Why we shouldn't raise professionalism

Okay, its a little late at night, and although I am alchohol-free at the moment, that does not mean I am currently impervious to tired-brain syndrome…HOWEVER…

I wanted to ask you guys what you thought about this:

I keep hearing from a lot of places that we should “elevate the professionalism of our [B]industry[/B]”.

I would like to know if you guys agree or disagree with this statement.

I think that “elevate the level of professionalism” has to be qualified. It means different things to different people. To some wearing booties inside a house is elevating the level of professionalism. To others, just showing up to a gig on time is elevating their level of professionalism. While to others, a uniform or vaccuuming out the tracks is elevating their level of professionalism.

I’m all for it…to a certain point. If I’m giving a customer “10+” level of service when they would be just as happy with an “8” level of service, and that “8” level of service is enough to have them rebook with me…then that extra “20%” level of service [B]could[/B] be looked upon as unnecessary time, effort, labor, and payroll. This is something that I have been thinking about quite a bit lately. Been trying to put on the business owner cap as opposed to the technician cap.

Was this kinda what you were thinking Kevin?

I’d agree w/ Damian. Each person defines professionalism differently. Could you define your idea of professionalism? Then I would be comparing apples to apples.

Isn’t that like trying to keep track of a lie? Doesn’t it get confusing or send the wrong message to an employee or customer (who, for example, may speak with another customer at a different service level)?

Some WC’ers sell distinct levels of service (Gold, Silver, Bronze.) Is that what you were refering to?

why do you have to bust everybodys balls???

Do you even own a window cleaning company ???

Dougg the nice guy.

It’s called forwarding the conversation. This is not possible with multiple question marks, as you are well aware.

BTW, I like and respect Damian.

Whatever

Wow, that wasn’t the reaction I expected!

Perhaps I’ll be more blunt:

DO you believe that as a collective, window cleaning business owners should be attempting to raise the [B][SIZE=“4”]industry’s[/SIZE][/B] level of professionalism, in the minds of the general populace?

Here’s another way of me asking the same question:
“Do you want your competitors to become more professional in their approach?”

No! I always want to look better than the competition. What really is better? I mean do we look better that a bum with a bucket and newspaper…yes we do! Are we going to show up in suits and ties…prolly not. sometimes not having a “standard” rule to be professional is what sets most of us apart. It may be why a lower income home is happy to find a low baller and a owner of a multi million dollar home wants to over spend. should it depend on us or the customer to demand better professionalism?

it’s late and the beers have been many…not sure if that even makes sense! I’m out!

Kevin, I hope you will forgive me.

‘Industry’ is a large word and is subject to interpretation yes?

Our ‘industry’ currently has one supply company stealing ideas, concepts and ‘tools’ from another. These guys don’t play fair and attempt to squash the little, one man show tools makers. Do I need to give the names?

We have just recently had one “organization” cheat and let thier company do things that they did not allow another.

We also have a company that is so afraid of change, they refuse to sell their fancy schmancy tools to the new guys.

The scratch issue vs. the glass maker vs the GANA…
The industry needs and enema.

Here is my take on this- I worry about my company and the image that it gives. I am not trying to raise industry standards as that will never happen as there will always be the “unprofessionals” out there. I am not really into defining professionalism, but we can all agree that some things we do are professional in nature from answering the phone to what we wear.

Every industry is full of questionable professionalism. If we are the best we can be, that is all that is needed.

IMHO

I agree with many of you. I also somewhat disagree with some, too. However, I’d like to answer Kevin’s question. Why shouldn’t we raise professionalism?

My answer is simple although the thought process might not be.

We should.

For many years, and some to this day, people look down upon window cleaners as a dirty grungy guy with a bucket and some rags and a squeegee. We have evolved–or some of us have–to an extent.

Take for example all of the service trades. Don’t you all see and use business and persons whom are in a service providing industry? Don’t many of you use mechanics, cleaners, bakers, housekeepers, etc, etc? Don’t most of us prefer to use the providers that seem to be well kept and have a clean, shiny image? I guess what I am trying to say here is, “Is it not human nature, or greed if you like that word better, to prefer something that looks nice compared to something that doesn’t look nice?”.

I know professionalism is not solely based upon looks or perceived image, but subconsciously I think that we all lean towards a better feeling we get, a warm and fuzzy if you will, when we are using a preferred provider.

Sure, booties inside the home is great (we do it), uniforms are pleasant (if you have them), and showing up, and on time (a must) are all parts of professionalism. But aren’t they are a part a larger image that your customers, real or potential, are looking for when they search for a window cleaner?

