Monday 30 November 2015

Connecting Canadian Window Cleaners With Home Owners

The owner of a window cleaning business was impressed with Sher's work ethic and hired him as a salesperson.
Guelph student connecting homeowners with ‘the best’ contractors: When University of Guelph student Dylan Sher was in high school he got caught between irate homeowners and his boss, a fly-by-night window-washing contractor, and it inspired him to start his own contracting service. "I was faced with a valid problem, which is mistrust in the home service industry and I sought to fix it," said Dylan Sher. "I had the means and the ability at the time to go and look after it so that is what I did."

Sher (pictured) is the founder of Fixopolis an online service that connects homeowners with contractors in their community. "We feel that we really encompass a sophisticated way to find contractors," he said. "It is not so much a listing service or one of the many other ways to find contractors online. We knew right away that we had to find a new way of presenting ourselves."

The Fixopolis website has many of the same features as established online contractor listing services but what sets them apart is their quoting engine. "What the quoting engine actually does is it understands the scope of the project from the homeowner's perspective and packages it up into a nice, what we call, job shadow, which we send to the contractors," Sher said. "It has all the job specifications lined up so the contractor can go and quote on this job accordingly."

People looking for contractors fill out an online form on the Fixopolis website then wait for the contractors to contact them. "Homeowners like it because it is free and gets them in contact with the best contractors and it is a relatively easy process," Sher said. "Once you take three minutes out of your day to fill out the form you start getting phone calls back as opposed to making phone calls to all the people you might want." They follow up with homeowners to rate contractors. Reviews posted on the site are limited to clients that have interacted with listed contractors thereby eliminating false reviews from being posted.

Sher was born in Richmond Hill. He started his first business when he was 10, shoveling driveways. "Any business you start when you are 10-years-old is going to be by mistake," he said. "People thought it was cute and asked for my phone number. That kind of got me into the feeling of the whole thing. It was such a cool feeling."

As he grew so did the business. "Eventually, when I was a teenager I got a snow blower and a lawnmower and had a little landscaping business in the neighbourhood," he said. "The whole Fixopolis journey started as a spinoff from that."

The owner of a window cleaning business was impressed with Sher's work ethic and hired him as a salesperson. "He was kind of my mentor and he was a really smart guy because he paid me on commission," Sher said. "He would take me to the door with him and who is going to say no to a little kid. I got the experience and confidence that I brought back to my own business clearing driveways."

Sher worked his way up to sales manager and hired his friends to work on commission but what he didn't know was his boss was cutting corners and the quality of work was suffering. "We were out of the loop and had no way of hearing the feedback from clients," he said. "I had no way of knowing about the complaints until it all started to catch up with everyone. I thought, if I can't trust the company how can I expect people to trust us when we knock on their door?"

When the owner fled to California Sher decided to start Fixopolis. "I was in Grade 10 when all of this went down," he said. He sought advice from other contractors and business people and by the time he was 17 he had secured $100,000 in seed money to launch the business. "We used that money to build the platform, incorporate and pay for advertisement," he said. "Fixopolis became an entity in February 2012. The GTA is our main service area and we are just opening up Hamilton and Guelph as we speak. As soon as we have a minimum of five contractors per category in our back end to open up those categories then we will do them."

He hopes to see the service grow well beyond Southern Ontario. "I see Fixopolis as a driving force in the industry and I want to make it happen whether it be across Canada, North America and so on and so forth," he said. Sher is in the second year of a five-year agri-business program at the University of Guelph and hopes to have his own farming operation some day. "People ask me why I am developing an app and a website when I want to get into agriculture and I think they are going to be one in the same in the future, really," he said. "Agriculture is my passion and where I want to end up as a career. If an opportunity presents itself in the future where I can come up with some sort of web-based farming idea, I will take it."

Friday 27 November 2015

Cleaning The Movie Set Windows

Ron "The Whistler" Chappell cleans a window at Tait's Feed and Seed in Brunswick. Windows had been sprayed with a film for scenes from "Live by Night." Below: Workers dug and scraped down to the asphalt on Newcastle Street to restore it to pre-movie appearance.
Brunswick windows get post movie cleaning: Returning a couple of blocks of Newcastle Street to their pre-“Live by Night” movie days is getting down to the film, and a window washer was handling that. In one of the finer touches, producers of Ben Affleck’s “Live by Night” had the windows and glass doors in businesses along Newcastle Street sprayed with a film to make them appear realistically dirty.

Ron “The Whistler” Chappell was making his way down Newcastle Wednesday morning soaping down the windows and squeegeeing them clean. “The movie people told me to do this, so I’m doing it,’’ said Chappell, who gets his nickname from his loud whistling while he works.

Workers were digging and scraping down to the asphalt on Newcastle Street Friday to restore it to its pre-movie appearance. 
Even the few palm trees that were left standing got a light coating of grime so they would appear to have gotten a dusting from cars traveling along Newcastle Street, which was covered with mulch and sand to give it a 1920s look for the movie.

Downtown Development Director Matthew Hill said the producers have left downtown looking better than they found it so far. All the false storefronts to make it appear to be 1920s Ybor City, Fla., have been removed and the storefronts got some fresh paint as needed. “They look all shiny and new,’’ Hill said.

Still missing, however, are all the palms, shrubbery and pavers taken up from the median so Newcastle would be a wide dirt street for the movie. Putting the curbing back shouldn’t take long and restoring the plants should be complete by the end of the year, Hill said.

