learn how to score 'off-season' profits with post construction window cleaning
if you are considering starting a window cleaning business now, you may be wondering...
"with winter right around the corner, is this a good time to start a window cleaning business? after all, will people be interested in having their windows cleaned professionally this time of year?"
yes! the fall window cleaning season is now in full swing, but winter will be here soon, so over the next few newsletters, i'm going to show you how you can score excellent fall and winter window cleaning accounts. if you are ready to start a window cleaning business... click here.
today, let's talk about becoming a post construction window cleaning professional.
the commercial and residential home and building construction season, in many parts of the world, is coming to a close. construction companies all summer long have been racing to finish building construction before the winter weather sets in, and that means 1 thing...
...it's time to get the windows cleaned!
the reality is... right now there is $1,000,000,000's of post construction window cleaning work available globally. if you want a piece of this action, now is the time to act and offer your services.
and, if you don't offer your services, site's will have their own construction laborers handle the window cleaning. and you know what that means! scratches, smears, caulking and chemical burns left all over the glass! that's not what the glass deserves nor what the owners of the new building deserve.
in most cases construction workers are not trained to properly clean glass. they don't know about the hazards of glass fines and fabricating debris that lurk in some heat strengthened glass and how to avoid scratches. and, they aren't trained to know when to use scrapers and when to use chemicals to remove different types of construction debris!
nonetheless, contractors want to save a buck. and in many cases, they won't come looking for you, they'll risk doing the window cleaning in house for cheap.
it's up to you to get out their and save all of the worlds new construction glass from being inadequately cleaned and perhaps even damaged!
recently i received the following questions from a new window cleaner who's involved in my 6 month window cleaning business mentoring program. if you're interested in starting a post construction window cleaning business, you may wonder, as my student did...
- who's in charge of hiring window cleaners at construction sites?
- what kind of attributes are they looking for in a window cleaning business?
- how do you remove construction debris like concrete splatter off glass without scratching?
- how can you tell if glass is tempered?
- when is chemical use needed instead of glass scraper use?
- where can you research glass types and glass manufacturing processes?
during the course of this article, i'll also point you to where to download a sample tempered glass waiver and some highly informative free downloadable videos on the making of float glass, laminated glass and flat glass mirrors. here's my students' first question.
if i’m trying to win construction clean up business, whom (what title) do i ask for when i walk on to a construction site?
a: at most construction sites there will be a company in charge overseeing the development and construction of the property, that company is the "general contractor".
when at the job site you might ask a worker, "who's the general on-site?" that worker will probably either tell you the business name, point to a person, or direct you to a temporary office or trailer that the general contractor has set up as an on-site base of operations.
and if he is not available, what is the title of the next person in charge?
a: if the owner of the gc is not available, just flat out ask if there is anyone on-site you can talk to about hiring your company to do the post construction window cleaning.
...really there's no harm in just asking. i'd personally rather risk losing a little credibility by sounding unsure, than not getting the job due to procrastination.
are these people who are constructing the building really the decision makers when it comes to selecting a vendor to clean the building’s glass before it opens? or is the decision-maker in an office back at company headquarters?
a: in many cases the gc is authorized to subcontract different companies to perform different tasks, i.e.. (he'll hire the plumbing, electrical, window cleaning, siding, roofing outfits etc...).
this is not always the case, like you mentioned, the owners of the building-to-be, may have the authority. you'll find out who is in charge of hiring when asking about the gc.
what attributes are the decision makers looking for in a glass cleaning vendor?
a: you'll be working around construction industry people, so you might want to make your appearance fit the type of work you'll be performing...
...what i mean is:
1. arrive on-site with a truck or van displaying your company logo. your company truck should also have a ladder rack with a variety of ladders in place.
2. wear the proper clothing to work in, and around the construction site, i.e.. (steel toed boots or shoes (if needed), hard hat (if required), canvas or jean material pants, long sleeved durable shirt and an embroidered jacket displaying your company logo). in most cases, when you actually clean the windows, the construction process will be coming to it's end and the need for construction clothing will not be necessary. but, when you originally make your window cleaning offer, appropriate construction site attire may be needed.
