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Tom in leeds

Converting old trad to wfp

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Tom in leeds

Hi guys,

 

I'm just wondering how you found transfering your trad cleans to wfp. I have converted quite a few in the last year but some are a real pain in the arse. Are there any really good tips of the trade out there?

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Marko067

Might help if we knew what you were finding a pain; convincing your customers or the cleaning itself.

 

My experience was that most of the problems were in my head. In practice it wasn't as bad as I'd imagined it. Much smoother in fact. One thing I found out quite quickly was that the more upbeat/positive I was about the change the more readily my customers accepted it.

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LIXRHI

Ive just completed my first week on the pole after 10 years trad. So far the response has been great. No complaints yet.. I let every customer know in advance of the change with a letter and did my research so that any questions asked I could answer confidently. You're confidence will keep the customers mind at rest. Let them know the first clean might not be perfect but the results will get better with every clean. You'll always get some that take more convincing than others.. All the best pal

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Marko067

Don't get disheartened if you lose some. You will pick up more work. Keep things pleasant and you may find you gain them back. One of my most anti wfp customers now won't let anyone say a bad word about it. She was so upset about it, I just said, "tell you what, if you let me clean them this once wfp, I'll only take your money if you are satisfied when they're dry. If you're not then I won't accept payment." She came out and watched me cleaning them and was so impressed she didn't wait for them to dry before paying me.

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LIXRHI

That's a good idea mate. I have that 1 customer too. He flat out said no way when I informed him of the changeover. I think I'll try that tactic.

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Poles Apart
Ive just completed my first week on the pole after 10 years trad. So far the response has been great. No complaints yet.. I let every customer know in advance of the change with a letter and did my research so that any questions asked I could answer confidently. You're confidence will keep the customers mind at rest. Let them know the first clean might not be perfect but the results will get better with every clean. You'll always get some that take more convincing than others.. All the best pal

You are doing this right, the worst thing you can do is say nothing as some suggest on here. I don't hand out letters to all customers but keep copies of a statement of method in the van just in case someone questions you, it's much better than bamboozling them with verbal gobbledegook as they would see it, by reading it in their own time they absorb it better saying nothing sews doubt and suspicion. I told a customer yesterday that his £9 job was going up to 10 after a absence of increase in 3 years he replied saying WHAT for pouring water on to my windows he thought we didn't have costs to the business we even told him we have to pay 80 quid for resin alone.

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spruce

The last time you tradionally cleaned the houses was a good time to give the frames and sills a good clean with your cloths. That makes changing over much simpler.

 

We bought a trad round with the majority of houses being dormers. The previous cleaners accessed upper windows by walking up the roofs. They cleaned glass only and the frames were minging.

 

We bought a wfp trailer for this round. So we were new to the customers (although introduced), foreigners (South Africans), and never done wfp before. We had Unger Teleplus poles (as whippy as fiberglass) and Vikan brush heads (heavy as a brick). We had 1/2" garden hose on hozelock hose reels (no minibore or microbore on sale in those days), no controller (hadn't been 'invented' yet), and 3mm jets. Most customers had never heard or seen wfp before either.

 

The good thing about the round was that it was very compact, so we were able to scrub and rinse each window thoroughly and then move onto the next house and then the third house. Then we started back at the first house and cleaned glass only repeating the same process on the second and third house.

We then inspected for any streaking issues and re-cleaned glass on those windows. We probably did 5 or 6 houses a day initially. But once the first clean was perfect, cleaning afterwards was much quicker.

 

Being a good wfper only comes with experience which you have got to learn yourself, nobody can teach you. Before you clean any window carefully inspect it for bird muck or any other issues. (In fact its good to inspect all the windows on the side of the house you are cleaning.) We will pay attention to those issues by soaking them with water and giving them a scrub first.)This will save you time later.

 

We clean the top frame first with each clean but very really rinse it these days on maintenance cleans. We then wash the window sides and bottom but not the sill. Then we 'box' the glass around the edges and then clean the glass inside the 'box'. We have found 2 passes to be the best. We then wash the sill and rinse the window. This works for us as we rinse off the glass. (With experience you will learn to aim the jets (pencil) of water a few mm below the top of the glass and rinse.) We switch the water flow off and then wipe the sill with the brush.

