Sunday, 31 May 2009

Window Cleaning is a Colossal 'Pane' for Home-Owners



Owning a house is a lot of work. And at our place, the chores are pretty well divided along traditional male/female lines. Think June and Ward Cleaver. It breaks down like this - Joy cooks, does the laundry, ironing and all the house cleaning. Most of the outdoor work is my baby - cut grass, trim hedges, blow snow, sort our waste into the gazillion containers that all good little Northumberland County recyclers use. We think it's a decent enough arrangement. But specialization has drawbacks. If one of us were to suddenly skedaddle off this mortal coil, the long-term survival of the remaining member of our dynamic duo would be a dicey proposition.
Case in point: I haven't a clue how the oven, dishwasher or washing machine work. Maybe I could find the manuals, but failing that I'd starve to death in my own filth within weeks. As for Joy, the snow blower, riding mower and string trimmer are alien concepts as complicated and mysterious as the Phoenix Mars Lander. She might last a little longer than me, but would soon be smothered in a tangle of weeds or buried alive in snow drifts up to the eaves. However rigid our roles may appear, there are some household duties that don't fall neatly into either of our portfolios.
Window cleaning is one of them. Man job or woman job? Hard to say. But I got it and I'm not sure how. It's no small task either. By actual count, we have 26 windows that require my attention every spring and fall. And it's not just about glass. These new-fangled vinyl windows never need painting and they do tilt neatly inwards eliminating the need to risk my life on a quivering ladder as I attempt to reach the uppermost windows. That's all good. But vinyl windows (at least mine) have more channels, nooks and crannies that collect dirt and bug carcasses that are almost impossible to remove even with a Q-tip or pipe cleaner. It's one hell of a job. As for the glass, there has to be a better way. No matter how long or hard I spray, wipe, shine and polish, the windows that looked so pristine when I finished the job reveal themselves to be nothing more than a collection of smears, streaks and smudges the moment the sun hits them.
Oh, I've read all the articles and all the trade secrets. Don't clean on a sunny day. One side horizontal, the other vertical. Polish with a crumpled newspaper. Use a squeegee. Wash from the top down. I have news for you - those tips don't work. None of them. And it's damned frustrating. I know it's not nice to hate, but I hate this job and what it does to me. But Joy refuses to take it off my hands. I've tried all the inducements I can. I'll cook dinner for a week... if she shows me how to use the stove. I'll do the laundry for a month... if she teaches me how to turn on the washing machine. I've even offered to do the grocery shopping, but Joy guards her turf like a pit bull. There's nothing I can offer to persuade her to even share this job with me. "It's something we could do together," I plea. "It would bring us closer to each other," I whimper. But she's a hard, hard woman.
I'm at my wit's end. I'm desperate. Maybe you have a secret that really works, not all the lies I've got off the Internet. I need a real solution. So if you have one, maybe I'll cook your dinner for a month. I might even do your shopping. It's all negotiable.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Window Cleaners Live Longer & Helps You Stay Fit



Richard Lowe, former lay preacher from Kington, celebrates centenary: A FORMER lay preacher from Kington is counting his blessings after reaching the big 100 last week. Great-great-grandfather Richard Lowe celebrated with friends and neighbours at The Oxford Arms. Around 50 wellwishers watched him open a card from the Queen and they also raised £250 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust in support of his great-grandson, who has the disease. As well as addressing local methodist congregations for half a century, Mr Lowe was also a painter and decorator, bus conductor and window cleaner during his working years. He has been a life-long supporter of Hereford United and is a great fan of gardening.


Goring man "eats like a horse" and sheds seven stone: WHEN Patrick Williams weighed almost 26 stone he feared he would be dead within two years. He could not walk 300 yards without stopping halfway for a rest, had trouble keeping up with his grandchildren and was suffering from diabetes. That is why Patrick, of Galsworthy Road, Goring, joined the Slimming World weight loss group and has so far lost more than seven stone, despite admitting he "eats like a horse". He said: "I feel so much better in myself and have so much more energy. When I was 26 stone I really thought I would be dead in two years if I didn't change things. "Because I have lost weight I have been able to cut down on my diabetes medication, so I'm taking no short-term medication and just 50 per cent of the long-term medication.
"I'm able to do more with my grandchildren now, such as taking them swimming, so it has been great." Patrick weighed 25 stone 10lbs when he joined the Slimming World group at Heene Community Centre in May last year. He set himself a target of losing 10 stone, and is already three quarters of the way there, now weighing in at just over 18 stone. The signalman said he started gaining weight in 1980 when he left his window cleaning job to work in a sedentary job.
In that time, he said he steadily put on weight through bad diet and lack of exercise, eventually ballooning to around 26 stone. Since he has joined Slimming World he has changed how he eats and has joined David Lloyd gym, where he regularly swims. He also tries to walk five miles every day. "The mistake most people make is that they think you have to eat no food, but I eat like a horse. It's just cutting out junk food and fried food," he said. "There aren't many men in the group but it didn't bother me. I would advise other men to try it out because it does work."

