We recently retired our long-standing forum, but saved the most frequently asked questions here for your use. If you cannot find the answer to your question, please call us at 800/ 535-6394, post a message on our FaceBook page or shoot us an email at customerservice@DetroitSponge.com. We are always available to help.

Window Cleaning Equipment

  1. Backflip or Versa?

  2. Just curious what preferences are for t-bar sleeves? I have been using scrubbing pads for awhile now and would like to switch to something that covers more area.

  3. Anyone out there have any tips on cleaning windows with deep frames? I always have a tough time.

  4. Which is the best rubber out there?

  5. Is Wi-Sol a good product for residential window screens? I run into a lot of nasty screens and am not happy with regular soap and water.

  6. I lost my job and was thinking of starting a window cleaning business. Can anyone give me some pointers on what I need to get started equipment wise?

  7. I see guys with those rectangle buckets all the time but then I see the round ones - is one really any different than the other?

  8. I am confused by all the types and styles of wetters/scrubbers. Does anyone know the pros and cons of each?

  9. I can't decide - which is better a telescopic or a modular water fed pole?

  10. Anyone have suggestions on a good quality scraper for window cleaning?

  11. I have a 14 inch Ninja squeegee and like everything about it EXCEPT the swivel. I'm sorta a novice in this biz and do a straight pull down the window pane instead of fanning. I really like the soft rubber of the ninja vs the harder rubber from another Unger squeegee which came in a starter kit. What I don't like about the swivel is that it swivels when I drag it along the edge of the window. I've tried tightening the adjustment screw down but that doesn't totally stop it. Any suggestions? Would my older style Unger squeegee work just as well or better with softer rubber in it?

  12. I have always used a fixed handle squeegee. Should I invest in a swivel handle? What advantages will the swivel handle have? Any input would be great.


Window Cleaning Solutions and Soaps

  1. What is the preference for window cleaning soaps?

  2. Any suggestions or references for "green" cleaners would be greatly appreciated.

  3. Is steel wool safe for windows?

  4. Anyone ever use Rain X or Jet Dry?

  5. Does anyone else use the natural sea sponges? I do like them better than the regular ones.


Pure Water Cleaning

  1. How do I know what type of pure water system I will need for the water in my area?

  2. I've heard a lot about water fed poles and how well they work on commercial windows. I have a tricky house with older french panes/cut ups that take forever to clean. I was wondering if anyone ever tried using a waterfed pole on that type of residential windows? It seems like it would save me a lot of time but I just don't know if it would work. Thanks for the help!

  3. How many feet of hose do I need for a water fed pole?

  4. I live in a colder climate. Can I use a water fed pole in the winter?


Tips and Techniques

  1. I have a super market client with many large window freezers for their shoppers to open for products. Can anyone tell me how to clean those freezers? Any window cleaning product I have used, freezes immediately on the inside of the windows. Thanks

  2. OK I'm completely new to this profession. I'm getting water marks around the outside of panes where I'm wiping w/ microfiber cloth after squeegeeing. Any clues as to what I'm doing wrong? That's my only fault, rest of pane looks good. Does cloth have to be bone dry? I am changing the spot of the cloth for every wipe. Thanks in advance.

  3. I'm a new window cleaner and want to bid a job with circular windows. What is the best way to clean them? Apprx 4 feet in diameter

  4. I have this pizza place on one of my routes whose main window directly faces their oven. Seems as though the window was overlooked over the years, and now this one window is severely stained. I've tried steel wool but, nothing. Is there a chemical other than acid that I can use to help it along or is this just something I should just forget about?

  5. I do a lot of work in an area very close to water. Several clients are open late and naturally have outside lights. Needless to say this attracts bugs by the ton, particularly mayflies this time of year. As some may know they die overnight and accumulate on sills. But my worst problem is that they leave a sticky residue on the glass. Sometimes the dead bodies even stick to the glass. Now here's my dilemma. I've tried over the 13 years in business just about every so called "aggressive" sleeve that I could find, including a sleeve cover and a bristle brush. I generally wind up scraping just about every inch of the glass. I've had to make a 'summer' schedule for several of these clients changing their routines to make up the time lost. Are there any good suggestions for bug removal out there? I've been considering a scrubbing pad, but I'm afraid that it will also be a waste of time.

  6. What is the best way to wipe edges after cleaning a window with a pole. I've been tying a blue huck to the end and running it along the edges. Is there an easier way to wipe the edges? Especially for high windows?

  7. I'm fairly new to the industry and was wondering if anyone could give me some tips on high pole work (i.e closing out windows, do you prefer cleaning them top to bottom or side to side, and what is the best way to wipe the edges? I don't know if this will factor into your responses but, I use a 30' Unger pole with the angle adapter and I just ordered the backflip for pole work...

  8. I just finished a job that including gutter cleaning. I swear they hadn't been touched in years! Is there an easier way to get them clean? Any tips?

  9. Anyone have suggestions a good pair of gloves that will keep my hands warm and dry?
  10. I had a customer ask if I would clean her light fixtures. Inside and outside fixtures. What is the best way to clean them? What should I charge? Any information would be great.

  11. A customer complained that I marked up her drywall with my ladder. How do you prevent scuff marks?

  12. I just bid a job where the side of the house is on a crazy incline. How do I get to those windows and still be safe? Any tips you guys have would be great.


