Paul and old friend and myself received a youth enterprise award from the government to start a new window cleaning business, it was enough to buy a couple of sets of ladders, two buckets, two squeegees and applicators, we stretched ourselves and spent £15 on an ad in the Westcombe Park News for the month, this had a circulation of 3000, I was amazed that the phone rang almost every day and within a short time we had a bunch of regular residential customers, a local Bupa care home plus an Ibis Hotel, wow! Now we were motivated and reinvested some of our earnings back into the Westcombe park news and committed to 6 months of advertising, really pushed the boat out.
I was amazed how quickly everything came together, a friend had encouraged me in the past to start a window cleaning round but all I could think about was those cold wet winter days, well when I finally took the plunge I found I was dead right, it was hard going, I’m sure I spent more time thawing out my numb hands in the bucket of warm water that our sympathetic customers provided. There was no turning back, we surged forwards and enjoyed the constant enquiries coming in daily, we then realised we had a secret weapon, didn’t see it initially but it quickly became evident. I’m white and Paul is West Indian, we called ourselves Zebra Cleaning and our customers loved it, so we played on it and the round grew rapidly.
Paul was always very talented creatively, he knew how to paint and in time his desire to teach art was stronger than wanting to go window cleaning, who can blame him so that’s what he did and as far as I know is still teaching. So, we agreed on a reasonable amount to buy him out, think he gave it to the inland revenue. So now I’m on my own, must admit I missed his company, but I was able to crack on at my own speed, and start and finish when I wanted not having to consult or arrange with anybody else, I really enjoyed being my own boss and still do, but I did lose a few custies who really liked the race card we were playing.
Growing the round with commercial window cleaning contracts
One thing I was very clear on is moving away from residential window cleaning, obtaining some nice lucrative commercial window cleaning contracts and sub out what I couldn’t handle. I knew that advertising in the local Westcombe park news was never going to generate decent commercial work, although there are quite few very large up market houses, so I kept my presence in the area for the time being. So how was I going to achieve my goal in making this transition? 1. Websites, yes websites not website, each one focusing on different niches and areas. 2. Email campaign 2. Fax campaign, this I really enjoyed, loved all the noises the machine made and how it would demand the attention of the recipient as it rang and printed and spat out my A4 printed advert. I sent out 10 initially and receive one reply (great stats) the manager of a local Holiday Inn Hotel, I called him and headed down to see him, he said his previous window cleaner just disappeared (they still do, so take advantage of this fact) so I asked him what he was paying him monthly and if he was willing to divulge this valuable information I would give him the first clean for free!! was I nuts? Well how could he refuse, £500 pm was the answer, so I said OK I will match it, I paid a friend £80 to help me, all done in a long morning.
Fax machines worked well, of course there obsolete now, and I really miss them, never worried about my message ending up in a spam folder, or silly virus links, but can you believe that they are making a comeback? Amazingly true, fax machines coming back. Same with turntables, old Nokia’s and dumb phones, love it.
So we divert, 3. Leaflets posted to property management companies and national window cleaning companies, this worked really well. I hooked up with an office cleaning company in the Docklands and cleaned the windows at Docklands Telehouse for a number of years, I paid my guy well and the contract grew to include 6 monthly cladding cleaning, hiring a Bronte cherry picker, plus a bit of jet washing. I had about 3 or 4 good local contracts from that office cleaning company, but sadly they went to the wall, and all good things come to an end don’t they.
Recession hits us
Baton down the hatches a storm is on its way! A severe storm is never a surprise, there is always fair warning, and the same goes for a recession. Companies tighten their belts and look at where they can reduce out goings. During this time, I lost 50% of my commercial work, I did a fair bit of subbing for other cleaning companies and property managers, so when they shut down it hurt me as well. So, although I survived and bounced back fairly well, for a while I had to take on some residential work, collecting cash and chasing custies is not for me, but I endured the situation. As I clawed my way back I felt quietly determined not to allow the next storm like recession to hurt as much.
I started reading about websites and SEO (search engine optimisation) I took in as much free advice on the internet as I could and then decided on what I needed to do. Not to have all my eggs in one basket, so diversification was the key. I considered all the micro niche areas of window cleaning and all the nice areas where there was plenty of money and set to work.
I kept my Reach and Wash window cleaning site, started a school window cleaning site, a local gutter cleaning site and finally decided on what upmarket areas to focus on. I decided on Blackheath & Greenwich as one site, then Chislehurst & Bickley as another. Then compromising a bit with Dartford window cleaner and lastly Sidcup & Bexley. Blackheath & Greenwich as performed brilliantly, it has stayed at the top of Google for many years and I get calls from it daily.