Personally, I feel that professionalism is all of the above mentioned things plus a few others. I think that being polite, not using curse words around customers, not harking loogies on their sidewalks, not leaving a mess, performing tasks that aren’t normally done, performing tasks that need to be done without the customer asking for them, not overcharging, not undercharging, having nice vehicles, nice marketing materials, well groomed–nice smelling techs, having signed waivers, Terms and Conditions, written agreements, nice estimates and invoices, good reputation in the community, not bad-mouthing any other window cleaners, and sooooo many more that I am forgetting right now-- are all things that belong under the ginormous umbrella of “Professionalism”.

I try to improve my company’s professionalism every day. I am constantly looking for ways to make my service better. We focus on doing only the best job, but we also roll all of the above into making I DO WINDOWS a better “Professional Window Cleaning Service”.

As far as raising professionalism for the industry as a whole, I think it benefits everyone. I think that if someone in Texas presents a professional image to a customer, that customer might tell their best friend in New Jersey about their experience and how wonderful it was. That might in turn cause that person in New Jersey to find someone to clean their windows, therefore perpetuating the whole industry. Good business in California can lead to good business in Toronto. Eh? Do I make sense to you’s guys? I think that raising the professionalism is up to all of us, both individually–such as doing the things I mentioned above, and collectively as an industry–by belonging to groups, associations, think tanks, education of services that we provide. Hell, if you belong to or read the posts here or on any other forum, you are in turn raising the professionalism of the industry. That is unless you are an idiotic, dumb-asssed caveman that refuses to change anything or listen to anyone with ideas that differ from yours. (sorry I am on this soap box). But seriuously, aren’t we all doing that exact thing by belonging to and communicating amongst other window cleaners–about window cleaning.

Kevin-- nice topic. I hope that this long-ass post answered your question. I am curious though. What is compelling you to ask this question? Being that you are the resident Marketing Guru and business coach-extraordinaire, and we ALL appreciate that, what are you feeling when you pose the topic of Professionalism?

I would be in favor of my competitors becoming more professional. Part of what I consider professional is not intentionally stealing someone else’s clients. I’m kind of spoiled here I guess. I have a really good relationship w/ my “competitors”. We refer people to each other constantly. I stop to talk to any wcer I see because I want them to recognize me and feel at ease. If every wcer held to a professional code of ethics then the industry would be better. Phil’s example of the so called professional supplier comes to mind. That company has no sense of ethics (which are based on a moral code). This company is obviously missing the boat on that count. For what? To make a buck? I for one would rather be able to hold my head up in public than to make a few extra bucks. That’s professionalism to me.

Bert, I am not sure you know what people think about window cleaners. People look down upon window cleaners? I leave their homes a hero most of the time. I keep their businesses more approachable.

I have been treated not-so-great from some managers, but they treat all the vendors that way. I have rarley in 10 years been treated by a home owner in a demeaning way.

I am pretty sure that when a new prospect calls that has never seen me or know anything about me, is not expecting a grungy guy to show up farting all over their house or business. Otherwise they would not call

I assure you the people I deal with do not and have not had that misconception.

The “process” is VERY easy to give a general sense of professionalism. It is called effort.

You are very fortunate Paul. I have to say in my area I have had many people say they were pleasantly surprised when we show up. There have been many wcers (I use the term loosely) in this area in the near past who left people w/ a less than professional impression. I have also been treated by a few as a servant. They treated me as something that crawled out of the ooze. I of course never do work for then again. When asked by one “why” I simply replied that I didn’t care for the way I was treated. She said her previous wcer never minded. I replied then why isn’t he cleaning your windows anymore? That ended the conversation.
Again everyone service area probably differs but I constantly see on Karl’s blog wcers in the UK being arrested for this or that. I also recently saw a Youtube video of a wcer defecating in his customers yard while the neighbor got it one video (also in the UK). I think we have a little ways to go yet!

I can’t wait to read CFP’s reply here. I will keep my mouth shut. :smiley:

Paul,

I agree with you 100%, but you missed the point of my post (I think). I simply was refering to exactly what Tony mentioned. People are sometimes surprised when a clean cut, nicely uniformed techinician arrives to clean the glass. I have had many folks say this. I think that many customers-especially the new customers, put us into a category with painters, landscapers, and the like. The don’t always expect what we deliver. That is raising professionalism.

I have left with the whole hero-vibe-thing too (Don’t take that too far, in my other professional career, I see it everday). But I think that uneducated consumers may not perceive wc’ers as a profession. Maybe they get it from the guy on the street “washing windows” on cars, not “cleaning windows” on high-end residences. Who knows. I didn’t mean to sound as though I was speaking on behalf of every consumer. Just the ones unfamiliar with our industry.

The “process” to which I was refering, was my own personal thought process. Your comments are exactly what I was refering to when I said that some might not understand them! I don’t expect you to understand my thoughts, even if I could convey them entirely understandable. I was trying to interject my opinion.

And as Tony said, you are lucky to never had the opportunity to run across someone that doesn’t know what we are about.

wait… we aren’t supposed to do that?:confused:

Word

If you do don’t be suprised when they rub your nose in it Doug!:smiley: