Observing the competition

Today, I went into McD’s to get a breakfast sandwich. While walking in, there was a guy cleaning the glass.

No uniform of any sort, using an Ettore backflip, small square Ettore bucket, a cheap off brand pole, and cheapie MF towels bought from the big lumber box store.

Watched him clean. Mop up the window with his nasty looking mop, straight pull the top half, missing quite a few streaks on the seal sides of the windows. Then he’d mop the bottom, fan it off, missing more on the sides. The whole time he is squeegeeing, he is leaving a ton of lines. It’s obvious that rubber burned out in 2005, yet he’s still using it. He gets done, and tosses his WET microfiber cloth on the pole tip, smearing water and crap along the top. The he “details” the window by wiping off a few lines with his wet MF… Details the ledges with the same squeegee, knocking the water on the floor. At least he cleaned up that water, off the tile floor, with the same mop he’s mopping the windows with… Never rinses out his mop… Moves onto the other entry way.
When he’s done, I see him hand in his invoice.

From my own perspective, this guy did so many things wrong, it drove me nuts. I see this as mostly typical results from the competition in my area. Store fronts have streaks and the job is just done crappy. If I had an employee do that, I’d fire them on the spot. I believe when someone is paying you to do a job, you do it RIGHT, and pay attention to detail. NO sloppy, half assed work. This guy was leaving dirty water all over the windows, smearing mistakes with a wet microfiber, leaving lines with worn out rubber, and everything he used, looked NASTY. He didn’t even have a belt, just stuck his tools and towels in his pockets…

Then I looked at it from the customers point of view… Apparently, this is what they find “acceptable” for the work they are paying for. They are probably getting this work very cheap, and that’s all they care about, even if the work looks no better after, then it did before he started. Unfortuantely, he’s probably not making much money as a window cleaner, and he’s probably struggling (his own fault).

I guess I don’t understand the mentality of “oh well, screw it, it’s good enough”. Setting aside any OCD tendencies, that was just sloppy, shitty work. Neither party should have been happy with the results. But it seems both parties were?

I don’t say all this to make it a bashing session of the competition. He’s trying to make his way in this world, just like the rest of us. Good on him for working for his money, and not laying around expecting handouts. The point really is, is THIS what customers are expecting for their money?! Do they just want someone to “look” the part, and say they DID something about those dirty windows? Or do they actually want clean, detailed work? I know a lot of you guy do storefront and much of it. Do you see the same thing in the majority of storefronts? It’s overwhelmingly like this here. Sloppy work, little pay. I wouldn’t mind doing a few routes, but it seems no one wants to pay, and it seems like they are willing to accept sloppy work.

How would you guys overcome a situation like that? What would YOU do, to get the price you want, for superior quality work?


no, the other guys that do storefronts do a pretty good job, there are a lot of window cleaners here so anyone willing to get their windows cleaned wil be solicited often and if someone is not doing a good job they will switch.

so pretty much it’s either their window cleaner is doing a pretty good job or they’re not paying anyone to do their windows at all. Any of the windows that look really bad in our town it’s because the stores own employees did it

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That’s a hard question.

I think the only thing you could do is point out the problems and explain the benefits and then offer to do a a free window for them so they can see the difference.

Hopefully they’re smart enough to see the value in your services. If they’re not I would just give up and focus on finding other jobs. By the way I would not waste my time on trying to explain the value of my services if I had plenty of work elsewhere.

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I guess I just I don’t understand how someone can be even a little bit OK, with work like that. If I take a vehicle to the mechanic to be fixed, he bills me for repairs, but the vehicle is still not fixed, I would not pay. His job is to fix what is wrong, just like our job is to clean the glass.

I kind of figure, most of you have competition that is doing acceptable work. You’d think if they were as bad at it, as what I have seen the storefronts in my area, no one would hire them and just have employees do it.

I just am not sure how you would approach businesses that are ok with this type of work. It seems like your quality is going to have NO bearing on their decision, it likely is completely about price.

Corporate is it’s own animal.

I don’t think this is a corporate situation. No uniforms, no window cleaning vehicle, no lettering.

I guess this guy COULD have been hired through some PM company, but I doubt it. Those PM companies have many requirements like insurance and all that, and he sure didn’t look like the kind that could afford to pay for it.

…Dude…It’s freaking McDonalds !!..They’re ok with the total crap
quality of their food, it’s gonna show up in everything…

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It’s not just McD’s. I tried selling services to a large, local dental office. They are independent, but have quite a few people working there.