3. you'll also need to leave your company contact information in the form of a business card, or ebusiness card.
what influences which vendor they choose?
a: i can't answer this 100% accurately because this is subject to the opinion of the person in charge of hiring. but... i can give you my understanding of what it takes to get hired.
the following is a list of questions for you to consider:
1. how much will you charge? generally, the removal of construction debris takes at least 3 times longer than the standard window cleaning process! and because of this fact, you'll need to price your services accordingly.
2. are you licensed and insured?
3. do you have enough staff to handle the job before a deadline?
4. are your employees competent? what i mean is...
does your staff understand construction site safety? are they trained to perform the window cleaning in a safe and effective manner? if needed, can you or one of your employees operate manlifts to clean exterior windows? can your staff actually clean a window better than the laborers already on-site? by no means, is it absolutely necessary for you to hire employees to perform construction cleanup work. if you want to work on your own, there's plenty of opportunity available. and, you can minimize your liability, because you can control every aspect of the cleaning process, making sure it's done right!
5. does your company have a good track record? have you had work related damages you've had to claim on insurance?
6. do you have the proper window cleaning supplies for the job?
7. are you outfitted with a window cleaners tool belt or are you just carrying around your tools by hand or bucket? you can read more about how tool belts can make the work place more efficient and safe by clicking here.
how do i get typical construction debris, like cement splatter, off of glass?
a: before you start any new project, make sure to get a tempered glass waiver signed by the company authorizing your window cleaning work at a post construction site. as with any legal document you use in your business, have legal council either draft it or confirm the document adequately covers you in case of a dispute.
my friends at the iwca have posted a good sample waiver. it's located here:
you may want to create a waiver that also encompasses the use of glass scraper and chemical use on tempered and annealed glass surfaces; the sample waiver at the iwca only covers glass scraper use on tempered glass for the removal of particular debris.
scrapers can be used to remove the following items as long as the glass doesn't contain fabricating debris and glass fines:
cement splatter can be loosened and removed safely from glass with the aid of chemicals like titan laboratory's "mdr-b" mineral deposit remover.
razor blading cement will scratch glass... you simply can not push or drag rocky material across glass without scratching it.
"oil flo" is a safety solvent cleaner also manufactured by titan laboratories. it's a specialized product for removing organic stains such as:
- tree pitch
- adhesive stickers
- candle wax
- silicon caulk
- roof tar
to read more about oil flo, mdr and other chemicals made by titan laboratories, visit titan's web site at:
i'm not getting paid to promote titan labs, i actually use several of their products in my window cleaning business and have found their chemicals to be effective at removing a variety of problem stains on window glass.
removing silicone caulk from windows is one of my favorite uses of oil flo. at post construction window cleaning job sites, window installers leave silicone caulk on glass in the form of smears, globs and finger prints.
trying to remove these marks with a glass scraper, white nylon pads, steel or copper wool pads, just smears the caulking and does not effectively remove silicone from glass...
...oil flo and other types of solvents, that are specifically designed for use in the window cleaning trade, are available and are effective at removing silicone caulk.
how can you tell if glass is tempered?
a: i don't know what all glass manufactures do to signify that a particular sheet of glass is tempered, but in most cases, manufacturers will actually imprint the glass with the word "tempered". look for it in one of the windows corners.
can you direct me to a web site that describes various kinds of glass?
a: http://www.glasswebsite.com is the home of the glass association of north america. at their site you'll find a mass of information on america's glass manufacturing industry.
they've also posted informative videos on the making of float glass, laminated glass and flat glass mirrors. if you'd like to learn more, here's there video page:
thank you. (tom b. - north carolina)
thanks for all of your questions! tom, best wishes on creating a booming post construction window cleaning business.
post construction window cleaning can be a very lucrative part of your window cleaning business. if fact, if you live in a community of 30,000+ people, you can potentially specialize, and make a living offering only post construction cleanup work.
once you've established a good working relationship with a general contractor, it can lead to obtaining all of that contractor's future projects! and, that new relationship can create serious financial stability for your new window cleaning business.
there's no better time to start looking for post construction window cleaning work than right now! projects are now coming to a close and the timing is perfect to score lucrative work during rainy or inclement weather.
i'll see you on the streets cleaning windows,
- andy engstrom
about the author: andy engstrom specializes in teaching real people how to start profitable window cleaning businesses that make $40,000 to $100,000 (or more) per year. to get instant access to all his most profitable window cleaning business strategies, tools, and resources,
visit: window cleaning business