Friday, 29 May 2009

Elvis Attacks Window Cleaners



Elvis the dive-bombing parrot banished from Yorkshire home: A mischievous parrot named Elvis who hit the headlines after almost being landed with an ASBO for terrorising a sleepy village with his daredevil antics has finally been banished from his home. After years of getting his neighbours all shook up by dive bombing residents, stealing metal from roofs and damaging lamp posts, South American macaw Elvis has at last left the district. Elvis was ejected to a rural retirement retreat after swooping down on an elderly man in his picturesque home town of Wilsden, West Yorks.
Ian Watson, from Bradford Council's anti-social behaviour team, said the bizarre bird's antics had become so bad there was no other choice but to send him away to his new home. He said: "The straw that broke the camel's back came after we received a complaint from an off duty police officer. His elderly father had gone out with his three-year-old grandson and Elvis swooped down, terrified the elderly gentleman and caused the child to have nightmares. "He has moved to Shropshire, in a very remote part of the country and well away from people. We visited the other day and the aviary in Wilsden where he used to live has now gone." Following the latest anti-social incident earlier this month, Mr Watson, and PC Mick Wilkinson visited owner Edward Pikul and his daughter Melissa at their home. They explained the problem to the family who agreed to send Elvis to pastures new. Mr Watson said: "We went to see them and had a chat to point out the impact Elvis was having on villagers and explained that it was not really on when a three-year-old is having nightmares. He took it on board and did what needed to be done."
He added: "The window cleaners and milkmen can all come out of hiding and back on their rounds in safety now - Elvis has left the district." Infamous Elvis first made the headlines last year when Edward, who bought the two-foot long blue macaw eight years ago, was threatened with an ASBO. Businessman Edward insisted it was cruel for his pet to be kept in a tiny cage and allowed him to spread his brightly-coloured wings around the neighbourhood. But the suspicious minds of some locals in the village turned against inquisitive Elvis who they said was responsible for damaging property and terrorising the neighbourhood.
Divorced Edward, 50, a father to 19-year-old Melissa, received letters from his local council following residents' complaints, with some even calling for the parrot to be given an ASBO and kept locked in his cage at the back of his large detached house at the top of the quiet village. Speaking at the time Edward, who owns a fridge and air conditioning company said: "I would rather allow him to be let out, he just comes and goes as he pleases. If I had to imprison him in his cage, I would rather get rid of him. It would be upsetting, he is a lovely pet and would never harm anybody. "Elvis is just a mad old thing, he follows me down the lane when I go to work. He clings onto the roof racks and holds on for dear life and then flies around the village until he feels like coming home."
Neighbour Neil Whitaker, a fond supporter of Elvis, said: "He brought fun and colour to the village and really made our village stand out from the other villages. "Any damage he did cause, the owner offered to pay for, so I can't see that there was any problem - I'm honestly disappointed that we won't be seeing him flying around this summer with the sunlight gleaming off his colourful feathers."

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Flexibility Drives Window Washer



Flexibility drives window washer: One look at Café Nola's windows and Brandon Barnard knows that spring is in full bloom. Barnard stood outside the downtown Frederick establishment on a recent Monday and surveyed an empty storefront window with the expert eye of a man who has been washing windows professionally for nearly 15 years. A hand cart holding the tools of his trade — a 5-gallon orange bucket brimming with soapy water, a squeegee, strip washer, sponge and cloth — was stationed next to him on the sidewalk. At 9:30a.m., Barnard, a 37-year-old Frederick resident, starts his work-week cleaning the three windows and two glass doors at Café Nola, one of about 120 jobs he has washing windows for businesses around Frederick County. It's a career he didn't seek, but it meshes perfectly with his need for freedom and flexibility in his work and personal life. As his own boss, Barnard works as much or as little as he wants, five days a week, and is paid by the job, not by the hour. When he recently took two days off to see the Dalai Lama speak in New York City, Barnard simply shifted his work schedule to work through the following weekend.
One day earlier this month, Barnard dipped the long strip washer in and out of a bucket several times, squeezing out excess water with his bare hands and went inside the café. After pulling an empty table and chairs from the wall, he fanned the washer across a window in fluid arcs with his right hand. His left hand held the pivoting squeegee, which he hooked on a black belt fastened around his waist. After wiping the windowsill with a sponge, Barnard paused to greet friends at the café's counter. Barnard's work is always interrupted by morning rituals of a café, such as deliveries or couples eating breakfast at high, black tables framed by the windows. He doesn't interrupt the flow of business. Dave Snyder, owner of Café Nola, said the job suits Barnard well, and customers have taken notice of his work. Barnard said he held a variety of jobs from delivering newspapers as a kid in Gaithersburg to working at McDonald's. At the age of 22, the father of his then-girlfriend taught him everything he knew after 25 years in the business. "It pretty much fell in my lap," Barnard said, drinking a mocha latte. "I thought, ‘There's no way I can't try this.'"
Barnard hasn't changed the formula he was taught for cleaning glass — 1 ounce of low-sudsing, silicone and glycerin-based soap, water and a shot of ammonia. The silicone acts as a wetting agent, conditions the windows over repeated washings and slows wear on the squeegee, Barnard explained: "Over the course of time, it makes my job easier." His motto is: Work smart, not hard. And he doesn't sweat the small stuff, such as fingerprints on a glass door he washed only 30 minutes before. "Most people don't think about it. They don't clean it," he said. Besides, smudges keep him in business.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Ups & Downs: Window Cleaning News

The Red Army flooded into Rome yesterday to prepare for tonight's clash of the titans. More than 30,000 Manchester United fans arrived hoping to see a piece of history when their team does battle with mighty Barcelona in the Champions League final. The Eternal City was buzzing with anticipation of what promises to be a football spectacular watched by millions around the globe. Bars, restaurants and cafes were packed with supporters who started drinking early to beat a booze ban that began at 11pm last night. And touts tried to cash in on the glorious occasion by flogging tickets, some fake, for up to £2,000. Around 5,000 United fans have arrived without tickets. One, window cleaner Wayne Barlow, said he was in Rome to soak up the atmosphere. The 34-year-old, from Manchester, sitting outside an Irish pub with friends, said: "Touts are asking silly money. But we're just happy being here and having a few drinks.

Toronto, Canada: One of the peregrine parents looks on in 2008 as a firefighter, after rappelling through heavy rain from the roof to the 13th-storey ledge, prepares to remove the three white falcon chicks. The pair, which have been annually nesting on a ledge on the 13th floor of the Radisson Hotel for the past few years, returned to the city despite being struck by misfortune in 2008. Heavy June rains drowned three chicks that year, despite a dramatic rescue attempt by a Winnipeg firefighter who rappelled down the side of the building. Tracy Maconachie, a conservation biologist who has co-ordinated the recovery project for 16 years, said steps have been taken this year to give the family a little more protection. A local window washing company was able to place a box filled with gravel on the ledge. The deaths shocked viewers from around the world, who watch the progress of the falcon family via a live webcam — dubbed the Falcon Cam — attached near the nest. The camera is a project involving CBC Manitoba, Shaw Cable Systems and the Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project.

