Ask Tyler Engle what the latest video he has posted has to do with his small business, and he’ll tell you: Nothing.
Nevertheless, Engle said engaging people on social media has been key to growing Wichita Window Cleaning, which washes windows for residential and business clients.
“It’s an odd strategy,” he said. “I put out stuff that’s funny or entertaining. Somebody will say, ‘Hey, this guy’s funny, I see he’s got a window cleaning business, and I need my windows cleaned.’”
Engle, 24, started washing windows in high school for his father, Rusty, who owns Pro Cleaning Glass. Their businesses are separate entities, although they often work together or cover for one another on jobs.
Engle earned a computer engineering degree from Wichita State University and worked at data storage company NetApp for almost three years but said it “wasn’t really captivating for me. I like being the boss.”
He is now the boss, along with being the chief window washer, accountant and marketer. He has two part-time employees and hopes to add a full-time employee this summer.
Engle said he thinks he has the largest window cleaning operation in Wichita.
“For example, we have McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Wendy’s,” he said. “Pretty much any fast-food restaurant you go through, we clean it.”
Recently, he added high-rise clients such as the Hyatt Regency Wichita, although he admits he doesn’t have any “formal training” to hang from a harness more than a hundred feet in the air.
“It’s recommended you have training, but I did rock climbing for years,” he said. “It was terrifying at first, but I’m getting a little more used to it.”
Posting video of that work garnered him some additional clients, but other videos Engle posts have nothing to with windows. Most recently, he and a friend used a drone to film scenes of the Arkansas River and Keeper of the Plains. It has garnered some 162,000 views on Facebook.
Engle doesn’t discount the importance of old-fashioned legwork, saying he spent a lot of time making personal contact with the people who “pull the trigger” on decisions like who’s going to clean a business’ windows.
Engle doubts he will wash windows forever – he’s thinking about launching a digital media marketing company – but says the lessons he has learned should work in any field.
“I had always thought that growing a business just kind of happened, word-of-mouth-wise,” he said. “When I started really taking it seriously, you discover the correlation between how much effort you put in and the result.
“I’m still dealing with that. I’m only 24.”