Advice on 2nd story rates

Just got a call from a lady that wants me to give her an estimate on an old farm house in the country. Haven’t seen it yet but she said the house is a gazillion years old with 36 windows. She wants them done sometime before March when she will move back into the property.

My question is this: This is the first quote I have given for a 2 story residential. Do you folks have a general rule of thumb on 2nd story stuff. Obviously, my rate will be higher, just trying to get an idea of what’s fair.

Any thoughts would be appreciated

I assume you’ll be using a ladder.

You’ll need to judge [B]how much longer[/B] things will take, including setting up and moving the ladder, navigation around landscaping, and other accesss issues.

So, for example, your hourly goal for the actual cleaning work is $60, that’s $1 per minute. Apply that to the extra ladder work.

If all that ladder stuff increases the time spent by one-half, you’ll need to increase your price by 50% to attain the same hourly rate.

Then again, some folks say $1 or $2 extra for those exterior pane surfaces…

I charge a flat rate of $50 for ladder work per level. But that can change depending on the home. If it’s HUGE over 5000k sqft then I will double the ladder fee. Unless I can WFP. WFP no ladder fee. One thing you should think about, is the condition of the windows. It’s one thing to be on the ladder for a few minutes cleaning, it’s another thing to be at one window for 20 minutes cause it’s just about destroyed. Your legs and arms start to go. Also I would find out how old the glass really is. In some cases you may not be able to use traditional tools and that can increase your time on the job.

First off you need to know what type of windows… From what you said it is an old farm house. probably storm window. Me personally i wont touch a storm window for less that $25 a window. They are a PITA to deal with. Thenif i have to use a ladder on anything it is an additional charge of $50 on top of what I would normally bid a house. Be cautious , check the windows and bid accordingly. Only you know what you want to make an hour. :wink:

If they are storm windows make sure to bring a vacuum because there will probably be a ton of debris on between the storm frame and window sill.

That’s why I ask here. You gave me a lot to consider. I am going to check it out tomorrow. I researched the property online. Found out it was built in 1900 & is over 5,000 square feet.

I may post some pics tomorrow just to get some more input

Show us some pics and we will help all we can.

Those windows are most likely going to be covered in calcium deposits. You had better buy some CLR and include the cost of that in the price.

ASAP Window Cleaning
Georgetown, TX
[email protected]

I had an emergency & didn’t get to make it out there yesterday. I will be posting some pics soon.

She did say that she has had her windows professionally cleaned every few years. One would hope they wouldn’t be too bad.

I’ve liven in and done a few older homes. Couple things I’ve learned. If they are occupied, owners probalby do not have the money for top-flight restoration and cleaning. If they are being renovated by a private owner for future occupancy, the opposite is probably true. Storm windows are a p.i.t.a because you may have to carry them up and down ladders. Windows may be many different sizes. Some windows may not open easily, or close the same way they were before you pryed them open. Disinegrating window puddy around the edges will interupt fanning or pulling, and it will add to the debris load on the windows. Older locking hardware on double hung windows will interfere with pulling of fanning. Depending on how long it has been since the windows were actually open and closed, you may end up breaking cords on counter-weight systems hidden in the frames.

Do a really thorough inspection and price accordingly. I take a lot more time - after not taking a lot more time - inspecting and estimating old homes. Point out everything you find and think you may find to the customer and then present them with a proposal accordingly.

In my experience, big, old houses given little care will take twice as long as newer, comparable square foot homes taken well care of.


The weather finally cooperated and I was able to get out to the farm house for a look. I would appreciate the input from you pro’s on how you would bid this.

They are requesting 1st & 2nd story only. No attic windows. Total of 19 windows up & 13 windows down with storms.

Let me know what you think.

Still learnin how this site works. I think the pics should show up now.

Sound like 33 windows with storms to me. For me it is easy 33 windows x $20.00 for storms = $660.00 + a ladder charge of $ 50.00 = $710.00 . And I always have the customer sign a waiver stating that if a storm breaks Not buy anything that i have done. I will not be held liable. If I do something wrong and a storm window breaks i will fix it. I have paid for a few over the yrs. :eek:

Wow! With all due respect, that sounds like an awful lot of money for this area.

I’m sure other areas command different amounts of money.

Thanks for your input. I really appreciate it.

Anyone else have any ideas on this ?

Are there 33 storm windows? If so you won’t like my answer either. I charge $20-$25 per window (depends on the original windows whether they are divided or not). Remember it’s alot of work to dismantle, clean and reassemble these type of windows. We recently did a new home w/ 65 storm windows and various other windows. It took 3 days (it was a CCU) and we got $1800. Did I get enough? Probably not. It was a bear!

So, you’re already aware of pricing for your area? What would it be on this job?

Many times, we’re afraid to quote out of fear that we won’t get the job. Read some of Kevin’s posts on the subject, or better yet – buy his book.

Living in Florida , I have never dealt with storm windows, but I remember when I was a kid in jersey they were a real bitch to take in and out. Go for the most money you can get especially since its a residential job, theres nobody banging on there door like a commerical account.Build trust with the homeowner and charge them the rate you want , not the rate they want.

Take their advice I wish I knew this a couple months ago. Did a job with storm windows. Last company that did the job got them mixed up and some didn’t fit right. The job was a PITA and I don’t want to think about what I charged him. Probably should of charged close to 10 times as much as I did. But you live and you learn.

Like a few others have said, $20.00 per storm is good for you and the customer. If this customer had to climb up a 24-32 ft ladder to do this window, would they do it for $20.00? If they would they wouldn’t call you.

Storms are a hassle, especially if they get stuck, haven’t been opened for a while etc. etc.

Dont be afraid to charge, if you get it you made good bank, if not put a flyer on every door in that neighborhood, someone will get you and that customer will see you and have second thoughts, I’ve done it quite often :slight_smile:


I also forgot to add this. If i have to take storms off from the outside, I add another $10 per window.