Firm is cleaning up: A Cleaning company has created 100 new jobs and further expansion could be on the cards. Hartlepool firm Ableclean can proudly look back on six months of continuous growth at a time when others are struggling to survive. But managing director David Haggan is not resting on his laurels. He said: "I am looking to buy other companies. "There are 100 companies in this country that are vulnerable. They are cleaning companies which are vulnerable and are in danger of going under." Ableclean is going from strength to strength and is ranked as one of the top 70 in the UK. Mr Haggan said: "We employ nearly 400 people all over the country and we have expanded in the last six months. We have taken a lot of major contracts on." Ableclean operates from Lowthian Road and was founded in 1990 before being taken over in 1996 by Mr Haggan.
He now runs the firm with his two sons David and Lee. There's more good news. The company has gained the ISO 9001 2008 certification to ensure customers receive excellent quality of service. The firm handles everything from small contracts to huge orders for major companies.
Their services can range from daily office cleaning to window cleaning, contract cleaning to one-off graffiti removal. Mr Haggan added: "One aspect of the work which is becoming more and more in demand is builders cleans which is going in after building work and giving the area a thorough clean. "We have achieved our success after a lot of hard work and dedication. "We pride ourselves on our utmost commitment to clients, not only to win contracts but also to meet and exceed their contracts on an ongoing basis."

Enterprising young people are nothing new. Lots of people, mowed lawns or washed cars once upon a time. But these days, it seems, more teenagers — not content with bagging groceries or serving fries, jobs that in some cases are harder to come by — are getting an itch to do their own thing.Parker Madl, 17, a junior at Blue Valley High School. When he was 13 and a seventh-grader, he started a window-washing business. It helps that his father sells cleaning supplies. Two years ago, Parker hired his older twin brothers, hence the name Madl Brothers Window Cleaning. “They kind of mooched off me when they saw how good it was working out,” says Madl, who plans to continue the business once he starts college.

Gary Eenigenburg used to build dream homes for Hoosiers, now he's helping to sustain them. A former project manager with VanDerNoord Homes, Eenigenburg purchased a Window Genie franchise a year ago. Services offered by Window Genie include window cleaning, window tinting, deck cleaning and sealing and house washing. "Homeowners were always asking me about these different services and who did them," Eenigenburg said. "I never really had an answer for them." Eenigenburg did some research, partnered up with Steve VanEk, and now owns the only Window Genie franchises in Chicagoland serving Lake and Porter counties. "It was perfect synergy. We started this company and it's working out great," Eenigenburg said. Based in St. John, Window Genie also provides cleaning and sealing of concrete, cleaning and protection of gutters and cleaning of chandeliers, tile and grout. What Eenigenburg and his team really enjoy is window tinting because it helps environmentally-friendly consumers keep the green theme going. The window film Eenigenburg utilizes is a high-quality product made to keep glare and summer heat out of the home. It can also reduce heat in a room and save homeowners money on their air conditioning bill. "It will also save dark wood furniture and floors from fading," Eenigenburg said. Along with window tinting, deck cleaning and sealing is a popular service because, in this economy, homeowners are focusing on maintaining and upkeep rather than buying new. "Decks dirty and gray can be restored and made to look like new without a lot of reconstruction," Eenigenburg said.
Window cleaning is also a popular service offered by the business. "A lot of people think, 'Oh, that's something I could do myself.' They can't believe the difference between a professional cleaning and someone else doing it," Eenigenburg said. Window Genie provides free estimates for its services. "Since I'm the owner the buck stops with me, and I stand behind it," Eenigenburg said.

Sodexo putting its faith in bundled services: Irish companies are slowly moving towards the concept of having one firm providing all their non core services, according to the general manager of Sodexo Ireland. Jeremy Dicks, head of the Irish branch of the food and facilities management provider, said the tradition generally in Ireland was to have separate providers for different services. But now, said Dicks, the trend was moving towards companies having one service provider to manage everything from catering, landscaping and administration to security and pest control.‘‘Clients have been comfortable dealing with the individual window cleaner, groundskeeper, cleaning company and separate security company. Sodexo has been operating in Ireland for the past 46 years, and employs 2,000 people in 200 locations across the island, with 1,600 employed in the Republic. With central offices in Dublin, Belfast and Cork, Sodexo’s clients include Hibernian, Allianz, the Central Bank, Fás and Government Buildings. Sodexo also has a major presence in private schools, mainly in the Dublin area.

Young workers hit hard by recession: The number of minimum-wage jobs has dropped, making it easier for fast-food outlets to find employees. A difficult economy means students are having a hard time finding work this summer. When Andrew Graham started recruiting for his summer window-cleaning business, he got more than 50 resumes, twice as many as a year earlier. The 21-year-old Carleton engineering student hired six students, twice as many as he had in his first year. "There are definitely more people looking for summer jobs." The recession is putting a squeeze on the job market, including summer employment opportunities. The result is some young people like Graham are turning to alternatives such as starting a business. Governments are pumping more money into job placement programs including providing wage subsidies to encourage hiring.
Almost 25,000 jobs have disappeared in the last five months in Ottawa-Gatineau, lifting the unemployment rate to 5.5 per cent in April -- well below the national unemployment rate of eight per cent. Unemployment of workers aged 15 to 24 was 10.9 per cent in April in Ottawa-Gatineau, up from 10.5 per cent a year earlier. That is more than twice the 4.4 per cent unemployment rate of people 25 and over.

