Post-Construction Cleaning Messup

So I recently got a call to get some work with my 4th contractor for window cleaning and home cleaning of a newly constructed home. I bid my normal price per window, now when I get to the job I have not really taken into consideration that the windows I am about take care of have just been ran through with careless painters, drywall, ETC. I handle the job fairly easily and to what has become in a normal time frame for me also, but I do not feel I am correctly handling my bids a professionally as I would like to. The jobs take about 8-10 hours and I am breaking out with about 200-275. This number isnt bad however, from my research and parlaying in the field with other wc’s I know I’m charging less and in turn very well may just be “Giving Away The Store” (I think that is the saying). Also when doing this last job I had a complaint that the tracks were not cleaned out, but they were however there was dust from drywall all throughout the inside of the frame I could not really reach very easily. I took it as the tracks, sills , debris, and frames are being cleaned… for this price who could complain? (The price by the way was… dont bash me to hard for it… but 6 dollars a window “Frame”… extra for some specialty’s). For a post construction would you normaly Thoroughly clean the inside of the
window that is part of the frame?(The part where window locks on double hung window)

And from the way the majority of these contractors it seems like what I charge is borderline to much? I do know I have taken alot of these jobs and bid short on a few mainly because of the worry of not staying busy so close to the holidays.
Should I explain that cleaning off tape, Stickers, and drywall is a post construction thing or is that normal with residential P-C?

Post construction cleanup is all of that and you would charge 2-3x more if not more in some cases

I’ve done quite a bit of CCU work. Contractors are cheap. Any thing they have to pay you or any other sub, cuts into their profit. I have probably lost as many bids as I have gotten. I really don’t like it because it is hard work and the conditions are usually hectic with others contractors finishing their jobs. Don’t be afraid to at least ask double your regular price.

$200 for ten hours of work is very very bad. Not trying to be mean, its just not good.

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This is a live and learn experience. No doubt every one of us has made this mistake once… don’t make it again, you’ll lose your shirt. Like Brian said, 2-3X your normal bidding price. I personally hate PC because there are always things you miss on the walk through or things that happen after the bidding that leave a bigger mess to clean. And as far as the window frame being cleaned, that is up to the supervisor of the job, make sure you ask questions and put it down in writing what is and is NOT covered in your price. Some of these companies try and force more work during the job for the same price, claiming they told you during the bid and expect it done. Especially out of town contractors.
If you are charging “borderline too much” for these guys already and only pulling in 200-275 for up to 10 hours I don’t know what to tell ya. They want it done cheap, that is the simple truth. So you can either keep busting your hump on these PC jobs or go out and get some residential that will pay that for half the time… and/ or raise your post construction price. Jmho.

Definitely charge what you think the time is worth to you (which it sounds like is a little more than you have been charging) and explain all that you will do in-depth. During CCU window cleaning I always plan on making them look like brand new and charging accordingly.

yup as Phil said, its cutting into the contractors profit so they are pretty much looking for slave labor.

what will make you feel even more of a turd is if that contractor is in a situation where he itemizes the window CCU to the customer for $800 then turn around and hand you your measley $200 while he walks off with $600 of your money.

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You and your contractors need to clearly communicate expectations for the level of work prior to cleaning.

To me, cleaning includes removing all construction debris from the entire window – including frame, tracks, sills, glass, hardware, etc.

What would you have charged if it were a regular clean that you often do? CCU should be well above that.

Unless the contractor advises otherwise I clean EVERYTHING involved with the window and charge accordingly. CCU’s are usually a mess! A careful walk through AND while cleaning stopping to point out anything that was missed to the contractor and advising of possible extra charge, or if it’s damage you are not capable of “cleaning.”

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While I have not done one construction clean I have read a lot about it on this forum, and I learned through all the experience on the forum to charge at least double your normal rate. Thank you guys for helping this rookie out.

