In this series of articles, we discuss the basics of how to set up a solar panel cleaning business.  There will be many variances and personal opinions on topics discussed.  However, we seek to build a series of go-to articles that can be shared, read and understood by anyone seeking to set up a solar panel cleaning business from scratch.

Some solar panel cleaning businesses start out small and grow well, others stay stunted and others wither in the sun and die.  80% of all small businesses die within their first 12 months of trading.  Of the remaining 20%, 80% of those will die within their first 5 years.  This means that of 100 businesses that start up, only 4 survive beyond the 5 year mark.  This is because they either don’t have a business plan, they grow too quick and run out of cash, don’t grow quick enough and competitors force them out or that simply the person had the wrong personality for that business.  This series of articles is designed to help your solar panel cleaning business get off to a good start, to know how to nurture your business and survive for the long term.

A sapling in the sun

In Part 1, we encourage you to carry out some honest self-examination about yourself and what you expect your solar panel cleaning business to be.  We discuss personal circumstances, finances, ambition and abilities.  All of these will heavily shape the form, growth and success of your solar panel cleaning business.

Further parts in the series will look at what equipment to buy, health, safety and training, marketing, coping with growth and how to scale, along with effective tools, resources and softwares to help your solar panel cleaning business grow and stay stable.

How You Set Up A Solar Panel Cleaning Business Is Shaped By Personal Ambition

This is important for you to think about.  What is your level of ambition for your solar panel cleaning business?  This is only a question that you can answer.  Without an answer to this question about ambition, your business will meander aimlessly like a stick in a river until eventually it gets caught in rocks, reeds or sinks.  You need direction.

Is your ambition to service residential clients in your hometown?  Is your ambition to move beyond your hometown into other towns?  Do you want to set up your solar panel cleaning business state-wide?  Do you want to cover the whole state or country you live in?  Do you have international and even global ambitions?  You must be realistic in what your ambition is for your solar panel cleaning business.  Write down your ambition and keep it in mind.  Be realistic.  Your ambition will be heavily shaped by your current and expected future circumstances.

What Are Your Personal Circumstances Now and What Will They Be In The Future?

Personal circumstances heavily influence our lives and the things that we can do on a day-to-day basis.  This is true especially when considering setting up a business.

If you are single, you will likely have the most freedom and will likely be able to show more ambition with your solar panel cleaning business.  You may be able to travel further, stay away longer, live a lower cost of living and have less obligations towards family.  Circumstances like this will allow you to expand your horizons for your solar panel cleaning business because you are not drawn back home to care for a partner, children or even parents.  You can spread your net further when looking to grow your solar cleaning business.  You may even be able to re-locate to an area that has a higher density of solar than the area in which you currently live.

Arrows illustrating geogrpahical expansion

If you has a partner, spouse, children or aged parents who demand your time and attention, it will be more difficult for you to have grand designs when setting up your solar panel cleaning business.  You will likely be more limited on how far you can travel and how long you can be away from home for.  You may have a higher cost of living, which may hamper your business growth.

Your Financial Position Shapes How To Set Up A Solar Panel Cleaning Business

Your finances are of the most influential factors in setting up your solar panel cleaning business.  This will dictate how much you can invest in your business and how quickly you can grow.

If you have a small  amount of money available to set up your solar panel cleaning business, it is likely that your target market will be the residential market in your hometown.  Your level of training will be lower, but should still be there.  Your equipment will likely be basic water-fed pole equipment and your growth will be slow and steady.

If you have a medium-level of money available or have the ability and desire to tolerate some risk by taking on some credit, you may be able to invest in water-fed pole and rotary brush or robot technology.  You may also be able to invest in a vehicle-mounted MEWP or scaffolding.  This will allow you to take on small jobs in the residential market and also larger jobs in the commercial market.  You will be able to train yourself and your staff to a higher standard.  It will give you more profitability.  You will also have a larger amount of money for a wider marketing campaign, which will also help you grow quicker.

Growth chart

Those who have some money to invest in setting up a new solar panel cleaning business should also consider buying a solar panel cleaning franchise.  A franchise will give you an instant ‘business-in-a-box’ solution.  You don’t need to sit researching which equipment to buy, the grief of building an effective website and setting up effective marketing campaigns, teaching yourself electrical and other health and safety information, which training courses to take, how to scale the business, which software to use to manage clients and try hard to crack into the lucrative commercial solar panel cleaning market.