Window Cleaning new starters: John Crean from Ratoath adds with a laugh that he is also something of an adventurer, someone who is travelling into the unknown, in unfamiliar terrain, scanning the landscape for directions as he goes along. Towards the end of last year, Crean, who is in his mid-40s, was made redundant from his job with a Dublin-based insurance brokers. He had spent almost 25 years in the insurance business and generally enjoyed the work as a broker and underwriter. He has since sought to mark out a new trail for himself by setting up a self-help group for unemployed people in the Ratoath area. The group was formed earlier this year and those interested in putting forward and exploring new ideas were invited to attend. Crean – who is originally from Wexford but who has lived in Ratoath for 10 years – contacted local politician Nick Killian who supported the idea. Crean told friends and acquaintances. The word was soon out on the street that the group was meeting and Crean was more than surprised when a large contingent showed up on the first morning. “What I wanted was that I would meet with other people who had lost their job and who had the same sort of issues. After I was made redundant, I would be up during the night wondering: 'What am I going to do?’. Not in a panic, but wondering,” he says.
“And I thought there must be other people around the place who are in the same situation as I am. I talked to Nick and I talked to a couple of lads I know locally. I said: 'Look, why don’t we meet up and we would do it, say, at 11 o’clock on a Tuesday morning, we can have a discussion and maybe we can see if we can come up with some ideas because it’s the only way we are going to get a job,” he adds. The first morning, 25 people showed up, male and female. Most of them were professionals. There were health and safety people, architects, sales managers, plumbers. Business consultants came, offered their time free and chaired the meetings. “I wanted it as a group where if you came in this week and said, 'What about setting up a window washing company in Ratoath?’, the idea would be discussed, people would either encourage you or give reasons why it wouldn’t work; it would be a team effort rather than anything on an individual basis. At least you would have a network of people there who can help you. People might say, 'I know somebody who could help you in that project, I’ll give them a ring for you’,” adds Crean.

Laid-off workers look in different directions for work: "Whenever there's a downturn, we see increasing activity," said Steve Pellarin, executive director of the London Small Business Centre. "We've been watching the volume increase over the last 10 months. There are people who come to the table with a skill set and have knowledge" of the field in which they want to begin a business. Josh Brock, 31, fits into that category, but took the SEB program because "there were things I would have overlooked." His 2008 layoff from Formet Industries in St. Thomas gave him time to pursue his ambition of self-employment. Aware of the trend toward retirees moving into condominiums, Brock thought many might stay in their homes if they had someone to do outdoor work. He started Home Smart Services Group, which offers lawn work, snow removal, spring and fall cleanup, power washing and exterior window cleaning among its services.

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Folks who headed down to the Missoula farmer's market over the Memorial Day weekend got a little surprise when they looked up to the Millennium building and saw Spiderman dangling from it. For the last three years Spiderman, along with his alter ego, have fought grime on the side of the building with a bucket, sponge, and spider thread. The window washing started around 10:30 in the morning and kids and adults watched from the streets as the super heroes swung back and forth cleaning the building. Spiderman got a little help from Spectrum Window Cleaning and now that the building is clean, Spiderman wont be back until next year. Also see here.

Mabel Henderson is a dedicated and passionate woman of African descent who immigrated to the United States in 2001. Through hard work and determination, Henderson started cleaning service Clean Queen in 2003. Clean Queen specializes in providing cleaning and sanitation solutions for homes, offices, restaurants, warehouses and newly constructed infrastructures. For Clean Queen, the client is number one. “I personally inspect the jobs after completion and follow up with clients to get their feedback,” Henderson said. Henderson is a long-standing board member of the Alliance for African Assistance, which helps refugees adapt to their new environment. In 2002, Henderson founded America Linking with Africa, a nonprofit organization that raises HIV and AIDS awareness in Africa and the U.S. “I was inspired by the numbers of people infected and affected by HIV in Africa particularly in my home country of Botswana, which has one of the highest rates of HIV infection in Africa,” Henderson said.

'Window cleaner' stole from 82-year-old woman: Wednesday, 10.20am - A THIEF posing as a window cleaner stole cash from an 82-year-old woman on Sunday (May 24). The man visited the victim on the afternoon claiming to be a window cleaner collecting money. He was given a small amount of loose change and left. The thief returned later that night at 8pm saying he had dropped some money on the floor during his earlier visit. He then went into the living room and stole £80 cash from a handbag. The man is described as white, of slim build and about 5ft 10in tall. He had short dark hair and was wearing a shirt and dark trousers. Information to police on 01476 402222 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Window Cleaner Close Call



Dad drops daughter out window after blaze grips flats: A father today told how he was forced to drop his terrified four-year-old out of a first-storey flat before jumping out of the window himself to escape a fire that was raging in the flat below. Gareth Gray, 27, a window cleaner from Galt Avenue, Musselburgh, was alerted by neighbours when the flat downstairs caught fire and, fearing that a gas explosion may be imminent, was forced to drop his daughter McKenzie on to a makeshift crash mat of sofa cushions. Mr Gray then took the 15-foot drop himself but tore the ligaments in his leg when he missed the cushions and landed on hard concrete.
Mr Gray, who has a heavily bandaged leg but is otherwise unscathed, today recounted his ordeal when the fire broke out on Sunday evening. He said: "The neighbours were shouting up to us to get out of the house because the flat below was on fire and they thought they could smell gas," said Mr Gray. "We ran to the front door but the stairway was totally full of smoke so the only way out was through the living room window. "As we made our way back into the living room, we heard an explosion below us and thought that the whole building was going to go up, so my partner and I started throwing cushions out of the window to drop McKenzie on to. "She was having a bit of a fit with the fear, and I told her that she would have to go out the window and she kept saying 'No, daddy, no'. "It had to be done though.
"Our flat is fitted with gas and there was every chance a gas explosion could have torn the building apart if we'd waited, so McKenzie went out the window and I jumped out after her." His partner and McKenzie's mother Natalie McIntyre, 25, a student, was about to make the jump herself before fire crews arrived and advised her to stay in the flat and await a rescue. McKenzie ran into the arms of her grandfather David Peat, 43, a painter and decorator who lives nearby and was also alerted to the fire, but when Mr Gray made to run after her, he collapsed on the floor. "I must have landed in between the pillows and hit the ground," said Mr Gray, an amateur footballer who plays for Ormiston in the East of Scotland League. "I thought I'd broken my leg but the hospital later told me that I had torn every ligament in my ankle. "McKenzie was shouting for her daddy but I just couldn't move. "I'm glad that the football season has just finished so that I'll have the summer off to recover." Fire chiefs believe that the fire was started by a neighbour smoking in bed. They say the "explosion" the couple heard was most likely the inner pane of the blazing flat's double glazing cracking with the heat. Neighbours said the downstairs flat's occupant, thought to be in his 50s, emerged with his face blackened by soot and blood streaming from his leg.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Johnny Orsinis' Story


