TRAINING - THE PRACTITIONER
Happy Window Cleaning® Promise and Image
Our tagline says that “Happy customers have the best views.”
Happy Window Cleaning® expects its brand to be represented in the most professional way possible. This is achieved through hard work and a lot of common sense. The image you project to your customers goes further than you think. Don’t forget that you represent the cleaning industry —of which the general public expects unparalleled cleanliness.
Make sure your uniforms are clean and pressed. Make sure that your trucks are clean and washed thoroughly whenever possible. Keeping up the maintenance of your vehicle is your responsibility. Familiarize yourself with your equipment and make sure that everything is serviced regularly according to the owner’s manual and manufacturer's suggestion.
It’s your image on display. See to it that it measures up to the proper standard.
Owning What We Do
The following illustration is between someone with a mission to improve his or her own life and that of his teammates, and his opposite type being an individual who is an independent actor seeking immediate gratification. Those who take ownership work interdependently with others typically share the vision. The one who is on a mission consistently goes above and beyond mandates with the purpose of intrapreneurship. Those who think in terms of immediate gratification think only of putting in hours and what that will do for themselves in the short term. The first type counterintuitively has removed the glass ceiling on what he can accomplish in his career. This is the 80 /20 principle, a universal law at work in nature. 20% of the seeds in a garden produce most of the harvest. Likewise, with companies, 20% of the people in any organization tend to perform the most valuable work. Unfortunately, those leaders are not always the same people who are in authority, but they are nonetheless the ones that make the greatest difference for everyone.
Not sure which type you are? Here are some questions to help you to evaluate your performance.
Are you constantly thinking about the time you spend at your tasks and do you engage your mind to save steps to increase your output? Or do you only do this when you have an extraordinary workload to complete before the end of the day?
Are you thinking about the impression of your appearance, and by extension the appearance of your tools, vehicle, and coworkers on customers and potential prospects with whom you intersect during the day? Imagine that you are sick, and you need a doctor. You walk up to a clinic and your first impression is filthy windows. You open the door and see dirt all over the floor and dust and a red gooey substance on the tables. Disgusted you walk out, still sick in need of care. Across the street, you see a sparkling clean façade of another clinic. Which place will you choose for your medical care? Likewise, a prospect is driving and sees two cleaning vans with large lettering advertising their respective companies. One van is filthy, the other is sparkling clean. You need some cleaning is done, which would make a better impression on you and earns your call?
Aristotle student of Plato is credited for his many genius contributions to early science. Because he was so often right it was very common for ordinary people to take what he said and wrote as truth without question. One of the things he had written is that if one were to take two heavy spheres, one twelve inches in diameter and the other four inches in diameter, and drop them on level ground below from the same height the larger sphere would reach the ground first. This was published and widely believed to be true. Until centuries later a young man named Galileo decided to test the hypothesis. It turns out that the two objects fall at the same rate. Many things in life are exactly like the myth of Aristotle. This is especially true among common people. In American business, there are many such myths about finances and what the costs really are, and what it really takes to succeed in business. Open book management provides the means to test these myths. The first type above examines the facts and draws his own conclusions from the numbers, all the numbers not just the ones he sees on the check at the end of payment. That number just the top line of an income and loss statement. One common myth that can lead to paralysis in any company is when employees see a big check and then see their own paychecks and assume that the difference is going into the owner’s pockets. Let’s take an actual paycheck of one of our actual employees and see what the facts are. On 11/22/19 the employee will receive a check for $919.75. The actual cost to the company for that employee, for that pay period, is $1260.04. This amount is even greater than his gross pay. Why? Because the government takes additional taxes from the employer way above the rate that the employee is paid.
Now multiply that by several employees and you can see how much is taken by our government in just taxes alone. And this is just one form of taxes. Also, this cost to the company is only from the first part of the income statement, or what is called gross margin. There are also a van, fuel, supplies, and other expenses directly tied to each project. On top of that, there are Administration and overheads, which are fixed expenses like Insurance, (600 a month plus about five thousand in compensation insurance this year to be paid with the annual audit). There are software fees, printing fees, telephone fees, website fees, advertising fees, and on and on. Unless or until one has an exact understanding of how all of this works it is impossible to have a real grip on what it takes to succeed in a business. The first type of person who is invested in the success of the company takes the initiative to study those things and to know what it takes to reach the goals through our shared mission for our mutual benefit. But the other guy, he just lives in a bubble with the myths perpetuated by a mass of generations of workers who never even dreamed that they would have the chance to examine a real company numbers and just assume that things are different than they really are.
But the guy who refuses to fail and who is determined to overcome all obstacles neither accepts how things are, nor takes anyone’s word as gospel. He learns the numbers and figures out ways to meet the challenges and to make the colossal investment of money, blood sweat, and tears worthwhile by hitting a critical mass and learns to build real wealth despite the costs.
When you stand in front of a customer while greeting them at the beginning of each day what goes through your mind? Are you thinking what might you get away with them, sizing them up to find out how depending they might be? Or do you see a fellow person who is making it possible for you to earn an honest living? Do you pride yourself on your skillset and are you determined to exceed that person’s expectations and make a stand for who you really are as a man and a fellow human being? The second type sees service merely as a job to be endured and forgotten at the end of each day. But the first type intrinsically understands that ultimately our earthy success is dependent not on our intrinsic value as God’s children alone, although that is certainly part of but on the value that we provide to others. This is known by theologians as God’s duel revelation. You see we either correctly picture God, or we incorrectly represent him. As a Christian brand, make no mistake we are God’s hands. So how we behave is ultimately how others, in some cases possibly the final determinate of what others think of God. Are we kind, patient, enduring, not remembering each other’s wrongs but string to persevere? The one who is working interdependently is the one who knows that we can do more than one and works together with every part of the team to make the sum much greater than the parts.
In the recent blog, we explain how for a prospect that already earns a good wage, hiring a professional cleaning company is less expensive than taking the time to do it themselves. This is another one of those truths that dispel myths. To become a greater part of the Happy Window Cleaning story, you must take advantage of the many opportunities to learn and advance yourself that we provide. The first type of person mentioned above makes this investment in himself. The second type has only his excuses as to why this is too hard, etc., etc. The only question is who are you determined to be?
CUSTOMER INTERACTION DOS AND DON’TS
It's easier to sell to existing customers than to acquire new ones, so it's good sense to keep the customers you've already got.
Here are some simple rules to ensure that customers continue to come back for more:
DO put connection before content. Clients don’t want you to sell to them; they want you to genuinely care about them. Take the time to build a personal connection before you start talking business.
DON'T badmouth the competition. Only insecure people try to build themselves up at the expense of others. Show your competitors the same respect you'd want if the positions were reversed.
DO focus on individuals, not companies. You may be selling to an organization, but you’re doing it through an individual. Remember: ABC Inc. is not going to buy your offering, but Joe might.
DON'T give a sales pitch. Pitches are a great way to shut people down and pigeonhole you as a hustler. Even when speaking to a group, make the interchange a conversation, not a lecture.
DO engage with customers as equals. The client conversation should contain a feeling of mutuality rather than talking down to or being subservient to your clients.
DON'T attempt an "end run." Bypassing a client or customer contact who is ambivalent or hostile will create an enemy for life. That person will constantly work against you... from the inside. You don't want that.
DO keep the conversation mutual. Your goal is to earn your client’s trust by connecting with them, thereby creating a sense of safety. You can’t do that if you’re yakking away.
DON'T pull your punches. Never be afraid to tell clients what they need to know if you feel they might be making a mistake–especially if that mistake involves buying your product.
DO be willing to play “little league.” Even if you know there’s a huge (i.e. big league) opportunity, shove your own agenda aside and focus on whatever game this client wants to play right now.
