6 Reasons Why Your Window Cleaner Simply Stopped Coming
I’m always hearing from people that window cleaners just disappear. They can’t find a window cleaner and the one they had was excellent but he just stopped coming.
With a touch of humour I have decided to outline some common reasons why your window cleaner stopped cleaning your house without an explanation. I know this from experience speaking to other window cleaners and also from serving new clients who explain the window cleaner stopped arriving.
In many instances, after a brief chat with you and viewing the house it’s clear to see why this most common occurrence has taken place.
It’s funny because working within the industry, you hear these things regularly but rarely do any service providers actually tell you as the client. Perhaps it’s awkward to explain or they feel they shouldn’t have to. But the result is that most of you don’t know why your window cleaner no longer wishes to continue the service and you cannot take action to prevent it happening again. Because you don’t know why. Consequently, the process will likely just keep repeating.
This is why I wanted to write this post.
1 – Your Home is Under Priced
Perhaps the most common reason. Not many window cleaners feel comfortable increasing their prices; instead, a common practice is with each new accepted quote one of the lowest yielding clients is removed from their schedule. This may be you. Sometimes the quoted price was just too low due to inexperience or an error and it will be seen as confrontational to explain or adjust this from the beginning.
To you or I, this seems ridiculous that market share is simply being thrown away. Discarded. However, it is the path of least resistance. The path that so many adopt in life. If you were looking to fill a 40 hour week then you would look to fill it with the closest and most compact clients who can generate the most revenue per working hour. This is a key disadvantage that occurs with a large proportion of sole traders and self employed persons and it results in poor service not restricted to the window cleaning industry alone.
As a client, it really is worth considering two key points in relation to your agreed window cleaning price.
Firstly, consider when your current window cleaning price was provided and consider the effect of inflation. With each passing year, our British Pound looses buying power and the cost of goods and services increase. Therefore, if you have a price for your window cleaning that way issued 8 years ago and has not changed since, it would be prudent to explain this to the window cleaner and ask him if he or she needs to do any price increases.
You might think I’m crazy saying you should essentially ask to pay more right? Well, no. It’s completely up to you but if you value your window cleaning service and you think the price is below the value it should be, then I would invite this. Remember it’s easier to keep the window cleaner you are happy with than loose them and struggle to find a new one only to pay the increased price anyway. Plus you will make them feel appreciated and your offer will be highly valued.
We have clients ask this all the time and we never take advantage of it. We still kept to routine increases which usually take place each two years of the clients service length reflecting inflation.
Secondly; say you had been paying £24 for example for your window cleaning over the last few years and said window cleaner just left and disappeared.
You will find yourself looking for a new window cleaner service. My advice would be to get a few quotes unless you are very confident on the reputation of a company or person. If you then get a quote which is £14 for example, I would be very weary. There is a high chance the new quote is too low or you were over paying before. Either way, it’s worth raising this and being honest. Perhaps get some more quotes to get a larger perspective.
While some companies can conduct cleaning cheaper due to business structure and such, I would personally view this as a potential reason to be finding another window cleaning within a year. Many times I’ve seen this personally where we have quoted for cleaning of a home and the client explained they were paying an extremely low price. One which does not make economical sense for us. When we explain this the penny usually drops and it becomes clear that any self employed person or otherwise is not likely to want to work for a rate less than minimum wage for a much greater degree or risk and effort.
If you think your window cleaning price is the deal of the century then the likelihood is that it won’t last.
2 – Restricted Parking
An issue which can be a real hot topic within certain streets and roads. As cars have become cheaper to own and run over the years, our roads have become more congested and parking often raises much tensions.
With modern systems of window cleaning using high reach equipment, window cleaners now work from vans which carry our purified water which is essential to leaving a spot free finish on your windows. Subsequently, we must be able to work within a reasonable distance to your property so hoses can reach to your property and around it too. This usually needs to be within around 20-50 metres.
As a window cleaner, it will have a very negative impact on your efficiency if you cannot park at a property and have to return multiple times throughout a day to check for parking availability. For us personally this would go against our goals to reduce mileage and emissions.
If you’re home has restricted parking and you’ve suffered the seemingly unexplained loss of a window cleaner then this may be the section for you.
As a client in this scenario I would look to provide a workable solution for any tradesmen pro-actively in respect to any potential parking difficulty. This may be as simple as moving one of your own vehicles on the required day so your window cleaner can park within your allocated space or drive.
Window cleaners will not typically be able to keep to prescribed visit days or timings due to the volume they usually serve so this would not be an ideal solution. In any event, where you knowingly have a difficult parking situation around your home, it is best to be upfront and provide a solution before it is asked of you or worse still, the window cleaner withdraws the service. and vanishes.
3 – Obstacle Course
Obstacles come in many shapes and forms. For window cleaners this is a significant point of frustration and I have heard many simply don’t go back to jobs where obstacles are excessive.
I can imagine you thinking, ‘Obstacles???’
I’m not talking about an assault course but instead things like excessive items left in your garden or around your home. This may include plant pots, toys, rubbish and even dog mess on grass and the like.
Surely, it can just be walked around right?
With modern window cleaning systems, the telescopic pole cleaners are always connected to a tank (usually mounted in a vehicle) via a hose. It’s this hose that trails and ends up getting constantly caught. It seems like a small thing but it can be one of the most frustrating things about the job ever. Even worse and especially in the case of plants or ornaments, if something is damaged because it has been caught by a taught hose then there is the issue of damage and liability too. In the instance of dog poop for example, there is a very serious health and safety risk as the hose is handled by hand.
As a client I would really urge you to take an objective view of the obstacles around your home if you feel this reason may apply. What is often overlooked innocently by you may be seen as a lack of courtesy by a visiting window cleaner or any tradesperson working at your property.