Marketing for Window Cleaners

  1. Can you please give me a list of all the best ways to advertise? Right now I use flyers. I walk through neighborhoods and write a price quote for how much I will do each individual house, outside windows only and inside/outside. I usually get at least one call from passing about fifty flyers. I need more exposure and I don't want to knock on doors. Can somebody give me some more ideas?

  2. What do you guys do to keep in contact with your existing customers? I know that one company by me uses telemarketers but I just hate that. Any other ideas that work?


Running a Window Cleaning Business

  1. How does one go about billing/getting paid. Do you bill once a month, have the customer mail check? Go back to house when someone is home to get paid? What is the best method. Same goes w/ commercial accounts. Bill them/wait for check?

  2. How many of you think insurance is a necessary evil when doing business? I have a friend who is an agent and he got me a good rate but so many times I hear guys talk about how they are paying thru the nose for insurance (I'm talking about liability insurance by the way) and how at times they'd like to just go w/out. How about you?

  3. Hi there - does anyone have any great ideas on how to start a new business. I'm a very highly motivated person. I love talking to people and also getting dirty. I'm not the type to sit behind a desk. Ii love to be involved. I just don't know how to go about starting a new business or what tools I'll need to get up and running. i tried a couple of years ago but things came up and I never moved forward with them. I just recently lost my job and decided to put all my thought and efforts into starting this business. I don't want to fail this time. I know it is hard work and I'm willing to achieve my goals.

  4. Does anybody use scheduling software and/or business contact management software? If so, any names of such software would be appreciated.


Ordering and Shipping

  1. Hello, I'm Japanese and would like to confirm if Brilliant Windows accepts international orders from Japan.



Window Cleaning Equipment

  1. Backflip or Versa?
  2. Both the Visa Versa by Unger and BackFlip by Ettore can help you be efficient and effective on a job site. Both tools allow you to scrub the window, simply "flip" the tool around and then squeegee the window. There are professionals that prefer the BackFlip and others that prefer the Visa Versa. The design of the BackFlip by Ettore is a little more versatile than the Visa Versa. The BackFlip can be used as an all in one tool like or the squeegee and scrubber can be separated and used independently. Either can prove to be what is needed on certain job sites and both can be used on the end of any window cleaning pole.

    "I've used both the backflip and the visa versa and would strongly recommend the backflip! It's great because you can take it apart too and use them separately if you need to but you can't do that with the visa versa. It's the stupidest design and it just falls apart if you try and take it apart or change anything on it." [Back to top]

  3. Just curious what preferences are for t-bar sleeves? I have been using scrubbing pads for awhile now and would like to switch to something that covers more area.
  4. "Well, I've found that the 3 Star Blue Max Sleeves, that have a washer side and a nylon scrubbing side, work really well for windows that have dirt caked on. The nylon bristles wipe dirt/bird droppings/and any excess debris stuck on the window. A well-made/durable scrubbing sleeve. I just ordered a set of Ettore's Pro+ Microfiber sleeves to try out. I'm starting to get that different sleeves are for different situations." [Back to top]

  5. Anyone out there have any tips on cleaning windows with deep frames? I always have a tough time.
  6. "I use both the squeegee-ledger and Unger-squeegee-handles zero degree (straight head) They both work well. Mostly, I use the Unger straight handle on a pole. For high windows, I squeegee side to side but for lower windows, I prefer to snake (with or without the pole). Or, you can lock the handle and use it like any other squeegee. With a ledger on a pole I squeegee top to bottom. The ledger comes in several lengths. I hope this helps."

    "I recently started using the Contour handle and have fallen in love. I love the flexibility it gives me when closing out deep sills. I was wondering what the rest of you think. Great handle or what?" [Back to top]

  7. Which is the best rubber out there?
  8. "I use Sorbo channels so I use their rubber or I use Soren by Ettore. If you do a lot of fanning, I'd flip it mid-day and then replace the next morning. If you do a lot of pole work, you can last longer." [Back to top]

  9. Is WinSol a good product for residential window screens? I run into a lot of nasty screens and am not happy with regular soap and water.
  10. "Customers have said that the Winsol screen cleaner works nicely. It is an all-in-one screen cleaner and sealer. This helps to make sure that the screen is left clean, without a visible residue. Regarding the hard water stain remover, the Winsol cc550 is the strongest product we sell. There are many other solutions that we offer that are effective for stain removal. A few of the popular solutions are the Bio Clean stain remover, A1 stain remover, MDR, and the Sorbo hardwater stain remover. Most response that we receive is that each one of these solutions will work to remove different mineral stain deposits. Based on the minerals on the glass, the best process is trial and error. If you find that one particular solution works for the deposits that occur in your area, then keep using it."

    I've been eyeballing that Screen Magic for a while now... and sure as heck, yesterday we did a new construction cleanup with dusty, funky screens. I was just down there (Brilliant Windows,) and didn't pick any up... I was kicking myself all day!"

