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8 Window Cleaning and Pressure Washing Industry Trends for 2020

February 14, 2020 11 min. read
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In our 2019 industry trends report, the core message for pressure washing and cleaning businesses was to master the basics: build an online presence, automate key processes, and grow your team.

But in 2020, the message is different. It’s time to build on that foundation, look ahead, and take full ownership of your business’ growth potential.

The most important thing you can focus on this upcoming year (and decade) is to build up your business’ greatest assets: efficient systems and truly great customer service, both of which will help you spend less on overhead, attract more of the right customers, and improve margins.

Over the past year, we’ve interviewed industry experts and surveyed 20 window cleaning and pressure washing business owners. Here’s what they told us they’re doing differently in 2020.

Trend #1: Systems are Everything

A system is simply a set of repeatable rules or processes that help you get consistent results over time.

Systems are powerful, help you stay organized, and help your team work together. Most importantly, they make you more efficient and help your results scale, so you get an exponential return with minimal effort.

In 2020, we’re happy to see more businesses ditch haphazard processes in favour of repeatable systems that work.

“You need a process for every single aspect of the business. Whether it be hiring, screening, interviews, client management, customer service—everything needs a good process. For example, we built a process for employee communication. As a family business, it’s easy for everybody to be involved in everything, and I don’t think it’s efficient or healthy. So we’ve really defined our roles, and I think it’s de-stressed everyone. We know our lanes, and we don’t all have to be involved in all of the challenges.”

– Christine Hodge, CEO, Clearview Washing LLC

No area of business should be immune to systemization. Even the process of building brand awareness across multiple customer touch points can be systematized.

“From the moment a customer contacts us, they are interacting with our brand. Our logo is on the website, newspaper adverts, online ads, business cards, work polo shirts, fluorescent jackets, email footers, invoices, YouTube, and Facebook—everywhere we have a presence. It is consistent. Customers are checking reviews of our brand on Google. Our communication with the customer is detailed and concise. Before we arrive at their door, they know what to expect and how we will do the job. We want them to book us again and to recommend us to their family and friends.”

– Paul Daly, Founder and CEO, Base Window Cleaners

Trend #2. Efficient Scheduling Takes a Front Seat

In our survey of 20 business owners, ‘attracting more clients’ and ‘efficient scheduling’  tied as the top challenges window cleaning and pressure washing businesses face.

Inefficient scheduling reduces employee productivity, frustrates customers, and can rob you of your focus.

Efficient scheduling, on the other hand, keeps your employees productive and gives you more time to focus on building your business.

You can overcome scheduling challenges in 2020 by using the right tools and a reliable process.

“Use a calendar or scheduling software religiously. Lock every appointment in the schedule right now. If it’s not on the schedule, it’s guaranteed never to get done.”

– Keith Kalfas, Owner, Kalfas Professional Services

“For efficient scheduling, we use a master calendar, and each crew is color-coded. It is very efficient and has helped tremendously to stream-line our business.”

– Dave Moerman, Owner, Revive Washing

Trend #3. Businesses That Measure Their Marketing Efforts Will See the Most Growth

In our survey, 80% of respondents said they get new clients through word of mouth. Other responses included:

  • Google My Business (35%)
  • Direct Mail, Flyers and Lawn Signs (35%)
  • Website (30%)
  • Facebook (25%)
  • HomeAdvisor (10%)

Word of mouth will always be an important marketing channel for service businesses, but word of mouth alone won’t help you scale or reach new markets.

In 2020, we expect to see window cleaning and pressure washing pros double down on measurable marketing channels to win more business.

“The top channels I recommend for attracting new clients in 2020 are Google Local Services Ads and Amazon Home Services. When you set up marketing systems instead of one-off marketing tactics, your business will grow no matter what you’re doing.”

– Keith Kalfas, Kalfas Professional Services

“The best strategy for getting new leads has been Google Ads and consistently posting content to our Google My Business. We receive about ten leads per day, and five of them heard about us from Google.”

– Dave Moerman, Owner, Revive Washing

“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 cover your basics: a Facebook page with the location info filled in and a Google My Business account with local information and service areas filled in. 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 do paid ads. Start with the basics.”

– Nick Keyko, Director of Marketing, Jobber

Trend #4. Hiring Remains a Challenge

Hiring the right employees was named the number one challenge across all industries in our 2020 home services trends report.

For window cleaning and pressure washing businesses in particular,  two main issues are hiring out of desperation and poor company culture.

Because employees often come for the money and stay for the culture, businesses need to focus on creating a great culture. This starts with owners relinquishing some control and realizing they don’t have to go at it alone.

“A lot of service business owners think they are the best and have to do all the work. This is a very limiting mindset and will cap the growth and size of your business. Hire people who are better at certain tasks and activities than you are.”

– Dave Moerman, Owner, Revive Washing

You also need to make sure you’re hiring the right employees in the first place. One way to hire the right staff is to set standards when you interview:

“You’re only as good as your weakest link. When we interview, we stress that we want team players. I used to hear people saying, ‘I don’t want to work with this guy. I don’t want to work with that guy.’ I don’t accept that anymore.

We set certain standards that we need our teams to meet, and we stick to them. I will not tolerate not showing up, not calling. That’s not even an option anymore.”

– Fred Hodge, Clearview LLC

Another way—as Christine from Clearview Washing explains—is to implement a hiring process:

“We take steps to weed out those who aren’t going to be a good fit. First, we take resumes and have an initial phone meeting where I ask them a set of scripted questions. If they get past me, then I schedule a face-to-face with Fred. From there, we go into employee manual training as well as field training, where they’re out with the crews. This is something we did not do before, but it’s very surprising to see how much success we’ve had in now finding the right people for us.”