Ron Chappell, The Whistler, whistles the National Anthem for admirers who took part in a fund-raiser to buy the window-washer a truck. He had been walking or hitchhiking to his jobs.

Thursday 26 November 2015

Wash You A Merry Christmas

Christmas spirit: window-cleaner Luca Bertagna.
South Croydon window-cleaner Luca Bertagna becomes Santa to wash you a merry Christmas: A window-cleaner will become Santa for a week in a bid to bring festival sparkle to Croydon homes. Luca Bertagna, 36, of Sanderstead, will wash elderly and disabled people’s windows for free and give them cards and gifts – though from his usual van instead of a sleigh drawn by reindeer.

The dad-of-two, who launched his business Simple Clean just over a year ago, said he wanted to give something back to the community after a successful first 12 months of trading. He said: “All through the year when I go around or one of my guys goes around there are elderly people who pop up next door who want a chat, but who maybe can’t afford a window cleaner or don’t feel comfortable getting one. “They either haven’t got the money or just wouldn’t think of ringing up.

“We have had a reasonably successful year, with the contacts we have made and the contracts we’ve got, so going forward I want to make it a tradition that every year we do a week of charity work. “We want to start a tradition that encompasses the social responsibility I think is important to have.”

The benevolent businessman hopes to visit between 100 and 150 houses during his week of charity, which he will start on Monday. He said: “I put it on Facebook and loads of people got in contact suggesting people they knew. “It is going to be a bit of graft. We are certainly going to have to put in a bit of work. We don’t want to do a bad job.

“We don’t want any future business from these people. I picked a demographic that needed the help. We are just doing it as a present, not to get loads of business." "Hopefully we will be helping the members of our community that are most in need every Christmas and also raising awareness so other people will do their bit too.” Mr Bertagna, who employs two full-time and eight part-time staff, added: “I’ve got two girls so it is a bit to teach them that it is not all about us, as well.”

Wednesday 25 November 2015

T'is The Season For Noticing Failed Window Seals

Failed window seals: A common cause of foggy glass which shows up more often when there is an inside/outside temperature differential.
Failed window seals: A common cause of foggy glass: One of the most common window and door issues that comes up during a home inspection is fogged glass, more commonly known as a broken seal. Interestingly enough, identifying failed seals on insulated glass is something that is specifically excluded by home inspection standards of practice. Just in case you don't know what I'm talking about, check out the photo below. Two of these four window panes have badly fogged glass.

When an insulated glass seal fails, there are three things you might see when looking through the glass: nothing different at all, condensation or dirty/hazy glass. When a seal initially fails, nothing dramatic happens, and there is no visible evidence of a failed seal. A desiccant around the perimeter of the glass unit will help to prevent moisture in the air from filling the space between the two pieces of glass. This will keep the glass looking just fine, at least for a while. This is why home inspection standards of practice exclude the identification of failed seals. There is oftentimes just no way to know.

Given enough time, moist air begins to fill the space between the two formerly-sealed pieces of glass. When temperatures remain fairly constant, you won't notice this moisture in the glass. Only after there has been a fairly rapid change in temperature, either indoors or outdoors, will you see any evidence of a failed seal. This starts out as condensation between the two panes of glass. The photo below shows a nice example of a window on a home that just this fall started showing evidence of a failed seal. This window looks perfectly fine most of the time, but as the weather turns cooler a nice little band of condensate between the pieces of glass is noticeable.

This condensate is sometimes only there for a few hours in the morning, and doesn't show up again for sometime, but I'm sure it will keep coming back more and more frequently, and the amount of condensate, or fog, will only grow. After this has happened enough times, a mineral deposit gets left on the glass, making it look dirty all the time, even when there is no condensate present. The photo below shows an example of another window with some faint, annoying deposits. A few arrows have been added to the image to highlight this area.

When insect screens are present or when the glass is dirty, fogged glass like this may not be visible. That's another reason home inspection standards of practice don't require identification of failed seals. When inspecting a home with numerous panes of fogged glass, you can often tell clients that while one can identify many locations of fogged glass, you are probably not catching every one, especially if the windows aren't perfectly clean.

Once a window or door has had a failed seal for several years, the glass gets dirty enough to the point where it's completely obvious all the time, and it becomes quite bothersome to look through the fogged glass. I had a few panes of fogged glass at my house when I moved in, but that number has grown from a "few" to a "whole bunch" in the past several years. When you can't take it any more, it is prudent to have the windows repaired or replaced.

Tuesday 24 November 2015

It's Clear To See Who Gives Free Window Cleaning

Lee Burke with Andrew Green, Derek Crocker, Izzy Guest, Zac Ogden and Chris Freestone.
Kind-hearted Plymouth window cleaners volunteer time to make school windows sparkle: Students at a special school organised a tea party to a kind-hearted group of window cleaners who made the school sparkle for free. Derek Crocker and his team from Clear2See for giving up their time to clean the windows at Hannahs Ivybridge.

The Plymouth window cleaning team gave up three days to voluntarily clean windows all around the site as well as the very large front canopy. To say thank you, the kitchen staff baked a cake recognising Derek’s interest in motorbikes and the young people from both Hannahwood and Hannahs School made beautiful thank you cards.

Derek said: “My daughter was born with kidney problems and when I needed help with her people very kindly came forward. “It made me realise that I wanted to give something back to other young people in need so I contacted Hannahs. “I am really pleased that I was able to help in some way.”