You actually got lucky on this one. CCU jobs are dangerous liabilities for another important risk factor. Prior contractors and installers will sometimes scratch the windows or especially interior door glass without letting the general know. When you clean the glass those scratches become visible. If you don’t site those damages prior to service you could fin yourself in an uncomfortable mess.
Take your time and inspect CCU jobs carefully. Have a contract, especially with contractors. They have a bad rap for a reason. Know and teach your people how to safely clean when there is fabrication debri on the glass. Limit your liabilities, and with CCU there are plenty. There are plenty of posts on pricing philosophy that would be worth reading.

See not so bad! You learned at least $500 worth of info on a $200 job. Now you have your short back!

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Jared gives good advice. Also, stop what you are doing and point out right away any damage you missed on the walk through to the contractor before you clean it. That way he can tell it wasn’t you who did it.


I would charge at least triple. I have been burned many times and don’t like construction cleanup. Note: Get many helpers and get the job done quick. Don’t try and do it all your self like I have done in the past. Fly through it as quick as possible with help and move on.

Construction cleaning jobs are labor intensive work. Like all others me too felt your charge was very low. In addition to labor, you are constantly exposed to dust and fumes which can cause health issues. Also you must be flexible in working hours too. On the positive side, post construction cleaning, is a good start up as it’s start up cost is low. Building customer relations and relationships with contractors can result in more jobs thereby more income. But just like any business, make some written agreement in case of any future disagreements. Also try to expand your business by adding other areas of cleaning.

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  1. Open the Windows. Even if it’s the middle of winter, open your windows. …
  2. Sweep First. …
  3. Dust Everything (We Mean It. …
  4. Leave the Room. …
  5. Now It’s Vacuum Time. …
  6. Check Your Air Vents. …
  7. Wipe Hard Surfaces (and Dry Them, Too) …
  8. Vacuum Again.

This is so funny seeing this 7 years after it was posted but I’m wondering why the interior door windows are often scratched. I worked for a contractor for 5 years doing CCU and his guys scratched every single pane of Interior door glass on those big beautiful wooden doors that need to be stained. That’s a weird phenomenon I just don’t get. It seemed even when if they left the blue tape on they would still be scratched when I peeled it off. I used to assume it was from them scraping the blue tape off or something. I know they darn well didn’t attempt to scrape off or remove the stain from the window. I should have bought stock in the goof-off company because I was going through cans of that stuff working on stain removal on those doors so that I didn’t have to put a blade to that glass.


I’ve seen this. The grade of glass used for interior doors is usually scratched. It’s so common everybody now accepts that is how it is supposed to be.

Bombshell: the decorator believes they’re being tidy and doing a good job.

If they either covered the glass or they didn’t touch it with a blade this problem would not exist.

What is happening is the painter has these small blunt handheld blades from painter’s stores and sees it as part of their role to remove dried stain or paint from most of the glass. The tidy painter also does the frame margin which makes a band of scratches all about where the frame meets the glass.

They never see the scratches because dust or liquids stop the light showing up the scratches.

When they see the damage they might assume the window cleaner was responsible. This is sometimes true too - there are lots of crap window cleaners with rusty razors.

I put the blame at the GC. It’s not the role of the painter or window cleaner to tell each other what to do. A competent GC would be asking each trade how the other trades affect them so people were not making their lives harder. A tradesperson cannot share knowledge because the next subcontractor they are working next to in the sequence might be a different person or firm. The known constant on a jobsite is the GC.

I don’t think its the painter using a razor, at least in my area. The scratch patterns are too long, following the frame, and many of them seem to be made at the same time. Also, there is usually more near the edge than the middle. That has lead me to believe its actually the painter when they are sanding to prep the surface or between coats that is causing the issue.

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That is the most likely version. I always try to not damage where frames meet painted walls using a wide filling knife as barrier while I scrub or scrape - but at least any damage I might cause is easily fixed by a touch up - can’t say the same of the door glass.