Author Archive for International Window Cleaning Association

Are You Guilty of Making this $52,380 Marketing Mistake?

Are You Guilty of Making this $52,380 Marketing Mistake?

(2nd in a Series)

 

Mistakes happen. It is just part of being in business. Marketing mistakes on the other hand can and should be avoided if approached correctly. Marketing is critical to any business, and in our business it is the gas to keep the ‘bus’ moving forward and revenue coming in. What kind of gas are you putting in your bus and is there enough of it?

 

I use the term “plate” when I make reference to marketing. And referral generation is just one of many of our marketing plates. But an important one for two reasons:

 

  1. Revenue as noted above
  2. It’s free

 

Hi. My name is Jim DuBois and I own Squeegee Pros, Inc. out of NC and am founder of WindowWashingWealth.com. This is the second mistake in this blog series. We will point out the most common mistakes that window cleaners all over the world are making in their marketing efforts. Not only will you discover the major mistakes, but you will also learn how to avoid them or prevent them from occurring again within your business.

 

Mistake #2: No Formal Referral System.

 

Referrals and word-of-mouth are a substantial, and very important part of your business. With that said, answer this question:

 

Do you have a formalized referral system in place?

 

Most companies rely on referrals for their business. Yet, these same companies giveno thought whatsoever to having a system in place tocontrol referrals. The best part about referrals is how these customerscome favorably predisposed to you. They’ll typically wanthigher priced services and they usually will refer even moreprofitable business toyou. We’ve always been taught that if our job quality andourcustomer service is good, then referrals willautomatically occur. Sorry, that’s just not goodenough.

 

Of course, assuming you provide a decent service to your clients, you will gather a few haphazard referrals but to really increase your referrals you need a formal and proactive system. You need a way to compel customers to happily provide their friends, neighbors or business associates names and addresses to you, and then a systematized way to compel these referred prospects to do business with you. And, a little note printed on your invoices or business card that just says something like “we appreciate referrals” just won’t cut it.

 

There are two groups of people that you should consistently ask for referrals. The first group is your customers and the second group is your ‘centers of influence’. Your customers, are the most obvious group to ask for referrals because they have experienced your services and have a first-hand knowledge of how your business delivers. These folks will always be your best source of referrals. Develop a system for obtaining referrals first from your customers and secondly from other influential people or ‘Circles of Influence’.

 

Perhaps the simplest way to harvest referrals from your customers is to write a simple letter or email asking them for their help. This letter should become part of your routine system and should go out like clockwork at the given time that you set. The best time to send out this letter is immediately upon completion of a job. If you are providing repeatable services such as window cleaning or pressure washing, then asking your customers for referrals several times a year should be part of your overall marketing plan. And naturally, the very best time of year to do this is during the times when your customers will be most happy – right after the job is completed.

 

Everything we do in my company is automated or systemized and there is no exception when it comes to referrals. Click here to get a run-down on many of the things we do at my company to rise above the rest. With referrals, we reach out to every single customer and always ask for a referral, repeatedly and always just after a job has been completed whether automatically through an auto-responder generated through the online survey inside the Squeegee Pros website, or manually started within our system through our residential administrator and then automated. An example of this automation that works behind the scenes looks in part something like this:

Subject: From Christina – Check this out!

 

Message from Christina:
You have to try Squeegee Pros! When it comes to window cleaning, house washing or gutter cleaning their guys do amazing work. Just click the link below to get 10% off your first time using them. Thank me later : )
—————————
Since 1996, Squeegee Pros has been servicing thousands of customers over and over again in the surrounding Charlotte and Lake Norman communities. We are NATIONALLY ranked #1 in “A” Ratings on Angie’s List. Click below and go with a Pro and see why we are Better Than The Rest. Same day estimates in most cases.

Click Here Now To Save 10%

 

Systemization keeps marketing on target. The above is a perfect example of this. Set it and forget it.

 

The Steps:

 

1a. After job is complete, customer is sent a carefully created email from our residential administrator to request the referral. Or…

 

1b. Customer fills out Online Survey on SqueegeePros.com and when survey is submitted, auto-responder instantly sends customer the same referral generator email request.

 

  1. If the customer is interested in giving a referral, they just simply click the link inside that email and it takes them to a specific referral page on my website.

