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5 storey Flats - minging 1st clean


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Hi all,

I've been asked to quote a complex of 5 storey flats by a property management company.  I do a lot of gutter clearance for them, and finally after 2 years of pestering, they've asked me to quote a window cleaning job.  I've got the kit required for WFP at that height, but the frames and sills are green, with moss growing out of the gaps in the sills on the worst offenders.  

The management company are not happy with the current window cleaning provider, and stipulate that they want an adhoc clean and then "on contract" if the residents are happy.  Speaking to a resident today - they want all the sills cleaning so I'll be doing the first "restoration" clean.  

I'm not going to abseil it and do it by hand, and i really don't fancy doing it from the ground at that height and quantity (there's over 1000 windows).  Is hiring a spider lift and poling it close up a stupid idea?  Anyone have any experience of nasty first cleans on this scale?

Cheers

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All I would say is unless you get a years contract it's not worth your while. We picked up 7 blocks of 4 storey flats with frames that hadn't been done for years.

We told  them we would either want a significant first clean charge or a years contract. First clean took 6 hours for the 2 of us and 4 and a half for the second.

The ability to use hot water on these types of cleans can't be underestimated.

The MEWP idea is ok, as long as the job stands it.

The other side of this is because we did the job so well they want us to do all of their properties.

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21 minutes ago, Part Timer said:

All I would say is unless you get a years contract it's not worth your while. We picked up 7 blocks of 4 storey flats with frames that hadn't been done for years.

We told  them we would either want a significant first clean charge or a years contract. First clean took 6 hours for the 2 of us and 4 and a half for the second.

The ability to use hot water on these types of cleans can't be underestimated.

The MEWP idea is ok, as long as the job stands it.

The other side of this is because we did the job so well they want us to do all of their properties.

I'm definitely going for a 1st clean price as they're not commiting to a regular clean at this stage. If we do it well, we'll keep it and then there's no reason to drop the price 😉

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Interesting subject, not a job ive come across or expect to, id say @Pjj and @Part Timer would be my goto fellas for this type of question.

 

My only thought would be, would it be the type of job you could sub out andjust earn a bit of commision on, as it sounds like a rope access job to me

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I would be very careful just doing an initial clean you have no guarantee that you will get the regular cleaning contract , have you got any pictures of how bad they are ?., sounds like a spray with a biocide or soft wash with hypo to kill the moss might be in order , we do this type of job but most of our commercial work is now up to speed and very clean , 5 storey from the ground if it’s that bad might not get the initial results you want , but doing it from a picker will be very time consuming and expensive, can you get it in all areas that you need to ?. Picker with wfp and either hypo mix and or virisol good scrub should get you good results , only other option is magic sponges with a cleaning agent , hard slow work trust me .   

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2 minutes ago, Adman said:

I'm definitely going for a 1st clean price as they're not commiting to a regular clean at this stage. If we do it well, we'll keep it and then there's no reason to drop the price 😉

Personally I'd walk away without a commitment from them. Are you guaranteed to get paid if the Chairman of the Residents Committee says he's not happy with the job you've done. 

They're asking you to clear up someone else's mess but aren't prepared to make a commitment! You know them better then me so I hope I'm wrong and hope you get it at least 3 times, plus MEWP cost, the price a regular would be. 

 

  • Agree 2
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 The property management company is one of my best customers from the gutter clearance side. Have never queried an invoice and pay early.  I can only guarantee a 100% job is to do it from a picker, then I should win the job and maybe others...I'm not getting mugged though, this will be priced accordingly.

6 minutes ago, Pjj said:

I would be very careful just doing an initial clean you have no guarantee that you will get the regular cleaning contract , have you got any pictures of how bad they are ?., sounds like a spray with a biocide or soft wash with hypo to kill the moss might be in order , we do this type of job but most of our commercial work is now up to speed and very clean , 5 storey from the ground if it’s that bad might not get the initial results you want , but doing it from a picker will be very time consuming and expensive, can you get it in all areas that you need to ?. Picker with wfp and either hypo mix and or virisol good scrub should get you good results , only other option is magic sponges with a cleaning agent , hard slow work trust me .   

how do you get on with spraying chems on Big commercial jobs like this? I've never been arsed with all the risk assessments etc.  I've got pics, but wouldn't want to risk the current provider reacting to whats going on to be honest

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Cghwindowcleaning

Abseil it or MEWP it by hand if the frames are really that bad.

Failing that really hot water and plenty of time.

A decent team of abseilers will do it in 2-3 days.

If they have some one doing a big job like that but not doing it well chances are the money isn't in it.

I do loads for management companies and the last 18 months has been the worst for them trying to push the prices down.

