Archive for Window Cleaning Tips

Tips to Streak-free Windows

brilliant windows

Window cleaners and home owners alike are always asking me what is the best soap for cleaning windows. Should I use a commercial soap or just dish soap? Is ammonia okay? How do I keep from leaving streaks? Like much of the window cleaning business, many times this comes down to personal preferences, but here are some good considerations to keep in mind.

Ammonia

Many homemade window cleaning soaps are made with a mixture including household ammonia. Ammonia can be an inexpensive and effective cleaner, but there are important precautions to its use.

  1. Never mix ammonia with bleach. Even in small quantities or where the residue of one may be present, kept these two products separate. Ammonia and bleach combine to form a very toxic chlorine gas.
  2. Ammonia is poisonous and not safe for children or pets, even more so than most other soaps.
  3. Ammonia should be used with gloves and in a very well-ventilated area. Prolonged exposure can be dangerous.
  4. Ammonia is damaging to tinted windows.

As with other chemicals, be sure to read all label instructions and cautions and MSDS information.

Dish Soap

Another component for homemade window cleaners is regular dish soap. Used in a correct soap-to-water mixture, this can be a good choice for some, but dish soaps tend to leave a build-up of residue over time.

Window Cleaning Soap

All of the window cleaning soaps that we carry are ammonia-free and made of soaps specifically designed for cleaning windows and prolonged use.  They are all designed to work with a squeegee, the tool of choice by the pro’s.

Dish soap and window cleaning soap are less caustic to use than ammonia. The pro window soap is designed to provide the perfect amount of slide for the squeegee.  With the debris suspended in the solution and the squeegee able to slide, the window will dazzle and shine.

Other Tips

No matter what type of soap you decide to use, here are some tips to make those windows sparkle and to avoid streaks.

  • Avoid cleaning windows in direct sunlight. This will cause the soap mixture to evaporate more quickly. If you have to wash hot windows, a water wetter, or squeegee glide, might help.
  • Remember, more is not necessarily better. Too much soap in your mixture can leave streaks on the windows.
  • Use a washer to apply the soap and a squeegee to remove it. Then, touch-up the edges with a lint-free towel. Microfiber towels work well for windows. (Remember to avoid washing towels with fabric softener or in a machine where fabric softener is used. This will cause towels to leave streaks.)
  • Make sure your tools are clean. Don’t use a really dirty washer. All of that dirty stuff on the scrubber can make it a lot more difficult to squeegee to a streak free shine.
  • Make sure your squeegee rubber is in good condition, an old blade can chatter or have knicks in the surface, causing streaks to be left behind.

Do you have additional questions about the various window cleaning soaps available?  Comment below or email us from the About Page!

Or… Shop now!

Extend Your Reach (with a Waterpole)

High Ceiling Ceiling Chandalier

One question I get a lot is how to reach higher than the 30 or so feet the longest aluminum extension poles reach. Whether it is to reach one awkward window, a burnt out light bulb, or to dust a corner or high ceiling fan, the only thing long enough (and actually useable at that height) is a waterpole.

Aluminum poles become too heavy and awkward much over 30 feet, and their construction is not rigid enough to remain stable at such heights. Waterpoles, because of their lighter, more rigid construction, can be made to reach 65 feet or higher. They are usually made of fiberglass, carbonfiber, or a mixture of the two.

It’s a bit of an investment if you don’t have a waterpole yet, but might be worth it in the long run if this is a regular customer. It would also give you a good excuse to try out using a Pure Water system on a few of your most time-consuming, problem window cleaning jobs.

ACME Thread versus European Thread

If you do have a waterpole, now you’re probably wondering–how do I attach this tool to the European (fine) thread on the end of my waterpole?

Well, there are a few ways to accomplish this.

Waterpole Adapters -- Unger

First, and most versatile, is the Unger HiFlo MultiLink Cone Adapter. This little guy will attach to your European thread on the end of the waterpole and allow you to attach the Unger ErgoTec Locking Cone Adapter. Then, you have the option of attaching a wide variety of tools, whether they screw on (with the coarse, ACME threads), lock on with Unger’s locking button system, or friction-fit on to the tapered part of the cone.

Waterpole Adapters -- ReachAround

The other option is the ReachAround. This is a simple red ACME threaded tip that can be added to some waterpole goosenecks. You can use it with screw on tools, or you can add a wooden or plastic taper to accommodate most window cleaning tools. With the ReachAround, you can use both the waterpole’s cleaning brush and another tool.

