Saturday 31 December 2011

The Gunslinging Window Cleaner

Window Washer Brings TV Character Back To Life: GREENSBORO, N.C. - A local window cleaner said he washes windows with a gun strapped to his hip. Greensboro resident Larry Lash said he is a fan of Steve McQueen and his TV show, "Wanted Dead or Alive." The show ran on CBS from 1958 to 1961. Lash, 61, has a replica of a cut down 1892 Winchester, similar to the one McQueen used in his show. "It looks very real, that’s why I love it. The bullets are real," Lash said.

Lash and his gun are quite a sight on the downtown streets where he works. "Some think it is cool (and) they like my style. Some are scared, too," Lash said. He said the gun is a conversation piece. "The old timers know what it is. The young don’t know who Steve McQueen is," Lash said. Lash said McQueen was a rebel. "He was his own man. He is someone to emulate," Lash said. "He wasn’t intimidated. He was a cool guy."

Friday 30 December 2011

UK Window Cleaner Abused The Trust Of Customers

Giving window cleaners everywhere a bad name.
Man watched where householders kept their cash while doing his round: The customers of window cleaner Stephen Garner probably thought he would keep an eye out for burglars as he did his round. But little did they know he was checking where his clients kept their cash so he could come back and clean out more than their double glazing.

The dad has now been sent to prison for three years and four months after stealing from three of his customers and forcing his way into 88-year-old Mary Surrey’s home before fleeing when she looked up from her bed to see him standing in the doorway. Charlie Gabb, prosecuting at Southampton Crown Court, said the 36-year-old used “the guise and cover of his window cleaning business”. “It was clearly the means by which he came upon these houses and did what he did,” he added.

Garner, of Northam Road, Southampton, had been cleaning the windows of Ysobel Purkis home in Hordle, near Lymington, for more than two years and it was his fingerprints found on a money box from which £420 had gone missing on June 17 this year, the court heard. “She trusted him,” Mr Gabb said. “She made the mistake of allowing him to see her going into a room to collect cash and emerging from that room and paying him. That told him there was cash in the house and that’s where she kept it.”

Another customer, teacher Suzannah Mclean, found the £60 she had left on her worktop at her Lymington home was missing after witnesses saw Garner visit on November 10, Mr Gabb said. “She trusted him too. He looked through the window and saw the money and walked into the kitchen before making a very hasty exit,” he said.

Mr Gabb told the court the crimes put Garner in breach of a community order of unpaid work imposed on January 5 for stealing from a handbag on the kitchen table of a window cleaning customer aged in her 80s last year. Garner admitted breaching the community order and the three new burglary charges.

David Lyons, defending, said his client wanted to make a “sincere, unconditional and abject apology” to Mrs Surrey, who was in court. Mr Lyons cited Garner’s “chequered late youth” and his fall into depression as well as a “toxic” mix of irregular use of anti-depressants and drinking as factors in the crimes. “He’s thrown his business away, his relationship and his liberty,” he said.

Judge Derwin Hope said Garner had 18 previous offences and had “abused the trust” of his customers. “It’s not just the money you stole but the manner in which you acted,” he said. Garner was given three years for each of the three burglaries but with those sentences to run at the same time. He received an extra four months for breaching the community order he was serving for theft from a house and two counts of making false representation last year.

Saturday 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas Window Cleaners

Click to enlarge.
A window cleaner dressed as Santa Claus poses for photographers during an event to celebrate the upcoming Christmas holiday season at a shopping mall in Tokyo December 23, 2011.

I'd like to wish all the readers of the blog a Merry Christmas. Enjoy yourself wherever you are.

Santa trains for delivery of gifts with window cleaners in Tokyo. Spot Spiderman!

