Newb Wondering What's The Norm

We are just starting out our residential window business. We have plenty of experience with commercial but I’m sure, as many of you know, residential can be a totally different ball game. Which is, I suppose, why we can charge more. Because sometimes its so annoying.

One of those annoyances came upon us yesterday. When I had bid the house, the homeowner wasn’t home. I didn’t look closely enough at the windows to notice that they were mostly all storm windows. This was a large house and had many windows. I bid it at $250 and estimated 2 hrs. In reality, it took 2 of us 4 hours and should have been bid closer to $400. We kept the origonal bid though to earn a client. But here’s the really annoying part. There was a whole hobby room with very large permanent tables in front of all the windows. In order to operate the storm windows, my only choice was to get up on the table and assist my husband from the inside. This woman had mosaic glass everywhere and had not cleaned it up prior to the window cleaning. Needless to say, after doing my second window like this I looked down to realize I was kneeling in blood. My knees had been all cut up from invisible pieces of glass.

This begs the question, what is acceptable to ask the homeowner to do in order to reach the windows? What is a reasonable request? If you can’t get to the window because of dressers or high tables, permanent structures, etc… What do you do? I don’t want to be a pansy about things or needlessly complain to the homeowner about what seems unreasonable. What do you all think?

“if you could take a moment prior to our arrival to remove any nic nacks from around the windows so we/i have direct access to them, such as vases chairs tables plants ect that would be great so we/i can keep the work flow moving thank you Mrs/Mrs fill in the blank:wink:

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Estimate is good for all windows “WHERE ACCESSIBLE”


This 'un here.

Oh, and as a rule, I don’t like to bleed on jobs and this includes rose bushes and that cursed english holly. If I expect that there’s going to be blood, I charge extra. :wink:

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We just had holly trees at the house we did today. Those buggers are sharp!

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I have a quarterly I do that has holly bushes about 3 feet high. I drape big towels over them as I do the windows behind them because I almost always wear shorts.

Yikes. Sometimes I can’t decide who I dislike more: architects, landscapers, or painters…

Probably painters. :grinning:

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If there’s permanent/heavy furniture, I make a reasonable effort, but I don’t kill myself. With storms, I would probably tell them you’ll clean the surfaces you can reach, but you really open up the inaccessible ones.

One of my first resi jobs had storms. For some reason (I still don’t know how my brain figured it), I didn’t think they would take any extra time. So I didn’t charge anything extra for them. Thus, an underbid 2.5 hour job became a severely underbid 5 hour job :smile:

Architects - I can just say “That window is inaccessible.”

Landscapers - “Really? The big thorny bush right up against the wall in front of the window?!” Trim it enough to reach the window (charge for that), reach it with a pole (PITA fee), “That window is inaccessible.”

Painters - PITA fee of paint removal by solvent and judicious razor use.

Depending on the project they all never ask us our advice about maintenance by what they do. HAHAHA

Thanks all!!! I appreciate all the advice

I didn’t read anything above. But u have a disclosure attached to all my bids if I can’t access window because they are blocked window will be skipped. Also says storm windows not included. Unless otherwise wise stated in estimate.