Beware of the “hourly rate” shopper

I just had this unique exchange…

Male caller: “yeah, hi, what do you charge?”
Me: “$xx for each regular sized window, inside and out”

Caller: “that makes no sense, you are trying to charge for each window?!? What do you charge per-hour?”
Me: “I don’t charge by the hour, the total really depends on how much glass your home has, could you send me pictures or I can come by sometime and provide a quote”

Caller: “again, you’re making no sense, just state the hourly price, pal, quit playing games. I have a 6,000 square foot house, how many hours will it take you?”
Me: “no sir, I don’t charge by the hour, there’s no game, every home has a different amount of windows”

Caller: “look mister, anyone can clean windows, it’s not hard, you’re making this difficult… I know for a fact that window cleaning is an hourly job!”
Me: “it’s clear we are not what you are looking for, I can suggest a maid service or a handyman perhaps for you.”

Me: “have a good day sir.”
Caller: “RIDICULOUS!!!”

Dude was so angry and condescending, I was expecting a bad review just from this conversation.
I could tell that if I actually said “prices starting at $150 per hour”, he would have lost it.
I feel like I dodged a bullet, I think he would be a nightmare to work for, but could I have handled this better?


Tell him to call homoglow. They will clean your entire house AND do the windows for just $20. LOL!


I’ll happily quote an hourly rate, just expect to see me working slow as hell and messing around on my phone for the whole job. People are insane. No clue why anybody would ever want hourly, or why exactly they think that’s a thing service companies offer? When it comes to hourly, either the client gets ripped off or I do.


Sounds like he already got a quote ( or his wife already hired a company and got the job done ) and wants to compare hourly rates .

When it’s comes to hourly rates , you can say something along the lines of ‘our company has been averages $xxx per hour in the last year ‘ . I don’t make that , that’s what the company charges and pays all expenses .

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I usually factor onsite job time and travel time into my quote. Pane count or priced by hourly rate…it usually comes out pretty close. Sometimes going off pane count can sell yourself short. I don’t do quotes over the phone. I give them my minimum and that usually weeds out the tire kickers.

Good point, it very well could have been that.
Because I’ve never had someone that didn’t get per-window pricing also reject my offer of coming to give a solid quote in-person too.

I think you handled it perfectly. Getting off the phone with him ASAP because the guy is wasting your time and not truly appreciating what we do and how we do it

I like how he said…“look mister, anyone can clean windows, it’s not hard, you’re making this difficult… I know for a fact that window cleaning is an hourly job!”.
I wish we could reply like this…“Then why are you calling me if you can do it yourself. Do it yourself and then see what you would pay yourself an hour”


I think you handled it perfectly too. Matter of fact; for myself? If the first question our of the gate is “how much is it” and not “are you available on:”? I don’t want it. I know its gonna be bad.
You did right 100% and had much more patience then I would have had.

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This reminds me of going on an estimate years ago. The homeowner tells me he recently paid a painting company by the hour to paint his house…He paid $45,000. And it really wasn’t that big of a house.
I turned down the job. He was too picky for me!

I remember thinking… who would pay by the hour to get their house painted? Well he definitely would! Lol

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You know, I have been reading about the “hourly shopper” since 2010 and have only run into one in 15000-20000 jobs completed since. I wouldn’t even worry about them.

The bigger issue is people booking tiny house washes on homes that are already somewhat clean. If they’re not home, and we are in and out in an hour, people don’t believe that we actually came sometimes.

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Also beware of the bad reviewer. Lady basically threatened me with a bad review if I didn’t agree to her demand of doing her job for $250.

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I’d tell her go ahead, then respond to the review with my side of the story.

Thats worked in my favor a few times lol


I messed up.

She called saying how she used to do it herself but she’s old, had hip surgery, yada yada. I said $270 based on what she said and she almost gasped, saying how she was looking to spend $200. I was empathetic and told her I’d throw in the screens at no additional charge. She then asked if I could do that for $250 LOL. I told her it’ll be 270 with the screens or 250 without and she said something along the lines of “wow is 20 bucks worth it over a bad review” or something similar, I forget exactly what.

Yup, I buckled. I’m down over $100+ not $20 but it slipped my brain to mention that, oh well. The more I stay in business the more I learn & dislike people.

I was caught off guard when she said that but she’s on the do not service list for next time. You try to help people out but you end up with the short end of the stick.