Friday 23 December 2011

New York Window Cleaner Fall

Window Washer Critically Injured in Mercer Street Fall: A window washer was critically injured in a three-story plunge from a SoHo building Thursday afternoon, officials said. The fall occurred at 22 Mercer St., near Howard Street, at 2:06 p.m., according to the FDNY and NYPD. The 50-year-old worker, who suffered fractures to both of his legs in the apparently accidental fall from the third story window, was taken to Bellevue Hospital in critical condition, according to police.
Brian Bennett, a doorman at the building, said that he heard a thud and then heard a postal worker yelling for help. "Oh my God, call 911," he recalled the woman saying. Bennett, who said that the worker did not fall from his building, went outside and found the man lying on the ground with one of his legs contorted. “He was unconscious, but he was breathing," said Bennett. "One of his legs was definitely broken. I was shocked." Also here.

Manhattan: 22 Mercer St. Worker fell out from a window from the 3 floor of a building. Being transported with CPR in progress.

Thursday 22 December 2011

Window Talk Magazine - For Window Cleaners

Click here to view the magazine.
Window Talk - Published quarterly, Window Talk has all the latest trade news, Health and Safety guidance, reviews of new cleaning materials and equipment and articles on a host of other cleaning related topics. The Federation provides information on all aspects of the Window Cleaning Industry, and circulates this information to all its members. They assist in an advisory capacity wherever possible and represent the industry in important discussions with government and municipal bodies on all aspects affecting the industry. The Federation was established in 1947 as an independent, non-profit making organisation supporting the needs of window cleaners in the UK.

The FWC Seeks New Committee Members: The FWC wish to encourage all members to consider a position on the Executive Management Committee in 2012. All New and Retiring Committee Members are eligible, Just complete your Nomination form by clicking on the link above.  Alternatively, a hard copy is enclosed with your January Window Talk. Please click on this link here to complete your nomination form. Alternatively, download the PDF version here. Closing date to return nomination forms is: 23rd February 2012.

WINDOW CLEANER OF THE YEAR AWARD: This competition is open to all window cleaners who are registered members of the Federation of Window Cleaners; and all employees of registered members. Employees must have been nominated by their employer; and only one employee per company is eligible to participate. ORGANISED BY THE FWC – IN CONJUNCTION WITH QUARTZ BUSINESS MEDIA - FOR WINDEX 2012. Click on this link to download your entry form
The winner of this competition receives:
  • One-night complimentary dinner and hotel for two people 
  • 24 carat Gold plated Squeegee 
  • Framed certificate
  • One-years free membership, or equivalent value gift voucher
    In addition to free PR for the company!

Wednesday 21 December 2011

Window Cleaner Gets 30 Years For Prostitution

Sex trafficker gets 30 years in prison: SAN DIEGO — An Oceanside man was sentenced in federal court to 30 years in prison for forcing a 17-year-old girl into prostitution, with a $1,200-a-day quota to earn from Craigslist clients for more than a year. Maurice Lerome Smith, 41, was convicted of sex trafficking of a child and being a felon in possession of a firearm after a three-day jury trial in May.

Smith faced a minimum of 15 years in federal prison at his Monday sentencing, but U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez gave him an additional 15 years and ordered him to pay $90,000 in restitution. “This is probably one of the highest sentences we’ve gotten in this jurisdiction,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Alessandra Serano said Tuesday.  She said Smith got the longer prison term for using a computer to commit the crime, having a criminal history, not accepting responsibility for his actions and for being so much older than the girl.

The girl testified that in 2009 she asked Smith, the father of one of her schoolmates, for a job in his window-washing company. A few months later he had her living in his apartment, posting sex ads and meeting clients at motels. He beat and raped her, and threatened to kill her, prosecutors said. She also became aware of other women working for Smith as prostitutes.

The case came to light in September, 2010 when one of the girl’s clients called police at a Clairemont motel, and the girl told officers she was working for Smith. He was indicted in February of this year. Smith’s criminal history includes one-year sentence in 1992 for assault, and a four-year sentence in 1996 for conspiracy to abduct a 13-year-old girl in San Diego to force her into prostitution, Serano said.

