Friday 31 July 2015

Trouble In Paradise

Trouble in Paradise for window cleaner. Two election cycles ago Brian D. McClerren ran for the Lopez County Council seat; and those who came to know him found him to be an earnest, intelligent and articulate young man who had previously attended seminary school. 
Orcas man charged with identity theft and trafficking stolen property: An Orcas man has been charged with trafficking in stolen property in the first degree, identity theft in the first degree and identity theft in the second degree. Brian Douglas McClerren, 35, of Orcas Island, has an arraignment date of July 31.

According to court documents, clients of McClerren’s window washing business noticed on June 11 that he had cashed a check from them for $4,722.90. The clients recalled he had washed their windows in May, but that they had paid him $570 for his work. They reported to the San Juan County Sheriff’s Department that McClerren had washed their windows for two years with no issues, and on that particular day, May 30, they had left the house to run some errands while he worked.

McClerren (pictured) admitted to the sheriff’s office that he had taken two checks and a ring, and recounted what happened on May 30. According to the detective’s report, McClerren said he had been washing windows in the client’s office when he saw a checkbook. He stated that he took two checks from two different checkbooks from the middle of the books so that the clients would not notice the missing check right away.

According to the report, McClerren said while he cleaned the mirrors in the client’s bedroom, he took a man’s wedding ring that was in a jewelry box in a cloth bag. The detective wrote: “Brian stated that he did not have a plan to steal the checks and ring going into this job.” According to the detective, McClerren then began crying during the police interview.

On June 8, McClerren went to Burlington, Wash., to sell the ring he had taken and received $600 for it. He cashed the stolen checks, as well as the check for the ring. According to the detective’s report, when McClerren’s wife was interviewed she told them they were having marital problems, and McClerren told her he was leaving her and their 4-year-old daughter and assuming a new identity.

McClerren stated that he was planning on taking the money that he had stolen along with his personal money and was going to “just leave.” He said he had a friend in California who told him he could prospect for gold there.

In the report McClerren said he “feels horrible” and that he sent a letter of apology to the clients he stole from. Trafficking in stolen property in the first degree, identity theft in the first degree and identity theft in the second degree are a Class B felony, Class B felony, and Class C felony, respectively. McClarren had no previous criminal history.

McClerren ran for San Juan County Council in 2013 District 3 on Lopez Island and lost to Jamie Stephens. He has since moved to Orcas Island.

"Former Council Candidate Accused Of Theft" - Two election cycles ago Brian D. McClerren ran for the Lopez County Council seat; and those who came to know him found him to be an earnest, intelligent and articulate young man who had previously attended seminary school. He lost the election to incumbent Jamie Stephens.

Today he is in trouble with the law, and is due to appear in court on Friday to face charges of theft, crimes that he has willingly admitted to. He has been ordered to show up at the Sheriff’s office July 31, 2015 to be photographed, fingerprinted and complete paper work, and then at 9:00 AM show up before the Superior Court to face accusations of “trafficking in stolen property in the 1st degree, identity theft in the 1st degree and identity theft in the 2nd degree.

According to court documents, last May McClerren was hired to clean windows of a home owner, and when the residents left the house he took, filled out, and deposited a check made out to his company in the amount of $4,722.90, and then from a different check book removed, filled out, and again made it out to his company, in the amount of $800.00. The owners of the home discovered the canceled checks and alerted the SJC Sheriff’s office.

How do you plan to balance the county budget? Do you support renewal of Prop. 1, the voter-approved property tax increase that expires at the end of 2015?

BM: I am bothered that the assumption appears to be larger government and increased taxes. A special part of our identity in this place is that we value our independence. I can tell you unequivocally that nothing sacrifices independence like being in debt . This relates to bond debt as well as grant-funded activities.

Last year our council signed a debt obligation which demands repayment through taxation “without a vote of the people.” Worse than that, they are touting it as a demonstration of fiscal responsibility.

The recent Community Conversation meetings are creating a helpful guidance for specific areas where we may be overspending on services. There are many great ideas about restructuring departments and eliminating costly delays. A budget that has increased about $20 million dollars in the last 8 years contains hundreds of places to reduce expenses, we just need leaders with the courage and energy to start digging.

If we move forward in a business-friendly posture I expect no need for a renewal of Prop. 1 and I will work toward that end on the council.

Thursday 30 July 2015

Investigating The Dangers Of Older Glass Windows

Investigating The Dangers Of Older Glass Windows.
Investigating The Dangers Of Older Glass Windows (Pittsburgh) — When Michael Racky leaned up against a storefront window, the window gave way. Shards of glass cut him like a knife, killing the 52-year-old father. “I have to wake up every day realizing I will never see him again,” says daughter Meghan Racky. That store front window was broken and the crack was held together with tape. That’s a no-no and a big safety hazard. “This is a dangerous situation,” says window expert Mark Meshulam.

Meshulam says any broken window — especially in older buildings like those in Pittsburgh — can pose a risk. When he checked out windows in downtown Pittsburgh he found several broken windows in the City County building. “I think if there’s enough wind, and just right rattling, that one piece could break free and it could take flight,” remarks Meshulam while looking at a cracked pane of glass in the first floor window.

Back in 2012, glass from a window on the eighth floor of the City County Building fell out and came crashing down onto Grant Street. “The glass is cracked but we have greater safety issues where whole panels are falling out of buildings,” says Mike Gable with the city of Pittsburgh. We brought the broken window issue to the attention of the city of Pittsburgh. Gable says the city is responsible for close to 300 buildings and they have one person who fixes the glass. City officials tell KDKA they don’t deem the nine broken panes of glass we found to be an emergency.

“Well I can’t say that, there are work orders. I can’t tell you if there are work orders for all nine panes of glass, but our facilities people are aware of it and we will do the best we can to get them replaced,” Gable said when asked if they would be fixed any time soon. Over at the county courthouse, there were several broken windows as well. The county is responsible for the windows in more than 120 main buildings, including the courthouse, which dates back to 1888.

“Just in the past two years, we have spent $12,000 just for the glass,” says Doug Nolfi, Director of Facility Maintenance for Allegheny County. After informing the county of the broken windows at the courthouse — the building was inspected. One window was fixed immediately. Some of the windows are so old, the glass needs to be specially ordered.

Officials with the city and county say both buildings are currently being evaluated from top to bottom on how to make them more energy efficient, and that could include new glass for every window.
City and county officials say they do inspect their buildings on a regular basis looking for problems, but they rely on the public and employees to report issues.