I had a lady leave a 1 star review recently… I’ve never done work for her, she was a 2x rescheduled job and the second time I had said we are done window cleaning for the season and she can get on the spring schedule if she would like.

you’re reminding me of this very sweet not that old, older lady

she was referred from a low pricer who went out of business. after the gasps at the rates etc she accepted

when doing the job, in the sweetest nicest way it was nibble time, “last guy always included the hanging mirrors, the this, the that” I’m thinking oh man what a mess. didn’t get what i needed from that job for sure

down the road she calls again, i send my guy out there with clear instructions whats included and not. he gives her the bill and she sweetly tells him oh no i cant afford that and writes a check for some random low amount instead! I just tell him, whatever, get out of there, not even a large amount job, just a waste of time, cut losses and move on.

yep, she calls again down the road, nope never returned call lol!

you get all types FOR SURE! :smiley:


Short Video/Picture of your crew. Send it to them. Let them know you’re there and finishing up .
Thanks for using us.

My guess is …that it was probably a new guy just getting into the business calling around to see what you make per hour.
Like Chris’s says 1000s of houses
Cleaned never once has anyone ever ask me my for an hourly rate. They have asked how much per window, which I never give. I’ll never tell anyone how much per window. I price by the job.
Occasionally if they’re insisting upon it. I’ll say anywhere from $8 - $35 a window. $35 being storm window which is really two windows in one $8 being small circle window, Half moon, They come in all different shapes sizes . Sone are really big and sone are really small. I’ve lost them by now. The fun is just beginning. I could keep going on if they stay on the phone long enough.
I’ve been doing this so long. I know who is for real and who is a tire kicker for the most part. The ones that are for real don’t ask you how much per window , what’s your hourly rate. They ask you to come give an estimate.
And yes you just never know I get it, but trust me everyone that calls isn’t going to be your customer.
Out of a 100 calls I’ll get one who asked how much per window. It’s only cause a dude before me told them I get $6 per window, and they’re looking for cheaper.


Don’t you just love the customers who try to negotiate? They call for a quote, you tell them, and they try to bring it down 50 bucks or something. My favorite (jk).

Also that $250 lady was real happy with the service. She’s on hard times and all that but still, her approach irked me the wrong way. Don’t threaten me with a bad review just cause you didn’t like the price, just call someone else… I could’ve fit someone who would’ve paid my price.

I was in Florida over the weekend trying to buy some weed with the boys and even they didn’t give discounts, or discounts for cash. Gotta have that same mentality :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Maybe I’ll threaten them with a bad review next time lol

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Honestly I don’t really have this, on the rare occasion I get asked if its any cheaper for cash. I tell them no.
I think its more about projecting confidence, I tell them the price and follow it up straight away with and these are the earliest days I have available, I feel this shows that I have bookings and no I can’t clean it tomorrow so my price then seems since I am quite busy, is reasonable since many other people are paying for my services and that since I have not that many available dates that they feel more assured they will get a good job for a price they are now happy to pay.

If your attitude is meh if I get this job meh if I don’t, you will get more jobs than being eager, be friendly and respectful but that is where I stop, I do not go out of my way to get a job pretty much the opposite if I see a customer is at quote time “oh I want you to do …”, I shut them straight down tell them I have a process which I have developed over the past 27 years if you want cleaning outside of what I provide you will have to organise a general cleaner for that.

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They didn’t give you a discount , because you didn’t ask. :rofl:. Or you should have asked for 3 bags for 130 Instead of 1 bag for 50. Or like my fiend Bobby use to say 3 for a dollar make you holla …
It use to be $25 for and 1/8 now what’s it $50 -75 depending on quality.
I’ve always been a wheeler and a dealer. Since owning a business … Of course now I have a different perspective.
I actually don’t get upset when someone asks for a discount I’m just ready with a reply. In busy season the reply is easy … I wish I could , but this time of the season I can’t. If you’re willing to wait , we can work something out. My prices are fair though compared to companies like mine. They never want to wait any way.
I can actually use that in slow season too :rofl:
Who are they to say anything after that ?
It also depends on the ask. If I give a price for 525 , and they say how about 500. If that’s what makes you happy fine by me $25 isn’t going to break me , and it just shows you’re reasonable. This Just happened on a 220 minimum , she said how about 200. I laughed and said sure., but when I’m done you’re going to want to give me the 220 :grimacing: