It is hard to get away from them. In a video, a young man walks up to a door, has a great presentation, and talks the homeowner into paying for a window cleaning on the spot. Sometimes the clips are funny, and you can tell that the homeowner enjoys the interaction. Others are cringy, especially when they are being flirty and suggestive with the women they talk to or when they argue with homeowners upset at their canvassing. Regardless of what they portray, they are undeniably popular on TikTok. Several prominent influencers promise to have you making $1000 in a day & hundreds of thousands a year, all by simply knocking on a few doors. Sometimes you will make your $1000 a day by noon, and then you can just relax for the rest of the day! And all you have to do is sign up for their online course to learn how.
Before you assume I’m here to trash these young entrepreneurs, I’m not. Well, not totally. They actually do offer a valuable service to the right people. It’s just that the right people are few in number, so they have to market it to the general public. Therein lies the problem that I feel compelled to talk about. So, please sit and allow me to climb up on my soapbox as I highlight the issues at play…
First, they are not teaching people how to run a window cleaning business, only how to sell. It’s important to make that distinction because the people who watch the videos and drink the Kool-Aid think they are actually going to be window cleaners. They are not. If you pay attention to the videos, there are no “before and after” pics. There are no action shots of the cleanings other than a few quick clips so we can see their technique. There is no discussion with the customer afterward about how pleased they are with the finished product. That’s because the actual cleaning is an afterthought in this process. The videos are all about the lines they use to convince people to spend a lot of money on something they were not expecting to pay for that day. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sales tactics can be very valuable to a business owner, and it would be fine if they marketed their course in that way. What they actually sell, however, is the idea that anyone can buy some equipment from Home Depot and immediately have the skills to clean windows professionally. That is just not the case. Selling a deficient product at exorbitant rates literally means being a “Snake Oil Salesman.” So, take their courses if you want to learn how to sell, but don’t start selling until you know how to clean windows like a professional. You’ll need another course for that.
Second, they set extremely unrealistic expectations for the people buying their courses. They promise huge daily profits to their followers and a 6-figure annual income that will allow them to retire in their early 30s. Of course, that assumes the average person can keep the motivation to do D2D for multiple years. According to statistics from Zippia.com, 60% of D2D salespeople last less than a year, and another 25% quit between 1 to 2 years. That means 85% of all D2D salespeople are done before two years. That’s because D2D largely sucks. You really must be a special kind of person to make a living off D2D, and most people don’t have what it takes. The people in those videos are the few that do have what it takes, and you shouldn’t assume you will have the same success as them. It would be like watching a training video hosted by LeBron James and thinking you’ll play like him afterward. You’ll definitely get something out of it to help your game, but you shouldn’t expect the Lakers to call any time soon.
Lastly, they hide the fact that you are signing on to do two different jobs. Window cleaning and selling are two jobs requiring two different skill sets. Selling is the first job. Remember, if you are selling, you are not making money. Now, let’s do a little math: According to Zippia, D2D salespeople close on 2-3% of their pitches. These are trained salespeople, mind you. That means it will take 33-53 pitches before you get a sale. Let’s cut it down the middle and say 41 houses. Now, many people won’t be home during the day as they are probably at work or running errands. Let’s say every third house has someone home. That means we will need to go to 126 houses to get our 1st sale. If we assume it takes one minute to walk from house to house, and we give a 5-minute pitch at each house, that will take us 420 minutes. Throw in drive time to get to and around the neighborhood (60 min) and a 30 min lunch, that’s 510 minutes. That’s 8.5 hours. Now, it’s time to do your second job, which will probably only take you an hour since you won’t be doing a professional job, giving you conservatively a 9.5-hour day. Also, you will do a poor job so they won’t call you back (not that you left them a business card) and you will have to do the whole thing repeatedly because you are eternally trying to find new customers. Or you could take the time and effort to become a legitimate business, only have one job, and make $1000 daily in 8 hours. Add in the anxiety that nothing is guaranteed and there is a very real chance that you won’t have a single sale that day; it shouldn’t be that hard of a choice.
The bottom line is this: View D2D gurus with a grain of salt. Although they can teach you sales skills that might help you, they will not give you everything you need to know to run a long-term, successful business. Watch their videos and be entertained by them if you like. However, before you buy anything from them, ask yourself a simple question: If they are willing to dupe a 65-year-old widow into paying $300 for 1 hour of crappy window cleaning work, what are they willing to sell to me?