 

  1. On this web page, when the customer clicks the “submit” button to refer a friend, another attention getting email is sent to the ‘prospect’ referred. See above.

 

  1. And here is where the magic happens and we gain referral after referral, completely seamlessly automated.

 

Now – the second important group that you must work with to generate referrals is the group we are going to call your “centers of influence”.

 

Centers of influence are other people who have a connection to the same people that you serve. Not your competitors, but other folks who provide complimentary products or services to your clients. They can be a very powerful source of referrals.

 

To give you an example, let’s assume that you have a window cleaning company and that’s all you do. Your centers of influence could be:

 

  • Carpet Cleaners
  • Maid Services
  • Pressure Washers
  • A Glass Company
  • Landscapers

 

All of these people deal everyday with people who are prospects for your services. If you’re a residential window cleaning company, then your centers of influence should also include home builders, window and door contractors, and architects. Your objective is for your name (or company name) to be the first thing that pops into their mind when someone mentions the word “window cleaning”. In order to accomplish this objective, the first thing you obviously have to do is form a relationship with some of these people. I would suggest choosing only one say…carpet cleaners to start, rather than trying to nurture a relationship with every carpet guy in town.

 

Become Their #1 Referrer – Before you receive, you must give. Start sending some referrals their way and they are almost sure to reciprocate. Think about any of your clients that may be in need of their services right now. Then go to the next…

 

Establishing a formalized and systematic referral system is crucial IF you are serious about growing your business quickly and effectively. Many window cleaners actually confuse word of mouth advertising with generating referrals. Don’t make this same mistake and miss out on another powerful and effective way of growing your business!

 

Marketing IS your business, not simply one aspect of it. You must change your thinking if you are not managing your business with marketing at the fore-front. Not sure which way to turn with your marketing? Go to WindowWashingWealth.com for more window cleaning business building information.

 

Take control and become your own marketing expert or let my team help you, and your business will boom. Until next time…

 

Jim DuBois is founder of Squeegee Pros, Inc. out of Mooresville, NC. He is the creator of WindowWashingWealth.com, which specializes in aggressive marketing tactics, the importance of internal company systems, and how to dominate your window cleaning marketplace. All things a serial window cleaning entrepreneur should know to build a huge business. Visit the site for a free 24 page marketing manual.

MDLive Tele-Health Benefits for IWCA Members is now Live! $4 per month per employee!

New Member Benefit! MDLive for Members!

NEW IWCA Member Benefit, MDLive, is Open! As a thank you for continuing to be members and renewing your membership, the IWCA Board and Committees have been working on and negotiating this benefit for the last couple of months and we are happy to let you know, as a member, you can now take advantage of it for as little as $4 per month per employee. Employees can also add their family/dependents onto their account for the same $4 per month fee. The $4 per month covers medical benefits. For $1 extra per month per benefit, you can add behavioral health and/or dermatology.

MDLive allows each client to visit a doctor with a $0 copay, counselor, psychiatrist, or dermatologist by mobile app, video or phone. Visits are convenient, allow each client to avoid the high costs of urgent cares or emergency rooms, even doctors visits with a high copay. Prescriptions can be called in to your local pharmacy from your call. Employees can also access MDLive’s prescription discount service and save up to 85% on medications available at over 70,000 U.S. Pharmacies.

We hope you find this useful as an employee benefit or as a benefit yourself, not only to help defer costs for employees and their families but also as a recruiting and retention tool in your business by offering it to them as employer paid or employee accessible at a very small fee per month.

To set up your account and begin to add employees, please fill this form out.

MDLive Request Form

Once submitted, your membership will be confirmed as active by IWCA Staff, and they will then get your account set up. Employees will have a log in to add their own dependents to their account.

*We will post the PDF’s to our member’s toolbox section for you to download. We will have Spanish versions soon as well.

To Build a Window Cleaning Company Worthy of Some Eyebrow Raising, One Must Avoid Marketing Mistakes

To Build a Window Cleaning Company Worthy of Some Eyebrow Raising, One Must Avoid Marketing Mistakes

(1st in a Series)

 

You’ll make many mistakes as you build your window cleaning business, but don’t let marketing be one of them. Marketing is the life-blood of any company, but it’s not always an easy walk in the park. Fact is, marketing mistakes are often unavoidable, especially if you are a new aspiring window cleaning entrepreneur.

