Wednesday 31 March 2010

High-Rise Window Washers Grounded

High-rise window washers grounded: Some downtown office building windows remained dirty Tuesday after 50 union window washers said they'd been locked out by their employers over a safety dispute.

The workers, members of Local 26 of Service Employees International Union, normally hang suspended in "chairs" many stories above street level while they wash office building windows. They say they were locked out at midnight Monday by window washing firms Marsden Building Maintenance of St. Paul and Columbia Building Services of Minneapolis after workers complained that the ropes and rope attachment points that support workers high in the air don't meet government safety standards. Marsden and Columbia representatives could not be reached for comment.

After holding a midday rally on Nicollet Mall Monday, some union members walked into Midwest Plaza and U.S. Bank, two office towers on Nicollet Mall where they normally work, to discuss safety issues with building representatives. The union plans to picket from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Wednesday on Nicollet Mall.

The safety allegations are being made at a time when the union is in negotiations with the two firms, seeking to replace a two-year contract that expired in February. Workers concede the alleged safety hazards have existed for years but say they are being talked about now because safety is an issue in the contract negotiations.

The union is seeking higher wages -- window washers are now paid $14 to $19.20 an hour -- and more safety language in a new contract, said Greg Nammacher, secretary-treasurer of Local 26. Both companies have proposed pay cuts ranging from 10 to 28 percent, and negotiations are going nowhere, he said. Window washers make up 50 of the 5,000 workers the union represents; the other union members are janitors and security officers.

Some window washers detailed what they said were safety violations on the job. Steve Hall of Columbia Heights said washers are being asked to use support ropes that are too old or too worn to meet government safety standards. Ropes are supposed to be used no more than two years, he said.

Luis Rodriguez of St. Paul said he was uneasy about being told to use unsafe rooftop anchoring points for support ropes, such as a flagpole and a gutter pipe that weren't designed to handle the strain of suspending a window washer. Glenn Roehsner of Minneapolis said a Marsden supervisor told him the company couldn't afford to comply with government safety rules. "Increasing cost pressures are putting safety on the back burner," Nammacher said. The window washers kept their feet firmly planted Tuesday, claiming safety is an issue in stalled contract talks.

Union says safety enforcement, wage cuts at issue: Window cleaners who work on most of the high-rise office towers in Minneapolis and St. Paul say they were locked out of work Tuesday by their employers — Marsden Final Touch Services and Columbia Building Services — amid contract negotiations. The approximately 50 window cleaners are represented by Service Employees International Union Local 26 and claim safety enforcement is at the center of the dispute. Calls to the companies were not returned.

Union officials say the companies told them the lockout will continue until a new contract is signed. But the two sides are at odds. According to the union, the companies also are demanding wage cuts of 10 percent to 28 percent. In the past 2 1/2 years, there have been three fatalities in the window cleaning industry in the Twin Cities. This is in an industry with less than 100 workers trained on high-rise buildings, according to the union. After meeting with state regulatory officials last fall, window cleaners decided to seek better enforcement of existing safety regulations.

Steve Hall, a window cleaner with Columbia Building Services for 16 years, said he and some other window cleaners asked their employer last week for proof of purchase dates for the ropes they use in their job to hold them in place. Safety standards call for ropes to be no more than two years old. After raising the concern, their employer told them their request was "ridiculous."

"People are hanging on these ropes, and we really don't know how old they are, when they were inspected or if they were inspected," Hall said. "We're always told, 'You're good to go,' and we always went with them and trusted them." But then the cleaners asked to see receipts and purchase dates for the ropes. "It was a serious question, but there was a simple solution to it," Hall said. "Instead of them giving us anything, they locked us out." The two sides are scheduled to bargain today.

Tuesday 30 March 2010

Window Cleaners Latest "Show Case of Shame"

A Keighley window cleaner demolished a dry-stone wall worth £1,000 in a car crash after calling at a pub on his way home from work, Skipton Magistrates heard last week. The court was told David Bingley, of Braithwaite Edge Road, suffered a minor head injury in the accident, on December 15, and was taken by ambulance to Airedale Hospital. The 63-year-old, who pleaded guilty to drink-driving, lost control of his Skoda Felicia on the B6160, between Barden and Bolton Abbey, and crashed into the wall after a “convivial drink” at a pub in Appletreewick. Prosecuter Simon Ostler said Bingley consented to a blood test at the hospital. It revealed that he had 117 milligrammes of alcohol in his blood — the legal limit is 80 milligrammes. Mr Ostler said the collision, which did not involve any other vehicle, happened at around 5pm and caused a total of £1,057 damage to a five metre stretch of a dry-stone wall.
Bingley’s solicitor, John Mewies, said his client had mistakenly had a drink on an empty stomach after forgetting his packed lunch. Bingley’s window cleaning round was in the Yorkshire Dales. Mr Mewies said Bingley had been working in the Linton and Grassington area when at around 3pm he decided to see his friend who worked at a pub in Appletreewick. “He enjoyed a convivial drink and left the pub feeling competent to drive but lost control of his vehicle,” said Mr Mewies. “No-one else was involved, but he made contact with the dry-stone wall and he rolled the vehicle on top of the wall and, unfortunately for him, not only had he ladders on top of his vehicle but he also had them inside.
“He banged his head badly on the ladders and was concussed. His recollection is vague but the emergency services attended after a passer-by happened upon him.” Magistrates disqualified Bingley from driving for 12 months and fined him £290. He was also ordered to pay £45 costs and a £15 victims surcharge. Mr Mewies said following the loss of his licence Bingley intended continuing with his window cleaning round with the help of his wife, who would drive him around.