School window cleaner has done OK, I get enquiries from this site all over the country, obviously I’m not a national player so I pass them onto a company with UK coverage I get 50% of the profit margin after costs, and that’s every time the school is cleaned. So in essence school window cleaner has become a lead generating site, not my original intention, plus it needs to reach its full potential, still working on that one.
School Window Cleaning Website
I want to give you some idea of what I do now, not just for myself but for others, I offer SEO services. I will show you my method for ranking high on the Google search results, so let’s start with my School Window Cleaning site, Google search “school window cleaner” or cleaners it would be really interesting to see the results on Google in your neck of the woods.
This is the site URL www.school-window-cleaning.co.uk and this is a screen shot of the results I get on Google at my end in North Kent. Please note that if you looking for unbiased results on Google it is important to carry out a search in incognito, you just need to click on the three dots at the top right-hand corner of your browser to find this mode. Here is a screen shot.
Reach and Wash Window Cleaners Site
The only thing I have done with this site is to speed it up, so it open quicker when somebody clicks on the URL. I really need to do more with it, like school window cleaners it could be a fairly good lead generation site, don’t get me wrong I have work coming through this website, nice chunky profitable work, but it doesn’t really compete with some of the nice slick looking commercial window cleaning sites out there. But if any company specifically searches “reach and wash window cleaner” I normally do very well in the search results, even better when a geographical location is searched as well. Right now I only have included London, Kent and Essex, but more areas will be added as I find the time. So this is the URL www.reach-wash-window-cleaning.co.uk bit silly really because you are already here :)) but for SEO reasons its good to add it as I can place a link to the home page, in fact to be brutally honest this blog is not only a history of my window cleaning career but also a great big SEO boost for all of my other cleaning sites. Here is a screen shot.
In this screen shot you can see the site is at no.1 plus there is no competition in maps and as a bonus one of my videos has started to show, and its above all the other results!! So, my plan for world domination is to continue to add content to this site. My son has agreed to add a cladding cleaning page for me, (teenagers know about word press) as we have just completed a cladding clean on 22 units on an industrial site in Kent (see below). So, I am excited about this one. Can I just say at this point that I plan to start a separate biz offering SEO services for other cleaning companies and my fee will start at £40 pm. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Blackheath & Greenwich Window and Gutter Cleaning site
This site was the first one I built after the last recession, I chose the area because I was born in Greenwich down by the Thames and lived in Blackheath for a number of years, and I really like the area, it will always feel like home to me, but I can no longer afford to live there as its prime real estate. I know though that there is a lot of money and has been very lucrative, I get enquiries daily from this site, up to 6 on some days. When customers see that we also offer a gutter cleaning service and a jet washing service they ask for a quote for all these services so the value of each customer is very good. So here is the website Blackheath & Greenwich window and gutter cleaners.
I’ve now decided to build an SEO site as another stream of income and have two customers do far one paying me £55 per month and another paying £35 per month. I’ve called the site “Box of tricks” with the domain name www.kent-webservices.co.uk I really want to concentrate on helping cleaning companies to rank better on Google, Yahoo & Bing but so far I have a local accountant and a Bridal hair & makeup service, but hey ho go with the flow.
Local Gutter Cleaners
Local Gutter Cleaners or www.local-guttercleaners.co.uk is a website I have built purely with SEO in mind, so all the knowledge about ranking at the top of Google has gone into this site, and I continue to learn and tweek it, I think I have added about 25 pages. so you will see Local gutter cleaner greenwich and local gutter cleaner blackheath and so on, most are in the top 3 many at he top spot, in doing this I have noticed Local gutter cleaners starting appear in the maps listing at the same time, a good example of this is Local gutter cleaners Greenwich, see the screenshot here…
Local gutter cleaners Greenwich at No.1 then just Local gutter cleaners in the maps listing, a couple of videos, and even Local gutter cleaning Charlton showing as well, Charlton is within the London borough of Greenwich, this is what is known as domination, this is the perfect results for the keyword “Greenwich local gutter cleaners” and works very well for Greenwich gutter cleaners” as well. Other towns included are all heading for domination, so this gutter cleaning season we are in has been the best ever, I now have a number of property management companies continually feeding me with very lucrative work, los of blocks of flats. I record every gutter clean, and send them the link with the invoice, this way the residents in the block can see the job has been carried out properly.
Here is one better! In this next screenshot of “Avery Hill Gutter Cleaners” without the word Local, Google has awarded the site with a snippet, you see these more often as the most relevant result to the search. These rarely disappear, so now I have optimized every page on the site in the hope Google will do the same again, see screenshot below…