Tuesday 20 December 2011

Window Cleaning Santas

Abseiling part of Santa's job: That Santa gets about, doesn't he? One minute he's zipping around the world delivering presents, the next he's cleaning windows on a Coast high-rise - all four of him. The jolly old bloke and a few of his mates were suspended high above the streets of Caloundra as they did some cleaning and maintenance work on the Centrepoint building in time for Christmas.

Jason Dobinson, the owner of Sunshine Coast-based business All-Tech Industrial Abseilers, said working 14 floors up was nothing new for him and his staff, who spent a lot of time dangling from some of the Gold Coast's highest buildings. The Santa suits were "all about the kids", he said. "It's just our way of saying merry Christmas."

And just for the record boys and girls - no, Santa and his helpers do not get scared up so high because they have magical powers (and very strong ropes). And, yes, the view is spectacular but sometimes they see things through the windows that maybe they should not. Thankfully, Santa is very good at keeping secrets.

Previous Tokyo window cleaning Santas..

And finally - an Ionic WFP Santa.

Monday 19 December 2011

UK Window Cleaner Beaten While Out Collecting Payments

Beaten man left ‘like a rag doll’ - A window cleaner was left lying in the street like a “rag doll” after being beaten unconscious while out collecting payments from his customers. Ryan Wilson punched John White and then kicked him on the ground during a confrontation at Cairo Street, Hendon, Sunderland. Newcastle Crown Court heard the 20-year-old attacker fled the scene, leaving his victim unconscious on the road but returned shortly after to rummage through his pockets.

The shocking attack was captured on CCTV and shows Mr White lying helpless while Wilson helps himself to his mobile phone. Mr White suffered three serious wounds to his forehead and face in the assault. He was taken to hospital for treatment after a passer-by saw him lying in the road and called an ambulance.

Prosecutor Jacqueline Wilkinson told the court: “The last thing he remembers is riding his bike along Cairo Street and the next thing he knew he was in Sunderland Royal Hospital. “He has no recollection in relation to the incident itself.” Wilson, of Percy Gladstone Street, Durham, admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent and theft. Mr Recorder Wilby sentenced Wilson to three years behind bars.
The judge said: “He is like a rag doll when he goes through his pockets. The defendant is lucky he is only charged with GBH, he could have killed him. “It must have been an extremely frightening experience.” The court heard Wilson has a record of offending.

But the judge told him: “This is serious violence. This is in a different league to any other previous offences you have committed. “You came back and you rifled through his pockets as if he was a sort of rag doll and took his phone. “Despicable is the only word someone can use to describe something like that.”

The court heard Wilson had been out drinking with his mother that night and it was her who pulled him away and stopped the violence on Mr White. Jamie Adams, defending, said Wilson had a difficult childhood and was brought up in care. Mr Adams said the attack had started with a verbal altercation between the two men. He added: “He is disgusted with himself.”

UK Window Cleaners: Please take the time to read this..

Work-related violence case studies: This case study focuses on Bryan Dolby (pictured below), a self-employed window cleaner. Bryan works in the Grimsby area and carries out domestic and commercial work. He has a regular customer base. Generally, he collects payment from domestic customers by visiting their houses after completing the work.

This case study also includes information from members of the National Federation of Master Window and General Cleaners (NFMWGC) (special note - now called FWC), who are either self-employed or work in micro or small businesses. The Federation represents both window cleaners and general cleaners in the UK and has approximately 2500 members. Bryan Dolby is Chair of the NFMWGC.
Key risks
Grievances from customers: These include, for example, access problems to a customer’s house, ladder marks on a customer’s lawn and accidental scratching of windows and sills.

Customer attitude: some customers do not value the window cleaner’s work and have the attitude ‘You’re only a window cleaner’. Such customers are more likely to be aggressive or impolite.

