Each month we'll feature an interview with one of our great industry's finest. This month the spotlight shines north to Darwin, on Simon Marston from Simon Marston Window Cleaning. You can check out Simon's website here
Hi Simon, tell us a little bit about yourself and your business.
Simon Marston Window Cleaning is a Darwin based family owned window cleaning business, specializing in commercial and domestic multi-story buildings. It began as a start-up 18 months ago.
How did you get into window cleaning?
I learnt the trade of window cleaning from an Adelaide company I subcontracted to 15 years ago. I left Adelaide and went off into retail and inventory management. When finally I settled down in Darwin, I decided I wanted to do something in business for myself. Knowing the trade and seeing a gap in the market I thought “Why not?”
Being based in Darwin, I imagine your work is often governed by weather. How do you keep busy during the wet season?
Yes, the business is very much governed by the weather. Darwin nearly closes down from November to May during the build up and wet season. During this time we rely on regular business cleans and special commercial projects.
Like any industry, window cleaning is constantly evolving and technologies are developing. Have you incorporated any of these since coming back into the industry?
I love seeing new technologies develop in the industry, the Waterfed Pole being a great example. This gives us more efficient and safe ways to tackle different and sometimes difficult jobs.
What are some of the challenges you face in running the business?
Being a business in just its second year, maintaining financial stability has been the biggest challenge.
What’s the most challenging job you’ve done?
A retirement home. Working in and around the dementia ward proved an interesting task.
What’s the best part of the job?
Getting the wow factor from satisfied clients always makes my day. Even better, is when they refer me on to someone else.
And the worst?
Chasing clients for money and cash flow drying up!
Who trained you up? Did they impart any advice that’s stuck with you?
Tim Rowland from Professional Window Cleaners in Adelaide was my mentor. Tim showed me how to clean with pace without sacrificing quality.
Aside from your squeegee and t-bar, what’s one tool you can’t live without?
My waterfed pole. I use it on large ground level jobs and 1st and second storey work. I think it has revolutionized our industry.
Are you a music or radio in the ears man, or do you just listen to nature (if music, what are you listening to?)
My head is always thinking three moves in advance so when I am working so is my brain. Relaxing at home I love Indie/Folk to chill out and enjoy a beer with friends
Any pointers you could offer to someone starting up in the profession?
Three things I think about often…
· Never try and base your business on being the cheapest service. Someone will always be cheaper and neither of you will make money.
· Find your niche, whether its shops, large commercial buildings or domestic houses. Concentrate on building that aspect of the business and become good at it!
· Cleaning windows is not hard, but getting access to that piece of glass can be a challenge. When quoting a job, don’t just look at price and time; look at the job itself and analyze how you are going to do it.
Thanks Simon. And any parting words for the community?
Don’t cheapen the industry by dropping prices. Price cutting usually leads to lower standards in work while making it harder for everyone to make a living. If you want to be a step ahead of the rest maybe look at enhancing what you do and do it better.