This is going to sound like a rant, but after doing primarily storefronts for the last 2 months doing a large route with a veteran, I’ve gained a number of residential customers. I’d say half of the windows were near inaccessible due to massive furniture, bed abutting the window, kids stuff, etc. I never run into these things doing storefronts (tables, chairs and signs aside), and the going was slow and awkward. I moved what I could, and took pictures with my phone so I could replace everything once the windows were done, but it was quite a sigh of relief when the interior was done, and the exteriors were left. It felt like 90% of the work was interior work. I’m new to this game, but how do you generally address these situations? Do you ask the owner to move things away from the window prior to the job, or do you move them on your own? Some of these things were giant heirlooms made out of walnut, huge sofas, giant vases, etc. I used a beach towel to cover these items, but it became irritable and stressful. What do most of you do? Is it something that is just part of residential that you have to get used to?
… Over time you get use to how to move about in a house, even a cluttered house. I ask folks to move knick-nacks from window
sills. Furniture I can deal with. Sometimes I can get the glass with a pole but the tracks will be left undone because I can’t get close enough.
A window blocked by an oversize headboard of the bed usually doesn’t get done, neither do garage windows
with tons of stuff piled in front. Every once in a while I charge extra if there is so much stuff to move.
I always make all this known upfront before starting to clean.
I ALLWAYS carry a cheap plastic painters tarp in the vehicle .
Once your tool setup is set then one can learn to float like a butterfly and work like a ninja.
Even while it’s requested to have all breakables corralled dureing cleaning it does not ALLWAYS happen.
I have found it easyer and time saving to just lay down the photo. Move the lamp. Or bump the couch than yell for the owners.
As far as a house full of heirlooms my priceing would reflect the pain
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Ask customer to move knick knacks that are valuable before you arrive. Working around furniture is expected with residential work. If you can’t move the furniture try covering with tarp or large towel. If that doesn’t work explain to customer you can’t access and will deduct from bill. Also consider investing in a 2’ and 8’ pole for reaching over obstacles.
You must charge more for residential due to the nature of working in a customers home. If more obstacles that normal charge accordingly for the added time & risk.
I move everything for the customer. I usually am not slowed down too much by obstacles. One trick is to use a smaller squeegee than you would with commercial if it were the same size window. A 12" might be a lot easier to keep from knocking over vases and whatnot than a 16" or 18."
Of course their is [MENTION=5152]wws[/MENTION] Tim’s trick of using a coat hanger to move and secure drapes.
I ask all my clients to move things far enough away that I can clean them.
If I need to move anything or help them (like with a bed) I ask them to sign a damage waiver to help cover my backside. Moving a sectional couch just out of the way is no big deal. I don’t move delicates like china cabinets, or vases, or knick knacks.
Right now I am concentrated on resi, and in the process of building a commercial route. Resi pays GOOD for me, so it’s definitely worth the effort to help move a few things.