Wednesday 29 July 2015

Reflected Sunlight Through Window Causes House Fire

Blaze: Sunlight is said to have reflected from the mirror onto curtains which caught alight before spreading to other furniture. Click to enlarge.
Make-up mirror left near window sparks bedroom blaze in south London: A bedroom was partially destroyed in a fire sparked when sunlight hit a mirror and was refracted onto some curtains, firefighters have said. The make-up mirror was left on a dressing table adjacent to the window at a home in Arthur Road, Wimbledon.

Rays from the sun were reflected onto the bedroom curtains which caught alight before spreading to furniture and other items close to the window yesterday evening. London Fire Brigade (LFB) said nobody was injured and the home occupier was alerted to the fire by a smoke alarm. Firefighters were called at 6.32pm and the blaze was brought under control by 7.09pm.

The LFB is urging people to keep mirrors and crystal or glass objects away from sunny areas in their homes. They also advised people to fit at least one smoke alarm per floor and ensure they are tested each week.

Chris Williams, from LFBs fire investigation team, said: “These sort of fires are not as rare as you would think and shows these types of fires are not an urban myth. "Crystals, glass ornaments and items such as dressing table mirrors should be kept out of direct sunlight. "Thankfully the resident was alerted to the fire by their smoke alarm. It’s essential that everyone has at least one smoke alarm on every level of their home."

Also see here.

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Second Job Window Cleaners

A 2014 survey by the Fire Brigades Union found that a third of full-time firefighters had a second job. 
'I ran myself into the ground': life at the bottom end of the public sector pay scale: Many public services staff in the UK take on a second job just to survive. Here, some of them reveal what it’s like living with anxiety, zero-hours contracts and low pay. A 2014 Unison survey revealed that 80% of school support staff were concerned about workload, and 90% were worried about low pay. And a 2014 YouGov survey by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) of almost 10,000 firemen found that a third of full-time firefighters had a second job.

So what impact does such insecurity and overworking have on people’s lives?

Mental health: An increase in zero-hours contracts has led to anxiety among employees uncertain of their weekly cashflow.

Physical health: Overworking can take its toll on physical wellbeing too – Greenwood took three weeks off work last year as a result of work-related illness, he says, but had to return for financial reasons. “I ran myself into the ground, but I need to work to get the money to do what I want,” he says. “It’s a double-edged blade.”

For those working long hours exercise often falls by the wayside, despite its importance in reducing stress, Donaldson-Feilder says. A lottery win for me would be to not work a second job so I could pick my children up from school and take them swimming.

A full-time firefighter and FBU representative, who runs a window cleaning business to help provide for his family, says he earns £30,000 a year but his large pension contributions mean his wage is comparable to a £22,000 job. “I’ll sometimes do window cleaning from 8am to 4pm, then do a firefighting night shift from 6pm to 9am,” he says. “I’d like a gym membership but there’s no point – I can’t afford it and I wouldn’t have time to go.”

Family life and relationships: The work-life balance can be significantly skewed when tackling two jobs. “There is a massive quality of life issue here,” says Mike Short, senior national officer for local government at Unison. “People take on a second job but should be spending time with family and friends.”

The firefighter says the biggest pressure he feels from holding down two jobs is missing out on time with his partner and four children. “A lottery win would be the opportunity to not work a second job so I could pick my children up from school and take them swimming,” he says. “Firefighting has a reasonably family-friendly work pattern, if only it paid more money.”

Donaldson-Feilder says maintaining support networks is crucial to prevent feelings of isolation. “Look for ways you can build in time for people who care about you and who are supportive of you,” she advises overworked staff. “If you don’t have a big social circle, get involved in activities that are altruistic in some way, such as at a local charity.”

And regardless of stressful working conditions, high pensions and pay cuts, altruism is the main reason many people continue to pursue a career in public services. “If I really pushed myself, I could probably earn enough money window cleaning,” says the firefighter. “But I love my job and many people join this profession and take a pay cut because it can be very rewarding.”

Monday 27 July 2015

Two Chinese Window Cleaners Killed By Strong Winds

A witness shows a video clip taken when the two workers are blown to the sky by a gust of wind on July 24, 2015. The workers were hanging onto a lifeline on a high rise building in downtown Xi'an, the capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province.
Shaanxi window cleaners die after gust of wind sends them flying into building: Two window cleaners at a high-rise in Xi'an, Shaanxi province died last Friday afternoon after a strong wind sent the dangling workers flying back and forth mid-air until they crashed into the building. The two workers were among about a dozen others who'd been cleaning the exterior of the 270-meter high Greenland Center commercial building when a strong wind picked up at around 5:20 p.m., according to a witness cited in an SCMP report.

“The men’s ropes might have become tangled after they were first blown around by the wind,” said the witness. The two workers cried for help and struggled in the wind for around 20 minutes before they were thrown against the building. “It was just like two pieces of clothes hanging there. I think the two died immediately,” he said.

The photo taken by a witness shows the smashed windows of a high-rise building in downtown Xi'an, the capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province on July 24, 2015. Two workers hang to work on the building crashed into the windows in a strong gust of wind on Friday.
The workers were on the 12th and 15th floors at the time of the incident, People's Daily reports. Local police confirmed that the cleaners died amid bad weather.

While it pretty much goes without saying, window cleaners have a terrifying job. In April, a viral video showed the moment a strong bout of wind sent an elevated working platform swinging through the air until it was flung against a window on the 91st floor of Shanghai's World Financial Center. The two window cleaners on the platform fortunately managed to walk away with only minor injuries.

Friday 24 July 2015

Happy Campers

Lee (fourth from right) and Richard (third from right) at camp.
Leicester window cleaner to appear on new TV show 'Hello Campers' - A window cleaner from Leicester is hoping to climb the ladder to success on a new TV show. Lee Burbidge and his pal Richard Clues are aiming to win £1000 on the ITV challenge show 'Hello Campers'.

Lee, from Skeffington, who runs his own window cleaning business, said the show is a cross between 'Coach Trip' and 'Come Dine with Me'. The 45-year-old said: "Basically what happens is that five pairs of people - be they married couple, or friends or relatives - are taken off to another country for five days camping. "They take it in turns to cook and to provide the entertainment and they get marks. "At the end of the week the pair with the most marks wins the £1,000."

