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Window Cleaning Lead Collection

Absorbing information to provide estimates is time consuming and hard to keep organized. After 8 years in business I finally got smart about this and it was revolutionary. I pointed 100% of my marketing, social media sites/content, and review sites to my website. My entire website pointed to a "Get Started" button. The button pointed to a page that sent customers to a page that asked if they were new or repeat customers. From there it sent them to one of two different forms. This process simplified all of my marketing, streamlined data collection, enabled quick accurate estimates, gave me accurate customer data and most importantly emails to keep in touch for a lifetime.


Let’s go over all the questions I asked potential clients. Keep in mind you might set a form up like this completely different to bid jobs, but you can use the same principal to collect data to create estimates. Another point i'd like to make is that there are a ton of situations where you can’t put out an estimate collecting this data. You might need to do it over the phone or meat a customer at the job. If you’re not confident in this process then do what you’re comfortable with to provide accurate estimates. Keep in mind that when your company grows you run out of time and driving to jobs for free estimates significantly eats into your time as well as profit margins. When you’re at a customer’s house to provide an estimate you’re making yourself vulnerable to the fact that you’ve already invested into this job with nothing in return, the customer’s know that. By collecting information like this you can control the estimate by the accuracy of the customer’s input. If they put 20 windows and they have 35, you have record of them providing inaccurate information, making the estimate invalid. You can politely adjust the price because you’re providing information based on their inputs.


Basic Information

Company

First Name

Last Name

Email

Phone


Property Information

Address

How many square feet?

How many stories?

Job needs to be done…

What kind of roof do you have?


Service Information

How many windows do you have?

When was your last professional cleaning?

Is there any construction debris on the glass such as paint, stucco, glue, etc?

Are your windows french windows with dividers on the outside of the glass?

How old are your windows?

Is everything accessible in regards to knick knacks, furniture, landscaping and other personal property?

Do you have any skylights you'd like cleaned on the exterior only?

Is there anything else we might need to know?


Most of these questions had dropdown menus with answers in them to make it simple for prospects to answer. I would use google maps as well as real estate sites to look up the house and confirm information before pricing. Like I said above, if I didn’t feel comfortable providing a price I would arrange other means to get the customer an accurate estimate but this seemed to work great for 90% of our work. I’ll break down each section to show you how I would bid the jobs.


Basic Information

This information provides basic contact information and will let me know if I’m dealing with a residential or a commercial client. The email is especially important because it provides our company an automated way to keep in touch with the individual whether they hire us or not. I can send updates, coupons, and more with minimal effort. I’ve had tons of people not hire me the first time around but call back later after being dissatisfied with a competitor.


Property Information

This section provides us information on the property itself. This is a good indication of the effort that might go into a job. For jobs over 4,000 square feet, over 3 stories, etc. I would want to visit before providing an estimate. I might need to include the cost of a lift in a job this size or find something else I need to include in an estimate.


Service Information

I kept this separate from property information because we offered other services. So property questions pertained to the property where these questions were specific to the service the customer was interested in. So they only checked their interested services and answered questions specific to that service, which in this case is window cleaning.


We broke down jobs into 5 different categories. Over the years I realized I could find similarities across the board based on the houses square footage. I would call this a typical house. A typical house usually has 1 window per 100 square feet. This was always my starting point. So a house that was 1,000 square feet would typically have 10 windows. If I were charging $10 per window then I would quote this at $100 window inside, outside, screens, tracks, and sills. If someone filled out a form and said they had 12 windows on a 1,000 square foot house, I would quote it for $120. If someone filled out a form and said they had 35 windows on a 1,000 square foot house I would immediately know that someone has either input wrong information or this is some kind of job that isn’t “typical” and I should look into it more. This also goes the other way. If someone put in a house that was 3500 square feet and only put in 10 windows, I’d know a house that size has at least 35 windows typically. I could confirm this before sending someone out to do a job. As the questions progressed I would either raise the price or keep it the same based on answers. I found this method of bidding to be incredibly efficient and accurate for our company. It allowed us to estimate virtually and keep accurate records if the customer didn’t fill out the form correctly.

You can also use real estate sites and google maps to confirm what the home might look like. Beyond these questions there really wasn’t much we could run into that would cause us to not be able to do the job within the estimate. If that did happen I could eat the cost and raise the price for them next time. More often I was able to charge more based off of inaccurate information like missing a few windows, saying they’re not French windows, not realizing there’s paint overspray, etc. and our crew would simply show them the difference before they started work. Once we had customer’s in our database we start keeping track of the job duration. This allowed us to adjust prices based on how long it took our crew to do it and it kept great detailed notes on the property.


Now I’ll go over each answer option to help our prospect fill in their form quickly.


Property Information

Address

Form autofills their address.