 

Once you have done the initial clean and they are done well, the following clean will be a maintenance clean. Don't over clean (I have this problem).

But do go back and inspect the finished job. Once it is perfect then you will gain confidence to wash and walk away; but that only comes with time and experience. If you have a good brush you could get away with a single pass on a 'clean' window, but you need to try it. (We have a children's center and council offices we clean on a weekend when no one is about. In the early days it was a great place to test what worked and what didn't on south facing windows as no one was around. Your own house is also a good place to experiment on.)

 

Older windows with upper openers above a full pane of glass below are ones to watch out for and you will get streaking down the center of the glass. We have one house that we do all the upper windows on ground and first floor and then carry on with the others in the street. We then go back to that house 3 or 4 hours later and then wash the lower glass under those openers. By that time the upper windows have dried of. She's had a few wfpers over the years who have 'stopped coming' because of these windows.

One local cleaner dumped all his customers who had those windows due to the extra time it took him to get them right.

 

If you see a vertical row of water droplets in a straight line from the top of the window there is a good possibility that these will dry as white spots. We get this a lot on the North East coast. If you see this we shake the brush 'dry' and then wipe any water droplets from the top frame. Then switch the water on and wash the glass only. Inspect later. We have this issue on a couple of south facing windows where the upvc frames appear to be oxidizing.

 

I'm a bit OCD when it comes to cleaning customer's windows. I had the same local lad mentioned above saying to me that he was only interested in customers who were happy with a 90% clean. When he first said that I was shocked as it goes against everything in me. But it does make a lot of sense. Its not humanly possible to do a 100% perfect job. So even with my approach I may class my clean as a 95% clean on each house. He recons it takes him twice as long the clean to a 95% standard as it would to a 90% standard. Food for thought. On the hand, if he took his van in for repair, would he be happy with a 90% job?

 

He also dropped all his customers who had back gates that were difficult to open as they hindered his earning potential. Offered fronts only or nothing.

He has a full round btw.

 

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spruce
That's a good idea mate. I have that 1 customer too. He flat out said no way when I informed him of the changeover. I think I'll try that tactic.

 

A couple of weeks ago I informed a customer my now departed (got a proper job) son in law cleaned that we had a new cleaner covering that part of the round for us that son in law used to do. She said she only wanted someone using that pole that we have and not someone cleaning the old way by standing on her roof.:)

 

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spruce
That's a good idea mate. I have that 1 customer too. He flat out said no way when I informed him of the changeover. I think I'll try that tactic.

 

My advice is to just move on. Its your customers personal preference. Some ignore that there is a safety issue and that the reason for doing this is that you want to live a long healthy life.

 

We have a customer who is one of the rapid response team working for the NHS. He was called to an incident in Middlesbrough just before Christmas where a window cleaner had be blown off his ladders whilst working and sadly didn't make it. The owner of the house he was working on was distraught. But it was too late for 'if onlys'.

 

He made me swear that I would never use ladders. I did say that I do have to use ladders occasionally but never on my own and never in windy or bad weather. He was not total happy with the answer.

 

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Dave B

All this fuss to change customers to a different method of cleaning

Just clean it the way you want as you are getting paid to clean them which is what you are doing

You don't tell a mechanic to use air tools because you don't like spanners

@Poles Apart why is the worst thing not to tell them?

I changed all my customers over by cleaning them

If nobody in then great

If in and come out and ask i just said it's 100% pure water and will do an amazing job on the frames etc ..let it dry and any problems give me a shout and I'll sort it

Everybody happy and loving this new "wfp thingie"

It was as easy as that for me

What is the point of a method statement for customers etc

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Poles Apart

Customers think 100% pure water is tap water with no soap in I'm afraid, your customers may not voice their concerns but some still doubt the method I've just lost a job customer said her husband didn't like "those poles" didn't even question the quality of the work Coronation Streets representation of an idiot window cleaner doesn't help the industry we are still looked down on by some who want to see us "toil" up and down ladders so they can get their monies worth.

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spruce
You are doing this right, the worst thing you can do is say nothing as some suggest on here. I don't hand out letters to all customers but keep copies of a statement of method in the van just in case someone questions you, it's much better than bamboozling them with verbal gobbledegook as they would see it, by reading it in their own time they absorb it better saying nothing sews doubt and suspicion. I told a customer yesterday that his £9 job was going up to 10 after a absence of increase in 3 years he replied saying WHAT for pouring water on to my windows he thought we didn't have costs to the business we even told him we have to pay 80 quid for resin alone.

