Window cleaning companies saw services and frequencies cut nearly in half during th recession, but it seems business is picking back up again. Window-cleaning is a service that cannot be put off forever, but those customers who skimped on service may be suffering consequences that will take much more than a typical cleaning job to fix.

And for building service contractors that offer window cleaning, that means plenty of opportunities for making up some of the money lost over the past few years.

Many factors influence the health of windows, and most of them are related to weather.  Hard water stains and mineral deposits are caused by rain water that travels from other areas of the building’s exterior and carries minerals from concrete, stone or paint that dries on the glass. Also, metal that frames the window can become oxidized, giving the glass a hazy look.

Those conditions can merit window restoration services if a cleaning cannot remove deposits.

“We’ve schooled the customer, if you’re going to miss one service out of a two-service year, it’s maybe not the worst. The fear is the customers who completely don’t do windows for the next two years,” says Mike Behrent, manager of Brite Way Window Cleaning, owned by Jack’s Maintenance Service Inc. in Neenah, Wis.

Those who skip window cleanings for a year or more are not going to like their final bills once they do clean, he says.

“The rain is getting to be more acidic, and we’ve got a lot more pollution being put in the air,” contributing to more buildup on windows, he says.
Window cleaning is also commonly paired with pressure washing of the building, since a dirty building can quickly ruin a glass cleaning job after just one rain.

“We say, why don’t we power-wash that building and you know, we’ll give you more life with your window cleaning,” says Ron Terry, director of window cleaning operations for Complete Building Services in San Mateo, Calif.

“So you’re cleaning the entire building. And that preserves the paint as well so buildings that are really dirty, most people think the building needs to be painted when it actually might only need to be power-washed.”

The best way to keep window-washing services on the minds of customers, Behrent says, is to keep calling them.

“In general, if they’re interested, it’s a case of staying in contact,” he says.

One industry trend that seems to be a direct consequence of customer cutbacks is an increase in the popularity of waterfed poles and high poles with a squeegee and mop head on the end, because it helps avoid having to rent a lift, he says.

Customers should beware that some window cleaners are tempted to cut corners to make up for that price differential.

“What a lot of people do when they start losing money, they start cutting corners. And when they start cutting corners, they have potential of accidents happening,” Terry says.

Safety is of utmost importance when dealing with lift situations or when you are harnessing workers on a scaffolding system — and that is underscored by the role OSHA has taken on through a recent partnership with the International Window Cleaners Association.

“We’re heavily into safety training, making sure all our people are certified and that we’re always the safest company out there,” Behrent says. “For us, OSHA getting involved is a good thing. A lot of the buildings out there need help as far as guidance.”

What customers are now looking for, as window cleaning work begins to increase again, is added value. BSCs need to respond to customer service needs.
“At this stage of the game, you have to do things to differentiate your company from the rest of the pack,” Terry says. “You’ve got to make sure the clients you have are well taken care of.” 

previous page of this article:
Window Cleaning Frequencies Bouncing Back Post-Recession