This topic discusses the estimated startup costs for this business idea. Startup costs are what you pay to be ready for business operations. The amount of these costs also helps you decide if the idea suits you.
List of items in startup costs
Note: I am only showing one month for certain expenses. You should be able to get your first job or two in a month. Then these items become operating expenses, not startup costs.
The assumed startup costs for this business idea, using a frugal style of business operations, consist of the following items:
Advertising and promotion (1 month) -- Small classified advertisements in a local newspaper and/or flyers delivered to likely neighborhoods (areas having retail stores or rich people).
Business insurance (1 month) -- Business liability insurance. (Talk to a local insurance agent to see if you need this coverage.)
Governmental requirements -- Local fees and business license. (Note: You might also be subject to state and federal deposits and registration fees, but these will vary. So I have not included them in these startup costs.)
Job equipment -- Combination cleaning sponge and squeegee, extension poles for squeegee, plastic scrapers, step ladder, utility knife, water buckets (2), and water container (for drinking).
Job supplies -- Lint-free rags, and window cleaning solution.
Office equipment -- Business telephone, desk accessories (stapler, paper clips, pen and pencils, etc.), and listing adding machine.
Office supplies -- Check blanks for business checking account, file folders or large manila envelopes (for filing papers), lined writing tablets, pads of accounting journals and ledger, and pads of standard job bid forms.
Other operating expenses (1 month) -- Business telephone expense.
Protective gear -- Plastic gloves.
Reference book -- Bookkeeping for Dummies (Paperback)) available from Amazon.com or other online bookstores. (Note: The "for Dummies" series of books are easy to read manuals for normal people, not dummies.)
Here are the dollar amounts for a frugal business operation:
Note: See the Planning costs and expenses subtopic in the Business Plan on another page for ways to reduce these startup costs.
This topic satisfies the Starting business operations subtopic in the Business Plan page.
Preparing for business operations
Completing the startup requirements -- This is the last step needed just before you start business operations. See the Listing the startup requirements subtopic in the Business Plan for the items remaining to be completed.
As a minimum, you should have discussed the business idea with your family, set up your business entity, and satisfied all governmental and insurance requirements.
Operating the business
Soliciting customers -- Place classified advertisements in your local newspaper and/or deliver flyers to likely neighborhoods (where rich people live). Use a simple, honest description of your services. Once you become well known in the community, you should benefit from word of mouth advertising from satisfied customers.
For additional ideas on soliciting customers, see the Sales Methods page in another section.
Qualifying customers -- Hopefully, some of the people who read your advertisements and/or flyers will inquire about your services. During this initial telephone conversation, you should determine:
Getting jobs -- For a small job, you may be able to come to an agreement over the telephone.
If this will be a big job, the customer may want a firm bid for the job. If so, you probably will want to inspect the job site first. If you both agree on the terms for the job, you can record them on the job bid form. Then both parties can sign it.
I recommend that you meet with customers in their homes or offices, or at the job site. Your neighbors may object to having a stream of strangers arriving at your home. Also, meeting with customers in your home may violate the zoning rules in your town or city.
Determining needs of customers -- To insure satisfied customers, you need to determine what they want from you. You need to replace assumptions with specific instructions.
For example, do they want you to wash the inside of any windows? Do they want all the windows washed or just certain ones? Do they have any hard to reach windows that need washing?
When discussing the job with the customer, determine whether water will be available at the job site. (If water is not available, you will have to bring it.)
You also need to determine when and where to perform the services and receive your fee.
Preliminary job activities -- After arriving at the job site, have the customer show you the windows to be washed.
If there are any hardened lumps of mud or some other substance on a window surface, you will have to remove them with a plastic scraper before washing the window.
Main job activities -- Fill a pail with water and mix in the window cleaning solution. Dip the combination cleaning sponge into the pail of water and gently scrub the windows clean. Use the combination squeegee to clean off the windows. Wipe the squeegee blade with a lint-free rag after every pass. Remove any water from the windowsills with a lint-free rag.
Final job activities -- Wipe up any unsightly water spills. If working by the job, collect your agreed upon fee from the customer.