Lee said he and pal Richard, from Northampton, also a window cleaner, had a great time on the show. He said: "I am not a happy camper in fact I am not a camper of any description. "I am not good under canvas I am a hotel room man every day of the week. "The whole experience was a great laugh. We had a ball. "Everyone on the show was great. The other contestants, the crew, the producers. "I can't cook - I can burn an egg but when it came to your turn to prepare the food it was.

Lee, whose business is based on the Gorse Hill industrial estate in Leicester, is sworn to secrecy about whether they won the £1,000. He said: "People will just have to watch the series to see."

An ITV spokesman said: "Hello Campers is a new series for ITV Daytime this summer. Weekdays on ITV. "With a sprinkling of light-hearted competition, the series will see five new couples head out to a different European campsite each week, with the aim of winning a £1000 prize.

Over six weeks, the show will travel to Spain, France, Italy and Portugal with a new group of 'happy campers' arriving each week." Hello Campers starts on Monday July 27 on ITV. It will run between 4 and 5pm Monday to Friday.

A window cleaner from Northampton will star in a new reality show on ITV next week which pits campers against each other to try to win £1,000. Richard Clues, owner of R C Window Cleaning Services, admits he did not really like reality shows and that he needed a lot of convincing to take part. The show, Hello Campers, started on ITV on Monday and Richard’s episodes will be shown next week. Five pairs are sent to a European campsite and compete against each other in a series of challenges.

Mr Clues, 36, was persuaded to take part by his friend and fellow window cleaner, Lee Burbidge. “They were after window cleaners to take part and they contacted Lee through the Master Guild of Windowkeepers. He phoned me up and told me I was doing it! “I was gobsmacked, it was something that was well out of my comfort zone,” Mr Clues said.

The pair were flown out to a campsite in Tuscany. “We met up with four other couples who were either friends, husband and wife, or partners. We had activities to do in the morning as a team effort and then we had in the afternoon three groups went off for a challenge, while the other two either planned the evening’s entertainment or cooked,” he said.

“They were all different people from all different walks of life. If you judged a book by its cover you wouldn’t think that any of us would get on, but once we got talking we all got on really well. “I am still in touch with them and have been since the show was filmed - but we’ll see what they say about us next week on the show! It might all change,” he added.

The experience was one that Mr Clues says he may not want to repeat. “I was nervous all the way through. I didn’t really want to do it at first. My partner, Caroline, and I are not really fans of reality TV and I am not used to being in that situation, it was all new to me,” he said.

Lee Burbidge, behind the camera.

Thursday 23 July 2015

Minimum Wage For Chicago Window Washers

Carlos Perez, center, a lead organizer for Service Employees International Union Local 1, leads chants with window washers and their supporters during a rally for better wages June 29, 2015, in Chicago. Window washers "overwhelmingly" ratified a three-year labor contract July 22, 2015, that includes a pay raise.
Window washers ratify 3-year agreement: Window washers "overwhelmingly" ratified a three-year labor contract that would raise wages by up to 16 percent over the life of the agreement, the union said Wednesday. "It's a good step but it's not the end," said Tom Balanoff, president of the Service Employees International Union Local 1.

Balanoff said the agreement, which covers 235 window washers, was reached last week and averted a strike. The union negotiated with Corporate Cleaning Services and seven other companies that bargained together in a coalition.

The workers, who now make from $11.15 to $17.65 per hour, will earn as much as $20.50 by the end of the contract, Balanoff said. The contract also calls for employers to pay 60 percent of health care insurance premiums, rather than a set amount, meaning companies will share cost increases with workers.

Despite those wins, a point system workers sought to end was expanded and could be used by all eight companies. Under the system, a worker gets a set amount of points, or hours, to clean a building's windows. If the window washers finish the work early, the company pays them commission. But if they work beyond the time allowed, they don't get any additional pay. Workers felt the system forced them to rush and take shortcuts, often at the expense of safety.

Window washer Cruz Guzman, 24, said the expansion of the system is disappointing, but the new contract contains language that keeps companies from lowering points and protects workers who chose to work on an hourly rate, rather than the point system. It also establishes seniority rights to protect older workers. Guzman said he sees the contract as a foundation. "We have a lot more to work on," he said.

Neal S. Zucker, chief executive of Corporate Cleaning Services, said in a statement that he believes the agreement is fair. "As Chicago's largest, all-union window-washing company, Corporate Cleaning Services is proud to have led negotiations on behalf of not only our employees, but for all window washers in Chicago," Zucker said.

More than 200 Chicago area window washers working both for Corporate Cleaning Services and for a Coalition of other major window washing contractors (“Coalition”) ratified a history making agreement on July 19.  The contract includes significant gains in pay, safety improvements, and protection of health care benefits. The window washers, represented by Service Employees International Union Local 1, and both Corporate Cleaning Services and the Coalition reached a unified agreement after contentious negotiations. Negotiations with Corporate Cleaning Services concluded ahead of the Coalition with the major employer leading the way and doing the right thing for Chicago’s working families. “We’re pleased we concluded bargaining with Corporate Cleaning Services as well as the Coalition,” said SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff.  “We are glad that Corporate Cleaning Service led the way for the other contractors by stepping up, giving significant raises to their employees and most importantly doing the right thing for Chicago’s working families.  

Our unified agreement with Corporate Cleaning Services and the Coalition will allow the window washers to provide a better future for their families and help raise America with good jobs.” Chicago’s window washers step over the edge of skyscrapers like the Trump Tower, Willis Tower, and the Hancock building and risk their lives to help billion dollar corporations, yet struggle to make ends meet for their families. Low wages stunt the growth of our economy: families can’t afford basic necessities, let alone go to the doctor or save for their children’s education. Window washing is a family industry in Chicago; generations of workers have been providing our city with an essential service. Window washers will continue to fight for a better future not only for their families, but for the entire middle class.

City of Chicago Minimum Wage - Minimum Wage Ordinance: On December 2nd, 2014, the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance that will raise the minimum wage for Chicago workers to $13 per hour by 2019. This measure, sponsored by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Alderman Will Burns, Alderman Pat O’Connor, and 31 other aldermen, will increase the earnings for approximately 410,000 Chicago workers, inject $860 million into the local economy, and lift 70,000 workers out of poverty.

In 2015, the City will begin phasing in its new minimum wage, as provided by the ordinance. This phase-in will help simplify the early years of implementation for businesses and employers. The City's ordinance raises the hourly minimum wage to $10 in 2015, $10.50 in 2016, $11 in 2017, $12 in 2018, and $13 in 2019, indexed annually to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) after 2019.

