How clean is clean?

I admit that I’m a perfectionist, and it is difficult for me to leave a window until it is as clean as it can get. However, as you would imagine, that means that I make much less per hour, than if I just scrubbed, squeegeed, and detailed and went on to the next window.

What level of clean do you aim for? Do you try to get all the little specks off with a little scraper? Do you just shoot for a generally clean appearance, although there may be some minor issues still left on glass?

The way I learned was if a window is dirty it needs to be clean, so clean it until you dont see it…Charge appropriately.

It doesn’t matter how clean you think the window is, what really matters is if you meet the customers definition of what a clean window is.

I am a perfectionist also and could never see myself using a WFP except maybe after the first clean by hand to make sure I got it all darn near perfect the first time. I know I detail WAY more than I should and burn through typically 50+ huck towels on a normal home. I know I am being pickier than 99% of customers, but I also HATE call-backs and am going on two years without one which is great for me. I still manage $50-60/hour on residential which I am happy with, I have VERY low overhead since I do it only 20 hours a week and have a full-time job with great benefits so I don’t need to worry about any of that stuff out of pocket…so I would assume this would be closer to $75-100/hour for those of you who do it full-time. I guess for me it is giving my customers the value they deserve no matter if it is maybe not exactly what they expect…they are paying me for a VERY clean window and I will continue to provide that even if they really could care less if I am doing a quick straight wash.

50+ hucks on one home? I don’t even own that many, impressive

Mike Radzik
Pro Window Cleaning
Central Massachusetts

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I guess for me it is quicker for me to use and toss a towel instead of trying to find a dry spot on one that I have used for the past 10 windows…I know I need to go back to my bucket after X number of windows and I have enough towels on me to cover that…again I am picky, more than I wish I was…it for sure slows me down.

So for an 8 hour day your looking at $300-$400 less taxes 15% self employment tax gas insurance

I don’t mind a $300 day if I’m done at noon and on the golf course by 1 but for a full day I’d be disappointed with those numbers.
We stare at glass customers look through it

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here’s how i look at it:
a good window cleaner’s b+ work= a+ results from a customer’s perspective.

it’s the law of diminishing returns at work here. ie, let’s say it takes you 5 minutes to clean a window to [I]your[/I] b- standard. it takes you 5.5 minutes to clean the same window to [I]your[/I] b+ standards. that’s a 10% increase in time to go from 80% perfect to 89% perfect. pretty good return on investment.

now let’s say it takes you 7.5 minutes to go from your b+ work to your a+ work. that’s an additional 25% increase in time to go from 89% perfect to 99% perfect. much tougher to swallow that return on investment.

now factor in what [I]your customer[/I] perceives as a+ work. it’s really probably [I]your[/I] b+ work. So to the customer (even the picky one) a+ to them is really only 90% of what you can achieve. that slides the scale even further. when you start thinking in those terms, you begin to see what your insistence on perfection is really costing you.

i learned this recently and have experience to back it up. you can probably dial back your attention to detail by just a few percentage points, save yourself [B]significant[/B] time, and still totally blow your customers away.

since i took up this more reasonable and balanced perspective, production has gone up measurably. and yet we’ve had zero callbacks, zero complaints, and have lost zero clients. in fact, people are raving as much if not more than ever about our work.


exactly. perfect way to put it.

I am not sure how 8 hours time $50-60/hour comes out to $300-400. I also suspect prices might be higher in other parts of the country?

If these prices are current, then yes, most people are charging more… Window Cleaning Prices | Gutter Cleaning Prices

We’re around 2x or more of those listed prices.

Caleb @c_wininger nailed it on perception of quality. Is fear of that 1% of customers who might have an issue with anything short of perfection holding us back? Is that 1% of customers really worth the hassle, headaches, and lost time? For us, it’s not. I have really taken stock of my personal standards in the last year or two, and despite “lowering my standards” to some degree, we still have not received any of the feared call backs, we receive just as many (if not more) referrals and positive reviews, and people express appreciation for our “timeliness”. They don’t want us in their home all day if we can help it. Just my $.02 :slight_smile:

PS- I wasn’t suggesting that you should double your prices. If you’re making $50-$60/hr at those prices, you must be doing something right. I suspect that homes in some parts of the country are much easier to work in and on than in other parts. We also absorb in our prices a lot of things most people charge extra for: difficult landscaping, ladder work, first time paint over-spray removal, and sometimes even oxidation or hard water stains (depending on severity). Not trying to have an up-charge for all of those circumstances makes over-the-phone bidding much simpler.

Bingo who wants to spend all day with someone in their house if they don’t have to

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When it comes to window cleaners there are several factors to customer satisfaction.

  1. You showed up on time. This is more important than you’d think.
  2. You look professional.
  3. The customers like you.
  4. The window looks good.

Notice I put the window at number 4.

As someone with OCD tendencies, I know where you’re coming from. However, there’s a trade off between clean windows and obsessing over them. I could vacuum the tracks and get every speck of dirt out, but customers are happy with a simple brush out. I could steam wash their screens and get them looking new, but the customers are more than happy with a wash.

My minimum standard on a house window is no drips and no turn marks.

You could be the BEST window cleaner in the world, but if the customer doesn’t like you, they will mark you down as average. You could be an average window cleaner and with good customer skills, they’ll refer you and refer you and mark you down as the best window cleaner.

There’s also a trade off with time. “He did our windows and they looked great, but it took him forever to finish. We had to wait around the house for 6 hours before he finished.”

Trade off perfection for customer consideration. They’ve got lives and you’re keeping them from getting out and doing what they need to do.

On the flip side, if you blast through a $300 house in 1 hour, people will think they’re getting ripped off (unless you have a helper with you).

What about a $200 house in 2 hours? Lol

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this is the smartest post in this thread.

If I go out to give an estimate , an a customer says to me everything has to come out perfect she will never hear from me again . I ain’t trying to live up to those expectations .

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Depends on what she looks like :p, p.s.don’t tell my wife

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Me and you are in the exact same boat, my full time job covers all my living expenses so window cleaning is pretty much extra vacation money and savings for me. Thus when I schedule jobs Im not under pressure to meet weekly payroll etc…so no matter how big or small the job I never book two jobs in one day.

so a typical 3 hour resi job quoted at $250 - I will take my time and stretch it to 4 hours ($61/hr) to make sure its perfect. get home by 1pm to pick my kids up from school and enjoy the rest of the day. $250 is usually the minimal I do per job, most my jobs average between 250-600 a day.

most peoples work day looks like this:

  1. minimum wage worker = $8hr / 8hrs a day = $64 dollars a day
  2. professional office worker = $25hr/ 8hrs a day = $200 dollars a day

That is the smartest post in this thread

So my 2 hour house turned into nearly 6 hours!! “Can you do this too”. But, $200+ is still more than I ever made in my past life for 6 hours work. I did a good job and the client was very happy. That’s all that counts!

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