DON'T play negotiation games. That stuff you read in the "How to Negotiate" books? Forget it. You're trying to forge a relationship, not win a zero-sum competition.
DO self-disclose when appropriate. Human beings buy from human beings. Rather than talking purely business, it's OK to occasionally bring up family, hobbies, or whatever will be of real interest to you and your clients.
DON'T mistake apathy for loyalty. The surest sign that a client is about to switch to another vendor is a lack of enthusiasm for you and your offering.
DO treat your customers like people: This can be a bit difficult for us in the industry because we almost always deal on a business-to-business (B2B) level. That said, behind every business decision is a supervisor, manager, or decision-maker with flesh and blood. No, the person with whom you communicate may not always see eye-to-eye with you on everything, but they do deserve your respect. Be patient with a customer, and they’ll recognize that you are doing all you can to resolve their concerns and strengthen the relationship and experience they are having with your business.
DON’T think of it as an “us versus them” relationship: Clearly, your business and the customer’s business are different (otherwise, why would you be working with them?). With that comes a difference in perspective. That said, interacting with customers need not be an exercise in banging your head against a wall — so have the patience to recognize that there’s a good chance that both parties want the same thing (a mutually-beneficial relationship). There will be times, such as when a customer calls to cancel their service no matter what when the end result isn’t one that will help everyone. In these cases, remember that it’s often better to simply let a customer go. As Comcast found out the hard way, a failure to let things go (especially now that social media is so widely-used) can create a powerful enemy.
DO train your employees to see that relationships are important: A huge company like Comcast didn’t get where they are because they just leave their employees alone, to figure out their job responsibilities and processes without any help or direction. They got to the top of their industry because they take the time to train their employees on how to respond to their customers. While the end result mentioned earlier is far from ideal, the focus on fully training employees is something that any business wanting to excel should follow.
DON’T focus everything on the bottom line: Where I think Comcast’s training failed, in this case, was that something intended to be a long-term benefit for all Comcast customers was twisted and misunderstood. Asking “what could we have done better?” is a great way to find out where you can improve for other customers moving forward, but training your employees to not cater to the customer’s request until that question is asked — without exception, it appears — is a surefire recipe for disaster. Focusing too much on the process, instead of the customer, may not cause problems all the time, but it can and will blow up in your face at some point.
Both parties in most customer interactions want the same thing: a mutually beneficial relationship that will satisfy everyone. What is deemed “mutually beneficial” may be different for each person, it is true, but the understanding of that simple idea will help you strengthen relationships with prospective and current clients.
CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS TO AVOID:
There are some things you should avoid discussing at work because bringing up these topics could make your coworkers uncomfortable or influence their opinions of you and your ability to do your job. Awkwardness in the workplace can affect its functioning and ultimately the employer's bottom line. Nobody wants to be the cause of that.
While religion seems to be discussed everywhere, from the campaign trail to the sports field to the awards ceremony stage, it is a topic about which you should tread very lightly in the workplace. One's faith is a personal thing, and many people are sensitive about it. There is no need to be secretive about your religion—by all means, it's perfectly fine to mention things you do to celebrate it—but realize that not everyone worships the same way.
Do not discuss your religious beliefs in-depth and keep any negative opinions about others' beliefs to yourself. Your coworkers don't want to hear that you disagree with them about this or that your religion is the right one for everyone. Never, no matter what, try to persuade anyone you work with to convert to your faith.
Politics is probably a more volatile topic than any other. It causes tempers to flare and has ended relationships, even between close friends and family. Given the amount of time you spend at work, and the need to get along and work side-by-side with your colleagues, having conversations about it is not worth it.
While you may feel very strongly about your party or the candidate you support, or you may have an intensely unfavorable opinion of the opposition, do not try to win your coworkers over to your side. It will be a futile effort that will merely cause hard feelings between you and them.
3. Your Sex Life
Don't ever discuss details about your sex life. Really. There is entirely no reason for anyone to know what goes on between you and your partner or partners. This topic makes many people squirm and can cause your coworkers to feel uneasy around you.
Discussing your sex life can get you into legal hot water. If someone feels intimidated or thinks you have created an offensive work environment, he or she may have grounds to file a sexual harassment complaint. When you genuinely need to confide in someone other than your partner, a good friend will have to do.
4. Problems with Your Spouse, Your Children, or Your Parents
Discussing the problems you are having with family members may cause others, including your boss, to wonder if these difficulties will distract you from doing your job? Even if you know these issues won't affect your work, they don't.
When supervisors or managers are candid about their problems, their subordinates may see this as a weak spot they can exploit. This can undermine your authority. Also, highlighting your problems will feed the rumor mill and make you become the subject of workplace gossip.
5. Your Career Aspirations
There isn't anything wrong with seeing your current job as a stepping stone to bigger and better things, but keep those sentiments to yourself. Talking about your ambitions will, for good reason, make your boss question your loyalty and causes some coworkers to resent you.
If you are interested in advancing within your current organization, do your job exceptionally well, and of course, let your boss know you want to move up through the company's ranks. Your actions will speak for you.
6. Your Health Problems
Even though health issues—mental or physical—are nothing to be ashamed of, don't dwell on them too much at work. You may choose not to talk about them at all or to be very open, but regardless of how much, or how little, you disclose, avoid sharing every last detail of your condition.
When deciding how much to share with your colleagues, keep this in mind: when your colleagues know you are sick, they may question your ability to do your job well, just as they could if they knew about your family problems. Although their concerns may be unfounded, it will put doubt in their minds and affect their perceptions of you.
So, if you can't talk about these topics, what can you talk about? How will you get to know each other and develop camaraderie? Try sticking to safe topics that allow you to get to know your coworkers but are less controversial like movies, music, travel, and food (especially if you bring some to share).
Types of Windows
Bow window - a large window or set of windows that curves out from the outside wall of a building
Casement - a window that opens on hinges like a door
Casing - a frame around a door or window
Catherine wheel - a wheel with spikes projecting from the rim
Clearstory – an outside wall of a room or building that rises above an adjoining roof and contains windows
Curtain - a hanging piece of fabric used to shut out the light from a window, adorn a room, increase privacy, etc., a movable or folding screen used for similar purposes.
Display window - a display of goods in a window designed to attract customers
Dormer window - a vertical window in a projection built out from a sloping roof
Double-hung - a window having two vertically sliding sashes, each closing a different part of the opening.
Embrasure - a splayed enlargement of a door or window toward the inner face of a wall.
Fanlight - a window over a door or another window, especially one having the form of a semicircle or half an ellipse.
Fenestral – an oval window
Fillister - rabbet or groove, as one on a window sash to hold the glass and putty.
Foreground - the part of a scene or picture that is nearest to and in front of the viewer
Frame - to put (something) inside an open structure that holds it
French window - a pair of windows that have many small panes and that reach to the floor and open in the middle like doors
Gable - a section of a building's outside wall that is shaped like a triangle and that is formed by two sections of the roof sloping down
Gate - an opening in a wall or fence
Glass - a hard usually transparent material that is used for making windows and other products
Hanging - supported only by the wall on one side
Jalousie - a window made of adjustable glass louvers that control ventilation
Jamb - upright consisting of a vertical side member of a door or window frame
Lambrequin - a short decorative drapery for a shelf edge or the top of a window casing
Lancet window - a high narrow window with an acutely pointed head and without tracery
Lattice - a framework or structure of crossed wood or metal strips
Ledge - a narrow, flat surface that sticks out from a wall
Mirador - a turret, window, or balcony designed to command an extensive outlook
Moucharaby - in Islamic or Islamic-influenced architecture, an oriel, or projecting second-story window of latticework
Mullion - an upright piece of wood, stone, metal, etc., that separates two windows
Oculus - a circular opening at the top of a dome
Oeil de boeuf - a relatively small oval window, typically for an upper story
Oriel window - a large bay window projecting from a wall and supported by a corbel or bracket
Oxeye window - a round or oval dormer window.
