Thursday, February 23, 2012

Social Networking

I have been busy the last couple days getting knee deep in social networking. I have been working hard on my LinkedIn page creating a company page, creating a group for Canadian Window Cleaners, and trying to connect with other window cleaners and current and former customers, friends and colleagues. I am also learning how to use Twitter properly and the etiquette that they expect.

I certainly think that all this work I'm doing will in the end bring some dividends in terms of more traffic, more phone calls, better SEO and less of a chance that my customers lose my info and lose touch with me.

I have followed Rob Young's sage advice and made sure that I always have a signature that has all my information. I thought I did. But when I checked my signature I realized some information was missing. You should make sure that all social networking has all the necessary info filled out, including your website, phone number and other ways to connect with you.

It certainly is a time wasting endeavor. Hopefully the time will be an investment and not a waste.

Now I have to go back to the urgent matter of preparing my books to send to my accountant to do my taxes. I hate doing that.

Mike Polsky

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Google Adwords

I have used Google AdWords to help draw more people to my site, and hopefully get more phone calls and sales.

My initial experience has been one of disappointment. It's challenging to create an ad that will get many people to "click-thru". As well as creating a good ad you must use correct adwords that match what people enter when wanting to find your company.

I'm committed to getting my click thru ratio high because it is all part of my plan to get my phone to ring off the hook. I want to massively increase my revenue and get many more stores, condo units and residential houses.

I understand that Google advertising is optimal since you are finding people that want to use you, rather than distracting and annoying people that have no interest in your service.

My click thru ratio is a dismal 0.1%, but I have managed to double it to 0.2%. According to Facebook discussions a good CTR is between 2 and 4%. I would love to get to that point, get more sales and greatly increase my Google spending.

I have bought Adwords for Dummies, and I'm trying to implement the suggestions of some information online.
If you have any suggestions for me, feel free to email me




Friday, February 17, 2012

Updated Working As A Subcontractor

Working as a subcontractor

Working As A Subcontractor

I wanted to speak about something that could really add a nice income stream to your business. Subcontracting. Many janitorial companies in particular, don't want or don't know how to properly clean windows. Many are very eager to work with a window cleaning company to clean windows for their clients. They may be happy because they may have turned down window cleaning jobs before, but now, they can have someone they trust clean the windows, and they can make a tidy profit on it.

Also, if you think about it, many jobs are locked out of reach. Janitorial or cleaning companies have the contract to clean the windows, and no matter how much we try, it may just be out of reach for us. So working with janitorial companies, or property managers opens up a huge new market for commercial window cleaning.

I have worked with several janitorial companies over the past year. One janitorial company I have cleaned a restaurant for. Another has me clean some insurance office windows. Another had me clean payday loan centres, And one had me clean a condo sales office. Generally there are two kinds of companies, serious business owners who charge good prices, and are reaping the benefits, and ones who charge very little and are working like dogs. I have worked with both.

The important things to deal with when you work with companies is this. Provide a pay period that they must pay you by. For example due on receipt or due in two weeks. You deserve your money, and don't stand for not getting paid til the customer gets paid. Let the contractor manage the risk, that will be a large weight off your back.

One cleaner that I worked for took one whole year to pay me. Thankfully it was a tiny amount, but it really shows that you must clearly state payment terms, which I did, and be on them persistently for payment.

Try to put things in writing, even if it's just an email. For each new job you bid on send an email outlining what work you will do, and how much you will charge. Often terms are forgotten and arguments or misunderstandings may arise.

Don't feel that you need to cut your prices. I have charged decent prices, and the contractor was still able to put a decent cut on top of it.

Good communication is key. A janitor doesn't think like a window cleaner, and he might not understand your pricing, what work is involved, or other issues.

An advantage of working as a subcontractor is that you may get jobs that you may not get through your marketing efforts, or you may not be allowed to bid on.

Of course, janitors are not the only people you can work with. You can subcontract for property maintenance companies, national service companies, even other window cleaners. Any window cleaning job where the customer is not yours is subcontracting.