    "Screen Magic works well. Simply spray screen and you're done. I also lay the Screens down in the driveway and use a soft bristle brush attached to a pole. Then, I rinse with a pole." [Back to top]

  11. I lost my job and was thinking of starting a window cleaning business. Can anyone give me some pointers on what I need to get started equipment wise?
  12. "If I were just starting out again in residential and only had a small budget, I would buy …

    1. four sections of window cleaner ladders ( a base, a top and 2 centers)
    2. two squeegees - 6 inch and a 14 inch
    3. wetter/scrubber
    4. scraper
    5. 3-section pole (about 15 feet total)
    6. bucket-on-a-belt
    7. huck towels

    Don't forget a ladder-accessories ladder bonnet so you don't mark up the clients' walls Those are the bare basics. You can buy a ton of other stuff but learn what you like first and how you work before you venture in to other products... ask Mike, too. He really does know his stuff and can guide you to the right gear." [Back to top]

  13. I see guys with those rectangle buckets all the time but then I see the round ones - is one really any different than the other?
  14. "It's really a matter of preference but I like to dip my mop in a rectangular. If you have back problems, the round one might be easier on you but I just switch hands throughout the day." [Back to top]

  15. I am confused by all the types and styles of wetters/scrubbers. Does anyone know the pros and cons of each?
  16. "It depends on your situation. Microfiber wetters are designed to hold a max amount of water while lifting the dirt off the glass instead of just pushing it around. There are heavy duty wetters and others made for scrubbing really dirty windows. you can check all the scrubber sleeves here. Some people prefer sea sponges to wet down the windows, too. "

    "I prefer the micro fiber because they seem to last longer, and really bite into and clean off the dirt without much effort on my part."

    "I really like the Unger microfiber sleeve... especially well for residential work indoors because it does not hold a ton of water and it really has a lot of bite to it with that microfiber material. Outdoors it's the Monsoon hands-down. This baby does it all and I've found it lasts up to twice as long as any other on the market.

    "From the perspective of selling the gear, I see that window cleaners largely develop their own, individual preferences to sleeves. I can say that there are some differences in the best features of many of the sleeves To name a few: The Monsoon, MicroTiger and Wiljer are popular if you like a lot of water in your sleeve. This seems to be good for exterior work or very dirty windows. The MicroFiber sleeves from Ettore, Unger or Pulex all work well for a variety of work. When servicing interior windows, these seem to be a big hit. The sleeves will wet and scrub the window surface with only a small amount of water, reducing the water run off and mess. The microfibers really seem to scrub well. Ettore GoldenGlove, Unger Original and Pulex standard all seem to work for a wide variety of jobs. The sleeves are not as heavy either as they do not hold as much water as others Finally, if extra scrubbing is what you need, the Pad by Unger, the sleeve with abrasive strip from Pulex, the Porcupine from Ettore, and the MicroTiger from Pulex will each give you the extra scrubbing power. Each sleeve has its own type of extra abrasive material in the fibers or on the sleeve. So, from my side of talking to window cleaners, this is some of the input that we get. Most experienced window cleaners will tell you to experiment and don't hesitate to try something new. A simple change in sleeve might really improve your efficiency and or performance on a job."

    "I tried many different sleeves. The one I found to work best for me is the Unger Monsoon . It holds a lot of water and evenly cleans and wets the glass surface. The Unger Monsoon holds up well too." [Back to top]

  17. I can't decide - which is better a telescopic or a modular water fed pole?
  18. "Telescopic poles: Cons: Heavy when collapsed, not as stiff when fully extended, quick release levers need constant adjusting. Pros: Hose goes thru center of pole, all in one unit, can vary length by the inch.

    Modular poles: Cons: Hose is on the outside of unit and can get tangled in tree branches, length changes only in 6' increments as you add or remove sections, you need to leave sections leaning up against the building as you work . Pros: Lightweight even when collapsed, very strong and stiff when extended, no mechanisms to adjust.

    I have both and prefer the modular. It is so lightweight and easy to use that the few cons don't bother me. I have learned to wrap the hose around my pole instead of letting it hang loose. This prevents tangles. And, they do sell half sections now." [Back to top]

  19. Anyone have suggestions on a good quality scraper for window cleaning?
  20. "There are several good scrapers out there. I have a pocket scraper by Unger that I keep on me at all times for minor scraping. Ettore has a nice pocket scraper too. I also have the 3 3/4" Scrapemaster Scraper from Ettore that I love. I use it for major scraping needs such as construction cleanup, paint removal, etc. The Scrapemaster Scraper also works great for reaching high glass with a pole." [Back to top]

  21. I have a 14 inch Ninja squeegee and like everything about it EXCEPT the swivel. I'm sorta a novice in this biz and do a straight pull down the window pane instead of fanning. I really like the soft rubber of the ninja vs the harder rubber from another Unger squeegee which came in a starter kit. What I don't like about the swivel is that it swivels when I drag it along the edge of the window. I've tried tightening the adjustment screw down but that doesn't totally stop it. Any suggestions? Would my older style Unger squeegee work just as well or better with softer rubber in it?
  22. "I assume you are using this on a pole? When using a swivel handle on a pole, it does take a little time to get use to so that does not swivel when squeegee is in motion. Try not to push to hard against the edge of the window. Assuming the older squeegee is a fixed handle it should give you good results as well. If you really really want to use the Ninja you can try to modify it by carefully drilling a small hole in the back side and inserting a screw to keep it from swiveling. Also, unlike the Sorbo or Ettore, the swivel screw does not go all the way through maybe the screw on the ninja is a bit too long and bottoms out at the other end. Could try to shave that screw too."

    "I'm having the same issue with the Ninja, which is why it stays in my truck 99% of the time. I have found that when doing large interior palladium windows, the swivel action comes in handy. There's a learning curve, but it's worth the struggle." [Back to top]

  23. I have always used a fixed handle squeegee. Should I invest in a swivel handle? What advantages will the swivel handle have? Any input would be great.
  24. "I love my swivel handle for doing pole work where there are 2 sets of windows above each other. Without it... it's very difficult, if not impossible, to properly squeegee the corners of the upper windows. Your new pivot squeegee allows for this. Keep the tension (not so tight) so you can easily change your angle from the ground. They're very inexpensive, and you can lock it into a fixed position so it performs just like your regular squeegee making it tons more versatile."