Panel - a flat or curved component, typically rectangular, that forms or is set into the surface of a door, wall, or ceiling
Pane - a framed sheet of glass in a window or door
Persiennes – a synonym for Persian blinds
Picture window - a large window consisting of one pane of glass, typically in a living room
Pivoting window - a window that opens by pivoting either horizontally or vertically
Porthole - a small exterior window in a ship or aircraft
Quarrel - a square-headed bolt or arrow, formerly used with a crossbow or any of various tools with pyramidal heads
Quarterlight - a small pivoted window in the door of a car for ventilation
Roller blind - a window shade that rolls up out of the way
Rosace - a circular ornamental architectural member that is usually a panel enclosing a richly sculptured rosette
Rose window - a circular window filled with tracery
Rosette - a roselike marking or formation
Sash fastener - a lock attached to the sashes of a double-hung window that can fix both in the shut position
Sash window - a frame in which the panes of a window or door are set
Show window - a setting in which something can be displayed to best effect
Shutter - a hinged cover or screen for a window, usually fitted with louvers
Skylight - an overhead window, as in a roof, admitting daylight.
Sliding window - a window that opens by sliding horizontally
Splay - An oblique angle or bevel given to the sides of an opening in a wall so that the opening is wider on one side of the wall than on the other
Stained-glass window - a window made of stained glass
Storm - an additional window fitted to the outside of an ordinary window to provide insulation against wind, cold, rain, etc.
Storm sash - a supplementary window sash for protecting a window against drafts, driving rain, etc.
Storm window – a secondary window attached over the usual window to protect against the wind and cold.
Ticket window - a window through which tickets are sold (as from a ticket booth) ticket window - a window through which tickets are sold (as from a ticket booth)
Tracery - Ornamental work of interlaced and branching lines, especially the lacy openwork in a Gothic window
Transom window - a window above a door that is usually hinged to a horizontal crosspiece over the door, transom window - a window above a door that is usually hinged to a horizontal crosspiece over the door
Trim - material used in commercial window displays
Valance - a short drapery, decorative board, or metal strip mounted especially across the top of a window to conceal structural fixtures
Venetian blind - a window blind consisting of several thin horizontal adjustable slats that overlap when closed
Ventana – Spanish for window
Window - is a transparent or translucent opening in a wall, door, or vehicle that allows the passage of light and, if not closed or sealed, air and sound
Window dressing - the arrangement of an attractive display in a shop window.
Window frame - a supporting frame for the glass of a window.
Window lock - a lock attached to the sashes of a double-hung window that can fix both in the shut position
Window sash - a glazed window frame, esp one that opens
Window shade - an opaque fabric mounted to cover or expose a window.
Windowed - Having windows or openings.
Windowing - an opening with the frame, sashes, and panes of glass, or any other device, by which it is closed
Windowless - Destitute of a window.
Windowpane - A piece of glass filling a window or a section of a window.
Windowsill - the sill of a window; the horizontal member at the bottom of the window frame
Windows are typically made of aluminum, cladding, fiberglass, plastic, steel, vinyl, wood. Aluminum is known to be sturdy and is capable of holding a large expanse of glass. It is not a good insulator and tends to rust but modern-day technology has made it possible to coat it and protect it from rust. Steel is also known to be durable. Vinyl is low-maintenance and a good insulator. Plastic is low maintenance too. Wood is versatile but it tends to rot. Just like aluminum, it is not possible to coat a piece of wood to make it last longer. Windows may be made using a combination of materials. Classing is metal coating bonded onto another metal under high pressure and temperature.
HAPPILY CLEANING WINDOWS, RAIN, OR SHINE
"Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap." - Ecclesiastes 11:4
How does rain affect a window cleaner’s schedule? Some window cleaners have the policy of rescheduling appointments given the forecast of any chance of rain. We have always considered such tact as more of a subjective emotional reaction and prefer a level-headed approach to window cleaning operations. We tell our cleaning technicians to show up and good things will happen. The exception to this rule is when there is an active thunderstorm. We use aluminum ladders and it’s not safe for the window cleaner to do the job when there’s lightning.
We make it a point not to pay attention to a weather forecast. We’ve found that they are more frequently than not inaccurate. If the forecast for example says 80% chance of rain on Wednesday, that is too broad to be actionable, Wednesday has 24 hours, and it is very unlikely it will rain for all of them. Another consideration is that there are just 168 hours in a week and we are booked solid all through the season many weeks in advance. There aren’t any makeup days available.
We’ve learned that when there is a 70% chance of rain on Tuesday, there is no way of telling when this rain will start. (there is a thirty percent chance it won’t even happen) Most rain falls when it is cool, in early mornings and nights. Oftentimes it ends before the window cleaner’s day begins. That doesn’t make exciting news for the networks because it is too ordinary but happens to be true. Also, since we clean both the interior and the exterior, if it is raining, we simply start cleaning on the inside and when this happens 9 out of 10 times the rain is through before we even finish the inside.
Third and lastly is that rainwater has very little dissolved solid content (minerals). Rainwater is more of a help to cleaning a home and windows than it is a hindrance. Some of the newer windows are specially coated with an element that coupled with rainwater acts to help break down soils. Of course, those so-called self-cleaning windows don’t leave windows sparkling as a professional window cleaner does. But rain isn’t a problem for the customer, like say over-spray from a sprinkler which often does contain high concentrations of minerals and will leave watermarks on the glass. Rainwater is very much like the spot free water at the car wash.
The truth is that window cleaners don’t like to get wet if we can help it. Given that we work in an occupation that gives us three to four months of unpaid vacation each year, what we like even less is to lose another day being productive. We do carry raincoats just in case the rain is unavoidable. It rarely happens but if it does, we are prepared. The worst thing that can happen is that something from up above might get washed onto a window. If that does happen, we guarantee our work and won’t mind dropping by near the end of a different day to touch up if that is necessary. That certainly is a better alternative for us than blowing off an entire day. We show up and good things happen.
FIRST RULE: DO NO HARM
Happy Window Cleaning®'s number one priority when working in and on someone’s home is that we do no harm even before delivering value. The first part of it is obvious, being cautious and considerate around the flooring, furniture walls, and woodwork. We have booties for our shoes, use a special sectional ladder that is easily transported through tight spaces without getting into contact with painted walls and woodwork. There is a soft cotton bonnet at the top of the ladder to protect molding when we set up the ladder to clean windows up high on a home’s interior walls.
Doing no harm extends further than just the present tense. It also has to do with the Happy Window Cleaning® process, tools, cleaning agents, and skill set training.
To explain what I mean in layman’s terms think about a $180 pair of Calvin Klein jeans. Perhaps you have noticed that some folks can buy a designer pair of jeans and keep them looking like new for a decade or more. Ever wonder how this can be? Well, they use a gentle agitation cycle on their washing machine. They are careful to use just the right amount of detergent. They are conscious when they are out about what they allow to come into contact with their clothing, and if something does get onto it, they treat it immediately. The same pair of jeans might only last three years in different hands.
Cleaning windows (or anything for that matter) follows the same principles. One must understand the properties of a material to be cleaned and the effect that the tools and cleaning agent will have on the material, not just immediately, but over time. Overaggressive cleaning, using the wrong or too concentrated of a detergent, using the wrong agitation device or dwell time, will cause extensive wear prematurely over time. In practice, there are many materials and surfaces, plastics, metals, and woods. It is important to understand the best practice for all.