 

Hi. My name is Jim DuBois and I own Squeegee Pros, Inc. out of NC and am founder of WindowWashingWealth.com. Here, starting with the first in a blog series, we will point out the most common mistakes that window cleaners all over the world are making in their marketing efforts. Not only will you discover the major mistakes, but you will also learn how to avoid them or prevent them from occurring again within your business.

 

Mistake #1: Not Having a Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

 

What is a USP? Your USP is a very precise statement that explains why your company is special and why YOU can provide greater value to your clients than any other window cleaner in your area. Your USP should answer this question…

 

“Why should I do business with you instead of your competitors?”

 

Competition in our industry can be fierce and it can be difficult to differentiate one company from the next. Just take a look at an old Yellow Pages or an online search under window cleaning. You’ll notice that just about every ad says basically the same thing. If you can find a company that is able to differentiate themselves from all the clutter, then that company certainly has an advantage when it comes to attracting more clients. You must learn how to separate yourself from your competition, in all of your marketing endeavors.

 

In other words, when potential customers look at your company, what do they say?

 

“They’re just like all the rest.”  or  “Well, no one can say that…”

 

See what I mean? In a minute, I’m going to give you some tips on creating your USP for your company. But first let me tell you a story that demonstrates just how powerful a USP can be.

 

There was a student determined to pay his way through college. To do so, he and his brother decided to open a little pizza place. Brother #1 would run the store during the day while Brother #2 went to school, then run the pizza place at night. Brother #1 would go to school while Brother #2 ran the pizza joint.

 

After just a few months, this business was losing money and Brother #2 decided that he wanted out. So, in exchange for an old beat up Volkswagon Rabbit car, Brother #1 bought him out and ended up owning the entire business. Soon after, Brother #1 developed a USP for his pizza business that turned that business into a multi-billion dollar giant. His USP went like this:

 

“Fresh, hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less… Guaranteed!”

 

You most likely recognize that USP, but in case you don’t, it’s Domino’s Pizza. That’s how Tom Monohan (Brother #1) made his fortune. Today, they no longer make the 30-minute guarantee, but that’s irrelevant now. Everyone knows Domino’s Pizza. But make no mistake about it, the business was built on this USP and today that company is obviously very successful.

 

The important thing to remember is this USP is very simple. It does not promise all things to all people. It never mentions a homemade delicious sauce from the “old country” or even a great tasting pizza. What Tom’s USP did was hit an opportunity gap in the pizza delivery business.

Tip: You can DOMINATE a market if you

hit an opportunity gap!

 

 

How to decide on your USP…

 

You need to really spend some time thinking on this…don’t rush it. The key is to determine what really makes your company stand out from all of your competition.

 

  • It could be that you, the owner of the company, are personally involved in every job that your window cleaning company
  • It could be that you only provide one specific service and only offer it in a very specific area of
  • It could be that you offer the strongest service guarantee in
  • It could be that you use only the newest, cleanest and finest equipment
  • It could be that everyone in your company speaks
  • It could even be that you are the only company in town that offers a rain guarantee.
  • It could even be that you are the only company in town that offers a gift card guarantee to a restaurant if they do not receive their estimate within 3 business days.
  • It could be that you are number one on a specific review site in your area.

 

Whatever it is, make certain that your USP statement comes through in everything that you do. Scratching your head? No need to worry. Try talking to your clients. See what they really like about you and doing business with your company. Find out what else they would like from you – even find out about what they don’t like about doing business with you. This can be a very eye-opening experience and can shape your company’s future, so don’t take it lightly. Carefully consider what you learn from your clients. What is important to them and what can you learn from it? We do this by sending a survey (or accessible via our website) to every residential customer we do business with. The feedback can be surprising and is always worthy.

 

The key is to answer your client’s wants and needs in your USP. Then narrow it down to 1 to 3 sentences and use it in all of your marketing and promotion endeavors, and also in your everyday conversations with customers. Then, back it up and deliver, deliver, deliver. And ‘live’ your USP in all that you do.

