Window washing alone will not remove hard water stains right?

The reason why this question is being asked is because I had a customer complain to me after the window job was done which was to only wash the outside and inside windows and she says the windows are still dirty. I had her show me the window and it had hard water stains on it. And I told her that hard water stains do not come off with just window washing. She proceeded to argue with me so for the sake of peace I clean her window with her solution and it took off the hard water stain. I also told her that removing hard water stains is an extra charge. She says that when you hire someone to clean a window that means washing the window spot removing any stains and I told her that was an extra charge. She says I’m fooling people my customer that window washing does not remove stains Etc I explained to her that there’s different categories of window cleaning but she’s not hearing that and said she’s going to give me a bad rating I am told by another friend of mine that does window cleaning to not to respond to her and keep the emails and conversations regarding this. Does anybody know of a link that explains that window washing and stain removal are not the same thing and that window washing does not remove hard water stains etc.

… You will have to join the Window Cleaners Union to get that kind of support.
though I would say it is generally accepted that hard water stain removal is an up charge.
You have to determine for yourself and make it clear your customers what is included and
what isn’t, in a basic clean. For myself I will generally go as far as a light steelwooling before I charge extra. Definitely find out what was in her solution if it took the stains
of just by cleaning, with no extra scrubbing.

It would be nice to know what her “solution” is that it easily cleaned off hard water stains.

Be sure to properly evaluate the job before you start and explain to the customer what service that you are offering.

If it will require an up sell of “stain removal” and you have the ability and equipment to do that, then explain that ahead of time.

Many people who are buying the service of “window cleaning” only know that their windows are not clean and they want them cleaned. If you clean the dirt and they still are clouded or stained, the customer (not knowing a more involved cleaning is needed) will be unhappy with the results.

Say what you will do, do what you say.

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Managing expectations and establishing boundaries is so important. Like most WC activities it takes time, practice and experience. I am always learning as I progress.

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some people feel that a window cleaner is responsible to get their windows completely clean and spotless regardless of what condition they’re in.

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I have found that a great way to solve this issue is by making it clear on your estimate that window cleaning prices do not include hard water stain removal, which is an additional service.

Any hard water stains uncovered during the cleaning will be pointed out to the customer, but there’s no way you should offer that as a free add-on service bro.

It’s always best to prepare your customer AHEAD of time, rather than during the cleaning process. Put it in your estimate so you never have to forget.


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Cleaning the glass isn’t glass restoration.
Its a separate service requires a different approach than a general clean this is why all my quotes clearly state in very small print(LOL) that removal of construction debris or removal of hard water staining is not included in the price.

I may or may not of told her that it was an Xtra charge. I usually tell my customers that anything other than washing the window is an Xtra charge. I know I mentioned something to her pointing at one of her windows that a certain defect between the glass and she acknowledged that. She sounded that she wanted to be as inexpensive as possible so I skipped the xtras explanation ( huge mistake). Now she is sending me unprofessional rude and possibly slanderous comments. Saying that I’m selling people a misleading service and is going to give me bad rating online and to anyone. Like I said I usually tell people but this one time that I didn’t it backfired. She says if I come back and redo her upstairs windows with removing the stains she would not give me a bad rating but she has already told people she knows. I’ve been in business since 2014 and never had a complaint.

i sometimes liken it to a car wash. you run car through and surprise the tar you drove thru is still spattered on sides, bugs are still plastered on the front. those things need special attention
you go mudding in your 4x4, allow it to harden for a year, it’s not going to come perfectley clean in one car wash.

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“We offer acid washing services too.” “We’d be glad to demonstrate our stain removal sevice”. etc

I resent it when my dentist asks if I floss. Offer A SEPERATE SERVICE; avoid justifying/charging extra/or a fee.

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Try to be aware of how you word things. Don’t tell the customer “That is an up sell”, that is more of lingo talk for within your business and will turn the customers Rip-Off-Radar on.

When you do the pre-check to make your bid you want to be aware if any of these “Deep Cleaning” issues, “Excessive Paint Splatter”, “Construction Clean Up”, or “Hard Water Mineral Deposits” that have been “Neglected” for so long are going to have to be added into the “Window Cleaning” price.

You may choose to include “Nominal Amounts Of Paint And Deposits” in your “Cleaning” price, but be sure to say “Excessive Amounts” are a “Separate Service”.

That’s the comparison I always think of although no one has challenged me yet on it. If you leave your car outside for years to get pelted by the sprinklers and baked by the sun, do you expect a car wash to get all the stains off? Or expect your headlights to be completely clear afterwards?

LIke they said, managing expectations, you live and learn. Tell 'em before and if she leaves a bad review respond to it online as nicely as possible for others to see.


it depends on the relationship i have with that particular customer for choosing the wording. but i basically say its a $10 drive through car wash vs a $80 detail job for your car. you only paid for the $10 car wash.

I explain to customers that hard water removal requires a different cleaning “process” than cleaning a window would typically require.

We do almost all of our estimates online so, there are occasions where we will go out to homes and need to inform the customer of this. With any construction or service project, there is almost always the chance for additional “problems” to be uncovered while working. Sometimes, hardwater is hiding beneath the surface dirt and will not be known unless you are either manually inspecting each and every window on a home before submitting an estimate (on another note, the wording on what you tell you the customer the price is, is important - an estimate truly is an “estimate”, our best professional opinion of what it will cost to provide the service. Its not very often that we need to change the price provided but if so, we always let the customer know in advance of continuing the work) or it has advanced to a point where it can easily be seen. Not very home (most don’t) has hard water so, we don’t include this as part of our pricing. If we did, we’d end up charging the majority of our customers more than what they should be.

We explain that because hard water removal requires a different cleaning process with additional labor, and the chemicals used in the cleaning are more expensive it is required that we charge an additional fee.


Also, running into stuff like this is a just a way that customers, unintentionally, point out weaknesses in business and allow you to improve for the future (ie. Putting on your bids that hardwater is not included or, that estimates are provided based upon available information).

Don’t be bullied into submission - it sounds like it may be best to block her and leave it be (she sounds “abusive”… Unless you’re in a very small town, don’t worry too much about her talking. Even the greatest businesses sometimes have customers who are going to complain and be upset. Handle it professionally. Also build up your online reviews so a bad one here or there doesn’t have a big impact on customer perceptions.


Everyone seems to be skipping over the “I used her solution and it came off” part. Was it even a hard water stain to begin with? You made it sound like it was easy to remove. Are you using ammonia in your cleaning mixture?


I questioned that 2 days ago. No response.


The reason I used her stuff which was made by armour all, we was not going to pay per what this conversation is about and she has terminal cancer and tried cleaning the hard water stain off and was running out of breath and I could see that so did it for her.