Do you have additional questions about extension poles, waterpoles, and the adapters available?  Comment below or email us from the About Page!

Or… Shop now!

The 3 Keys to Your Success

Keys to Success

How do you make this year your best? By wanting it. By doing it.

Building your business is all about accomplishing little things, consistently, until those little things become bigger things. It is about sticking with those little things until they have the time to grow into the bigger things.

Accomplishing your goals for your business comes down to 3 key items.

First, Determine Your Goals

The first step toward building your business is naming your goals. Only you know what is best for the future of you and your business, but here are a few goals to consider:

  • Do you want to expand your business?
  • Do you want to pick up new customers?
  • Do you want to hire more workers?
  • Do you want to work less?

Be specific and honest with yourself.

Second, Develop a Plan

Once you’ve determined what larger goals you want to accomplish, start thinking about how best to achieve those goals.

Make a plan. Start by listing your larger goals. Then brainstorm and break those goals into smaller, more manageable pieces.

For example, do you want to pick up new customers? What things can you think of to start working towards achieving that? Everyday things. Things you’ve not tried before. Things you tried before but didn’t follow through on.

Increasing your customer base can be accomplished a few ways:

  • cold-calls
  • word-of-mouth
  • being more visible

Try to be more specific in your list. The more specific, the more likely you are to stick with it.

  • Ask for referrals
  • Print and send out postcards to one specific zip code
  • Print and put flyers on doors in specific neighborhoods
  • Promote yourself on Facebook and Twitter
  • Mention your business at gatherings and functions

Third, Do It! And Stay Motivated

Once you pick one or two specific actions, put them into effect immediately. And stick with them.

The key is consistency.

If you decide to do something–like advertise on social media–make a schedule and keep that schedule. If you plan to post everyday, 3 times a day–do it. And keep doing it.

Give yourself a set amount of time to determine if something is working for you–say 3 months or perhaps one window cleaning season. Evaluate what has been accomplished in that time, and whether the actions you took are working.

Do they need some adjustment? If so, what would make you more successful?

Want to learn more about how to start your spring right and make your business more profitable? We can help with that! Comment below or email us from the About Page!

10 Tips to a More Brilliant Future – Part 2

Spring Leaves

Now that you have put some thought into improving what you already have going with your window cleaning business (discussed in Part 1), Part 2 will cover some ideas to expand your window cleaning world.

1. Establish an Online Presence

If you don’t already have one, create a website for your business. This is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your business. Customers will be able to find you via Google and other search engines. You will create a platform where you can promote yourself. You can tell the world why you should get their business over the other guy.

Make your business known on social media platforms connected to your website. Increase your presence there by staying on top of news, especially news related to window cleaning, and by retweeting/sharing posts from other businesses and individuals who have more followers. You can also market for free through these social media channels. Just make sure you balance ads and information, and don’t spam your channels. A handful of posts per days is usually enough.

Consider the following social media networks:

  • Facebook (make a business page for your company)
  • Google+ (make a business page connected to your Google business account)
  • Twitter (tweet, retweet, and keep up to date on news about window cleaning)
  • Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine (post before & after pictures of your customer’s windows)

Make a YouTube channel, even if you only use to create ads for your business. Once more, like, share, and comment on other videos to increase your presence.

Make a blog, because this is a great place to share information about your company, your history, your services, and anything else you feel like sharing. Just make sure that you keep posts here professional, because they will serve as the face of your business. This goes for all of your online posts–website, social media, YouTube, etc.

2. Expand Your Knowledge

The window cleaning business doesn’t drastically change like some businesses, but you can still benefit from keeping up to date on what’s out there. Manufacturers create new tools and make changes to established ones. Health, safety, and environmental laws get updated. And over time, your needs as a window cleaner may change.

Maybe there is one job that takes more time than usual because of hard water. Maybe there is one job that has obstacles difficult to work around with your ladder. Maybe one customer wants a greener solution.

How can you make these jobs more profitable? Easier to complete?

3. Expand Your Networks

Window cleaning is a mostly solitary job, but you can still learn from the mistakes, trials, and successes of others.

Take advantage of information from other window cleaners, from manufacturers, from wholesalers. Find conventions, demonstrations, and gatherings where you can interact with these people. Read and watch as much as you can on the internet.

You never know what single piece of information could change the way you look at and run your business.