I pointed out to the office manager, how bad her windows looked, a day after they were cleaned. Streaks and runs all over the windows. They just did a mop and run on the doors. Didn’t clean them up at all.

She agreed with me, that they didn’t look good at all. I gave her a quote, and after discussing it with the owners, they decided to keep the company they were using. They know it looks bad, don’t care for the work, don’t want to pay more for better quality, and just stayed with the company they were using. This is a fairly newly built place, high end type of building/décor. This, from the most expensive dental office in town.

So, it’s not really about McD’s being cheap and not caring about quality work, it seems all the storefronts are this way.

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Storefront in my area is basically an activity that gives me visibility but I haven’t put much effort into soliciting accounts. It is not cost effective for me to compete with minimum wage store and restaurant employees and the low priced/low quality non-local WC.

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Yeah, it’s a janitors world with storefront. Anyone in their right mind wouldn’t even THINK about targeting them being as there is absolutely NO money in it to begin with. Then you are competing with broomsticks and ragbags over customers who don’t care one iota, when you could be getting at least double or triple doing houses in half the time.


I think in most cases the people who are paying for the job are not looking tooo closely at the job, there was this office block in my area, I had to see someone in there, they asked me for a card. I go back a month later they had their windows cleaned, I speak to the person I am meeting with and say “Oh I see you had the windows cleaned” then I start to point out all the flaws in their work, it was shocking. The entry door there was a 4" corner missed, every window had been wiped with a wet dirty rag, half of the window had 1 or more corners that had been skipped… The windows just looked bad. But the office workers didn’t really pay any attention and until I pointed it out were happy with the job, I told them that I would be calling the company to redo them free as they were not good. They did get them back they at least cleaned the corners of the glass on their next visit but they still were not up to my quality.

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What does a poll about residential, have to do with storefront?

I did some analysis awhile back and came to the conclusion that about 5-10% will even hire for a window cleaner in the first place

this can imply the same, only 5-10% storefront at most CARE about clean windows, the rest its just a nuisance on a checklist, falls under janitorial and lowest price wins

keep in mind, if lowest price wins, then they are pretty much auctioning off their work to the lowest bidder (who usually ends up closest to janitorial WAGES)

then of course there’s a percentage that will never get their windows cleaned no matter how disgusting they look

there seem to be very few “maintainer” storefront owner personalities out there

corporate will always be lowest price wins


When I worked in a larger city in Florida, storefront people just didn’t care, I mean we did a quality job, but they really didn’t seem to notice at all. Once I started up my own business in my small, rural area, I’ve noticed more people actually do care about there storefronts, and I’ve already got 3 potential clients basically waiting until the next time they get their windows done and I told them to really pay attention to it and then give me a call.

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I did a similar analysis. Came to the conclusion it is highly dependent on the owner, general manager, whoever makes the decision. If they have an OCD personality then they will opt for quality storefront window cleaning service. Most of us laugh when a customer points out a streak or a drip on a window that is in the back of the building near a dumpster… but THOSE are the people who pay for quality service it seems.

Let’s be honest window cleaning service is NOT that expensive compared to the other things a restaurant, storefront, or office pay for.


I sent out 2 postcards once. Didn’t get a call on either one. Must be a residential thing. :wink:

New member here. Very excited to learn more about the industry. This is why I am here on these forums & doing research… because I don’t want to be that guy! Ha.

Hope everyone is having a great day. Take care!

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I never have understood that either. I never found a way to overcome it. Thats why I don’t do storefront work. I only have ONE storefront job, same one for 9 years now. I won’t do any others. It drives me batty too.

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Your last two posts, have come off a bit smarmy. I realize YOU do well with storefronts, but like I say to everyone else, “What works for you might not work for the next guy”. I say that because while there ARE some generalities no matter where you live, things are always UNIQUE to each of us too.

I’d like to see you wander your way here, and do storefronts. I have the advantage of doing extremely well with residential and commercial. You couldn’t live on storefronts here. That is, unless you might be the homeless type…

It’s the attitude that NO MATTER where you live, ANYONE can do storefronts and make a killing. That’s just a dumb attitude to have. Because it’s just not true…
Personally, I would LIKE to have maybe two routes a week, but like I’ve described, low pay, and no one cares about quality.

I’m not done trying to sell storefronts, but I’m getting closer to it. It’s been wasted effort so far, but I’ll keep trying this year. The guys that do well with it. hats off to you. Wish I could do the same, but it seems impossible, You can’t convince a starving person gold has value, when all they think about is food.