Johnnys Story: On Sunday, May 1, 1988, at the age of forty-eight, I chose to go skydiving for the first time. It was also my last time. The descent was wonderful until I was near to the ground. My body crash-landed and left me with a compression fracture of one of the vertebrae in my back (L-1), and many bruised muscles. Eleven days were required for the hospital stay plus seven months at home in a brace before I recovered enough to start working again! There was severe pain at first. It lessened as time progressed. I needed to do many exercises to strengthen the injured muscles over the following seven months. There was also plenty of time for prayer and I took advantage of it.
Meanwhile, I had purchased a 1973 Buick Le Sabre four-door for $100 from an Elkhart, Indiana used car dealer with whom I had done a lot of business in the past. Although it was sixteen years old, it turned out to be a dependable car. A previous prayer for a good vehicle had been answered.
I worked briefly with my next-door neighbor during December and January doing some carpentry work. He worked. I helped. I learned a lot about business from Harry. He said that if you do a great job you would always have work. How true it has proven to be.
Later, in the month of January 1989, I got a job selling cars and trucks. It lasted about five weeks. I was let go because I sold only one vehicle. I was devastated and was about out of money.
Four days later on Tuesday, March 1, 1989, I was at a point of desperation. With what little money I had being almost gone, no car, no job prospects, I really needed help. My ways had not worked. (I have since learned that my ways had never really given the best results.) I knelt down and asked God for His answer to my situation. Surrendering as sincerely as I could at that time, I said, "God, I will stay on my knees as long as it takes to get an answer from You." I was prepared to be on my knees for several days if necessary. My back was sore because I was still recovering from the skydiving injury, but it did not matter to me how long it would take. God's answer was definitely needed at this time. He gave me an answer in only ten minutes! It was a vision that looked like the old-fashioned movie marquee, with light bulbs around the word "WINDOW CLEANING".
Now, I was not really interested in becoming a window cleaner, so I stayed on my knees for another hour. (This was just in case He had a different job for me; something easier, and with a "better image". I was hoping for a job that would allow me to be dressed up with a suit and tie each day.) Nothing changed. I decided I would be a window cleaner. If God wanted me to be a window cleaner, though, He would need to do a lot for me to get me going and make a way for me, because I had no idea of what it would take to get into the window cleaning business.

On Jun 30, 2006, Johnny retired from the window cleaning business, after 17 years. He has been selling the window cleaning ebooks online since June 2002. He was so blessed by God with the window cleaning business that he wanted to pass a blessing on to those who would like to receive it. He now makes the ebooks available free of charge. The Window Cleaning Business Manual has helped many people get started in the window cleaning business.There is no charge for either of the ebooks. There are no gimmicks. You do not have to email or write Johnny for anything. You will find links to the ebooks and other helpful material on the Info-Order page. Download the full version here.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Sunday Window Cleaning News-Watch




Two rescued after ninth-floor scaffolding breaks: A crowd gathered along the street and workers peered from their office windows Friday morning as two construction workers hung from the side of a nine-story building. The workers were pressure washing the exterior of one of Mutual of Omaha's buildings at 33rd and Farnam Streets when the platform holding them broke apart. Rescuers pulled one worker up and off the platform about 11:30 a.m. The second man was rescued about 11:40 a.m. A co-worker identified the men as Dan Gibbons and Nick Grimit. From the time the ordeal began shortly before 11 a.m. until the second man was rescued, onlookers gathered along the street. Office workers could be seen looking out nearly every window in the buildings along both sides of Farnam. Another employee of the construction company said the platform the men were using was brand new. It was still near the top of the building and had not descended very far when the platform broke. The platform is constructed in three sections, and the right-hand third of the platform broke loose shortly after the men began descending the building. Rescuers and the two workers secured the platform with ropes before the men were removed. Battalion Chief Steve Ausdemore said a passerby saw the scaffolding hanging broken on the side of the building and called 911. "Our speciality rescue team trains for this type of event every week in order to be prepared for a real- world high-angle rescue. This rescue went like clockwork," he said.

