Pole Hating Bears

In the recently added thread New Online Directory a link was listed to http://3bearswindowcleaningdirectory.com/. In my pursuit of window cleaning wisdom, I clicked on a link called 8 Helpful tips to choosing a Window Cleaner. After reading point six, I couldn’t help but to feel that the authors are biased against pole work. I live in an area where a high percentage of houses are on some kind of hill. Thinking back on 7 or 8 houses I had done in the past 6 months, I concluded a ladder wouldn’t have been particularly useful on any of them, except one. Most the windows that I had difficulty doing with poles would have been Impossible with a ladder. I’m not biased against ladders – I will get one when I can afford to. It just seems these authors are inexperienced or uneducated about pole work or just pole haters.

The paragraph below is taken from http://www.3bearswindowcleaningdirectory.com/tips.htm.

“6. Ladders or Poles - If you’re in a single story home/office, then this doesn’t apply of course, but if you have multiple stories, make sure the window cleaner uses a ladder to get the high windows/glass. Some window cleaners never use a ladder when doing 2 story/3 story homes or offices. You want to make sure that the window cleaner will use ladders and get right on top of the glass. It saves the window cleaner time using a pole, but the overall job will not be as satisfactory vs. if ladders were used. It doesn’t matter how skilled a window cleaner thinks they are with a pole, there will be spots missed and streaks left. So ask them specifically if they use poles or ladders.”

How justified is this paragraph? This paragraph is basically priming people to reject any window cleaner uses a pole (no matter how skilled and experianced they are).

Does anybody agree with this paragraph?

I know the Author

his name is Steve Wright, and he is a straight shooter. I also agree with him about using poles.
He used to run a residential window cleaning company in Florida

you cant clean a window as good using a pole vs. a ladder. but commercial is a different story.

But that is why we use WFP’s on houses now.

I do NOT know crap about this because I’m just getting started in this business, but I think that you cannot beat nose-to-glass, at least, the first time, and thereafter depends on frequency between cleanings.

Just my 0.01256€

I would never use a pole on a residential window, unless my laddrers are not long enough, but guess what, my tallest ladder is a 32’

btw, the author of 3bears is also the developer of the customerfactor.com

I started out with just poles, then bought a 6 ft. ladder, then finally after a number of years started buying ladders to cover 99% of my needs. I tend to agree with the writer. In my experience, you need to be REAL good, REAL patient and probably use 2 poles (one for mopping, one for squeegeeing) to even have a slight chance of equaling the effectiveness of using a ladder, especially when serious scraping is involved. It was a big move for me about 12-15 years ago to get a large ladder and a way to transport it, but well worth it.
Don’t give up!

So, you’ve never done any ladder work?

I would agree if the author was discussing first-time cleanings.

Larry, are you saying that you would use a pole on a Residential 2nd story window?

I agree - At least as so far as it is easier to do.


Yes I have.

Here is where I generally agree with everybody. - Yes, its better to clean a window when its right in front of me. However this somewhat of a misunderstood straw-man of what my points and questions are about.

The entire paragraph is set up to anchor the word ‘ladder’ as good, positive and desirable into the subconscious of the window cleaner shopper. And anchor the word ‘pole’ as bad, lazy and incompetent - negative. It does not present a realistic and objective view of a professional using ladders vs. poles. It does not account for situations where ladder work is impossible. It does not consider the situations where poles are the only other option. It does not consider a careful, meticulous, prepared window cleaner with all the right skills and tools… who happens to use a pole (regardless of whether he uses a ladder also). The (supposed) purpose of this webpage is to educate and empower WC service consumers. My qualm is with this one part of it. If people read this and take it to heart, they will be misinformed. They will be prejudiced.

Over all, I enjoyed reading and learning from it and taking notes of things to start doing in my budding WC business and I don’t think Steve is evil.

Any company can sell their way as the best way in their marketing material. You’ve just gotta pick what’s right for you. If you feel you can do a proper job with poles alone, and your customers are satisfied, then all is good.

I personally prefer nose to glass whenever possible. This from a guy who has a mild fear of heights. But if I feel laddering is safe, I’ll always choose this over poling, especially for initial cleans.

Depends on the specific window and situation, but yes.

Good to know,

What do you do on vinyl windows after you pole em? how do you detail the window around the edges and tracks etc? seems like you would be wasting soooooooo much more time.

Not much time when using an Unger Fixi-Clamp with a huck.

You can also rinse down the ledges/tacks with a hose and flush out the dirt before you pole the windows. Detail the window? Same as working by hand, clean the glass with a squeegee, not a towel. Guys good with a pole can clean the glass without the need to detail when finished. Takes a lot of practice but many cleaners can do it.

Perfection is my middle name (And whatever rhymes with eloquent.) ~ Mr. Knowitall

It’s quite irrelevant because im eloquent:D ~ the “Pimp”

That’s the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time.

Do you mean edges of the frame or pane? I obviously don’t wipe all the frame but I detail the edge of the pane with a huck that I throw over a light plastic 8" squeegee (unger) I bought at home depot. (I do try to remove all the spider webs tho)

I bought a Fixi-Clamp thinking I could detail the edges better but it hasn’t worked all that well for me. It could be that I haven’t learned to use it well but its so much trouble for me to use it. I have to roll up 2 hucks to get it to hold on to a towel and still the hucks get pushed back to the inside of the jaws. Sometimes it feels like I’m scraping the window and the frame with plastic more than I am wiping it with the towel. When It does work, I still have to unclamp the towels rotate them to a dry area, position it just right and clamp it down again. With the huck and squeegee, I just throw the huck over so a dry area is at both sides and detail. I may rubber band as needed.

You have any good instructional video links for poling residential? I have good and bad squeegee days, but even on the good ones, I still have to detail the edges whether poling with the glass right in front of me.

I had two 2-story windows within the past week (separate houses, right across the street from each other) that I had to do with a small tree right below them. The trees were about 8-9 feet high. I had to pole over (actually more like ‘on top’) these to clean the windows. I was practically laying in the trees fighting all the little branches and peering between the leaves to do it. It worked out in the end though. If I were to watch someone else do what I was doing those days, I would probably be laughing hysterically at the sight.

Any one else have good and bad squeegee days? Or is it just me?

Describe a good squeegee day.

Describe a bad squeegee day.

Craig do use a pole on Residential windows?

Originally Posted by djpic5
Any one else have good and bad squeegee days? Or is it just me?

Sounds like you need to turn over/change your rubber more often. As soon as you start slowing down, leaving lines etc - its telling you to get a new blade on it.