The 2 Categories of Cleaning Windows
If you have been cleaning glass for some time now, you will know there are 2 categories of squeegee-style window cleaning in the urban environment. If you haven’t, this page will identify the 2 main categories and how learning one can really help you improve your skill/speed with the other.
If you’re interested in getting into window cleaning and/or starting your own business and wondering where to get started this article can help you clarify and make a more educated decision.
Commercial Window Cleaning
The 1st category of cleaning windows (by squeegee) is commercial window cleaning. This typically involves washing commercial windows & frames in malls, strip malls, automotive dealerships, restaurants, etc.
Sometimes it can involve washing glass with a water fed pole & brush cleaning system, yet this article will primarily focussing on the traditional squeegee style window cleaning.
Commercial window cleaning is a great place to begin when you are first starting out as a professional window cleaner (in my opinion). There are many reasons whyI would recommend starting a commercial window cleaning route in your area. You may also choose to work for a company that has already established regular commercial routes.
Pros: Commercial Routes
- Regularly scheduled calls
- You get to work outside and usually under the cover of awnings
- Year round consistent income (especially nice during slow times for residential calls)
- Cleaning lots of glass regularly improves & refines your skill & technique
- Helps you improve your work ethic and punctuality
- Can lead to gaining residential calls
- You meet a lot of people and can give out a lot of cards to promote your business
Cons: Commercial Routes
- Earlier start time (dependent on time calls).
- Time calls may require being finished before they open (usually restaurants & coffee shops)
- Working as an employee for a window cleaning company, you will likely have to do a lot of calls in one day, which may make it a long day at times.
- Calls come and go. Businesses may close their doors unexpectedly without notice.
- If it’s your route, you will need to keep finding and adding new calls to the route or it can gradually dwindle down.
- Cold weather can be challenging at times (especially when below freezing).
Residential Window Cleaning
The 2nd category of cleaning windows (with a squeegee) is residential window cleaning. This typically involves washing residential windows & frames for 1-3 story houses, condominiums, townhouses, etc.
In some cases (especially for buildings that are 3-4+ stories above the ground) and for certain applications it can be better & safer to utilize a water fed pole & brush cleaning system.
Residential window cleaning has the same basic principles of commercial window cleaning, yet it can be a very different experience. I would highly recommend not going into residential window cleaning until you have developed a high level of skill, professionalism, experience, and confidence.
When it comes to residential window cleaning, you have to always remember that this is a persons home, their domain and it’s important to always respect them and their home. Being professional, communicating clearly & politely, and having insurance in place are a few mandatory thing to be and have.
Pros: Residential Calls
- Quieter environment to work in
- Typically 1-2 calls per day max
- People are usually friendly & grateful (especially when you’re professional & do a great job!)
- You can slow down and take pride in your work
- You can get regular residential calls (especially when you’re professional & do a great job!)
- neighbours usually take note and may hire you
Cons: Residential Calls
- Working outside in rain & cold
- Higher risk of injury due to ladder and roof work (always carry insurance!)
- Usually involves more ladder work to reach 2-3 story windows
- Heavier equipment to carry
- Varied terrain and tripping hazards
- Nice income call? Don’t expect them to have you back again. They may find a better price.
Graduated Stages in the Profession
If you are just starting out in the window cleaning profession, it would be excellent to work as an employee for a company doing commercial calls in the beginning. This will give you valuable experience and will create a solid foundation of skill that you can draw from for years to come.
After spending time learning & honing your skills as an employee, you may wish to begin sub-contracting your skills to a company. This will involve you having your own equipment, having any necessary insurance in place, yet your income will increase because of your taking on more responsibility.
Once you have excellent window cleaning & people skills, you may wish to graduate to residential window cleaning. If you haven’t yet developed your skills/technique to a high level, you can also learn gradually through residential window cleaning. The learning curve will likely take longer though since you won’t necessarily be cleaning as many windows per day as you would be with commercial routes.
Learning & becoming a skilled & professional window cleaner takes time and the rewards are worth it! You can one day have your own successful window cleaning business that can produce an excellent income for you and your family. I know this because I have personally done it and my intention is to give you as much information and guidance as possible to collapse your learning curve so you can do what I have done.
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Here’s to your success!
William R King