Business rivalry: window cleaning is a competitive business and some cleaners try to undercut one another, especially the ‘cowboys’. This can lead to violence and abuse.

Collecting money: sometimes there are disputes over payment, or customers refuse to pay.

Location: the risk of violence or abuse is higher in some areas than others.

Aggressive customers: this can be caused by alcohol, drugs, having a ‘bad day’, shift workers who are woken up, etc.

Weather: working in bad weather sometimes puts the window cleaner in a bad mood, and therefore less likely to be polite and helpful to customers.

Animals: animals may panic or unnerve window cleaners, who may be attacked or bitten.

Personal characteristics: many window cleaners are young men who by their nature are prone to taking unnecessary risks.

Examples of incidents
A window cleaner had been doing a particular job for a while and had priced it at £10. Another cleaner, later discovered to be on the dole, quoted £8 for the job. They started to argue and fight.
A window cleaner’s van was smashed up while parked outside a job.
A lot of verbal abuse from customers is experienced.
A window cleaner was followed one evening while collecting money, causing him some anxiety.

Successful measures
Training and information
Competent workers: small business members of NFMWGC try to ensure, where possible, that only experienced and trained individuals are considered for working alone.

Key training messages:
  • Be polite and helpful: always try to be polite with customers. Apologise if something goes wrong, and put it right straightaway, for example offer a free clean. This helps to defuse a situation and is probably the most successful measure.
  • Walk away: leave an aggressive or potentially violent situation. If a customer will not pay, just accept it and terminate your service.
  • Build a good reputation: this is worthwhile and will earn you respect and trust from within the community.
  • A ‘resilient’ personality/attitude: window cleaners, especially if self-employed, need to deal calmly and tactfully with verbal abuse or customers refusing to pay, without letting the experience adversely affect the rest of their working day or week.
Work equipment - Mobile phones: window cleaners have phones for emergency use and to let friends or family know where they are. For example, Bryan calls his wife throughout the day to let her know where he is and when he expects to be back. If he works in premises where mobile phones are not allowed, he will call his wife before he starts and after he finishes. He also gives his wife the telephone number of the premises where he is working.

Buddy system: this is useful in small businesses. If two people are working on the same job in a large office building, they may still be working ‘alone’ at opposite ends of a building. Employees keep in regular contact with each other throughout the day. There is also a radio in the company van.

Double up: if asked to do a job in an area where you feel unsafe, take a colleague along. In Bryan’s experience, customers usually understand if you tell them why you need an extra pair of hands. If it is not possible to take a colleague, do not do the job.

Vary the routine: vary routes and times when collecting money and be aware of suspicious characters or behaviour.

Cheque payment: ask for payment by cheque, if possible, reducing the need to carry cash.

Good physical fitness: window cleaners are generally fit and active people. This helps if they need to get away quickly from potential trouble.

Less successful measures
Some measures are sometimes less effective than others, or have disadvantages:

Being polite to customers: there may be less motivation for a window cleaner who is not self-employed to be polite and helpful to customers, because it is not their business that suffers as a result of aggressive incidents.

Not arguing with customers: with the best will in the world, it is sometimes difficult not arguing with customers if they are in the wrong.

Avoiding involvement: Sometimes it is not easy to avoid violent incidents. For example, if a window cleaner witnesses an abusive incident in a neighbouring house, they may feel it is their duty to help or to defuse the situation, even if they are putting themselves at risk.

Training problems: self-employed window cleaners tend not to have any formal violence training. While some formal training might be useful (for example, dealing with difficult customers), there are practical barriers:
  • Lack of existing formal training courses.
  • Location: the industry is spread across the whole of the UK making it difficult to find one location which is suitable for everybody.
  • Cost: every day off work is the loss of a day’s income for a self-employed cleaner.
The benefits and the costs
  • Very few violence problems are reported in the industry.
  • Bryan has experienced few incidents of violence in his 19-year career.
  • Bryan has run a successful business and maintained his livelihood for this time.
  • Mobile phones are cost-effective, offering a safety and a business function, and are therefore assets to the business.
  • Having a positive and sensible attitude does not cost anything.
  • Accepting the loss of payment for the odd job can be ultimately cost-effective if it prevents an assault which leads to injury and time off work. Experience shows that many customers who complain and refuse to pay, sometimes relent when offered a free clean.
Bryan Dolby is Chairman for the Federation of Window Cleaners (FWC).

