I really embarrassed myself

Have you guys had any awkward moments at a customers house?

Today I had my first customer. Gutter Cleaning only.

I got there and realized my ladder wouldn’t make it to the top of the roof because there’s a section below it that is slanted and sticks out far, and I only have a crappy 21’ multitask ladder…
I got that ladder because my hyundai elantra touring doesn’t have a roof rack (I just ordered one this morning).
Anyways, they were’t too happy with me. However, I appologized and finished the rest of the house and told them I will be back when I get my rack.

To make matters worse…that multitake ladder (http://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/multi-task-ladder-21-ft-0611056p.html#srp) was AWFUL to extend and move around. It was 30 degrees and I had no water and I was seeing stars.

I think the customers lost faith in me at this point.

I have pretty bad anxiety, so this hurt a bit.

Tell me your awkward stories, so I don’t feel like the only one who makes mistakes lol.

If you have a passion for what you’re doing this will be nothing more than a funny story to share when you’re successful years later.

Keep reading, trying, and learning UNTIL…


About 3 months into our first year, huge house, trying to get transome Windows on a second story sunroom elevated over a hill, my wife and I struggled with a 32 foot fiberglass. Looking back I laugh because we kept trying to stand it up walking up the slope…I like to think of us as intelligent people, but it was embarrassing. Ended up not having the stand off attached well and it popped off and the ladder hit the house pretty hard and then fell.

The husband came out and helped us after that. We did finish the job, and we totally ate it (12 hrs for me+6 hrs for my wife=$285).

It was embarrassing and demoralizing. Then I had to go deliver pizzas until midnight.

I learned things on that job that I’ve never forgotten. And they never called me back. And I never called them back either. I do a few of their neighbors every year, and I cringe when I drive down that street.

I had 3 or 4 embarrassing jobs that year, and 1 or 2 in the next couple years, but they go away pretty quickly. And this is part of how you learn. Plus they make great stories.


Took me 3 days (7 hours total) to finish my first storefront/restaurant today with maybe 40 panes for $60.

One of the employees joked, “It took you 8 hours to clean this place? You’re so slow!”

They gave me free food and drinks though, and got a referral to a 3x gas station owner + motel, and an office owner was eating there and asked me for my card, saying I could probably steal the entire plaza cuz the guy who does it sucks.


We all have had moments like this in the beginning. Move past it and most importantly learn from it. When giving estimates for “ladder work” always look for these obstacles. Always make sure you can access it safely and efficiently. Learning curve .


We have a 22’ multi task ladder that I kinda hate, but it’s saved us on a bunch of jobs where our 17’ wouldn’t cut it, especially today when we did a last minute gutter job. That ladder will make you money so use it as long as you need to, even if you don’t like it. I have no stories I can think of, but we’ve run into situations ourselves where we’re missing that one tool that would’ve made the job so much easier and it sucks to not have it. If it’s your first job, worry but don’t worry. You’ll soon have those jobs that bring you great elation as well.

I was working a couple of years ago in a very hot heat wave doing 15 skylights that I had to climb for on a black roof. My customer was a very attractive young woman in her early 30’s. She came out of the house with a nice ice cold water bottle and offered it to me telling me how hot I must be. I obliged and thanked her and began to take a few swigs. Well I guess it was the heat or maybe my awkwardly obvious attraction to her because the water went right down the wrong pipe (my windpipe) and I immediately started to choke and coughed the water right back up hitting her right on the shoulder! I was so embarrassed and mortified, needless to say I did not score a date with her at all. As a matter of fact I never did that house again lol

PS: the same thing happened to me at the gym not too long ago… I must have an issue drinking water!


Lol! At least you missed her face.

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On my very first residential job years ago I had only done store fronts and was wanting to start doing houses. A guy from the gymnastics place I coached at asked me to clean his. He had a 2 story 4000 Sq foot house. I’m not sure why it never occured to me to use a ladder but I used a two story extention pole. I didn’t even have a ledger tool so my squeegee wouldn’t even go all the way down to the bottom of the Pane. I had no idea what I was doing and it took a couple of days. I’m surprised he payed me. It was so embarrassing! What was worse is I knew the guy and it wasn’t like I was never going to see him again. I saw him 2 days a week.

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I keep telling myself I have done all the dumb new guy stuff. Then tomorrow comes and makes a liar out of me. I have a first clean at a Vet Clinic tomorrow, and somehow I just know I will be stepping in dog crap, so I’m totally ready for it! Just keep a good attitude and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself.


And no crap stepped in today! Confidently told them first clean would be double due to the shape of the glass and they didn’t bat an eye. Then showed them my Unger Indoor pads and how I could clean the interior w/o drips and needing to move desks and such. A $20 minimum phone quote turned into a $35 exterior only with a $70 first clean, to a $70 in/out clean every 4 weeks in an area with a lot of other small businesses to build on. Just one little job, but the potential to grow it is exciting.


It’s one of my main priorities… I NEVER want to look/feel like an asshole.

Four pieces height is standard “unload” for any gutter job. (21ft)

  • and it goes up from there.

Its one thing if you cant get to a window… clean windows don’t keep your basement from flooding.

  • but a gutter cleaning, in some instances… might.

You are offering what could be considered, in some cases, an “emergency service.”

  • and you aren’t prepared to follow through on your end.

You’re lucky they didn’t fire you, unpaid, and hire someone else.
I would have…


I don’t have any stories like that I was trained by a company that has been around for 30 yrs and the least experienced guy there had 5 yrs and the most experienced with 25 yrs. So any major mistakes I would have made were caught before I could make them. I never leave without my stack ladder or my 32 ft extention ladder.

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Aviloria if you dont have any stories on the topic then why post? Although the fact is youre spot on regarding ladders, most. res jobs can,benefit from sectionals and 24 and 32 extensions…i do my sisters in California while visiting with a werner all in 1 and its bulky,too short and a danger to fingers.
Anyways,i was on a house job where client insisted on shoes off in my socks slipped on hard wood stairs literally skates down a flight banging my heels on each step miraculously didnt fall .Must have,been my skiing experience. …customer was horrifed almost had heart attack. Called multiple times fir repeat service i cant bring myself to return.
Now use blue shoe covers but still cant trust slippery polished hard wood!

I posted because I can post on any topic I feel like. I have funny stories, just non that involve being unprepared.


You weren’t gonna talk about the shart?

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I showed up to one of my first few jobs with a 17 ft multiuse ladder in the back of a Honda accord (was working on 2 stories and below at the time). Customer looked fairly puzzled when I drove up and asked how I was going to get the windows done… It would have worked for the 2nd story but didn’t realize that the back was a walkout as it was newer house and didn’t show up on Google (far enough away that it didn’t make sense to drive out for an estimate). Ended up being able to get most of them but, it was definitely a learning experience. Had others that made me want to quit in the beginning but it’s just part of the process. Be prepared for whatever may come and realize it’s a learning experience.


Same situation, I have a 17ft multipurpose ladder and I showed up today to a huge house that I definitely couldn’t reach the second story windows. On top of that the second story windows don’t have floors to stand on inside… I brought a 20ft unger extension pole but it really didn’t work, either I suck with it or I need a ledger, or both. I only had a 12 inch and 18 inch squeegee which gave me problems on the thinner windows. Lots of stuff today, I got my ass kicked and it started to pour rain around lunch. The customer and I agreed I’d finish tomorrow. I’ll be more prepared tomorrow. It’s my biggest job yet and I’ve learned a lot.

Same thing happened to me only i had an extension ladder with no levelers so it was useless on their uneven terrain. My pole skills were horrid. Got saved by rain though and bought the equipment i needed before returning.

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