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Window Cleaning Issues - Canvassing, pole systems, pricing, problems, etc.


Posted by James (Stooby), 16 October 2003
Undecided I've been reading a few posts about N.F.M.W.& G.C. and from what I can gather there are mixed feelings about how useful it actually is to be a member.
In the 20+ yr I've been in the industry I personally have never been asked if I or the company (whichever I might have been working for over the years (and there has been a few)) are members. As far as I recall none of them have carried the logo, so I assume none of them were members. My company isn't and I don't think I'll be joining.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but apart from promoting good working practices (insurance, health & safety etc) and sending your details to local councils (usually more trouble than they're worth) and the odd roadshow, mostly things we can do ourselves. What do  they actually do for window cleaners? Huh

From one of the postings I've read the "Feds" are sitting on a large sum of money (350,000).
Do they use this money to lobby government for practical as well as safe working practices?
Do they lobby representing bodies of architects for accessibility in modern design?
Did they fight for exemption for window cleaners from the congestion charge (coming to a town near you soon!) on the grounds that we go to work before rush hour in the morning and are usually at home before it starts in the evening? Also until they put roof racks on buses or trains then we really do have to take our vans.
Did they or do they actually fight for us on any national issues to help our industry run smoother?

If the answer is yes then sign me up now.

The industry does need a body to represent it's window cleaners interests, not just that of potential customers. One that helps us network and help each other (like this web sight). Have the feds got there own web sight? A place where perhaps we could bulk buy or even import (have you seen the price of ettore stuff in America) and sell at cost to members (sorry to the sponsors of this sight). There are  so many thing that could be done to help us all but from what I can understand the "Feds" are missing a lot of the points a representative body is supposed to be about.

Posted by STEVE71163 (Steve Lowe), 16 October 2003
Hi Stooby,
              Firstly i have got to say i am a member of the NFMW&GC but am not involved with them other than that. Do you not think that for what amounts to under a pound a week it represents good value for money even if its just to take advantage of their cheaper insurance Huh
I agree that their are areas that could and should be improved but why not try and get involved and change things Huh Perhaps one of us should try and get involved and put these points to them Huh

Steve Lowe
Posted by Bryan_Dolby (Bryan_Dolby), 16 October 2003

The federation would welcome some new committee members Smiley
Then instead of moaning about things you have heard that could be incorrect ,you might find out about the hard work involved ?
the executive council and staff work very hard on all aspects for the window cleaning industry.

Next year we have an election at the next agm
Lets have your nomination forword, i will sighn your nomination form for you

On the other hand you could just keep moaning about what you have heard ?

To this web site its a great shame some people are using the site pages to SLANDER the federation

Bryan Dolby
Chairman (NFMWGC)

Posted by karlosdaze (karlosdaze), 16 October 2003
Slander:-False statement uttered maliciously that damages a person's reputation
Opinion:-What one thinks on a particular point
Posted by James (Stooby), 16 October 2003
Shocked I totally agree with you Steve. I really should get off my soap box and try to do something about the things I whine about. This website has started to get me more interested in the possibilities. If there are a few people who agree with some of the things I've posted (and its not just one misserable gits point of view) perhaps by discussion we can come up with a viable way forward. I'd like to give it a go. An appology to the Feds. For less than a pound a week I'm sure they must give reasonable service. I just think that the way things are going, we now need a body to make sure its still possible to earn a living in the near future. A lot of the fun has gone out of this game. We don't want to lose the rest of it to more bureaucracy and penalisation.  Smiley

Best Wishes Stooby
Posted by STEVE71163 (Steve Lowe), 16 October 2003
Hi Stooby,
              I am going to find out if their is anyway that i can get involved more with the fed also because i think we should be getting behind them not continually critisising and then hopefully moving this industry forward Cheesy

Posted by James (Stooby), 16 October 2003
Dear "Fed" Chairman,

Lips SealedI'm sorry you think I've slandered you and yours, and if anything I said in my posting is untrue. I will immediately eat humble pie.
Maybe what I'm looking for in representation it is not or never has been your intention to provide.
What direction are you looking to take in the future?
Are any of the points I've made on your agenda or likely to be in the near future?
Can I be a commitee member without being a member?
Am I interested in changing things? I'm definately getting that way.
Do the "Feds" have 350 grand to invest in the interests of window cleaning? Lips Sealed

Congratulations on your excellent command of English. Grin


P.S. Is it slander or Libel on a web page?
Posted by Bones (Bones the Winda Kleena), 16 October 2003
Hello!! Grin Sorry I have not been about much the last couple of weeks but things round here are taking off better than expected!! Grin

About the "FED", I am hopeing that i will be accepted into the FED (have my app right in front of me), for a few reasons:

1. I do not know of anybody in my area who is a member and as people have to "look out/Protect" their property more than ever now i think it will be good for me and show to customers that I am a respectable and honest cleaner.

