When people get in touch with me to take over the window upkeep for them, they usually ask me two questions: how much would it cost and how often should they book me? While the first question takes a couple of minutes and a short survey of the property to answer, the second is a bit more intrinsic. Do you book the window cleaning for your home, office, or commercial premises? How much are you willing to invest? Where is your property located? Let me give you a few pointers on the best ways to plan the potential frequency of sanitary visits for your glass surfaces.
I will separate the type of property I treat into three categories – home, office, and commercial (restaurants, cafes, shops, etc.). Each of them has its peculiar features, and I will discuss in detail the things you should keep in mind.
Let’s start with the window cleaning for homes. There are no rules set in marble for the required frequency of visits, except for the preferences of the customer. I would say booking a professional cleaner once per season or three/four times annually should be perfectly enough to keep the glass surfaces in decent sanitary shape and great looks. Do not forget that modern window treatment not only removes stains and dust but serves as a repellent for their return after the procedure. The structure of glass allows for 100% removal of the microparticles if the cleaner applies the proper methods.
In my experience, house windows get dirtier more quickly than apartment ones. It might be the proximity to the ground or the car traffic nearby, but the higher the floor, the less dust accumulates on the exterior. The location of your home is also of paramount importance when it comes to the required frequency of window cleaning. Let me give you an example.
I have two residential customers with almost identical properties – semi-detached, two-floor houses with large front windows overlooking the street. One of them, however, lives in a busy district of Shepherds Bush, close to the Westfield London shopping centre; the other – on a sleepy, calm street with lush oak trees in Hampstead Village. The former books me once every two months; the latter – twice per year. You do the math.
Let’s move on to office window cleaning, then. The requirements here become more strict and regular, with managers looking for a precise schedule instead of improvisations. The difference in treatment frequency varies greatly, though, depending on a few significant factors. Arguably the most important of them is the size of the company I serve. Start-ups and small businesses strive to limit their sanitary expenses by any means possible. They are willing to sacrifice the outer look of their windows, especially if their activity is not directly related to immediate contact with customers. Such businesses might book a professional window cleaner once or twice per year, if that often.
Larger businesses and corporations, however, cannot make such compromises with appearance. They realise perception is reality in the world of finance and international commerce, and strive to get the best window cleaning possible for their premises. I’ve had the exclusive opportunity to be a part of a sanitary team that provided the upkeep for an upscale company headquarters, located in Canary Wharf. We had to clean all glass surfaces – atriums, exterior and interior windows, the cladding, and the whole facade – twice per month. Everything had to be performed with almost military precision, facing a challenging deadline. It was arguably the best practical training in premium glass care I have had in my career, and it showed me that you could achieve pretty much everything if you had the proper motivation.
Finally, I will discuss the type of window surfaces that I treat most frequently – the window displays and glass fronts of shops, restaurants, clubs, cafes or any other type of commercial space. Throughout the years, I have come up with a simple rule for the frequency of glass treatment required – the bigger your customer exposure, the more often you clean the windows. Some businesses require daily polishing of their fronts – I have had the honour to serve one of the trendiest restaurants in Chelsea, and let me tell you – nothing short of daily visits would do for their upscale clientele. The manager once told me: “If one of our guests sees a stain on the window, they are likely not coming back to the restaurant, because they have like twenty alternatives nearby. I cannot allow this to happen.”
A much more compelling case, however, was a regular customer I used to clean for a few years ago. He was an elderly gentleman of impeccable manners and intelligence, who was running a small store for old books. It was an amazing hidden gem in Soho that had an air of the 50s about it, and one of my favourite working stops on my regular itinerary. I would never forget what he told me once. “I like talking to you, lad, because you are a considerate young man, and you do your job seriously. I cannot book you more than twice per year, though. Not because I cannot afford it, not at all. But my customers expect a specific look and feel about the place. They almost want to see some dust on the windows and rafts, makes the place feel more authentic. As if they were on a treasure hunt in a derelict temple of the Mayans in the middle of the jungle. If my shop were as well organised and shiny as those big bookstores that look like hospitals, I wouldn’t be able to sell a single book!” Talk about perspective!
What would be my conclusion, then? You should book your window cleaning as often as you like, depending on the results you look for. If you are a homeowner, I won’t go for more than 3 or four visits per year. Business customers are trickier to satisfy, so I would leave the decision to their good common sense.
I have been in the window cleaning business for over two decades, and let me tell you – the landscape in the industry has changed so dramatically that you can hardly recognise it. I distinctly remember the day when I saw the turn of the tide, and when I told myself “this is a game-changer”. It was the first time I observed a Reach & Wash procedure for upper-floor windows.
You may argue that it is an overstatement, but the Reach & Wash gear has thoroughly altered the “rules of the game”, especially if cleaners have to treat glass surfaces at 15 or even 30 feet above the ground. Why is that the case?
Ten years ago, you had to be a bit of a daredevil to succeed in the world of upper-floor window cleaning, spending half of your working day on ladders or scaffolds. There was a natural process of selection – only the bravest and strongest survived in the long run, while the rest stuck to easier window cleaning tasks. The Reach & Wash method has obviously changed that – even a 15-year old kid can operate with the poles that do not require any particular skill or experience to handle.
Another great feature of the gear is that it does not require detergents, soaps, shampoos or any other chemical-based materials. It only employs running water, which is in perfect alignment with the modern “green cleaning” trend.
So if you check a window washing contractor’s website and it claims that Reach & Wash is some out-of-this-world innovation that only they can bring to your home, do not fall for it. Every respectable technician now works with the water-fed poles – which is perfectly fine by me!