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1 hour ago, Adman said:

 The property management company is one of my best customers from the gutter clearance side. Have never queried an invoice and pay early.  I can only guarantee a 100% job is to do it from a picker, then I should win the job and maybe others...I'm not getting mugged though, this will be priced accordingly.

how do you get on with spraying chems on Big commercial jobs like this? I've never been arsed with all the risk assessments etc.  I've got pics, but wouldn't want to risk the current provider reacting to whats going on to be honest

Never had a problem some ask for a rams others don’t , it’s not difficult to to a rams for most cleaning agents that’s why manufacturers make them to clean things if they were unsuitable they wouldn’t sell them . 

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9 hours ago, Cghwindowcleaning said:

If they have some one doing a big job like that but not doing it well chances are the money isn't in it.

The jobs we picked up average us approx £90 per man hour, whilst cleaning. In 2 days we gross over £2k The standard was shocking and 2 out of the 4 jobs we are slightly cheaper. All I can say is some areas must struggle to find decent window cleaners.

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Cghwindowcleaning
23 hours ago, Part Timer said:

The jobs we picked up average us approx £90 per man hour, whilst cleaning. In 2 days we gross over £2k The standard was shocking and 2 out of the 4 jobs we are slightly cheaper. All I can say is some areas must struggle to find decent window cleaners.

Some firms down here pay peanuts and the employees just hammer through the work the standards can be shocking.

But management firms will not always tell the truth.

Block management work used to be really good but so many management companies are fighting for the work the prices are not as great as they used to be.They are also pushing frequencies to look like they are making savings.I have seen two companies down here that charge contractors an admin fee to work for them.Their fees must be that low.

This year is the first time in 10 years I have lost block work.I lost 2 sites for different firms.I am sure when they get someone new to price they will tell them something different but both changed to save money for a lower price to save money.

Eventually the price gets so low the contractors have to whip through the work to make any money this is when standards can drop.

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3 minutes ago, Cghwindowcleaning said:

Some firms down here pay peanuts and the employees just hammer through the work the standards can be shocking.

But management firms will not always tell the truth.

Block management work used to be really good but so many management companies are fighting for the work the prices are not as great as they used to be.They are also pushing frequencies to look like they are making savings.I have seen two companies down here that charge contractors an admin fee to work for them.Their fees must be that low.

This year is the first time in 10 years I have lost block work.I lost 2 sites for different firms.I am sure when they get someone new to price they will tell them something different but both changed to save money for a lower price to save money.

Eventually the price gets so low the contractors have to whip through the work to make any money this is when standards can drop.

The PM Co I do work for in Cambridge charge all approved contractors a H&S Review fee every year.

This PM CO don't charge, yet, but you do have to be registered on Safecontractor, this reminds me I have to do a site specific Corona Virus Method Statement for them 🙄

 

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Cghwindowcleaning
On 02/10/2020 at 07:17, Part Timer said:

The PM Co I do work for in Cambridge charge all approved contractors a H&S Review fee every year.

This PM CO don't charge, yet, but you do have to be registered on Safecontractor, this reminds me I have to do a site specific Corona Virus Method Statement for them 🙄

 

That's just it mate.they are taking the P.

They charge a management fee and part of that fee goes to them for their work.The sole role of a management company is  to arrange the services, collect payments make payments, check paperwork etc and yet they want to charge the people that work for them an admin fee when their sole job is adminastration.

To make contractors become safe contractor approved and then charge a fee for a health and safety review is again taking the major P**..

Safecontractor is to show your clients you have reached and maintained a certain level in  health and safety and that a government recognised scheme has audited you,If any thing for them you being safe contractor approved actually cuts work out for them and makes there job easier.

  • Agree 2
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3 hours ago, Cghwindowcleaning said:

That's just it mate.they are taking the P.

They charge a management fee and part of that fee goes to them for their work.The sole role of a management company is  to arrange the services, collect payments make payments, check paperwork etc and yet they want to charge the people that work for them an admin fee when their sole job is adminastration.

To make contractors become safe contractor approved and then charge a fee for a health and safety review is again taking the major P**..

Safecontractor is to show your clients you have reached and maintained a certain level in  health and safety and that a government recognised scheme has audited you,If any thing for them you being safe contractor approved actually cuts work out for them and makes there job easier.

We work for a number of management companies and don’t  pay  any fees at all the day they ask for that they will be looking for a new contractor 😂😂😂

  • Haha 1
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scottish cleaning service

I can see Management Companies charging an admin fee each year or dress it up with a H&S inspection fee. Its the way things are going, kickback is another word for it. I'm paying Checkatrade a monthly fee but last week I got a £300 job so it pays to be on their site. It doesn't guarantee work but I usually get plenty of work Spring / Summer time so I believe its worth it.

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On 03/10/2020 at 19:24, scottish cleaning service said:

I can see Management Companies charging an admin fee each year or dress it up with a H&S inspection fee. Its the way things are going, kickback is another word for it. I'm paying Checkatrade a monthly fee but last week I got a £300 job so it pays to be on their site. It doesn't guarantee work but I usually get plenty of work Spring / Summer time so I believe its worth it.