2. As I am in my infancy of my business I think that having the emblem on my van would also bring me more custom, to me i look at it the same as a gas man being "Corgi Registered" and potential customers would have more faith in you.

3. The away days/meetings/roadshows,.... do i need to say more, this means we can get away from the "Nags" indoors, have a little yarn and sink a few (or a load) of Bevvies!!!! Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin

There's my 2 peneth, some might agree some might not?

Posted by James (Stooby), 16 October 2003
Hi Winda Kleena,

Horses for courses. I see where your coming from on point 3 Wink

Regards Stooby
Posted by Bones (Bones the Winda Kleena), 16 October 2003
Bottle of Becks and a JD will do me, Cheers  Wink
Posted by James (Stooby), 16 October 2003
Bottle of Brandy and a Stella for me. Your round.
Cheeeeeeeers Cheesy
Posted by g_griffin (g_griffin), 17 October 2003
how will joining the fed show that you are honest and respectable? im not a member so genuinely dont know.
Posted by STEVE71163 (Steve Lowe), 17 October 2003
I think it shows that you care enough about the industry that you are a part of to be a member of a government recognised association and that you are at least insured so should you accidentally damage their property they are going to get it repaired. Most of the fly bonite cleaners out their that come and go would not be bothered enough to join so i guess it also shows you are here to stay. Cheesy

Steve Lowe
Posted by g_griffin (g_griffin), 17 October 2003
fair point and a pound a week isnt so bad
Posted by Mike_Boxall (Mike_Boxall), 17 October 2003
on 10/16/03 at 22:44:47, Bryan_Dolby wrote:
To this web site its a great shame some people are using the site pages to SLANDER the federation

Bryan Dolby
Chairman (NFMWGC)

Hi Brian
The site is here so that people can share their opinions and everyone's opinion is welcome. However, from what I've read on other posts I, like others, would probably have the sense to ignore comments from those who havent ever been members and yet criticise it for what it does or does not do.
I dont think any federation is worth joining if people arent going to be proactive about supporting it and developing it!

I notice that the one issue that hasn't been answered directly is what is planned for all this money the Federation allegedly has? Will it be used to offer members other benefits? If so, what are they?


Mike Boxall
Posted by Polepro (Polepro), 17 October 2003
I think Stooby has some great ideas, can Andrew Walker let us know how much he was actually able to achieve during the years he was a committee member. And Fed Man or Bryan what do you think Stooby's chances are of effecting change if he became a committee member.

Would the FED spend some of its wealth on any of Stooby's ideas?

Is there actually any room for Stooby on the committee seeing that the committee voted to reduce the number of committee members from 12 to 10 at the last AGM?

Posted by James (Stooby), 17 October 2003
It is a fair point Steve and as it is a government recognised body they have a head start in approaching any political bodies, relevant to our industry. So perhaps it would be best to join up, become active and try to change some things and defend others from the inside.

However is there any interest in the federation itself in defending our jobs from politcians and other bodies whom only have an outsiders looking in understanding of the problems we face. They start at point "A" and end at point "D" but totally disregard points "B & C" between and the importance they have to the journey.
Or are the federation happy with the role of helping to implement and advise on policies that have already been made? Instead of helping to shape policies before they become law?
If the federation and its members have no interest in moving in this direction it will probably be easier, in the long run, to start over with people who have the interest and understanding of what I'm banging on about. Instead of trying to convert people who don't see the "Feds" role going in this direction.Huh

Posted by James (Stooby), 17 October 2003
Thanx for your support Polepro. Smiley

Posted by Andrew (Andrew), 17 October 2003
can Andrew Walker let us know how much he was actually able to achieve during the years he was a committee member.

The frank and honest answer to this question is nothing like i would have liked to have done

Over time I found the more effort I put into my Federation work, seemingly the more my efforts were resented and frustrated by other committee members.  I should stress this is not just my paranoid opinion. I have correspondence from individuals within the Executive Committee, offering support and encouragement, who noted the same.  Minutes of meetings show that criticism of my work was particularly savage during my absence.  The committee meeting that decided to expel me was held in my absence.