A rogue window cleaner who burgled customers and let others down has been given a two-and-a-half year prison sentence. Homeless David Green, 43, admitted four counts of fraud for taking money for cleaning windows from Swindon householders and failing to fulfill his obligations between December 2008 and March 2009. At Bristol Crown Court yesterday, Green admitted another three counts of fraud between August 2007 and September 2008, three burglaries and one count of theft, all in the Bristol and Somerset area. He also asked for a 147 offences from Bristol and 124 from Swindon to be taken into consideration, consisting of fraud, burglary, attempted burglary and theft.
Sally Thompson, prosecuting, said Green would offer householders a three, six or 12-month deal for cleaning their windows on a monthly basis asking for payment up front but after a couple of visits would not be seen again. The court was told that Green was eventually traced through his white van. Ms Thompson said he told police that the money paid for his drink and drugs addiction. She said he also had two previous convictions in Swindon for similar offences. She outlined three Bristol burglaries between July and October 2009, in which Green had used a tradesman’s identity to gain access to people’s homes.
Victims of his burglaries included an 87-year-old woman to whom he posed as a builder then took cash and cheques, which he used to withdraw £6,000. On another occasion an 84-year-old woman was targeted by Green posing as a window cleaner and had cash, cards and jewellery taken. Christopher Smyth said in mitigation that drug tests on his client proved he was now drug free and that he had completed a drug rehabilitation programme. Mr Smyth said he had also cooperated fully with the police and given them details of where he committed offences. He said: “It makes it fairly clear he was attempting to wipe the slate clean.
“Whether it’s the drink, drugs, depression, the gambling, whatever it was it has got on top of him. “He dropped out of his normal life and committed offences to keep himself going.” Judge Michael Roach said: “You were given a community order and here you are doing it again. “What is particularly unpleasant is these distraction burglaries where at least two elderly people were relieved of their property. “It’s to your credit that you have worked hard in prison to sort yourself out, but clearly the custodial threshold has been crossed.”
Green was given an 18-month sentence for each burglary to run concurrently, six months for each of the Bristol frauds to run concurrently to each other but consecutive to the main sentence, six months for each of the frauds in Swindon to run concurrently to each other but consecutively, and two months concurrently for the theft. The 170 days already spent in custody will be deducted. Justin Tomlinson, Abbey Meads councillor and Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for North Swindon, was one of Green’s victims. He was targeted by Green in February last year when he offered window cleaning and work to gutters. Although the guttering was done and £99 paid, Tomlinson said the windows were never cleaned. He said: “I’m absolutely delighted justice has been served.Working with the local residents we helped to provide the evidence needed.”

A window cleaner – caught breaking into women's homes and trying on their clothes before performing a sex act – has been locked up for burglary. William O'Grady, 20, from Layton, was charged with stealing pieces of toilet paper in burglaries on Morland Avenue in Wesham and Lower Lane in Freckleton. A judge described O'Grady's behaviour as grotesque after he admitted breaking into the properties and performing a sex act in women's bedrooms while wearing their clothes during his window cleaning round.
One of his victims, a woman in her 20s, was so scarred by the events she had to move out of the area. Another victim said she was disgusted by what O'Grady had done. After his crimes were uncovered, she said she had thrown all her clothes, underwear and bed sheets away. She had also moved out of her home because she was frightened he would return. In a witness statement, the victim said: "I can't get out of my head what he did in my bedroom. I feel sick." The other victim said she was in total shock when O'Grady's crime was uncovered and she felt frightened.
O'Grady, of Dutton Road, was sentenced to 16 months in a young offenders' institution. Even though the offences were of a sexual nature, the only legislation available led the prosecution to pursue a charge of burglary.

Grabe Trial Wrapping up Quick: The trial of 53 year-old Allen Grabe who shot his young son continued Monday and is wrapping up pretty quick. Monday's witnesses were personal and professional acquaintances of Grabe, who the defense called to the stand. These witnesses said Grabe seemed stressed out and confused as to why he lost a contract that was a major source of his window washing business. They also said he was quiet and talked to himself a lot. Closing statements are expected Tuesday after the final doctor testifies, and it will be up to the jury to decide if Grabe was insane or sane at the time of the murder.
Allen Grabe, who operated his own window-washing business, had met on Sept. 11 with the local ownership of several Taco Bell franchises, who were considering ending Grabe’s services. The prospect of losing the lucrative contract weighed on Allen Grabe on Sept. 11, according to his wife’s testimony. Over lunch, she said, she saw her husband cry for the just third time in their marriage. “He said he felt like he was letting his family down,” she testified. Grabe’s defense, however, said it wasn’t the first time the couple faced a financial crisis, arguing it was an unlikely trigger for murder in 2008. The couple filed for bankruptcy protection in 1997, and Allen Grabe had signed off on an offered loan from relatives to help pay their son’s prescriptions, according to testimony.

Monday 29 March 2010

Window Cleaners Noisy WFP Hose & A Cat For Ransom

Noisy hose fury led to stab threat: Neil Sampson threatened to stab his neighbour and had to be fended off with a pole, a court heard. Sampson , 41, of Isca Road, St Thomas, was given a year's community order at Exeter Magistrates' Court. He was sentenced to a year's requirement to have mental health treatment and also an order to have supervision by the probation service for the same period. Sampson had been convicted of a public order offence against Peter Brealy. Police told the Echo, after sentencing, that six officers were called to the street at around 10am on October 14 last year.

Prosecutor Narjinder Sadeghi said: "The victim was cleaning his window. The door opened next door. The defendant swore at him and said 'I'm going to stab you'." She said Mr Brealy initially treated it as a joke and carried on with what he was doing, but Sampson continued the disturbance. "The complainant had to use his extension pole to keep him away from him," said the prosecutor, referring to Mr Brealy's washing equipment. When arrested, Sampson said the noise of the victim's high-pressure hose had been annoying him. He admitted threatening to slip a knife up the victim's bottom and making insulting remarks about him. Sampson told police he never had any intention to use any knife when he made the threats.

The court heard he has previous convictions but no details of these were given. Helen Wallace, representing the defendant, said it was unnecessary to give her client a mental health treatment order. She said: "He was already making good progress seeing a psychiatrist and getting professional health. "He's wiling to continue psychiatric treatment. "The court did find there wasn't a knife and there was some provocation as he was struck with that pole." A probation officer told the court it would not legally be able to bring Sampson back to court if he failed to stick to the psychiatric treatment, unless the formal order for him to continue attending it was made. Magistrates said they needed to impose the requirement. They told Sampson: "We feel that at least reinforces your decision to help yourself and if there is any relapse it can be brought back." There was no order for costs as the defendant is on benefits.

