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7 Business Trends for Window Cleaning and Pressure Washing Pros in 2019

December 14, 2018 13 min. read

Editors note: Looking for up-to-date trends? Head over to our 2020 Window Cleaning and Pressure Washing Industry Report for up-to-date data, insights, and advice.

In 2018 we saw the rise of the online marketplace: Facebook, Google, Amazon—the big tech players got into the game, which was predicted by contributors in our 2018 trends article.

This year we’re seeing that no one single issue is dominating the narrative for business owners in the home services. Our contributors in pressure washingwindow cleaning, HVAC, residential cleaning, landscaping, arboriculture, pool service, contracting, accounting, consulting, and more, have all identified trends and priorities across a variety of areas.

An important common denominator this year is the need to take a 360 degree view to growing and differentiating your business. Everything ladders up to creating a memorable service experience for customers in a crowded landscape, and it pays to take a holistic approach.

The themes of having a strong online presence, building out a team you can trust, continuously adjusting your digital marketing, and looking for automation and efficiency opportunities aren’t new—they’re table stakes. And maybe that’s the overarching theme: 2019 is the year of getting back to basics, and ensuring your business is ready to crush the year on all fronts.  

– Sam Pillar, CEO, Jobber

1. Tailor your sales and marketing approach to your ideal customer

Social media marketing is going to be the biggest aspect to drive business growth as business owners get ready for 2019. It allows you to find isolated groups of customers to market to: Our customers are gathering themselves within Facebook groups, in online garage sale groups, on the Nextdoor app, on Instagram.

It’s now a lot easier and a lot less expensive than it used to be to get in front of and acquire new customers. Meet your customer where they’re already familiar with buying. Look for a group, look for a page to join. Maybe create your own group, so that you can isolate your customers, so that you can allow them to experience the major benefits of your business as you constantly, continually, upgrade your page with new photos and new digital content.

– Greg Brooks, CEO, Brooks Landscaping and Gleam Pressure Washing

Stop selling to yourself. Sell to your avatar. We have found that most people who sell services are very budget oriented, while most buyers of services are very value oriented. If you want to sell more of your services you have to find out what makes your company “un-shoppable” or unique that really appeals to your average buyer.

I often ask businesses, “What promise are you willing to keep that you competition wouldn’t dare make?” If you can make that the point of leverage in your proposals, follow-up, marketing, and value propositions you will soon see that you are going to corner the market in a big… BIG way!

– Curt Kempton, Founder, Responsibid and Symphosize

The most important thing for small businesses when it comes to marketing is being found where people want to find you. You need to make sure you have your basics covered with: a Facebook page with the location info filled in, a Google My Business account with local information and service areas filled in, etc.

It’s getting harder and harder to be found and those are the basics. If you don’t have the basics covered, you don’t need to do anything else. Don’t hire anyone to do SEO on your site. Don’t hire anyone to paid ads. Start with the basics.

– Nick Keyko, Director of Marketing, Jobber

Everybody’s looking at everybody else and saying, “How can I do exactly what everybody else is doing,” when that exact thing doesn’t necessarily work for everybody. You have to find your own path, and tailor what you’re doing off what has worked for other people. Don’t copy it wholeheartedly. People end up shooting themselves in the foot that way.

My area’s going to be different than yours, my customer base is going to be different, the demographics, the money, the type of windows, the type of services needed, are all going to be different. Find your own path.

– Jersey, WCR Nation, Window Cleaning Resource

2. Continuously try out and test new strategies and processes

Test everything. Test all of your marketing, test your advertisements, test the way you word their sales, test pricing—test everything to see what works. Split testing is hugely valuable, and I think a lot of people feel like they don’t have the time to do that. If you don’t split test, you’re not going to really understand what your market is dictating.

– Jersey, WCR Nation, Window Cleaning Resource

Grow your business, move forward, and stay ahead of your competitors. Progress in everything you do, try different ideas, ways, software, and people. If something doesn’t work out, try something else. Someone or something will have a better and more efficient way of doing things. Don’t be afraid.

– Anna Semenenko, Owner, A Sparkling Finish Window Washers

3. Level up your hiring practices to attract the employees you want

As someone who was raised by entrepreneurs and is surrounded by small business owners, I can say that the biggest challenge business owners go through as they go from solopreneur to hiring their first employee is not spending enough time exploring trust.

If you don’t trust a person with your business why would you hire them? You won’t be able to delegate, so it’s a waste of time and money: You’re training them, but setting yourself up for failure.

