LB: How and when did you get involved in the window washing business?
Paul: My background was in restaurant management. About 15 years ago I made
a decision to do something that would give me the opportunity to build
a business I enjoyed doing...could take pride in doing...while building
relationships with my customers and be more available for my family.
Window washing does all of that for me.
LB: What from your past experiences helped prepare you for owning and
operating a successful business?
Paul: There was an exercise I use to have employees do in the restaurant
business. First, I’d ask them to make a pizza for a customer. Then I’d
ask them make the same pizza for themselves. After that I’d have them
take note of the difference, and from that point on, make every pizza
for a customer like you were making it for yourself. I follow that same
philosophy in my window washing business.
LB: You’ve helped many of my clients prepare their homes for sale and
most of them continue to use your services thereafter. I personally use
your service and love the job you do. Do you advertise or where does most
of your business originate from?
Paul: Over 90% of my business is residential and most of that is by referral. I’ve
had some customers as long as I’ve been in business. I keep my prices
fair and always try to create a great experience for them. We are also part
of Angie’s List and I’m sure that may justify some people following up with
me, but word of mouth was how most of them were introduced to me.
"It’s amazing to see how
happy people can be when
they get clean windows."
LB: You mention creating a “great experience”...how do you do that?
Paul: I believe it’s all about treating people like people...like they
matter...because they do. I like to personalize the experience for my
customers. I like to find out what’s happening in their lives, listen to
them and share some of my life with them. Creating relationships that
are meaningful makes my work more meaningful. And, always doing
something extra...something they don’t expect. It’s very gratifying.
LB: Most successful companies have a philosophy/mission to which they
aspire. What is your most important practice that gives your company its
Paul: Integrity. Provide the service people expect to get and more.
It’s amazing to see how happy people can be when they get clean windows.
It brightens their day...it brightens mine. These aren’t just “someone’s
windows”. I have been given charge of them and that perfectionist side of
me wants them to shine the same as if they were my windows. Because
that’s how I feel...they are “my windows”, too.
LB: What goals have you set for the future?
Paul: I try to focus on the big picture and to balance the short range with long
range goals. I’ve created a vision that includes my family, living with
Christian principles and being happy. As my children mature, I hope that I
have instilled in them similar values that would lead to their happiness and
the continuation of a successful family business.
LB: There’s many hours spent running a small business. And, since
weather can affect your scheduling, I’m sure there’s some stress, too.
Where and how do you find peace, fun and relaxation?
that are meaningful makes
my work more meaningful."
Paul: I find peace in my faith. I find fun with my family. Paula and I have 12
children...ages 3 to 27. When I was in restaurant management, I missed out on some
early parts of my children’s lives. Now I take the day off on their birthday. We go to
dinner and a movie or do something special they like. I relax by enjoying what I do
LB: 12 children...that’s a beautiful accomplishment! So we can put
parenting as another one of your skills?!
Paul: Actually, restaurant management and parenting require a lot of the same
skills. The feedback you give is so important. Letting your children
or employees know when they’ve done the right thing. Giving positive
reinforcement that leads them to do the right thing because they want to.
Help them understand it’s not all about them...or the profit...it’s about their
relationship with others...or the customer. It’ not about what have you
done for me today. It’s about what can I do for you. And, at the same time,
encourage them to discover how to do this in their own way.
LB: There are lessons to be learned in being an entrepreneur. What
“words of wisdom” or advice would you share with us?
Paul: Playing the game of life means making adjustments...adapt.
Don’t get so locked into your lives...take chances. You became an entrepreneur partly
for more freedom of time. Don’t forget to take the time...for yourself and family.
Build relationships. Every person matters.