I do better next time? Do I dress properly?".

There is simply just SOOO much to unpack about door to door, body language, tonality and everything. Honestly, writing everything I know out would perhaps take me 3 hours haha. However don't be overwhelmned, simply take it 1 at a time. I actually have still made quite a few sales while throwing confidence out the window and acting awkwardly, so don't fret.
I am going to link a few snippets, and also remember that I share pretty much everything in my own window cleaning thread!
-Advice on d2d:

-Dress appropriately.
Where would you go rather if you wanted to get your car reparied? The car mechanic that's getting dirty and has oil all over his clothes or the 3 tall white men in nice suits approaching you with their macbooks? Don't wear sweatpants. Wear Jeans with a belt. Don't wear Nike-Airforce-suck-my-a$$-those-cost-250-bucks, wear appropriate boots that... aren't those..
Look like a good worker, somebody you would trust your windows with!
-Go to my window cleaning thread and "sort by best posts", go through the first 1-2 pages or just read everything chronologically. Especially @Johnny boy's posts are great!
-Watch Josh Lester's window cleaning series. Just do it! You will enjoy them a lot! Just type his name on youtube.

And then there are marketing-based approaches. Basically, throwing flyers into mailboxes, creating ads and stuff like that. I honestly don't have much experience with this myself, but @Subsonic apparently had success with flyers so that might work wonders for you too.
Try it out your self! What are you risking? 2 hours and 50 bucks?

Another option, one that's probably attractive to rookies, is simply asking family and friends and also to be recommended by them (mouth to mouth).

*Insert 10 different approaches I forgot to name*


Hm, so what have we got now? You have the proper equip now, don't dress like a teenage girl, know how to handle your tools well, know how to get customers and handle rejection like a boss and... oh right.

The Cleaning sites:

Residential: Here you clean houses for people. Many people charge quite a lot to get their houses cleaned. However be wary, skill is needed, sales- and window cleaning-wise.

Commercial: Shops, restaurants, car dealerships and offices. The place where business is being done and things bought or eaten.
This type of cleaning site is the easiest to get jobs from for a numeral of reasons. Even as a beginner, you don't have to fret too much about making a sale, since there are many people who (sadly...) want to get the lowest price possible and don't see anything else accept the price. However, while fine to perhaps do at the beginning to gain confidence, don't make this your main strategy as you'll lose quite a bit of money in the long game and you kill the local window cleaning business: People will believe that extremely low prices are the norm and you will kill everyones' fun, even the competitors'. If you're not dominant enough, you also might risk being sucked into recurring cleans for a pay that will later seem laughable to you.
So only stick to cheap prices in the beginning or better yet, never start with that in the first place.
Also, these are usually the easiest to clean however always have a ladder or extension pole with you (unless you definitely know you won't need one of those).

Construction: When a new house is being built and finished, the windows have many debris sitting on it. Paint, dust, glue and probably your mom too. You get the idea. This is something I haven't had done myself and I don't know how the pay is, however you really need to be careful and experienced in that field. Steve0 The window cleaner doesn't like those himself if you were curious about his opinion.
Oh I also don't fully know how to even aquire those jobs lol so you'd have to do your own research. However this field is usually so small, you can basically forget about it for now (focus on residential and/or commercial!).


Okay... now we got that too... I think that's it?

So basically in easy steps:
1. Approach the target and knock on the door/enter the store
2. Be really funny but still professional and simply ask if they want their shizz get cleaned
3. They say yes, you close the deal and get to work. You finish it and get the money.

If you failed #3 and they said no, start from step #1 please and repeat that until step #3 happens.

That's it. You're done.
That's all you need to know.

From here on I'll write optional things and stories which might help out one or two guys. (I might add more in the future)

Knocking on die Haustüre:
@Subsonic wanted to knock some doors and he asked me for help so I said yes and we knocked on doors in a suburb.
We arrived and I told him "Go ring that bell" at a run-down house (lololololol).
It was cold, later supposed to rain and the sun was slowly going down as he rang the bell, me standing in the background.
A man came out of the house and he asked Sonic what he wanted from him. Sonic was nervous. His voice was high and he stuttered.
"HeLo i cLeAn Wiiidnos" (<-- 100% what he said) and the man ridiculed him. "Can't you see this house is being torn apart? Half the roof is already missing!" and told him shit that would've traumatised me if that were my first door :rofl:. Like, even I felt slightly uneasy.
He closed the door and I felt like Sonic just dodged a murderer LOL.
Most normal people would've went home, start paying for therapy and quit Entrepreneurship after just 2 weeks.
But Sonic? He moved on and chuckled (albeit nervously). We kept knocking and Sonic actually got a property trespassing warning by the house owner (something that hasn't happened to me EVER :rofl:) but he also kept going.
We were actually having fun and didn't let fear tell us what was "bad" or "dangerous". We kept a cool head, joked around.
It's all in your head. And know what? We managed to get 5 leads in about an hour.
Be like Subsonic in that regard.

(Of course Subsonic wasn't alone and had me, thy greatness, but the message is the same. And who said you can't do it alone too?)

Maybe sing some time:
Something I noticed while I was teaching Sonic was that his voice wasn't very prominent. I'm not saying it's a bad voice, I'm just saying it's not really fully developed yet. And I don't necessarily mean that in a puberty-/age-meaning. He simply doesn't fully know how to bring it out, or at least back then that was the case. And that's definitely something he has to work on.
I told him he might want to join a choir. Why?
I'm in a choir and go there every week. I've been going there for almost a year now and sing bass.
Singing and performing in a choir (or by yourself) has 2 benefits:
You develope your voice and learn how to control it.
And you fight stagefright/social anxiety.
See how these might help d2d or...IN YOUR WHOLE LIFE??
Of course you don't have to and some people already naturally have good control over their voice. For those that don't have a prominent voice yet, maybe look into singing. It's quite fun and you get to be around girls a lot (I mean that in the least-creepiest way possible :rofl:).


(There are other ways to achieve the same effect, choir is something I just personally do)

Confidence boosters:
I recently gave in to the earbud craze and bought a pair myself and went into the gym for the first time in like 4 weeks.
Normally I would've been nervous but that music slapped so frikn hard I didn't care at all and after over one hour I was like "If I don't stop now, I might have to skip school tomorrow" .
And I haven't tried it out yet but I'm 100% it's the same with d2d.
So perhaps listen to your most motivating music or motivational speeches before you knock doors.
2000's music btw gives me a care-free "back then everything was good" feel so that or something similar could be helpful too.
Another confidence booster are friends. Together, you often feel invincible. I don't think I have to explain this one.

And perhaps the strongest is purpose;
I'm not even entirely sure if it fits into this category, as I wasn't confident in the beginning even though my purpose was strong, however it still pushed me to the brim and was what made me gain confidence afterwards.



[For any other questions, just ask and I'll likely edit it into this post or answer directly]


And that's everything you'll need.

At least for now...

Good Luck.
Screw you man:rofl:

I am 10 hours into writing my guide on this topic, and now you publish this before me... You even have the audacity to make a good guide :)

For real though it's fine, I have a different approach to the topic, so it's not all redundant now.
 

ErickMendez

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Holy shit the effort you put into this guide is insane, Thanks for sharing this information with us.
 

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