Sad to say but I had to reschedule a cleaning today because I could not get the screen out of a sliding window. Plus they had all the other screens caulked at the bottom! They were unaware the screens were caulked. Anyhow I’ve never come across windows like this. Fortunately the people were very understanding.
I do come across all sorts of issues like that , from Windows painted shut, siliconed even nailed or screwed. It’s hard to catch them all while just walking around the outside ,it does get easier to spot after a while.
This is why i now do an inside walk-through with the homeowner for every estimate. I test how the windows open, how the screens come out, how bad the tracks are, how much crap is in the way, etc. I even swab the glass with my fingers and scratch at stubborn looking spots. All the while I’m talking to my customer about my observations and helping them understand the work that will be involved and how that will affect the price.
Last year, every job was like, “This one will be easy!” Then it would take over double what i thought. This year, no more surprises. It’s been great. Plus, the homeowner has a better understanding of the work involved, gets to know you, and sees that you know your stuff. I believe this is helping me close sales much more easily now.
I copied this to make the point for everyone to re-read this.
I must say I think doing a walk thru for each home is way over board.
Your just washing the windows, let’s not over think it.
Nah… I can tell within 30 seconds how extensive the walkthrough needs to be, sometimes even based just on the area. Often i see the windows are newer and not super dirty. In that case the whole estimate from hello to goodbye takes me 10 minutes. But around here we also have a lot of older homes with ridiculousness that I’m very glad to know in advance. In those cases spending the extra time helps me plan the job better and price it so I’m not ticked off the whole time. Also, as i mentioned, I believe the rapport-building helps close sales. But to each their own. Maybe one day I’ll be able to do over the phone estimates or even flat rate pricing. I’ll need a lot more experience first though.
You are a smart man! No hidden surprises. We have all come across stuff after estimates. Then we say “Next time I need to make sure all these screens come out.”
I always walk around the outside and inside of houses for every estimate. I want to know ahead of time what I am getting into.
I do walk-arounds but like you said I overlooked the screens. I figured they came out like every other screen. Lesson learned.
I have had that happen as well. I thought the screens would pop out easily on the outside. Well… the screens were painted shut. There was no way I could have taken them off.
I can’t tell how many times I have said “I can’t believe I missed that.” It happens.
There in lies the difference between an estimate and a quote. Mention up front that any particulars that you run into outside of the estimate or quote then you will stop and discuss it with them before you continue. CYA for those missed “oh crap” moments.
I started doing over the phone estimates about 4 weeks ago and I love it! I have only done 2 in person estimates since then. Both were because they wanted house washing and i needed to see what was included ( this is my first year soft washing so not as confident yet). The only other in person estimates are when a neighbor asks for one when i finish the house I’m working on. I closed 7 jobs today just over the phone. One being around $350 and the others between $150 and $250, all new customers. I always heard from the people that started bidding over the phone that they wish they had started doing it earlier and now I totally see why. When it was just me i felt strongly that I wanted to be on every estimate so they could get to know me and i can sell the job better. This is hard to do as things grow and you start adding people and crews. I think each has its place.
I don’t plan on getting that big. I’m a semi retired vet and want to stay that way. Two to three days a week is good for me.
Just sounds unlucky. This is just that 1 in a 1000 case. Don’t change what your doing because some crazy person decided to try and waterproof their porous screens.
The owners didn’t know they were sealed.
Hey Now WVWindowWashing
This makes complete sense . The company that I work for doesn’t believe in walkthrough
until we had a job few weeks ago it old home all the window had old storm windows and they were French pane windows too so dealing with the two took for ever the boss didn’t understand why and why we lost a lot of $$$$ on that job . The last few jobs we have been doing walkthrough with estimates and no over the phone estimates you never know what you are getting into
Long Trail Logo - Love it
Paying someone to do an on sight estimate on ever job you do is probably much more expensive than biting the bullet on a handful of underpriced difficult jobs. Or so I’ve been told.
You have to ask them the right questions when they are on the phone.
But, that’s why it’s called an estimate. Here is the estimate for the job based on the information you gave me . Once on the job site if something out of the norm pops up it can, and should, effect the job price. Man my first time in this business I made the mistake of doing ‘Onsite Estimation’. Huge time-waster, burnt up a lot of gas, and put a lot of miles on the truck. Thinking back on it, I may have lost only a few clients if I had estimated over the phone. But, I could have easily replaced them by using the wasted time to market more. Not to mention the fuel and truck wear. I plan to do phone estimates and if something doesn’t sound right I might swing be and do an onsite estimate…but still, it’s just that, an estimate. As soon as something pops up I will bring it to their attention and we can move forward from there. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.
Price is subject to change due to the absence or omission of information. If the screens are painted or caulked shut and they didn’t know it…then it isn’t their fault, but it isn’t your fault, either…the price has to change because the situation has changed. Give them the option to allow you to rebid or you’ll have to walk away. If they are rational people they will understand. If you think you can offer them a profitable bid and do the job in a timely manner, without tearing up the screens, then do it and sell the fact that when you’re finished they’ll have removable screens. Maybe offer them a complete re-screening job.
Thank you Chris and Its my go to beer when ever I’m in the mood and its a great place to go to as well
They are removing the screens for me. We just rescheduled. Thanks for the info.