    "I have both swivel and non-swivel. I always use my swivel when doing pole work. I use a Unger Swivel Loc Handle with Straight Head when doing pole work this handles allows you to squeegee flush to the window frame leaving a nice finished stroke minimizing wipe up. I usually use a fixed handle when working with my hands." [Back to top]


Window Cleaning Solutions and Soaps

  1. What is the preference for window cleaning soaps?
  2. We have been asked this question hundreds of times and, while we stand behind all the products we sell, window cleaners all have an opinion on which one is the "best".


  3. Any suggestions or references for "green" cleaners would be greatly appreciated.
  4. "I use Dazzle 100 from Titan Labs. The product is "environmentally friendly" and contains no harsh chemicals. Plus, it does a great job." [Back to top]

  5. Is steel wool safe for windows?
  6. "Steel wool is safe and great to use for stubborn windows. It comes in different grades. What you want to look for is #000 or #0000. Do not use on plexiglass!!" [Back to top]

  7. Anyone ever use Rain X or Jet Dry?
  8. "I've never tried anything like Rain X. I like Glass Gleam 4 and Dazzle 100. They are highly concentrated window cleaning solutions and are far superior."

    "I try to avoid Rain X. We went through a spurt where we did quite a few applications, but nobody wanted us back at the scheduled time... because their windows were "still clean." Not sure if they were all telling the truth, but that was the response from a number of customers."

    "I've used it on skylights before but thought it was too expensive to use on all the windows. And, I just use it like the bottle said to."

    "There's a product called Glass Guardian by Ettore that repels dirt and water and protects against mineral deposits and hard water stains." [Back to top]

  9. Does anyone else use the natural sea sponges? I do like them better than the regular ones.
  10. "They are getting rare"

    "You can get them from Detroit Sponge. In fact, I think Mike is one of the few suppliers to still carry them, which is a shame. I know many window cleaners prefer natural sea sponges because they can really get into the corner and give the frames a good cleaning. Also, they can hold a ton of water, are very absorbant and rinse out well. Hope that helps!" [Back to top]


Pure Water Cleaning

  1. How do I know what type of pure water system I will need for the water in my area?
  2. "With pure water pole systems, there are DI resin based systems and there are multi stage filter systems. Our general rule that we advise customers is that if your water is above a TDS (Total Dissolved Solid) of 150 or so, you will be best served by a filter based system. Of course, next question is how do I know the TDS in my area? The other day, someone recommended a site to us that has a national TDS map system. Simply put your zip code in and the site will give you an approximate reading of the TDS in your area. For my local area, the results were very accurate. So, if you are new to this technology for window cleaning, try and enter your zip code. Let us know what your number is and we can start from there. If you are experienced with pure water work, check it out and let us know how accurate the reading is! Either way, this is a free tool that can help you make a more educated decision about your choice of equipment for pure water pole cleaning" [Back to top]

  3. I've heard a lot about water fed poles and how well they work on commercial windows. I have a tricky house with older french panes/cut ups that take forever to clean. I was wondering if anyone ever tried using a waterfed pole on that type of residential windows? It seems like it would save me a lot of time but I just don't know if it would work. Thanks for the help!
  4. "If the windows are older, have wood frames or cracked glazing that holds the glass in, I wouldn't risk further damage. There are newer houses, however, that use casement/french pane/cut up windows and it works awesome on them! It really saves me alot of time on the outs. And, as an added bonus, the frames get a good cleaning as well. I always look for new ways to use my pure water pole. I really do love it!" [Back to top]

  5. How many feet of hose do I need for a water fed pole?
  6. "It depends on what kind of R.O. unit you have. I use one with a pump that came with 160' of hose but I like to use twice that. It's easier to carry just my around than the whole R.O. unit, especially on jobs with limited water spigots. If your unit does not have a pump, you can't use much more than the standard 160' and get decent water pressure." [Back to top]

  7. I live in a colder climate. Can I use a water fed pole in the winter?
  8. "I've used my pure water system in temps at 32 degrees F, sunny with little wind. The heat from the inside of the building plus the sun help everything dry before it can freeze." [Back to top]


Tips and Techniques

  1. I have a super market client with many large window freezers for their shoppers to open for products. Can anyone tell me how to clean those freezers? Any window cleaning product I have used, freezes immediately on the inside of the windows. Thanks
  2. "Have you tried adding car windshield solvent to your solution, like you would when doing outside windows in freezing temps? This is all I can think of, maybe try it on one of the doors and see how it works before proceeding to do the rest of the doors."

    "Yeah, I used washer fluid as well would apply it straight (non-diluted) first... then come behind with soap/water."

    "I used windshield washer fluid (straight-not diluted with water)with very little soap. Works great!" [Back to top]

  3. OK I'm completely new to this profession. I'm getting water marks around the outside of panes where I'm wiping w/ microfiber cloth after squeegeeing. Any clues as to what I'm doing wrong? That's my only fault, rest of pane looks good. Does cloth have to be bone dry? I am changing the spot of the cloth for every wipe. Thanks in advance.
  4. "Water marks might be from the rag not completely soaking up the water. Try using Huck towels, (the blue surgical towels), I use these every day with great results. The microfiber rags are good too, but sometimes they don't soak up water as well, they are great for cleaning fingerprints or hazy windows without using water. You will need to use lots of Huck towels in a day when you get some accounts, but they are very inexpensive. I get mine at Detroit Sponge, a 10 b. box will give you about 70 rags or so."