TIP: Here’s an advice you can give your customer –
As a homeowner, you might be wondering what you can do to avoid damaging your home between professional cleanings. A good place to start is to read your window manufacturer's cleaning recommendations. You might even want to call the toll-free number and ask someone to explain them to you. Here is another tip, document the conversation. This can go along way if you ever need to put in a claim on a warranty. For example, many glass manufactures warn to stay away from products containing ammonia (Windex). Follow the guidelines, consider how you will protect all the surfaces from drips, and what type of scrubbing device you should use on your unique set of windows, frames, and sills.
Step 1 - Prepare Your Tools
Before you leave the headquarters, make sure you have everything you need to do the job.
These are the things you need to bring:
• Shoe covers
• Husk towels and extra microfiber towels
• Vacuum with horsehair brush with noise suppression
• Step stool and sectional ladders
• Terry towels
• Your tool belt containing:
- One 16 or 18-inch squeegee.
- One scrubber and bucket.
• One pouch containing:
- One small flathead screwdriver,
- One small Philips screwdriver,
- One paint can lid opener.
• Two pieces of “0000” steel wool. (one will keep dry the other will be wetted)
• One track brush.
A professional window cleaning ladder is lightweight and comes in sections that fit together on site. I have always used aluminum or fiberglass extension ladders with ladder stabilizers near the top. When cleaning I like to be set off from the sill a bit, a foot or so away from the window so that I can see more of the surface when I lean back (and from side to side) to inspect for streaks, smudges and drips.
We prefer to use a fourteen-inch squeegee for most windows, even the bigger ones. We’ve found that the larger size squeegees are harder to apply the correct amount of pressure as you glide over the window, a skill that can only be learned by doing the task. Squeegee size is a personal preference. Six-inch squeegees work best for small French and Italian window panes. Similarly, we use a fourteen-inch window scrubber. Although it isn’t necessary to apply force from the wrist in the same way in the scrubbing process as is done in the squeegeeing process some force is still necessary. Quick circular motion creates greater agitation and better results.
Blue husk rags provide a lint-free and debris-free cleaning rag that is highly absorbent and will not scratch the glass. Terry cloth when set down occasionally will pick up a small stone in its long loose fibers. You’ll also need a portable shop vac with a brush attachment, razor blades, and PVC pipe. Having a few sections of PPC pipe to fit over large rough window openings to set a ladder where it otherwise will not fit is a very convenient tool to have in your arsenal.
Also, use wheel caulks to level out my ladders on hillsides. You would want to keep them lubricated or they would quickly seize up being out exposed to the weather all of the time. The downside of wheel caulks is that it is one more thing to lug around the perimeter of the building as you clean, and one more thing to potentially leave behind when you load your truck at the end of the day. There are leveling legs that you can buy for your ladders which may work a bit faster. I honestly have just never gotten around to trying these leveling legs. Some jobs require building over architectural objects that are too weak to stand on etc. When you have to level and place things under ladders and so forth, charge extra for “staging” the job. It saves time to have the right tools on the truck when you need them. The gorilla ladder is also a great tool to have. Unfortunately, they are heavy. Likewise, a twelve-foot and fifteen-foot step ladder is invaluable for cathedral ceilings and skylights on interior cleanings. Sometimes poles are still necessary to reach skylights, but it is much easier to use the shortest possible pole than it is to use the shortest ladder or no ladder at all.
Step 2 - Happy Window Cleaning® Arrival
Review your job order the day before. Knowing where your job is at, prepare for traffic and weather conditions. As you know, punctuality is an indicator of professionalism, so leave early to make sure that you arrive on time.
Five minutes or so before your appointed time, knock on the door or ring the bell so the customer will know that you are there. Do not wait in the truck and expect the customer to open the door for you just because the truck is there. If you arrive earlier than expected, park somewhere to kill time but not in front of the customer’s home.
If you are running late due to unforeseen circumstances, call the customer. The job order should have the customer’s number. Apologize for the delay and politely explain the situation and give him an estimated time of arrival.
Step 3 - Meet and Greet the Customer
Hands folded in front of the lap. Right hand over left wrist showing ring finger. Happy Window Cleaning® strives to display proper etiquette which is appreciated among the refined classes.
Smile and establish eye contact. The crew leader must introduce himself and his crew to the customer. Once the introductions are completed explain that the first step you and your helper will undertake is to remove and clean the screens. Explain that you have buckets and things to bring inside and ask which door the customer would like you to use.
Step 4 - Enter the Home/Building
Put on a pair of shoe covers to keep from tracking in dirt and other soils into the home. Start bringing in your tools. Remember the first rule is to do no harm.
One bucket is for screens. Add two and one-half teaspoons of blue Dawn dish soap detergent into one gallon of tap water. (You will need to carry a water container for places that do not have water). The second bucket contains the same dilution for glass.
Be attentive, acknowledge a person as soon as they appear, even if you’re busy
Make sure that your husk towels, extra microfiber towels for cleaning screens, tracks, and sills are clean.
Bring your other tools inside such as the vacuum cleaner and your ladder(s).
Step stools are used for getting over the kitchen sink and possibly for large windows. Check the step stool's feet for good rubber and cleanliness before using it.
Use a sectional ladder if there are high cathedral ceilings with windows or skylights. Just as with the step stool, check the feet of the ladder for good rubber and cleanliness.
The metal part of the ladder should not be in contact with any surface, paint, wood, etc. Only the cotton bonnet and rubber shoes should be touching surfaces.
Bring in a terry towel to place on the floor near the bucket showing that you are careful about spills. Wipe any drips immediately.
Step 5 - Start Cleaning
Remove all of the screens so that the outside windows are accessible. Since we are already inside it is a good time to clean the screens and the tracks as well.
When removing screens that are nasty with “dangles”, wipe dangles off with a dry towel before pulling into the home. Be careful not to bend frames, nor scratch woodwork. They should come out without using excessive force. Many have one side that compresses, and most only remove it in one direction. Once you find out the right direction they should come out easily. Keep the screen near the window so you know where it goes later.
Okay, we have the inside screens out, so the “outside guy” can go get started before the sun gets too high. The inside guy continues to clean the screens. Now let’s look at how we should clean the tracks and sills. Keep in mind that our workmanship is our best marketing tool. Do whatever needs to be done to make the window look good. This means cleaning the whole window, all parts, and even the window frame if that is what it takes to make the window look great.
Our customer's home is their private space. The sooner they get it back, the better. This means we should not waste any time but should not also sacrifice the quality of workmanship.
Now it's time to clean the glass.
1. The first step to cleaning the window is to take your scrubber and apply vigorous movement across the entire surface of the glass: after it has been submerged in the cleaning solution for the glass and wrung out accordingly (inside requires less moisture). Drips must be cleaned up immediately from walls and flooring.
2. Then you take your .0000 Grade Steel Wool and scrub in a circular motion making sure to overlap strokes covering the now wet area of glass. Take note, it is VERY important to check ahead of time if the windows have aftermarket tint applied to them, using the finder nail to check for seams at the corner of the pane. Aftermarket tints are a plastic product that is softer than glass and will scratch with aggressive agitation devices such as steel wool. Never use any type of abrasive on plexiglass.
3. Taking a clean husk towel fold a fine edge and run it across the very top of the windowpane to ensure a dry starting point for the squeegee. This is called the critical edge.
4. With a dry squeegee place along the critical edge and in one continuous motion pull the water from the top down. Repeat as necessary with the high side to the dry side. Making sure to carefully wipe away the excess water immediately to not cause drips.
Tip: Your vulcanized rubber squeegee blade is the best money can buy. If you're leaving behind streaks, make sure your blade is not worn or damaged. Changing a blade frequently will ensure the best results every time.
