The expression “You get what you pay for” rings true more often than not, but one of the exceptions is in window cleaning. After almost forty years of owning Diamond Window Cleaning, Inc. I have found that both the best and worst window cleaners all charge roughly the same amount of money, which means that many home owners are paying for a new Audi and getting a used Fiat. Why would savvy consumers make such a rookie mistake? For the same reason people do anything wrong…they lack information (particularly industry specific information) or more simply stated, they lack a defined set of buying criteria.
So, since you are already paying for it, how can you get the Audi performance from your window cleaner? First and foremost, do not hire a commercial window cleaner to clean the windows in your house. Going commercial in your home is so horribly wrong for three reasons: Poles, rags and ruts. A quality window cleaner will always use a ladder and not a pole to clean your windows. The reason why should be obvious. Would you inspect your newly cleaned windows from 20 feet away or would you want to get right up next to the window to check the quality of the window cleaning? The window cleaner cannot see the window well from twenty feet away either. Could you clean a very high ceiling fan better with a pole or from scaffolding that allowed you to get right up on it? Window cleaners cannot clean windows as well with poles as they can when right up next to the glass—no matter their experience. If your window cleaner uses poles you are paying for an Audi and getting a Fiat. If commercial window cleaners charged half the price that Diamond Window Cleaning, Inc. charges, then a very good argument exists to use commercial/residential window cleaners for your window cleaning, but they very often charge the same or more.
Secondly, high quality window cleaners never wipe the window with a rag after they use a squeegee (commercial window cleaners do not even understand this point). Rags are for the frame but should never be used to wipe the actual glass because they leave marks. Commercial window cleaners always follow up with a rag on the glass and will even put a rag on the end of a pole and wipe the glass after they squeegee it. Why? Because that is how they do commercial windows and they are in the commercial window cleaning rut.
Finally, the old rut: In the days of dirt roads and horse drawn wagons the roads would have wagon ruts cut into them by the thousands of trips taken by passing wagons. Once those ruts were cut into a road it was pretty much impossible to travel that road without the wheels of your wagon following in those old warn ruts. Gravity just took over and the wagon was forced into the low spot on the road. People often get into ruts as well. Commercial window cleaners cannot help themselves but to clean your windows the same way they do their commercial accounts. Diamond Window Cleaning’s crews do 100% residential work and we stopped hiring window cleaners with experience because all the training in the world could not get them out of the rut of sloppy window cleaning the commercial way.
So why does any home owner continue to use these commercial/residential window cleaners? Because even a Fiat has four tires and gets you to your destination, but as a window cleaning consumer you need to ask yourself this question: Why would I pay for the superior quality of an Audi and then take possession of an inferior Fiat? So what are the buying criteria for window cleaning? No poles, no rags on the glass, and no window cleaners who do commercial window cleaning.
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.
“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.
When it comes to window cleaning in Omaha our clients hate the rain. We at Diamond Window Cleaning are not fond of it either but not for the same reasons. Window cleaning consumers think that it is a waste of time to clean windows just before it rains. If I had a dollar for every time somebody got upset that we cleaned their windows just before a rain I’d have a nice stash of cash. I suppose this comes from the idea that rain is not good for a recently cleaned car, which is true of course because the rain mixes with the dirt in the streets and splashes up on clean cars and they aren’t so clean anymore. Maybe people in Arkansas are driving their homes in the streets, but up hear in Omaha that just isn’t done. Are you saying that rain does not make windows dirty? No, not at all, that would be absurd. I’m saying that rain actually cleans windows. If the wind would cooperate more with the rain then window cleaning companies would be unnecessary. At Diamond Window Cleaning we purchased a water-fed pole system that allows us to clean really high windows without ever leaving the ground. These systems have four filters that basically turn tap water into rain water. I like to call it my rain maker. If the rain came with a brush on the end of a pole like our rain maker, then we would be out of a job. Please do not run outside with a long aluminum pole and a scrub brush during the next thunderstorm, but if you did–and survived to talk about it–you could tell people what a fine job you did cleaning your windows with the help of the rain. So please stop whining about the rain. The rain is YOUR friend. I am the one who should be doing all the whining because the rain ruins our schedules and it cleans your windows. One last note: tap water is not rain water. Tap water has calcium, lime and rust that will ruin just about any surface you put them on especially glass, so don’t think that you have your own rain maker in the form of a garden hose. You’d be better off with a long metal pole in a thunderstorm.
Thirty-five years ago you could not just type “Window Cleaning, Omaha” into your computer and find a qualified (one can always hope) professional window cleaner. In part because of the obvious: people did not have personal computers and typewriters did not have Google. But a more obscure reason why you could not have found a professional window cleaner in Omaha in 1979 was that professional window cleaning in Omaha was just like personal computers in Omaha–non existent, or at least the profession of window cleaning for residential properties did not exist. Wealthy people in those days had “a man” who did all the things the homeowners could not do. “The man” was usually a retired fireman or carpenter who liked doing a little work in his retirement years. Today “the man” keeps busy preventing minorities from succeeding (or so we are told), and if he still has energy to burn then he greets people at Wal-Mart. Oh how the years have changed. Well, THIS man was too stupid to know that residential window cleaning did not have a future (I was young and being stupid is a privilege of the young), so I started the first window cleaning company in Omaha and it turned out that the people who said Window Cleaning for houses was a bad idea were dead wrong. Those people also failed to buy stock in some upstart company called Microsoft. And if you don’t know what a typewriter is just Google it.