On September 2, 2014, Mayor Emanuel signed an Executive Order requiring all City of Chicago contractors and subcontractors pay their employees a minimum of $13 per hour for work performed under a City contract. On September 30, 2014, the Mayor requested that all City of Chicago sister agencies follow suit.

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Late Payments

Late payment is inexcusable, shameless and completely unfair. Independent professionals don’t receive regular income like employees and therefore rely on being paid on time to keep their business afloat.
Dash for cash leaves self-employed workers chasing £200 a month in late payments: The self-employed workers who keep Britain’s houses clean, tidy and well-maintained are among those owed £208 in an average month by customers who don’t have cash in hand to settle bills.

This means that the UK’s sole traders - including many cleaners, decorators and gardeners - are chasing nearly a fifth (18%) of their earned cash income each month, significantly impacting their cash flow and forcing them to spend time recovering debts. The figure rises to £1,846 for other small businesses with between one and nine employees.

Despite having the best intentions (86% of us agree that paying small businesses on time is important and 57% would prefer to pay by cash) 28% of us regularly have to dust off cheque books, make a dash to the cash machine (44%) or simply pay late (17%).

But the dash of shame to the cash machine to get money to pay Britain’s one man bands – or the red-faced “I’ll have to pay you next time” - could soon be a thing of the past.  Paym, the easy way to pay small bills, friends and family using just a mobile number, is available to more than 90 per cent of UK current account holders – and tradespeople can get paid straight to the number on their business card.

Craig Tillotson, Managing Director of Paym said: “Window cleaners, gardeners and decorators are facing challenges from well-meaning customers who often don’t have the cash on them to pay there and then. Paym is an easy alternative to accepting debit and credit cards which we know many of these types of business resist because they find them expensive or inconvenient. It will be a massive help with time-poor customers.

“We know that many small businesses rely on their mobile to run their business – and Paym makes it possible to use that vital phone number to easily accept payments. We’re urging businesses and self-employed people to sign up today and to spread the word amongst their customers – it should help both parties avoid awkward situations or inconvenient trips to the bank.”

Paym in action – case study

Tim Sutton is a sports therapist who offers massage and treatments that cost roughly around £30 per session. He currently has 1,500 customers on his database, treating around 30 people a week. The summer period is a busy time for Tim as more people venture outside for sporting activities.
He has been using Paym for nearly a year, originally for personal use but has now introduced it to his business. As a small business Tim used to only accept cash or cheques, not wanting to invest in and carry around a card machine.
Tim is a huge fan of Paym, he says: “‘Paym is perfect for my business and customers. Not only does it save me multiple trips to the bank, there’s no need to carry around handfuls of cash. It is quick and easy to use and my clients now only need to know my phone number.”
Payments are made through Faster Payments or LINK at the same speeds as existing current account, online, and mobile payments – most payments arrive in seconds.

The research from Paym also looked at how we as a nation rely on self-employed people such as our window cleaners and electricians, and how much we pay them for their services: Paym is an easy, secure way to send and receive payments to a current account using just a mobile number. Paym means there is no need to ask for other people’s sort code or account number, or tell them yours.

Other key findings from the research:

Young people (18 to 34-year-olds) are the most likely to make the dash for cash; more than half (56%) have done it in the last year, compared to just one in three (33%) of those aged over 55. One in six (17%) have paid a small business late because they didn’t have cash on them - which rises to 26% of those aged 18 to 34. 23% of sole traders have given up chasing a payment and 30% of sole traders have stopped supplying a customer due to consistent late payment.

Options for chasing late payments: Late payments are an increasing problem for small businesses. So, when the normal channels of chasing invoices have failed, here are some of the options available to ensure your finances remain solvent.

Go legal:
Federica Monsone, owner of network storage provider A3 Communications, decided to contact a solicitor after a client had ignored three invoices she had sent them. ‘My options seemed to be that I could either hire a debt collector, which I felt would cost too much money, or write the debt off,’ she says. 

For Monsone, neither of these options seemed cost-effective, particularly as writing the debt off would be no guarantee of future contracts with the client. ‘It seemed to me that the company was struggling so I was doubtful whether we would even get any more business from them. And even if we did, this might have been the first of many non or late payments.’

After doing some research Monsone eventually found a solicitor who wrote her client a legal letter demanding payment. She says: ‘This only cost £100, but it made us look serious enough for them to consider that there may be legal ramifications if they didn’t pay. I recovered all the money minus the interest they owed.’

Don't mess around:
Carl Hackman, director of debt collection agency CCI Legal, says that over the last two years there has been a growing demand on the part of small businesses for using their services. The company typically charges ten per cent of the total amount recovered. He says: ‘Small companies often don’t want to upset their larger clients. So by using third-party intervention it's diplomatic and tactful and in everyone’s interest.’

Hackman adds that the advantage for a small business with this approach is that it has a better chance of retaining its client, as the company is only paying what it owes. ‘No late charges are incurred and our fee is paid by the small business,’ says Hackman.

Alternative options:
Benjamin Smart, regional manager of Business Link London, suggests there are other things you can do before taking legal action or calling in a third party. He says it is a good idea to visit the company first and find out if there are any discrepancies with the outstanding balance.

‘This should be followed up with a phone call to set a date and standing order for when the money is due to be paid by the client,’ says Smart. 'If it is a large amount of money, say around £100,000, this is the point where you can get the bank to bring in invoice financing. If the company doesn’t follow through with the payment the bank pays 90 per cent of the money upfront to you, and then chases the debtor with legal action.’

Kick up a fuss:
In a landmark victory for small businesses, Justine Thompson, director of training company MTa International, took on pharmaceutical giant Boots for extending its payment policy to 75 days and charging a 2.5 per cent processing fee. She says: ‘As soon as we started to get the media involved and I had agreed to speak on the radio, they backed down and changed their terms back to 30 days with no 2.5 per cent fee.’

But Thompson is sceptical about the options currently available to SMEs. She says: ‘I don’t see debt collection as being any better at gaining leverage than legal options; when SMEs start to kick and fuss they are in danger of losing their clients. I was fortunate because I wasn’t in a position where I was reliant on the Boots contracts.’ For Thompson, small businesses need to join together to fight larger organisations. ‘It’s not just a business issue but a moral and ethical one too and it’s not something they can fight on their own.’

Self-employment body supports calls to end late payment scandal: IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed, has today supported calls from business groups, the FSB and IoD, to put an end to the scandal of late payment.