Izzy Guest, executive lead at Hannahs at Ivybridge, said: “Derek, the owner of the Clear2See, has gone above and beyond supporting Hannahs at Ivybridge. “He has dedicated so much of his time to improving the environment for all of the children, adults and staff at Ivybridge. “Derek and his team have an amazing work ethic and do not stop until the job is done correctly. He’s such great guy.”

Monday 23 November 2015

Why Use A Professional Window Cleaner?

Before you hire a window cleaner: Anyone with a bucket, squeegee and window mop can call himself or herself a window cleaner. Ask questions before you hire just anyone including; what types of products they use to wash windows.
Should I get a professional window cleaning? (By Shannon Antinori for Angie’s List) - Clean windows can make your home brighter and improve its overall appearance. A professional window cleaning can also provide an early warning of potentially dangerous problems, says owner Bill Volkart of Dazzle Services in Cincinnati, Ohio. Here are some reasons you should consider hiring a professional window cleaning service to keep your windows sparkling and functional.

Saving time. 
Cleaning your windows can be a time-consuming project, says Mike Giustino, owner of Affordable Window Cleaning in Round Lake, Illinois. Giustino says he can finish a project that would take a homeowner five hours in less than half the time.

Spotting general problems. 
A professional window washer can identify problems such as sashes that are painted shut, ill-fitting window screens, wood rot on windowsills or damaged or non-functional windows.

Spotting the problems early can often save you a big expense later, Volkart says — and it could even save your life. “Little things like painted sashes and clogged channels might spell the difference between getting out in case of fire or being forced to take another way out of danger in a very stressful situation,” Volkart says.

Removing insect infestations. 
Bees and hornets sometimes build nests behind window shutters, and wasps can build paper nests between three-piece storm windows, Volkart said. Ladybugs also can build nests in channels, making the windows hard to operate.

Extending the life of a window. 
“Old aluminum screens left in place for years gradually etch a pattern of deposits on the glass, much like lime deposits in the shower,” Volkart says. The etched glass is not only unattractive, but it is also more prone to cracks and chips. A professional window washer can restore the glass and extend your window’s life with a treatment of muriatic acid or, in less severe cases, Bar Keepers Friend and grade 0000 steel wool, he says.

Providing the right window cleaning supplies and tools. 
Professional window cleaners can ensure that the right products are used to clean glass without damaging it. If you have leaded glass or stained glass, you may be unintentionally damaging it by using an ammonia-based window cleaner, Volkart says. With repeated use, an ammonia-based cleaner can cloud leaded and stained-glass windows, and the damage can’t be repaired, he cautions. Professional window washers also have the right equipment, such as ladders and telescoping window-washing tools, to safely clean hard-to-reach windows, Giustino said.

Finding the cause of spots on your windows. 
Puzzled about what’s causing the spots on your glass? Your mulch may be to blame, Volkart says. “Cheap mulches often are infested with a fungus aptly named shotgun fungus,” he explains. “When mature, the fungus shoots out black spores that glue themselves to glass and vinyl siding and are very hard to remove completely.” A professional window-cleaning service can pinpoint the cause of the problem. Replacing your mulch with a higher-quality product can help your windows and siding stay cleaner and last longer, Volkart said.

Before you hire a window cleaner:
How much window cleaning costs varies, but Volkart says you usually get what you pay for. Anyone with a bucket, squeegee and window mop can call himself or herself a window cleaner. “Ask questions before you hire just anyone,” he advises. “A true professional will make sure your windows are not only clean, but functional and will advise you on ways to protect the biggest investment most people ever make – their home.”

Giustino, who recommends getting your windows cleaned at least once per year, says it’s important to ask for references and read reviews before hiring a window washer. “Ask them how long they’ve been in the business,” he says. Giustino also recommends asking companies whether they clean windows with a hose or a power washer, and what types of products they use to wash windows.

Friday 20 November 2015

Homeless For The Holidays

Richard Craig says he chooses to be homeless, but he has a plan to get back on his feet. Back in Albuquerque, he had a successful window-washing business until his equipment was stolen.
Homeless for the holidays (By Patrick Yeagle): If you didn’t know better, you might think Richard Craig is a powerful businessman. An athletic, handsome man of 46, he’s dressed sharply from head to toe: black wingtip dress shoes, black dress slacks, a black turtleneck under a black diamond-knit sweater and a long black overcoat. He has a salt-and-pepper flat-top crew cut and fashionable stubble over tanned, weathered skin. He carries himself with confidence and seems to know everyone. Others come to his table to say hello. People passing on the street nod or wave to him as they would a well-connected member of the establishment.

But Craig is not a businessman – at least not at the moment. Right now, he’s homeless. Craig is one of hundreds of homeless people facing another winter on the streets. While he insists that he can handle it, he’s worried about those with less experience and less will to survive.

Even in the best circumstances, being homeless is mentally and emotionally draining. Homeless people interviewed by Illinois Times describe feeling invisible, lost, alone, hopeless and constantly afraid for their lives. Winter adds a physical element to the suffering, bringing new challenges and compounding the effects of homelessness on the human psyche.

This winter in particular will be challenging for Springfield’s homeless population. The Salvation Army – usually a linchpin in the battle against homelessness – doesn’t have any shelter to offer this year. The group is in the midst of renovating a new-to-them building at 221 N. 11th St., and their old facility was sold. Corps administrator Major Steve Woodard says the new facility is slated to open sometime in 2016.