If you have a load of junk destined for the tip wedged behind the gate then it would be polite to move this if you know the window cleaner is due with you this week or tomorrow for example.
If there is any dog mess try to ensure it is picked up beforehand too.
For many windows cleaners and tradesmen in general it will be very uncomfortable to have to mention these things as it can so easily come across as rude or offensive. Hopefully, this may shed some light and consideration of some instances where this has likely been a cause of mysterious window cleaner disappearance.
4 – Late Payments
Does your window cleaner have to chase you for payment multiple times following each cleaning visit? If so, window cleaner disappearance may very well be incoming. Be warned.
This can be somewhat of a pet hate for window cleaners because late client payments are late income for them. And while it will mostly be an innocent oversight, it can very well be seen as a lack of courtesy.
If this has likely been a cause for you loosing a decent window cleaner over the years, then it may be worth considering to pay via a standing order or other form of almost passive payment which makes it less work for you and more convenient for the window cleaner.
It’s not as common for cash to be used a payment these days. We no longer accept cash payment for example and this lack of exchanging the physical currency can make it harder to remember. Many window cleaners will process their payment by BACS (Bank Transfer) or via online payment methods such as PayPal or GoCardless so check to see what mutual solution can be achieved.
As an example, we process all payment via Bank Transfer. Where we experience repeated issues of delayed payments we politely let our client know and explain it is essential for us to receive prompt payments. We do this via a friendly SMS message. If we experience a continued delay in payments we will then only continue to serve the client in question if they enrol within a direct debit payment system.
So it is progressive but with any business, they will have cost commitments to meet and if their clients delay payments it may adversely affect the business’ ability to make their payments. Ultimately, it could result in a business ceasing to operate in extreme circumstances.
5 – Asking for Extras
Ask any window cleaner and they will happily tell you about the cheeky extras they are asked to do. On a popular window cleaning forum, a window cleaner once commented how a client had asked him to quickly give their Conservatory Roof a clean while he was up at another window using a ladder. He obviously declined politely.
I’m not sure if it’s just a lack of awareness or blatantly seeing how far some can push boundaries but break it down. Conservatory Roof Cleaning is a notoriously difficult task and many window cleaners simply do not offer the service due to the time and effort it requires.
With us, Conservatory Roof Cleaning starts at £36. Our Window Cleaning starts at £12-14. So being asked to ‘give the roof a quick clean while you’re up there’ is comparable to going to barbers for a beard trim and then asking them to quickly throw in a hair cut while you’re in the seat. It’s a bit silly.
But more seriously, we receive requests along these lines all the time. At Omega Window Cleaning, we always want to offer a little more service than we are payed for and go the extra mile. However, there is reasonable limits and where we experience persistent requests to clean various other elements around someones home whether it be the porch, garage door or otherwise, we promptly change approach and include all these as an add on charge.
This is limited to a small minority but be mindful when asking for extra ‘little bits’ of cleaning to be completed. Many window cleaners will find it a bit of a cheek where it is being expected free and it is being portrayed as ‘quick’ or ‘easy’. Often resulting in unintended offence and the loss of your window cleaner.
6 – Unrealistic Expectations
The best is saved for last. Expectations. They go both ways and it is just as important for the service provider to manage expectations as it is for the client to be realistic about what is achievable.
However, that said, we all inadvertently have varying standards and norms according to each of us. There is only a hand full of clients I have experienced with unrealistic expectations out of the thousands we have served.
For clients, if you are someone who inspects all windows looking for faults following your cleaning then guess what? You will probably find them. Glass is not perfect and especially when cleaning both exterior and interior, there can be times you are expected to make the glass appear invisible.
Most glass has a combination of ageing, damage, imperfections and inconsistencies too. It’s key to realise that with window cleaning you are hiring ‘cleaning’ and not refurbishment or restoration. This will seem obvious to most reading this but believe me, it happens.
I have come across many clients expecting worn wooden frames even to be restored like new after cleaning where paint has faded and dirt from traffic has eroded the once shiny finish. A situation where only renovation is likely to provide the desired appearance. Don’t get me wrong. Cleaning still makes a huge visual impact but it is cleaning after all and not refurbishment.
If you’re in doubt or you are someone who has a higher standard, that’s great. But be pro-active in discussing expectations with your window cleaners if you want to avoid unnecessary disappearances as discussed. In addition to this, if you know you’re more discerning about your cleaning standards be willing to pay a little bit more for either a higher standard cleaner or for someone to allow a longer time on your property.
It will only end up that way sooner or later so it may as well be easier and get it sorted from the off.
Window Cleaners can be a funny bunch with preferences and standards not known to everyone else. Hopefully the points above provide some consideration for you and perhaps some evaluations if necessary.
I really appreciate the frustration you face when you seemingly just can’t keep a reliable window cleaner. Truth is, in many cases, there is an issue that you’re not aware of and window cleaners don’t tend to send a resignation highlighting their grievances about your excessive plants pots, late payments or almost impossible parking.
Whilst, I do not have this frustration being a window cleaner myself, I always try to view a scenario objectively and taking the other parties point of view into account. I know the frustration firsthand because I’m been there myself with plumbers and electricians. You phone, email and fill out online forms and none of them are interested or even reply. It sometimes feels like unless you require the easiest job in the world for the best money and your house is of a Hollywood especification then you’re in the bottom decile taking whichever service provider will take you.
I personally cannot stand this and thinks it’s a grossly unfair and selfish way of conducting your business.
As a result, we operate a clear policy where we will clean any house we are physically able to given the equipment we have. If your property presents certain difficulties then your price may be adjusted to take this into account but otherwise we aim to give service as I would expect to receive it free from selective prejudice.