 

I'm afraid you are better than we are with this. I was going to do this four years ago but never got round to it. :oops:

 

@daveyboy this was suggested on our NVQ training course as an ideal way of having evidence of an action plan of how to safely clean your customers windows if there was ever an accident. We do this method statement with all commercial customers identifying risks/hazards and what action we take to reduce the risk.

 

The suggestion was a blanket method statement would cover most residential customers, but highlighting hazards that apply to a particular customers property (fish pond etc.)

Of course we make safety decisions as we go. If there is thunder and lightening around for example, we stay in the van or go home, so a method statement would cover varying weather conditions. If a customer has his electric lawn mower out then we will come back to the job later as this adds to our risk, even more so if there is an extension drum involved.

 

We ensure all outside electrical power sockets are closed. If one is broken I get gaffer tape and a plastic bag to seal it up. On one window its easier to do the window with a wet and dry cloth. But these are all risks you adjust to. A method statement proves to others you have done everything in your power before hand to consider and then implement solutions to minimize the risks.

 

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spruce
All this fuss to change customers to a different method of cleaning

Just clean it the way you want as you are getting paid to clean them which is what you are doing

You don't tell a mechanic to use air tools because you don't like spanners

@Poles Apart why is the worst thing not to tell them?

I changed all my customers over by cleaning them

If nobody in then great

If in and come out and ask i just said it's 100% pure water and will do an amazing job on the frames etc ..let it dry and any problems give me a shout and I'll sort it

Everybody happy and loving this new "wfp thingie"

It was as easy as that for me

What is the point of a method statement for customers etc

 

Not always 100%. I watch when a wheel needs taking off as airtools damage locking wheel nuts so I won't let them use them. Now they have a notice up warning customers that they aren't responsible for damage they incur removing locking wheel nuts - but they still use an impact wrench.

 

Customers have a right to decide how they want their windows cleaned, but we also have the right to refuse to do them off ladders. We we changed the rest of the round we were doing trade to wfp I had one customer say they wanted the windows done the same way and they he didn't care about my safety. Decision was easy to make.

 

We did a customer for 4 years before they found out we didn't dry the windows. They were always happy with the results when we collected on a Friday evening. She happened to be home the day I did them and told me she wasn't happy. She wasn't interested that we had always done them this way since we started cleaning them.

Next time around he was there and we got dumped very aggressively. Their windows, their choice. Their new trad cleaner walks all over a tiled roof extension the clean the windows. :)

 

Every time we pass by I smile and ask myself how many broken tiles are on the roof now.

 

If we get a new customer I don't bother to discuss cleaning methods so I just do them as you do.

 

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jimmyboots
Coronation Streets representation of an idiot window cleaner doesn't help the industry we are still looked down on by some who want to see us "toil" up and down ladders so they can get their monies worth.

 

Hey @Poles Apart , I'll have you know, 'Our Tim' is Water Fed Pole now. :D

..Link...

\/ \/ \/ \/

 

Coronation Street WFP

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GleamCleanUK
Hi guys,

 

I'm just wondering how you found transfering your trad cleans to wfp. I have converted quite a few in the last year but some are a real pain in the arse. Are there any really good tips of the trade out there?

 

I've personally taken over trad rounds to convert to wfp in the past as well as picking up work off bad quality trad cleaners. Success rate is high but it's worth having a tactical approach.

1. Having a guarantee set in place.

So that as long as your first cleans are top notch you can guarantee that if there are any issues I. E ghost runs. And droplets left on glass. You go back within 24 hrs to reclean.

 

2. You reassure them of the benifits of wfp. Having all frames glass and sills cleaned. And also being fully insured. A lot of trad cleaners claim to be insured but aren't carrying out safe practices I.e having ladder footings and being tied off at the wall. Which no trad cleaner is going to do. So you have one up on them with that too.

 

Overall best to explain in full the benifits. And also tell them to call whenever there is a problem and your promise of rectifying it promptly should be enough.

 

First post on here. Hope it was a helpful one. Lol

 

Gleam Clean UK

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