Doctors at Coventry’s University Hospital began crying as they told the 66-year-old he had less than two months to live. But the grandfather of three was in for an even bigger shock. After planning his own funeral and wake, Mr McCann was called back to the hospital and told the doctors had made a mistake – he could live for years. Mr McCann and his wife Elizabeth, of Castle Croft, Cheylesmore, were given the “devastating” news in September 2007. He’s decided to speak out now after reading about other NHS mistakes in the Telegraph. “The doctor’s eyes started filling up with tears as he told us,” said the former window cleaner. “He said he needed to get a glass of water – I thought it was for me and I said thank you but he sat down and drank it himself. “We were crying all the way home, we didn’t know what to do.” During the following days Mr McCann began counting down to his “imminent death” and making preparations. He contacted the Co-op to start paying off his funeral plan and arrange the service, and he booked a room at the Cheylesmore Social Club for his wake. His two younger sisters even borrowed money to fly over from Belfast to support him during his final weeks. Then on October 2, Mr McCann was called back into hospital and told the diagnosis had been a mistake. Doctors also sent him a letter of apology, assuring him the tumour behind his eye would not kill him any time soon. “When we went to the hospital they couldn’t apologise enough,” said Mr McCann, who has lived in Coventry for more than 40 years. “But at the same time they asked my wife and me whether we really wanted to know what the cancer was going to do to me, because if it were them they wouldn’t want to know. “I was terrified.” Mr McCann, who needs oxygen 16 hours a day and takes more than 20 tablets including morphine, contacted the Coventry Telegraph to share his story after reading about other mistakes made by the hospital.

Phoney tradesmen told to stay away from Portsmouth: Police have warned rogue traders to stay out of Portsmouth after an operation targeting dodgy workers. Trading Standards joined police officers to carry out spot checks on the likes of builders, window cleaners and gardeners to make sure they were not ripping people off. PC Neil Lancaster said the aim of the operation was to target those who coerce elderly people into paying for unnecessary work as well as distraction burglars. PC Lancaster said: 'Obviously there's a lot of good workers out there and it's the minority that are causing problems for the majority. 'The day was about distraction burglaries and people being taken advantage of. These sort of things obviously have a devastating affect on people.' No arrests were made on the day and all those who the authorities spoke to were bona fide workers. But Trading Standards officer Dave Taylor said it had been a worthwhile operation.
'Unfortunately we didn't find anybody who was a rogue trader as such,' he said. 'But rogue traders should see this as a warning that we are looking for them and we will be out again looking for them. 'We want these people to keep out of Portsmouth and anything we can do to disrupt their activities will help to protect everybody, particularly the elderly and vulnerable who are reluctant to say "no" when people knock at their door.'

A grieving husband has paid tribute to the woman he married twice, after she lost her brave battle with a rare illness. George Black said his wife, Terri, managed to keep her “bubbly and jovial” personality despite her painful muscle and tendon condition. The mother of four suffered from fibromyalgia, which often left her exhausted and in agony after only slight exertion. Mr Black, 54, of Murray Place, Portsoy, said: “Even though she was suffering, she tried to make the best of every hour. “The last couple of years were very hard for her but she always tried to keep up her spirits.” He said his 37-year-old wife had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia two years ago and took medication to combat the condition. Sufferers can experience chronic pain and fatigue in muscles and tendons and an increased sensitivity to pain. Mr Black and his London-born wife met through their membership of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious movement. He said: “We were both members of the congregation at Portsoy and got married in 1996. At that time, we stayed at Portknockie for a while and then moved to a farmhouse in the Bogmuchals area. “Unfortunately, I became ill and that caused a strain, and we split up and got divorced in 2003.
“We kept up with each other as friends and I came to stay in Portsoy. “A couple of years ago, Terri also came to Portsoy and we were living not far from each other. “My health problems had improved and we decided to get married again.” Mr Black, who formerly worked as a landscape gardener and window cleaner, said: “Terri always made a great impression on everybody and was well liked.”

Don says "So, what happens when it just pours all week? You may not ever have that problem, but if you live in a tropical climate like I do, this can be an issue. Not only is it hard to clean windows in a downpour, but it suppresses interest in those who might be your customers. Check out this 3 minute video!"

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Students find recession tough - More are opting to start their own companies. A difficult economy means students are having a hard time finding work this summer. When Andrew Graham started recruiting for his summer window-cleaning business, he got more than 50 résumés, twice as many as a year earlier. The 21-year-old Carleton engineering student hired six students, twice as many as he had in his first year. "There are definitely more people looking for summer jobs." The recession is putting a squeeze on the job market, including summer employment opportunities. The result is some young people like Graham are turning to alternatives like starting a business. Governments are pumping more money into job placement programs, including providing wage subsidies to encourage hiring. Almost 25,000 jobs have disappeared in the last five months in Ottawa-Gatineau, lifting the unemployment rate to 5.5 per cent in April - well below the national unemployment rate of eight per cent. Unemployment of workers between the ages of 15 to 24 was 10.9 per cent in April in Ottawa-Gatineau, up from 10.5 per cent a year earlier. That is more than twice the 4.4-per-cent unemployment rate of people 25 and over.

'No-cold-callers zone' to fight conmen: A Scheme to warn doorstep callers and cowboy businessman to stay away from an elderly residential area has been set up in town. The 'No-Cold Calling Zone' has been set up in Manners Street in a joint effort between the police and trading standards. The area was chosen after reports from a number of people living in the area of conmen going door-to-door. PC Tony Gallagher, community beat manager for the town centre, said: "We have been plagued by a number of cold-callers and distraction type burglaries in this area. "We have had cases of people posing as gas workers, window cleaners, even people calling themselves police officers. "We are hoping this scheme will help give the residents the confidence to say 'no' by giving them the information to be able to contact us quickly." PC Gallagher and PCSO Alfie Kent went door-to-door in Manners Street on Tuesday to talk to people about the problems, offer advice and provide an information pack on how to react to doorstep sellers. A number of signs have been put up around people's homes by the police warning possible cold-callers not to go door-to-door in the area. Dave Callan of Trading Standards said: "We want to discourage rogue traders from coming to this area. "We get people charging exorbitant amounts for doing very little work, people distracting the person at the front door while someone else gets into the house and even people being taken to the bank to withdraw money. The problem in the Manners Street area has becoming worse in recent months, with residents raising the issue at residents' meetings. Barrie Cox, a neighbourhood watch co-ordinator, regularly attends such meetings. "I think the zone is an excellent idea. "We have had quite a few distraction burglaries up here. They always come in the evening and we tell people not to open their doors to anybody but some still do and this has resulted in people being robbed. "Putting the signs up should deter people from going door-to-door."