So, in summary. Set payment terms, communicate, put things in writing, and don't cut your prices if you don't have to.

Just recently I've added another company to the janitorial companies I deal with. It's an initial clean, that is decent money. I'm going to do the initial clean on Tuesday and we are going to sit down for coffee that day and talk about cleaning all the buildings that he cleans. He called me based on a referral from a client I serviced last year so it also shows the power of referrals.

Currently I only clean for several cleaning companies. In fact I can count them on my hand. However, I would like that part of my business to explode so that I can diversify my revenue quite a bit and not be too dependent on any one aspect or customer. I plan to call up janitorial companies and see if I can meet with them and make arrangements to provide quotes.
Thanks for reading my blog. If you are in the Toronto area, and want your windows cleaned. Call me. I am the Toronto Window Cleaner. 647-409-8144

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What every window cleaner hates

Yesterday I pulled up to a gas station to clean their convenience store windows. When we parked we saw that there was a bucket and a pole and clean windows. My heart dropped. I went inside and stood in line to see that a tall man in his forties with brown long hair, a scruffy unkempt beard and eyes that looked like he was sleep deprived or a drinker or drug user was awaiting payment. I asked for the owner but he was on holidays so I spoke to the assistant manager. She is a nice women who always gives me a Tim Horton's coffee (they have Tim Horton's there sorta like Dunkin Donuts but better). She is very nice.

I spoke to her and asked what was going on. Well, a few weeks ago this man gave the invoice. He said he works for me. He gave her a small invoice, whereas mine is a nice Quick Books computer printout, 81/2 by 11. He just said they changed the invoices. I have no idea why she paid him in the past with a different price, a different invoice, and he is a scruffy scary looking guy, whereas I may be scary because I'm tall and have a deep voice. But I'm clean shaven and I try to dress neatly.

I charge her $20+tax whereas this guy charges $10 no tax. He didn't even want payment, he wanted a $10 worth of gas for his old beaten up unlettered Cargo van. He had a another guy with him that looked like it might be his brother who was just a scruffy looking.

I made clear to her that he doesn't work for me, that they are still under contract with us because they haven't cancelled. And furthermore we have been doing the windows for months.

I told her not to pay him. 

She said there was nothing that she could do, we had to wait for the owner to return. But strangely enough she still paid him, sounds like she still has some authority.

He cleans several other gas stations of the same company, but he may just be lying for all I know. And he said that the owner got him to do the windows.

So either I lost the job and they forgot to tell me, or this guy is an impostor, otherwise the owner would have told her about the change.

In any case it's a very small job so it won't hurt me to lose it, but it was maddening.

I did feel like emptying his bucket or doing something, or at the very least threatening him to never return. However I'm a professional and no good comes from revenge or getting even it would just reflect badly on me. Besides this guy could probably beat me up.

I will have to speak to the owner when he gets back and see what's going on.

This occasionally happens to me, but it's fairly rare, usually I'm told on the phone or in person that they are cancelling for someone cheaper I don't remember the last time that I had a situation like this.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fly by Night

Yesterday I was cleaning windows at a customer of mine that I have had for some time. He said your competition has been around. He has been getting a lot of people asking him would he like his windows done.

I charge $20+tax to clean his windows. It's a pretty quick job with maybe 6 or 8 small windows that I clean. It might take me 5 minutes to clean his windows.

The "competition" was offering to do his windows for $5.

I asked him why do you stick with us to clean your windows? After thinking about it for a moment, he said. Well first, holding the invoice in his hand he said, you give me an invoice, all others would just do it for cash. At least this is tax deductible.

Secondly he said that after cleaning his windows they would not return for a long time. They would only return when they need money.

So there you go, I was able to retain my customer in the midst of heavy "competition". He was willing to pay me 4 times what others were offering, simply because I always provided invoices, and I was reliable offering scheduled servicing. I was not a fly by night window cleaner.