4. Think Outside the Box

What ways can you creatively expand your business? What ways specific to you and your area can help you? Only you know the answer to this question, because it will be specific to your area.

For example: One window cleaner hires bike messengers as part time window cleaners.

5. Stay Consistent

Whatever changes you implement, whatever processes you update, make sure to be consistent with how you handle them.

If you put a marketing plan into action–stay consistent.

If you implement a new process for conversing with customers–stay consistent.

If you start posting to social media–stay consistent.

If you missed last week’s post, be sure to check out Part 1.

Want to learn more about how to start your spring right and make your business more profitable? We can help with that! Comment below or email us from the About Page!

10 Tips to a More Brilliant Future – Part 1

A Spring Window Reflection

For a window cleaner, winter is the time to reassess before the coming spring. Many window cleaners work through the winter, but you can still be thinking about how you can improve your business and be more profitable. If you are hibernating, creating a plan can make sure you get off on the right foot as soon as the weather breaks.

How can you make this your best year ever?

There are a number ways you can improve on or expand what your are doing.

In Part 1, we’ll cover suggestions for improving the tools, customer service, and processes that make your business grow. Next week, Part 2, will cover new things to think about and how to find them.

1. Inventory Your Tools

While business is slower, go through your tools and determine what needs replacing. Are any of your tools causing you to spend more time than necessary on a job?

Remember, time is money.

It might also be a god time to consider what new tools might benefit your business. What tools might make tough jobs easier? Maybe consider the chemicals you use daily and for special cases.

2. Add New Products and Services

What services can you add to your business? Consider what would be of benefit to your customers. Have they asked about certain services that you don’t provide? Maybe now is the right time to consider adding those services.

3. Sell More to Current Customers

Make sure your current customers know about new services you are offering. If you have been cleaning windows for your customer for years, they won’t know what other services you’ve added unless you tell them.

Evaluate what can help your current customers and consider adding these services.

Above all, don’t hold back talking about them or advertising them.

4. Improve Your Processes

What parts of your business process can be improved? Consider areas such as:

  • Scheduling jobs
  • Workflow on the job & off
  • Job tickets & other forms
  • Calling & conversing with customers
  • Procedures
  • Marketing
  • Financials

Sometimes all it takes is writing down how you do something to help determine how you could do it better.

Maybe this year is the year you can create new marketing goals. Do you send postcards to your area? If not, maybe you should. If you do, what about adding a second zip code to that marketing area?

5. Reevaluate Your Pricing

The start of the season is the best time to consider raising your prices. Make sure your competitive, but also make sure you are making what you are worth. Determine the accurate amount of time you spend on a service and how much that time is worth.

We’ll cover more ideas to grow your business next week in Part 2!

Want to learn more about how to start your spring right and make your business more profitable? We can help with that! Comment below or email us from the About Page!

The Best Kept Window Cleaning Secret

 

The Best Kept Window Cleaning Secret

A window cleaner’s tools are the key to their success. Whatever tools you use, you want them to be the best quality at the best price, so that they last and benefit your bottom line.

Well, what if I told you that you could save money as soon as your next set of scraper blades?

If you use Triumph scrapers, I have news for you!

Just last year, Unger released their new scraper – the Ninja Adjustable Scraper. If you have not tried it, this scraper is an innovative tool that could change how you view window scraping. Why? It has an adjustable head, allowing you to use it straight when working by hand or angled when using it on an extension pole. It also comes in both 4″ and 6″ sizes for the best versatility.

But there is even better news!

So you say you use a Triumph scraper and you don’t want to buy a new scraper? Well, Unger can also save you on the next pack of blades for your Triumph.

This is because the Unger Ninja Adjustable 6″ Scraper’s blades will fit into the Triumph scraper, at a lower price than you’re currently paying for Triumph’s replacement blades.

The Unger Ninja Adjustable 6″ Scraper uses stainless steel blades that fit the Triumph. Even if you prefer carbon steel blades, Unger has a direct replacement for those as well. The replacement blades for Unger’s 6″ ErgoTec Glass Scraper are a direct replacement.

Want to learn more about saving money on your next pack of scraper blades? We can help with that! Comment below or email us from the About Page!

Or… Shop for the Unger Ninja Adjustable Scraper or replacement blades now!

Unger Ninja Adjustable Scraper

Use the Ninja scraper straight, for hand use…

 

Unger Ninja Adjustable Scraper

…or angled for pole use.