Something for nothing

I had a customer try to get me to remove water stains from her windows for free. My estimate included cleaning glass inside & out, wiping tracks, frames, & sills, and brushing screens & wiping the screen frame. She tells me that her glass isn’t clean unless the spots are also removed. I inform her that the hard water spots are not dirt, they are mineral deposits and would be difficult to remove with a normal cleaning if her windows have been neglected over time. I tell her that it was not included in the original bid and it would be an additional $10 per pane for me to remove them. She also tried to get me to wash her screens for free. Again I inform her that it was not included in the original bid and would be an extra $5 per screen to wash. Needless to say I ended up not cleaning her windows. Never had is happen until now, every customer I’ve had knew what they were paying for and usually got more for their money because I’m kind of picky about the quality of my work. Has this happened to anyone else? I thought I was being clear about what I was offering, but maybe I need to be more detailed in explaining what my offer includes?

It looks like you answer your own question there

Well, I can see where you’re coming from… But the customer did have a point. The glass isn’t really clean with the water spots still there. Most people will not know the difference between water stains and missed spots, so I would not want my name associated with a half-baked job (in the customer’s opinion). Same goes with screens. I include them in the price of every cleaning, because if they aren’t cleaned, the windows will look horrible after the first rain. Only if the customer expresses interest in saving some money by cleaning the screens themselves, do I take them off the price (and only $2 per screen, max).
If I see hard water stains on a job, I figure it into the price, and then if the customer seems concerned about a higher price, I take the opportunity to differentiate myself and point out everything that is included (screen cleaning, hard water removal, etc). [MENTION=362]buddyo[/MENTION] has a great policy concerning this sort of situation; hopefully he can chime in.

Yep Glad 2 help here. Had a client who was on the water with aluminum screens and stained glass. 1st clean I removed the majority of the staining at no additional charge and let him know that(next time would be an additional $8 per pane). Suggested to the client to remove screens in fall, most of them completely if windows were not opened thru the year, or replace aluminum screens with the fabric. Well lets just say he chose not to execute any of my suggestions. The following years cleaning did not include stain removal and he was displeased. Well no sh!t Einstein! Retold him the schmeel from the following year and he was oblivious to any recollection. I removed the staining for free again and guess what… When that guy called me to come clean his windows the next year, I had no recollection as to who he was. I just dont have the time or patience for these type of clients. There are so many more waiting in line, I would be my own worst enemy trying to please fuktards like this. Just move on and acquire greater clients. I promise you, they will be plentiful.

Thanks for the feedback! :slight_smile:

No matter what you try to explain, some low lifes are out there to gets as much done for free or as cheaply as possible.

So yes, improve your estimate sheets and give more verbal advice… Thing is - people look at the price first, not what/isn’t included, and expect it all to be done (unless they know what they want specifically)

Perhaps go for the all inclusive option, and discount for services not requested?

Low end pricing with added extras to be paid for, will attract low ballers who will baulk at paying more - you will get lots more calls, based on your cheaper prices.

Higher end pricing with everything included will attract better paying customers, buy you will attract less calls.

$5 per screen seems a might high. When a customer hires for window cleaning try to imagine what they are envisioning in their mind - they walk up to the house and see clean windows et al…glass, frames, screens, no cob webs or dripped dirt hanging off the sills. Let this be the service you offer - what they envision paying for and charge accordingly (screens included). Putting a dirty screen back on a clean window IMO is not servicing their window cleaning needs so they should be included. Stains and “hard water spots” (not “water spots” - they assume water spots will clean off) may require an additional charge if they do not come off easily. This is where you pick up your add on services. The first one or two you come across that won’t clean up alert the homeowner that you can clean those up for an additional $10 as already mentioned (so it’s fresh in their mind). If they decline then do a normal clean until you finish the property and collect. Leaves little room for misunderstanding.