I personally think Checkatrade is is good to have if your are an electrician, gas engineer or builder. Once you establish a regular window cleaning round people get to know you and if you do a good job, polite and friendly then they begin to trust you over time. We also find that the majority of the work we now have has been via word of mouth and recommendations.

We still get the odd walk up enquiry but its usually from a neighbour whose been watching us work for a bit and seen we always try to do a good job. Neighbours also talk.

I'm not on checkatrade but I imagine your reputation is gained over time and people's positive comments. It would concern me that it could become a Trip Advisor where internet troll type of customers give poor reviews out of spite. This is why I would hesitate to join one of these type of sites.

 

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scottish cleaning service
1 hour ago, spruce said:

I'm not on checkatrade but I imagine your reputation is gained over time and people's positive comments. It would concern me that it could become a Trip Advisor where internet troll type of customers give poor reviews out of spite. This is why I would hesitate to join one of these type of sites.

Aye, was thinking the same where folk manipulate the reviews but turns out Checkatrade is not the case. There is no chancers on it as they get found out fairly quickly and they don't like paying for it. I get a lot of extras through it. Oap's are turning to the site so they don't get ripped off. Best advertising I have done and it pays for itself each month but there's a downside when I get to many jobs through it and have to work to 8pm but that is mainly Spring / Summer time. Took PW out of the van this weekend and put it into the garage because I won't be doing any PW jobs till March now. I'm glad I only have 100 window customers and even thinking of cutting that down a bit as I'm looking at compaction in my area.

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23 hours ago, spruce said:

I'm not on checkatrade but I imagine your reputation is gained over time and people's positive comments. It would concern me that it could become a Trip Advisor where internet troll type of customers give poor reviews out of spite. This is why I would hesitate to join one of these type of sites.

It's even worse than this, they don't list tradespeople in order of their reviews, the algorithm ensures that you appear higher when you are new or if you make a complaint that you aren't getting enough calls. When they want a contractor to get more calls they pit you against others with lower reviews or different services, if they fill the page with this you are likely to be chosen. Then once you've been with them for a while you move to page 2.

I did a very small bit of consultancy work for a paving company this year. Just advice around P&L and cutting costs vs generating leads, this used to be my thing about 6 years ago. The first thing I was able to prove is that checkatrade and rated people were a waste of money. This is on top of knowing that when you leave they will claim they never had anything to do with you and your reviews disappear overnight.

That said if you're starting out in any trade and need leads it will be great. Get your friends and family to leave reviews and watch the calls come flooding in, after 12 months threaten to cancel and watch the calls come flooding in again, then knock it on the head a few months later.

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On 30/09/2020 at 21:05, Adman said:

 The property management company is one of my best customers from the gutter clearance side. Have never queried an invoice and pay early.  I can only guarantee a 100% job is to do it from a picker, then I should win the job and maybe others...I'm not getting mugged though, this will be priced accordingly.

how do you get on with spraying chems on Big commercial jobs like this? I've never been arsed with all the risk assessments etc.  I've got pics, but wouldn't want to risk the current provider reacting to whats going on to be honest

Use a backpack. Mix whatever you're using and just plug the pole hose in.

I'm with the lads on this though, if they ain't giving you the respect of a regular booking then f**k em off. Sounds more like they get someone out to clean the windows once in a blue moon. I can't see they even have a window cleaner, realistically who has the kit to clean that high and lets the frames go green? They're taking you for a ride here man. Most blocks of flats don't have a window cleaner, it seems clear they're trying to do the minimum they can, possibly because of a complaint from the residents. I've lost count of the amount of calls I get for 2nd and 3rd storey flat cleans.

My advice would be offer to do a sample clean, one or two windows at no charge. If they're happy with the quality then they can offer you the contract. If they're not happy then you ain't lost much. Still include a big first clean surcharge as there's no stopping them cancelling after the first clean anyway (I've had this happen).

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On 30/09/2020 at 20:05, Adman said:

Hi all,

I've been asked to quote a complex of 5 storey flats by a property management company.  I do a lot of gutter clearance for them, and finally after 2 years of pestering, they've asked me to quote a window cleaning job.  I've got the kit required for WFP at that height, but the frames and sills are green, with moss growing out of the gaps in the sills on the worst offenders.  

The management company are not happy with the current window cleaning provider, and stipulate that they want an adhoc clean and then "on contract" if the residents are happy.  Speaking to a resident today - they want all the sills cleaning so I'll be doing the first "restoration" clean.  

I'm not going to abseil it and do it by hand, and i really don't fancy doing it from the ground at that height and quantity (there's over 1000 windows).  Is hiring a spider lift and poling it close up a stupid idea?  Anyone have any experience of nasty first cleans on this scale?

Cheers

Ad

did the client give any indication to the other contractors methods of work? 

Green sills are a nightmare at height. Do you have the scope to reach out of the property and access them with a stiff brush and hand sprayer to pretreat them or hot water wfp and stiff brush 

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