When is a Low Window Cleaning Price too Low?

As you know there is no magic in business, a window cleaning contractor can only reduce prices so far before they have to cut corners somewhere. How are some window cleaning companies able to work so much cheaper than others?  We’ve found two main ways some window cleaning companies are able to work cheap.

  1. Taking Advantage of Underpaid Window Cleaning Employees; 
    • Some window cleaning companies, even some national window cleaning franchisees pay their employees a straight percentage of a job, with no floor! For example they could pay the employee 37.00 to clean the windows on a $125.00 job no matter if it takes three hours or eight hours. This unfairly passes the risk of loss to the employee while guaranteeing the company a profit regardless of how low they price a job.
    • They often don’t pay their window cleaners for time spent between jobs, time spent waiting for access to windows, and time spent maintaining their supplies & equipment, time spent in company meetings or time spent driving from job to job.. Further depressing their actual hourly rate.
    • They may not provide basic employee benefits such as; holiday pay, paid vacation, medical coverage, or any employee benefits.
    • They may make the window cleaners buy their own tools and supplies, some even charge their window cleaners for using a company vehicle to drive from job to job, and/or not reimburse employees for using their own vehicles.
    • When all the time is counted; from leaving the shop to getting back to the shop, their pay may even be below minimum wage.
  2. Calling Window Cleaning Employees “Sub Contractors”
    • Another all too common scenario with low price window cleaning companies is to take unfair advantage of their window cleaners by shifting most, or even all, of the costs & risks of business to them by miss-classifying them as “Sub-contractors” instead of as Employees.  Once again, it’s not just the small window cleaning companies that have done this, we’ve noticed national window cleaning franchisees advertising for employees and telling right in the ad they will be paid as subcontractors. Often in such cases the employees are not fully aware of all the costs & responsibilities they can incur, and the risks they may unknowingly assume. It’s our opinion that this practice may at best be unethical and in many cases illegal.
    • Evading Insurance and other legal obligations of employers;
      1. We’ve even found cases of layered subcontracting (where the primary window cleaning company, sub-contracts to another, who then sub contracts to yet another, etc.), and situations where while the entities quoting the work may be properly covered by Worker’s Compensation and Liability insurance; they then call their employees “subcontractors”. Miss-classified window cleaners may not have any insurance coverages whatsoever; leaving themselves and YOU exposed to a huge potential liability situation.

Bottom Line: if they work cheap then their employees must work cheap too.  Trustworthy, honest people with clean backgrounds and without criminal records; people that you can trust to be in every area and office of your buildings don’t have to work cheap.  Reputable people generally won’t work long for a window cleaning company that takes advantage of their employees.

This information includes some material from www.ChoosingAWindowCleaner.com and is used with permission. Share on FacebookShare this page on Google Plus


Read more When is a Low Window Cleaning Price too Low?

Fact Sheet: How is Great Lakes Window Cleaning Different?

Michigan Commercial Window Cleaning

Answer: It’s our People, Our Standards & Our Systems!

The People of Great Lakes Window Cleaning

Best Window Cleaners

Our People make all the difference;  if you take a look at our window cleaners, you will notice we have responsible & experienced adults working with us.

We don’t hire high-school kids or seasonal help to clean your windows; on average our window cleaning technicians have over 10 years window cleaning experience (some 15-20+ years) and are clean cut, drug and smoke free, professional Window Cleaners (check it out here), accustomed to working in many of the area’s premier homes and offices.

It takes over a year for us to consider a window cleaning technician trained, even more so for a residential window cleaner; so temporary – seasonal help is out of the question.

 Great Lakes Window Cleaning Standards:

Application Process & Pre-Employment Screening

It all starts before a candidate even fills out an application; we have a pre-application agreement covering such items as grooming and professional behavior expectations.  All candidates go through multiple interviews, and successful applications are fact checked, with every former employer and personal reference contacted.  If everything checks out, the candidate’s background and criminal records are checked.  When a job is offered the Candidate is sent for their first drug Test.

 Great Lakes Window Cleaning Systems;

Well Trained Professionals

Window Cleaning Lift TrainingOur training starts with a 13 week structured window cleaning and customer service training program; including several workbooks, videos and A LOT of hand’s on practice and mentoring.  Our training program for new window cleaners covers everything from how to hold the window cleaning tools and chemical safety to how to use ladders, along with sessions titled “what good customer service is” and ” how to behave in a professional manner while on the job”  It often takes well over a year before we consider a Window Cleaning Technician “trained”, and a few years before considered fully proficient in window cleaning.


Because we try to provide a livable wage, fair benefits and a good work environment; we’ve been able to retain our experienced window cleaners and have a very low employee turnover.  On average our Window Cleaners have over 10 years window cleaning experience, many have been with us for decades!  There is no substitute for the Window Cleaning Experience and Training our Window Cleaners bring to your job site or home.

Office Support Staff

Great Lakes Window Cleaning has a full window cleaning office support staff, so when a client or national window cleaning service provider (NSC) needs to schedule window cleaning service, has an unexpected window cleaning need, requires specialized paperwork, copies of invoices, certificates of insurance or any other type of paperwork or information that makes business easier; someone is available to assist.

Our Employees are an asset to, and contribute to our community

We all have homes, live and work (and pay taxes) in the communities we service. Our Company staff and technicians eat, shop and find recreation in many of the same places our clients do and can often be found at various community and charity events.

Great Lakes Window Cleaning, Inc  Current Basic Safety Training Outline

Safety Training starts with our 13 week new employee program and is integrated throughout our 12 volume-over 1000 page, employee orientation and training procedure manuals and workbooks. Additional training is required of candidates for High-Rise activities.  Our internal High-Rise Training is supplemented with IWCA/IWCCI, SIA and other outside resources.

For all window cleaning employees; the following training manuals contain safety related sections or are devoted entirely to safety issues.

  • Employee Handbook
    • General Safety Concepts
  • Orientation
    • Eye Safety
    • Work to Benefit Your Body
    • Back Safety
    • Electrical Safety
    • Route and General Safety
    • Acid Safety
    • Using restorative chemicals safely
    • Ladder Safety
    • Using Ladders: Do You Make These Safety Checks?
  • Hazard Communication & MSDS
    • Devoted to safety concepts
  • Ladder Safety Book
    • Devoted to safety concepts
  • Working In All Types of Weather
    • Devoted to safety concepts
  • Residential Specialist
    • Safety
    • What if?
    • Window Razor Blade Guidelines
    • Training Checklist: Ladder Work
  • Training Guide II
    • Hazard Communication & MSDS
    • Hydrochloric and Hydrofluoric acids
    • IWCA Safety Training Program Part 1
    • IWCA Safety Training Program Part 2
  • Fall Protection and Prevention
    • Devoted to safety concepts
  • Gutter Cleaning
    • Safe Gutter Cleaning Agreement
    • Alternatives to Roof Work
  • Annual Safety Review
    • Review all components listed above
  • Aerial Lift Training
    • Devoted to safety concepts

The training below is required in addition to the above for High Rise Window Cleaning operations:

  • High Rise Training
    • Devoted to safety concepts & understanding
  • High Rise Self Rescue & Partner Rescue Workshop
    • Devoted to safety concepts
  • IWCA Course Study Program – For Window Cleaner Safety Certification – High Rise Rope Descending System Operations
    • Devoted to safety concepts

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© Great Lakes Window Cleaning, Inc. and GreatLakes-Window-Cleaning.com, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven L. Miller  and GreatLakes-Window-Cleaning.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.