    "Also, it's really important not to use fabric softeners or dryer sheets when laundering your rags, as it can make your rags repel water rather than soak it up. This is especially true with the micro fibers, and supposedly can "ruin" the micro fibers. When washing my rags, I don't put any laundry soap in the washer, there's already solution in your rags from when you used them to soak up water during your jobs. If you like though, you can add a tiny splash of solution in with your rags. If you do accidentally use a dryer sheet with your rags, don't worry, they will still work, and they will be back to normal after a couple washes, or maybe add a cup of vinegar into the washer along with your rags."

    "I made the mistake of drying my towels with a load of clothes (with softener)... they trashed the windows I cleaned. Like Bob said, I wash them alone, with no soap... works good."

    "I always wash my huck towels separately. If you if wash them or dry them with anything else they will no longer be lint free."

    "Try letting the edges of the windows dry instead of wiping them while they are wet. It's much easier to buff out the dry water marks than to chase around wet ones. Also, try "breaking in" your microfibers before using them" [Back to top]

  5. I'm a new window cleaner and want to bid a job with circular windows. What is the best way to clean them? Apprx 4 feet in diameter
  6. "Are the windows at ground level, or high up? If at ground level it's obviously a lot easier. I just wet down the window with the brush. I start on the left side with the squeegee and follow the frame up and around to the right side. Then, start in the same spot and circle through the middle. For the remainder of water, I wipe the water off the squeegee rubber and squeegee along the bottom. If the window is completely round, you may have to finish up with a smaller squeegee or wipe up a little area with your rag. I hope this helps."

    "Worse comes to worse, just squeegee the window to the point where you have one thin line at the middle. Either towel it, or cut it with the squeegee.(hope that made sense)"

    "Practice" [Back to top]

  7. I have this pizza place on one of my routes whose main window directly faces their oven. Seems as though the window was overlooked over the years, and now this one window is severely stained. I've tried steel wool but, nothing. Is there a chemical other than acid that I can use to help it along or is this just something I should just forget about?
  8. "I would suggest trying out some pumice powder before you get too crazy with harsh chemicals. I actually just picked up a pizza place (haven't done many of them) and had a similar problem."

    "For hard water stain removers, I like the HDX-100 from Detroit. It's not a powder but squeeze a little onto a white pad and start scrubbing and I think you'll be impressed too." [Back to top]

  9. I do a lot of work in an area very close to water. Several clients are open late and naturally have outside lights. Needless to say this attracts bugs by the ton, particularly mayflies this time of year. As some may know they die overnight and accumulate on sills. But my worst problem is that they leave a sticky residue on the glass. Sometimes the dead bodies even stick to the glass. Now here's my dilemma. I've tried over the 13 years in business just about every so called "aggressive" sleeve that I could find, including a sleeve cover and a bristle brush. I generally wind up scraping just about every inch of the glass. I've had to make a 'summer' schedule for several of these clients changing their routines to make up the time lost. Are there any good suggestions for bug removal out there? I've been considering a scrubbing pad, but I'm afraid that it will also be a waste of time.
  10. "Try soaking with Dazzle-100 first. then go back and rewet and squeegee. When it sits on the glass for a bit it breaks more stuff down. This in my experience is faster than scraping or using a scrubby pad, if it's just bugs and gunk."

    "Pulex now has an aggressive Microfiber sleeve called the MicroTiger. Give it a whirl and see if it doesn't help next time. Also you might try a little Simple Green sprayed on the window (lightly), then wet as usual, let sit (try doing 3 windows at a time), rewet, then squeegee. If that combo doesn't work it probably means you'll be getting real comfy w/ your scraper for a while."

    "Super Fine #0000 - I've used it every day for almost 20 years and never had a problem. Just don't make the mistake of using it on plexi" [Back to top]

  11. What is the best way to wipe edges after cleaning a window with a pole. I've been tying a blue huck to the end and running it along the edges. Is there an easier way to wipe the edges? Especially for high windows?
  12. "I would use your squeegee on the sill first, then a rag either huck or microfiber. I personally have 100 micro fiber rags I use just for this. If the angle is a problem first assess whether or not it is an important thing for your customer... many times it is not"

    "I use a blue towel on a pole. If it ain't broke why fix it. LOL!" [Back to top]

  13. I'm fairly new to the industry and was wondering if anyone could give me some tips on high pole work (i.e closing out windows, do you prefer cleaning them top to bottom or side to side, and what is the best way to wipe the edges? I don't know if this will factor into your responses but, I use a 30' Unger pole with the angle adapter and I just ordered the backflip for pole work...
  14. "I don't ever go side to side with long poles... always top to bottom. I'm kind of funny, in the fact that I like to pole with a sponge in my hand to make it slippery. (think "reverse pool cue")"

    "Hey I like that idea, it would give you a real smooth down stroke, the problem I've been having is I get that small line of water coming out the edge of my squeegee when I do top to bottom. What would be the best way to eliminate this? Just putting my squeegee at an angle hasn't worked for me....guess I just need more practice with the pole."

    "I know this may sound obvious, but... pull a little faster. You're basically working against gravity, when you think about it. When you angle the squeegee a little bit on your final pull, the water should all run to the side that is up against the frame. Then worse comes to worse, you can towel/detail that one edge at the frame."