Simon McVicker, Director of Policy and External Affairs at IPSE, said: “Late payment is inexcusable, shameless and completely unfair. Independent professionals don’t receive regular income like employees and therefore rely on being paid on time to keep their business afloat.

“Late payment is a key issue for the self-employed which is why it is at the forefront of our manifesto. The Conservatives are taking steps in the right direction by acting on IPSE’s proposal for a small business conciliation service and enforcing the Prompt Payment Code, but we still must put pressure on big businesses to do the right thing when it comes to paying their suppliers. We would like to see all the major Parties agree to this before the General Election."

A survey commissioned by IPSE with ComRes shows overwhelming support from the general public to tackle the problem of late pay. The survey asked 1,000 ‘traditional’ employees and self-employed professionals in the UK’s most marginal constituencies and found 79% support strengthening rules to prevent this issue. The survey also found 78% of people support developing a way for small businesses to settle disputes without court action. 

Simon McVicker added: “IPSE stands with the IoD and the FSB in tackling the scandalous problem of large businesses bullying suppliers by enforcing long payment terms. “Our research shows that the general public overwhelmingly support proposals to end the scandal of late payment and we hope big businesses will wake up to public opinion. 

“Late pay means microbusiness owners get caught in a catch-22 situation - they rely on regular pay but can’t excessively chase payment because it ruins relationships. We will continue to work with Government and business to ensure the culture of payment is radically changed across the board.”

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Waterfed Pole Prohibited In Vancouver

The Men in Kilts gutter cleaning service use’s hand cleaning and vacuuming and therefore results in no wasted water!  They are also cleaning windows by hand & can clean up to 10 houses or 1,000 windows with a single bucket of water.
Vancouver businesses feel the pinch of drought: If you’re in the business of keeping things clean, stricter water restrictions are proving to be a challenge. Under level two restrictions that have been in effect since July 3, companies like Men in Kilts have not been able to offer pressure washing. As the drought continues and water levels in the region’s reservoirs continue to drop, Metro Vancouver now says that level three restrictions will go into effect starting the afternoon of July 20.

Pressure washing for cleaning, and washing windows and building exteriors with a water-fed pole, are both prohibited, said Nicholas Brand, CEO of Men in Kilts. Brand said his company is still offering services such as window washing by squeegee, gutter cleaning and pressure washing if it’s in preparation for painting.

But if the restrictions continue, or move into level four, the most stringent restrictions, the company may have to lay off summer students who are normally hired until the end of August. Brand has looked into trucking in water, but concluded it would be too expensive.

Other pressure washing companies are in the same boat, Brand said, and it’s difficult to predict how long the restrictions will continue. Summer is normally the busiest time of the year for pressure washers. “They say September 30, we’ve got a lot of customers that we’ve scheduled work into October for them, but we’re giving them the heads up that we might not be able to do it in October,” Brand said.  “If we have a long dry August and September, they’re not going to lift [the restrictions].”

Public and commercial water fountains and water parks not on a timer have already been shut off. Under stage three, other restrictions that come into effect  include no lawn watering at all and no outdoor washing of cars or boats. Commercial car washes, however, are allowed to continue operating in stage three, but would have to shut down in stage four.

Given the challenges pressure washers are facing, Brand said that was frustrating. “People are allowed to pay someone to keep your car clean, they’re not allowed to pay someone to keep their house clean,” he said. “And painters are allowed to prep for painting with pressure washing. From our industry, and speaking to others in our industry, it’s frustrating that we’re that far down on the totem pole.”

Commercial car washes are allowed to keep operating because they recycle much of the water they use, said Darrell Mussatto, mayor of the City of North Vancouver and chair of Metro Vancouver's utilities committee.

The previous stage two restrictions did result in water usage dropping, but didn't have enough of an effect, Mussatto said. Metro Vancouver has now started using some of the high alpine lakes it has access to to refill the Capilano reservoir. As a backup, the regional district also has access to BC Hydro's Coquitlam reservoir, which is currently not being used to produce electricity because of the drought conditions. Metro Vancouver has budgeted $862,000 to pay for up to 68 billion litres from that water source.

If current water restrictions don’t have the desired conservation effect, and if no rain falls to refill reservoirs, Metro Vancouver would move into stage four, said Greg Valou, a communications officer for the regional district.

Under stage four restrictions, municipal outdoor pools are closed, all outdoor cleaning with water is prohibited and vegetable gardens and plants cannot be watered with treated drinking water. The last time the region had level three water restrictions was during the summer of 2003. The region has never put in place stage four restrictions in response to a drought.

Monday 20 July 2015

Quat Binding

Quat binding happens because quats contain positively charged ions and the fabrics of many cleaning applicators contain negatively charged ions.

Here’s the problem. The active ingredients in some of these cleaning solutions, called "quats," are being absorbed by the wipes, mops, and cleaning cloths that are used to apply them. And not only are the active ingredients that kill germs and bacteria being absorbed by the cleaning cloths, for example, but they may also be pulled into the cleaning cloths. No matter how it is happening, what this is known as is "quat binding."

Quat binding happens because quats contain positively charged ions and the fabrics of many cleaning applicators contain negatively charged ions. While a perfect union can occur between people when two opposites attract, when it happens with disinfectants the results can be very problematic: the disinfectant loses its germ-killing power.

Just how serious is this problem? In one study, a cotton cleaning cloth was soaked in a disinfectant solution–filled pail for about ten minutes. After that time the quat levels of the solution were measured and were found to be cut in half. This means that only half of the bacteria- and germ-killing quats listed on the disinfectant’s label were still present. When this happens, the disinfectant is no longer as effective as its label indicates.

Worse, not only is the disinfectant no longer as effective in killing pathogens as it should be, but it also may be contributing to the growth of “microorganisms that are resistant to the disinfectant,” according to J. Darrel Hicks, author of Infection Prevention for Dummies. Why exactly this happens, Hicks did not clarify, but it is assumed that surface organisms essentially become immune to the disinfectant.

Quat binding can be a problem anywhere, but some of the biggest areas of concern are food preparation locations. According to Tara Miller, product manager at ITW Professional Brands, which makes a number of professional cleaning products for the commercial food service industry, “Fifty percent of the food service industry uses cotton rental towels or bar towels,” exactly the type of towels implicated in quat binding. She goes on to say that "some larger chain [restaurants] know about quat binding issues, but most are still in the dark about them."