Sunday 18 December 2011

Meet Bob The Window Cleaner & Other Free Stuff

Now the largest facebook window cleaning group. Click here.

In the very early spring WCBO magazine will be going FREE to all that wish to receive it. It will be more focused on a select set of core business topics that are essential for all successful Window Cleaning Business Owners. The new focus will cover the following categories..

To be sure you get your FREE copy please add this to your cart and check out as soon as you can. This will be limited to the first 20,000 window cleaners.

Order your free WCR Catalog. Click here.

WCR FREE Pure Water Manual is your guide to the in's and out's of using pure water systems. Unsure of whether your ready to take the next step in your window cleaning business? Moving from the well known methods of squeegee and bucket into the world of Pure Water Cleaning can be unnerving but this comprehensive guide will answer the questions most people have when getting started with Water fed poles. Covers topics like which poles and systems would fit your needs, safety tips, and tricks of the trade that will help you get going quicker and make you a more knowledgeable Pure Water user. This manual is regularly updated so be sure to check back to make sure you always have the most up to date version.

Free article from Issue #5. Best Trend Tracker: Learn more about how to easily track your company's growth.

Free Direct Mail Manual. This is a comprehensive manual on how to do direct mail. It specifically gives information on using Every Door Direct Mail from picking areas and carrier routes to getting your permit and where to go to send them out. This manual also provides detailed examples of all of the paperwork you'll need including the actual paperwork itself. It's a down-loadable PDF document. Just download and be on your way to direct mail success!

And many many more! Click here.

Saturday 17 December 2011

Window Cleaner Survives Fall In Singapore

In this picture, taken by a member of the public, the window cleaner on the floor after he fell through the roof and landed on the concourse in front of the control room of Sengkang train station.
Cleaner falls from height outside Sengkang train station, Singapore: A window cleaner is now in hospital after he fell through the roof of a link way between Sengkang train station and Compass Heights Condominium. The man was sent to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital with multiple fractures. A 'netizen' snapped this picture of the man and posted it online. According to the Singapore Civil Defence Force, the man in his twenties. He was cleaning windows when he fell.

Sengkang train station main entrance.

Friday 16 December 2011

Printable 2012 Schedule For Window Cleaning Clients

For those of you like me, that are waiting for your 2012 diary as a Christmas present. This may be the answer for you to organize your next few months when people schedule & you're without your diary. I also have software for my window cleaning clients - but this also helps if you are like me & like to have a written diary record as well that gets chopped & changed. When you get labelled in the "hard to buy for" bracket & you are forbidden to buy your own diary - this download is for you, while you wait for your day-by-day planner!

Free Monthly Calendar or Planner Printable Online: Generate a free, monthly calendar or single months in printable PDF format using the form below. Configuration options allow multiple planning formats, such as desk calendar, wall calendar, or monthly planner.
Monthly Calendar Instructions: Enter a start date for the calendar and then the number of months (up to 60) that you want to print. Then click the "Generate Calendar" button to view the monthly calendar online. Check the "Download" checkbox to download the PDF to your computer instead. There are many customization options. For full instructions go here.