    "Depends on your situation, for deep window ledges I go side to side with a zero degree Unger handle. If it allows, I go top to bottom. Waterfed are the way to go if you have a lot of high work. It REALLY pays for itself in the long run."

    "Practice, practice, practice!" [Back to top]

  15. I just finished a job that including gutter cleaning. I swear they hadn't been touched in years! Is there an easier way to get them clean? Any tips?
  16. "Brilliant windows sells a couple of products that I use, gutter-cleaner and guttergetter. They both work great for getting wet stuff out. I have used my leaf blower when there is a build up of dry leaves in the gutters as well; it gets the job done. Good luck. It's a dirty job but someone has to do it."

    "Window cleaning usually goes with the package. Gutter cleaning can get a bit messy."

    "Gutter cleaning can be the good source of income but it will requires a good and professional equipment because it's a kind of work which is very messy and should be done hassle free." [Back to top]

  17. Anyone have suggestions a good pair of gloves that will keep my hands warm and dry?
  18. "The artic flex glove is waterproof so it will keep you dry. You can use hand warmers to keep your hands warm just use a liner to separate the two. I hope this helps." [Back to top]

  19. I had a customer ask if I would clean her light fixtures. Inside and outside fixtures. What is the best way to clean them? What should I charge? Any information would be great.
  20. "How many fixtures? What size, and how dirty are they? Need more infor for sure, and have you done anything like this before? If so, can you use that as a measure for a time-charge based on a scale of $40.00 per hour?"

    "Well like clb said $40/hr is good. You also can price them out individually for an example an outside fixed light fixture 5-20 each. Small simple lights 5 then charge more for larger one and the complexity of them. For chandlers it all depends 25-100 each and up depending on complexity of them. To clean them outside fixed lights take bulb out on scrub them in/out with soapy water and wipe dry. Also clean the bulb as well. Interior and other light some glass fixtures can be removed I take them down carefully and scrub them in my bucket if I can. You have to be very careful some are very delicate. If glass can't be removed just clean as is carefully. Also I clean around the glass (metal, brass, chains, etc) If I see it's like a one of a kind, crystal, too delicate, I won't touch it. Just take your time the first time around get a feel what's involved and go from there to guide your pricing in the future."

    "I discovered something this weekend changing a metal chandelier for someone and wonder if someone had any experience with the same thing; I will try to keep is short! So the house has the old cloth wiring with two wires and no ground. I took the old chandelier off, cleaned up the deteriorating sheathing, and connected the new one the same way with the fixture's ground to the box." [Back to top]

  21. A customer complained that I marked up her drywall with my ladder. How do you prevent scuff marks?
  22. "I use one ladder bonnet (short) outside that stays on all the time and then I switch to a nice, clean longer version for inside work only. The indoor one has a vinyl backing so no water seeps thru - never had a problem with scuffs using this technique."

    "In the future, you may want to do a run-thru on your jobs and document any previous marks or damage just to be on the safe side... Just remember to have them sign it if there are any problems." [Back to top]

  23. I just bid a job where the side of the house is on a crazy incline. How do I get to those windows and still be safe? Any tips you guys have would be great.
  24. "Use the self-adjusting-ladder-levelers. They work great. I think you can also order them pre-installed by Detroit Sponge. Check with Mike, but I think he is the only one that does this"

    "Ladder levelers are a great idea but I don't even know what I should buy - any tips on a basic ladder set? The minimum I should have/carry with me to the job?"

    "I carry a 6 foot step, and a 20' alum extension ladder every day and the 20 footer has the adjustable feet on them. I also have a 28' but with no feet and sometimes I'm out there with blocks of 2x6 and 1x6 to stack under the feet. If its steeper than that, i usually don't do the window with a ladder."

    "The best ladders to use are ladders designed especially for window cleaning professionals. I've been in the business for 20 years and have always used stackable window cleaning ladders. I prefer to carry a 6' top section, 2 centers, 1 base and a half section. I also have a 7' foot top section that I carry. The base can be purchased with adjustable levelers for inclines, stacking wood is just not safe. The manufacturers suggest using four sections although I've gotten away with five sections. I also carry a small, household step ladder. I just wouldn't clean windows with anything else." [Back to top]


Marketing for Window Cleaners

  1. Can you please give me a list of all the best ways to advertise? Right now I use flyers. I walk through neighborhoods and write a price quote for how much I will do each individual house, outside windows only and inside/outside. I usually get at least one call from passing about fifty flyers. I need more exposure and I don't want to knock on doors. Can somebody give me some more ideas?
  2. "A few thoughts off the top of my head… Why not get your current clients to recruit for you? Offer them a free window cleaning for every new customer they refer. Another possibility is to ask your current customers who in the neighborhood is on the board of their homeowners association. Then, talk to those people and ask them to pass out your flyers, or offer a discount if they can get x customers to sign up. If you have more money than time, you could also consider direct mail. Sites like postcardmania.com can provide lists of people in a given zip code and even with specific incomes, etc. They'll provide the list, create a post card and mail it for you. I'm sure others have more suggestions, what are some?" [Back to top]

  3. What do you guys do to keep in contact with your existing customers? I know that one company by me uses telemarketers but I just hate that. Any other ideas that work?
  4. "I've never used telemarketers but there are tons of other ways:

    1. send a thank you card after the job
    2. send as newsletter out each month.
    3. send an announcement that your spring season is up and running
    4. get them to friend your business on FB and then actually post to it regularly
    5. if you have their cell #, SMS marketing (text message services) is a great substitute for telemarketing that is not nearly as annoying

    Find good "excuses" to contact them with information they need."