Al Sarabasa Jr. He pounces on the slack: Al Sarabasa Jr. has seen a few economic slumps during his almost 24 years as owner of D&A Building Services Inc. in Longwood. Which is why he now uses downturns to take up market slack left by out-of-business competitors and expand his company's service offerings. "If we come out strong enough at the end of this, we will be in the position to expand and pick up more markets," he said. From humble beginnings as a window-washing business with one employee, D&A has grown to become one of Florida's biggest Hispanic-owned businesses, with annual revenue of $19 million, according to California-based Hispanic Business magazine. The company's main line of business is built around janitorial services, facility maintenance, window cleaning, waterproofing, construction cleanup and communications networks.
Already this year, Sarabasa has lost some contracts and had to reduce his work force by 25 percent through layoffs and attrition. But he has also added lawn-and-ornamental treatment services to his landscape-maintenance unit. And he has expanded geographically, adding a fifth state last year with the opening of a Dallas office. "It's not about affordability; it's about the possibilities once we get out of the recession," he said of the expansion and added services. "It's tight, but we make it work."

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Dave Aronow - Life Over The Edge



You, sir. Down on terra firma. Think you got macho? Take a gander at Dave Aronow, the window washer, atop a 10-story building, crawling backward toward the edge of the roof, in a howling wind. • Inches from the void, he clips the harness to his rappelling rope and edges closer. He knows a window washer who was slow to clip, lost his balance and fell a dozen stories. The ropeless soul tumbled through an awning, broke bones by the score and retired from high-rise work forever. • Dave the Window Washer — that's how he answers his cell phone — is in his 21st year of playing Spider-Man. At 44, he is an old man in a young man's game. Sometimes he feels beat up after a long day in the sky, but never mind. He has no plans to quit what may be the most dangerous job anywhere. • On the top of the roof, he extends his legs over the abyss. • Ten stories below the roof of Sand Castle condominium, traffic crawls along Gulf Boulevard. He braces himself for a moment, says "See you on the ground" and disappears over the side. • The rope straightens with a snap, then starts swinging.
"It takes a special breed of man to do this work,'' says Richard Hodge, Dave's boss at Bay Area Window Cleaning. "It's absolutely brutally physical work, not to mention dangerous.'' Hodge broke a leg before he became a manager. Dave the Window Washer snapped an arm bone above his elbow when a rope slipped and he swung into a marble wall like a flying squirrel. He thrives on live-life-to-the-fullest experiences and the stories they generate. "So why do I do this?'' he asks. "I do this because it's fun. Every day is different. I like adventure.'' Also there's the pay: $50,000 or more, in addition to high-risk insurance, for a work week over in fewer than 40 hours."It gives me time for my other interests,'' he says. He skis in Colorado and drives dog sleds in Canada. One time he paid for a flight in a World War II vintage stunt plane; the pilot flew loop-de-loops over the Atlantic Ocean. He enjoys cooking. His specialties are lasagna, mushroom-barley soup and sushi he makes out of the grouper he spears while scuba diving in the Gulf of Mexico.
"I tried golf for a couple years, but it drove me nuts. It takes too long to be good right away at golf, and whatever I do I want to be good right away.'' He enjoys exploring the Loxahatchee, Ocklawaha and Alafia rivers in kayaks he builds by hand. Every night he reads himself to sleep. "Mostly histories. I really loved Undaunted Courage about Lewis and Clark by Stephen Ambrose. I just got Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson but I haven't started it yet.'' For a while he was addicted to Texas hold'em poker and made a pilgrimage to Las Vegas, where he remembers winning enough to pay for the trip. "I also saw a lot of cool buildings,'' he says, returning to his favorite topic. He especially admired the Stratosphere tower (1,149 feet) and the Palazzo (642 feet). "When I travel, I look more up than straight ahead. I'm always trying to figure out how I'd clean those buildings if I had the job.''
• • •
West-central Florida's skyline will never be mistaken for a big city's. Chicago boasts the 1,450-foot Sears Tower and New York has the 1,250-foot Empire State Building. One day Dave the Window Washer may save enough for a Middle East vacation. The Dubai Tower, still under construction, has passed 2,684 feet. The desert sand will do a job on the windows of the world's tallest building. We do have a few edifices that scrape the sky around here. In Hillsborough County, the building known as 100 North Tampa reaches a cool 579 feet into the nimbostratus. Dave has washed the windows. In St. Petersburg, he climbed to the top of the Bank of America Tower and rappelled 386 feet, washing the windows on the way to the parking lot. "Once you're above 20 floors, it doesn't matter that much how high you are. You're high enough. All the cars look like ants.''
• • •
He grew up in Tampa as one of those boys who enjoyed taking apart his parents' appliances. Favorite playthings included Tinkertoys and Lincoln Logs. In high school, he picked up a guitar.
He told his parents, "I'm going to be a rock star.'' He almost got there. He played bass in Midnight, a hair band — every member's tresses fell below the shoulder — that had bookings throughout America. Another band, Naked Schoolgirls, provided heavy metal drama, beer and the company of amorous young women. "A musician is almost always poor. You had to have a day job. Window washing paid my bills.''
When he was 28, burned out by the rock scene, he decided to become a doctor. He clung to his window-washing job while taking classes at USF, where he earned a bachelor's degree in biology. "I like science. I like calculus. I like learning. My problem is I like everything. I decided it would take too long to be a doctor.'' Back to window washing. Back to the music scene. Right now he plays bass in a band that backs a country artist named Adrian Ray. Dave the Window Washer is taking violin lessons, just in case he is asked to pick up the fiddle.
• • •
"I am not afraid of heights,'' he says, looking down at Gulf Boulevard. "But I have butterflies in my stomach when I am about to drop off the edge of a roof. I think those butterflies are what keep me alive. They make me careful.'' Up there he is a rock star. Up there, he is the king of the world. Rappelling toward the earth, he gazes through windows at men wearing white collars and neckties. He wonders if they are as happy in their work as he is in his. Occasionally, as he cleans a window, his big muscles undulating beneath his T-shirt like a crazed python, a woman walks to her side of the glass, smiles and displays her breasts. Sometimes, when he reaches the ground, she is waiting. He has never been married. He has come close at least twice. "I haven't found the perfect woman,'' he says. "At this point I'm not sure she exists. I want both a girly girl who is also smart and independent, and who will allow me to do my thing. I have been in some miserable relationships.'' She will also have to love his three cats. During his career as a window washer he has dated a Hooters girl. Or maybe more than one. Though not all at the same time.
• • •
The view from the top of the world is always interesting. He often notices dolphins, stingrays and even sharks cruising among oblivious bathers below the waterfront condos and hotels he maintains. Pelicans pass beneath him. Often he rappels through clouds of wasps near building tops. He doesn't know why, but they never sting him. He plays the wind. He uses his feet. He shifts his weight to swing one way or the other. He reaches into the soapy bucket hanging from the rope, dips a rag, swipes it across the glass. Finally, the coup de grace. He employs his industrial squeegee, turning his wrist this way and that way like a tai chi master. "You don't learn this overnight,'' he tells overconfident people who think the art of cleaning windows is easily mastered. "It takes six months to three years to learn how to wash windows high up because of the fear factor.'' Some never get over their fear. Some never learn proper squeegee technique. Some have weak bladders.
"You don't want to drink a lot of coffee or tea before you go up,'' he says. "I was working with this guy once, he tells me, 'Man, I really got to pee,' and I tell him, 'Man, you can't' and he says 'I can't hold it anymore' and he swings over to this corner and lets loose against the building. "He comes back and says, 'Man, that's a relief.' I say 'Look behind you, man. There are buildings right behind you with people in those buildings. People saw you.'

