WFP vs Traditional Methods

[COLOR=black][FONT=Verdana]The water fed pole is an awesome tool and its popularity is gaining ground rapidly. When I use mine the income is great, about double. [/FONT][/COLOR]
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[COLOR=black][FONT=Verdana]However I have heard stories about guys with WFP’s loosing their customers to the guys who use traditional methods.[/FONT][/COLOR]
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[COLOR=black][FONT=Verdana]One guy I know of on this forum is selling all his WFP equipment because of quality control issues. [/FONT][/COLOR]
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[COLOR=black][FONT=Verdana]The thing that concerns me the most is the fact that customers rarely complain, they usually do the polite thing and simply just go away. :([/FONT][/COLOR]

Sorry Tony,
I should have researched the forum before starting this thread. This would be the second [B]WFP or not war[/B] of 2009.

[COLOR=black][FONT=Verdana]The other thread is more about safety and speed. A lot of talk about 3rd story windows and 40 foot ladders.[/FONT][/COLOR]
[COLOR=black][FONT=Verdana]I’m concerned mostly about customer perception; remember the customer is always right. If they think they got screwed they did. [/FONT][/COLOR]

My take: I hit all houses with the WFP first and then go from there. In most cases I have saved my self time because most of the glass will be okay from the pole cleaning. First time cleans on older homes are the exception for obvious reasons. In that case, I just finish my detailing by going “nose-to-glass” to finish up the job. I think it boils down to each individual window cleaner’s approach to his work. Scrubbing technique is everything with the WFP. If you don’t have it down pat, your effectiveness will suffer. I have not used the WFP for very long but have picked up on things well and have had much success. However, where it doesn’t work I go “nose-to-glass” and get it done thus don’t feel I put myself in a position to lose customers.

As far as complaints about pure water window cleaning; I have seen far more supporting the usage than against it.

Ok. I am finally going to comment about the WFP issue.

I am fully aware of how wonderful the WFP would be. The time saved not throwing ladders, not having to climb them, climbing down, etc is a no-brainer. I get the whole safety aspect behind the WFP vs nose to glass work and can definatley appreciated that too. And I am sure that the general time savings and ability to clean higher levels from the ground is a wonderful asset.

My thought process goes like this: Here in my area, there is only one other window cleaning service that has a WFP. And they don’t even know how to use the thing–the owner has told me this himself. I feel that because my area is a geographical plethora of weather and situational anomalies that prevents the WFP from being the most effect tool to clean windows.

It doesn’t rain where I am. It muds. We get the strong west and southwest winds that bring in soooo much dirt particulate that the windows are covered with dust 15 minutes after window cleaning. It’s just a fact of life here.

Also, we are sitting in an area where the east meets west regarding hummidity and precipitation. We get (usually) 35-45 inches of rain per year. The hummidity here is bad, but not as bad as others. We have plenty of pollen, sap, nastiness producing trees. The bugs are horrible and leave their messes everywhere. But we also get the dry heat and unrelenting borage of sunshine. Conversely to the rain, this causes so many window frames and tracts to fade and oxidize. Many times multiple cleaning (washing the glass two or three times each) will not sufficiently clean the glass. There is so much crap on the glass that sometimes we scrape them, steel wool them, and still need to wash twice in order for the glass to be clean. And that is if the glass is still fairly new.

I would love to own and utilize a WFP and RO/DI system in my business. But I haven’t seen the proof that it can do what I need it to, here in my coverage area.

I know that there is a learning curve with any new tool. I respect that. But I don’t think that a WFP can get the gunk off the glass like good old fashioned nose to glass cleaning. TOO much crap on the glass. Not to mention that the water in this area ranges from 190-465 ppm TDS on average.

I feel that I’d spend more time preping the area that was to be cleaned, then using the WFP, than I would by using generally accepted practices with ladders, poles, etc.

I encourage someone with similar conditions to explain to me why I am wrong. Maybe I’ll get hooked up then.

Bert,
I hope you’re not on the commerce committee in your town. If you are, you should be fired! :smiley: You make where you live sound like the gateway to Hell.

I’ve used wfp for a year and a half. Basically what I’ve found is it will take off everything that a strip washer & squeegee will take off. If you have to get out a scraper for traditional methods to clean a window, I’ve found it won’t be any different when using a wfp. So if you’re using a scraper on every window now, that won’t change.

However, I’ve used poles now instead of ladders. When scraping is nescessary, I soap the window with a strip washer, scrape with the scraper, and roughly squeegee…all with a pole. I then come back through with the wfp. Remember, it’s not just a time savings for you, it’s a benefit to the customer. WFP leaves the window cleaner, it cleans the frames as well as the glass, and there’s no soap residue left behind, so the window stays cleaner longer.

The only possible drawback I can think of in your scenario is you stated dust is on the window in 15 minutes. If you’re right, that could be a hindrance to wfp work.

