Would this be unethical?

A little background info first. There’s an older guy who lives about an hour from here who is a sole proprietor, just like me. From time to time, he has me help him out on some of his jobs for whatever reason - doesn’t feel like tackling them alone, scheduling issues, whatever. As such, I am a subcontractor and he pays me according to a previously agreed upon rate.

One such job is a residence I’ve helped him on for the past two years. This morning, I get a VM from the homeowner asking if I can come clean their windows by myself this go round. I call her and she says that I just do better work, plain and simple. I mention that my rates are usually about 20% higher and she says she doesn’t care. She cares more about the quality of the job than how much it costs.

So my dilemma is whether to accept or reject the job. I never solicited the business from her. I just did my job well. I told the other WC’er that she’d called me and he says I should just tell her to find another (third) window cleaner because it’s unethical.

What do you think would be the right thing to do?
Note: The question is not “What would you do?”

That would be stabbing him in the back!!! Not good biz.

Rob. I like the website. Its not to much like some of the other ones I have seen. Have you thought of maybe putting a pic with each testimonial? I’m in the middle of building mine now and it’s be pretty frustrating at times.

What percentage of the job do you get paid when you help him?

This is a tough situation. If this is a money making deal, then I think you should do it. But I also think you should set aside a portion for your friend. I think this would be fair.

If you didn’t solicit the business from the client, I’m unsure of how this is unethical.

Business is tough sometimes.

I say Take it, give the other guy “his share”, if you don’t take it it’s clear she doesn’t want that guy to do it, if you don’t take it, he doesn’t take it, she would find a third one and that money goes somewhere else.

You should evaluate and see how much this relationship means to you (moral or $$ wise) and proceed accordingly. This might be a first, but if his work is not the best you are going to get more calls like this, or you won’t be helping him much in the future.

Follow your gut

Do you have any kind of verbal or written contract w/ him about this kind of thing?

If you plan to do more sub work for him, dont take it, If you plan to just work for yourself, take it…

Or just tell the homeowner not to tell who cleaned the windows.

Or just tell your buddy that he sucks and if he does not improve his window cleaning skills, you will continue to take more of his business away from him.

Business is Business ya know

Hmmm… that’s a tough one. I guess it comes down to your relationship with the guy. I mean there is no sense in sending the business elsewhere. I would view it as a business deal. Does the revenue generated by working as a sub for this guy, outweigh the decision to go about the job without him? Not to mention, could this job lead to other jobs (referalls), that perhaps this guy isn’t getting because his quality is poor?

I try to operate with integrity, or at least what I perceive integrity to be (integrity is doing the right thing when nobody is looking). I believe you do to, or you wouldn’t have told your friend about what happened.
I understand the desire to take on a new customer who is willing to pay for quality. That’s a tough thing to let go of. But, I believe it’s in your best interest to maintain a good working relationship with your friend.
I’ve gotten a lot of business through the relationships I’ve built in my industry. People have learned to trust me. There are currently 5 window cleaning companies I sub for. Some bring in paltry sums for me, some major. But, they all trust me, and that’s what’s important.
I’ve got close to $1,000 scheduled in sub work over the next 2 weeks alone. My phone has stopped ringing lately. So, I’d just have my few days of route work over the next 2 weeks were it not for sub work.

Additionally, one of the 5 companies that I sub for has talked about possibly selling their business to me in the future. They currently have more repeat residentials than I do…MUCH more.

I know there are folks who go after every buck, and who are out to bury the competition. That’s not me. There’s too much stress in that kind of life.

You have one other option, as I see it. Offer to “buy” that one customer from your friend, now that it seems he doesn’t want her. Tell him you’ll buy the customer, or decline her offer, his choice. You keep your integrity, he still trusts you, and you may even get to keep the customer.

Otherwise, I’d just decline her offer.

Tough one,

Yeah, there are some gray areas in this one. Is this guy just another wc’er or a freind? How hungry are you? How important is future “sub” work from this fellow? Did you discuss all the facts with the other wc’er, including why she called you? Did he give you a good reason as to why you shouldn’t take the job? Etc.

I don’t want to sound sappy, but the biggest factor is how you feel about the situation. What is your first gut reaction? Figuring out the “right” or “wrong” of whether or not to take the job is up to you. Factor in the grey areas and make a decison. Regardless of what you decide, the next “right” thing to do, is inform the other wc’er about your decison. If you put some thought into this, it will be easier to explain your actions to him. He may not like your decision, but that is not your problem. Approval and acceptance are not the same thing.

You have a conscience, other wise you wouldn’t have asked for our opinions.
Take some time and think about it.

These are just my thoughts on your question.

Good Luck,


id keep the talking to a bare minimum with the woman and just decline her offer . stay mates with your fellow windower thats the most important

The reason she called me this time is because her house is full of TDLs where the grilles are stained wood. She said he doesn’t detail the windows to her liking, leaving behind solution and dripping on her hardwood floors.

I haven’t told him any of this. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened with him either. He sent me to finish a CCU job once and the builder has now started sending me work because he thinks I do a better job.

This job was done last year for a little over $700. When I help him, I get paid a flat $30/hour for regular window cleaning and $35/hour for WFP work. Each year, I work for him about five days or so. He and I have a totally informal arrangement. No contract or anything.

I like the idea of buying the customer . . . maybe I’ll see what he thinks about that.

So you mentioned that you are 20% higher. Thats gonna put that job near $850.00

I’d take the job and send the guy $200.00

You did good in raising the price, but I would not take the customer. Just tell your friend that this customer is lost already, switch the terms around, give HIM the percentage. This way he dont lose.

Are you saying I should refuse the customer AND pay the other guy $200?

Sorry, no. I mean you already told your friend what was happening, talk to him and tell him that the customer is gone, she only wants you to do it. You want it, but wont take it unless he gives you the green light, and you just switch things around, pay him what he was paying you. But, if it was me and he said no, I know other people would not do this, but if he said no, I would refuse and ask the customer to request that only you do it from your friend.

I would go about it with the mentality of “What comes around go’s around”. Ive subbed my first few years in the biz and had this instance occur all to often. How would you want your trusted fellow window cleaner to handle it with you?

Take the job, throw the other guy a couple of bucks when your done if you really feel bad and be done with it. She came after you. If you don’t do it some other guy will and won’t feel bad at all.

Window cleaning is your business. It’s how you feed your family. You don’t walk away from a well paying job because someones feeling may get hurt.