HOW I EARNED $1,032.00, AS A SINGLE MOM, IN ONE MORNING BY REPLACING BROKEN WINDOW AND DOOR PARTS. IT’S SO EASY!
For those of you who don’t mind getting your hands dirty for the sake of making a bunch of extra cash, I have the perfect side hustle for you! Replacing broken window and door parts.
Wait, before you scoff, let me fill you in on a little secret. I spent years working in construction and I noticed a common theme. More handyman than not, claim to do it all. All except, for glass work. The reasoning behind this is somewhat a mystery to me, but I suspect it’s simply because the how-to’s of the business are not widely known.
Fortunately for you though, I have 23 years of experience in this trade and I plan to tell you everything you need to know. I’m going to take you from Tuesday night couch potato to mack daddy of money making. You can easily double your income by putting in just a few hours a week. Think how great it will feel to take your family on that much needed vacation, pay off credit card debt, buy that new toy you’ve been eyeing and save for the future. How much money am I talking? Let me break it down for you.
SCHEDULING THE SERVICE CALL
I live in a small town in central Florida. My city was once ranked as having the lowest cost housing in the entire nation. With low housing prices also comes low income. In fact, most people come here to retire. Mostly anywhere else in the country, you’ll be able to charge more than we do. Say your customer calls, (I’m going to tell you how to easily get customers in a future post, but let’s skip that for now and get to the juicy part; the money!) and tells you her window won’t stay up. In fact, some windows are really hard to open and parts and pieces are even falling out of the window frame.
You ask her if Tuesday at 6pm would be a good time for you to stop by and take a look (for those of you who get off work from your real job at 5ish). Offer a free estimate for those who are in your city and $35. for customers a little further out. This supplements your gas, wear and tear on your vehicle, and your time. Ask for her name, address, phone number and any gate code that may be needed for access. Reconfirm the date and time and store this information for easy access come Tuesday. Tell her you’ll give her a call about 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment just to remind her and let her know you’re on the way.
THE CONFIRMATION CALL
I can’t express how important the confirmation calls is. Unfortunately, some people don’t value their own time and therefore will not value yours either. These people are the exception, but it does happen. I make it a rule to never drive out to anyone’s house until they’ve answered my confirmation call and confirmed they will be home. Now it’s time to hit the road; GPS on the dash or a smart phone comes in super handy for finding addresses.
When you arrive, greet the customer and ask which windows she’s having issues with. You’ll want to have a leather portfolio or notebook of some sort to jot down all the parts the customer needs. It’s also important to draw a quick sketch of the house layout and label the rooms where the windows have issues. This helps immensely when you return in a week with the parts and can’t remember what goes where. Sometimes you’ll have removed broken parts that were jamming the window on your estimate and when you return they aren’t there for you to confirm which window balance size goes where.
WORKING OUT THE ESTIMATE – THIS IS HOW I CHARGE
So now you know what parts are needed to complete the job. Let your customer know that you will work out her estimate and give her a call with the price. Back at your office/home you want to make an itemized list something like this:
1 – service call
8 – block and tackle balances
8 – sash cams
2 – sash locks
1 – take out clip
2 – stop blocks
The service call I charge is $125.00. Again, I live in a very inexpensive area and most places could easily charge more. I feel like $100 – $125 is a good place to start while being inexperienced. If you own your own home, start by checking the functionality of your own windows to gain a little confidence. I’m going to explain in great detail exactly the steps you’ll take to diagnose any window issues, but we’ll save that for a future post.
Now, moving on to the block and tackle window balances. Near the bottom of the balance you’ll usually see an etched number, however, sometimes rarely, there will be a printed number towards the top of the balance. The number will read something along the lines of 2840. The first two numbers signify the length of the metal portion of the balance and the last two numbers represent the strength.
The strength is very important. If you have a large heavy window, the balance needs to be strong enough to hold the window in the open position without sliding down or worse yet, slamming down and breaking the glass. Alternatively, if the window is small and lite weight, a balance that is too heavy could cause the window to fly open once unlocked potentially hurting you or your customer and again breaking the glass.
WHERE TO GET YOUR REPLACEMENT PARTS
A typical pair of standard window balances will run you just under $50.00. A great place to get them is here; a family business that has been around for 53 years. The founder (grandma) passed, leaving the business to her son who works in conjunction with the 3rd generation. Your best bet is to call them at (352) 629-3083 as business is always booming and emails may go unanswered at times. You can markup the balances 20% or $10.00. Sash cams are plastic parts that screw to the left and right top sides of the bottom sash of the window. These cost about $6.00 per pair. Sash locks are $6.00 a piece. Take out clips run $1.00 each and stop blocks go for $3.00 a pair. All of these parts can be marked up 20%. My service call includes labor on the 1st window only. I charge an additional $20.00 labor charge for each additional window I repair.
PRICING OUT OUR HYPOTHETICAL JOB:
1 – service call will cost: gas/car wear and tear/time. I charge $125.00
8 – block and tackle balances will cost: $200.00. You can charge $240.00.
8 – sash cams cost: $24.00. Charge $28.80.
2 – sash locks cost: $12.00. Charge $14.40.
1 – take out clip cost: $1.00. Charge $1.20
2 – stop blocks cost: $3.00. Charge $3.60.
3 – extra windows (Labor) cost: extra time/work. Charge $ 60.00.
$473.00 Customer Price – $240.00 Costs = $233.00 for 30-45 minutes of non-strenuous work and this is for repairing only 4 windows. Many times customers will ask for all of their window parts to be replaced. As you can see, just a couple side jobs a week or one larger job per week could really make a sizeable difference in income.
In fact, I replaced a partial house of window balances this morning and made $809.00. As usual, I started around 9:15 am and was finished by 10:30 am, moving at a more leisurely pace than normal due to the husband chit chatting with me while I worked. His house was beautiful and he had a tanning bed like one an ex boyfriend had bought me one time. When we broke up, he insisted I sell it and pay him back. Thankfully, Ebay saved the day as I was just ready for that relationship to be over! Back to the job, these were very large windows and I’m a single mom. I was able to complete this work by myself with no problems whatsoever.
ADDITIONAL SLIDING GLASS DOOR PARTS
In addition, my customer was so satisfied that he asked me to change out the rollers and patio door handle and lock on his sliding glass door as well, adding another $223.00. His door was a standard 3’0 x 6’8 size. A 4’0 x 6’8 door would have required an extra pair of hands to replace the rollers, but the larger size is nowhere near as common around my neck of the woods. Had I run into a larger door, I would have simply scheduled to come back with an extra person.
In my next article I will price out a patio door roller replacement job and itemize locks, handles and various cap tracks and thresholds. I’ll show you my trick for removing the old rollers and for installing the new rollers. This can be very tricky if you’ve never been shown how to replace sliding glass door rollers. I’ll also be going over how to remove and install new block and tackle window balances and sash cams. I’ll save spiral balances and tilt latches for an article all it’s own as they tend to be a bit more difficult and fortunately less common than the block and tackle balances. Stay tuned to learn this new side hustle and take your personal finances to the next level!