I always took the view that the membership had elected me to do a job. I approached my work with enthusiasm.  The arrangement is that if you take time of work to do Federation work, or incurr costs in other ways, these can be claimed back from the Federation.  The practice is to invoice for these.  The invoice would then usually be referred to the Executive Committee.  In my experience these occasions often became a gauntlet of abuse and disrespect.  Inferencies were made about one's honesty and integrity, or the relevance of the work undertaken to the original remit.  Obviuosly the committee has duty of care with respect to the memberships funds, but in my opinion these occasions frequently went well beyond that.  

In my view this history has had a stifling effect on the individual initiatives of committee members.  Sat in my office i have file of unfinished projects, began on behalf of the Federation, but incomplete because i was not prepared to accept further abuse in order to complete them.  Among these are programmes to introduce the best of the IWCA practice to the Federation, matters relating to education and training, and other organisational matters.

The above may give the impression that in the end i sat back and did nothing.  Let me add that documentation shows that in my six years as a committee member i attended as many meetings and functions, on behalf of the Federation, as the rest of the Executive Committee put together.  A perusal of trade literature shows that the material i wrote, and that was published, explaining the trade, was far in excess of what the rest of the committee produced.

I hope my reply has caught the essence of what you wanted.  If not please let me know.  I still care about the Federation and beleive that critical debate on the subject is essential for it to have a successful future.

Andrew from Edu-Clean UK

Posted by Bryan_Dolby (Bryan_Dolby), 17 October 2003
Yes i think new ideas to the fed is always welcome Smiley
Has you remember things cannot happen over night Huh
But a question to you is why do you HIDE under a name like that are you afraid to come out  Huh
Are you a (BOLT )from the past
Posted by Mike_Boxall (Mike_Boxall), 17 October 2003
I'm not sure about other members here but I think that this whole Federation topic is turning into quite an interesting one!

Although I've seen how debates like this can get personal (not that this one has yet), I'm really keen to hear the Federations view on Andrew's comments. Having seen his posts on other topics it seems like they've lost an extremely enthusiastic and experienced member.


ps I'm sure the Fed Mans input would be taken more seriously if we knew who he was Huh
Posted by Bryan_Dolby (Bryan_Dolby), 17 October 2003
Sorry you have taken SLANDER the wrong way
others have been the problem Huh
You have been fair with the questions asked
I personaly dont think the federation should have to explain its financial situation and what it is going to achieve Smiley during this year to this web site were non members are present
If members want to know then phone the chairman
or head office
come to the trade show/AGM AND SPEAK TO THE FED
Chaiman (NFMWGC)

Posted by Mike_Boxall (Mike_Boxall), 17 October 2003
Hi Brian

When is your trade show? It seems that many potential members dont know what all the benefits are - I would have thought this forum would be the ideal place to tell people what you have in mind.



Posted by Polepro (Polepro), 17 October 2003

Reading these posts puts you in touch with grass roots opinion. If you believe that the opinions expessed are wrong you have a forum to express yourself too, please answer your critics.

They say that the best form of defence is attack, but why do you feel the need to be defensive amongst fellow window cleaners?

You make accusations of slander but fail to answer questions from those who are clearly concerned when they read Andrew Walkers posts. Your failure to reply does the Fed no justice. Is Andrew right about what he says?

Posted by AMG (AMG), 17 October 2003

HI Bryan,

Do you intend to answer any of the questions that have been put to you by Mike Boxall, Stooby, Andrew and Polepro? I enjoyed reading your carefully worded reply above but you haven't actually said anything. Please correct me if I'm wrong but I was thinking that as we are on a Window Cleaning forum, we are all Window Cleaners and you are the chairman of the Window Cleaning federation this would be a good time and place to discus it? Maybe not then..

I am not a member but am considering joining in the near future, I'm sure there are allot of non members here that would be keen to hear the feds plans, this is a good opportunity to recruit some more members. What say you?

Posted by Bones (Bones the Winda Kleena), 17 October 2003
on 10/17/03 at 07:57:14, g_griffin wrote:
how will joining the fed show that you are honest and respectable? im not a member so genuinely dont know.

Hi Mr. Griffin, i think it is probably different in different areas, but an example today was when i asked a work mate (or should i say EX-WORK MATE as i am handing my notice in sunday Grin) he said that the cleaners in his road work like this:, two estate cars turn up four guys in one three in the other. 3 go one side, 3 go other, 1 up ladder one on the door one on lounge window. they blitz the whole street then take all the money back to one guy who don't get off his fat a*s* in the car. Since i've started I have had new customers who have told me about other slap happy guy's who have scratched their conservs/windows and dissapeared. I have canvassesed and felt that the person has fort that i'm not trustworthy etc. So much that I have removed my "eye ring" but i would not say that that has made any difference.
Window Cleaners (as I see because i'm just starting) find it hard because of the afore mentioned fly by nites/heavies who give the the job a bad name. So  to me, being a member is going to help me greatly and show I have pride in my work etc.