Cat held hostage in North Wales rent row: A window cleaner held a pedigree cat to ransom in a payment row with his former landlord. Michael Lee Thomas West, 25, told Simone Pierce she could have her Persian cat back if she dropped criminal charges against him, Wrexham magistrates court heard. West, now living on Campbell Street, Rhos, agreed to lodge with Miss Pierce at her home on Chester Road, Rossett, on December 29.

Matthew Ellis, prosecuting, said West agreed to pay £400 a month rent, which was then lowered to £300. But Mr Ellis said West only paid the money in “dribs and drabs." He then decided to leave without giving Miss Pierce any notice and so she told him she would not return his deposit.
West then bombarded Miss Pierce with 15 text messages asking for his money back on January 28. On the same day West’s brother went to Miss Pierce’s home, pressed his face against the lounge window and said “If Westy doesn’t get his money by Friday I’m going to smoke the house out.” The next day Miss Pierce was at home with her boyfriend when West came to the house four times shouting and kicking.

He sent an email saying he had been to her place of work and that she should go to the Job Centre as a result. On January 30 West visited the house again and was banging on the door and shouting for her to come out. Mr Ellis said: “She was too scared to respond." West, a self-employed window cleaner, then drove his work van into the front door and damaged it so he could get into the house. He picked up the grey Persian cat and put it in his van, the court heard.
A few days later West contacted Miss Pierce saying: “Do you want your cat or not?” to which she told him he should not be contacting her. Mr Ellis said: “He said she can have the cat back if she drops the charges. “He asked her to make sure the police were not involved and that she was alone.” West then returned the cat in a carrier and gave it to Miss Pierce. Mr Ellis said: “He said ‘I can’t believe you didn’t call to get your cat back.’

“The defendant was arrested and interviewed and made a full admission about taking the cat on January 30.” Mr Ellis read a victim impact statement from Miss Pierce which said that she had been left “upset and feeling sick” about West’s harassment and that she was too scared to leave the house. West admitted damaging a UPVC door, unlawfully entering the house, harassment and stealing a cat. Mark Davies, defending, said: “Michael West felt that the landlord owed him money. “This happened over a very short period of time during which he was arrested three times. “This is a dispute about money and he went about it the wrong way. “It was wrong to take it but he did return the cat.”

Magistrates sentenced West to an 18-month community order with a supervision requirement.
He was told to pay £250 compensation, costs of £85 and was issued with a restraining order not to contact Miss Pierce, Mr Evans, not to go to her place of work or to her home on Chester Street, Rossett.

Sunday 28 March 2010

Catching Up With The Window Cleaning Coach

Why should you consider attending a WC industry EVENT? 1. You get to meet people who are actually DOING stuff with the information you keep telling yourself you already know.
2. You get to hear about how real human beings are USING all this top secret marketing strategy and research, to make more money and work even less.
3. You get to ask people one-on-one what is working for them and what is holding them back.
4. You are reminded that this marketing stuff is not just about words on paper, and books and reports, and case studies, but actually intimately depends on the world’s most precious resource: people. Read more..

Are you smarter than Tiger Woods? Tiger is a pretty sweet golfer. The man is deadly with a 5 iron. And yet he is a student. Tiger has learned that the more you know, the more you understand that you know less than you thought. Tiger Woods won eight championships and THEN felt that his swing needed to be reworked, so he got on it. That’s the right attitude. That’s the way it should be. That’s reality. Embrace it. Love it. Realize that it means you can always do better. You can always improve in your window cleaning marketing more...

3 Ways To Sabotage Your Window Cleaning Marketing: 1. Assume that because everyone else is doing it this way, it must work.
Everyone uses the yellow pages.
Everyone pays for the BBB logo.
Everyone’s company name should be front and center at the top of the flier.
Everyone knows that “getting fancy” with marketing is a waste of time. Don’t make me tell you the Lemmings story. Read more...

What to Compete On If Your Competitors Are Waging a Price War! Are you getting squeezed by competitors who are willing to do window cleaning work for far less you would charge, day in and day out? Instead of getting frustrated, learn a lesson from the Walmart-killers of the retail world: When the competition is obsessed with price, change the rules, so that price matters less to the customers. As John Jantsch puts it, “compete on emotion“. If they are pounding the price card, don’t even try to compete. Trump their price with your “super-friendly” card, or your “so easy-going” card, or your “absolute risk-removal, if you don’t love it then we’ll come over and rub your feet” card. Read more..

Saturday 27 March 2010

SpiderDan Goodwin

Spider-Dan Goodwin's irrepressible ascent: As a boy growing up on Fishers Lane in Cape Porpoise, Goodwin writes in his recently published memoir, "SKYSCRAPERMAN," he loved to climb trees. "So much so the police tried to arrest me for climbing one of the tallest in Portland, Maine. But despite their use of a cherry picker, they weren't able to catch me."

Goodwin was 25 years old and about 20 floors up when a Sears security guard angrily held a note up to the window demanding he descend. Spider-Dan, who was climbing up the window washer track, stuck a suction cup over the note and proceeded up the side of the building. Ambulances, hook and ladder trucks and helicopters were dispatched to the scene. At the 35th floor, Dan became aware that a window washing machine was descending the track in his path and that the window next to him had been removed from inside the building. Using suction cups equipped with stirrups, he scooted horizontally away from his would-be captors. Some six and a half hours and 1,450 feet into the climb, Dan duct-taped an American flag near the top of the Sears Tower. "It was my way of thanking my father for fighting in the Korean War," he writes.

Meanwhile, his father, Dale Goodwin, was back in Cape Porpoise, completely unaware of Danny's plans until he was contacted by a reporter for the Chicago Tribune. Though proud of his son's courage, Dale was grateful he hadn't known about the stunt ahead of time. "If I'd known he was going to do this I would have been a nervous wreck," Dale Goodwin told a reporter for the Biddeford Journal Tribune. Brenda Buchanan, a correspondent for the York County Coast Star, talked to local folks about the feat. "That's Danny for you," they told her in unison, "always looking for another adventure. Danny Goodwin — daredevil, track star, mountain climber, skier, gymnast and stuntman. Danny Goodwin — bohemian, dancer, dreamer, wanderer, always looking for something to be afraid of, climbing the cliffs over the ocean because there was nothing higher to climb."