5. The final step to cleaning the glass after squeeging the cleaning solution away is to take a dry huck towel and get any drips/marks left behind. After removing all moisture, we then do a “chicken dance” which is bobbing and weaving to see all angles as the sun rays are constantly changing, the angle through the window impairing your ability to see imperfections that the customer will see later that the sun has changed. Taking a DRY .0000 steel wool we remove any marks we may have missed earlier and do one last touch up before moving on to the next window. Even those of us with 15 plus years of cleaning windows if we forget to do the “chicken dance” we risk thinking we did a better job than we did. Form the good habit and you will avoid callbacks.
Step 6 - Walk Through
When you're done, let the client know. Allow him to inspect your work. This also allows you to correct your mistake or matters you have overlooked.
Step 7 - Prepare to Leave
Make sure you gather all the tools and don't leave anything behind. Give the customer the invoice, collect payment, and courteously leave the premises.
Step 8 - Prepare for the Next Day
When you are done for the day, you can prepare for tomorrow by washing your rags and emptying your vacuum cleaner. Make sure you get your job order for the next day so you can prepare.
HOW TO TELL IF SCREENS ARE REMOVABLE FROM THE OUTSIDE OF YOUR HOME
You might wonder why this matters? Screens that can be removed from the outside take less time to pop out, clean, and return. While screens that must be removed from the inside are more labor-intensive, and they take at least twice as much time to handle. Windows must be opened and closed and one must be careful of making a mess inside the home. Time can be even longer if window treatments, blinds, shudders, and furniture need to be moved to get to the screens.
When screens can be removed from the outside they are just popped out as the window cleaner moves along the wall to the next screen, all around the perimeter until all the glass is exposed. The window cleaner may instead “pop” and clean the screen as he or she goes and return it to the window after cleaning the glass before moving to the next item.
Inexperienced window cleaners often warp and bend screens when trying to force them out from the outside. Experienced technicians budget extra time and care when dealing with this type of screen. Of course, the professional window cleaner often works in teams and the "inside guy" has to make a separate trip to every room right at the beginning of the appointment because the screens must be taken out before the "outside guy" cleaning the exterior can begin working. It takes time to go from room to room and remove each screen. If the screens are full of debris the cleaner may need to put towels down to protect flooring and contain dirt. The alternative is to go tramping through the house with dirty screens, aerosolizing dust, and possibly making it difficult to find which screen goes where later on.
The most time-consuming type of situation is those windows that must be popped out of their track (and set someplace) before the screen can be removed. This type of window can be heavy and cumbersome to deal with. Further complicating things is that the window must be in just the right position on its track to pop it out, so the technician has to slide the window back and forth, to find the position that unlocks it while holding on tight so as not to drop it. This must be done with care as the slightest flex might crack the glass. The good news is that the estimator will always ask before measuring a prospective job on what kind of screens are present!
No one likes surprises and if a window cleaning proposal is given over the phone it will only be as accurate as the information provided. Without further ado, this is how to tell if screens can be removed from the outside which will save money:
Stand directly in front of the window with a screen. Now, look at the four borders of the screen. If you can see two ends (borders) of the screen completely, or the edges of the top and bottom, without the window frame blocking them, then the screen should be able to be removed from the outside. Conversely, if the window frame is obstructing your view of all four sides of the screen edge, even slightly, then it must be removed from the inside. This is why if you ask to have the "exterior only" cleaned you might be asked to remove the screens before the window cleaner arrives. Professionals assume that you asked for exterior only because you do not want them to come inside and so they price the job accordingly.
WATER FED POLE CLEANING PROCEDURE
Introduction to the Procedure
Water fed pole systems are a great tool to have in the window cleaning toolbox. But like any tool, it is only as good as the operator. Over the years I have heard mixed reactions from other window cleaners about the value of water fed poles. Many who have perfected their use of the squeegee method are unwilling to invest in a water fed pole because they have had customer feedback about the competition using these tools ineffectively. In the end, what truly matters is the customer’s view. It is possible to get great results with a matter fed pole in some circumstances with the right strategy and techniques. In other circumstances, it is best to stick to our traditional squeegee. The key is knowing where to use the pole and when it is better to set up your ladder.
Situations when using a water-fed pole makes sense.
• The windows are all vinyl, aluminum cased, or fiberglass.
• The windows are not vented
• The setting would make setting a ladder up time-consuming and possibly dangerous, like on the side of a hill.
• The third story and higher windows.
• For fourth story windows, if the pole is too short a step ladder can be used to increase the reach.
Situations where using a water-fed pole does NOT make sense.
• Wooden windows where the paint is not factory perfect. Water gets trapped behind uneven paint and within the recesses of the wood grain seeping out over time.
• Old windows where glass is held in sashes with glazing. Those glazed windows always have tons of places where water gets trapped and seeps out over time.
• First story windows.
• Windows that have vents within the top of the frame. It is best to avoid spraying the vents because too much water gets trapped in there and seeps out over time, releasing and carrying trapped soil with it.
• Windows that have storms where only the exterior is being cleaned. Water will get sprayed through cracks and wind up on the inside causing streaks.
• On any window that is ajar.
• Anywhere where the TDS is more than 150 parts per million. DI resin is very expensive and is destroyed by high Total Dissolved Solids.
SET UP: Before Unpacking the system from Van
To set up your water fed pole system, you need to find and test the water source first. Places that use groundwater rather than municipally treated water are likely to have high mineral content and high TDS. Record the reading of both influent and effluent. (Water before it goes through our filter system and the treated water coming out. Effluent should be close to zero. If not the system is not going to be effective. Include the job site address, name of the customer, and the TDS readings on your Water fed log so that we can monitor the effectiveness of our resin, recharge it or possibly change suppliers when necessary.
Once TDS is tested and meets pre-qualificators. Influent 150 ppm or less. Effluent 5 ppm or less.
Tools Equipment and Supplies
Total Dissolved Solids Meter
A working water source
with the right end.
Do not use the
Connect our system
directly to the water source.
Commercial Key for
turning on/off water
The Tucker System with
Charcoal filter and DI filters
Supply hose real with 100 ft.
of the supply hose
Tucker or other Water Fed Pole 30Ft
fully extended, or larger for higher
work with boars hairbrush
Gorilla A-Frame Ladder
Long pre-dry-agitation pole
w/ swivel head,
bronze pad, and steel
Standard Operating Procedure
Outside Water Fed Pole Operator and Inside person must work as a team. While the outside guy is fitting everything together, the inside guy is busy removing screens and making sure that all windows are closed tight and locked. Locking windows seals the sashes together and prevents water from leaking to the interior side of the panes. It is the Inside guy's job to communicate to the outside operator that the home is set to begin Water Fed Pole Cleaning. It is the Outside Operators job to get the all-clear signal from the inside guy before proceeding.
Water-fed systems actually clean window frames more thoroughly than simply wiping because water gets into the joints and forces soils out. This is both good and bad. To remove excess soil and save water we start with a dry sweep of the window. The more “dry soil” we remove before wetting the less treated water it actually takes to clean. Since DI water is intrinsically starved for minerals, if soils are excessive the Di water is ruined and made ineffective. This is one of the scientific facts that many operators fail to learn.
If the frames and windows are loaded up with particulate and suspended solids, those solids will bind to the Di water molecules. Those water molecules only have so much surface area. Think of popcorn in a bucket. All the space between the kernels is surface area. In this analogy, the DI water molecules are the popcorn. This extra step saves expensive resin, and it also keeps from over wetting and causing streaks along the outside of the home on the siding. Most importantly, by lowering the total solids (Total solids equals the combined Particulate Solids, Suspended Solids, and Dissolved solids) thus we allow the DI water to bind the remaining solids chemically after physically removing the excess dry solid load from the equation.
