Big set back

Well folks, things are gonna be going back to the basics here at I DO WINDOWS.
We’ve had a bit of a set-back this past Friday. I am sorry to fuss and moan about this crap here, but I figure that some of you have had and are willing to share your own experiences like this.

Two weeks ago, my full-time guy put in his notice. At least he gave me two weeks to look for someone new. Unfortunately, new hires don’t come that fast around here. So, I am out of a full time helper (more or less a full time window cleaner as he was doing much of the work either alone or with the part timers).

I had noticed that his attitude and normal carissma weren’t up to par since he put in his notice. He was doing bad work, not finishing jobs, blowing off scheduled arrivals, etc. I almost fired him the week before he was done. Anyways, I think that his “short-timer” attitude was rubbing off on to my part timers because they all seem to have lots concentration this week. Even after a pleasant “reminding” of what they were expected to do, they continued to ****-off the jobs.

I am getting very busy, as many of us are right now, and things couldn’t be worse regarding the timing of his departure, but I know he wants to move on, so fine,…move on…quickly…to whatever it is he is gonna do next. But what ****es me off royally is, on Friday, he was cleaning a rather large job, when he calls me and says that he had to take his truck to his dads house for something. He couldn’t finish the job. I asked if I could take it or if he could return when he was done…NOPE…gotta go. What a ****ty way to bail out on your last day. If being a retard for the last two weeks wasn’t enough, now I have jobs unfinished and no one to do them.

The whole reason that he was alone this day is another HUGE topic to **** me off. The part-timer that was supposed to help that day…didn’t bother to show up to work. No call, no text, no “F-You I quit”, nothing. He told me that he’d be there. He did have the audascity to send a text that afternoon about 2:30 to say that his phone had lost service and he didn’t know that he was supposed to come in that day. He’s the idiot that gave me his days that he wanted to work. He told me he’d be there. What an a$$hole.
The shame of it all is that he has done this to me before. I fired him only to hire him back six months later at his request and my needing the help. Needless to say, his no-show–constitutes a voluntary resignation on his behalf. Not to mention I’d fire him anyways for poor performance and nothing to correct it lately.

Lessons learned here;
1.) Hire dependable employees and make them work. Don’t bend over to help them. Don’t give in to their crap. No excuses when they need to be fired. Get rid of them.
2.) You don’t re-hire former employees that were fired.
3.) Utilize the existing employee manual that stipulates what is expected of the employees, and how they will be disciplined if they fail to meet the expectations.( This is something I really have to work on. I have a really nice document. I just forget to use. NOT ANYMORE!)

Now I know that this gives some of you one man show types bait for your cause and position, but that’s just not how we work at my business.

Good news is, I put a help wanted ad in the local paper when I found out about the departure of my full time guy. I have 65 applicants to interview this week. I think that is really good turn out for my area.

I made a huge commitment to my family this year by saying “I am not cleaning anymore windows, I will only be the boss”. Unfortunately, tomorrow morning after I drop off my daughter at school, I’ll be scrubbin’ glass & haulin’ ass once more.

Who knows, it might do me good to practice my form before the new hires come on board.

It does suck. I have been right where you are many times before. Take it for what it is though. a learning experience. don’t let it get you down. it looks like you are already on your way with great advise from yourself. the last time I was in your shoes was with one of my best friends that I thought would be a good idea to hire. I was very wrong. live and learn right? You never know this guy may go out and learn he doesn’t like his new job as much as working with you. He may come back. Once a window cleaner always a window cleaner. I have one guy that has come back 7 times now (4 quits, 3 fires). funny how things like that work. An experienced guy that wants to come back when you are slammed sure helps a ton…never close that door. Sorry, I am rambling…I feel for ya but looks like you have a good handle on things. good luck with the interviews.

I have had my share of that same story you wrote. Window cleaners and even office people. I had an office girl that was calling around looking for another job while she was working for me during the day. Left the help wanted section in the trash with circles around places she had called.(duh:confused:). Used my fax machine to fax out her resumes too.

As for window cleaners, I’ve seen my share of them come and go too. It just seems to be the nature of some people to want to “slack” once they know they are “outta here”. I would never do that to an employer because they can be used for a referrence in the future. Burn a bridge and you can never go back across it.

I realized that I was way too leanient on employees. I had to do a 180 on that if things were going to change in my favor. The old saying “my guys work with me not for me” is a bunch of BS! That was my saying over the years and I got walked on time and time again. Employees need and want leadership.

It will be tough on you the next few months to get things back to normal. Window cleaning can be taught easily if you have the right person. Dont let it get you down. 65 Applicants is a good start. Good luck.


The one point that stands out to me as I’ve read posts on hiring is that experienced help isn’t necessarily a good thing. If you get someone w/ a good attitude and willing to learn you can teach them w/out having to undo bad habits.

That is an exasperating situation, Bert.

I feel for you man.

What I’d like to so encourage you to do is to stick to the plan.

And don’t limit your hiring pool of prospective workers to people applying for your position.

Rack your brain and think of the great people that you know that currently work for someone else, and what it would take to convince them to come work for you instead.

