Quality of WFP method vs. "Traditional" methods

Experiences only, please, regarding the actual end-result level of workmanship.

No conjecture, pure observation only.

I have seen excellent results from one WFP job, and absolutely horrific results in another, both from the same “expert WFP” local contractor.

(And I assure you that [I]horrific [/I]is the right word)

I am curious if I am alone in seeing such disparity in results.

It depends on the how much experience the user has & also the state of the windows before you clean them. When I first started wfp I had the same results, good on some & disastrous on others.
I always advised that using GG3/GG4 before turning over to wfp was beneficial as it doesn’t leave the same surfactant film that most dish soap does. On a first clean I always usually try to trad clean before turning over to wfp. These days that can be mimicked using a porcupine scrubber & GG4 on the end of your pole & immediately after wfping.
Experience comes with use & like any cleaning operation more time will have to be spent on dirtier windows than cleaner ones. Experience will also show you how to remove bird crud, snail trails, shotgun fungus & variety of other problems that wfp is said not to remove.You will also never have to lift your pole off the glass to rinse or know when wfp is a lost cause on certain panes. Remember its just another tool in your arsenal & not the be all & end all of cleaning.


The people I used are very experienced (straight from England no less), and were very confident going in.

The end result was the worst level of workmanship that I’ve ever seen on a ‘window cleaning’ job.

With such inconsistency, how can it WFP be seriously considered as an alternative?

And how can you charge the client for such a poor result?

(I am ranting a bit, but I want to know what you think…)

I can’t really comment on the situation unless I see the job & its problems & perhaps an identity. Did the people that did the job have doubts before going in? Were there any major problems - maybe calcification or hard water spots/building run off?
Don’t forget Tucker have been around for 50 years now, they should be ahead of the Brits in the wfp game!

As I mentioned wfp usuage is dependent on a lot of scenarios, I rarely touch wooden frames is one of them, although this can be countermeasured by time spent on a window.

As an alternative, wfp has its learning curve much like using a squeegee. But once you have the windows up to scratch, I can turn a week long job using 2 men into a 2 day job for 1 man, so obviously it has its benefits.

Personally I couldn’t charge a client for a poor result, thats where experience comes in to play. I sell quality, I don’t need a bad window clean to come back & haunt me.

There are a lot of pro’s & con’s like any equipment versus say trad cleaning. I can usually see the problems before I start most jobs to see if the clean would necitate a first clean traditionally & then the second time around it can be wfpoled. But it comes into its own on certain jobs that trad cleaning just can’t compete on. I recently killed a job where the previous window cleaner took all day to clean off ladders - I completed it in 1 hour, for the same money. I’ve also taken on jobs which were “impossible”, but I managed without cranes, lifts or MWEP’s.

Hopefully, myself & Jeff can get this new brush head out on the market sometime this year which will allieviate many of the problems new wfpolers have trouble with!

My experience tells me that there are two main types of glass, one sheets- hydrophillic and one beads- hydrophobic which subdivides into another type. Its generally the one that beads that can cause problems. Even if you know what your doing. So yes Paneless there can be problems on a few jobs.

We have spent years trying to come up with a solution to the problem and as Karl has mentioned - I we think we have.

Over here the glass is cleaned approx 2 monthly but your annual/bi annual cleans are a different problem, none the less, can be tamed with a wfp. I am very disappointedd that you have had a poor experience with an English company, but poor window cleaning happens the world over and it may be the job and not the method. I urge you to take another look.

It usually takes more than one clean to get any problems sorted and I understand the reluctance of many to try a new system. But the wfp is here to stay. For 10 years I have encouraged everyone to “go waterfed and save your life” Its not been easy to convert some people and they probably never will.
Jeff Brimble

I picked up a huge gig this past spring because the previous window cleaner, used a WFP to clean the windows of a 5 story apartment complex, and the results were very very bad…according to some of the residents, as well as the management that hired me. They questioned me extensively to find out how I was going to clean the windows, as if I was going to use a WFP they wanted nothing to do with me.
They were thrilled to see someone up close to the windows, cleaning it to absolute perfection.

I have personally never seen anyone use one, other than on video. I could see the usefulness of the WFP on bigger jobs that are done often, like say once you got the job up to the cleanliness where a quick scrub and rinse will do the job of maintaining it.

" I have personally never seen anyone use one, other than on video. I could see the usefulness of the WFP on bigger jobs that are done often, like say once you got the job up to the cleanliness where a quick scrub and rinse will do the job of maintaining it."

I agree the first clean and educating the customer is important. I pick up jobs that other Wfp ers loose once I have demonstrated and proven my system and technique.
There are a few over here that did not get on with wfp and sadly went back to trad.

Its just one of your tools.

But I am in it for the bottom line $$$$$ and its easier and safer. Life is very good.

Thx for the replies.

Here’s what I have noticed from most comments regarding WFP’s: The [I]speed [/I]and [I]convenience [/I]is outstanding, especially for ‘impossible jobs’, but I rarely hear raving regarding the [I][B]quality[/B][/I].

