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A series of interviews with ordinary people making extra cash a reality…

This month, Jamie Lloyd tells us about his window cleaning business

So, Jamie, how does it all work?

‘I know it sounds like a cliché to be working as a window cleaner, but, you know, I make a pretty decent living from it and it’s better than working for someone else – or being out of work (it’s hard to get a job at my age!)! Basically, I have a large cleaning round on my housing estate and it keeps me busy 6 days a week. No sooner have I finished getting round all my customers and it’s time to start again. I may take on someone younger to help me so I can expand the round in time - I doubt I’ll ever be short of work. It may end up being a short-term thing until I find something better, but for now, it’s a great way to earn a living and top up my pension!’

How easy is it to do?

‘Well, providing you have a head for heights, and can clean windows, it’s dead easy! All you need is a set of ladders and an old fashioned bucket and soapy water – that’s all I use, and it works a treat. You can keep your new-fangled gadgets...’

What sort of profit do you make?

‘I base my charges on the time it takes me to clean the windows, the size of the house, how many windows there are and so on, so all my prices are different. For example, for a 3 bed roomed semi, I might charge £6, but for a small bungalow, I might charge just £4. I aim to make at least £10 an hour – not bad really for easy, unskilled work.’

What are the advantages of earning money this way?

‘It’s so easy to get going with this sort of business and there is always a demand for it – people just can’t get reliable window cleaners these days. All you need is the motivation to get out of the armchair and do something for yourself, instead of moaning that there’s no work about (like some of the young blokes down the pub... no names, though!). You don’t need much cash to get going and you can work the hours that suit you.’

What are the pitfalls of earning money this way?

‘I guess the weather. It’s no fun to be out when it’s cold and raining – on the other hand, it’s the perfect excuse to take a day off! When the weather is bad, I go round collecting the money and enjoy a chat with my customers, and when it’s nice, I clean windows – nice and easy!’

What are your tips for someone who wants to become a window cleaner?

‘See what the demand is in your area by going round knocking on doors and asking people if they want a window cleaner. Start with a few regular customers and you’ll find the business will grow by word of mouth. No need for expensive adverts, just use some shoe leather... Oh, and don’t forget to call on local shops and businesses, they need window cleaners too! You can also offer other services such as gardening and all sorts of odd jobs. You’ll be surprised at the extra work you’ll pick up.‘