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Backpack or full system?


Danfire

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I've been working for years using Gardiner backpacks with univalves. Got a 400 litre tank in the van, a submersible pump in there that feeds a 30mm hose coming up out of the lid top, when I flick the switch it fills the backpack in a few seconds. 

I've considered on many occasions wether I would be any quicker working directly from a reel. At present I grab the backpack, drop it at the front of the house and if I've got a run of three houses I have enough pole hose to get all the way round every house without moving the backpack.

I only have a couple of very large houses where I have to return to the van for a refill.

The advantages of doing things the way I do (in my mind) are I don't have so much hose to run out or worry about someone tripping over, it's quicker to get it back in the van as I don't have a hose to rewind (just make big bights in the pole hose and hook it high), no low outlet on my tank so very low chance of flooding the van, ability to get round to places where the parking is remote, being able to take it through to back of properties where there is no rear access and I've obviously saved some money on equipment.

The disadvantages (that I can think of) are having to return to the van on the big houses, humping the backpack around, space taken up in the van, I'm sure there's others and most on here will be working from reels and I'd be interested to know if it's really worth the layout. I do know one other, very experienced window cleaner that has a full system but works in the same way that I do which seems odd.

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Hello,

So I am currently using a backpack with a tank in the van to fill up at every house. However alot of window cleaners I see are using a long hose direct from the tank with a pump. 

What are the benefits of this? 

I have houses where it would be a real pain to park and drag the hose across the road and then round the backs and some houses where it would work great. 

Is there times where you have to turn down houses because you can't park directly outside and the hose will not reach? Also the snagging must be terrible coming out the van and down the road and into someone's back garden? 

Edited by Bongofish
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Tank and hose reel is easier and quicker than using a back pack it’s also a lot easier on the body , there are of course always exceptions like having to be able to park reasonably close to the job , but with a tank you don’t have to go back and re fill half way through a job , I did try the backpack route but very quickly decided it wasn’t for me , a good fixed reel set up will give you maximum speed getting started on a job , easier on the body , and a lot more productive with the amount of work you can do , also it’s better for doing gfs cleans .

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9 minutes ago, Pjj said:

Tank and hose reel is easier and quicker than using a back pack it’s also a lot easier on the body , there are of course always exceptions like having to be able to park reasonably close to the job , but with a tank you don’t have to go back and re fill half way through a job , I did try the backpack route but very quickly decided it wasn’t for me , a good fixed reel set up will give you maximum speed getting started on a job , easier on the body , and a lot more productive with the amount of work you can do , also it’s better for doing gfs cleans .

Yeh there all good points. Im really considering 🤔.

Most my houses I don't have to fill back up though and on a standard 3 bed detached house I can leave the backpack in the middle of the drive and access all back and all front without having to move it anymore. 

But I am tempted to go the pump option. 

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5 minutes ago, Bongofish said:

Yeh there all good points. Im really considering 🤔.

Most my houses I don't have to fill back up though and on a standard 3 bed detached house I can leave the backpack in the middle of the drive and access all back and all front without having to move it anymore. 

But I am tempted to go the pump option. 

The fact that you already have a tank in the van all you need is a pump, controller, and hose reel wouldn’t cost a lot to get it and give it a try if you don’t  like it sell the stuff on 

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It's most definitely easier having a van mounted system.

I use a trolley system for mainly retail high street work where a few jobs are within no vehicle access and I'm not running 100m of hose.

If you look through the threads on water fed pole all of the relevant kit is listed there.

Also watching many YouTube videos will give you a snapshot of answers quickly 

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I switched to van mount recently and took it out last week for the first time using the hose reel. I must admit on one property it was a bit of a pain and i started to wonder if back packing it would have been the better option. Long hose getting caught around the car, hedge etc.. never used to get that with the BP. But i've been reassured counless times by people on here that van based pumps and reels are the way forward lol so i'll give it a go. Admittedly not having to worry about refilling the back pack is brilliant.

If i don't get on with it then i can still carry the water tank and work the way you do.

Ultimately i'd say the more flexible your setup is the better. If you have a way of working for all levels of difficulty then you're sorted. I wouldn't want to be humping a back pack up 30 steps but i don't want to be dragging the back pack down the road to refill on large jobs.

It's a bit like the Univalve vs WFP Link vs One shot debate going on at the moment.. I don't think there's any single best way of doing it. Univalve and a remote is a great combination and flexible and i think that's the case here too - Back packing with a transfer pump but also hose reeling it will give you far more flexibility.