I don’t consider hardwater stain removal or screens an add on. Screens are always cleaned and if the windows have excessive staining I’d charge accordingly from the get go. I would never bid a job for what you think is good enough for you, bid it for what they would expect in a professional window cleaning job. I wouldn’t say they customer was out of line unless you specifically said those items were not included.

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You should do a walkthrough before starting or upon arrival and explain calmly that hard water is extra because you have to use very expensive acid and single use scrub pads and wash away all the acid off her building and your hands and your equipment and as far as cleaning the screens you should explain that a dry brushing of the screens is not the same as a premium service such as handwashing them.

I always ask them if thier windows have any issues they know about,And there is a extra charge for excessive hard water stains.
Minor hard water stains that can be removed with a scraper/ bronze wool and lime away are included in the pricing.
Do you guys ever think that too much information can have a negative impact with the potential client?
Information overload can sometimes be detrimental…

Sometimes less is more, the other day I had a referral call in and I tried to keep it simple just set up an appointment for a free estimate and they wanted me to wait two weeks for an estimate. That’s really not my thing maybe I need to be educated but I don’t like scheduling estimates 2 weeks out one week at the most seems all I can do unless they are out of town. They said they wanted to wait and get other prices. I said “I sense your concerned about the price more than the actual service” “I do a good enough job to get referrals like how your calling me now” That my service is the best you can get at a fair price of 4 dollars per window.

I couldn’t close the sale 4 dollars per window might not seem like a lot but there’s guys that do it for 2 dollars per window and do a decent job. I couldn’t compete with those guys on this customer because all they cared about was price and I sometimes think less is more but I could sense all they cared about was price and even at my ridiculously low prices I was still too expensive so I don’t regret not getting that customer for one second.

With my prices being so low I do the best I can with a complete service. I include screens and wiping down frames for the most part I don’t detail them out. Nobody wants to pay extra from what it seems for me to wipe the frames perfectly with a tooth brush just a quick wipe of the wet towel, I also wipe the sill real quick and clean the screen with my strip washer and dry real quick with my towel. I count all single and double paned windows as one window and I always count sliders as 2-4 windows depending on how many doors there are each pane as a window on sliders because I do wipe the tracks out on sliders only but I won’t detail them.

My premium service includes blind dusting ceiling fan dusting mirrors screens all tracks, and cobwebs I usually charge 8-10 dollars per window for this service and its a super low price but it works out to be the same hourly rate I always make between $50-90 (usually closer to 50(average probably 60) per hour on residential. I always charge extra for scrubbing panes that have oxidation and hard water its never included in my basic price. It takes me 2-3 times as long to scrub every inch of a window that has oxidation than just doing a quick maintenance on a monthly or quarterly house which I have several of.

A total window hard water clean is a up charge for me also.
Something like small sprinkler over spray hard water stains are included in my pricing.
My pricing is tall enough to absorb the inconvenience to me, plus it’s a great WOW factor from the client

So you inspect every single window when you do your estimate? If not, and you discover the stains partway through the job, then it IS an add on. Right?

This does not look like a major blot or anything. These are incidents bound to happen within any business and there is only so much we can do to keep the terms. Cheers!

I set the tone on estimates. After greeting the customer when I arrive I explain that I will walk around the property and assess what it will take to get their windows cleaned. I have a set way for me to do a diagram of the windows and make any notes of issues I will run into in order to get them clean. Early on some folks would walk me through to point out the windows and I often missed something doing it that way. Not trying to sound harsh, but now I am the lead person in my own estimates.

I have started looking for cracks during my scoping. I haven’t encountered one yet but I would hate to be blamed for a window with a small crack spreading.

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ANother reason I don’t like to just be ushered through pointing out windows. I want to “see” them. I have had times where I point out cracked windows and the customer is like “Oh, I didn’t know that was there.” Once you touch it it is hard not to own it. Even when missed on the walk through, pint it out right away before actually cleaning it!

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