    "Occasional emails too... Also, I like giving Christmas cards out after Thanksgiving"

    "My wife's boss uses the trick of sending Thanksgiving cards or Happy New Year's cards. Her theory is that many so many businesses send out Christmas/Holiday cards that hers will get lost in the shuffle. Sending it when she does, either really early or intentionally late, gets her the most bang for her buck!"

    "There are several ways to market for commercial window cleaning, however the most effective way is going door to door with your business cards. Make sure you look professional, first impressions are crucial. You could just start out with a solid color polo shirt or t shirt, if you want, you could have your company name printed or embroidered on it, but it is not necessary. .. maybe when you get a little cash coming in. Find an area close to home and go door to door, ask to speak to the owner or manager, if they are not available leave a card anyway. Always leave a card, even if they have someone, just say "Please keep me in mind if you need service in the future". People will definitely keep your card. You will land some accounts right on the spot, but you will also hear from people months later. It's more about giving yourself a chance at getting the account. Be friendly, use a "soft-sell" approach, you want to get your name out there as much as you possibly can"

    "I would definitely avoid calling up a business... walking in works tons better! I agree about a good business card, and avoid showing up during their busy time if you can avoid it; like lunch or dinner time for a restaurant, or first thing in the morning for an auto center."

    "Also, stay on top of your leads. Your prospects won't wait forever... return all phone calls and emails a.s.a.p. even if you are too busy to give them a bid right away!"

    "I try to stick with a 24 our turn around on contacting them. They should not have to wait any longer than that. If I have a free afternoon, I walk in to places that I spotted over the work week. If there windows look professionally done, I might not ask. 9 times out of 10 though, there are spots and drip marks. A smaller company, I just walk in and give the receptionist my business card with a price on the back. Larger companies, I research online and submit a bid in an email attachment to whatever department takes them, usually maintenance. If they have a building management company, chances are they have the janitors do it. It takes time to build up a clientele. Phone calls do not work. Just like you do not enjoy annoying telemarketing calls, neither do they. Also, don't give up on residential completely. My best commercial customers came from houses I did where the wife told her husband to hire me for his office, after I casually mentioned in conversation that I did commercial work."

    "One thing you should do right away is find some strategic partners -- companies with the same target market that have complimentary services to yours."

    "Hello, everyone! When you are out there marketing your business, especially in the beginning, it is a good idea to set aside one day out of the week where all you focus on is marketing. If you are going door to door, have your supply of business cards/flyers with you. It seems to be easier once you've talked to a couple people, you seem to get in a rhythm and will not be nervous. Cold calling or door to door marketing was something I did not feel comfortable with when I first started this business, even after having several years of retail sales experience. However after getting used to it, I now enjoy looking for new accounts. I always ask for a business card when I get a new account which I then put into my binder which I carry. This gives me a contact name and number, I always enjoy adding a new business card to my "collection". Additionally, I will often ask for a business card from prospective customers even if they don't hire me on the spot. I think it shows them that you are also interested in THEIR business, that you are not just looking to make a sale of your own. Little things like this will make people remember you, and when it comes time for them to find a window cleaner, they will probably call you. When out marketing for the day, you still should carry your supplies with you in case a new customer wants you to do their windows immediately. Then just go on with your marketing day." [Back to top]


Running a Window Cleaning Business

  1. How does one go about billing/getting paid. Do you bill once a month, have the customer mail check? Go back to house when someone is home to get paid? What is the best method. Same goes w/ commercial accounts. Bill them/wait for check?
  2. "For commercial accounts, I usually get paid cash right on the spot and I use a simple receipt book (Adams Sales Book #DC3510) you can buy these at any chain office supply like Office Max. I buy a 10 pack for around $10.00. I just write on the receipt the name of the customer's business, then write Window Cleaning, the amount and write "paid" on it, then give them the white copy and keep the yellow copy for my records. Some customers prefer to be billed, so I just write out the receipt as above, but get a signature from whoever is there, then you can mail it to the owner. In instances where you bill the customer it's good to discuss this with the person who hired you so you are both on the same page. Here's a good invoice form that you can use for billing, I use this one a lot: For frequency on commercial accounts, I usually try to get the customer to agree to 2x monthly, some will want once a week which is even better if it's close to home. I try to set a once a month minimum, doing this for a living you need to get a commitment, otherwise you don't have consistent income. Just talk with your customers, they will let you know what they need."

    "For residential, we always got a check from the homeowner before we left. There were, however, many times when they weren't home. I always left the white copy of my 2-ply work order and circled the note at the bottom that said net 30. You could be net 10 days - whatever you want. When day 31 hit, if we had not received payment, we sent out a reminder by mail to the customer. 99% of the time, they just forgot and mailed a check right out. In 18 years, only one person tried to stiff me for the bill at their house."