ooops, i made a bit of a meal of that did'nt I Roll Eyes Sorry guys!  Wink Grin

Posted by g_griffin (g_griffin), 17 October 2003
yes i  do understand it cant do any harm to join and their insurance would be good for you and your customers but whats to stop these fly by nights joining or saying they are members.remember some federations are much harder to join - doctors,police,the church and look at some of their members.
Posted by Majestic (Majestic), 17 October 2003
The Fed Man /Tom
I am trying to put a face to the name  Huh
Did you give a pole demo at the trade show in Blackpool Cool
Posted by andy (andy), 17 October 2003
im not a member of this fed stuff! but it seems very stupid that everyone has comments and to take the time to fight against each other on this site.

Weather your right or wrong! there is no point talking about this.

Get your heads down, make some seroius money and always go forward by your self.


p.s. yes it is good to work with other window cleaners but i mean run your business on your own and try and shape it into somthing else. (what no one else does)
Posted by g_griffin (g_griffin), 18 October 2003
who`s fighting? its called discussion,maybe a bit heated but its shows people are bothered (like being a fed member does).discussing things and swapping tips can only help whether it be due to a federation or this excellent forum. been at it 16 years and still learning now.ive picked up more in a few weeks on this site than in all those years on my own or other window cleaners in my area.         gerry.
Posted by Mike_Boxall (Mike_Boxall), 18 October 2003
on 10/17/03 at 22:55:00, andy wrote:
there is no point talking about this

Sorry Andy - I disagree with that but I do agree that it shouldnt get personal!

A couple of points that I think we should all bear in mind:

I know of more than one 'anonymous' member who works for a very large contractor and contributes regularly to this site. Although they offer advice to those companies who are clearly not direct competitors their willingness to help others is not shared by the Companies they work for. There may well be genuine reasons why people want to remain anonymous - maybe we should just accept it.

As Gerry has pointed out there are members who have picked up more from discussions here than years of working on their own - lets continue to do it constructively. If people start to feel like they are being harrassed then they simply won't contribute and nothing will be achieved!

Is Bryan still with us here?

Posted by andy (andy), 18 October 2003

g griffin:-

what makes you think to be the best and look the best, you have to be with the fed?

You might say that we can all stick stickers on our vechiles but how does that make you a better window cleaner then i am?   Is it cause i dont have those stickers on my vechiles?

People are even saying why join the fed? i know you can get good insurance and you can get tender lists and pro training.

But how are they making this industry move forwards?

I would much appreciate if you could answer a few questions of mine!

Posted by g_griffin (g_griffin), 19 October 2003
Andy im not a fed member so i can`t praise it. you said whats the point about talking about it- if you just meant the fed and not window cleaning in general then i misconstrued(what about that word for a window cleaner) what you said but talking about things through a federation or website can only help. if you have any more questions that need answering im sure someone on this site will oblige. besides i wouldnt dream of putting a fed sticker on my brand new lexus.     sorry did i say brand new lexus i meant knackered old astra.     gerry.              
Posted by Mike_Boxall (Mike_Boxall), 20 October 2003

This may be a salient time to mention a proposal we have put to some of the members involved in this particular topic.

Since we launched this Forum in late July we have had many positive comments from members who have benefited from it (including representatives of the Federation)

This isn't the only cleaning forum around but it has attracted a lot new and experienced people from within the industry in the few months it has been going.  
Despite, this initial success we're obviously keen to develop it so that people keep coming back and contributing to it and it doesnt become 'stale' with the same topics being discussed time and again.

How does the Federation, and its members, feel about developing a seperate section on this Forum exclusively for Federation members. This would be an area that is used solely for specific Federation topics (such as European membership, for example).  

There is no doubt that the industry needs the Federation and we all know that running anything by committee is often easier said than done. Isn't one of the biggest problems for organisations like this the lack of input from general members - those that complain about things but dont get actively involved changing them? It's own section of the Forum would give these members the ability to get more involved in Federation policy by simply logging on and having their say rather than having to attend meetings or wade through pages of minutes. It would only work, however, if it was actively promoted by the Federation itself.

Somehow, I now suspect that Karl will get his membership sooner rather than later because other members have, or will, get involved. It won't get 'overlooked' because the issue has been so public.  

Isn't that a good thing for all those involved?

So, if we all agree that the Federation would achieve more if more members got involved, the questions are:

1) Would a Federation members area on this site be the place for these discussions?