You need to find someone who will run your business with the principles you’ve built, and you need to ensure they can deliver on the small things you currently do day-to-day. If it’s not clear what tasks you’ll be able to offload onto them in the next six months, then you shouldn’t be making that hire.

Think about the creative ways to break outside of a traditional recruiting process. We know how important our customers’ customers are for growing their business through word of mouth referrals, especially as online marketplaces create an even more competitive environment, so how can you test that you’ll be able to trust a candidate will deliver the level of service you’ve set? Get them to do a mock phone call with someone, to show you how they would approach a difficult scenario. Have them shadow you on a job, and invest time learning how they do things.

Ask yourself: can I trust this person with my business?

– Danielle Strang, Head of People Operations, Jobber

Employee issues are always the number one pain point for small business owners and it is only going to get worse for those unwilling to change. No longer is it enough to post a help wanted ad and hope for the best. Smart owners are shifting to head-hunting for top talent and focusing on building recruiting systems.  

With unemployment at an all time low coupled with the fact that millennials are moving away from the trades, it is a perfect storm.  

The owners who get ahead of this issue have a massive opportunity to build incredible teams of A-players but it will only happen by them taking serious the idea of head-hunting. Most great job candidates are already working somewhere else and it is the small business owners responsibility to lure them away with a better offer and a compelling company culture.

– Josh Latimer, Founder, SendJim and Automate Grow Sell

4. Change your processes to provide a better service experience

We find that most service companies give their prospects an ‘ultimatum’ when they give a quote. They don’t mean to, but what often happens is that a company will give out a single price for services that the potential customer views as a ‘take it or leave it price.’ The only way for them to get context on that pricing is to call a competitor in order to see how their pricing compares. In today’s research buying style that is typically done through email or a few text messages and ultimately the potential customer makes their decision once they have enough information that surely won’t be determined in an ‘ultimatum’ style quote.

The other type of quote that is very common in the service world is the ‘line item’ style pricing. This give the customer more information, but comes with a lot of other baggage. Often when a customer looks at a bunch of lines adding up to a single price, they feel in internal obligation to scrutinize each line and often will ask to cut a few lines off the estimate or in the end, maybe ask for a few of the line items to be “thrown in for free” so that the business can close the deal.

If you look at how customers are used to buying in today’s market, they like to choose from packages. Often this gives them all of the context they need to make a decision right away with enough options, but it also puts the emphasis on value being connected to price, rather than features to be haggled over. By laying out a ‘good, better, best’ option for customers to choose from, you’ll find that you’ll close more jobs at higher prices and your customers will thank you!

– Curt Kempton, Founder, Responsibid and Symphosize

FREE TOOL: Use our free pressure washing estimate template

The economy might be slowing down over the next year, which means that demand for home services might be lower and competition will be higher. Small business owners in the home services industry should continue to improve on providing the best customer experience they can.

If they’re not regularly getting feedback or reviews from their customers, they should take this opportunity to implement a feedback process, whether it’s a simple survey, phone call, or Google review. Also, take note of what their competitors are doing to see how they compare.

– Quan Ly, Partner, CPA, McRally LLP Chartered Accountants

Build a fan culture in your company. Every company has customers, but only the best companies have fans. The Forrester Research group recently did a study showing that companies that excel in creating exceptional customer experiences grow 5.1 times faster than those that don’t.

Building a fan culture means rethinking every customer facing decision starting with the question “Will my customer love this?” It may mean making major changes to your business systems, including billing, support and employee training. Is it worth it?

Oh yeah! Your team will be happier as you’ll empower them to create truly rewarding customer experiences. Your fans will become your single most powerful marketing channel, recommending your service to their network of friends. And you’ll be taking the steps to build a truly great company that is more profitable and able to endure market downturns.

– Lars Kristensen, CEO and co-founder, NiceJob

The way people are paying for anything and everything, including service, is changing. People want convenient ways to pay: Most millenials want to pay by credit card and everything is online and very easy. People are looking for a specific experience—and what that experience is may change depending on your customer base so you need to do your homework.

A good rule of thumb is to automate your payment process as much as possible, and make it really, really easy for your customers. Your turnaround time will be faster and your admin time will go down. Chasing payments is a lot of work that’s not adding any value to your business, and it’s probably frustrating both parties.