That means 36 shelter beds will be out of commission this winter, putting further pressure on the Winter Warming Center, previously known as the Springfield Overflow Shelter. It’s a seasonal facility open from November to March each winter to supplement Springfield’s permanent shelters. Juan Huerta, director of the Office of Community Relations for the City of Springfield, says the other shelters expanded to absorb the people that the Salvation Army would have otherwise served. 

Rod Lane, executive director of Helping Hands of Springfield, says his organization recently expanded from 33 beds to 45 beds by moving to a new location. Still, he says there probably won’t be enough beds for everyone at some point. While demand isn’t high right now, it will likely grow as the weather worsens. Additionally, Helping Hands has not been paid in months by the State of Illinois because of the ongoing budget impasse, and Lane says his organization is running on reserves.

“If we do not get a state budget soon, we will absolutely, unequivocally shut down,” he said.

Huerta said he’s working to have the City of Springfield pay Helping Hands up front for operating the Winter Warming Center, instead of reimbursing them afterward. The temporary shelter opened on Nov. 1.

The lower number of available shelter beds may be somewhat mitigated by the current strong El Niño, which refers to warmer-than-usual surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. The phenomenon is projected to push air that is warmer and drier than usual into the upper Midwest this winter, which could mean fewer sub-zero days and less snow. Still, winter storms and cold snaps will undoubtedly happen, and one frigid night is enough to endanger the lives of those people who wind up on the street.
A day in the life:
Richard Craig usually wakes up before dawn. A local business owner lets Craig sleep under his shop’s awning, so Craig likes to move his suitcase and other belongings out of sight before the business opens.

Most homeless people prefer to sleep at one of the shelters, which offer protection from the weather. However, Craig is one of a handful of people who prefer to sleep outside. During the winter, Craig lines his sleeping bag with garbage bags to keep in heat. While that has kept him from freezing in previous winters, he says it causes him to sweat, which makes him even colder when he gets out of bed. He says he always sleeps on cardboard because “concrete drains your energy.”

Craig says he grew up in a family of itinerant fruit pickers, so he’s used to moving often and sleeping outside. He has lived in California, Colorado, Texas, New Mexico and several other places. Back in Albuquerque, he had a successful window-washing business until his equipment was stolen. He says he actually chooses to be homeless now because being in a house reminds him that his ex-fiancée took their son, now nine years old, when they split up. He keeps in touch with them but doesn’t see them regularly. 

Several people have offered to let Craig stay with them when they find semi-permanent shelter like a cheap apartment or an abandoned building. He always turns them down, in part because he sees his homeless status as a calling to protect others on the street. 

“There are a lot of predators out here,” he said.

From 6:30 until about 10:30 each morning, Craig and dozens of other people head to the Washington Street Mission at 408 N. Fourth St., which offers hot coffee, laundry service, showers and biweekly clothing giveaways. Inside the mission, people sit at tables or walk around aimlessly, seemingly paying no attention to the woman playing hymns on an old piano. The small men’s room is constantly full, doubling as a changing room and a place to groom. 

Outside, people hide from the cold wind in the doorway while they smoke and socialize. A thin, goateed man who looks to be in his late 30s aggressively paces back and forth on the sidewalk, waving his arms and issuing a profanity-laced threat to “beat anyone’s ass” who messes with him. He finally calms down when someone gives him a cigarette.

Thursday 19 November 2015

New York - Toronto - Scaffold Malfunctions

Two workers were rescued after a scaffold malfunction in NYC, when the platform/scaffold got stuck on the exterior of the 22nd floor of the building at W. 38th St. and 6th Ave. Responding firefighters had to cut a glass window on the 22nd floor to free the trapped workers, officials said.

2 Workers Rescued From Scaffolding Outside Midtown Skyscraper: Two window washers were rescued from scaffolding after becoming stuck 22 stories up at a 30-story skyscraper on Fifth Avenue Wednesday, authorities say. The movable scaffold got stuck after its electricity died, according to a source at the scene. As a result, the device wasn't able to move up or down, trapping the workers.

FDNY crews rescued the workers by cutting through a double-pane glass window. The workers were not injured, the source said. The scaffolding company will work to determine what went wrong with the scaffold, which was still hanging from the building at 3:30 p.m. Mechanics at the scene planned to raise the scaffold to the roof, fix it and then lower it to the ground.

Two window washers were rescued from scaffolding after becoming stuck 22 stories up.
Three Men Rescued From Swing Stage 23 Floors Up At Bay And Queen (Toronto, Canada) - Three men have been brought to safety after spending hours trapped on a swing stage outside the 23rd floor of a highrise  in the cities downtown core. It’s believed the men spent four hours stranded on the stage in the area of Bay Street and Queen Street West.

Nearly 20 firefighters were involved in the rescue of the window washers which got underway just before 6 this evening, with the rescuers removing a window pane to reach the men. They were rescued at around 7.p.m and no injuries were reported. Roads in the area had been closed for a time to facilitate the rescue but have since fully reopened.

Five trucks and approximately 20 firefighters worked to remove a building window to access the Toronto window cleaners.

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Power Of Credibility With Your Logo

We make judgments based on first impressions of surface traits, from a person’s looks to his or her dress. The same holds true with the company logo and landing page design.
THE POWER OF CREDIBILITY BASED LOGO/WEBSITE DESIGN TO ACHIEVE HIGHER WEBSITE CONVERSION RATES (by Dr. Bill Haig): I recently co-authored post doctorate research and an academic paper for the “International Journal for Human-Computer Interaction”. The paper concludes that a credibility based logo in conjunction with a credibility based landing page will increase conversion rates significantly. If not, over 90 percent of visitors will leave within 10 seconds according to Google Adwords:

“So you refined your keywords, optimized your bids, and written AdWords text ads that pull in tons of targeted clicks. But after looking at your Google Analytics reports you realize that your landing page has a bounce rate of 91%. This means that 91% of the users coming to your site are quickly glancing around and leaving deciding this site isn’t for them.”

