Nightmare Customer

yo yo

Nightmare customers, who got the best one?

Long story short we were doing work today and the customer just wanted so many things done that I didn’t expect, or I just didn’t realize what I was getting myself into… etc…

Oh boy it was rough and I gotta go back tomorrow to finish.

I guess where I failed was setting clear expectations with the customer on the initial estimate.

Such as we do this… but not this…

An example is he wanted his trims cleaned so I said yeah the wfp can clean trims no problem, (on the estimate) then day of the service he wants me to clean the trims with a towel, to wipe them down…

The screens… I do a wipedown inside by the windows normally, I ended up bringing them outside and hosing them down, and cleaning that way…

This was really irritating but I chalk it up as a learning experience.

At the end of this $700 job that includes power washing, I’m probably gonna make like $25 per hour if that, eh I don’t care at this point.

Learning experiences 1) Be VERY clear with customers on the phone or in person what you do, what you don’t do… listen to what they want and tell them HOW you’ll do it.

This guy wanted me to clean his trims I said yeah I’l wfp them, he expects me to use a towel to wipe them down. On the estimate I said screen wipedown, he expects me to wipe them in the front with a hose…

For the future have to be very clear on my service.

Another thing is I should have left the job a quarter way in when I realized this guy was crazy… I kinda just froze cause I never had someone like this.

Any of you left a job midway or just as you started cause you realized the guy is a nut?

Man this really irritated me.


Did he used to do his windows himself?

seems those are the ones that can be all about HOW things are done, they can’t let it go and want it done how they did it, even tho there are far better ways of doing it lol

Yeah he was being condescending like idk why you’re cleaning windows that way when you still gotta clean the exterior trim…

I’ve been doing this 25 years and never seen anyone use this.

You know the windows tilt in?

Listen lol… if I wasn’t as patient as I am I would have exploded.

Future tense I will definitely walk off the job.

I just kinda froze and didn’t wanna risk a bad review.

Oh well, learning experience… right? :sleeping:

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Had a customer last week that we unavoidably had to cancel day of, due to storms. (No 40’ carbon fiber rods in the air when I hear thunder.) We offered an alternate date, which she declined, and became irritated that we wouldn’t bump someone else to accommodate her.
She then said to forget it, and that she was calling another cleaner to do the job.

We were gracious about it, said that may be for the best, and offered the names/numbers of our competition.

She called us back few days later, complaining how poorly the other folks did, and wanted to book the alternate date we offered; then she became upset because we already filled that slot and are booking into July at this point.

Some people are just difficult and bitter. Funny though how folks still never learn “you catch more flies with honey.” Every difficult call I have with her, the price just keeps going up.
Cold truth is, there is an abundance of glass to clean out there. We don’t NEED any 1 customer, because they’re a dime a dozen. Conversely, “good help is hard to find,” and so you should treat us right, or get comfortable with paying a premium or having the B team do your glass, and all because you can’t get out of your own way and learn to use your manners. People are crazy.



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Didn’t you send Him a proposal prior ?
Everything your doing for what your charging him should be on that proposal along with things that won’t be done like restoration of windows the list can go on. You have to cover yourself. These people are animals sometimes.
What wouldn’t of been in it is the cleaning of the trim with a towel. So you could of said towel cleaning of the trim that’s not in the proposal . Do you want a price for that ?
Than whack him with a number an watch how fast he doesn’t want his trim done with a towel



I had one about a week ago hire me for a “cleaning”. I get there and every single window was covered in paint flecks and the entire outside of the house was a wasp nest…I even poled a window that was mere ft away from this guys electrical service…dude then wonders why the price was 120$ higher…I should have just doubled my price…lets see what else have I encountered…large amounts of dog shit in people yards.

I just have a onboarding pdf I send out with the estimate that includes what my expectations of the jobsite are, and what to expect from me. I lay out that there will be extra charges for things that hinder my job duties on a job site.

Once I had somebody hire me to clean while painters were painting. wtf! There are extra charges they pay if I run into any of this nonsense.

