My $205/ hr screw up


Did a job this weekend consisting of 106 frames. So I thought.

At the time of the estimate the woman of the house says she wants I&O and soffit light bulbs replaced. I bid $1,100 and got the job.

We did the outside first (thunderstorms expected to roll in around lunchtime). No problems. Move inside to get started. Husband makes us lunch (a first) and we shoot the breeze for a bit.

Back to the windows. Wait! What’s this? These aren’t typical double pane windows. There is an additional, removable, pane of glass in nearly EVERY WINDOW! What the…? Husband asks if we’re going to remove them and clean all glass surfaces. Not at the quoted price I explain. The bid was for the outside and inside surfaces. However, we can do it for double the original price. He didn’t even blink and said, “well, it’s never been done in the 10-plus years we’ve been here so go ahead and do it”.

Huddled up with the crew (2 in addition to me). Called the wife and advised her not to look for me before dark and got to work.

Problematic was the fact that these Removable Glazing Panels (“RGP’s”) (I learned what these were called after the fact) had never been removed or cleaned since who knows when and each attached inside the sill with 10 pivoting clips and required pliers to remove. UGH! So be it. My guys never complained and went at it. Thankfully the muntin bars were removable!

3 guys. 11 hours on the job. Walked away with a check for $2,256, an endorsement from the homeowner to his neighbor who saw our sign in the front yard, contact name, number and the promise of an endorsement for the (“hands-on”) CEO of the homeowners company (of which he is a partner) who handles the window cleaning bids for the 9 office buildings they own. What a day.

Despite turning what momentarily looked like disaster into a success, I will look more closely for these in the future.

Wow. . .that must have been some job. Lucky you had the whole day open and all of that help so that you could finish. The windows sound alot like storm windows. Whats the difference?

These arent the pella style type storms are they?

They sound like the Pella storms. I got called to do an estimate a couple of weeks ago and gave the quote. The customer was nice enough to inform me that the interiors had storms (which can be easily overlooked). I threw some more on top of the bid and still got the job. Pheeeeew! :o

Just a reminder to look closely at your bids. Some customers won’t inform you of what’s involved to clean their windows. They see you as the expert.

Indeed, they were. My first encounter. Easily overlooked.

I’ve only encountered one gig that had Pella type storms. They are a PITA but then again regular old storms are no picnic either.

I try to price storms so people don’t accept my bid. There’s plenty of regular windows to do so I like to move on to them and forget about storm windows.

I wont touch a storm window for less than $20 a window And $ 10 extra if storms need to be removed from outside

There’s a lesson in there for all of us. Check to make sure if they are Pellas! At least you can tell the customer that you don’t have to do them every time, taking them out and cleaning the inserts every third time should do the trick. The worst is when they put mini blinds in between the window and the insert. What a mess!

I’ll do them if I REALLY needed the money, not that I don’t, but also priced them to don’t get the job and if by any chance I get it at least is worth it.

Always tell the customer WHY you’re charging what you’re charging, so they don’t believe they’re being fooled.

Nice fat check BTW :smiley:

I’m in the northeast and if we didn’t clean windows with storms we’d probably only work for six months. I’m curious as to why alot of people despise them. I know they can be a pain in the azz, but what bothers you the most about cleaning them? I’m not sure if other parts of the country use them but we still have a few clients with box storms.

one of my high rise guys suggested using one of his window suction cups to get pella storms unstuck instead of using a pliers. works like a charm!:slight_smile:

Geez! Why didn’t I think of that? I have two 10" Woods in my truck box! Must have been temporary insanity.

i hate storm windows!!!:mad:

They can make you killer money w/ the right equipment. I can make more than double in the same house so i don’t have any unpaid travel time.:wink:

3 guys. 11 hours on the job. Walked away with a check for $2,256,

3 Guys 11 hours equals 33 man hours. 2256 divided by 33 man hours = 68.36

Therefore you made 68.36/per man hour, not $205/hour.

I agree. What amazes me is how can you call yourself a window cleaner if you wont clean a window. I have heard of guys not cleaning upper sashes cause they wont step on a step ladder. I have been told to my face “I won’t touch a storm window for any amount of money. You want my storm window accounts you can have them.” I have yet to see them but that is what was said lol. Anyway it’s glass who gives a crap. Clean it. Every job can’t be a gem and the storm ones are money makers. It’s such an easy sell. “You have double the amount of glass in that window and it’s going to cost you.” Most of my clients who have them expect it to cost more. They hate it but they hate the cost of replacement more.

You may not have a lot of posts but that one is a GEM. Just golden…

Pella inserts have become less user friendly over time. The older ones, as irritating as they are, are a cake walk compared to the Slim Lines and now the hinged inserts. I agree with eddieb that the windows with storms removed from the outside (Andersen is one who used to make them), are truly awful. My next door neighbor has them and I “pray” every year she doesn’t ask me to do them, but she always does ask.

Storms are a pain but a welcome pain if you charge correctly for them. I have the same storm windows in my house that are removed with the cheapy clips but they are much easier to clean than the double pane ones. As for storms that are removed from that outside, I agree those do suck. We have done a few with the wooden frames and they are scary to bring down a ladder.

That’s one way to look at it. Thanks for the math lesson.