According to Miller, the key reason the food service industry and people working in food preparation areas should be aware of quat binding is that, on an annual basis, an average of one in six people gets sick from eating contaminated food, and 3,000 people die each year from foodborne illnesses. Even if the food itself is safe to eat and properly cooked, following best practices to protect human health, when cooked food comes into contact with surfaces that are not properly disinfected and hygienically cleaned, even if thought to be so, the food can become contaminated. Quat binding can be the culprit for these contaminated surfaces.

Miller goes on to say that, along with the possibility of causing people to become ill, quat binding can be costly in another way, and that is pure dollars and cents. "[Administrators] are throwing money out the window on chemicals because they are [not working] or [not] being used properly," she says.

Addressing the Problem 

Miller and most public health officials suggest that the first step in addressing the health risks of quat binding is simply awareness. Facility managers and administrators in correctional and other types of facilities need to know that quat binding is a problem, along with how and why it is occurring. Once quat binding is understood, administrators can take the following steps to combat its effects:

  • Use disinfectants with higher concentrations of quats; then even if some of the quats are absorbed by the cleaning cloth or mop, enough may remain to clean and disinfect a surface effectively.
  • While cleaning professionals are usually taught to spray cleaners and disinfectants on a cleaning cloth first and then wipe the surface to be cleaned, to lessen the effects of quat binding it probably is best to first spray the surface to be cleaned and then wipe it. (Be sure and allow the disinfectant to set “dwell” on the surface a few minutes before wiping)
  • Investigate cleaning procedures that do not require the use of cleaning cloths or mops at all. For correctional facilities, a recommended option is a spray-and-vac or no-touch cleaning system that applies disinfectant directly to a surface, rinses and then vacuums the area clean without the need for wiping or mopping.*

Administrators are urged to discuss the problem of quat binding with their janitorial distributors to find more solutions to this problem. What they may discover is that there is a trend evolving in the professional cleaning industry that may help address this and similar problems. The professional cleaning industry is moving away from cleaning cloths, buckets, and mops,. This is because we now know that these tools can spread germs instead of effectively removing them. Quat binding is just one more reason to shelve mops and cleaning cloths and look for other, more effective cleaning options.


Studies have demonstrated that there may be a reduction of efficacy when quaternary-based disinfectants bind with cleaning materials such as microfiber or cotton.  The most common disinfectant used for daily environmental surface disinfection today is quaternary ammonium chloride, commonly referred to as quats. Quats are often used because they offer a broad spectrum of pathogen kill, good surface compatibility, and are often the most economical option.

Quats are cationic or positively charged compounds.  Because of this, quats have a tendency to become attracted to cleaning tools or fabrics that have an anionic or negative charge.  One of the most common cleaning tool fabrics is cotton, which is a natural fiber that consists of 90% cellulose, and has a negative charge.  Another common fabric used in cleaning tools is microfiber.  Most microfiber cloths are made of a synthetic blend of polyester and nylon (polyamide) which also has a negative charge.  

When quat disinfectants are used with cotton or microfiber fabric, the positive charge on the quat aligns itself with the negative charge on the fabric and essentially neutralizes the activity of the quat. This may mean that the expected level of disinfectant is not being applied to a surface as it is wiped. The tendency of quats to bind with some fabrics is often referred to as “quat binding” or absorption. It has been shown that quat binding begins as soon as the cleaning tool is dipped into the quat solution.  This phenomenon can be eliminated by spraying the disinfectant directly onto the surface, using alternate disinfectant technologies or implementing disposable wipes into your cleaning protocol.

Friday 17 July 2015

Own Goal For Fraudulent Window Cleaner

Own goal: Footballer Gary Burnett claimed he had whiplash but was caught offside by his Tweet.
Footballer scores own goal after tweeting about match 24 hours after making bogus whiplash claim: A semi-professional footballer’s bogus claim for a whiplash injury after a crash at a McDonald’s drive-through was exposed when he tweeted about playing football 24 hours later. Gary Burnett tried to pocket £2,000 for the smash which he claimed left him with shoulder and neck injuries in October 2013.

But the 24-year-old then took to Twitter to update his followers about his side Northwich Victoria’s progress. One day after the accident in Birkenhead, Merseyside, Burnett wrote on Twitter: “Nice little trek to Kendal later for footy” - referring to an away match in the Lake District town. Three weeks later he was on Twitter again bragging about knocking higher ranked team Nantwich Town out of the FA Trophy with a second-half goal.

Investigators from insurance company Aviva tracked his messages and this week won a legal battle to make Burnett pay their court costs. The player, now representing Curzon Ashton FC in the National League North, was ordered by a judge to stump up £11,000.

The part-time window cleaner, of Lowton, Grt Manchester, had claimed the injury left him out of action for four weeks. Burnett’s claim was described as ‘fundamentally dishonest’ by a judge at Wigan County Court who accepted the footballer had misled his solicitors, his medical expert and the insurance company.

Dave Lovely, Aviva claims director, said: “This case highlights how a minor claim can be seen as an open-goal for fraudsters. “However, we are determined to tackle these fraudulent claimants and stop them scoring against us and our customers. “It shows that we will pursue and prosecute those who commit fraud, while taking care of genuine claimants.”

Jared Mallinson, partner at Horwich Farrelly solicitors, representing the insurers, added: “The hapless footballer clearly couldn’t resist boasting about his performance on social media despite claiming to have been unable to play. “The court’s decision to find him fundamentally dishonest is a red card to any would-be fraudster that they will be caught.”

Thursday 16 July 2015

Scaffold Collapses

3 workers rescued after scaffolding collapses outside Duval County Jail.
3 workers rescued after scaffolding collapses outside Duval County Jail (Jacksonville, Fla.): Three workers were rescued Thursday afternoon after the scaffolding they were standing on outside the Duval County Jail collapsed. One of the men was rescued by a co-worker. Jacksonville Fire-Rescue then conducted what they called a high-angle rescue, using ladder trucks and a commercial bucket truck.

"They'll do whatever it takes to get them down," said Randy Wyse, president of the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters. Less than 30 minutes after the initial call, the two other men, contractors cleaning & resealing the windows, were safely on the ground. "Fortunately, all three of the individuals were harnesses with their safety harnesses, which probably saved their lives," said JSO spokeswoman Melissa Bujeda.

Channel 4 chief meteorologist John Gaughan said there were gusts of wind in the area from a brief thunderstorm passing at the time, but the highest was measured about 30 mph. "More weather is supposed to be coming in. We're trying to determine how to secure the scaffold," Bujeda said.