I researched it for three years before purchasing my set up. Although I am not using it yet, I can tell you the reasons that I bought one. I spent a lot of time looking at different jobs that we already do and asking myself if a WFP would save us time in each situation. For some it was yes and for others I felt that a WFP was not going to work. My advice would be to look at the WFP as just another tool in your WC toolbox that you will use as needed. It won’t work for every job.

I think Jim Willingham said it best - “it ain’t a magic wand”. As has already been said, it’s just another tool in your arsenal. It took you time and training to use a squeegee properly too I’d bet. The results were not perfect at first were they?! Remember too what John brought up - wfp cleans the frames as well.

I am in the research mode also now…Looking at past and present jobs. I am not totally convinced yet I need one, But I agree it could be another Tool in the Truck, but for the cost…I need to make sure I will be able to utilize it enough. I am sure I will learn a lot at Chris’ Demo day in May.

Another point I would like to know about the WFP system is the fatigue factor on your shoulders/joints. Are the poles very light and easy to use?
As with the “another tool for the window cleaning arsenal” I agree with that 100%. Window cleaning has so many different situations involved, its nearly impossible to have a certain tool that fits every job situation. Kinda like using an 18" on a 6" cut up. Won’t work unless you have a hacksaw on hand!:smiley:

I have a 56 foot Facelift. It weighs 15 pounds. That sounds light for the length, and it is. But, when you wfp with that thing at full height all day, you feel it. It’s just a matter of getting used to it. I was used to it last year…then I had a job last week where I had to use it at full height for 2 days. I felt it. But, now I’m primed for the rest of the season. The next one won’t be as hard.
As for “easy to use”, that’s a matter of practice. A squeegee is easy to use, once you’ve practiced. I recommend going carbon fiber for anything longer than a 24’. That’s the lightest, stiffest, and therefore easiest to use. A 24’ will get most 2 story homes. I’ve got a 24’ Extel hybrid…a mix of fiberglass and carbon fiber. I get the rigidty of the carbon fiber for a lesser price. But, anything longer than that, I’d only consider a full carbon fiber pole.

I think my 60 footer + head + hose is around 1.5 lbs

That’s gotta be a typo. Did you mean 15 pounds?

I’m pretty sure he meant 1.5 lbs. His wfp is extremely light.

WFP is kinda black & white to me…it’s clean or not.
This sounds to me like operator error.
WFP can be a very efficient way of cleaning, and some times it does about the same as a squeegee…knowing how and when is important. Really knowing how is the key.

I’ve learned that there are several techniques depending on height, style of window, glass and amount of dirt.

Hey John… I could be mistaken but I believe Karl may use a kite pole… So that 1.5 may be correct.

On a windy day you have to really hang to it or you’ll loose it :slight_smile:

People should feel just as screwed by carpet cleaners with all their professional equipment as opposed to a guy with a carpet brush, spray bottle, and dry vac. It is silly to think some window cleaners are penalized for using the latest technology. We still provide a service our customers are unwilling to do themselves; and, as I always tell them, it is a safer method in a lot of cases which makes them feel better about the possibility of an accident occurring on their property (we’re insured, etc., but it still makes them feel better). If anything, most people think we look more professional than the squeegee guys.

Mike, we used pure water for about 10 years from the early 80s til the early 90s, when it works its great, and after a time you get a feel for where it will work and where it won’t
When it doesn’t work , it’s out with the ladders and squeegees
Here in the NE, it’s debatable whether it’s cost effective or not
All our residential work is interior and exterior
So it’s only usable on 50% of our work
About 40% of our work is storm windows with old wooden framed windows with decaying putty which rarely comes up good, so that reduces it to being effective for 30% of our work
Its pretty much impossible to use pure water from Dec to March which would account for about 20% of our work so that leaves wfp as a usable tool for roughly 15% of our work
If it’s worth your while to have a system in your van for 15% of your work then I would say that it’s the best tool for that work as it leaves the windows looking as well as any good guy with a squeegee
I just put a DI system in my van and added a 24ft pole, I know that there will be days when I will be delighted to have it and I also know that most of the time it will just be taking up space

And what percentage of your arsenal of tools would it account for? It doesn’t sound cost effective enough for me to get one yet. Maybe with more commercial jobs this year it will be feasible. I am doing what seems to me to be a lot of CCU so, again, not effective for me. File me into the “Researching” Categorie

No I’m not. Its really a great place to live. It just sucks for a window cleaning service wanting to streamline operations by purchasing a $5,000 tool for what some say is 15% of the work we do. I can buy a lot of squeegees and scrapers for $5,000.

I get what so many of you are saying, I just can’t YET justify the expense for my business. Soon, maybe soon.

[QUOTE=TheWindowGuy;35180]

However, I’ve used poles now instead of ladders. When scraping is nescessary, I soap the window with a strip washer, scrape with the scraper, and roughly squeegee…all with a pole. I then come back through with the wfp.QUOTE]

So where is your time savings. I can pole a window from the ground, but by the time I do that then set up a WFP, wash it, let it dry, check for spots, etc, I can throw ladders and get it done.