Please think about where you might have special circumstances and inform us ahead of your estimate.
For purposes of the Happy Window Cleaning's meticulous workmanship guarantee or in the case that a complaint of damages is reported we require that either Cherie Britton, the Office Administrator, and/or Scott Britton, the majority owner, be notified by email or text within 24 hours from the scheduled cleaning. Please include time-stamped pictures of the issues that you would like addressed. This requirement is reasonable since it allows our leadership team to investigate the circumstances and collect evidence while the scene and staff memories are still fresh.
Happy Window Cleaning's standard cleaning involves the use of a soft cotton or microfiber scrubber that is pre-laundered and kept in a hip holster bucket, huck nap-free towels, and vulcanized rubber squeegees. We use only generally accepted processes for our industry. This is a body of knowledge that goes back to the early 1600s in Jamestown in the United States when manufactured glass was first installed in the homes of colonists and window cleaning emerged as a trade. In Scott's own experience, including over ten thousand hours of cleaning windows (and according to manufacture cleaning specifications), our equipment and process cannot scratch properly manufactured glass. This is not to say that poor judgment can't happen.
In the event that one of our teammates or crews is suspected of scratching someone's glass, our leadership team will conduct a thorough investigation to determine if the technicians deviated in any way from the established tools and procedures of the window cleaning trade. If there is evidence supporting a claim, given a prompt written report, we will find it.
Just as an example of a conceivable possibility, i.e., "what if" someone on our staff willfully acts against company policy and decides to use an unapproved tool on your home surfaces, something that is not a part of the Happy Window Cleaning System. Such a timely report mentioned above allows Scott to conduct an immediate surprise inspection of the service van to find the presence of the alleged unapproved tool. The mere presence of an unauthorized tool on one of our work vans would then be considered sufficient evidence to support a workmanship negligence complaint. And that matter would be addressed and corrected immediately.
Of course, every employee of Happy Window Cleaning is trained both hands-on plus theory, (theory is presented with a Happytude comic strip, including, on what items are permitted for use, why, when, and how to apply various procedures). What is more, employees are taught the hardness and properties of the surfaces that they clean, the tools they are given, as well as the manufacturer's cleaning recommendations. Further, approved tools are issued by Happy Window Cleaning, and each employee signs a "chain of custody agreement" that enumerates each approved tool. This happens at orientation on day one of employment.
The conditions in the field. When our people arrive to clean windows, the glass is of course typically dirty and the view of the glass is obscured. The point of fact is very common for window cleaners to find scratches even on new glass before we begin cleaning. It is so commonplace that it would be impractical to notify homeowners whenever scratches are found on the glass. Glass is scratched in the manufacture, in the building process and when heavy equipment is turning on the ground and rocks are tossed all about. Glass is scratched in transport from distributors to showrooms and building sites. Glass is scratched when siding and gutters are installed. Glass is scratched in wind storms, during landscaping and a perhaps hundred other ways.
Some of the higher-end windows come with protective film adhered with a mild adhesive akin to the 3M substance found on sticky notes. However, most windows are transported without protective films. Protective films on Anderson and Pellas for example, are peeled off by the window cleaner and these types of windows, being properly packed for shipping, rarely reveal any scratches.
What is more, with windows that are not brand new, lawn mowers, birds, window storms and other factors can cause damage to glass that simply goes unnoticed until the glass is freshly cleaned. Happy Window Cleaning trains our people on the subject of physical, and chemical properties including the hardness of architectural glass (5.5 on the Mohs hardness scale). Our employees are outfitted with devices that are much softer than the glass they clean. Even the type of towels they use is specifically chosen because they cannot pick up rocks if they are dropped to the ground. This is because a huck towel does not have a nap.
All of that said, people are not perfect. Things do happen on work sites. We once had a technician that forgot to put on his booties and walked into a carpeted area with his muddy shoes. We paid for the carpet cleaning. These are things that are covered by insurance but we didn't make the customer wait for an insurance claim, we just paid the bill. We have had a situation where an employee poked his finger through an older fabric screen. Things do occasionally happen when people are tired and arguably careless and/or distracted and in those circumstances, we will of course pay for the damage to secondary surfaces caused by ordinary accidents.
There are special circumstances where aggressive treatments are used. While our standard cleaning does not use agitation devices that are harder than the glass, for naturally occurring soils there are man-made things that we sometimes find on windows that are beyond the window cleaner's control. In those situations, a razor that is carbon steel (harder than glass) is the generally accepted method to remove said items. The proper use of a razor requires lubricating the glass and this should not scratch the glass unless there are further aggravating circumstances which are mentioned below.
Be advised that some items such as paint overspray will remain on the glass if the razor is not used. We're okay with this so long as you are okay with it and notify us, by text or email, that you do not want razors used on your windows ahead of the service date.
The plain truth is that when there is insoluble stuff on the glass more aggressive treatment is required than when painters are careful and properly cover the glass before painting trim. Blue or green painter's tape has a mild adhesive, it is designed to be used on windows. Duct tape, by contrast, has a much stronger adhesive and should never be used on windows. Now if our window cleaners find things on glass that shouldn't be there, by the nature of the situation itself, they must use more aggressive treatments than they would otherwise. Since they are addressing a problem that was not naturally created (man-made), and a problem that is not Happy Window Cleaning's own, the property owner is hereby asked to accept the risks involved with such treatments.
