Window Washing Estimates 101
Hiring a professional window washing service is one of the best investments a commercial business or homeowner can make in preserving the integrity of their glass.
As a window washing contractor, your job has many steps. You’ve likely taken a walkthrough by now and you may have started a formal proposal if the job is large, but another important part of the bidding process is writing an estimate.
This article will go over some of the important cost factors to consider when you’re writing an estimate for your next window washing job.
Window washing is usually charged by the pane of glass.
The price per pane depends on a variety of factors. The national average is $2-$7 per pane for residences. Figures from commercial window cleaning indicate that commercial prices aren’t much different, with the average falling between $2-$8 per pane.
What all is going into these price ranges?
Cleanliness, for one. If the glass is particularly dirty, the price per pane will be on the higher end.
Other things that influence price are how high the windows extend—anything above two stories is often extra.
The number of panes can play a role in price, too. Windows with abnormal number of panes or unusual sizes and shapes will be more expensive.
Not all businesses charge by the pane, however. You can elect instead to charge by the hour.
If you’re going to charge by the hour, you’ll need to do some math to find the average time it takes you to do different jobs, but we’ll discuss that in a later section.
Hourly rates for window washing services range from $36-$58 per hour.
Window washing often involves more than just cleaning the glass. You also have sills, tracks, and screens to think about.
Many window washing companies charge more for these items to be cleaned.
Prices vary across the country, but anywhere from $0.50-$5.00 per screen is not unusual.
Sills tend to run closer to the $0.50 range (per sill).
There may also be additional cleaning or removal that needs done for particularly dirty windows.
For example, mineral deposit removal might cost as much as $20 more per pane. With standard windows having two panes of glass, that’s another $40 added onto a window that might otherwise be $5.
You may have to remove paint or other stains, as well. Depending on the size of the stain, adding a few more dollars onto your per-pane price is usually sufficient. Most well-cared for windows won’t have difficult debris to remove.
Window washing is a job that should be done regularly. When you are writing your estimate, you should note that this will be a recurring service.
Decide with your client in advance how often they would like their windows washed.
For residential jobs, twice a year is common, but some households may want more frequent services if they live in an environment with drastic climates or elements.
For commercial jobs, the service frequency is increased. While some businesses may also stick to the twice a year standard, most high-traffic offices and retail stores will want their windows washed quarterly or every 2-4 weeks.
If you are using Route’s Estimator to write your estimate, you can easily select from different service frequencies from a drop-down menu. The recurring costs will be calculated for you.
Supplies And Equipment
When bidding on window washing jobs, some jobs may require certain supplies or equipment.
You can account for these supplies on your estimate and bill your client.
Using software for window washing service bids can help you account for these supplies on your estimate so that you can bill your client accordingly. Tools like Route allow you to choose between one-time and recurring supplies on your estimate.
Things like paper towels and cleaning solutions could be considered recurring charges.
If you need special equipment for a particularly high structure, like a three-story home, you may have to rent a cherry picker or some kind of lift. This rental can be factored into your estimate as a specialty charge.
You can also add an industry markup to your supplies and equipment to ensure you’re hitting your profit margin.
Route will automatically configure a markup of 8%, but it’s up to you how much you want to add, based on the economic conditions and availability in your area.
The last thing you want to consider on your estimate is your labor.
To find your labor requirements, you’ll need to know your production rate.
Your production rate is the average time it takes you to do jobs of various sizes. You can find this by timing yourself on different jobs over a span of time. One thing to remember he is that interior windows generally take longer to clean than exterior windows.
The average 22-window home will take approximately three hours and up to three cleaners to complete.
Commercial window washing jobs can vary in size significantly, so statistics are not as readily available, but you can look up production rates online for different square footages. There’s also more variance in the size of window panes themselves for commercial buildings. As a starting point and reference, a typical 3 foot by 4 foot window pane takes two to three minutes to clean whereas a 5 foot by 6 foot pane takes three to five minutes.
Accessibility to each window is another important factor in the production rate. Walking time between different areas, using ladders and moving furniture should all be accounted for, in addition to the time needed to perform the job.
Knowing your production rate and where it stacks up against national averages will help you determine how many people need to be on a job and how long it should be taking.
Window washing can be a highly profitable endeavor if you’re billing your services correctly.
Start by determining what and how you’re going to charge. Most window washing jobs are billed by the pane of glass, but some jobs may be billed by the hour.
Aside from your base rate, there may be other types of cleaning that need done that you can bill as additional charges. This includes things like sills, tracks, screen cleaning, mineral deposits, and paint cleaning.
Window washing is a service that is usually done at regular intervals, so work with your client in advance to decide how often they want you to come. Twice a year is the lowest number of recommended services, but many clients will want quarterly services, and some high-traffic clients may want you to come even more often than that.
If you’re using special supplies and equipment, you can bill most of these charges to your client in your estimate. This includes things like your cleaning solutions, paper good, or equipment rental.
Lastly, take some time to assess your business efficiency by finding your production rate, or average time it takes you to complete different jobs. This will help you determine how much labor you need and how long the job will take you in advance.
Refer back to this article as a checklist as you continue to write more estimates for your window washing bids. With time and practice, you’ll find that your profit margins are growing faster than ever before.