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

Reach & Wash system

Posted by Matt_Lewis (Matt_Lewis), 4 August 2003
Looking for advice.
We've been looking at cleaning systems, and the reach and wash system looks impressive. We've been shown a model and how to use it, but although we think we're going for it, are there any downsides?? Does it turn out to be expensive? The system we've looked at is going to cost just under 5K!!
Anyway-on the downside!!! Did my first job as a sub contractor today and got ripped off big style!!! took five hours to do a full clean down of new house for 35!!!!!!!! Why oh why did i say yes?? Anyway, learnt from that mistake now and time to move on.

Posted by gibbouk (gibbouk), 4 August 2003
the downsides of the reach and wash is the trailer mounted system, how do you get all round the building, if you are doing several on a street you have to pack away move a little way down the street set out again, i use peter fogwells system a fraction of the price of reach and wash and a lot more suitable to the domestic / light commercial market, the whole trolley system for under 1300 pounds,van and trailer mounted also available. works very well on facias so a new market opens to you.
as for builders cleans too much like hard work, you will get quicker with practise but still hard work give me normal window cleaning anyday
Posted by robert (robert), 5 August 2003
please could post or email peter fogwells address/website contact number etc.  cheapest i can find is 1600 ;
Posted by gibbouk (gibbouk), 6 August 2003
has some interesting ideas he has come up with.
Posted by MOCOYNE (MOCOYNE), 8 August 2003
In response to the reach and wash system, we have had ours for the last 4 years, and it is good system the only thing i would say is never use it for a builders clean.
Posted by choice.clean (choice.clean), 23 August 2003
downside of reach and wash
i just could not resist replying to this one
has ott told you that it takes 2 cleans for every property the first time you use it? they didn,t tellus with the result that we lost 3/4 of our business it has taken me over a year to stay in the same place that we were before buying the system.
also don't be deceived by the marketing literature most of those impressive glass buildings are already being cleaned by ocs or some other big cleaning company at rock bottomn prices.
you can make a business from reach and wash but go into it with your eyes open. speak to operators of the system and they will tell you cleaning results are not as great as ott and others like to maake out.
also the physical energy to reel hoses in and out and push poles up and down is not greatly different to traditional methods I AM TELLING YOU THE FACTS IF YOU WANT THEM remember that the costs increase dramatically too the idea of starting with a little kit fro 1600 is a marketing ploy once you have told your customers that you are using the system you have cooked yourself.
Posted by Polepro (Polepro), 26 August 2003
Even with squeegees there are good window cleaners and there are bad ones. Only a bad window cleaner blames his tools.
Posted by gibbouk (gibbouk), 26 August 2003
it does take a couple of cleans to remove residue of fairy liquid. i just done some 3 stories work today they came good the first time this time they shone. i had all this explained to by peter fogwell before i bought mine from him. be aware of the cheap systems that ott and reach and wash sell they only have a d,i tank to filter your water if you live in a hard water area then that will not be enough you will need a reverse osmosis filter
Posted by cleanmachine (cleanmachine), 27 August 2003
I've been a long and happy user of a Reach & Wash 1000 ltr system and although I've had 1 or 2 minor problems (which you can get with any equipment you buy) I looked at every single option there was before I bought it. Everyone tells you that their system is the best/cheapest/most versatile etc but the bottom line is you get what you pay for. Everyone needs to make a living and they will all make money from you!! Take a look around at whats in use - 9 out of 10 systems I see are Reach & Wash!
No doubt I would prefer to hand squeegee windows because you do get marginally better results but the fact is that most of my contracts I can clean up to 4 times as quick as I could before on ladders!
I'd agree with Choiceclean that if you're going to get a system get the biggest you can but bear in mind that on a handful  jobs you'll have to stick with a squeegee and on others it will take a couple of cleans to get them to the same standard!
Posted by Polepro (Polepro), 29 August 2003
I agree with cleanmachine, its one of the bigger systems that you need, I think that ott's smaller systems are aimed at homeowners rather than professionals. If you only use it to clean your windows once a month then I expect that it would do fine. As I said in an earlier post I use a cricket system along side my van mounted system, its great because I can fill it from my main system while I'm driving from one job to the next, but I only use it in places that are difficult to run a hose to. Like you said 9 out of 10 systems you see are Reach & Wash systems.
Posted by The_Fed_Man (The_Fed_Man), 22 September 2003
A late reply, how long can you work with the Cricket system before running out?
Posted by peterf (peterf), 25 September 2003


Seems like every water fed pole supplier in the UK has jumped on the bandwagon, the idea originated in the USA many years ago.  Would you rather have only one supplier? Imagine the prices you would be paying if there was only one.

If you haven’t already noticed then you should notice soon, that system prices are coming down.  It should be a case of the more the merrier, not, oh no here comes another one.  The more people who get into supplying systems, the better it is for the window cleaner, better prices, fresh ideas, and new products, it must be good.