Like most perception at an early stage, this is a visual thing. We make judgments based on first impressions of surface traits, from a person’s looks to his or her dress. The same holds true with the company logo and landing page design. It is all about trusting and feeling the company is competent. Collectively the stems “trust” and “expertise” work together and are known as a single word, “credible”. We judge the company behind the website “credibility” from a few visual cues at first glance. This is called “surface credibility” and is part of the study of Source Credibility Theory.


On the upper left hand corner of most websites is the company logo. It has design elements which communicate “trust “and “expertise”, again the two elements of “credibility”. The landing page also has design elements which communicate “trust” and “expertise”. The impression of site “credibility” will cause a visitor to move on within the site. The impression of site non-credibility will cause the visitor to leave. This is the conclusion of our research and academic paper.

What makes a credibility based logo design and credibility base website design? The logo and the landing page must non-verbally communicate “expertise” and “trust”. My 2007 Ph.D. dissertation on credibility based logo design states that if a company logo is designed to symbolize the company business, the assumption is that the company is an “expert” or is “knowledgeable” or is “competent’ about the company business.

For the “trust” factor, if it is important to know that the company can do the business it is in. An aerospace company wants to be known as on the cutting-edge of the business, has forward thinking management. Then the design form of the logo communicates these traits non-verbally in a contemporary design form. Other companies may want to express other trust traits which are expressed with another non-verbal form. This gets a bit tricky but a good design firm can do it.

For example, the design of the Crystal Clear Window Cleaning logo is highly credible. Note the logo symbolizes “window cleaning” the company expertise. The contemporary design non-verbally communicates trust that the company uses the latest window cleaning techniques and has a high service image which it does. The logo is also bold and simple which dynamically makes the credibility point.

Note too below that the Housen Painting logo symbolizes “house painting” the company expertise. The contemporary design non-verbally communicates trust that the company uses the latest paints, which it does, and is very efficient, which it is. Again, these trust traits are non-verbally communicated in a contemporary design style.

In addition to the logo, however, the Housen Painting website below continues communicating credibility on the landing page with the credibility based logo and landing page design working together. Tom Housen’s photo and examples of successful jobs continue Tom’s “expertise” and “trust” as the source of the website message. In contrast, many websites have happy customers which is nice but these are receiver or customer oriented, not source oriented.

Blog note - this website is now defunct.
Accordingly, our research found significant increases in conversion rates with test respondents as they trusted and perceived both Crystal Clear Window Cleaning, Housen Painting as expert and trustworthy enough at first glance to interact.

This resulted in high conversion rates up to 60% in our research. That is what is necessary for significant company website sales. Both companies are very happy with the results of their credibility based logo and landing page design.

I did not reinvent the wheel about source credibility. I just applied source credibility in communication persuasion to logo and landing page design in my Ph.D. and post doctorate research. Here is how credibility works when people persuade, such as salespersons, in our everyday living. Source Credibility Theory (SCT) works in all communication persuasion and is based on the same linear model:  Credible source>message>channel>receiver

For example, I am (presumably) the credible source for this article. The message contains the words I am using. WebProNews is the channel of communication. You are the reader or receiver. As a website, the company is the credible source. The message is the text. The computer is the channel of communication. The visitor to the site is the receiver. In all cases, the more credible the source, or company, the more likely persuasion will occur. Ergo, the more credible the logo and website working together, the more successful the website will be.

Both the Housen Painting and Crystal Clear Window Cleaning logos are examples of using credibility "expertise and trust" applied to logo design. Most logos do not do this. Just look around and I will prove my point.

Also, the Housen Painting website example extends the company credibility traits to the design of the landing page and subsequent secondary pages. My post doctorate research paper shows that a credibility based logo working together with a credibility based landing page produces higher trust and expertise than just the logo alone. Our research result was higher conversion rates every time.

Why is this a breakthrough in website design?

As stated, most websites do not use a credible logo or a credible landing page in their website graphics. The problem is like Google AdWords says: over 90% of visitors leave a website within the first 10 seconds.

This problem is now solved if companies and designers will learn credibility principles applied to logo and landing page design working together. Think about it. Websites today are like automobiles in the early 1900s. New advances occur each year. Applying Source Credibility Theory to the company logo and landing page design working together is a major breakthrough in website conversion rate performance and presumably sales.

Here is a link to the whole post doctorate research paper mentioned in this article.

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Unlocking Cities’ Dirty Secrets.

Unlocking cities’ dirty secrets.
Grime is found on every surface in urban environments. Buildings, statues, street signs and pavements are all covered with a grimy layer of chemicals from cars, factories and other polluting sources.

We’ve always thought that once this layer has been deposited on a surface the complex mixture of organic and inorganic chemical pollutants contained within it are locked in, remaining in their resting place until a window cleaner or street sweeper scrapes them off.

New observations suggest this isn’t correct. James Donaldson from the University of Toronto, Canada, and his collaborators in Leipzig, Germany, now believe sunlight can cause nitrogen compounds to be re-released from the grime and recycled back into the atmosphere. Here, these compounds once again contribute to ozone and smog.