I'm saying nothing about WFP and trad'ing together lol

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Would you prefer a bicycle or a car....depends on where you are going  - pottering around or going places - van mounts far more efficient - you'll be able to do far more jobs more efficiently (more profitably) plus you look the part -hence you'll gain more referrals etc... if you're serious about what you do - van mount system every day of the week - yes it costs more initially but you will recoup that in more jobs/more efficient working in no time - any big boys on here using backpack's full time? tumble weed moment ..thought not.... 😉 

Edited by NoName
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56 minutes ago, NoName said:

Would you prefer a bicycle or a car....depends on where you are going  - pottering around or going places - van mounts far more efficient - you'll be able to do far more jobs more efficiently (more profitably) plus you look the part -hence you'll gain more referrals etc... if you're serious about what you do - van mount system every day of the week - yes it costs more initially but you will recoup that in more jobs/more efficient working in no time - any big boys on here using backpack's full time? tumble weed moment ..thought not.... 😉 

For a one man band my set up looks professional enough, newish sign written van, company branded workwear, cones and signs out when needed, always clean shaven, polite, professional and try to give the best clean possible. Not scared to spend money, the van was over £10k five years ago, the tanks already in there, won't take much to put a reel, pump and controller in.

I'm all about the efficiency, any angle to increase the hourly rate I'll be exploring. I was just never convinced that any time saved by not filling a backpack (seconds) would be offset by winding up a long reel.

Not sure how many customers view one system differently from another. My biggest challenge is convincing them you can get a perfect job using a water fed pole because most have bad experiences from previous cleaners that either didn't know what they were doing, didn't clean the sills, caused spotting and generally left them with the impression WFP is no good. My bet is most these operators were using a van mount system.

I would be interested to hear from operators that used to use a backpack that now use a van mount and can confirm it seriously pushed up the hourly rate. There must be lots that took this route.

 

Edited by Danfire
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Dan - Just tell your custy's if they are EVER less than delighted with your finish/missed a velux etc to ring/txt/email you and let you know and you'll return asap and put it right. Works a treat they are just looking for reassurance especially if they've had a bad experience...

Better to get a callback than a call saying they no longer want you to call....

I've only ever had a couple of calls back - memorably once due to a roofer opposite using a disc cutter to cut roof tiles once i had left the job 😉 the custy never twigged and was SO SO apologetic when i returned, recleaned and uncovered why her newly cleaned windows were indeed all dusty 😉 

Edited by NoName
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Do what suits you and your business....I just exclusively use a van mount with 100m of hose and have done for years now....hardly any trad work left....certainly no ladder work with a squeegee....

 

I've used backpacks,barrels and a 50l trolley in the past....id never go back.....I have lots of large houses on my round as well as very compact runs of 3 bed semis and everything in between....

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I never have understood backpack idea, trolley I can as had one for 6 years then finally went to van mount last year. I didn't think it would save any time & bought it because sick of pumps not lasting on them as u always trying to get lightest one & battery. Tbh it has saved time not having to go back & refill plus better on my body. The best thing going for trolley or backpack is if something goes wrong with your van u can put it in a car. It does depend on your work aswell but after trying both I think mount just wins..

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7 hours ago, Bwfc said:

I never have understood backpack idea, trolley I can as had one for 6 years then finally went to van mount last year. I didn't think it would save any time & bought it because sick of pumps not lasting on them as u always trying to get lightest one & battery. Tbh it has saved time not having to go back & refill plus better on my body. The best thing going for trolley or backpack is if something goes wrong with your van u can put it in a car. It does depend on your work aswell but after trying both I think mount just wins..

I know what you’re saying.

When using my van mount all day, if I do get the backpack out my van (very rare), I feel like I’m playing with a kids toy 🙈

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I had a couple of years with just the backpack. Went to full van system and it’s so much easier. Van was off the road for a week recently and hired a van and used backpack and 25l containers, was hard graft and reminded me how much easier on the body the van system is.

 

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8 hours ago, Bwfc said:

I never have understood backpack idea, trolley I can as had one for 6 years then finally went to van mount last year. I didn't think it would save any time & bought it because sick of pumps not lasting on them as u always trying to get lightest one & battery. Tbh it has saved time not having to go back & refill plus better on my body. The best thing going for trolley or backpack is if something goes wrong with your van u can put it in a car. It does depend on your work aswell but after trying both I think mount just wins..

The pluses I can think of for a backpack are; when there is no rear access you can carry them through the house, when the weather is freezing you can bring them indoors, there's no long hose to run out and rewind, if you can't get the van parked close to the job you can still get the job done. Disadvantages; you've got to lug it around, refilling time.

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