Window Cleaning Issues - Canvassing, pole systems, pricing, problems, etc.
Health and Safety v Profit
Posted by James (Stooby), 1 October 2003A dilemma that has been troubling me for a few years now, is how to keep quotations for new contracts competative and to adhere to Health & Safety requirements. Or what can be an even bigger problem, how to keep jobs that we have been doing for years and meeting ever more stringent H&S standards, without whacking in a bloody great price increase.
For those of you who don't do commercial work (I say this with no condiscention) it is hard to understand the cut throat nature of big city cleaning.
It should be straight foward. If a one man job becomes a two man job, eg; Long ladder work that now requires a man standing at the bottom "footing" it, roughly double the price, right?
As long as:
1. There are window cleaners who are prepared to do the ladder work without it being footed (most of us!).
2. Accontants (with no understanding of H&S or window cleaning) in companies are giving contracts to the lowest price.
3. Big cleaning companies send salesmen (who wouldn't know a squeegy if it fell on their head) to price jobs at rediculously low prices. Which are then passed on to window cleaners, most of whom are paid on price.
4. H&S officers in companies fail to ensure that guidelines are being followed.
5. I can cut up to 1/4 of the time, off a job by not hooking on the safety harness.
Then commercial window cleaning will never fully embrace Health & Safety. It can't afford to.
Posted by STEVE71163 (Steve Lowe), 1 October 2003Hi Stooby,
We do a lot of commercial work and i fully understand what you are saying but i would and have lost good contracts because i would not do as you suggest people are doing. If you or one of your blokes come off of a high ladder that wasnt being footed apart from how you would feel you would not have a business any more after they had finished suing you. Have you not looked into water fed poles as they are so much safer and quicker
Posted by James (Stooby), 1 October 2003Hello Steve,
Thank you for your response. No I have not taken alot of notice of this "new-fangled" system.
After 20+ yrs of climbing up ladders, I'm a bit stuck in my ways, something about "old dog changing spots" comes to mind.
However, Im not totally brain dead yet and my bones have now started to seriously object to having to run up a long ladder 2 days on the trot. So I'll be taking a lot more notice of articles appearing on this web site covering the subject, that I've previously shunned as being for amateurs (sorry).
To clarify about the flagrant abuse of H&S guide lines. I personally don't take chances. I believe I take a very intensely calculated risk, one with which, using my many years of (injury free) experience I reduce to almost negligable (silly old git).
Yes, I know if I have an accident, my insurance would be invalidated but its the way weve always done it. Things have got to change, In some of the bigger companies H&S is taken very seriously and cheapest price is not the final factor in winning a contract. Method statements are required and only total adherance will be tollerated, but these companies are in a very small minority.
While the H&S executive and architects (another one of my pet hates), make it nearly impossible to follow the rules (eg; eye bolts 15ft from window under a floor panel.) and try and earn a reasonable wage as well.
Also taking into account the factors I mentioned earlier it is unlikely to change any time soon. Unless they ban ladders and we all use water fed poles.
Just like to say great web site - loads of potential I've got a few ideas I'd like to share when I learn to type faster.
Posted by STEVE71163 (Steve Lowe), 2 October 2003Hi Stooby,
I am like you and have been cleaning now for 18 years and am starting to feel like i have. I saw a guy using a waterfed pole the other day and i have got to say it looked really good and done an excellent job. Any ideas on the website would be really welcome as i still don't consider it looks as i want it to.
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