The researchers have carried out a series of lab and field – or in this case, city street – experiments that support their claim. First, grime collected in Toronto was examined using infrared spectrometry to determine its composition. It was then exposed to artificial sunlight in the lab, and its composition reassessed. Nitrate components in the sample were observed to rapidly leave the grime when it was exposed to light.

The next series of experiments took place over a six week period on a street in Leipzig. The team collected grime on glass beads (made of the same type of glass as windows) stored on a two-tiered structure that resembled takeaway pizza boxes stacked on top of each other. The beads in the top tier were exposed to natural sunlight, while those in the lower tier were shaded from the sun’s rays.

The team then took both sets of beads back to the lab and analysed the chemicals deposited on them. The beads kept in the shade contained 10% more nitrates than those exposed to the sun, supporting the earlier lab-based findings that nitrogen compounds can escape grime with the help of light. An extended year-long version of this study is still running in Toronto.

Back in the lab, the Toronto arm of the team have analysed the gas phase products released when artificial sunlight is shone on real grime, finding that nitrogen dioxide and nitrous acid are both released. Both are important air pollutants.

These findings may eventually lead to improved models for estimating the quality of urban air, but there remain a number of questions – such as the effect of humidity or varying amounts of sunlight – to be answered first.

Efforts to reveal the secrets of urban air pollution, and therefore improve our models, are vital for enabling policymakers to make good decisions about keeping air pollution at safe levels. The end goal is, of course, to ensure we can all breathe easily when spending time in our cities.

Monday 16 November 2015

Two Window Cleaning Scams

The email/text scam. Click to enlarge.
You may be receiving a few scam text message/emails that are appearing more than ever. Have you received a few yourselves? It seems that this was mainly confined to North America but now Europeans are starting to receive them, as I did above.

The perpetrators may claim to be hearing impaired or have some kind of deadly disease & so are hospital bound etc. They always ask you accept credit cards. They offer to pay you in advance by credit card. Then they over-pay, an ask you to forward the money that they over paid back to them. They use stolen credit cards. So you can't get the money back that you forward them. 

The advise is: Never take card details over the phone from someone you don't know. Always take card payments in person and check the details match that of the customer - ask for additional ID if you think it's required. Use an online service like via paypal etc.. the onus is on them to check the security details. There would be No refunds unless processed through the originating card. 

The Window Cleaner Scam - The Real Hustle: A UK programme that shows how scams are carried out. As the window cleaners take the street to do an honest days work, the Hustlers are also out to do not such an honest days scamming.

Friday 13 November 2015

Five For Friday

A collection of squeegees and other cleaning tools hang from Cutrer's tool belt.

Although he has commercial accounts, 90 percent of Cutrer's business is with luxury residential homes in Portland's West End. He enjoys meeting new people, making his own hours and said he makes about $40,000 per year.

Cutrer uses a lift to reach the high windows on an office/garage complex in the Old Port. Scheduling jobs, working weekends, 60-hour workweeks and inclement weather are some of the drawbacks of the business, he said.
Window washer takes cleanliness to new heights - Frank Cutrer makes his living as Maine Panes. Frank Cutrer  has been cleaning windows for a living for the past 10 years, and five years ago he started his own business, Maine Panes. Although he has commercial accounts, 90 percent of his business comes from luxury homes in Portland’s West End. Cutrer says he pulls in about $60,000 a year, which leaves him with about $40,000 after expenses and taxes. Cutrer says he likes meeting new people and making his own hours, but there are drawbacks to the job too. He sometimes works 60-hour weeks, including weekends, and he’s always at the mercy of the weather.

Josh Sherer, 31 of Larry's Window Service cleans windows at the parking structure at 500 Park St. in downtown Des Moines
Window service turns heads downtown: Dangling from the tops of Des Moines’ highest buildings, the window cleaners from Larry’s Window Service have been known to turn the heads of downtown workers. Those onlookers only increase when Larry’s employees don their superhero costumes to clean the pediatric unit windows at local hospitals. The Des Moines-based business got its start in 1969 with brothers Dean and Carl O’Connor.

Original owner Larry O’Connor sold the business in 1989 to his sons, Carl and Dean O’Connor, who run the company today. “When he started in 1969, it was just him. Today, we have more than 60 employees,” Dean O’Connor said. The business cleans windows for residential and commercial customers, and provides pressure washing and building restoration services. “We pressure wash houses and buildings. We recently cleaned EMC and the Younkers building. For building restoration, that’s more waterproofing work and involves a lot of caulking,” O’Connor said. O’Connor spoke with The Des Moines Register about the business.

What is your service territory?
If it’s a big job, we’ll go anywhere in the state. For smaller residential jobs, we stay in Des Moines and the suburbs. For example, we’ll clean the Carroll hospital, the University of Iowa and Iowa State.

Do you have a lot of competition?
There’s no one as big as us that offers as much as we do. There are other one- or two-man operations out there. Some companies will have three or four window cleaners, but nobody to the extent we do.

Do you wash windows year-round?
The weather does play a small role, but we actually do wash windows year-round, especially residential. They tend to be done primarily in the spring and fall, but we will do them year-round. We’ll put methanol in the water on cold days.

Who seeks pressure washing services?
We don’t technically pressure wash residential houses, but we instead use a water-fed pole and scrub the house. It’s often done before it’s painted. We’ll clean the soffits and gutters. We also pressure wash commercial properties, like Meredith’s parking ramp in the spring to get rid of all the sand and dirt from the winter.