Furthermore, unless our administration is made aware of the instance of special circumstances, we cannot project they are present. This is one of the reasons that Happy Window Cleaning presents our proposals in writing and therein we specifically ask our prospects to tell us if special circumstances are present at their property. We believe that an informed customer is a happy customer. If we are made aware of such special circumstances ahead of a proposed scheduled cleaning, we would then weigh the opportunity costs of passing up the project in favor of less risky ones, or else at the least, we would be able to ask for an equivalent fee commiserate for the extra risk! However, when prospects do not reveal known problems and we send a service crew at $50 per hour in direct costs, we are then put under actual financial pressure to complete the job and remain financially sufficient.
Please keep in mind the fact that we do most of our estimates by looking at online pictures from Google Earth and Real Estate sites. Our average ticket is about $270. We have $60 in customer acquisition costs, then direct costs, overhead, and administration coupled with a short season.
Window cleaning is a luxury however, there is an upper limit on what most people are willing to pay to have their windows cleaned. And this is determined by reality and actual numbers such as customer conversion rate, (a key performance indicator that goes down as price goes up). So the point here is that there are certain financial constraints on how much communication overhead can be sustained with so many things to cover given the iron rule of the marketplace and the limited patience and free time of our prospects when they call for proposals and to schedule.
Happy Window Cleaning LLC is not responsible for any damage or scratches on windows that are defective from failures in the manufacturing process. Architectural glass is 5.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. So that is what we are expecting to encounter upon arrival. It is the homeowner's responsibility to inform us if aftermarket tinting has been applied to the glass. Such aftermarket films are much softer than glass and if applied well can be impossible to see. Ordinarily, UV coatings, i.e., tints, from manufacturing are between the panes, rather than on the surface of the glass. That said, we use razors and steel wool on the glass when there is an implied or express expectation to remove adhesives or paint. It is Happy Window Cleaning's policy to do so with proper lubrication and technique., and to limit the use of razors to the areas where the sticker or paint is.
If there is a large quantity of overspray of paint or other anthropogenic materials that are insoluble, since they are not naturally occurring in nature, extra fees may apply as time requires. Naturally occurring "soils" (materials) that are removed by standard cleaning include, sand. clay silt, particulate organic matter, tree sap, insect excrement, and the like. Synthetics are not naturally occurring and may require significant additional time and labor to properly address. These things are not evident when preparing a proposal unless informed expressly about them. Therefore these are not included in standard cleaning proposals.
In case of mineral deposits from malfunctioning sprinkler heads or power washing, these often require chemical treatments. We cannot warranty such items since a given mineral may very well be harder than the glass on which it adheres. Also "pitting" may occur over time, marring the glass. If a mineral is very acid or caustic it may etch the glass, or chemically change the glass over time. Free estimates do not include inspection of mineral composition and the same cannot be reasonably essayed, as such is not economical in most cases for the general purposes of cleaning, However, when we are asked to address the problem and the customer considers and agrees to the required additional fees to cover our time and remain financially sufficient, Happy Window Cleaning can use a general mineral deposit removal paste and proper procedure to treat minerals on glass.
All of those situations are extraneous to what can be reasonably expected of a standard routine cleaning task. However, very often we can offer treatments that will improve the appearance of the glass by removing much, if not all, of the mineral accumulation. The risk/reward of such undertaking properly belongs to the property owner and since this type of work is restorative it is much more expensive than a routine "standard cleaning".
Further, it is the property owner's responsibility to inform us if a single panel or more has been replaced with plexiglass instead of glass. Plexiglass is softer than regular glass. Our technicians are fully trained however we cannot always detect such "booby traps". We are at your home to help you with your windows/problem. We ask you to own the situation if there are special circumstances that we cannot reasonably control.
If we are asked to clean a window that has duct tape on it, we will assume that you want the tape removed unless told otherwise. Removing duct tape does involve the risk of scratching your window, simply because the mechanical action required is more aggressive than usual. If that happens you must hold us blameless since we are responding to your problem the best we or anyone else can, and there are risks involved that we as the practitioner ought not to be asked to accept responsibility for, since they are beyond our control. This is what can happen when one seeks to remove items from glass that should not be present, to begin with. The same can be said for paint, etc.
Ultimately, it is your view that matters most. Pun intended. We're Happy but human, so there might come a time where a drip from the frame above, lands on one of our freshly cleaned windows. This could happen after we made the last "quality assurance" go around. Many things can happen in the field. Some of the things we've come across in the past are broken window seals, gaps in the trim that need paint or caulk. Our process is effective 99.9% of the time, however, you aren't a statistic, you're depending on us to see your viewpoint! But how will we ever know if there is a problem if you don't give us feedback? Lots of mediocre companies have minimally satisfied customers, that doesn't cut it with us. We crave for you to be Happy Customers. Things occasionally get missed even by the best of us. That said, please let us know about any problem just as soon as it is discovered. No worries, no hassles, we will come back and make it right as long as you notify us within a reasonable period of time from service!