 

Here is one that we use in my company:

 

Angie’s List – Rated #1 in “A” ratings nationwide!

A distinction no one in the state, region, or country has!

 

Now, go back to this phrase: “They’re just like all the rest.”  or  “Well, no one can say that…”. See how your USP begins to separate yourself from the competition? You want to become the obvious choice for your customers to call.

 

Marketing IS your business, not simply one aspect of it. You must change your thinking if you are not managing your business with marketing at the fore-front. Not sure which way to turn with your marketing? Click Here for window cleaning business building ideas.

 

In review: Your USP has an impact on your company’s marketing. Start working on yours today and see how it changes things. Call me at 704-451-0409 if you have any questions. Take control and become your own marketing expert or let my team help you, and your business will boom. Until next time…

 

Jim DuBois is founder of Squeegee Pros, Inc. out of Mooresville, NC. He is the creator of WindowWashingWealth.com, which specializes in aggressive marketing tactics, the importance of internal company systems, and how to dominate your window cleaning marketplace. All things a serial window cleaning entrepreneur should know to build a huge business. Visit the site for a Free marketing report. Feel free to send any questions or comments to jim@squeegeepros.com.

OSHA Ambassador Agreement with the IWCA – Signed!

https://www.osha.gov/alliances/national/iwca_agreement_20200521

 

IWCA – Ambassador Document – May 21, 2020


ESTABLISHING AN ALLIANCE PROGRAM AMBASSADOR RELATIONSHIP
BETWEEN
THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
AND
INTERNATIONAL WINDOW CLEANING ASSOCIATION

Since entering into an Alliance on June 10, 2010, with subsequent renewals on October 31, 2012, and February 14, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the International Window Cleaning Association (IWCA) have worked together to improve workplace health and safety by sharing information, guidance, and access to training resources that address occupational hazards, and promoting understanding of the rights of workers and the responsibilities of employers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

OSHA and IWCA continue to recognize the value of maintaining a collaborative relationship to improve safety and health practices and programs in American workplaces, and commit to continue their work together through an Alliance Program Ambassador relationship.

In recognition of this ongoing commitment, OSHA will continue to foster an active relationship with IWCA by:

  • Providing routine communication on enforcement, regulatory, and outreach initiatives.
  • Sharing invitations to, and offering opportunities to speak at, OSHA Alliance Program and other agency stakeholder meetings or events, such as outreach and training activities through the National, Regional, or Area Offices, and the National Alliance Program Construction Roundtable and Forum.
  • Engaging in information sharing and technical discussions, as appropriate, including completing special projects of mutual interest that align with agency priorities and as resources allow.
  • Maintaining the organization’s status as an Alliance Program Ambassador on the agency’s public webpage.

IWCA will continue to foster an active relationship with OSHA by:

  • Sharing information with members and stakeholders on OSHA’s National Initiatives (enforcement, regulatory, and outreach), and encouraging their participation in OSHA’s outreach initiatives and rulemaking processes.
  • Sharing information with members and stakeholders on occupational safety and health laws and standards, including the rights and responsibilities of workers and employers.
  • Encouraging IWCA members to build relationships with OSHA’s National, Regional and Area Offices to address health, safety, and whistleblower issues.
  • Sharing information with OSHA personnel and industry safety and health professionals regarding IWCA good practices or effective approaches through training programs, workshops, seminars, and lectures (or any other applicable forum).
  • Offering OSHA opportunities to speak, exhibit, or appear at IWCA conferences, local meetings, or other events.
  • Adhering to requirements laid out in the Alliance Program Directive regarding the prohibition on promoting or implying the agency’s endorsement of their policies, products, or services, including acknowledging that they will not receive any preferential treatment related to any statutory function of the agency.
  • Abiding by all terms and conditions for the use of the Alliance Program logo as specified in OSHA’s Guidelines for Use of the Alliance Logo.

OSHA’s cooperative programs provide organizations an opportunity to participate in a voluntary, collaborative relationship with OSHA for purposes such as raising awareness of OSHA’s initiatives, outreach, communication, training, and education. These programs have proven to be valuable tools for both OSHA and participants. By entering into this Ambassador relationship, OSHA is not endorsing or promoting, nor does it intend to endorse or promote, any of the organization’s products or services.

