Q: I hear a lot of service people referring to their company policy book and what they will and will not do for their clients. What are some of your company policies?
A: Our company policy book is actually fairly short compared to some others. In its entirety it says, “Rule 1: Make my customers happy – Brian Welker.”
Q: Do you give free estimates?
Q: Do I have to be home when you do the estimate?
No, all we really need to do is walk around the outside of your home to assess the job properly. All in all, a simple but vital part of meeting your needs and those of your property.
Q: Can’t I just describe it to you over the phone?
A: Many times what the homeowner is describing, is not necessarily what the contractor is looking for. The number of windows or type of siding on the house are important, but equally important are things like water source accessibility, building setbacks, drainage, determination of GFCI outlets, landscaping issues, etc.
Q: After calling around, I found that your prices aren’t the lowest in the area. Why?
A: While we can’t comment on our competitors’ pricing, we can say that we’ve seen many window cleaners and pressure washers come and go since 1992. There are many people out there claiming to do what we do, but few who have the experience and know-how. We don’t try to position ourselves as the lowest-cost window cleaner in our territory. We don’t think that’s fair to our clientele, because to be the cheapest, corners must be cut somewhere. We are sure, as evidenced by our large repeat and referral customer-base, that we are the best at what we do and plan to be doing it for a long time to come.
Q: But the other people say they do everything you do and still charge less. What’s up with that?
It’s not very likely that they do “everything we do”. Compared to not, doing business the right way is expensive. Our prices must cover the cost of adequate liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, reliable equipment, professional tools and supplies, and the incentives necessary to keep our employees motivated and focused on our priorities: quality and customer service. It is very important to us that you are completely comfortable with the quality of people we send to your home, and quite frankly, we can’t keep that promise by paying minimum wage. Ultimately, however, it’s your home and you have to decide whom to trust it to.
Q: Do I have to be home when you do the work?
A: That is entirely up to you and your comfort level with us. We arrive at the job completely self-sufficient.
Q: What do I need to do to prepare for your crew?
A: Make sure you have hot tea and a good book. This is probably a good time to gently remind you that the point of this entire exercise is that it is not to be a convenience to us, it is to be a convenience to you.
Q: But shouldn’t I move furniture from the windows or things off the deck?
A: Our feeling about you moving items prior to our arrival has consistently been, and remains, “always appreciated, never required.”
Q: What if the forecast predicts rain for the day of my appointment?
A: Unless it will be raining horizontally (which it does on occasion) or there is lightning, almost everything we do can be done in the rain. We will proceed as scheduled because rain does not affect the cleaning. At the very least, pressure washing, gutter cleaning and all inside work is completed as scheduled to avoid disrupting your busy calendar. Then, if we need to return to clean outside windows, you won’t need to make any special arrangements for us to be there. Because we know your time is important, we want to ensure that your appointment is completed in a timely manner and at the time you have planned for it. From our years of experience we are able to make accurate decisions to ensure that service quality and safety come first in serving you. We are confident you will be pleased.
Q: What happens if it rains after you clean my windows?
A: We have a rain guarantee! If it rains within a week or so of having your windows cleaned, if they don’t look their best due to the forces of nature, we will touch them up free of charge. Just let us know which ones.
Q: This has been bugging me for a while, just exactly why is the glass in my older home wavy, anyway?
A: There’s a reason old windowpanes distort everything: They were made by rapidly squeezing a sheet of red-hot glass between two hot rollers, which produced a cheap but uneven pane. British engineer Alastair Pilkington revolutionized the process by floating molten glass on a bath of molten tin–by nature, completely flat. Which is why various coatings (Low-E, among others) on new technologically advanced glass are sometimes referred to as being on the “tin” side or the “air” side. The first factory to produce usable float glass opened in 1959; an estimated 90 percent of plate glass is still produced this way.
Q: I see many companies advertising “Low-pressure” or “Gentle” or even “Soft” pressure washing services. What exactly does that mean?
A: The use of those terms is actually a smart move, and is a direct reaction to a problem that has plagued the pressure washing industry virtually since its inception. In the hands of the inexperienced, a pressure washer is a very dangerous tool. The inexperienced generally operate under the assumption that if some pressure is good, more pressure is better. Experienced operators have all spent a good bit of time listening to tales of woe from people who thought they were getting a deal from choosing the lowest bidder.
Q: How is the “low,” “gentle” or “soft” method different from what you do?
A: There is no difference. We employ adjustable nozzles that allow us to change the pressure delivered according to the surface we are cleaning. It is important to note that terms like “low,” “gentle” and “soft” are by their nature relative terms that don’t really mean much unless we know the specific context in which they are being used. An example of this is The Concrete Network discussing various concrete cleaning methods, and they state: “A low pressure water(3000 p.s.i.) cleaning can be used…” (Cleaning Concrete – The Concrete Network). As we see below, what is low pressure for concrete is five times greater than what ishigh pressure for Dryvit. It’s fine to use those terms, just make sure your pressure washer’s experience is commensurate with his adjectives.
Q: How do you know what pressure various materials can withstand during cleaning?
A: Research and experience. For instance, it is research that tells us that Dryvit, the leading manufacturer of EIFS surfaces that are increasingly common on today’s homes and commercial structures, states on their website in the maintenance section that “CAUTION: If power washing by a professional, keep pressure under 600 psi and use cold, unheated water. Hold sprayer with a fan-tip nozzle at a 45° angle from the wall (not perpendicular) and keep spray tip at least 2′ 0″ from surface. Also, do not use abrasive hard-bristle brushes.” (Dryvit Systems Inc – Homeowners Maintenance Guide DS235). Research is something anyone can do, unfortunately, very few bother to do so. By the same token, it is experience that tells us that vinyl surfaces can actually withstand higher pressures than brick surfaces under certain conditions. Decorative face brick is a fragile surface and a professional needs to know the difference and what those conditions are. That takes experience and there is no substitute for it.
Q: Do you accept credit cards?
A: Yes, we accept credit cards through an online service called PayPal that ensures a safe, smooth transaction for both parties. Most people have a PayPal account already. If you don’t, you can check them out at www.paypal.com.
Written By: Brian Welker