I take many things from this. First it's always enlightening to know why the customer keeps you. It is often far different than what we may think. So always ask. Secondly price is not everything, If this customer only cared about price I would be gone a long time ago. Thirdly it is beneficial to run your business professionally, people do care about getting an invoice.

By the way, Rush is one of my favourite bands.

Want more info? email me at
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Marketing with Other Service Professionals

Today I had the privlege of doing cold and warm calling with Victor a printer and toner salesman. He sells printers and cartridges and also services them when needed. He is well liked and has two hundred and fifty accounts.

I moved out to Bowmanville where Victor has lived for many years. We both attend the same place of worship so he graciously offered to help me find accounts in Bowmanville and Oshawa.

Today for the first time I canvassed with another salesman. It was quite the fun experience. It was far more encouraging and easier.

He introduced me to his clients who were very friendly and took my card. That is what I call warmcalling. Victor simply said this is a friend of his who has moved to the area from Toronto proper and is looking for some clients. It worked well. WE only visited about 5 or 6 places and of those I have two serious prospects. That is quite something, often when I cold call I have to make several dozen visits or calls before I get a serious inquiry.

We are going to plan to do this again. Speaking in person to existing customers is very valuable since the clients are warmer and they trust you more quickly. I am likely to get jobs that I wouldn't normally get since they may only choose a window cleaner who is recommended by their friends.

On an encouraging note a pizzeria owner called me. I had left a quote and card a couple months ago, and she wanted me to come biweekly to clean the windows. She was happy with our work and is now a new client. It restored my faith that leaving business cards works at times, I was starting to think that it was pretty useless since I seemed to get little response from even serious people that took my card but for one reason or another never called me back

Are you looking for a reliable Toronto Window Cleaner. Call Mike, 647-409-8144

Monday, February 13, 2012

Useful Window Cleaning Sites

Useful Window Cleaning Sites
Are you looking for worthwhile sites to improve your marketing, your expertise and to improve your business?
If you are a window cleaner you are in luck. There are many valuable Facebook groups, websites and mailing lists that will help you take your business to the next level.
But remember, the real problem is whether or not you will actually use the information. Many people may spend a lot of time or money to learn marketing, or how to improve their business but then put off or don't actually apply what they learn. What a waste. Apply what you learn, take a chance, implement the strategies you learn from this website and from others.
Here are some websites and resources I have found valuable.
Don the Window Cleaner Blog. Don Marsh is a great inspiration to me. I love watching his videos since he doesn't hold back any info from his viewers. He is not concerned about holding something back, thinking his competition is going to imitate him. His videos are very motivating. I don't agree with everything he says, and I probably price higher than he does,
Don's YouTube Channel. Here you can watch all of Don's videos. Not all of his videos are about window cleaning, he is heavily involved in local and national politics so there are some political videos there too. I stay neutral on politics by the way. This is the Window Cleaning Network, run by Gary Mauer. It has some good discussion through email. The strongest discussion in this group revolve around the International Window Cleaning Association, a sort of boring to myself. And Fabricating Debris which is a very important issue. A great group in Facebook with lively discussions about all things Window Cleaning. Ask to join. Karl Robinson's Facebook group where all window cleaning news is aggregated and compiled. I'm not sure how he gets all the news, but I appreciate it as do thousands of others.

Here is This is Karl Robinson's Blog with all the fantastic news from around the world.
Kevin Dubrosky is a very successful window cleaner and marketer who has helped many window cleaning business including myself implement strategies to improve profitability and advertising. Kevin's Marketing site is essential, even if you are not in the cleaning business.
The Good Life Window Cleaning. Paul McQuillan's website devoted to improving the marketing of your window cleaning. Paul has many good suggestions, and I actively read his website and his discussions on LinkedIn.
I apologize to any I may have left out. As time goes by I'll update this post with new resources that will help to bring your business to the next level.

Thanks For Reading My Blog. Feel free to give me a call for window cleaning or any advice.

Mike Polsky