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How To Setup Your Window Cleaning Business

Rhino Trade Insurance 30 March 2024

If you've got a keen eye for detail, a knack for making glass sparkle, and a desire to be your own boss, then starting a window cleaning business might just be the step you're looking for. In the UK, the demand for crystal-clear windows never seems to wane, so there's a market ready and waiting for your streak-free touch! 

So let's dive headfirst into how you should go about setting up your trade business as well as talk about something crucial: your business insurance. 

The Shiny World of Window Cleaning

Before we get into the nitty-gritty details, let's debunk a few myths about starting a window cleaning business. Some folks might think it's just a bucket, water, and a rag. Oh boy, are they wrong!

It's not just about the glass: window cleaning is an art. It's about attention to detail, reaching those high spots, and ensuring not a streak is left behind. It's an intricate work of technique and precision.

  • Gear matters: Forget about that old beaten-up sponge you've had since forever. A professional window cleaner needs the right tools - quality squeegees, extension poles, and water-fed systems for those hard-to-reach windows.
  • It's not just residential: While many start with residential work, the real money often comes from commercial contracts. Think office buildings, shopping centres, and shopfronts. The bigger, the better!
  • Business isn't just about cleaning: Customer service, marketing, and scheduling are crucial components. Your relationship with clients and the impression you leave will bring them back or send them searching for a different set of squeaky clean hands.

Setting Up Shop

Now that you know what you are getting into, let's talk business setup. Starting a window cleaning venture involves a few key steps:

Crafting Your Business Strategy

Now that you've got your idea and are ready for lift-off, it's time to strategise. A window cleaning business isn't just about making glass shine; it's about running a tight ship. Creating a plan for your trade business will help with your targets, approach to clients and if you ever need to apply for funding. Here's your battle plan:

  1. Define Your Niche: Are you targeting residential clients, commercial spaces, or both? Will you offer add-ons like gutter cleaning or solar panel maintenance?
  2. Pricing: Set competitive yet profitable prices. Consider factors like location, the size of the job, and any additional services.
  3. Marketing Magic: You can have the best equipment in town, but it won't matter if no one knows about you. Create eye-catching flyers, set up a simple website, and get on social media. Share those before-and-after pics like they're golden tickets.
  4. Customer Service: A happy customer is a repeat customer. Be professional, reliable, and friendly. Word of mouth can make or break a small business.

A Quick Guide To Setting Up

Now, let's navigate the legal stuff. No need to break a sweat; it's just a few hoops to jump through.

  • Business Registration: Pick a catchy name, register your business with the company's house, and make it official. You're not just a window cleaner; you're a trade business owner.
  • Insurance: Don't skip this part! Accidents happen - like a ladder smashing a window or a slippery path causing an injury. Insurance helps you avoid sticky situations - which we'll talk more about later!
  • Tax: When going it alone, you need to ensure you set yourself up properly when it comes to tax. Registering as self-employed or as a business is a must in ensuring the tax office doesn't send out a search party for you! Read all about your tax obligations here. 

Assembling Your Kit – What You'll Need

Before you embark on your quest for clean windows, let's talk about tools. No, not chisels and hammers this time - we're talking squeegees, buckets, and a whole lot of elbow grease.

  1. Squeegees and Scrubbers: Your trusty sidekicks. Invest in a variety of sizes to tackle windows of all shapes and sizes.
  2. Buckets: Not just any bucket - a sturdy, leak-proof one. You don't want a trail of water following you around like a pet.
  3. Detergent and Cleaning Solutions: Because water alone won't cut it. Invest in quality, streak-free solutions that leave your clients' windows gleaming.
  4. Extension Poles: For those hard-to-reach spots. You don't need superpowers; you just need a good pole.
  5. Fancy Equipment: Let's not forget about investing in some high-tech pressure washers, water-fed systems and units that can be operated from your work van. 
  6. Microfiber Cloths and Sponges: The final touch for that spotless finish.

Marketing Your Window Cleaning Business

Now that you've got the basics down, let's shout your talents from the rooftops - metaphorically, of course.

  • Build a Brand: Your logo is your business in a nutshell. Make it memorable and reflective of your trade business.
  • Online Presence: Get on the internet bandwagon. A website and active social media profiles are your storefront. Share your journey, showcase your skills, give customers before and after pictures and engage with potential clients.
  • Local Networking: Attend community events, introduce yourself to local businesses, and network with real estate agents. Word of mouth is a potent potion!

Challenges and Tips When Setting up a New Trade Business

Running a window cleaning business isn't all sunshine, rainbows and spotless glass. There will be challenges, but fear not - we've got some tried and tested tips to keep you going!

  • The Great British Weather: Rain, snow, or blistering heat - the weather can be your nemesis. Keep an eye on the forecast and schedule accordingly. Invest in weather-resistant gear and always keep yourself well hydrated!
  • Competition: The window cleaning world can be competitive - however, with the slow trickle of new-build homes, the pool for work is growing steadily. Stand out by providing excellent customer service, offering unique services, and building a brand that people trust.
  • Equipment Issues: Your tools are your best friends, but they can also be your worst enemies. Regular maintenance is key. A well-maintained toolkit is a happy toolkit.
  • Customer Retention: Keep those clients coming back for more. Consider loyalty programs, discounts for repeat customers, or referral bonuses.

So What About Insurance For Window Cleaners?

Now, let's talk about an important aspect of your window cleaning empire - insurance. Sure, it might not be as thrilling as conquering an office block covered in muck and grime, but it's a safety net that every wise business owner needs.

Window cleaning involves more than just climbing a ladder. Accidents happen, whether it's a slip, a fall, or damage to a client's property. Without insurance, a simple mistake could turn into a financial disaster!

  1. Public Liability: Rhino Trade Insurance understands the risks specific to the trades, and that's why we offer robust Public Liability cover designed specifically for window cleaners. This means if your ladder slips and damages a client's car or a passerby gets injured, Rhino has your back. Protect your business from third-party damages or injuries from £1 million in cover up to £5 million today.
  2. Tool Cover: Your tools are your livelihood. Rhino Trade Insurance provides a tailored coverage element for your equipment, ensuring that if your prized assets take an unfortunate tumble, you won't be left high and dry. Cover your tools today up to £10,000 with Rhino. 
  3. Personal Accident Cover: Let's face it, climbing ladders and manoeuvring around window frames can be risky. Rhino's Personal Accident cover ensures that if you find yourself needing some TLC, your insurance policy will help cover medical costs and provide financial support for any lost income. Find out how our low-cost cover can help your window cleaning business here

On top of these valuable pieces of trade insurance, the team at Rhino can also offer excellent options that include employers' liability insurance, income protection, tax enquiry insurance and more. Get in touch with our team - 0116 243 7904 - for all the information you need or get a super-quick quote here


About The Author Phil McCormick

Experienced in brand marketing and content. Most of that lovely communication you see online will be from Phil. social media, emails, videos, how to make a bacon sarny? You get the gist!

Trade most identified with: Electrician - It’s our Phil’s job to map out all our communications and make sure the signal works! Also, he’s one of the cockiest blighters in the team so electrician fits perfectly!

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