Mozambique: At Least Five Dead in Scaffolding Collapse (Maputo) — At least five building workers died, and a further six were injured in a scaffolding collapse at a building site in downtown Maputo on Tuesday afternoon.

The building where the collapse occurred is owned by the JAT group, and is intended to house the future offices of the National Social Security Institute (INSS). It is 17 storeys high, and most of those who fell to the ground were working at a height of over 30 metres.

When the spokesperson for the fire brigade, David Cumbane, spoke to AIM in the early evening he could confirm three deaths - but at the stage the firemen and other rescue workers were still removing the dead and injured from the debris.

Before the fire brigade arrived, it was the construction workers themselves who began the rescue operations, trying to save the lives of their colleagues trapped under the scaffolding. AIM noted that some of the building workers lacked basic protective clothing. They had no helmets, goggles or boots, which should be routinely supplied by any contractor on a building site.

One worker, speaking to AIM on conditions of anonymity, said that the scaffolding collapsed because of a defect in assembling it. He claimed it was not the first time that an accident of this sort had happened. “The same thing happened last year”, he said, “but that time we were lucky because nobody died”. This worker complained to reporters of the lack of safety equipment on the site.

“There's no safety gear”, he protested. “We're working under inhuman conditions. They treat us as if we were slaves. There are even people on the site working in flip-flops”.

Wednesday 15 July 2015

Entrepreneurs Rebuild After Bankruptcy

Bob Serwas (left), co-owner of Serwas window cleaning services and his partner Chris Mathias, overcame a bankruptcy & rebuilt their business.
Entrepreneurs rebuild after bankruptcy: Bob Serwas, co-owner of Serwas Window Cleaning Services, knows what it’s like to succeed, fail, and then succeed again. He and his partner, Chris Mathias, have learned that slow and steady is the way to build a business. “I was warned by people not to grow big too fast and that’s exactly what I did,” Serwas said.

Looking back, Serwas, who fell in love with window washing when he was a teenager, was working for a local company when that company was sold to a competitor. The merger did not go well, and Serwas and his partner decided to form Residential Window Specialists in 1996.

The business exploded. In just three years, it was grossing a million dollars a year and the partners had a new challenge. Since window washing is a seasonal business, they wanted to find a way to provide year-round employment.

To fill the gap, they purchased an awning cleaning and sealing division and a mobile blind cleaning and sales division. The result was a growing debt. Serwas commented, “I took out a loan, and the bank socked me with a big payment. At the same time, we discovered that the employees we had were clocking in but not completing jobs.”

What resulted was an accounts receivable nightmare. Companies were billed for jobs that weren’t completed and refused to pay. While Serwas tried to incorporate the new businesses into the existing one, employees were playing video games instead of working. “It went from one crisis to the next,” he stated. “I needed help and was run ragged. The new divisions were wearing me down.”

As the accounts receivable mounted and bills couldn’t be paid, the lender called the loan. Serwas defaulted and had no option but to declare bankruptcy. The next four years were spent building credit and paying off debt. He had lost his house, 10 trucks and most of his personal property. He traded off an old pressure washer for a $100 minivan so his wife could get around, and spent six months living with his parents.

His efforts paid off, and by 2004, he had cleared his credit and purchased a home. Long hours of working a full-time job and cleaning windows on the side along with his wife meant $3,543 in the bank and an opportunity to do the same business again, but to do it right.

“I bought a bucket of equipment and an old computer and started again. I talked to the people at SCORE and decided I would make this work because it’s the only thing I love to do and I do it well. I learned to monitor the business more closely and watch the accounts receivable carefully,” Serwas noted.

Back in business with Mathias, Serwas runs the residential division and Mathias handles commercial accounts. For the past 11 years, growth has been controlled and the gross sales have reached the previous high. There are 23 employees, and Serwas says they are phenomenal workers. Additional services, such as hanging Christmas décor, pest control, gutter cleaning and snow removal, have been added slowly.

The company is now well respected, and Serwas says that he strives to achieve greatness without compromising quality workmanship. He and Mathias have a hectic schedule and look forward to winter when things slow down.

“I feel satisfied at the end of the year when I can finally breathe,” Serwas said. “We look at the final figures and say, ‘Wow.’ But even better are those remarks we get from customers when they say they can’t believe how good their windows look.”

Tuesday 14 July 2015

Rakes & Panes

Rakes and Panes is a garden maintenance and window cleaning business run by disability service provider The Compass Institute. Compass Lawn and Gardens service provides workplace training and flexible employment to the young people of Compass. It consists of two divisions – lawn and garden maintenance and window cleaning.
Grant helps business give disabled workers a hand (Australia): A Palmwoods business providing employment for 35 disabled people will ramp up its operations thanks to a donation from the Endeavour Foundation.

Rakes and Panes is a garden maintenance and window cleaning business run by disability service provider The Compass Institute. The $4000 grant has allowed the business to buy four lawnmowers, doubling its equipment pool.

Development co-ordinator DJ McGlynn said staff were excited to learn the workings of the mowers.
"We're hoping the new mowers will help us more than double the amount of work we do," Mr McGlynn said.

Rakes and Panes has operated with a varied collection of second-hand mowers, all with different operating procedures. This was challenging for workers with physical and intellectual disabilities.

Endeavour Foundation chief executive officer David Barbagallo applauded the Rakes and Panes program. "This is a great social enterprise, where people are doing meaningful work," Mr Barbagallo said. "It is fantastic that we can support them in a small but significant way," he said.

Fund chairman Grant Murdoch said the $4000 grant was a cost-effective way to contribute to a social enterprise that was both providing work to people with a disability and discounted services to people unable to maintain their own garden.

"Like The Compass Institute, Endeavour Foundation understands the value of supported employment," Mr Murdoch said. "We know that having a job is a vital source of financial independence, self-esteem and a sense of purpose for everybody, including those with a disability," he said.

The Compass Institute has social enterprises that provide flexible employment and on-the-job training for young people with a disability. It employs 40 staff across six sites on the Sunshine Coast, offering training and support services.