When not cleaning the supply must always be shut off using the valve installed on the pole supply line. See the picture and operation instructions below.
UNI-VALVE is operated by simply pulling the hose at the base of your water fed pole. (STRONGLY RECOMMENDED TO USE EX-CEED HOSE) Pull the hose once to turn the water on.
Pull once again to turn the water off – it’s that easy! No more bending to pick a valve from the ground. No more hose loops like when using trigger valves.
Figure 1Clean the transom window only, allow to dry then clean the top sash of the double-hung window, allow that to dry before cleaning the bottom sash.
Figure 2 here clean only the top sash, leave the bottom sash for a little later. The top needs time to dry, this is how you avoid drips and get a perfect result.
Figure 3 This wooden painted window has too many crevices to clean using the water fed system. It is best cleaned by hand.
Figure 4 Water Fed system will work here. Clean the uppermost sash along the horizontal plane first, then move down one section of the x-axis at a time.
Dryer Vent Cleaning
Warning signs that it’s time to clean your vent
• Clothes are taking much longer than normal to dry. It will often take two or three cycles to dry them.
• Clothes have a strange, burning smell to them. This could be a sign that your dryer vent isn’t properly able to ventilate the warm air out of the appliance.
• The laundry room feels excessively hot when the dryer is running. Again, this could be a result of a clogged vent that isn’t letting hot air escape.
Problems caused by a clogged dryer vent
• Fires. The lint from your clothes can build up inside the dryer vent. This material is highly flammable and can cause a fire.
• Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. When the dryer vent is clogged, dangerous CO gases aren’t able to escape. Instead, they build up inside the vent and may seep out into the laundry room and into other areas of the home.
• Wear and tear on the dryer. When it takes two or three cycles to get your clothes dried, this puts a lot of strain on your dryer. It can lead to excessive wear and tear on the unit.
• Skyrocketing utility bills. A dryer that is running more often than it should dry clothes will use a lot of energy. This will be reflected on your monthly utility bills.
Tools and Supplies Required
Phillips head screwdriver
Metal cutting shears
Shop-Vac with bag
(for the machine)
Long Brush and fishing rod
(To wipe all parts)
(To clean floor around the dryer
after vacuuming debris)
Aluminum type foil Tape
(To create a vacuum seal
and maximize airflow)
(In case end cap screws are misplaced)
Extra 4-inch clamps
Extra flex ducting in case original needs replacement (add on upsell item)
Critter Control End Cap
(Add on upselling item)
Chicken Wire Square piece
(To cover the end of ducting on the exterior and keep animals out
in case the end cap not suitable)
Ladders to reach high
exhaust ducting end cap
Drill to carefully remove planks on decking if exhausted under
an exterior deck
Flashlight to see under
deck or crawl spaces
How to Clean:
Step 1 - Inspection and Operation Report.
Insert towel and turn on the dryer for five minutes. Go outside with the dryer running and find the ductwork that is exhausting hot air from the home. This way you know that you are working on the right duct. If the duct has a “flapper type end cap, observe how far the flap is opening. ¼ (not great), ½ (sufficient airflow), Greater than ½ (excellent airflow). Airflow volume is measured in Cubic feet per second (CFS). But a meter is unnecessary to gauge airflow, visual inspection does the job. If the End of the exhaust does not have a flapping end cap. Wet two fingers, with the dryer running how long does it take to dry your fingers? Can you feel good pressure and air movement on your fingers? If not the ducting is either very clogged or has a vacuum leak someplace. If this is the case leave the dryer running and inspect all for the ductwork, soft flexible, and hard ducting to find where the leaks are.
Use aluminum (heat resistant) tape after cleaning the ductwork to plug leaks on hard ducting if found.
Once you have finished your inspection and made note of the results, it is time to begin the cleaning process.
Step 2 –
Carefully pull the dryer away from the wall minding the floor, use four towels or “sliders” under the metal feet to prevent scratching the flooring.
Step 3 –
Using a screwdriver remove clamps from flex ducting and pull them off from the back of the dryer. Do the same with the opposite end of flex ducting that attaches to the hard ducting.
Step 4 –
Once free, run a brush through the flex ducting. Wipe the exterior with a micro cloth and general-purpose cleaner. Set aside.
Step 5 –
Open the dryer door and remove the lint trap. Clean all lint from the screen and wipe around the frame. Set aside. Run the short brush all the way through the dryer channel to ensure to remove any lint.
Next vacuum the dryer channel and the area on the floor underneath and around the dryer.
Step 6 -
Go outside and remove the flap or end cap if there is one. Should be attached with four screws. Carefully clean the Endcap so that it looks new. Set aside. (Below are pictures of three common types)
Step 7 -
Run long flex fishing links and brush through the 4-inch channel. Only rotate the brush in the direction that the fishing links screw together so the sections are tightening and NOT loosening.
(Generally clockwise, but check to be sure before even inserting the brush to avoid unscrewing the pieces inside the ducting and obstructing the airway
(Note that Failure to do this right and leaving a brush in the ducting will cause a fire as the brush will collect lint rapidly. Gross negligence of this kind is prosecutable, think arson and possibly manslaughter).
Step 8 -
From the inside clean hard ducting end with a short brush and vacuum end.
Step 9 -
Reattach flex hose from dryer to hard ducting. Once you have a firm connection and the hose is clamped on properly seal with aluminum duct tape. Keep in mind that the customer is going to take that apart someday. They may buy a new appliance and someone is going to see our work. They will remember who cleaned the ducting last. Take pride in your work and do every step right. Now run the dryer before replacing the end cap on the exterior. Chances are some loosened lint remains in the channel. The airflow will push it out and you don’t want it to land on your freshly cleaned end cap.
Step 10 -
Reinstall the end cap and/or flapper. By this point anything loosened should have blown out the end. If there is no end cap or flapper or other critter control device, fasten a square of mire mesh over the end to keep birds and rodents out of the channel. Be sure to tell the customer that you have done so as a temporary solution to prevent critters from climbing in and obstructing the vent. We do not charge for this. We only charge to install new end caps. We must match the color and be sure to do work that looks good. Over time we will have more stock of those items. You want to avoid a situation where the homeowner turns on the dryer and it pushes lint toward the end trap. Perform your second inspection on the airflow. It should have increased or if the ducting was clear it may have stayed the same. That is good news. If the airflow is worse you did something wrong.
Step 11 -
Turn OFF the dryer and after wiping the floor once more all-around push the dryer back in its original place and remove the towels that are protecting the floor one corner at a time. Make sure everything holds together and you do damage the flex tubing in the process.
Step 12 -
Gather all tools and return them to the van. Inspect the ground outside of the exhaust and clean up the lint as best as you can, put it in a trash container. Use a rake if necessary.
Leave everything looking as good as when you found it.
Step 13 -
Collect Payment. $90.00 plus any equipment we install adds 25% to the cost at the hardware store. If you have to run to get the thing to add for that time at $60 per hour. So, for example, if that takes 30 minutes it is an additional $30.00. You don’t write it up as hourly, you just write $30 to go and get whatever it is you need.
Gutter Cleaning Procedure
Use a pole to set up your Pivit Ladder helper in the area of the gutter that you will be cleaning.
The above is the latest scam product on the market. Every decade or so someone designs a new screen to protect gutters. These guys charge $5000 to install this and it clogs like all the others before it. There is no such thing as maintenance-free gutters.
