The Great Window Cleaning Debate | How Do You Pay Those Helpers

window cleaning businessWhat is the great window cleaning debate, you ask? Is it pure water vs. old school squeegee? Social media vs. door-to-door sales? Residential vs. commercial?

The answer: none of the above.

Well, window cleaners still argue about those things, but the question that always gets posed on message boards, forums and Facebook status updates is how do you pay your people? There are really two parts to this question. First, you need to determine if your helper(s) are employees or sub-contractors. I am not going to advise you one way or the other on this; talk to your accountant. I will tell you that we hired all our staff as sub- contractors. It’s what worked for us.

If you have employees, you are then required to pay them hourly. Knock yourself out. Personally, I think it is stinky. If you are the boss, you HATE to pay someone to sit in a car during rush hour traffic. If, however, you try to somehow avoid paying staff for drive time, two things will happen. One, your staff will resent you. Not to your face, mind you; everyone needs a job right now. They will resent you, though. And, two, check with your accountant, but I am pretty sure this is skirting both IRS and labor laws in a very walking-a-thin-line way.

If you have sub-contractors, then you have a few more options. You can pay a flat daily rate, say $100, or you can pay a percentage of the day’s sales. We always paid newbies $100 a day until they got in the swing of things. Let’s face it; a person who has never wielded a squeegee before can really slow you done in the beginning. Once they had enough experience to do a decent job, we paid them on a 60/40 split. That’s 60% to them. Their vehicle, their gas, mostly their equipment and our clients. If they worked in pairs, they each got 30%. And, if they had a complaint or a call-back, they either fixed it themselves (no pay) or they PAID my husband to do it for them. Not a cheap option.

Plain and simple. So, what do you do?


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