Window of Opportunity
Frei describes being an entrepreneur at heart
by Clay Neely
It’s often been said that entrepreneurs are born, not raised.
While there may be disagreements on that particular theory, it’s clear that the enterprising bug is certainly more prevalent in some than others.
Meet Jesse Frei. Originally a native of Port Orchard, Washington, Frei was serving on a church mission in Georgia from 2005 to 2007, when he ultimately met his future wife, Janna. For Frei, that’s all it took for him to relocate.
Now as a husband and father of two, he currently works 40 hours a week as an aviation mechanic for one of the biggest airlines based out of Atlanta. For many, this seems like an ideal scenario – a steady job with a large company, equipped with a skill set that allows him to work almost anywhere in the aviation field.
But for Frei, he felt like there was a missing piece of the puzzle. While he thoroughly enjoyed his work and family life, Frei still longed for the independent spirit that running a small business provides.
After careful consideration regarding overhead, costs, and inventory, the answer to his question came when he decided to form Clear Window Cleaning LLC.
One might ask what would inspire an airplane mechanic to venture into such a specific line of work. His answer is just as pragmatic as the business itself.
“I’m an entrepreneur at heart,” Frei said. “I just enjoy working – the feeling of building something from nothing. It’s something I’ve always held a fondness for.”
Even while Frei maintained a healthy schedule between his full-time job and his family, that didn’t mean his own part-time job would reflect a drop in expectations or quality. Starting from the ground up in a new place is not always the easiest thing to do. When you have a standard of professionalism and attention to detail that Frei embodies, it can be even harder.
While many in his industry can provide a cheaper price, he doesn’t feel the need to compete.
Frei affectionately defines an amateur window cleaner as a “Bucket Bob” – someone who will undercut the cost of a job so dramatically, he doesn’t even feel that they are in the same league as what his Clear Window Cleaning has to offer.
“Just like with almost anything, you get what you pay for,” Frei said. “Once I do a job, the results speak for themselves. It’s a professional result and the client can see the difference.”
The reaction he gets from customers is just another reason why Frei enjoys running his own business.
As the owner, Frei believes that it is imperative that his work reflects the standard that he has set for himself and the company. For him, it’s not just a side job to make a little extra money. It’s a part-time job that runs on a professional level.
“A lot of those ‘Bucket Bob’ guys aren’t licensed, they aren’t insured – and with workers comp, that’s a huge gamble for customers,” Frei said. “If anything goes wrong, the homeowner is on the hook. So when people wonder why these individuals can bid out jobs for so little, that’s the reason why.”
Frei jokes that the first warning sign of an amateur window cleaner is the presence of Windex.
“I don’t know of a single professional company that has ever implemented Windex,” Frei said. “We use a standard, professional grade cleaner and surgical towels. They’re lint free.”
As a small business owner, Frei understands the power of brand name and reputation. Upon acquiring his business licence and insurance, he began canvassing neighborhoods and businesses to inquire about their window cleaning needs.
The customers who were using the Bucket Bob variety quickly saw the discernible difference in Frei’s work, and through his tireless work ethic and concrete results, word quickly spread about Clear Window Cleaning.
While his company services the entire metro-Atlanta area and beyond, Frei still experiences a great flexibility in terms of setting his own schedule. And even though the business is growing at a pace that Frei feels comfortable with, staying debt-free remains one his greatest priorities.
“The most common question I get from clients is about pressure washing,” he said. “There is always a huge demand for it. Having a pressure washer would definitely be a blessing, but one of my core rules is to never spend money that I don’t have. While I could probably buy one on credit and have it paid for after a few jobs, I just wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it that way.”
As long as he continues to enjoy what he’s doing, Frei sees no reason to stop. While he may cite the ups and downs of the aviation industry, one can’t help but feel he enjoys having his own business regardless of the economic climate.
“When your work has a reward that you can see with your own eyes at the end of a job, it just further solidifies my feeling that I love what I do.”