Interview with Window Cleaner, Paul Miller

November 28, 2014

 

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 

 

personality?

 

 

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?

 

 

"Creating relationships

  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

 

helping others.

 

 

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.

 

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