Be sure to read your work order. There are many kinds of these Gutter screens. Some can be removed easily; others are riveted, screwed, or nailed on. If removing the screens is required, it is an additional cost for the time it takes which can be extensive. The scope of the job is provided to our customers in writing, considered, and accepted. You must follow the work order as it contains the same information that the customer agreed to. The technician can make changes if the customer wants that but the price must be negotiated on-site for any additional work. If the work order does not say to remove the screens that means that we have not agreed to do that. We are doing the estimates from satellite pictures or from the ground. That is the best we can do for a ticket that is just a few hundred dollars and where more than half of that is labor costs. We do not set up ladders to see the top of the gutters for such a low dollar job. Customers may not always communicate effectively what they have or what they need. We do our best to ask the right questions upfront. That said, accommodating a customer so long as you can remain within budget is always mandatory so long as it does not inconvenience the start time of the next appointment on your daily schedule. So, if you have time and the screen can be removed easily, go that extra mile and give the customer the most value for their money. If the screens are screwed, nailed, or riveted on, sweep the tops off and make sure the vertical channel is functioning so that rainwater is taken away from the home’s foundation. Also, be sure to wipe the face of the gutters with a damp microfiber so they are nice and clean aesthetically. We are all in this together, take ownership of your job and do the right thing for the customer, and your team. If we profit so will you. We all win when we achieve both repeat customers and are financially sufficient.
One way to know if you are supposed to remove rivets is that your work order is going to be several thousand dollars. Estimating such a project I would recommend they replace the gutters rather than to remove rivets. In my mind, at that point, it might be cost-effective for the customer to replace the gutters but hey, if someone is sentimental about their gutters, maybe they were installed by their deceased father, who are we to argue with the customer. The only place you’re likely to see riveted gutter screens are on older homes. These days’ installers mostly use gutter screws. Some use nails, but that can create problems. We will cover that a bit later.
Pop rivet gun
Various diameter rivets
Pop Rivets have a small hole at their center. This hole determines the size, or thickness, of the drill bit that will be required to remove the rivet.
Simply select a drill bit and hold the point up against the rivet hole. If the bit passes into the hole, it is too small. You want a bit that is just slightly too large for the hole–1/8″ is often the perfect size.
Chuck the bit into your electric drill and make sure it is secure.
Carefully place the tip of the drill bit into the hole at the center of the rivet. Holding the tool perpendicular to the fastener, you can begin to drill.
Boring through metal is more about pressure than speed. Maintain a low speed while keeping fairly firm pressure on the bit. But, make sure you don’t break the bit! 1/8″ bits are fairly skinny. Don’t press hard enough to bend it, and make sure you’re not angling the drill.
After about 5-10 seconds, you should hear a different, lower sound coming from the fastener. This is the bit digging its way through the metal wall. Back off some pressure to prevent jabbing the bit through with heavy force.
When the head of the rivet is cut loose from the wall, the bit should punch the body of the fastener the rest of the way through. You will be left with the small hole that was originally drilled for the rivet to sit in.
(In this project, I was removing a strap that held a downspout to a structural column. You can clearly see the pass-through hole for the old rivet in both layers of the strap.
Pry apart carefully
The picture above of gutter screws
Some removals will be permanent–you may no longer need the components your removing. Others will be temporary, and you will need to reattach some pieces later.
If you have a pop riveter, you can simply line up the old holes in components and install a new rivet in them. Most people don’t have riveters, though, and installing another rivet may only create a situation where it might need to be tediously removed again.
That’s why I like to reattach pieces with gutter screws.
The screws come in a variety of colors (white and brown being the most common), and they’re short enough that they won’t create obstructions in gutters and downspouts.
To install them, simply line up the old holes in the components. Clamp the components together with one hand, and insert the tip of a gutter screw through the holes with the other hand.
If you can’t get old holes to line up, new ones can be drilled with the same drill bit you used to cut the rivet. Or, in some cases, simple pressure is enough to turn the gutter screw through the metal of the components even without a pre-drilled hole in place.
If done correctly, it will look as though a replacement never occurred. Gutter screws will blend in almost as seamlessly as flush rivets!
Prying nailed gutter screens
Using a pry bar on soft metal is not ideal. The customer needs to sign a waiver and accept full responsibility for any damage. Do not attempt this otherwise. Use a towel on the fulcrum, to protect the surface. Proceed with caution.
Rain Reservoir. Chances are if someone has this they are pretty handy themselves and probably are not one of the customers. But you never know. If this is part of the project it will be stated on the work order. If not, then it has not been considered and agreed upon. It isn’t a big deal. We hired you for your beautiful brain. Charge an extra $30 to do this part. By all parties, take it apart clean gutter components, and put it back together. If indicated on the work order.
Every crew has this Gutter Tool on the van. A pole screws on the end and you can reach several feet to the left and the right, pulling the leaves to where you are so that you can scoop them out with your gloved hand. Put the debris in a bucket and discard that where the customer wants you to put it. This process requires communicating with your customer. If the customer is not home at the time of your appointment, use good judgment about where you discard the yard waste.
The battery-operated blower is the last step. It is your responsibility to make sure that you have a charged battery. The charger is in the office. Everyone is issued an extra battery. You are responsible for what you are issued. Take care of it. We buy the first one. If it is lost while in your care, you must replace it. After you have manually removed leaves, twigs, and other debris with your Gutter Tool, attached to a pole, and your gloved hands, shown neatly remove the leaves by carefully putting them into a bucket and transfer the mess to the customers’ approved waste receptacle (make sure it is the right one for yard waste) or carry it to a compost pile or the edge of the property if there are woods. The bottom line is to be thoughtful and professional. Communicate with your customer. Do not bring the debris onto your van, we are not being paid to haul and dispose of their waste.
Use the blower to remove the remaining sediment in the bottom of the gutter to leave a perfectly clean surface. Do not use the blower to blow leaves all over the customer’s well-kept landscaped yard. If the yard is a mess, it is still inappropriate for us to add it. Remember we are here to serve our customers, wow them, and blow their minds with the feeling that they get doing business with us. Making a mess in their yards isn’t that. Also, use to blow off debris from roofs, just don’t leave a mess in the yard!
The 8-foot pole is easy to maneuver and has plenty of reaches to do the job proficiently.
This picture above shows what NOT to do. Do not set ladders directly on gutters. Always use your Pivit Ladder Helper tool to protect the paint. The first rule is to do no harm. Setting a ladder directly on a gutter leaves scratches, dents, and damages paint.
Cleaning a Ceiling Fan
*Safety first. Always be safe, whenever you work on your fan make sure the breaker is turned off.
Before cleaning a ceiling fan, be sure to look at the UL rating. Outdoor ceiling fans with a UL WET rating can actually be hosed off. However, outdoor ceiling fans with a UL DAMP rating and indoor ceiling fans with a UL DRY rating should not be subjected to direct contact with water.
How To Dust A Fan On A Standard Ceiling
• Step Ladder
If the fan is located on a regular ceiling, ranging from 8 - 10 ft., use a step ladder to reach the ceiling fan and use the steps below:
1. Use a pillowcase to wipe down the canopy, downrod, and motor housing. The pillowcase will capture any excess dust.
2. Slide the pillowcase over a fan blade, then press gently against the blade, and pull the pillowcase back. Repeat until all blades are clean.
3. Shake the old pillowcase outside before washing in warm water.
How To Dust A Fan On A High Ceiling
• Old Sheet
• Long Armed Duster
If your fan is located on a high ceiling, 10 ft. or higher, use a duster with a long handle and a bandana to cover your mouth and nose to keep from breathing in any dust.
1. Lay the sheet out below the area of your ceiling fan to catch the dust.
2. Using the duster with a DRY dusting head, carefully start at the canopy (top of mounting), dusting down through the downrod and motor housing. Dust the top of the fan blades carefully. Then dust the bottom of the fan blades. Finally, gently dust the glass shade and finial.
