I’m brand new. In the planning phases of my “business”. I quote it as such because it’s just a very part time side job to pay down bills. I’ve been searching all the threads for recommendations for ladder vs pole. I know I could very well just get both and not worry about anything, but alas, I have a budget. A very good portion of the houses in my neighborhood are 2 story with walkout basements, making them essentially 3 story on the back side. Based on the opinions I’ve seen here, it would seem that money would be better spent on a quality and safe ladder setup over a big ass pole, probably because as a total noob, navigating a 30 foot pole is going to have an incredibly steep learning curve. But also, I despise the thought of being that high off the ground, I have two children and a wife at home, i’m trying to pay off medical debt, not add to it. Oh I’m doing trad, no wfp, for the budgetary and learning curve reasons.
So what’s up, am I on the right path here? I could use some experienced opinions on this.
WFP have their place. Personally I would get ladders first.
-What if you do WFP and run into a situation you need to ladder up to 1 window?
-Can’t clean gutters with a WFP and that season is great money and coming soon.
You’re in the wrong industry if you can’t use ladders when you need to use ladders.
Either get some training (iwca has training) on ladders so you’re comfortable or get a wfp and study a lot of videos so you know how to use it. Wfp isn’t a magic wand but it can definitely help you.
You can also learn to take some windows apart and clean them from the inside but that comes from experience.
Or just take 1-2 story houses only. Easy. You don’t have to take every job that comes your way. Just come up with a line like my insurance doesn’t cover 3 stories.
Hey man don’t over think it , buy your equipment and maybe get started on store fronts for now . Maybe you’ll start to get comfortable with ladders later
As others mentioned. It would be worth your time and money to get on IWCA for the safety training they have available.
I was able to do pretty much all my jobs my first yr with a 19’ lil giant. I eventually added a werner extension ladder and a set of stacks. I love the stacks.
I too was a bit afraid of heights when I first started. That will go away eventually, which is why its good to do safety refreshers every yr.
I am looking into getting into rope access next…I would honestly rather be on a set of properly rigged ropes then on the top of a ladder.
Water fed poles are great and if you ever do large curtains of commercial glass you will be glad you had one. I would add one after getting proficient with a 20’ pole.
Thank you everyone for the feedback, I think I have much more clear, and safe, way forward with this endeavor.
My tip for ladders is to get Xtenda-Leg levelers. I genuinely don’t understand how anyone uses ladders on anything but level pavement without them. And they add a huge margin of safety.
I know everyone is going to rave about sectional ladders but 95% of my ladder work on the exterior of a 2 story home is with a 16foot extension with xtenda legs and simple slide in stand offs. Total price, maybe $400 for the complete package and it will last years.
I’ve done this for over 15 years. My dad did it for 40. Same thing for both of us.
Sectionals are great for getting inside, but not necessary most of the time. A 16 foot with levelers is a manageable weight and size to bring into a home for a high window if needed. Always cover the points that touch a wall with a towel.
Don’t bother with a pole, I think it is by far the most difficult skill to learn in Window cleaning, and you’ll still need a ladder to get on the roof for every house.