A Little Help Please

Hey guys, If it is alright, I would like run something by you and get a few of your ideas please.
I need to give an estimate on a residential home in a very “Upper Glass” neighborhood. Now most of the houses in this neighborhood are huge older Victorian type homes with lots of the French cut up windows covered with…storm windows!
Here’s the breakdown on this home that I need your advice on;
There are 40 double hung windows (80 total pains),:mad:all French panes 6x6.
All the windows have screens.
All the windows have storm windows.
There are 7 double entrance doors,also with French panes.
The house is two story.
The house I’m guessing, is about 3200sf.-3500sf.
Q. How would you estimate this house?
Q. What would you charge? Also,the house hasn’t been cleaned in about 5 years.
Q. what would be the best way to clean the French panes?
And,I’ll probably be doing the work alone.
Okay, I hope I’ve covered everything.
Thank you in advance for all the advice.I cann’t wait to see the replys.
Warm regards,

I’d charge $20 per window in/out. That’s the whole window and storm. $10 per door that’s including both sides. I’d do it w/ traditional methods since it’s been a while since it’s last clean. On the second floor work I’d ladder it and charge $5 per ladder set. Hope this helps. Oh and sell them on at least twice a year cleaning.

Yeah, big moolah.


2 questions for those who have actually landed these types of gigs.

  1. If the folks who own these homes haven’t bothered to update their windows all these years, how do they react when you give them estimates like in this case?

  2. $800-1200 is plenty of money but this house is going to be a pain to clean, especially if you’re a one man show. Would you prefer to land 2-3 easier jobs than to take on this house?

i dont get too many homes like that in this area of the province, but…id love a job like that as long as the money was good. Sounds like this job could easily be $1200 +

These are jobs you do not rush…at least that i don’t rush. If i try and rush i get frustrated with all the cut ups. You bid right and if they want the job done they’ll pay for it.

I once spent 11 hrs scraping and cleaning nothing but french panes on a cottage in muskoka…talk about tedious, but they were willing to pay well, so i just grinned and did the job!

I just did a smaller version of this house on Saturday. 1 thing I will recommend is bring someone. Your hand will hurt after the day is over. I priced the job the same way I normally price. $1.25 per pane, $2.00 per storm & $2 per screen. Your total for the 40 windows would be. $760.00. I would need to see the doors and pitch of the roof for access to the 2nd floor but mostly everyone else is in the ball park I was thinking. I’m the type of guy who bids high. This way if I over looked something or something happens, I dont feel as though I screwed myself. We cleaned the panes with 3 inch channels. Some things to look out for.

  1. How old is the glass? If it’s really old and poured (not sure if thats correct) but it’ wont be a flat sheet of glass thus you have to rag it.
  2. Glazing. How good is it? If it’s really old it will fall off. It will ruin rubber and towels and it’s a risk of a pane falling out.
  3. Loose windows. I told my guy to be careful but he did not listen and had one of the windows drop on his hand this Saturday. He was ok. But it hurt and he got the message fast. Bring something to prop up the window.
  4. dont bother with razoring the glass because most likly the windows are so old, there will be crap on them that is so embedded you will never get it off. Also with the razor you can screw up the glazing.

When I run across homes like this. I explain to the owner I can only do so much. I can not make those windows look brand new. The storms and screen frames will never come clean without a chemical. I do razor the storms though. If you get the gig, do the best you can. The customer will see the differance and be happy. Once again you can’t make windows look brand new but if you take your time and provide the attention the glass needs. The customer will see it in the results and be happy. The little things like razoring the glass and not going crazy on the frames will be understood by most customers.

Me and my employee do these type of houses on a daily basis. I charge similar to Tony. I’m in around $1000-$1200 on the job you describe. This job sounds like it could be a two dayer if you’re not used to doing these type of windows and especially if you are solo. The best way to clean the french panes would be to use cut to fit channels for sure. If you have a storm easel it will be a real time and back saver. Make sure you put the storm windows back in the same windows they came out of even if they all look like the same size. There is nothing wrong with razoring old windows in my opinion. You shouldn’t ruin the glazing with a razor if you’re being careful. Also most glass that does have glazing around it should be held in with glaziers points. So there should be little risk of the glass falling out even if the glazing cracks and falls out. Good luck, and tell us how it works out.

Beautiful View- I love doing houses like these. Sure they can be a pain in the rear sometimes. But I prefer to be in one spot and get one big check at the end of the day than drive around to multiple houses throughout the day.

Thank you very much for all the advise. I really appreciate you taking the time to help me out. I’ll let you know how it goes.

As a one person operation, I know this would be a 2 day job for sure. I’ve had my share of storms, even in my short time doing this work. Some storms are easy, some very frustrating. I don’t mind cutups, I have all different size channels.

I know some people might price it way high to either not get the gig, or to make some really sweet money from one source. Thanks for everyones experienced viewpoints.