Trend #5. More Businesses are Pricing for Profit

Pricing remains a problem for service businesses, with many lowballing or pricing jobs based on what their competition is charging.

“I believe most home service businesses do not charge enough, and the problems in the business result from poorly pricing the job to begin with.  We have set packages made up in Jobber for sizes of houses for house washing, window and gutter cleaning. For Christmas lights, we charge by linear feet. Our systems are accurate about 80% of the time. For more challenging jobs, having an experienced person estimate the job in person is a must!”

– Dave Moerman, Owner, Revive Washing

The bottom line: you never have to undersell yourself to win jobs and make a profit.

There are better, smarter, and more profitable pricing strategies, such as packages, that will actually help your business grow.

“In today’s market, customers like to choose from packages. Often this gives them all of the context they need to make a decision right away. But it also puts the emphasis on value, rather than features to be haggled over. By laying out a ‘good, better, best’ option for customers to choose from, you’ll close more jobs at higher prices, and your customers will thank you!”

– Curt Kempton, Founder, ResponsiBid

“You shouldn’t be figuring out pricing details on every job site. Come up with a pricing structure that you can re-use and modify. Set your price and don’t second guess your own decisions.”

– Stanley “Dirt Monkey” Genadek

Trend #6. Investing In Better Tools is Investing In Your Business

Certain window cleaning tools let you work faster and more efficiently so you can earn more.  Investing in these tools is a no brainer—and in 2020, we’ll see more businesses follow this trend.

“In 2020, we will upgrade our equipment to the highest tech available, which will save us time on every job. This is a time saving of seven minutes per operator at each job, which sounds small but equates to a substantial increase in earnings each week. We recently started using Jobber to organize our operations, and we immediately saw an increase in daily earnings. We drive shorter distances between customers thanks to route optimization, and the processes of quoting, scheduling, and invoicing are really fast.”

– Paul Daly, Founder and CEO, Base Window Cleaners

“The request → quote → job system for entering new jobs in Jobber has been a game-changer for us! We were still old school and doing bids on paper, so being able to have all the customer requests/quotes and the jobs we’ve done for clients saved in one place, is a huge help.”

– SteveO the Window Cleaner, Co-Owner, 20/20 Window Cleaning

FREE TOOL: Use our window cleaning invoice template

Trend #7. Better Customer Service Means a Better Bottom Line

Customer service is vital for any business. But it’s especially important if you run a service business. After all, “service” is in the name.

Your clients can go to any competitor, but it’s your professionalism, customer service, and dedication to your clients that will set you apart and keep customers coming back.

How you present yourself, how you speak with clients, and how you make them feel is what ultimately decides if they will give you the job and want you to return.

In 2020, customer service is nearly synonymous with ease of use.

Make work requests easy with 24/7 online booking.  Accept multiple payment options for those who want that convenience. Make it easy for them to leave a review. Make the entire service experience effortless and your customers will reward you with referrals and repeat business.

“The way people are paying for anything and everything, including service, is changing. People want convenient ways to pay. Most millennials want to pay by credit card. People are looking for a specific experience—and that experience 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

“Get to know your clients on a more fun level than just doing the service you provide and collecting payment. Being personable is huge in the service business. It can make a huge difference when someone is deciding between two companies for the same service.”

– SteveO the Window Cleaner, Co-Owner, 20/20 Window Cleaning

“As soon as a crew closes a job on the Jobber app, the client is texted a link where they can review our services…The way the world is going, people are busy. They don’t have time to Google your company name, find the account, and add a review. They want everything quick and easy.”

– Dave Moerman, Owner, Revive Washing

Trend #8. Building Your Network can Help Avoid Burnout

Being a business owner can be tough. There will be sleepless nights and grueling days. Plus, knowing that your team and customers rely on you to think ten steps ahead can be a heavy burden to carry.

But, you’re not alone. Your team, systems, and, even in some cases, your business community are there to support you.

In 2020, stay grounded and focused on producing exceptional work, but don’t sacrifice your health and risk burn out. Success will come. Just be patient—and don’t be afraid to lean on others.

“We decided to contact all of our competitors in the area to have a networking meeting with them. Everyone came out, we ordered some wraps, had a few drinks, and talked about challenges. These are direct competitors. It was really nice and something I would have never thought of because we’ve now become friends with all of these people. So if someone can’t do a certain type of job or service, they call us, and vice versa. If there’s something that we can’t do, we call them, or we refer them. If we can’t make it to a certain area on a certain day, we’ll call one of those competitors. We realized that you can really find success in making your competitors your allies because we’ll all win. There’s enough to go around.”

– Christine Hodge, CEO, Clearview Washing LLC

“Things move at the speed of light out here. Yesterday’s technology can be today’s problem. Build a team, create systems, start a profit account for your business, and GIVE THE BEST DAMN CUSTOMER SERVICE IN THE INDUSTRY. BE A LEADER YOUR WHOLE TEAM CAN FOLLOW!

– Ryaan Tuttle, Owner, Best Handyman Boston

2020 Is Your Year for Success

2020 is all about embracing change, taking control, planning ahead, and focusing on fantastic customer service and efficient systems.

Tapping into these eight industry trends will help you achieve all this.

Just remember that you’re not alone and can rely on your team, support from your friends, and fellow entrepreneurs to achieve success in 2020.

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