– Darren Wood, Director of Finance and Operations, Jobber

5. Make it easy for potential customers to get in touch via Google

Look at your website analytics but always remember that they don’t tell the whole picture. Google continues to send less and less traffic to websites in favour of keeping people on Google as long as possible. Make sure your presence on Google (and other local directories such as Yelp!) looks great and is up-to-date.

You need to make it very easy for a searcher to understand what you do and how to contact you even if they never come to your website. Use Google Posts—not only do they show that your business is alive and well, but Posts also help improve your Google rankings. Make sure that all your social presences and your blog (if you have one) are updated regularly, or put a note on a platform you don’t have time to manage directing people to where you are active. It’s a turn-off to see neglected platforms or misinformation anywhere, and those points of friction are why people choose your competitors over you.

– Dana DiTomaso, President and Partner, Kick Point

Google is coming out with a tool that will become more widespread in 2019: local service ads.

At the very top of a results page it will show three or four plumbers in your area that you can book directly from Google without ever visiting the plumber’s website. Right now, you still have to click an ad, visit the website, and then find out how to book your service.

This feature is becoming available throughout the US and is likely on its way to Canada. Early adopters are paying $20 to $30 per lead, but this will go up and likely double as others adopt the service—so get on there before everyone else figures this out!

You also don’t need to worry about finding an agency to help with your Google Ads spend: it’s set it and forget it. It’s built with the entrepreneur in mind, eliminating Google Ads management time.

– Rafael Valdez, PPC Analyst, Jobber

6. Invest in tech, equipment, and expertise that increases efficiency

As far as equipment goes, we’re in an industry that isn’t super technologically advanced, but there are some pieces of equipment out there, like the water-fed pole, or pure water cleaning in general, that are faster and safer.

Instead of looking at a house and wondering what the architect was thinking because there’s no way you can get up to a window and clean it in a safe way, you can rely on a water-fed pole. Not to mention, this equipment allows you to work faster which helps you make more money.

This is one way to advance yourself and make your company a little bit more modern.

– Jersey, WCR Nation, Window Cleaning Resource

Investing in technology that helps recruit, train and engage employees is the name of the game in 2019.  Young workers want to be engaged and using software tools that “gamify” their work are smart investments. Also finding tools to help automate your training processes are a smart play for home service businesses.

– Josh Latimer, Founder, SendJim and Automate Grow Sell

Automate your business as much as possible, and keep an eye on emerging technologies that help you do this. For a long time, powerful automation tools didn’t exist for small business owners—they were targeted at large businesses with big budgets.

Small businesses are now getting access to this tech for a fraction of the price, and in some ways it’s better than enterprise level tools. Look at accounting software: at the enterprise level it’s very expensive, always needs to be updated, and it’s hard to use, with a clunky user interface. QuickBooks Online is easy to use, always up to date—and available for a fraction of the price. Software companies are now developing new tools for small businesses first, then sending them up-market, so there is more software innovation than ever in the small business space.

These automation tools are not only going to help you reduce costs, maybe you can delay hiring an administrator or a bookkeeper, they should give you better visibility into your business so you can operate more strategically.

– Darren Wood, Director of Finance and Operations, Jobber

We’ll definitely be updating all of our vehicles and equipment. And we’re looking into getting an outside bookkeeper, accountant, and payroll company. We are growing and need extra help so we can concentrate on growth and getting new accounts and clients.

– Anna Semenenko, Owner, A Sparkling Finish Window Washers

7. Challenge yourself to create an engaging social media presence

You’ve got to get ready for the digital age and social media, so my biggest purchase for 2019 is going to be a drone. There are now drones that allow you to do Facebook and Instagram Lives while on the job site.

This will allow me to capture beautiful images and video of the services we provide—we became successful by sharing the before and after aspect of our work—and I no longer have to hold the camera.

– Greg Brooks, CEO, Brooks Landscaping and Gleam Pressure Washing

In 2018, Facebook made the change to their algorithm to try and only show you things you want to see. That means even if your Facebook business page has a lot of followers, your reach may not be that great to your own following.

The only way your posts get seen is if the content is engaging—if it gets people liking, sharing, or commenting. Tools like our before and after image maker can help you create engaging ways to show off your work. The trick is to make content that you would also want to engage with.

The alternative is to pay the platform to get your content in front of people. This is a solid approach even when you’re trying to reach your current following. You will likely get the engagement you’re looking for, versus organically trying to reach them.

– Rafael Valdez, PPC Analyst, Jobber

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