With the correct franchise, you basically buy all of this know-how and become an instant solar panel cleaning expert in your area, with a strong brand enabling you to open doors in the commercial sector you simply cannot do when starting up on your own.  You also get on-going technical and marketing support.  Investing in a solar panel cleaning franchise can be one of the best ways to use your money and learn how to set up a solar panel cleaning business.

If you have access to a large amount of money or can stomach larger financial risk by way of angel investors or other large-pot funding, you will be able to invest in both robotic and tractor-mounted solar panel cleaning technology, which will open up all types of solar cleaning, residential, commercial and utility-scale.  You will be able to own your own scaffolding and vehicle-mounted MEWP.   You will also have the largest marketing budget, allowing you to reach more people and grow more quickly.  Systems such as those found at Burst Digital and Robot Mascot can help you professionalise your business in preparation for large capital investment.

Finance is all.  The Matthew Principle comes into play.  ‘To those who have, more will be given.’  This is true.  Money makes money, which is why in business, debt should not necessarily be viewed as a bad thing.  Debt helps businesses grow quickly and can help become more profitable in a shorter space of time.

What Are You Like As A Person?

It is important to understand when setting up your solar panel cleaning business, who you are.  Your personality will shape the growth and success of your solar cleaning business.  You should analyse your personal demeanour, abilities and be modest.  If you are not sure what type of person you are, taking a high quality personality test such as that at will assist you greatly.

If you are introverted and not the most fluent in talking to people, the commercial market may not be for you.  You will likely find the one-to-one environment of the residential market more to your liking.  Entering large offices in order to pitch or present your services to a company is daunting to everyone, but especially to introverts.

However, if you are brave, you can overcome any nervousness you may have and find that you an deliver an attractive pitch for your services.  You may find that the first time you stand up to speak, your brain sits back down!  But with perseverance, it may come.  Equally, it may not.  So be prepared that your own introverted personality may limit your business growth and capabilities.

If you are more extroverted, you are also likely more open to new experiences as a person.  You will find talking to larger audiences easier and presenting yourself and your business will be second nature.  You will not be scared to try new forms of cleaning techniques, not be easily daunted by jobs that are larger or more difficult than anything you have been faced with before.  You will be happy to include public speaking as part of your marketing strategy.

Are you willing to learn new things and invest in training?  Some people are very humble and recognise that they do not know everything at day one.  This is likely you if you have reached this point in the article.  You recognise the need to learn and the need for training.  Some people are more proud and feel that they can tread their path alone and that they do not need training.  This can be the case of window cleaners entering the solar panel cleaning world.  They feel that there is nothing they can be taught and that solar panel cleaning is very similar to window cleaning.  They are wrong, but it is how they feel initially.  They are less likely to seek the advice of others and get suitable training.  These are people who are more likely to either fail or be left behind by those who are willing to learn and be trained.

Richard Branson and Steve Jobs

Sir Richard Branson and Steve Jobs are excellent examples of extroverts who built very successful businesses off the back of their natural personalities and abilities.  Both were pioneers of their fields as they were open and extroverted enough to breakdown barriers and forge new paths.  However, both also got the correct people around them to teach and train them with new skills.  They made ground breaking progress and often breakneck speed.

Due to solar panel cleaning being such a new industry in many areas of the world, you may have the opportunity to do the same if you are bold enough and open to being trained and taught.

How To Set Up a Solar Panel Cleaning Business Part 1 – Conclusion

It may be at the end of this personal analysis, that you are not very ambitious, you have a low-level of money available and do not want or cannot take on any debt.  You may also find that due to your personal circumstances, you cannot travel too far from home and cannot re-locate into an area where solar panels have a high density.  You may also find that you don’t want to be taught or trained.  If this is the case, you would be wise to analyse if you should even start to try and set up a solar panel cleaning business.  If you do, you should accept that your income will be low and your growth slow until either you or your circumstances change.

However, you may find that you have the circumstances to travel and be away from home, you have some money available to invest in higher level cleaning equipment and that you are fluent in public speaking and open to being taught new skills and be trained.  If this is you, you should read our other articles about how to set up and grow a successful solar panel cleaning business.  You have the correct circumstances, are in an excellent financial position and have the best personal traits and skills to have a fast-growing and profitable solar panel cleaning business.

Part 2 of this series will help you further develop the concept of your solar panel cleaning business as we discuss how to set up your company and what equipment you should buy.