Thursday 15 December 2011

Window Cleaning Wars - Second & Final Round

York crown court.
Window cleaning boss is sentenced: A window cleaning boss has been cleared of three charges arising out of a dispute with a former employee. A jury at York Crown Court yesterday found Philip Jones, 44, not guilty on the direction of the judge of charges of burglary, intimidation and criminal damage. The verdict came at the end of the prosecution case which alleged Jones had entered the home of John Massheder and his partner as a burglar, and removed window cleaning equipment. It was also alleged that on another occasion he had intimidated Mr Massheder by stating that he ought to be careful up his ladder in case some one knocked him off it. The third allegation was that he kicked and dented Mr Massheder’s vehicle in the street. 

Judge Colin Burn told the jury the evidence had not come up to scratch and in those circumstances the Crown were offering no further evidence and he would direct them to return not guilty verdicts. However, father-of-four Jones, of Kirkdale, Kirkbymoorside, was then sentenced on two previously admitted charges of sending an offensive or menacing text message to Mr Massheder on September 6 2010, and misuse of a computer. Jones admitted sending a text stating Mr Massheder was “a dead man”. He also admitted that after entering Mr Massheder’s home by a first floor window by use of a ladder on September 4 2010, he had wiped a programme off the couple’s computer.

The court heard that Jones had been after equipment he believed was his and had decided once in the house to wipe the business programme, which he had originally installed himself, off the computer. The jury had been told the two former friends had fallen out after Mr Massheder decided to start up on his own, allegedly taking with him some of Jones’ customers and business. Mitigating, David Dixon said his client was a hard-working man who in 17 years had built up a window cleaning business covering much of Scarborough, Malton and Pickering areas.

Passing sentence, the judge said the fact Jones had entered someone else’s home in order to get at the computer was an aggravating feature. For the text message offence Jones was fined £485 and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge. The computer offence led to Jones being ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work. The judge also imposed a five-year restraining order preventing Jones contacting Mr Massheder and his partner.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Window Cleaning Wars - Round 1

Window Cleaner, Maple Drive, Scarbororough.
Window cleaners’ row ends in court: A row between two Scarborough window cleaners which started when one of the men tried to start his own business ended up in court yesterday. Philip Jones, 44, is accused of entering the home of John Massheder, in Maple Drive, through a bathroom window and stealing window cleaning equipment which he claimed belonged to him. Jones is also charged with later intimidating Mr Massheder by implying he would knock him off his window cleaning ladder and saying he would “pound” him, as well as kicking and damaging the van which he used for his business.

Jones, of Kirkdale, Kirkbymoorside, denies charges of burglary, witness intimidation and criminal damage. Mr Massheder also alleged that Jones had punched him in the face and told him he had paid for someone to break his legs as the feud escalated. Robert Galley, prosecuting on the first day of the trial at York Crown Court, said: “This can be summed up in a few simple words – it’s a conflict between two window cleaners and their ability to do their rounds.” The jury were told that Mr Massheder had worked for Jones as a franchisee of his Scarborough window cleaning business for around 18 months before he had decided to set up on his own after a disagreement.

Mr Galley added: “Mr Massheder went to a scooter rally in Wakefield. That day he received a text saying ‘your conservatory door was wide open so I got the stuff back’ from Mr Jones. “When he returned home the conservatory was insecure and all of his window cleaning equipment had been removed.” The court heard that information on Mr Massheder’s computer, giving details of his customers, had also been deleted by Jones.

Mr Galley said that although he had initially denied entering Mr Massheder’s home, Jones later accepted he had done so when a footprint was found but maintained he had the right to do so because he said the items belonged to him. Mr Massheder, who says his home was locked at the time of the alleged burglary, claims he had purchased the allegedly stolen items - a box, a belt, a ‘bucket on a belt’ and window cleaning rubbers and pouches - from Jones or obtained them independently.

Giving evidence, Mr Massheder said that Jones had been unhappy when he told him he planned on starting a rival business and that he gradually became more abusive after a series of rows. “He said ‘you watch nobody knocks you off them ladders’. I thought ‘I can’t be doing with this all the time’. I felt under threat.” He said that Jones had bought some equipment for him, because he could get a better price, but that he always reimbursed him in full. The trial continues.

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