Well, Danny had found something higher. As soon as he reached the top of Sears Tower he was taken to jail overnight on charges of disorderly conduct, criminal trespass and criminal damage to property. After celebrity appearances on Johnny Carson and the Today Show, Dan pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. His fine was only $35, but Fire Commissioner William Blair threatened dire consequences should Goodwin ever attempt to climb another building in his jurisdiction. That was a challenge Danny couldn't resist. On Veteran's Day he scaled Chicago's John Hancock Center while the gathering crowd below chanted, "Let him climb. Let him climb."

Enraged, Commissioner Blair ordered his firemen to wash "Spider Dan" Goodwin off the side of the building with a fire hose. The defiant climber clung to the building 300 feet off the ground. Unwilling to be responsible for the death of a beloved comic book hero, the Mayor of Chicago ordered Blair to shut the water off and Spider-Dan finished his ascent. Damages to the building and other expenses reportedly totaled $16,000. This time, the sentence was a year's probation.
When asked what possessed him to take such risks, Spider-Dan replied, "I have a new idea, a new concept for fire rescue. I needed a forum to present these ideas to the public."

In his memoir, Goodwin writes that he was motivated to climb buildings by two life-altering experiences. After witnessing the MGM Grand Hotel fire in Las Vegas, he was haunted by the reality that firefighters had no way to rescue victims trapped on the middle floors of a skyscraper fire. And then, a few months after the fire, Dan sustained serious injuries in a car crash. During his recovery from the accident he vowed never again to be dissuaded from his dreams.

Spider-Dan climbed the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York on Memorial Day, 1983, nearly falling to his death when the window washer track pulled away from the building. Mayor Edward Koch was not impressed. "These stunts endanger participants, police officers and onlookers," he said to the press. "And it cost taxpayers $4,235 just in police department man-hours and equipment." Somehow, Dan Goodwin always evaded authorities long enough to finish his intended climbs. Until July 1983, that is. Dan was escorted away from the Bald Head Cliff by officers of the York (Maine) Police Department.

"But three days later, he returned, after notifying local newspapers," Brenda Buchanan wrote in the Boston Globe. "He told the officers who met him at the bottom of the cliff that he was determined to make another ascent." Unlike police forces in Chicago and New York City, York's finest were able to take Spider-Dan into custody when he was just a couple feet up the cliff.

Goodwin’s act calls for a “Skyscraper Defense Department” within Homeland Security and introduces technological solutions for saving people in towering structures. One idea is having trucks with mounted hydraulic platforms capable of reaching two hundred and thirty feet into the air. Another is to have evacuation modules similar to express elevators that would be deployed from the ground, helicopters, and roofs. Lieutenant Edward Ghilardi of the San Francisco Fire Department likes the ideas but isn’t sure if they will all be realistic. “The gondola thing, it sounds good, but the bad thing is how do you fly helicopters in the city in such a tight area?” he asks. He thinks trucks with mounted platforms could help his department greatly as long as the vehicles are able to maneuver quickly through the city.

The platforms would be capable of reaching nearly eighteen stories high, improving the seven stories that ladders on San Francisco fire trucks reach. Goodwin wants buildings vulnerable to terrorist attacks to add “refuge areas” and “egress stations” that would allow easy evacuations for teams rescuing people. He won’t reveal which buildings are in terrorist’s crosshairs but promises to do so in his book. He implies the next attack could be in San Francisco and says bridges could be destroyed as well. “The Golden Gate and the Bay Bridge are prime targets,” he says. “Most likely they will be taken out when the next attack occurs because, as everyone knows, you take out the bridges along with a few of the tallest skyscrapers and the Pacific Stock Exchange, and you’ve shut down the West Coast.”

Goodwin envisions future skyscrapers built with a host of other structural changes, including wider staircases, hardened elevator shafts, evacuation modules, roof helicopter pads, and anti-aircraft/missile systems. He believes the September 11 attacks proved that in-building defense systems are necessary and fears as the country falls deeper into inflation and transitions into new leadership, a similar attack is imminent. “This country is becoming extremely vulnerable,” he says. “You look at history and see how most of the greatest attacks occurred when the economy was faltering.” Goodwin says that if the Skyscraper Act was in effect prior to the World Trade Center attack, the outcome could have been very different. “I will prove in the book that we could have rescued all of the people, we could have put out the fire, and if we had done that, the World Trade Centers would still be standing.”

Friday 26 March 2010

"Squeegees At Dawn" For Window Cleaners

It's squeegees at dawn for two warring window cleaners who are vying for the title of being the fastest in the world. Peterborough cleaning wonder Stefan Tinkler has won the UK’s Fastest Window Cleaner contest for the fourth year running – but the accolade he really wants is to beat his bitter rival from Romford, 54-year-old Terry “Turbo” Burrows.

Stefan (38), from Barber Close, Stanground, wiped away the competition last weekend, spending just 9.83 seconds washing the three 45ins by 45ins windows – though this went up to 13.83 seconds after a four-second time penalty for leaving a smear on the window. Despite the win, he could not hide his “pane” at failing to beat his Essex-based rival’s Guinness World Record time – a Usain Bolt-like 9.14 seconds – set at an October 2009 contest in Blackpool.

Terry no longer competes in the UK competition and instead appears as a special attraction. He says Stefan has no chance of beating his time, claiming his own training as a karate black belt has helped hone his technique to perfection. Terry bragged: “My feet move faster than his hands do – that record is going nowhere. Just like Elvis died as the king, I will go out on top. “Stefan is a player, but he’s not on my level. He chokes on the big stage and he doesn’t worry me at all.