When is your building restoration services needed?
If there are leaks in the roof, we’ll be called to fix faulty caulking. We just cut out the old and put in the new. If you have a brick building, you have to wash and reseal those every few years.

What types of equipment do you have?
We have an access swing stage that swings on two cables to reach the windows on high rises, then a motor and platform. We have a rope descent system for repelling down the side of a building sitting on a chair. We have 135-foot lifts and 80-foot lifts. We also use a step ladder and pole for small businesses.

What else does your business do?
We have a side business for anchor points. When you go to a roof and tie something off, you use a roof anchor. Those are to be visually inspected once a year and load tested every 10 years. My brother-in-law and I are working with OSHA to help them understand that better.

Why were your employees this fall dressed as superheroes and scaling area hospitals?
Nationally, lots of children’s hospitals will have window cleaners dress up as superheroes. When UnityPoint asked us to do it, we were very happy to oblige. We went in and met the kids, took photos. It was awesome. We also cleaned the windows at ChildServe in the costumes. It is so worth it and the employees come away from it so inspired. They feel like they’re giving back and making someone’s day.

Chris Parton of Sky Clean Inc. cleans a window on the roof of 21 Battery Park in downtown Asheville.
High-rise window washer has a job with a view: Chris Parton. He co-owns Sky Clean Inc. with his wife, Heather Brooks. Job: High-rise window washer.

How’s you get started? 
About 15 years ago I was in between things, and my brother-in-law had just started a window-washing business in Savannah. So I went and hung off a building with him. I started my own business, but I wasn’t sure I was going to stick with it. Then a couple of months later the Grove Park Inn called and asked me to bid. Miraculously, I got that job, and I’ve had it for 15 years.

Walk us through one of your jobs. 
We do the BB&T building. First we take all of our equipment up to the roof. On the BB&T they have a welded steel rail running all the way around the perimeter of the building. It used to be the support for a suspended scaffolding system, which they don’t use anymore, but it makes an excellent tie-off. We use that to establish an anchor point, and then we start dropping rope over the side.

You’re wearing a full-body harness that comes up over the shoulders and around the waist. You run two ropes, a descending line and a safety line. They’re totally independent of each other — they have independent tie-offs and they’re attached to different parts of your gear. You’ve got a five-gallon bucket with your tools and water and soap. You have a bosun chair, which is just a board with some straps through it, and hooks so you can hang your bucket. You step into the bosun chair, clip it onto your descender, thread it onto your rope, and go over the edge.

Then you rappel down to your first set of windows and go to work. When you finish the lowest windows, you make sure there’s nobody under you. We use cones to mark off the area, but that doesn’t necessarily deter people. You rappel to the ground, detach, grab your bucket, hit the elevator, go back up to the top, move your anchor point to the next drop, and do it all over again.

Have you ever seen anything surprising inside the windows you’re washing? 
We’ve all had that experience. You pop down in front of a window at a hotel or at a college dormitory and there’s someone who is less dressed than they’d like to be under the circumstances. We skip that window and move on.

The coolest thing to see when you’re dropping down is a little kid, especially on a tall hotel. The kids will just be plastered on the glass — they can’t believe you’re out there. We’ve done jobs at children’s hospitals where we dress up as superheroes, or we dress up as elves or Santa for Christmas, and the kids really like that. Actually, they didn’t think it was cool when someone dressed up as Santa. They said, “Santa doesn’t work.”

Occasionally you’ll be washing a window at a hotel and the curtains will be closed. I’ve had people spread open the curtains real fast and almost faint because they weren’t expecting to see someone out there.

What sort of weather keeps you from working? 
Anything above freezing is workable. If it’s super windy, that’s the most dangerous. It can blow your ropes around the corner of the building, or get them wrapped around something, or it can just blow you around. You can also get a lot of updraft, which will blow soap and water straight up onto the windows you just washed.

Who do you like to hire? 
Rock climbers are pretty good with the rope aspect of it. But anybody who’s not afraid and wants to work is potentially a good window cleaner. It’s not rocket science.

Do you ever get scared? 
We used to a do a building in Greenville, about 27 stories. This was in the early days when I was less thorough, and I didn’t want to take the elevator down to the bottom to see if my rope length was right. When I did the drop and got down to the bottom, I realized the end of my rope was about 20 feet off the ground. I was trapped there. Fortunately I had a cellphone on me, so I called one of the guys working with me and he brought a 24-foot ladder. I just rappelled down to the top of the ladder.

To be honest, what scares the pants off me is ladders — being on top of a 40-foot ladder that’s wiggling a little bit. I try not to work on ladders. Forty feet is just as dangerous as 40 stories, and you have no protection if you fall.

What’s the best part of the job? 
We have the best views of anyone. From the top of the BB&T you have a 360-degree unobstructed view of everything. It can be mind-blowing.

Balancing babies & business: Emma Twist with babies Dylan, 3, and Luca, 20 months. Business: Squeaky Clean. Last week, Emma Twist launched the first ever sharing economy window-cleaner service, Squeaky Clean, where she lives in Hampshire and Berkshire. “The idea came this summer when we moved a few months ago,” Twist explained. “I needed a window cleaner, and there was no where to go to find a trusted service or to book and pay online.”