This year The Endeavour Foundation Endowment Challenge Fund awarded $40,000 to fund research, gave two awards of $5000 each to higher degree students, and made $20,000 available to non-profit organisations. The fund is a public benevolent institution that seeks to benefit the wider Australian disability sector as a whole, with an emphasis on people with an intellectual disability

Monday 13 July 2015

Rogue Window Cleaners Reveal Public Perception Of Ladders

Window cleaners have been targeted on social media, but there have been no reports made to the police. 
No complaints over rogue window cleaners in Shepton, say police: Window cleaners in the Shepton Mallet area have been centre stage on social media this week, but for all the wrong reasons. There were a series of posts on Facebook warning of men posing as window cleaners in Shepton Mallet and Evercreech with a view to scoping out or breaking into houses, but police have confirmed that they have not been contacted in relation to these concerns.

Inspector Mark Nicholson, from Avon and Somerset Police, said: "We haven't had any reports of suspicious activity in relation to window cleaners in the Shepton Mallet area and we would ask people to be mindful, when posting on social media, of speculation and comment that could be harmful to legitimate businesses. "However, if you see something suspicious or you suspect a crime is in progress always call us on 999. "We encourage people to be good neighbours and look out for other people in their streets and communities and would certainly ask people to report suspicious activity to us."

A Wells-based window cleaner, who also operates in and around the Shepton area, took to Facebook to reassure his customers, emphasising that he always wears a branded T-shirt when working. Another recounted being treated badly while going about his work.

Suspicions were aroused by men knocking on doors asking residents if they would like their windows cleaned, with some of those approached commenting that the men do not appear fully equipped for the task, carrying only rags and bottles of water.

The men are said to have ladders with them, which some have taken as an indication that they are not legitimate, citing the belief that ladders are now illegal for window cleaners.

The men are said to have ladders with them, which some have taken as an indication that they are not legitimate, citing the belief that ladders are now illegal for window cleaners. However, the Health and Safety Executive simply recommend that ladders should only be used for low-risk, short duration work.

Friday 10 July 2015

Winning Clients At Construction Stage

A crew from Stamford, Conn.-based Sentinel Maintenance cleans the LED video display at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.
Cleaning company winning clients at construction stage: On a sunny morning in early July, the glassy facade of a former GE Capital building on Long Ridge Road reflected light in the direction of the comparatively modest offices where Marc Schultz sets the weekly schedule for his Sentinel Maintenance. It was not so long ago Schultz was working inside that building—and if his new company keeps up its momentum, it may not be long before he is working the exterior.

Nearly three years after establishing Sentinel Maintenance East Coast in Stamford, Schultz has grown the building cleaning company to 30 workers with clients throughout the Tri-state area and as far south as Miami. If still a small company, Sentinel Maintenance is living up to its company slogan “clean across North America.” Created by cousins of Schultz, initially in the province of Saskatchewan and then in Phoenix, Sentinel Maintenance expanded throughout Canada and the Western United States.

Marc Schultz, with Sentinel Maintenance. Schultz started Sentinel Maintenance's east coast group three years ago. Sentinel Maintenance specializes in building maintenance, construction cleaning, power washing and high-elevation window and facade cleaning.
Schultz grew up in New York City, with his father selling bulletproof vests to the military, law enforcement and corrections facilities. Schultz moved to Stamford in 2000, working for GE Capital here and in Norwalk. Following the financial crisis, General Electric began paring back GE Capital and in 2012 Schultz lost his job as a senior vice president of strategic marketing.

He took the summer off, improving his golf game while assessing career options, but he didn’t find any great opportunities in his field. The phone did ring one day, however, with his cousin Craig Grotsky in Phoenix, who had gotten word of Schultz’s free-agent status. “They called me up and said, ‘Just a thought —fly out to Phoenix, sit with us for a few days,’ ” Schultz recalled. “I came [back], found an office … For two months I was pounding the pavement, dropping off cards and flyers. Landlords, building owners, developers—I was shooting for the fences.”

Schultz won an initial job cleaning a Webster Bank branch in Greenwich. From there, he started to see a trickle of responses from his outreach, with much of the early work coming from Sentinel Maintenance’s focus on cleaning up buildings under construction.

With New York City's Freedom Tower as a backdrop, workers with Stamford, Conn.-based Sentinel Maintenance prepare to clean windows at the Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park.
Sentinel’s big breakthrough was the result of happenstance, however. Spotting the glass tower of the Ritz-Carlton Westchester while passing through White Plains, N.Y., on a whim, Schultz pulled up and asked to see a manager about taking on window cleaning duties there. Leaving a card, Schultz hit the road for Stamford, and within 10 minutes got a call from the manager, who told him she happened to be looking for a vendor. Sentinel got the deal and delivered —and got a major reference that has generated ample business. “From that, our phone just keeps ringing,” Schultz said.

It is a ground-up business model —literally. Sentinel Maintenance has built its customer base by getting contracts with developers to tidy up after construction crews as they build structures, then perform a final cleaning in advance of tenants taking occupancy. Those jobs are short but intense, with constant touch-ups required over several months. While those contracts have a shelf life, from those relationships Sentinel has been able to win ongoing exterior window cleaning of building facades or “porter” work keeping common areas on property spotless, providing it a base of recurring revenue.

Employees of Stamford, Conn.-based Sentinal Maintenance position a suspended platform at the Ritz-Carlton, Westchester in White Plains, N.Y.
Schultz said he has no interest in expanding to include broad commercial or residential janitorial services, saying he prefers daytime jobs that showcase the professionalism of Sentinel Maintenance’s crews in action. Locally, the company’s highest-profile project is still a work in progress —Stamford Hospital’s new tower rising on the city’s West Side. With a client that is as obsessed with cleanliness as any, Sentinel Maintenance crews will perform the final major cleaning in advance of hospital staff bringing the facility up to exacting health facility standards.

Today, Sentinel Maintenance has expanded to encompass a staff of 30 in Stamford, who have undertaken cleaning assignments for new buildings in the city’s Harbor Point district and window scrubbing for the Trump Parc Stamford tower and other high-rises in the city.

Two years ago, Sentinel Maintenance opened a Georgia office, and in June added a location in Miami. Schultz is now considering opening an office in the Charlotte, N.C. area. He says he can envision having 10 offices covering the East. If seeing momentum and repeat business after a tight first year, Schultz will still go out on a limb—or more precisely, a lanyard—in a bid to impress a potential client. Hearing that Schultz himself had never been over the side of a high-rise himself, a Sentinel Maintenance client told Schultz he would sign on the spot for year’s worth of service if he did it then and there. “I harnessed up,” Schultz said.

Sentinal Maintenance's Alan Martinez prepares to descend a facade of the UBS building in Stamford, Conn. in June 2015, with a helping hand from colleague Antonio Marquez.

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