3. Pick up the sheet and take it outside to shake the dust out before washing.
How To Clean A Dirty Or Greasy Ceiling Fan
• Step Ladder
• Baby Wipes
• Degreaser or Odorless Mineral Spirit
• Old Sheet
If the ceiling fan has dirt or grease firmly lodged on the fan body or blades, it may need a thorough cleaning.
Place an old sheet on the floor beneath the ceiling fan and set up a step ladder in the position that is easiest for you to reach the fan. Then, follow the steps below:
If the fan is dirty but not greasy, use the baby wipes to clean the ceiling fan and remove any stuck-on dirt or debris. Start at the canopy and work your way down to the downrod and the motor housing.
If the fan is greasy, pour a small amount of degreaser or mineral spirit onto a baby wipe (dampen the cloth, do not drench cloth), and wipe down the ceiling fan as previously instructed.
Clean the fan blades from top to bottom, taking your time to carefully scrub away any tough dirt. If you are using mineral spirit, be careful as this could affect any design or silkscreens on the blades.
Throw away dirty baby wipes and take the sheet outside to shake off any dirt before washing in warm water.
How to Clean a Chandelier
Plan Before You Clean
Many chandeliers have a rather complex hanging pattern for the crystal or glass accents, so always make note of how your design goes together before you begin cleaning.
It’s a good idea to make a quick drawing or diagram of where all the parts go. A snapshot from a digital camera might also prove useful.
Another idea is to clean the piece in small, manageable sections. If your fixture is hung too high or is too elaborate a design, you might have to call in a professional cleaning service to handle the job. However, most chandeliers can be handled by the weekend do-it-yourselfer.
Supplies You’ll Need
The supplies required to clean a chandelier are pretty basic. You’ll need a step ladder to reach the fixture, plus pads or a drop cloth to go underneath.
This padding will help prevent any glass or crystal prism breakage should you drop something, and it’ll also help shield delicate furniture and tabletops.
White gloves or soft, lint-free cloths are recommended, especially when cleaning crystal, which easily picks up fingerprints.
Be Safe – Turn Off the Power!
Extreme care must be taken around any electrical fixture, so work slowly and follow basic, common-sense safety precautions.
To get set-up, begin by turning off the chandelier’s power at the wall switch. It’s a smart idea to place a piece of tape over the wall switch to prevent the fixture from inadvertently being turned on while you’re working.
To be completely safe you can turn off the power at the breaker box.
Remember to set up alternative lighting nearby, otherwise, you’ll be working in the dark!
Glass On vs. Glass Off
There are two schools of thought when it comes to cleaning a chandelier; the ‘crystal or glass on’ and the ‘crystal or glass off’ methods.
Taking all crystal and glass off is a more complete cleaning process, allowing you to completely reach each nook and cranny of the frame. If your chandelier doesn’t require it, though, leaving the crystal or glass on is a much faster process.
Things to Keep in Mind
No matter which method you choose, never twirl or rotate your crystal chandelier. When cleaning, walk or move your ladder around the chandelier and clean in sections. By rotating a chandelier, you risk loosening its support, which could cause the chandelier or its crystals to fall.
If the chandelier is difficult to reach, it’s a good idea to change out all of the bulbs when you are cleaning. Never exceed the recommended wattage for the fixture and check to see that the lights work before packing away your ladder.
Glass On Method
To clean a chandelier with the glass or crystal on, prepare a cleaning solution of one part isopropyl alcohol to four parts distilled water in a spray bottle.
Spray a small amount of the solution on a white cotton glove or lint-free cloth.
Wipe the crystal or glass with the damp cloth, and then dry it immediately with another glove or cloth. Work slowly and carefully to avoid damaging any of the hanging glass or ornaments.
Avoid ammonia-based cleaners; ammonia can take the finish off the gold or silver finish metal hooks that hold the crystal elements in place.
Glass Off Method
When in doubt, completely removing the glass or crystal is a safer bet. This method also allows you greater access to the chandelier frame. You can use the same solution as outlined above for cleaning.
For chandeliers with more dirt and grime build-up, you can also try hand-washing the glass in lukewarm sudsy water, using mild dish soap.
For this method, rinse immediately in clean water and dry with a soft clean cloth. To stretch the time between cleanings, dust your chandelier lightly every two or three months with a feather duster or lamb’s wool duster.
New construction cleanup prepares the building for takeover by the new owners. A thoroughly cleaned building provides a couple of benefits. It makes the premises ready to move into immediately, and it provides a professional finish to the project. So many things must be cleaned before the building turns over to the owners that a checklist is required. Without it, highly visible items that are not clean will reflect poorly on the builder and call into question the overall quality of the job.
Phases of Construction Cleaning
1. Rough Clean: During this initial phase we remove and clean all construction debris including dust, caulking, paint overspray, and adhesives. Windows, sliding glass doors and glass partitions are all thoroughly cleaned. Typically, frames and mullions are included during this cleaning phase as well.
2. Final Clean: This phase begins with a repeat of all glass cleaning followed by an in-depth cleaning of all interior surfaces. After this phase, the space is usually considered move-in ready. Areas to be detailed will consist of:
Cabinetry: each cabinet will be cleaned inside and out with a microfiber rag and a neutral cleaner and the tops will be vacuumed to remove any accumulated dust or debris
Bathrooms: all bathrooms are cleaned from top to bottom including floors, fixtures, tubs, showers, counters, mirrors, and any wall tile.
Baseboards and Floors: Every baseboard and floor is detailed with the utmost care. We consider every type of flooring when we choose a cleaning medium to ensure that no damage is caused.
3. Touch-Up Clean: A week or so after the dust settles, we go back in and wipe down all horizontal surfaces to assure that all dust and debris is taken care of. We also remove any smudges and fingerprints that have accumulated on glass surfaces.
How to Do It:
Remove trash. Remove labels and stickers. Remove painter's tape and masking tape as needed. Clean and polish glass. Vacuum heating, ventilation, and air conditioning vents. Wipe down vent grilles. Wipe down baseboards, chair rails, crown molding, and door trim. Wipe down window trim and clean sills. Wipe off door hardware. Clean light fixtures and install bulbs. Vacuum carpeting. Dry mop wood floors. Wet mop tile and concrete floors.
Remove trash. Remove labels and stickers from fixtures. Clean and polish faucets. Clean countertops and backsplash. Polish mirror. Wipe down cabinet fronts. Clean and polish shower tile and surfaces. Polish shower faucets, showerheads, and drain. Clean and polish tub and tub surround. Polish tub faucets and drain. Wipe off towel racks, bars, and rings. Clean toilet, urinal, and any other fixtures. Clean inside cabinet and vanity drawers. Clean inside vanity shelves and spaces behind doors. Clean any tile work on walls or around windows and doors.
Remove trash. Clean sinks and polish faucets. Wipe down cabinet fronts and exposed sides. Remove any items in cabinet drawers and place them on the countertop. Clean insides of cabinets and drawers. Clean cabinet shelves. Clean and polish countertops. Remove tags and labels from the appliances and sinks. Clean and polish appliances. Clean under sinks.
Collect trash and debris and dispose of it in the dumpster. Clean exterior window glass that could not be cleaned from inside. Sweep and hose down entryways, porches, patios, and walks. Wipe down handrails and door hardware. Wipe down house numbers and mailbox/mail slot. Wipe down the air conditioner chiller. Clean out basement window wells. Clean stucco, concrete, and paint or stain off outside faucets and vents. Wipe down soffits. Check and clean gutters. Clean exterior lights and check for broken bulbs.
Remove trash. Vacuum furnace surfaces, water heater, and washing machine and dryer connection points. Clean stairs and landings, and wipe down balusters and handrails. Wipe off tops, sides, and bottoms of exposed ductwork. Wipe off door hardware.