Build a dream team of awesome people instead of desperate people. It will cost you more, but will make your life a lot easier in 2009.

I am about to hire someone that has ZERO experience cleaning windows, but that I really want to work for me, because he’s a solid guy, a hard worker, and a friend.

I would have to fully agree about hiring an experienced washer. Unless you were the one who trained them. if you train them right the first time, if they come back you are set.

Be careful about that third reason – two-out-of-three CAN be an issue in this case…

Heck I only have hired 5 guys and had many issues. One guy was a college guy, an Irish brother and he bent me right over…

I did not do well with either skilled or unskilled hires. I would say unskilled is better beacuse people develop habits and not all good. Trying to tell someone that the way they are doing it never does anything but get eye rolls.

“dude, I have been doing this for 22 years” is what one guy told me. I mean this guy was fully equipped and had far more stuff than I did. I was slammed with work and I thought I just experienced a miracle… until I went and looked at his work. He sucked just terrible. I then go to the job he is at and watch his technique. I was amazed how bad it was.

I told him some things he could do to improve and he looked at me like I banged his wife.

I fired him the next day… sadly I fired all 5. I was getting a lot of first time customers at that time and you know what they say about first impressions. It really bummed me out as I did love to be working on other things while money was being made.

ahh well…

Ahhh employees. Thanks Bert for reminding me why I don’t have any. It’s just my wife, her son and me and everything runs in perfect harmony.

Bert, if you need any help up there just let me know. I’m come experienced and equipped.

One of the best things I have done is to have a training wall. We built one over the winter a few years ago. I got this idea when I hired a guy that said he had experience. He knew all of the terminolgy of window cleaning. He told me that he cleaned glass in Mass. for about 2 years with a company. Cleaned a ton of windows that were cut ups (french).

I hired this guy to work with me for the first couple of weeks just to get him settled in. His first day was a NIGHTMARE! I had 3 huge houses on the schedule and I knew that it would be a little hectic. But this guy could talk the talk, right? WRONG! I figured this guy was used to doing french windows. Casements and double hungs should be a walk in the park.

It turns out that this guy didnt know the first thing about slinging a squeegee! I ended up working till 8:00 pm that evening checking over all of his work. I remember watching him on his first window he worked on and thinking to myself, IM SCREWED!

I ended up training this guy because I put him through a background check and the whole bit. He finally decided that it was OK to show up whenever HE wanted to. So I canned him after 2 months (Threatened to sue me for wrongful termination). If you have the room, build a training wall and hold weekend classes for your new hires that are coming on board. After an hour, you will figure out whos catchin on and who isnt - especially the EXPERIENCED ones.


This past year we have posted job opening on Craig’ list and we have gotten some real quality employees.
There are a couple of things I just wanted to give my 2 cents on. NEVER hire back an employee who had been fired!!! My husband fired a guy and he cried for his job back so Bill being the sucker he can be hired the jackass back and a week later I had a workman’s comp claim because the jerk claims he hurt himself on the job the week he was back. The employee was smart his boss was dumb!!!
When an employee gives you notice they are leaving let them leave that day. Do not let them stick around for a week or 2. That gives them time to steal equipment, customers names addresses etc. Let them go!!!

That is very true.
I hope thats not Bill pictured in your Avatar:eek:(Just Kidding)


Of course thats not Bill, that guy dresses way better!!!

This is a classic “hire slow, fire fast” situation. By sticking around he spoiled the pot. If an employee acts up after they give notice, then firing them sets a good example for those who are still on the payroll.

My wife used to work for a company that did that same thing immediately upon hearing that someone was giving notice. When they gave the notice, they were escorted to their office, handed a box to fill with their belongings, and walked to their vehicle right then. The whole process may have taken five minutes. An email was sent out to the rest of the employees that said, " John Doe is now seeking other opportunities outside of our company. His departure is immediate."

This will be the rule from now on. And, it will be addressed in the orientation period of new employees.

That would be the ideal situation. I could hire good help and train them, all the while keep looking for great help and then train them. Eventually, I suppose I could cull out the lesser quality and keep the best ones around. Good stuff Kevin, I like that.

Thats the reason I had both of my guys. They are (were) friends and family members of friends. Both heard that I needed help and it was a mutual meeting about employment.

Thanks for all of the support. I will be taking each and every one of the ideas and applying them to the new regime and I DO WINDOWS.

Steve’s training wall is awesome! I believe he sent me a pic of it a year or so ago. I would recommend something exactly like that.

Bert when you and I chatted on the phone last month, I believe I mentioned 5-7 employees is the sweet spot. This situation is the exact reason. Someones not working? No problem hes gone!

  • your feed up from the work and can have 2 crews running. Just ride it out man… and get prepped for spring, its right around the corner.

You can do it!

Good employees are your most valuable asset. Guys who like their job, show up every day, solve difficult problems in the field without calling you, and work hard are gold. Get rid of the bad ones as quickly as possible, but treat the good ones as best you can without giving away the store. It never ceases to amaze me how some wc companies treat good employees. They are the ones with high turnover rate and quality issues.

By the way, I forgot to ask you to post your employee manual. I,m putting one together, and I’m open to any ideas.