Giving up

First off since this is my first post, hello everyone!

A quick about me:
My name is Cody and I service the Birmingham, AL area.
I do mostly pressure washing (that includes softwashing as well), along with gutter cleaning and any other exterior cleaning that you can think of. I was already a member of PWRA and joined in here with the recent merge. When it comes to window cleaning, it was more of an add-on service that I enjoyed and started offering a couple of months ago… but I just feel like it is wearing on me more than anything else I’ve done…

I use a water fed pole system for residents that have 2 or more stories or if they have a lot of french style windows. And I squeegee when it comes to the easier windows. I know that with everything practice makes perfect. But I am constantly feeling like I am getting no progress when it comes to window cleaning!

I still have to go back and do touchups when using the pure water system and I have soo many up and down times when it comes to using a squeegee. Rest assure, I’m way to ocd to leave someones property without doing the best job I can possibly do… it just sometimes takes way way longer than I know it should.

Now I have big problem though!
A lady that I’ve known for a good while now, has been trying to talk her property manager into getting window cleaning for their office complex. Well she finally manage to do it and gave me a call to come give a quote. I went to look and there are 6 identical buildings fairly close to each other, just 1 story buildings. Very nice office complexes that do not look to have too much age on them. When walking around, I noticed a ton of dirt and crap spattered up on her windows, mostly on her side. No other building had it so I asked her what happened. She said they had water come into her office, so a construction crew had to come out and fix some things. I didn’t think anything else about it.

I got the approval for the quote and went to working on them this past weekend. As soon as I started, I realized quickly that the dirt and crud spattered up on the windows left insanely bad hard water stains! I spent the entire weekend scrubbing them with everything I could find in stores. I know stores don’t exactly sell the most powerful stuff but the windows where expected to be done this weekend, so I had no time to order anything online. After many many hours, I feel that only 40-50% of the stains came up or faded. On top of that, I couldn’t seem to squeegee worth crap on the good windows. I felt like I had to re-clean almost every window!

Besides getting support on the current problem, I need some mental support when it comes to window cleaning in general…

Is it normal to feel like you just completely suck at cleaning windows even after a couple of months? Since its an add on service for me, its not something I have done every day for a couple of months, but I do feel like I’ve done quite a bit of window cleaning jobs.

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Hey Cody, It’s not unusual to experience this problem whether window cleaning or pressure washing. Sometimes we just don’t know how a surface is going to respond to our cleaning methods. These are the times where we gain our experience and educate ourselves. Don’t let it get you down. Every window doesn’t have to be perfect. Sometimes the customer is thrilled with basic improvement so find out the expectations. The reason people pay to have windows cleaned is because it is harder than it looks to get right. If you want to be an expert at it then stick with it, if not then quit offering it and move on. Personally I would stick with it because it can be very satisfying and profitable when you hit your stride.


You probably won’t find this encouraging, but you MIGHT find it helpful.

I tried and tried to enjoy window cleaning, but I found that it just wasn’t “my thing”, so I quit, sort of. Actually, thanks to a lot of time spent here and on PWRA forums, I was able to change over to Power Washing. I now have a couple of window cleaners who I refer all of my customers to when they need the service, and a couple of those window cleaners refer all of their power washing to me. I am very good at power washing, I and really enjoy it, so “quitting” was a major win for me.

If you only get frustrated and discouraged repeatedly (as I did with window cleaning) you may just want to drop the service. That may not encourage you right now, but maybe my experience will help you out.


^^^^Is that what you had in mind, @Infinity ?

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I think it helps to separate your preferences for performing window cleaning yourself as the technician from your preferenc for your company’s provision of that service.

I think that enjoying the act of WC is binary. Most people that I meet say that they hate doing it and are surprised that I enjoy it so much. I think that a technician needs to gain intrinsic enjoyment from the task and the supporting tasks, such as improving physical fitness, working outdoors, learning how to communicate expectations to a diverse clientele, etc.

As a business owner the focus needs to be on ROI and dividends, both financial and intangible. Since it sounds like you are currently the lead tech for your company I recommend that you stick with the WC for a while in order to find out if it will be in the sweet spot where the preferences of the technician and the owner intersect.


Thank you both on the advice! Im not one to give up on things normally, but I do know there are things out there that are just not some peoples cup of tea. I just didn’t know if it was average to feel like you still suck after a good bit of window cleaning jobs and still take a ton of time on the jobs. I couldn’t tell if it was just not for me or what.

I think I’m going to take both of your advises.
Steve, I’ll continue on and push through the frustration times and keep practicing.
But if I still don’t see any improvements in a couple of more months and it only causes more frustrations, then ill take your advise Atlas and start referring out that kind of work.

If I end up referring that kind of work, then I’m going to need someone close to my area. Is there anyone on here that is in the Birmingham area that just does window cleaning?

I do agree HBM, one of the reasons I feel like window cleaning is getting to me is because since its taking more time than expected to do the jobs, I started to feel like its taking time away from other needed things I should do as an owner of a growing business. Especially if I’m already past the expected time and I have calls come in for need quotes or have to play catch up on my schedule.

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No need to feel like the Lone Ranger. Lots of us, especially those of us who have younger businesses, are constantly debating the pros and cons of diversifying by expanding services vs. specializing by contracting services.