2) What do YOU, the Federation members think

3) What does the committee think? Would it genuinely and enthusiastically promote it to its members

I look forward to your comments

Mike Boxall

Posted by allseasons (allseasons), 11 January 2004
Hi , can any 1 tell me what i will get for my £50 from the federation , Apart from stickers , i have being going for 2 year's and had no problems yet ,  

Posted by samm (samm), 11 January 2004
hello allseasons, not much I say, everything they offer can be found cheaper elsewhere, I think alot of us want to be the best we can so being part of a federation to be at the top and be as proffesional as we can, but...
this post first started as whats the benefits of nmfw and I think the only answer was you get cheaper insurance but thats not true - ring around & you will match it easy.
I think that everybody wants a proper federation and the nmfw is the closing thing to it. like everyone said any 1 can join (cowboy or not) so baing a member doesn't necesarily mean your any good. trouble is if we support something that doesnt work/ do anything things will never change - If we had a fed that worked its ar*e off and made things happen (like this website) I'd be prepared to pay £100.

I was going to join to see for myself, but if I join now I'd have to renewagain in June. So I try then, but I know what I want but somehow I know already I wont get it.
Posted by samm (samm), 11 January 2004
on 10/17/03 at 14:37:21, Bryan_Dolby wrote:
Sorry you have taken SLANDER the wrong way
others have been the problem Huh
You have been fair with the questions asked
I personally dont think the federation should have to explain its financial situation and what it is going to achieve Smiley during this year to this web site were non members are present
If members want to know then phone the chairman
or head office
come to the trade show/AGM AND SPEAK TO THE FED
Chairman (NFMWGC)

Surely, if you told people what you were planning, in front of non members, some of these might become  members as they can see something worthwhile they want to become a part of.

rather than
"To this web site its a great shame some people are using the site pages to SLANDER the federation "
at a bit of criticism

Posted by allseasons (allseasons), 11 January 2004
Hi samm thanks for your help.
I have phoned them  and ask for an info pack hopefuly this might help me.

Posted by STEVE71163 (Steve Lowe), 11 January 2004
[quote author=samm link= If we had a fed that worked its ar*e off and made things happen (like this website) I'd be prepared to pay £100.

Hi Samm
            Do you actually know how hard the fed work on members behalf then Huh   Roll Eyes

Posted by paul (paul), 11 January 2004
i am a federation member and over the past couple Roll Eyes of years i have found the federation most helpfull for a number of issues i have brought up exspecially beryl who was always prompt to reply .i must say the fed is what the members make it if there is a issue that needs to be addressed post it on this site as there is quite a few members on it who may be able to help you if the fed cant
reflections cleaning services
Posted by Majestic (Majestic), 11 January 2004
Only one thing bad to say about them
Karl in Spain has been trying to join for quite a while now with no luck  Cool
Posted by samm (samm), 11 January 2004
Hi Steve,

I dont know how hard they work at trying, but I like to judge things on results, which there dont seem to be, any qusetions that are put to the fed (on here) dont get proper answers.
I would think that key points are being missed -
99.99% of peoples customers has never heard of the fed -
how about spend some money on some ads or some project to get the fed known to mr & mrs joe bloggs (like other feds)
How much did this clean it up website cost to setup?- I'm sure the fed could of thought of it & afforded it -
& what doesnt help is answers like "I personally dont think the federation should have to explain its financial situation and what it is going to achieve  during this year to this web site were non members are present
If members want to know then phone the chairman
or head office" -  its not much of an effort to reply to WC's that that the fed is meant to serve.


Posted by shinnyshinner (shinnyshinner), 12 January 2004
Hi all
I joined the Fed last November, and must admit even though I heard of them did not really know what they did so started the Post N.F.M.W & G.C.;action=display;num=1060043290;start=0
To get some feedback. And it was mixed so thought give it a go see what happens.
I got right stuck with a few problems in Health and Safety for a contract I was going for, tried to get some answers on clean it up but not enough information so once I joined I called the fed they put me in the right direction, help from the staff was excellent they also posted me loads of information. I have all my H&S stuff up to date and won the contracts I was going for.
None of my customers new what the Federation was, to be honest it isn’t their problem all they seemed to care about was if their windows got cleaned I think the best way of informing the public is by word of mouth by the members if the window cleaners make a point to tell their customers that they are members of a federation and that members are covered with insurances, H&S then word will get around, backed with help say from the local councils as the fed is recognised by the councils say advert in their 6 monthly mag. Importance of employing legitimate window cleaners Insured, not working on the side or stalking out yr home to turn it over  Stuff like that. Word would soon get around.
At the end of the day you don’t have a say if you’re not a member to the questions you ask. Which is right, and you only get out of it what you put in.

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