This Ambassador relationship will remain in effect for the duration of an on-going cooperative association and a good faith effort by both parties to meet the intent of this document and its underlying policies. Either signatory may terminate it for any reason at any time, provided they give 30 days’ written notice.

Signed this 21st day of May, 2020.


Loren Sweatt
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health


Paul Collum
President
International Window Cleaning Association


Stefan Bright
Safety Director
International Window Cleaning
Association

EPLI Insurance Coverage Information

There is a lot volatility going on now around the country and we as employers need to be careful on all counts.

 

Sadly, but true, small business are sued every day by prospective, current, and former employees – for discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination and more. These claims involve restaurants, retailers, medical offices, contractors, and other businesses who also thought they would never be sued by an employee. Many business owners say, “It will never happen to me.”

Most do not know there’s a specific type of insurance coverage that you might want to consider to help protect your business.

 

EPLI covers businesses against claims by workers that their legal rights as employees of the company have been violated.

 

The number of lawsuits filed by employees against their employers has been rising. While most suits are filed against large corporations, no company is immune to such lawsuits. Recognizing that smaller companies now need this kind of protection, some insurers provide this coverage as an endorsement to their Businessowners Policy (BOP). An endorsement changes the terms and conditions of the policy. Other companies offer EPLI as a stand-alone coverage.

 

EPLI provides protection against many kinds of employee lawsuits, including claims of:

 

  • Sexual harassment
  • Discrimination
  • Wrongful termination
  • Breach of employment contract
  • Negligent evaluation
  • Failure to employ or promote
  • Wrongful discipline
  • Deprivation of career opportunity
  • Wrongful infliction of emotional distress
  • Mismanagement of employee benefit plans

 

 

An employee feels they did not get a promote and it was due to age. Suit was filed and they received $45,000.

 

A pregnant employee was fired due to attendance. A suit was filed, and she received $35,000.

 

A male supervisor made a sexual joke to female co-worker. A suit was filed, and she received $75,000.

 

This happens everyday no matter the size of your business.

 

 

The cost of EPLI coverage depends on your type of business, the number of employees you have and various risk factors such as whether your company has been sued over employment practices in the past. The policies will reimburse your company against the costs of defending a lawsuit in court and for judgments and settlements. The policy covers legal costs, whether your company wins or loses the suit. Policies also typically do not pay for punitive damages or civil or criminal fines. Liabilities covered by other insurance policies such as workers compensation are excluded from EPLI policies.

 

To prevent employee lawsuits, educate your managers and employees so that you minimize problems in the first place:

 

  • Create effective hiring and screening programs to avoid discrimination in hiring.
  • Post corporate policies throughout the workplace and place them in employee handbooks so policies are clear to everyone.
  • Show employees what steps to take if they are the object of sexual harassment or discrimination by a supervisor. Make sure supervisors know where the company stands on what behaviors are not permissible.
  • Document everything that occurs and the steps your company is taking to prevent and solve employee disputes.

 

 

 

It is your job as a business owner to protect your employees and your business.

 

Reach out to your current insurance agent to see about EPLI coverage.

 

News for the week of June 15th, 2020

There is so much going on, we wanted to give you a post with everything in it to review.

Cody Thomas with GlassRenu and The Store Front Strong Campaign

Interview with Cody talking through the Program: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkha_H4nY_c

Store Front Strong Website to Sign Up:  https://storefrontstrong.org/

 

Mask Webinar with Steve Blyth from J.Racenstein: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0B7WMEW2vZs

PowerPoint Presentation is available for download in Campus IWCA for all Members: https://iwca.site-ym.com/mpage/CampusIWCA

 

Friday June 19th, 1pm CT, Respirator Certificate Course Live with PWNA and Mike Draper – Members Only and you can sign up here: https://iwca.site-ym.com/events/register.aspx?id=1389868

The Entire Live Video Course, Exam, and Certificate will be available in Campus IWCA after Friday’s Webinar for all members to take for Free.

 

Tuesday June 23rd Jobber Live Webinar, 1pm EST “Scaling Up Your Window Cleaning Business” – Registration will be up soon!