"In this line of work, you always have to be, you know, a professional.''

Friday, 22 May 2009

Unger Hi-Flo, Carbon-Tec & Window Cleaning Tool Videos



Unger Enterprises, Inc. is the leading provider of innovative professional cleaning solutions. Unger is an international company and has been manufacturing professional cleaning tools for more than 40 years. Unger takes pride in developing innovative and unique tools that help professionals clean more productively, in order to present a cleaner, healthier building. Unger has offices in the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, as well as manufacturing facilities in the United States, Germany and India. Unger provides innovative cleaning solutions to more than 80 countries worldwide.

The first video explains the difference between tap water & pure water.

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The second video explains the nature of the reverse osmosis unit & the filtration stages.

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This video explains the Unger Hi-Flo plus using telescopic poles & is probably best suited to the new starter.

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The Unger Carbon-tec modular pole system.

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Techniques & maintenance when using the Carbon-tec water fed pole. This is also a corrupted video, it freezes at 2:22!

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Mark Unger, son of Henry Unger the founder - explains efficiency & productivity with Unger tools.


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Mark Unger shows the new line of Unger window scrapers.

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This Unger case study shows how water fed poles can beat other methods of cleaning shown at the "Fritz-Walter Stadium in Kaiserlautern, Germany.

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The Unger marketing machine takes to the road with demonstrations around Germany featuring drums & cheerleaders!
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Thursday, 21 May 2009

The Sörbo Way Part 2

The Sörbo Way Part 1 here.

If you value your back like you should (and we all should) The Quadropod is pretty much a necessity. Sörbo Samuelsson shows us how to use the Quadropod Bucket Stand (AKA Backbone Saver). He ought to know. He tweaked his back doing windows which is why he came up with this brilliant invention. Also see here.

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One arm getting longer than the other from lugging your cleaning bucket around? Sick of getting your pant leg wet? Get your bucket a pimped-out ride, and save yourself from all that misery. The Leifcart Sport Utility Bucket stand goes over curbs, lawns and rough terrain without spilling. It has a graceful and comfortable handle so you can push it along faster with little effort. Perfect for those commercial jobs outdoors.

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If you've ever been mystified by how the channel end clip is removed or inserted, this video is for you. Part of the secret is to relax and not worry too much about it. The end clip is a tough little bugger, and the rubber is too. So take it easy... feel free to push, pull and bend this way or that to make it all come together... and don't forget, a little lubrication never hurts. But please, only use water.

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The Sörbo Tool Belt puts the tools you need most within easy reach. Quality, Speed and Ergonomics is what we're all about. But you can't get speed if you're wasting time fetching your tools. Stooping and bending to get your tools isn't good ergonomics. The nice thing is, if you have all three, you also have that all important fourth leg of a good business...better earnings. Which is why you need the Sörbo tool belt! My favourite belt!


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Sörbo cleaning compounds give you more control. You can adjust your cleaning solution to compensate for the temperature and humidity. You don't have to be stuck with somebody else's idea of what a perfect cleaning solution should be. Over thirty years of experience doing windows in the desert region of Southern California gives Sörbo some valuable insight into what it takes to work in extreme environments.

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The Eliminator: After all, one person doing as much work as five people in the same amount of time sounds too fantastic to be believed. Well believe it. Sörbo Samuelsson shows you just how easy it is to be a superhuman window cleaner, and make more money too.

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Your backbone is your most important equipment, so why jeopardize it. Most of the bending and stooping can be eliminated by the creative use of an extension pole. Extend your reach and multiply your strength without tweaking your back. Sörbo Samuelsson shows how most of the steps in window cleaning can be done better and safer with an extension pole.

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Sörbo explores the Sörbo Fast Release Handle.

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Don't forget to watch the tricks & tips blog post here, and don't forget the alternative is the Slayer channel from WCR which has taken the market by storm here. Currently "just for fun" the boys at WCR are creating an 8 foot channel!

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