I make note of bad customers and I just don’t deal with them in the future moving forwards. Plenty of work out there…

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Any chance you’d share that pdf? :grimacing: @Mr.T

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The customer hires you to clean the windows, he doesn’t get to tell you how you will do that. Do a good thorough job that you know works for the price you are charging. At the end if you missed something then that is a legit complaint, but the job should be done at the level of quality that you offer. If that quality is bad, that is on you - if that quality is good, then Mr. Persnickety needs to relax and accept what was agreed upon.
As far as screens go, almost always they go outside to clean and rinse and towel dry - there is a charge for that for good reason.
I have been tempted to walk off a customers job once before. Ever since then I explain what I will do and do it. Anything else and there is a charge for that to be added to the bill.

Sometimes you just have to walk. We actually have code words for this so that we can talk freely without making the customer angry.

Pineapple: The job isn’t worth the liability. Windows are crumbling and may break / siding is trash / hoarder house and we can’t get to the windows etc. We are there to clean but “turd polisher” isn’t in the job description.

Pineapple Express: The customer is crazy / irate / verbally abusive / on drugs etc. When a pineapple express is called, our employees turn on their phone cameras and start recording while they slowly, quietly and calmly load the equipment back into the van and get off the property. This happens maybe once a year. Usually it happens before we even start the job, so that helps lol.


Sent a quote for window cleaning in/out and house wash… total came to $595, was asked to take window cleaning off… no problem…

Got the text last night looking to schedule… love it

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Try to catch them during the quote process.

Customer: can you get those mud dauber nests while you’re up there?


Customer: can you lubricate the windows? Maybe use pledge?


After every question my quote price jumped. At the end my price was double what he paid the last guy and they did all that extra stuff.

“Man, sounds like you got a really good deal. I can’t even meet halfway with you I’m sorry. You should definitely try and get them back.”


Yeah so when he asked if I could wipe the trims I should have said no.

I only offer …

I finally figured out a way of servicing that keeps me profitable and the customers happy and I don’t want to deviate from it.

Cause then once you give in to that one little thing they just keep on adding to the list

Amazing what you can learn from people

You know maybe to scrape that one little thing or do something else is fine but hey buddy I didn’t sign up for this lol

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Biggest thing is confidence when talking to a customer who wants extra stuff after you have already started, I usually set clear expectations before starting. Usually I’ll walk around. Check for broken seals on windows and any other issues so I can come forward before starting so they don’t try and come after me for things.

And I stand firm. And tell them the process of how I’m cleaning everything BEFORE starting. had my fair share of nightmare customers, from mocking me to my face to them just being hostile right out the gate.

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Finally finished the guy, he said we did a great job and is going to call us before Christmas again.

Yeah… :sweat_smile:

Well, case closed with this guy.

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Lol just one of those customer you would blacklist from doing ever again :joy: or double the price next time

I dropped a NIGHTMARE customer last May. She would always ask me the total when I was almost finished cleaning the windows. She would write the check and then 5 minutes later ask me to do more work like it was no big deal. For example: “Hey can you wipe down my 6 ceiling fans while you are here?” I would tell her that I would I have to charge for that. She would get upset and say…“Well that will not take you long!”
I just got so tired of dealing with her. There are so many customers that would gladly pay us what we are worth! Work for those people that appreciate you!!!


haha totally, had a lady the other day, can you just do the 2 high ones on the guest house (around and down out of sight from main house), when done with house "you want to give me the invoice now and then you don’t have to come back up here? me: let me see what’s going on down there with that first

as if im not going to add for driving down there, pulling my ladder back off, and the 2 high ended up being 2 windows with screens and loaded with bee droppings and paint overspray

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And those 2 windows probably have never been cleaned. She is thinking…“That will only take Bruce 5 minutes.” Lol

Crazy how some people think …“Oh he will just do it for FREE!” Well…Not today. Lol

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Not a nightmare but I started last year and quickly adopter a $199 Min for in and out- that includes glass, frames, screens and tracks. Fast forward this year and I found I was spending half the day or more doing in and out so I increased my minimum to $249. I had a customer call me and I explained the increase- she told me thats a big amount to increase and shes had a rough year–insert multipe sad but true stories unrelated to my price. I say, I have a couple $20 off cards laying around I’ll apply one to your prices so its $229. Fast forward 2 weeks and she calls to cancel because she wants to wait because she hired someone to reno her basement and would like to wait until after. People are funny, I’ve been struggling this week. Thinking of switching to try to do grass + windows in a route. Outsides only. Insides adds so much more work- working around furnture, moving furniture, screwing with blinds and curtains, doing tracks etc. I should charge triple what I do for outsides.