In fact, even now I hear lots of explanations for why poor quality results are to be [I]expected [/I]in some situations for ‘regular glass’ that turns out perfect with trad methods.

My problem with WFP, in a nutshell:

[INDENT]If I ordered a burger from a restaurant, and it came half-cooked, what should I be thinking? If the waiter assured me that the first burger is often really bad, but that the cook usually has better success with second attempts, would you expect me to dish out the cash for a second burger too? That seems totally non sequitor to me. [/INDENT]

Maybe my bitterness is related to the fact that the full charge was applied, and I was the one who had to bring up the fact that the windows looked disgusting.

I appreciate your continued feedback. Thx.

Hi Paneless,
I was in the same boat when looking at wfp. Why expend all that money when I have the trad tools anyway & why go to all the trouble of filters & messing around.
Its just another tool in your arsenal at the end of the day, but that tool will get you out of a lot of sticky situations & will also let you bid on stuff previously you just looked at as a hassle job. Eventually as you get get more experienced, it will double your working hour rate & employees can be released - or you will have to go out & find a lot more work to cope with the job taking less time.
Next time you get the wfp users in, hold back the money until the windows are dry. For me this is the biggest flaw of wfp when I first started - the final result is not there when you leave or unless you go for an extended coffee break. Thats why most UK cleaners when first using the unit only do the top windows & trad the bottom windows. This way it gives time to view the results. As you get proficient in its use, you learn to know which are problem windows & which are quicker to clean off a ladder using a scraper.
I still use probably use 50/50 trad/wfp, but I rarely get the ladders out on a repeat visit.

In Europe we work slightly different due to having to provide our own water. But being in Spain, I have the same durations as the American market on repeat visits. This is where the problem lies, if there is no call back, all that time is wasted on first cleans - this should be reflected in your price.

I never really needed a wfp and have never used or seen the results of one, however, I know of a few large companies here that bought them and have not used them more than a few times. They hated them.

If that means anything, I don’t know :smiley:

That might be the learning curve I mentioned! As crazy wrote, a wfp’er without the experience usually makes a mess of things & looses the account to a trad guy. These newbies usually make it worse for the experienced wfp user who trys to convince the business/homeowner that the job wasn’t done properly before. If you go for wfp, try doing your own home & doing the top windows only in the beginning. Then follow on from there.

I totally agree. It may be they did not learn it correctly

karlosdaze: I actually inspected the job 1 DAY later, and it was brutal.

I can believe it! Some of my first jobs I cringed at & did them again traditionally at my cost. As I mentioned I still don’t do wooden frames with wfp. The beauty of these forums is to learn the mistakes from others & be fore-warned.

Wait a minute, I thought this forum was a place to meet hot chicks…

Better change your subscription level…

11 years ago I had the good fortune to receive a shipment of tools from Racenstein it came packaged in an old newspaper that had one small printed pargraph about Tommy Tucker’s story and his Silo washing system. Then a friend fell off a ladder two weeks before his retirement and so started 2 years of trying to my evolve my own backpack system.Nothing like wfp had been heard of round here, my wife thought I was nuts and said the customers would never agree to it. She now knows I come home nights, safe, not tired and richer.

4 years ago the modern day forums started at a time when there was only Gary Mauers site for free thinkers. Again the established trad cleaners said " It will never/doesnt work work ". It certainly does, but its a new trade and way of doing things. Some where INCREDIBLY anti wfp one guy called Squeeky finally tried wfp 6 months ago he was a hard nut to crack but has not looked back.
I cannot believe that you (USA) that invented pole systems are giving it such a hard time but I will try to find time to encourage and support.

PLEASE Go waterfed and save your life :slight_smile:

:confused: It isn’t?

I could not agree more Jeff. I got into WFP work initially to make more money, but now my main reason is for the safetry aspect. I personally cleaned several hundred homes last year and I can count on one hand the houses that I used traditional methods on. Only 1 homeowner the entire year refused to let me use the system and that was mainly due to leaky windows. The push back in the US is from the window cleaners not the customers, from what I have seen. If you use the equipment, become skilled with it, and then educate you customers, then you should be able to integrate the tools into your business.

Thanks for the life belt Shawn.

We have been reading about the horrendous story of two brothers that fell 45 storeys. But from that story one of the quotes I picked up on over here was simply that a fall from 3 storeys kills 50%.

Dont be one of the 50% guys, buy some of Shawns or some other suppliers, equipment and save your life- sometime very soon. Oh - and you just may make a few bucks more and come home nights.
My customers over here did take to the wfp once I explained the safety aspects from MY point of view and they understood it and I had SOLD the idea to them. I lost just 2% of my original customer base but my earnings increased and so did the new customers that I could take on. I expect growth this year of a modest 10% - thats still after 10 years wfp.
Its a learning curve thing you and your customers have to get educated to another tool from your arsenal.