How Much Is Too Much?

As a solo window cleaner just starting, we are trying to get as much work as possible and get jobs on the schedule. This is your first test as a business owner. The second test is learning where to draw the line about what services you offer. We all start off as a window cleaner, and before you know it, you’ll be asked, “While you’re up there…” and I’m here to help you decide what should be done while you’re up there.

 N00bz are almost always going to say, “yes, of course, I can do ____ while I’m up here,” and you may not even charge extra to change that one light bulb or dust that fan or high ledge off. We should all be capable of those “while you’re up there” requests, but we must learn when to say no. 

 Let’s start with some things I think you should say yes to. This will be a small list and will require zero extra tools and minimal skill.

  1. Light Bulb Changes: You’ve got a brand new little giant; put that bad boy to use and add $20 to the ticket for some light bulb changes.
  2. High Dusting: If you’ve got two hands and some towels, you can now add some high dusting to that ticket. For a small ledge/high area, add $20. Ceiling fan? Go ahead and add $50-$100 to the ticket, and don’t look back.

THAT’S IT! No more to add to my “while you’re up there” list of services. Everything to do these tasks should already be in your work vehicle. I also recommended prices; time is money, and your time should be compensated. I like starting at $20 for something simple because it’s not a gnarly increase in price, and you’re still going up the ladder to change a light bulb. Ceiling fans can get really gross when neglected, so charge accordingly. BUT, in the immortal words of that Jersey guy, “it’s your business, you decide,” or whatever he says.

 Now, onto my NO List of add-on services. This list will be a bit longer. The criteria for this NO List include: extra materials, extra tools, extra skills needed, and a possible grey area for your general liability insurance (is this covered or nah?)

  1. Gutter Guard Installation: This one is tempting because you can charge a premium. Money is always attractive but beware of this, as many big box store gutter guards are just plastic gutter garbage. Temporary fix for a problem that is best resolved with regular maintenance cleans.
  2. Gutter/Roof/Window Repairs: Tricky service to offer and difficult to quote accurately. You’ll also need legit tools, materials, and skills for this one.
  3. Heating Cable Installation: Expensive material cost, time-consuming, and only a temporary fix for the homeowner. *heating cables are a temporary fix for ice dams, so you southern folk can skip this one*
  4. Dryer Vent Cleaning: When done properly, this is a great add-on. If not done properly, you are stuck wasting time, cleaning a mess, and not to mention a possible insurance coverage grey area.

Coming from a solo-operator, adding some unnecessary services sounds like you’re going to add more $$$ to your invoice. Oftentimes, you waste more time trying to teach yourself some new skills on the job. Instead of offering these wildly out there add-ons, I would encourage you to keep it simple as you start out. Don’t let the temptations of gutter guard installation money cloud your judgment. Call me crazy, but I would rather go door-knocking and make TikToks, than add these services to my business.

 When it comes down to it, we all have different skill sets and toolboxes. I’m just speaking on what I did wrong in my first couple of years in business, so what do I know? Building a solid client list takes time, getting reviews takes time, good website SEO takes time, and mastering your window cleaning skills takes time. I strongly urge anyone who’s brand new to window cleaning to stick to window cleaning and get more efficient at the trade, before adding any wildly out-there handyman-like offerings.

There it is, ladies and gentlemen: say no to drugs and silly add-on requests when you’re starting out.