How many square feet?

0-1,000 SF

1,001-1,500 SF

1,501-2,000 SF

2,001-2,500 SF

2,501-3,000 SF

3,001-3,500 SF

3,501 + SF


How many stories?

1

2

3

4+


Job needs to be done…

in no hurry.

within 1 week.

within 2 weeks.

within 3 weeks.

ASAP.


What kind of roof do you have?

Asphalt singles.

Flat concrete tile.

Rounded concrete tile.

Rounded clay tile.

Slate.

Metal.

Wood.

Other.


Service Information

How many windows do you have?

Enter a number.


When was your last professional cleaning?

Less than one year ago.

Over one year ago.

Over two years ago.

Over three years ago.

Never.


Is there any construction debris on the glass such as paint, stucco, glue, etc?

Yes.

No.


Are your windows french windows with dividers on the outside of the glass?

No.

Some.

All.

Most.


How old are your windows?

0-5 years old.

6-10 years old.

11-20 years old.

21-30 years old.

31-40 years old.

41-50 years old.

51 + years old.


Is everything accessible in regards to knick knacks, furniture, landscaping and other personal property?

Yes.

No.


Do you have any skylights you'd like cleaned on the exterior only?

No.

Yes 1-3.

Yes 4-7.

Yes 8-11.

Yes 12+


Is there anything else we might need to know?

This gives the customer the opportunity to disclose anything else we might need to know to accurately estimate their job.


Before submitting their form there’s a checkbox to accept the terms and conditions.


These terms were the forefront of protecting our company from liability. It lays out the ground rules for our relationships with customers before they even have work done. Once they’re all finished with their answers there’s a submit button that only submits when there is accurate information in each input. There are a ton of companies that collect leads for contractors just like this and try to sell them to everyone in that area. Creating your own information collection lets you manage the information you need, saves you time, gives your customers accurate prices, and simplifies your marketing to all point towards this lead generator.


Now I’ll break down the answers so you can see my thought process and how I train estimators based on the answers. Remember that this information was helpful to my company but you might need or want different questions. Focus more on the automation of information collection and how you can use it to your advantage rather than copying this exactly.


Basic Information

Company

If the customer put in a company name then I would know this was usually for a commercial project. It could be a contractor, storefront, industrial facility, etc. Sometimes you might not be able to bid these online depending on the scope of work.


First Name

Sometimes it’s hard to hear on the phone and collecting first and last names can get complicated. Using the form to collect it allows you to get their name spelled correct every time. Having an accurate database of names and addresses can also help with direct mail marketing down the road.

Last Name


Email

Email was one of the most overlooked pieces of information for me. Email automations is one of the most powerful tools for companies today. A good CRM will allow you to send tons of different personal automated emails. Things like marketing, frequency reminders, scheduled job reminders, payment collection reminders, automated invoices, automated payment systems, and the list goes on. Email automation can save you so much time while also giving your customers a personal experience you couldn’t give them over the phone.

Phone

Phone numbers are obviously important for working out details and other communication needs. I found the phone the be the best form of communication when you’re actually ready to schedule the customer. The lapse in email can be really difficult when trying to offer different times to customers.


Property Information

Address

As mentioned above, having accurate information is key from estimating, scheduling, directions, marketing, etc. After you’ve come up with a price on the house you should cross reference information by putting the address into real estate sites and google maps. This will help you confirm the accuracy of the information you’ve received and your estimate.


How many square feet?

As mentioned above, the square footage gives you a general idea of the scope of work. It also helps you quickly recognize if the data provided is not accurate or you’re dealing with a house outside a typical scope of work. I’ve realized that a typical house has one window per 100 square feet. Consider this your starting point.


How many stories?

Stories can make a huge difference on how much time you’ll be working on a project. A job with 20 windows on the ground might be faster than 4 windows at 3 stories. Consider this into your estimate. If someone is in a condo will you drop on windows below? Each of our trucks could go up to three stories on a ladder and 4 stories on a water fed pole. Know your limits and capabilities so you can estimate accordingly. If it’s outside your scope of work maybe you could visit the project to put a bid in worth buying new equipment to get it done. Most projects we did were 1-2 stories with an occasional 3 stories so we set our trucks up for success on our most common projects.

Job needs to be done…

An urgency in getting the job done could mean your crew works late or weekends to keep a satisfied customer. You could bid this accordingly with an extra overtime charge or simply communicate that you can’t get the job done in time but you’d love to still put in an estimate. Customers often use window cleaners for special events on their property and forget to call last minute. This was common with graduations, weddings, local events, etc. You could also use this to your advantage to offer them a certain discount if they schedule on a day you’ll be in their area within their timeframe.


What kind of roof do you have?