“I have played at the top level, in contests in Las Vegas, France, everywhere. If he struggles in front of an audience here, he should try playing in France, where they get 400 people watching. “Not only that but his technique is all wrong, he moves his head and it’s all just so unco-ordinated. As long as that is the case, he can do all the training he wants but he will never beat me.”

However, Stefan claims his rival is running scared. He said: “The last three times we have been at the same competitions he has not been as quick as me and I think he knows that. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t compete against the other cleaners. “I have done it in record times before, but at contests it is so difficult with the pressure of people watching. It’s just the audience that slows me down.”

There was a crowd of about 100 window cleaning fanatics packed into a conference room at Coventry City’s Ricoh Arena last Saturday to enjoy the show. Stefan will continue his training with his day job at Allclear Cleaning Services, in preparation for his next chance to break the record at next year’s contest.

World's fastest window cleaner retains record in contest at Ricoh Arena: The world’s fastest window cleaner showed off his lightning quick skills at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena. Terry “Turbo” Burrows holds the world record for cleaning three 45inch windows in the super-quick time of just 9.14secs. He first began attempting records in 1993 when he appeared on television programme You Bet with a friend. This led to many more television appearances, including BBC’s Record Breakers. He took on competition from about 60 other window cleaners at the Carpex and Windex show which was held in the Ricoh Arena last Thursday and Friday. Terry, aged 54 and from Essex, said: “It went really well. They were a good lot of competitors, but no-one came close to my record, not even me! “The speed was there with me, but not the quality. “It’s the second time I’ve been to the show in the Ricoh and it was more successful this time.”

At the same event, Deborah Morris (pictured) broke the women’s record after completing her window cleaning challenge in 17.77secs.

Day one:
1st - Steffan Tinkler - All Clear Peterborough - raw time 9.82 plus 4 penalties = 13.82. Seconds

2nd -Trevor Perry - CCS Ltd Preston - raw time 13.02 plus 4 penalties = total time of:17.02 seconds.

Day two:

1st - Andrew Wharton M & S Window Clng - Rugeley - Raw time: 11.37 plus 6 penalties = 17.37 seconds.

2nd - David Morris -David Morris Window Clng - Cornwall: Raw time: 13.70 plus 5 penalties = 18.70 seconds.

See below - For overall times of other contestants:

¨ John McClean - BCS - Essex - 18.40 seconds

¨ Matthew Poole - Astound Cleaning Ltd - Sussex - 18.95 seconds

¨ Lucian Ivan - Supreme - London - 19.18

¨ Adam Brookes - Clear Sight - Plymouth - 19.50 seconds

¨ Allan Cummings - Cummings WC. - Coventry - 19.90 seconds

¨ Dean Corrigan - Taylor-Made-Cleaning -Hertfordshire - 20.40 seconds

¨ Darren Whelen - Taylor-Made-Cleaning - Weymoth - 20.90 seconds

¨ Andrew Jones - Cyrystal Cleaning - Newport - 21.00 seconds

¨ Rob Winstanley - Pure Window Cleaning - Southampton - 20.73

¨ Peter Rootham - All Clear - Peterborough - 21.70 seconds

¨ Nicolae Rusu - Pro Window Cleaning Ltd - London - 22.75 seconds

¨ Charlie Price - J.V. Price - Hertfordshire - 23.36

¨ Micah Alford - Heritage Cleaning - Hartlepool 24.50 seconds

¨ Superman - Newlife - Stockport - 24.70 seconds

¨ Mark Henderson - Window Cleaning Resources - 26.72 seconds

¨ Dan Potter - Shine on - Southampton - 26.84 seconds

¨ Judith Dyson - Glass Revival Ltd - Edinburgh - 28.16 seconds

¨ Stephen Hendry - SCS Group - Glasgow - 28.80 seconds

¨ Craig Duncan - Glass Revival Ltd - Edinburgh - 31.92 seconds

¨ Matthew Buchan - MB Window Cleaning - Essex - 32.10 seconds

¨ Dave Jones - M & S Window Cleaning - Cannock - 35.70 seconds

¨ Steven - Ladders Warehouse - Wales - 37.24 seconds

¨ Kieren Andrews - Shine on Window Cleaning - Scotland - 44.31 seconds

Thursday 25 March 2010

Spring Cleaning Starts With Advice To HomeOwners

Advice on Spring Cleaning Services: The signs of spring are here: warmer weather, the start of daylight savings time — and a rush to book housekeeping services for an attic-to-basement spring cleaning.

Residential cleaning services have been among the top 10 most searched-for services on consumer review site Angie’s List over the past 30 days. Even in the sluggish economy, residential cleaning services are a booming business, according to a January report from The Freedonia Group. Services reeled in $12.25 billion in 2008, and the industry is projected to reach $15.8 billion in 2013.

But don’t get taken to the cleaners by your cleaners. Before hiring a company or individual for your annual scrub-down or recurring service, there are precautions to take. Make sure you and the service agree on the work to be done, how many people will be coming into your home — and how they are screened — and who will be responsible in case of mishaps. Here are some pointers.

Get an in-person estimate:
It’s more accurate than one provided based on details offered via phone or online form, says Angie Hicks, the founder of Angie’s List. Without one, you’re likely to be upset with either the service or the bill. “Each person’s definition of clean is very different,” she says. An in-person estimate lets the housecleaner get a sense of just how much work is entailed, based on the current state of your space and a description of your expectations.

Clip coupons:
There are plenty online and in coupon mailers for regular maid service, as well as specialized services such as carpet cleaning and window washing, says Lisa Reynolds, a spokeswoman for savings site Maid Pro in Louisville, Ky., has a coupon offering customers who want weekly or biweekly service a $20 discount on their first cleaning, $25 off their fourth and $40 off their seventh. It’s also good for $20 off a one-time cleaning. Check services’ own sites, too — many list coupons or monthly specials. Group-discount sites also occasionally offer deals on cleaning services. For example, recently offered New Yorkers three hours of Today’s Maid Service for $49, a 50% discount.

Use elbow grease:
It pays to do some prep work pre-cleaning. “[The bill] comes down to, how much time are we going to spend in the home?” says Colin Bishop, the executive vice president of development for The Maids Home Services, a national cleaning franchise. Before the maid arrives, de-clutter so she doesn’t need to waste 20 minutes picking up all your kids’ toys from the living room floor before even starting to clean.