Jobber also offers all members a 15% discount now as a member benefit so take advantage of it! getjobber.com/iwca

 

 

 

IWCA Respirator Certificate Course Live Via Zoom sponsored by the PWNA and Mike Draper

The PWNA and Mike Draper will give the IWCA Members a live certificate of training course for Respirators. After the course, each attendee will be given access to the test via Campus IWCA to pass and earn a Certificate of Training. Please register below and make sure you sign in prior.

 

1pm CT on Friday June 19th, 2020

 

https://iwca.site-ym.com/events/EventDetails.aspx?id=1389868

 

 

Are you looking for that company with ALL 5 Star Reviews…well DON’T!

Are you looking for that company with ALL 5 Star Reviews…well DON’T!

Have you every had that one family member you cannot please, or have you ever forgot a task your wife/husband asked you to do? I am sure you answered yes to these questions.

The same issues happen in a business.  No matter how hard anyone tries, not every transaction can go 100% and sometimes that is just an issue beyond anyone’s control. We have had a machine break down or even the interstate being shut down due to an accident and no matter, the customer is quick to write a bad review.

As a company it is how you handle the situation and the customer. Always, reply to the review, be professional, and state how you tried to fix the issue.  Make sure you are honest and polite even if the review is harsh and rude. How you handle the situation is a reflection on you and your company.

There is nothing wrong with reaching out to the customer and saying “Ms. Jones, we understand we were late, and it was beyond our control, and you left us less than a 5 Star Review. We gave you a $50 credit on your invoice. Could you please change your review? We are not asking for 5 Stars; we are just asking you to be fair.” Let the customer hear your side. Maybe the 1 Star will now go to a 3 Star and that is ok.  Remember no one is perfect.

Customers are just looking for an HONEST company. If a company has all positive and no negative reviews, something is wrong. 68% of people are more likely to trust you if you have both negative and positive reviews.   People who seek out bad reviews stay much longer on your site than normal visitors, and view almost four times as many pages. 95% of people suspect censorship or faked reviews when they do not see negative reviews.

This is the same for Employment websites. If an employee’s demands are not met, and they quit, or are terminated, they can post a review. Yes, you want to respond however, be careful. The employee is looking for a reaction. How you react could go against you with an Unemployment Claim, the Labor Board, or even worse, a lawsuit. State the facts in the response and be professional.

It is how we react and respond to the situation that counts.  Use the negative reviews as a learning tool. How can we improve, what could we have done differently, and how are we going to change going forward? Just remember we are all human and we make mistakes. No one person or company is perfect.

 

IWCA & J.Racenstein Present a live Mask & Respirator Training for IWCA Members – June 12th, 2020 at 4pm EST!!

Join us Friday June 12th via Zoom at 4pm EST as Steve Blyth from J.Racenstein trains through the different types of Masks & Respirators we need as Window Cleaners! Members can sign in and register here: https://iwca.site-ym.com/events/register.aspx?id=1389079

 

Candle Test Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXHWnw7UdXE

Why Cheaper Is Not Always Better?

Why Cheaper Is Not Always Better?

Do you ever see the ads on Facebook or Next Door “Will pressure wash any size home for $99”?  I see these ads every spring & summer.

$99 sounds great until something goes wrong. I would say most not all low-cost ad the business is not licensed, bonded, or insured. Maybe it is not a business at all, it could just be an individual trying to make extra money. Don’t get me wrong we all want to help our neighbor, however at the same time we need to protect ourselves.

Making sure that anyone that does work at your home is properly insured should be very important to any homeowner. As a homeowner if anyone gets hurts or damages your property you are responsible.

What if the technician falls off a ladder?  What if water gets in your outlet outside and shorts out the electrical in your house or even worse a fire gets started? If the company is not properly insured, you as the homeowner will be liable. The technician could even file your homeowner’s insurance for a medical claim if he was to get hurt on your property. Let’s be honest there are some people in this world, just waiting for this to happen or even planning it.

I am writing this from one homeowner to another as I had this happen to me. Do your research, verify insurance, and read reviews.  Any company with all 5 stars and no bad reviews beware. No business is going to make everyone 100% happy. We will save that topic for another blog.

The 2021 IWCA Annual Convention & Trade Show is January 25-30, 2021! Register