Determining the Cost of Window Cleaning

Window Cleaning companies usually use one of two methods to determine their cost per window.

Method #1: Calculate Actual Costs

1) Human resource expenses that include wages, simple IRA match, workers compensation insurance, criminal background checks, driving record check, previous employer verification, safety training, quality training, customer service training.  2) Insurance that protects the clients in the event of injury on their property.  Insurance to repair or replace property in the event of damage or breakage.  This will include workers compensation, general liability and automobile insurance.  3) The necessary costs of providing the service such as trucks, ladders, equipment, etc..  4) Costs to attract and acquire customers such as website, yellow page advertising, marketing, signage, sales efforts, estimates, etc.

Method #2: Mirror the price of competitors

Base your charges off your previous employer’s prices or call the well established companies and get their prices and then match them.

SO WHY SHOULD THE CONSUMER CARE WHICH METHOD IS USED?  Because you will pay the same price either way, but you will not get the same service.

With Method #2 you will get your windows cleaned; hopefully well, but no guarantees of even that.

With Method #1 you will get clean windows, plus you will have peace-of-mind due to a fully insured organization, you can trust that background checks have been done on all employees, you will feel the satisfaction of knowing that all employees are paid a living wage and have an IRA match for their retirement, you will experience the joy of having service providers who are well trained in customer service and window cleaning excellence, you will get the convenience of your calls and emails being taken by an office staff, and finally, you will experience the ease of scheduling because an established company has many service trucks staffed with well trained employees.

Residential Window Cleaning Is a Specialty That Requires a Specialist

After starting Diamond Window Cleaning in 1979 as an exclusively residential window cleaning company, my best friend, who was attending Cornell Law school in the early 80’s, sent me a multi-page pamphlet that he found on how to start your own window cleaning business.  One could not just Google the information because Al Gore had not yet invented the internet, so it was a thrill to see this information show up in my mailbox.  Up until that moment I was forced to learn everything by experience, which in the end turned out being the best instructor.  With great anticipation I opened the pamphlet to the first page only to read these words, “Whatever you do, do not clean residential windows because your business cannot be successful doing this kind of work.”  What I want you, the intelligent consumer of window cleaning, to understand is that high rise and route work window cleaning companies want your business, even though they lack entirely the skillset to do it well, because there is money to be made.  High rise window cleaners and route work window cleaners have existed for many, many decades, but genuine residential window cleaners are a new and to this day a rare breed.  Diamond Window Cleaning is the only window cleaner in Omaha that refuses to take commercial work…we turn it down everyday.  And we do so because doing commercial window cleaning literally diminishes the skills necessary for great residential window cleaners.  But if you don’t believe me, then your own negative experience of hiring commercial window cleaners will teach you the wisdom of my words.  Experience really is the best instructor.

The Dangers of Window Cleaning

“Window Cleaning makes my whole house feel cleaner.” That is what I have heard women say for years. Clean windows can look like a sparkling diamond…beautiful. But window cleaning can also be dangerous for the people doing the window cleaning. At Diamond Window Cleaning, Inc. that fact never leaves the forefront of our minds. We have three priorities at Diamond: Safety, Quality and Speed. Safety is number one for a reason. We drill it into our workers. We teach them everything imaginable that can go wrong and instruct them how to deal with each instance. We also have the very best insurance both for damages to the clients’ property (we have never had a claim in 37 years) and worker’s comp for our workers. This way those of us at Diamond Window Cleaning, Inc. and all of our clients can rest assured that the financial dangers of window cleaning are accounted for in advance. Our workers and our safety meetings will continue working to prevent the pain of any injuries to Diamond’s staff.

Do you want an eagle, a lizard or a giraff to clean your windows.

You probably do not know that three completely different businesses all exist under the name “Window Cleaning”.  They use different equipment, different vehicles to transport their equipment, they have way different insurance costs, and perhaps most importantly they have very different employees.  So what are these three different businesses?  Quite simply you have High Rise Window Cleaners, you have window cleaners who do Route Work, and finally you have Residential Window Cleaners.  So, you might be thinking, why are the employees so different–I mean they are all slinging a squeegee–right?  Yes, however that is pretty much where the similarities end.

High Rise window cleaners are more like construction works (perhaps Iron Workers) than anything else.  These guys are crazy.  They are manly dudes who ain’t gonna take off their shoes to walk on your carpets (they might but this helps paint the picture).  They all have Brooklyn or Jersey accents when they talk, they’re not afraid of notten.

Then you have your Route Work boys.  These are the dirty little step-sons of the High Rise men.  They ain’t too clean, too smart or too concerned about much of anything.  If High Rise Window Cleaners soar like eagles, then Route Work guys slither on the ground like lizards.  They do everything that can be reached with a four foot ladder or a five foot stick.  They clean all the restaurants, grocery stores, dentist, and doctors offices, and all the old ugly strip malls–anything with plate glass windows in all the one story buildings.  Back in 1979 when I joined the ranks of the window cleaners I did not even consider doing any Route Work because the city’s drunks controlled the market like a little mafia.  They expected to get paid in cash and they only had first names.  They were dirty, smelly men who charged next to nothing but you had to wait for them to show up because they did not have a phone.  They operated on their own schedule, but the only real alternative was to do the windows yourself.

Finally Diamond Window Cleaning, Inc. became Omaha’s first exclusively residential Window Cleaning company (I say exclusively because some of the Route Workers would occasionally do a house if somebody asked).  My Best friend bought me a manual titled “How to Start a Window Cleaning Company” and the first page started out by saying, “Do not do houses because there is no money in it.”  Well I had already started doing houses, so I stayed with it anyway.  If High Rise Window Cleaners are the eagles and Route Work Window Cleaners are the lizards, then Residential Window Cleaners are the giraffes of window cleaning.  They are much more elegant and clean than their counterparts.  They are greatly concerned about beauty and details.  You might be thinking this is just favoritism toward Residential Window Cleaners, but it really isn’t.  Think about it.  Who is going to work harder at cleaning a window perfectly: the guy who is doing tens of thousands of windows on a sky scrapper or the guy who is doing the window above the kitchen sink?  The guy who is doing a corner shop window, or the guy doing the window above the front door?  Residential window cleaners are the only window cleaners that are house broken.  Every once in a while you buy a dog that just refuses to stop peeing in the house; well that is what it is like bringing eagles and lizards into your home.

So why this article?  To let all you homeowners know that since the advent of the Residential Window Cleaner the Route Work boys have decided they too would like a little piece of the Residential pie.  They usually charge more than the true Residential experts (because houses are harder and the clients are more demanding), and you will need to stock up on some cans of pet stain carpet cleaner because these boys cannot be house broke.