Check the guarantee:
Most complaints to the Better Business Bureau about housecleaning services have to do with how well (or not at all) something was cleaned, says spokeswoman Allison Southwick. That includes complaints about appointment no-shows and late arrivals that cut cleaning time. Get any guarantees about time frame and duties in writing before you schedule service. Most reputable companies will come back to re-clean the problem area free of charge if the results don’t live up to their promise.

Read reviews:
Check the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List and other consumer review sites to see what customers are saying about a service. Also make sure the service is both insured and bonded, which protects you if items go missing or get broken, or if the staff member is injured on your property. “Otherwise, that [claim] goes against your homeowner’s insurance,” Hicks says.

Scale back:
You’re the boss when it comes to where cleaning services make an effort. “You want the high-traffic areas to get the most attention,” Bishop says. Tell the service to skip, or only do light cleaning, on areas such as the guest bedrooms or formal dining room. If you’re paying for recurring service, some cleaning -- dusting and vacuuming -- can help you stretch the time between appointments, reducing your bill, says Teresa Ward, the owner of Teresa’s Family Cleaning, which serves communities on Long Island in New York.

Get and make referrals:
Maid services typically offer deals to both the new client and the current customer who referred them. Phoenix-based Earth Maids, for example, gives a $25 credit to each after the new client’s second service. If there’s no formal program, ask for a referral discount anyway, Reynolds says. Many services will offer a lower recurring rate if you can bring in a friend or neighbor at the same time you sign up.

Wednesday 24 March 2010

Sky Pro® - Automatic Window Cleaning

High-rise Window Cleaning System travels at rates to 35 fpm: Able to clean windows, frames, and entire building, Sky Pro® Window Cleaning System operates from existing roof rigs, davit arms, tracks, or Sky Pro® 4-Wheel steering rig. Completely self-contained, self-climbing washing system is operated via wireless remote and leaves windows spot free without using any chemicals or cleaning solutions. Raindrop nozzles create and apply de-ionized water droplets only to surface to be cleaned, reducing spray, drifting, and water consumption.

Safely Wash a Month's Worth of Windows in Less Than a Day! Sky Pro® Window Cleaning System is an automatic window washing solution for high-rise window cleaning services and commercial building owners. Shakopee, Minn.-The new, Sky Pro® Window Cleaning System, manufactured by NuStar, Inc., can safely clean a building in a fraction of the time of conventional washing.

The Sky Pro® system is a completely self-contained, self-climbing washing system that operates from existing roof rigs, davit arms, tracks, or from the unique Sky Pro® "4-Wheel" steering rig. Just push the wireless remote up or down to clean. The Sky Pro® system cleans the windows, frames and the entire building, removing deteriorating residue to extend the life not only of the windows and frames, but of the entire building.

Ultra pure water leaves windows free from chemical and mineral residue that attracts air-borne contaminants and pollutants. This process leaves windows spot free. No chemicals or cleaning solutions are required, saving you even more money. See how the system works in these videos.

The patented pendulum design allows the Sky Pro® system to wash high-rises completely from the top of the building without ground lines, hoses or cables. The apparatus is built of heavy gauge aluminum to last for years. Its motors are rated to 10,000 hours. The unique, patented heavy-duty "raindrop" nozzles create and apply large de-ionized water droplets only to the surface to be cleaned. This reduces spray, drifting and water consumption.

The Sky Pro® system delivers these benefits:
  • Fast return on investment (ROI)
  • Labor savings
  • Now a safer job, it's easier to find and retain labor
  • Safely operates from the top of your building
  • No rails or scaffolding needed- the system operates from existing roof rigs
  • Cleans entire walls, windows and frames
  • Windows stay cleaner longer
  • Cleans entire building for extended life
  • Uniform cleaning using only spot-free pure water-No chemicals required!
  • No squeegees or potential failing objects
  • Cleans much faster and better than hand washing
  • Cleans in high winds, rain and other poor weather conditions
  • Can work long hours
  • Dramatic savings in liability insurance
Sky Pro® window cleaning equipment is available in standard 8', 12', and 16' models or can be customized to meet any requirements. The system travels at a rate of 35 feet per minute. It can be safely operated from on top of a building or from the ground by wireless remote control. The return on investment can be as little as one year.

Sky Pro® Window Cleaning System is the perfect automatic window washing solution for high-rise window cleaning services and commercial building owners. For more information, visit or call Ian Burton at 1-800-800-WASH. About NuStar, Inc. -Headquartered in Shakopee, MN, NuStar, Inc. is a privately-held corporation specializing in the design, manufacture, marketing and sale of rollover automatic car wash equipment, pet wash salons and automatic window washing equipment.

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Window Cleaning Snippets

Steve Little, of Steve's Window Cleaning of Rutland, had the perfect day to clean off the windows at Maplefields in Manchester on a warm spring day Thursday. Click picture to enlarge.

New Services for Float Glass Quality Concerns and Cold-End Processes: Safety Glass Experts International Ltd is widening the range of expert services available. From the beginning of March 2010 company has started offering independent and objective expert services for float glass cold-end production and float quality related projects. The new float glass expert services are targeted for float glass producers and safety glass processors requiring assistance in their daily activities or problem shooting situations. Producing flawless quality float glass requires versatile quality inspection programs. Although efficient qualitycontrol activities defects in float glass are sometimes recognized. These defects can be extrem ely painful for the glass processor. Commonly safety glass processors do not hold required knowhow to inspect and evaluate float glass defects. Newly started or older float glass producers require training to improve and update their production and quality control procedures - This is where Safety Glass Experts comes in. Float Glass production cold end Expert Service’s available:
Safety Glass Processors:
Evaluation and Examination of sub-supplier float glass quality
Evaluation and Examination of suspected float defects causing processing failures
Consulting to develop internal quality requirements and specific Customer Specifications for float glass subsuppliers
Float Glass Processors:
Present state evaluation
Consulting services for qu ality control activity update projects
Training Services for cold end processes