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in your eyes the windows didnt come up perfect but to the untrained eye will be looking great! dont look back and dont fret about it


The problem you ran into is that water spot removal falls under glass restoration and not window cleaning.
Glass restoration is a whole other animal in and of itself. I think its important to keep in mind that its going to be harder for you to learn the services you provide as you are offering so many different applications. My experience has been that it generally takes a new employee working along side of me for 3 months cleaning windows full time before he is ready to effectively do a job by himself and do it efficiently. don’t beat yourself up over this job.It sounds like it was a tough job even for an experienced window cleaner with limited glass restoration knowledge.

That said just get the basics down and stick to that. Keep it simple and don’t over complicate it. Have a simple procedure for window cleaning and follow that procedure on each job.

First off separate cleaning from restoration and stain removal.That includes both frames and glass. when you bid a job outline in your proposal what the cleaning entails and what it does not, " All Frames and glass will be thoroughly scrubbed and washed using a pure water fed pole brush. Glass will be scrubbed with 0000 steel wool to remove any heavy dirt build up on the glass for the initial cleaning. All frames and glass will be scrubbed and thoroughly rinsed with a pure spot free rinse. the glass cleaning process does not include any water spot or stain removal. Any spot or stain removal will be riced separately upon request."

Second outline your Cleaning procedure and follow it for each job and outline it in the proposal as above example.this way when the customer excepts the proposal they are accepting exactly what you are going to do and there is no pressure to perform a miracle. The results are the results. If you have a good procedure in place it should always give you consistent results and even if those results aren’t perfect when the customer sees you do exactly what you said you were going to do and what you outlined in your proposal they are much less likely to be satisfied with the results even if they aren’t absolutely perfect. Keep in mind your procedure needs to produce decent results up to a certain standard. It doesn’t have to be perfect but it needs to be consistent and the standard needs to be clearly communicated to the customer.

For example, if the water fed pole doesn’t always produce perfect spot free results but it is at least decent then it can help to sell it like that and emphasize the benefits of using pure water. using a soap and squeegee method over time can add to and increase the risk of brown building syndrome because the soap is left on the frames and to run down the substrate attracting dirt and contaminants. Using a pure water system doesn’t always produce perfect results but in the long run it will maintain the over all look of the building without leading to costly need for building restoration. We do the best we can to create a spot free result but sometimes, do to glass quality issues, there may be some spotting.

This takes the pressure off of you to perform miracles. And when you get great results they are very pleased as its even better than was expected. I don’t think you have to provide the same results as a stand alone window cleaning company as you don’t specialize in window cleaning. I don’t think the people hiring you are going to expect perfection for that reason.they do want decent results as they are paying for it.

Just my two cents.


Man it is normal. I feel for ya buddy. I think we have all been in a similar postion. Learn from it and keep your head up


Don’t give up. This isn’t cutting grass. It’s a skill and it takes time to develop it.

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I didn’t read this whole thread , but why don’t you just offer exterior window cleaning only. After power washing a house it’s a breeze an it will add on some decent profit if you price it correctly. You could also add on screen cleaning if they remove themselves an bring them outside for you.

Ok I read your full post just now
Hard water stains are not includied in a regular window cleaning it’s an add on service in it self. So I feel you just didn’t understand that An did a ton of labor for nothing. Live an learn
When you see hard water stains you can bring it to the customers attention an let them know a little about it An that some sort of retoratiin needs to be done which requires more labor

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so ya the stains were part of your education. (everyone that wants to get ahead pays for education either in a college, university or with blood sweat and tears)
if you have a wfp and pure water system i don’t understand why you would ever use a squeegee on outside windows. wfp does not require skill BUT it does require specific techniques and when done correctly is overall superior to trad.
if anything i would agree with the post above to limiting your window cleaning to exterior.
re expansion: expanding in too many directions can confuse you and destroy your production.last year i tried adding window defogging, seemed like an easy addition. well i hated making sure i always had the equipment, hated the learning process of a new job hated having to interrupt actual work with estimates. part way thru the season i dumped it and in the fall i decided NOT to advertise gutter cleaning as i had in the past. my total sales almost double (still way too small) my work was easier and my mind was clearer.
this summer i will put out almost 1,000,000 ads and the only thing on them will be window cleaning.


It has been said that experience is a tough teacher. First comes the test, then comes the lesson.

These are you first jobs, not your last. Use this knowledge going forward so you don’t make the same mistake next time.

Welcome to the forum!


Types of cleanings we offer:

Straight wash method, removes all your normal dirt, debris, bugs, etc…

Construction clean, removes any type of paint, caulking, etc…

Restoration, removes any type of hard water buildup or stain on windows

In our proposal we state the type of cleaning just to clarify what we priced to clean. We don’t mind removing paint or other material from occasional windows but adding the wording is meant to protect us from (mainly commercial) jobs similar to this case you presented.


You guys have helped more than you know!

And just to clarify, I did realize that hard water stain removal was more of a restoration and not a part of a normal cleaning. However, I felt that my inexperience on window cleaning keep me from noticing there would be insane hard water stains underneath what looked like spattered dirt from the construction. Since I felt the fault for not mentioning the stains before the cleaning began, I didn’t want to walk away without making sure I did everything I could to try and remove them.

Luke: It’s funny that you commented to the post, I just spent like half a day watching back to back videos on your channel haha.

Im definitely going to start laying out my process in the proposals!

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Also, I actually started off only offering exterior cleaning. There was a couple of slow times that I was asked to also do the inside and I couldn’t seem to turn them down. I am going back to only offering exterior though.


I’m in B’ham. I understand your frustration.
Call me if you like.