I think I agree that I would rather make the money in one location than drive around for the same money, depending on the work, though.

Assuming that the other jobs are annoying, too, that is…

And It sounds like a big job, anyway you slice it. Maybe you should charge more.

As for the comment:

“1. If the folks who own these homes haven’t bothered to update their windows all these years, how do they react when you give them estimates like in this case?”

It really depends. Maybe the person who called is a new owner, or maybe they have an event coming up (i.e. wedding at the house), or maybe one of ten different scenarios is unfolding…

In the end, you can never predict how they will respond. Some say “great, let’s do it”, while others say “Are you crazy - that’s WAY too much!”

Go in confident on the price.

Say it like you price jobs like this everyday, and tell them why a price of $2,000 would be fair, given the amount of work involved, and that the price you’re giving them is a great value, and available only until Dec 1st, or whatever.

The first time I had to give a home owner a quote I was sure they were going to say no because of the price being too high. I sat nervously in the car thinking of ways to approach them. Finally I got a brilliant idea. Go up to the door, knock, and when they answer, ‘DELIVER THE GOOD NEWS’. If you tell them the price like it’s good news for them that you can do the job at such and such a price, then you’re probably closer to closing the sale then being all, “Ummm…how about…ohh…$200.”

In other words, I should take my own advice on any job, big or small.

Heres another secret :

Tell the price like its the time.

What time is it? 9:45 pm

How much is it? $1,250.00

good suggestion. If you are confident, and blase about your price, then the customer will think he’s the idiot for thinking it’s high.

Hey Guys,I’m just getting back to you about that house that I asked for your help with.
I gave the home owner an estimated price of $780.00 for all the windows inside and out, to include the storm windows. Plus an additional $70.00 for all the screens. For a total of $850.00. A price that I thought was fair and still competitve for my area.
The home owner did called to tell me that he only wanted the windows cleaned on the outside. He told me that he did not want me in his house and that if I wanted the job I had to remove the storm windows from the outside to gain access to the the outside of the French windows.
I need to tell you that the storm windows are not the type that are removable from the outside. They are the ones where you need to push in the tabs in order for the windows to be removed.
I was also told that their “old window cleaner” removed the storm windows from the outside with no problems. ( Is anyone else thinking ‘cat burgler’ here?):rolleyes:
Needless to say, I decided to take a pass on this one.
Am I missing something here? How could interior storm windows be removed from the outside without breaking them and can it be done safely on a ladder?
Thank you for all the help.

It can be done with care. But it’s going to take more time. My guy thought he was going to save time by doing it that way and broke the storm putting it back in. I think you were correct in passing on the job. Let the guy find someone else. Would have been a nice little chunk for christmas though. But either way I try to stay away from pain in the ass customers like this. I can understand them being concerned, but what? They are never going to let someone into their homes again to complete work?

[COLOR=Blue]Don’t let it worry you. There is a reason that they haven’t had them cleaned in 5 years. They are too cheap to have it done right.

In my experience the only way to remove a storm window from the outside is to remove the whole frame which means unscrewing it from the window frame. I charge an additional $7.50 per window that we remove from the outside. From time to time we must do that because the house windows are painted shut.

Move on, don’t look back, that job sounded like a big headache from the go. There are a lot easier ways to make $800 than that.[/COLOR]

This comment alone seems very abrasive, he seems to be condescending, and it doesn’t sound like he trusts you.

You’re right about some storms not being doable from the outside too, without unscrewing them from the home.

Do you want this client?

If so, we can help you change your relationship with him, and try to make him play by your rules. If that doesn’t work, then definitely walk away.

I’d have told him politely - “No thank you”. I removed a storm frame on one job and that was because they had a fire and the insurance company paid only to replae the interior windows. The new windows were too narrow to get the storms inside past them so I had to spend an extra 1/2 hr on removal so I charged accordingly.

I charge $25 for storms with french add $10 more would be what would
be an honest price . $2000 to $3000
most people don’t or cant get glass clean , and taking apart storms and
replacing them takes talent .and patents .
I’d rather do several smaller jobs and be happy and unstressed than get wired on one and not really get paid well for my effort .
After doing many I have cut my time over the years to where a lot of them are easy ,but I’ve continued to raise my price as I realized the value of this task.
I always state I am not responsible for broken windows unless I believe I did something stupid to cause it , so that I can do my job confidently ,one has to jiggle and if it breaks while I’m just doing my job I should not be held responsible . Big risk in handling loose glass .

off season or short of work  I'd settle for $25 each .

We do one similar on a quarterly basis. If your working alone, count on two days unless your “wettin and forgettin”. Our job is 1,050.00 every 3 months. First time out, it sucked bigtime! It takes 3 guys to get it done now in a little over 5 hours. The first time out we were scraping like crazy- now its a walk in the park. Basically cleaning clean windows.