Mr. Lee’s journey to a CrossFit trainer and business owner began as a teenager when his mother bought him a plastic weight set. Always an active child, he took to the weights and continued lifting through high school. He moved to Nantucket after high school and took to body weight workouts like pushups, sit ups, and pull-ups. But eventually exercise started getting monotonous. He moved to Cape Cod, but continued commuting to Nantucket to keep up his window- and power-washing business. He fell out of shape. One day he started having heart palpitations and felt dizzy. He went to the doctor. The experience scared him back into shape. He started training for and com peting in triathlons, which he stuck with for a few years. He took a second job as a trainer in a country club gym, back on Nantucket. Then he was working out with a friend from New York who told him about this new fitness model that some other friends were doing that was taking them “to the next level.” He did some research about CrossFit and decided he wanted to get into it. He took to it, sold his cleaning business on Nantu cket, moved to Mashpee about a year and a half ago and started CrossFit Cape Cod, which is affiliated with the national program. Ms. Lee picked it up, too, and got her certification as a trainer. Mr. Lee’s dedication to CrossFit and exercise is quickly apparent.

In a case expected to hinge on the testimony of doctors, 53-year-old Allen Grabe’s fate will be decided by how the jury answers a two-pronged question. Was he, under state law, “diseased or defective of the mind” in September 2008 when, as authorities allege, he fired nine shots at close range, killing his 13-year-old son as the boy was asleep in his bed? An d was the Pear Park father capable of discerning right from wrong at the time? Jury selection starts Monday in Allen Grabe’s murder trial. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the death of his son, Jacob, an eighth-grader at Grand Mesa Middle School who had been treated for a neurological disorder similar to autism.
Jurors are expected to hear testimony suggesting Allen Grabe, who operated a window-washing business with clients up and down Main Street in Grand Junction and beyond, was under increasing financial stress after the loss of cleaning contracts in the fall of 2008. According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Grabe entered his son’s bedroom the night of Sept. 11, 2008, opened fire, then stopped and told his wife, Jaquette, “I had to kill him because you were ruining him.” Grabe returned to the boy’s room and fired more shots, the affidavit said.

Samurai sword attack nearly killed me: A father has told how he believed he w as going to die when he was brutally attacked by a man wielding a Samurai sword while drinking in a city pub.
Window cleaner Greg Cook (pictured below) suffered three "slice marks" on the top of his head in an assault by "psychotic" Keith Giles (pictured left). Mr Cook grabbed a table to shield himself and other pub customers bravely leapt in to tackle Giles and pin him to the floor. Mr Cook, 45, said, had it not been for the table and the courage of other people in the pub, he would have been killed. He said: "He (Giles) was psychotic. I didn't have time to think then because of the shock of it all but I could have died that day." Detective Constable Adam Suett, who investigated the attack, said Mr Cook was lucky to be alive. He said: "Mr Cook suffered three slice marks to the top of his head. During this completely unprovoked attack, he was hit at least three times with the sword. "He is lucky that the other people in the pub at the time were able to overpower Giles and pin him to the ground until the police arrived. Had they not done that and had he not been able to help protect himself with the table, I think he would have died." The attack happened at the London Midland Railway Recreational Club Association.

Seattle Center may replace Fun Forest with 44,000-square-foot “glass house” & Dale Chihuly exhibit: The Seattle Center has been debating what to do with 68,000 square feet of empty space left after half of the Fun Forest was cleared out back in January. Originally the space was meant to be used to showcase new vendors and temporary projects on a trial basis while the Center searched for mor e permanent ideas to implement into the Century 21 Master Plan, a $570 million, 20-year investment in the revitalization of Seattle Center and in homage of the 1962 World’s Fair that gave the Center its start. However, according to a report by our news partner, the Seattle Times, after receiving project ideas for the space that left the Center “disappointed,” they decided to consider a proposal to build a 44,000-square-foot “glass house” that would house artist Dale Chihuly’s work. Many consider this proposed project an “extraordinary opportunity” for the Center.

Small Business Snapshot: Premier Residential Services.
Hours of operation: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday; Saturday, Sunday and after hours scheduled upon request.
General manager: Susan Lovato
Date founded: 1959.
Description of business: Residential, co mmercial and concierge services. The services include housekeeping, window washing, handyman repairs, home-watch inspections, janitorial cleaning, summer home care and property management.
Number of employees: 65
Projected revenues: $5 million
Cost of startup: “Too many years ago to remember.”
Source of startup financing: Internal.
Did you write a business plan? “Yes, there was an initial business plan; however as times change and opportunities arise, the plan is constantly modified.”
Marketing budget: $18,000.
Recipe for success: “Staff selection, training and performance are the key elements to our success.”
Personal motto or mantra: “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”
Where do you seek advice? Key staff associates, current clients and members of our preferred vendor network.

Has anyone seen Scott? He's the tubby man who came to our house on Saturday, offering to clean the windows. Busy fellow. He had a whole team of people in the street. Naturally, I'm not one to be taken in, so I told him to come back in an hour and then forgot about it. There he was again, just before his men were due to reach the Citizen's Advice Bureau on the corner. Having produced the money, I could then only agree that it would be very convenient if he returned in a month's time. If I paid in advance, we wouldn't even need to be in. And so Scott and I walked to the cashpoint together, having what was to me an insightful conversation about the world of a window-cleaning entrepreneur.
Since then, strangely, our windows have not been cleaned. Nor, I suspect, have anyone else's. I've been trying to look on the £80 of which I'm now short as a charitable donation. In an attempt to recoup some of the money, I didn't lash out on a white loaf to make bread sauce that evening, but, instead , used some stale hotcross buns. Many of the greatest cuisines of the world are born out of the peasant need to economise. What chance of my bread sauce becoming a classic?

NAGPUR: In an excellent example of reverse engineering accompanied with innovation, the department of applied physics at Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT) has developed a 'radiation resistant glass or RRG', opening the doors of self reliance for all atomic research centres which use this glass in the hot cell of their reactors.