Peter Fogwill
Posted by STEVE71163 (Steve Lowe), 25 September 2003
I agree with Peter. Any competition is good as it keeps the prices down and keeps the company's on their toes Grin

Steve Lowe
Posted by Majestic (Majestic), 25 September 2003
Welcome Peter
Anything you need to know about reach & wash peter is your man Cool
Posted by The_Fed_Man (The_Fed_Man), 25 September 2003
In the words of the great Soul Man 'I second that emotion' , the law of supply & demand.
Have you got any new products lately or in the pipeline?

OTT have succeeded because they are on the ball (usually) as they were window cleaners.  Peter Fogwill is a well respected window cleaner also and I welcome his products, competition can only do us all good. Eventually Vileda will market one for household windows and you'll buy it in Tesco.  So it will all come down to managment and service in the end.

Posted by peterf (peterf), 25 September 2003
Thanks John,


I gave up on some tools I was developing such as the Flexibucket and LedgerMate; it was too much work marketing them, for very little in return.  I only keep the SqueegeeMates going for the people who have persevered, and don't want to be without, now they are used to them.  Too tell you the truth though I wouldn't care if I never sold another one.

If I went to someone and showed them how to work it they were hooked, and I made a couple of pounds, the problem was they lasted far too long so it was a while before they needed another one.  

Another problem was Ettore came along with their backflip, I couldnt compete with their full page colour adds in all the magazines, and the fact that they already had outlets set up for all their window cleaning equipment.

The best thing I ever did was move on away from small window cleaning tools, in my experience the window cleaner doesn’t like change, just ask Scott Young he had the same trouble as me when he introduced the squeegee in the UK.  Look how long it has taken for water fed poles to finally take off, Craig from OTT introduced the first Tucker poles many years ago and only now they are starting to really be accepted as a useful window cleaning tool.

I would like to develop a piece of equipment for inside windows along the same lines as water fed poling the outsides, but I have not had much time lately.  I did work on it a full day a few weeks back but it never came to anything and I gave up, but I will go back to it and who knows what might happen, I already have a good start with the trolley system having two separate containers, one for pure water, one for waste, and the trolley is already used inside building to clean high outside windows from inside, so who knows it is just a case of getting the water to go exactly where you want it.  Anyone think it might work?  

Anyway enough rambling my fingers are getting sore, and I have had a hard day.


Posted by Polepro (Polepro), 29 September 2003
Fed Man,

The Cricket trolley goes for 25-30 minutes between refills, Use it when reaching with a long hose is a bind or inside a courtyard or something. Its a good bit of kit with no battery to charge its easy to use whenever you want.

I agree that OTT need some competition but they are the only people that seem to put any money back into their products. This year saw crash testing of van mounted systems at Thatcham.,as well as a system to do inside windows using poles. Anyway we should be proud that the Reach And Wash system came from Britain not America like Peter says, sure Tucker poles came from the USA but it was OTT who came up with the water treatment side. and a pole without pure water is about as much use as a chocolate teapot!

Posted by peterf (peterf), 29 September 2003

Tucker in the USA is a water treatment company, they were purifying water long before they realised that it was a good way to clean window.  Craig was an agent for the Tucker pole system in the UK.

Peter Fogwill

Posted by Polepro (Polepro), 1 October 2003
Peter, thats not true, Mr Tucker told me at a trade show that their other business is real estate, they are estate agents not water treatment specialists. If you look at their website you will see very few water treatment choices, in fact I think that you offer a better choice than Tucker USA.
Posted by peterf (peterf), 1 October 2003

I can only go by what I was told, I was told by Robin Tucker in California 3 or 4 years ago.  And I do know that OTT sold Tucker water fed pole systems before they started selling their own brand.  And yes OTT should be recognised for what they have done for the industry, but they shouldn’t be left to be the only ones just because they were the ones to bring it in from the USA.

My first comment was made in regards to your comment  “I looked at others but it seems to me that people like Peter Fogwell are just trying to jump on the bandwagon”  I in defence was stating the fact that I have not done anything that OTT or any other water fed pole company has not done before me.

I hope you do keep buying your systems and accessories from OTT, if they are giving you a good service at a good price then they deserve your custom. Likewise I hope all my customers continue to buy their systems and accessories from me.

Peter Fogwill

Posted by STEVE71163 (Steve Lowe), 1 October 2003
Hi Peter,
           I live in a hard water area and have been looking at your system on your website. Do you have to change the filters more often in a hard water area Huh

Sorry to sound a bit dim Embarassed

Steve Lowe
Posted by peterf (peterf), 1 October 2003
Yes it depends on the water going in how long the pre-filters and DI will last.  They can last anywhere between 3 and 6 months, but they are cheap to replace, and it only takes a couple of minutes.

Peter Fogwill
Posted by STEVE71163 (Steve Lowe), 1 October 2003
Cheers Peter Cheesy

Steve Lowe

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