    "I have had luck emailing a PayPal button for them to use. It's very easy to set up an account. That way they can use a credit card as an option as well. Also, Smart phones have an app to take cards too"

    "When I started back in 1991, there was no way I ever wanted to take credit cards. I mean, a lot of places still used the slider thing way back then. Now, with PayPal a merchant account is so easy to get. Even cooler than paying via a PayPal button or a credit card is just being able to pay by "bumping" cell phones. It's a simple app to download and, provided you both have a PayPal account, you just bump cell phones and it transfers the money. Wow!" [Back to top]

  3. How many of you think insurance is a necessary evil when doing business? I have a friend who is an agent and he got me a good rate but so many times I hear guys talk about how they are paying thru the nose for insurance (I'm talking about liability insurance by the way) and how at times they'd like to just go w/out. How about you?
  4. "I really don't pay that much, one job covers my monthly payment. I think it is a definite must though, just in case, accidents do happen."

    "From my conversations with window cleaners over the years, insurance is something that you should really have. There are many stories that I have heard that all have not so good endings. Aside from that, if you are trying to obtain any type of corporate clients, my understanding is that most will request proof of insurance with bid proposals. Companies that have insurance in place also appear to be more legitimate to potential customers. This could easily be included in advertising on business cards and flyers as well."

    "If you want to have customers who are commercial it is a must. If you are just doing residential then you probably can go without it forever, just as long as you will settle any accident behind closed doors like a gentleman."

    "I agree that it's always a good idea, but in the case of commercial work, mainly storefronts, I think you are not likely to cause as much damage in a year as what your insurance premiums would cost, even if the insurance is cheap. You mostly work around hanging signs, just be careful, make sure they are mounted/hung securely. I have never broken one yet. Still, as everyone seems to agree, maybe it's better to have that peace of mind."

    "Insurance is completely necessary, no matter what the size of your business. I've come to find that it is just one other way to close an estimate with a new client. Almost all company's want Insurance. It's a piece of mind for you and your client.

    Just for instance last week I was doing an estimate. On the way out, I back up my car into their gate control keypad box. I have never had any form of accident before, never with my car or with cleaning windows. The unit still works as far as me and the property manager could tell. But what if it isn't? I'm sending them my proposal tomorrow along with a damage report. What if they want it replaced? That could cost thousands of dollars! I now have peace of mind knowing that I'm covered no matter what the outcome. And it only cost me under a thousand dollars. Trust me, it's worth it."

    "Insurance is a must. If you are a sole proprietor you are risking all your assets" [Back to top]

  5. Hi there - does anyone have any great ideas on how to start a new business. I'm a very highly motivated person. I love talking to people and also getting dirty. I'm not the type to sit behind a desk. Ii love to be involved. I just don't know how to go about starting a new business or what tools I'll need to get up and running. i tried a couple of years ago but things came up and I never moved forward with them. I just recently lost my job and decided to put all my thought and efforts into starting this business. I don't want to fail this time. I know it is hard work and I'm willing to achieve my goals.
  6. "I'm not a desk person either, nor am I the kind of person who wants to work their butt off for minimum wage, that's how I got into this business. To tell you the truth, I've only been cleaning windows for 3 months, so I can't help you a lot, but I can tell you what equipment you will need, and how to set up everything. First off, you will obviously need a business name, that is the most important because you will use it for everything. ( Bank account, paying taxes, business cards). After you have a name made: Go to IRS.org and get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) Use the EIN to get a Bank account Get Basic Liability Insurance (accidents will happen, and you will need this ). Equipment: Squeegee, Washer, Bucket, Extension Pole, Microfiber Cloths, Joy (dish washing soap) works best. Eventually you will need more equipment, but this is just basic stuff. All the stuff I use is Unger, except for the bucket, which is Pulex. Advertise! Use business cards, flyers or walk around town and talk to business owners."

    "First and foremost you may need some more experience after only one year. There are many aspects of window cleaning besides grabbing a pole and doing storefronts, although the money isn't bad in storefronts. I have found that a lot of window cleaning companies don't care anymore and leave jobs looking worse than when they arrived (i.e. stab marks, dirty metal, streaks etc.. you know who you are).Take pride in what you are doing and referrals will pour in."

    "I couldn't agree more. Once I got started and I presented myself as a professional who cares about the work I do, people could tell and I began getting tons of referred business. There's no substitute for face to face involvement. I sit in cafes and coffee shops downtown and simply let the small talk take me to what I do."

    "Fake it till you make it, fellow window washer! Do not lie to your customers to get a job, show up on time to every job. You have to spend a little to make a lot, any less than the best will be looked down upon."

    "I don't know how much this will help you, but one great way to get window cleaning jobs is over the internet. I try to attract potential clients to my website, and then they usually call me for an estimate and that gets my foot in the door. It helps get me new clients off and on, and then just doing a good job usually turns into repeat business." [Back to top]

  7. Does anybody use scheduling software and/or business contact management software? If so, any names of such software would be appreciated.
  8. "I'm trying George Systems right now and I like the simplicity of it. I'm a 1-man show right now and it has every feature I need. If you search for George Systems, you can find a free download version to try out."

    "If you have more than one employee that you should look at ServiceCEO from insight direct. It is the Cadillac of software to run your window cleaning business."

    "Quickbooks Pro. Hard to learn at first, but when you get it down this is the best damn software for keeping you customers in order and a lot of other stuff too. Like employees, payroll, product ordering schedules and dates." [Back to top]


Ordering and Shipping

  1. Hello, I'm Japanese and would like to confirm if Brilliant Windows accepts international orders from Japan.
  2. "Currently, for international orders the procedure would be for you to enter the order on the site, selecting "request a quote" as method of payment. We will then prepare the shipment and provide an accurate quote for you, including delivery charges. At that time, you can choose your method of payment and we will ship out your order via the quoted carrier, either UPS, Fed Ex or USPS." [Back to top]

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