My company tried to stay off roofs but it’s inevitable as a window cleaner to be getting onto the roof. If we have multiple windows over a roof and we can’t walk on the roof, this could add significant time to getting the job done. Slate roofs and clay tile are almost inevitable to crack when being walked on. Take this into consideration if the house has that style of roof with skylights or if it's two story.


Service Information

How many windows do you have?

This might be one of the most important questions that people always get wrong. Naturally everyone is going to count windows a little different. As mentioned above, compare this number to the square footage. If it seems close enough then you can move forward with the estimate. If it’s off dramatically then do a little more investigating either online or call the customer for an accurate recount.


When was your last professional cleaning?

This question tells us if the prospect has ever paid for these services before and also how dirty these windows might be. Someone who is hiring a new window cleaner probably wasn’t happy with their last guy and also should have an idea of what a service contractor might cost. Windows that haven’t been cleaned for years can take a significantly more time for their first cleaning, which is something I’d take into account when estimating.


Is there any construction debris on the glass such as paint, stucco, glue, etc?

This question is almost always answered with a no, even with contractors on new construction projects. Construction debris on the class takes way more time, exposes you to more company liability, and needs extra supplies. This question was asked more in the event that we show up and there’s overspray over all the windows, we can show the customer and adjust the price. I’ve seen overspray on glass from neighbors a few doors down painting their house. This has saved me a few times on needing to adjust the price for the first time cleaning. Most customers are understanding after you show them and once it’s done right, the followup service is a breeze.


Are your windows french windows with dividers on the outside of the glass?

French windows are the most time consuming types of windows because if the detail involved. French windows could adjust the price upward hundreds of dollars and add a lot more time to the service.


How old are your windows?

Older windows can be more difficult to open, get screens out, detail, adjust window coverings, and just overall more difficult to work with. If the windows were brand new (including replacements), I’d assume they have sticky residue and probably other debris on them.


Is everything accessible in regards to knick knacks, furniture, landscaping and other personal property?

This question was helpful to make customers evaluate how accessible their widows actually are. If we had to rearrange someones house to do our job then we’re taking on unplanned liability and spending time doing something that isn’t our job. It also helps clients understand why the exact same house could cost significantly more or less. I had multiple houses that were the exact same layout but completely different pricing because of difficult access. The things mentioned above as well as overhangs, shades, pools/spas, hills, broken blinds, etc. all make a difference in your ability to get the job done within budget.


Do you have any skylights you'd like cleaned on the exterior only?

I used to clean skylights inside and outside every time but I got into some really difficult situations. Things like three story skylights, curved drywall access, staircases, etc. made some interiors incredibly difficult if not impossible. If the customer had exterior skylights they wanted cleaned, I’d go back to the roof type and see if I could walk on it. If a customer wanted the interiors cleaned, I’d make them specify and get more details on what the inside access would look like.


Is there anything else we might need to know?

This gives the customer the opportunity to explain anything else they might think we need to know. On the phone a lot of people want to over explain things which could turn into a 30 minute phone call. Multiply that times 40 calls in a day. When people have to type things out, they tend to pick their words more precisely.


All of my marketing pointed towards our website which promised an easy three step process that I mentioned above. ​

  1. Go to www.website.com

  2. Click on get started.

  3. Fill in the form for your estimate.

This kept our marketing incredibly simple and our streamlined our process for our 90% our estimates. It cut a ton of time out on answering phone calls and collecting the exact information our form did, but instead our form was 100% accurate because the customer puts in the data. It also made it incredibly easy to confirm customers are agreeing to our terms since they have to to submit their form to us. This protected us from liability and it laid down the expectations for all parties. The questions above were for window cleaning but we also used this for other services like pressure washing, solar panel cleaning, and gutter cleaning.

As soon as the form was filled, we used an auto responder to send them a special email coupon and told them we'll reach out in 1-2 business days with their estimate. We also had a note to check their junk/spam folders.

When you look into using lead collection sites like Yelp, Angi, Homeadvisor, Thumbtack, Bark, Houzz, etc. they're all doing pretty much the same thing. Collecting leads through online forms and trying to sell them back to you. These companies are incredibly difficult to work with because they want to control the information. When you collect your own data on your own site, you're in control. These sites ask general and unspecific information because they don't know your service like you do. This gives you an opportunity to do the exact opposite.

Imagine going to a nice restaurant and the chef wants you to explain how to cook your food. Isn't that why you pay all the money to go to a nice restaurant? Yet individuals in this profession do it all the time. They allow customers to walk on them, devalue their service, and tell them how to do it. When you ask specific and detailed questions about their job, lay down the terms, and explain your company process, you absorb a completely different kind of customer. Think of the form as a pre qualification to the kind of customer you want. It should allow you to get the exact information you need to estimate a service and close the deal.

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