There just aren’t enough opportunities in life to take full advantage of a window scrim. This handy item, incase you’ve no t come across it before, will give your windows a smear-free finish. It could be a handy implement in a house with three children, lots of windows, several mirrors and a glass panelled kitchen door. The mysteries of the scrim have been revealed to me via a catalogue dropped through the door encouraging me to recall that it’s the season for spring cleaning. Inside the catalogue, there’s a nifty static duster set (do they mean anti-static?) and a purple chenille mitt which might look quite fetching whilst scrubbing away. But, while cleanliness is close to godliness it is also, like beauty, all in the eye of the beholder. The catalogue, full of handy hints to create the image that I am indeed a domestic goddess, makes wonderful bedroom reading. “Darling, do you know you can clean baths with lemon juice?” is a comment sure to prevent insomnia.

Angler catches second perch over the magical 5lb barrier: A low-resistance set-up was key to Clive Logsdon’s capture of this enormous 5lb 1oz perch from record-holding venue Stream Valley Lakes. Steering clear of more conventional baits such as maggots and worms, the window cleaner from Kent offered a bright red legered king prawn that had been soaked in Dynamite Baits Predator Plus liquid to tempt his prize. Click picture to enlarge.

Bikers set for fuel protests: Bikers are planning their biggest-ever motorway protest against the increasing cost of fuel. Organisers want thousands of drivers to join a go-slow convoy along the M62. They are aiming to beat the turn-out two years ago when more than 1,500 bikers joined the first protest, causing huge delays to traffic. More than 400 also joined last year's ride held in July. Protest organiser 'Maverick' said this time they were turning out on a Saturday rather than a weekday, to minimise disruption. “A lot of us are self-employed so every penny makes a difference. Prices are slowly creeping back up again, while a barrel of crude oil is a third of the price cheaper than a year ago.”
Riders will meet at 9am on May 1 at Hartshead Moor Services before joining a second convoy at Birch Services. They plan to take up all lanes at speeds no greater than 25mph. The AA has said petrol prices could hit a record high of 128p per litre just after Easter with a wholesale rise and fuel duty increase set to hit motorists over the next few weeks. Maverick added: “We're doing it on a shopping day so people from all walks of life can come and air their grievances. “Prices are still so high and are affecting everyone. One of our lads is a self-employed window cleaner and for someone like him making a living is very difficult.

A former taxi driver who set up a window cleaning business has received funding after winning a Dragons’ Denstyle event. Paul Wallace won £2,500 for his business Wallace and Sons Cleaning Services, after taking part in the City of Sunderland College’s annual entrepreneurial event. Mr Wallace, who is in the final year of an HND business and management course at East Durham College, established his business in August, and will take it full time from May. He will use his prize money to buy equipment. Mr Wallace said: “I really enjoyed being a taxi driver, but the long and often unsociable hours meant I spent a lot of time away from home. Running my own business allows me to be more flexible and I’m getting a great sense of achievement. “I’m thrilled to have won the contest. “The new equipment is environmentally- friendly, so I won’t be using detergents or harsh chemicals.”

Faye Bossman, 54, died Monday, March 15, 2010, at the Iowa River Hospice House in Marshalltown, Iowa, after a 9-month battle with appendiceal cancer. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m., Monday, March 22, at the Center Street Baptist Church in Marshalltown. Burial will follow in the Woodlawn Cemetery at Toledo. In 1990, Faye and her husband began home schooling their three daughters, subsequently being blessed with the opportunity to provide 13 years of Christ centered instruction. Faye and her husband were also involved in a number of home business ventures, including custom woodworking and a window washing service.

Monday 22 March 2010

Window Cleaning Videos

Mark the Window Cleaner reviews the Sprayer on the belt, Unger Universal Adapter & Unger "Easy Glide" in his Unger sponsored series.

Stylish swirling window cleaning style from a guy in San Francisco airport.

Knoxville: Great job if you want an office with a lot of windows and a great view!!

Odin says the same!

Robert Lightcap was not able to perform his job as a window cleaner due to his constant low back paincaused by a herniated disc in his low back. He couldn't move without hurting and he had pain shooting down his legs and also numbness in his legs.

Tony Evans tries out BioClean & Ettore water spot remover in the 4th & 5th installment of Window Cleaning and Restoration.

Josh talks about the biz in episodes 2, 3 & 4..

Sunday 21 March 2010

Window Washing Robots Take Over Dubai

Dubai’s endless streets of skyscrapers require an army of window washers. A Swiss company is hoping to replace that human workforce with a robotic one. Serbot AG has two high speed surface cleaning robots designed to work quicker than humans and in wind conditions no sane person would dare. The Gekko looks like a tank with suction cup treads and the Clean Ant has this weird set of legs that pivots and flips in crazy ways. These two bots are set to revolutionize Dubai’s massive building cleaning industry. If they can succeed in that glass jungle, Serbot AG could bring their cleaning bots to the rest of the world. Watch out window washers, the machines are coming for your jobs and they fear no wind. Check out all the crazy scrubbing action in the videos below.

The Gekko and Clean Ant aren’t just faster than humans, they’re a lot faster. A professional washer could probably manage 20 to 30 square meters per hour. The Clean Ant can work on all sorts of curved surfaces and corners and still manage 150. Gekko, which is used on flat surfaces, has a blazing top speed near 360! These bots can do the work of 5 or 10 human workers. And their cleaning supplies get pumped right through them - they’re completely self contained. You don’t even have to install tracks. To give you some idea of what these robots are replacing I included a look at their competition.

The Gekko and Clean Ant are pretty impressive bots, but they are just one of the many examples of how automation is going to remove humans from the workforce. It’s not just labor jobs that will be affected. We’ve already seen how software could replace some scientists and journalists. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Though some worry automation could lead to economic collapse, it could also free humans to pursue other tasks, to become entrepreneurs or artists. No matter what the possible consequences, it’s hard to doubt that robots are going to occupy more jobs. Look at the Serbot AG bots: fast, versatile, self contained, and they’ll never get dizzy or fall to their deaths. If this is our competition, we humans don’t stand a chance.

Also see here.

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