Before joining Campus for Mums and Dads, Twist worked as a director in a digital marketing firm SEO Kings. She signed up to the scheme after seeing it mentioned on Twitter. “I thought it was a great idea to get motivation to really get it going quickly. I’m trying to meet the right like minded people,” she explained. With two young children, it’s easy to get caught up in the “mummy bubble” says Twist. “I’ve been on maternity leave quite a lot for past 4 years, but coming into Campus I feel I can focus on what I want to focus on. That’s really important for your self worth.”

The Campus programme is also already having a massively positive impact on Twist’s business. “It’s steered us in the right direction. Every week you can think ‘have I focused on this enough’ or ‘I need to focus on that more’. There’s always things you can go back on.” “People have such good feedback because they’re also in start ups,” Twist explains. “It’s all about the atmosphere and meeting other mums and dads who have the same struggles. Some days are good and some days are bad but it helps you to know you can get through it.”

TANGERINE DREAM: the Orangeman team of Steve and Toni Thorn with Steve Hughes.
Clean start for Plymouth's Orangeman: A man who started a cleaning business to pay a vet's bill for his sick dog has opened a new dealership in Saltash. When Steve Thorn's pet bulldog contracted meningitis literally on the eve of the new millennium in 2000, he ran up a triple-time £1,300 bill from the vet. Although he had a successful souvenir business, he had cash-flow problems, and a friend suggested he try doing cleaning to raise some quick cash.

Mr Thorn said: "I started the business with my grandad's ladder and £98; this bought me two buckets, a sponge, 2,000 flyers and an orange boiler suit. "It was the only thing in my size – I'm 6ft 2ins – so without much thought I called myself Orangeman. "I started out cleaning windows and washing cars in car parks, industrial estates, anything and everywhere I could think of to bring the money in. "I then moved onto end-of-tenancy cleans, gutter cleaning and such.

"After a bad fall from a ladder while working, which left me unable to work for six months in 2010, I had to slowly rebuild my business. "Luckily I had many loyal customers who stuck with me even during my down time. "In 2014 I decided I wanted to concentrate purely on window and carpet cleaning in an attempt to drive the business forward."

Earlier this year, Steve realised there was a gap in the market. Varitech, which supplies equipment and consumables for window cleaners, had outlets in Newton Abbot and Bodmin but none in the Plymouth and Saltash area. Around the same time, Mr Thorn bought a van from a man who was retiring from business due to ill-health. In conversation, he revealed he was the local distributor for Prochem, which supplies specialist carpet-cleaning materials. Mr Thorn, aged 51, approached both companies, which then made him their local distributor.

In April 2015, Orangeman Cleaning Services Ltd moved into an industrial unit at Forge Lane in Saltash Business Park, in Saltash, and has taken on two new employees: Mr Thorn's wife Toni, aged 38, and an acquaintance, Steve Hughes, who had been made redundant by another cleaning company.
The official opening was carried out by Saltash Mayor Cllr Bill Phillips. Mr Thorn said: "My aim is not to make a fortune, just have a good business which supports my young family and employs good people like Steve Hughes."

Thursday 12 November 2015

Window Cleaner May Soon Get To See His Wife

V for Vendetta author makes public donation to assist window cleaner, Graham Cousins’s struggle to be reunited with his Mozambican wife.
Alan Moore donates £10,000 to help friend bring his African wife to the UK: Alan Moore, the comics legend who created the vigilante V in his acclaimed graphic novel V for Vendetta, has waded into an old friend’s battle to bring his wife to the UK, publicly donating £10,000 to Graham Cousins and expressing his “continuing incredulous disgust” over the way Cousins and his wife have been treated.

Cousins, a 60-year-old window cleaner, married his wife Paula Cousins, from Mozambique, three years ago, but the two have fallen foul of the Home Office’s minimum income threshold of £18,600 a year required for a foreign spouse to live in the UK, and Paula remains in Mozambique. Introduced in 2012, the law is estimated to have meant that 33,000 couples cannot bring their spouses in to the UK or remain with them.

“We have spent six weeks out of three years together because of this,” said Cousins. “We speak three times a day. We’re 110% genuine and we’ve proved that many times … but they keep moving the goal posts.”

Cousins, a 60-year-old window cleaner, married his wife Paula Cousins, from Mozambique, three years ago, but the two have only spent 6 weeks with each other.
Cousins has run his own window-cleaning business for almost 30 years, but is now part-time, meaning he does not meet the £18,600 a year minimum. He says he was therefore required to have £62,500 in savings – an amount he will have from Monday, following Moore’s donation, but which he says he has been told needs to be in his account for six months.

He has, he says, written to David Cameron twice about the issue, and has met with his local MP, to no effect. “I wake up every morning without my wife. David Cameron wakes up every morning with his wife,” he said. “I don’t support any political party – I just want my wife back.”

In Moore’s letter, he explains that he is making the gift because of his “continuing incredulous disgust over the manner in which Mr Cousins and his wife Paula have been kept separate for what is now a period of years”.

At first, writes Moore (pictured), “I found it difficult to suppose that there wasn’t some unpleasant racial issue at the heart of the continual rejections. Now, after witnessing two intervening years of what seem to me to be deliberate goalpost-moving regarding the amount Mr Cousins is expected to have in his bank account before his wife can enter the country, I am led to ask if the official cash amount demanded of those making an appeal is, simply, ‘more than they can afford’? And I ask again, if the basis for this is not racism, would somebody be kind enough to explain what this reasoning is actually based on?”

This is, ends the author, “a shameful way to run an immigration service”, and his gift of £10,000 “is made in the hope that it may contribute to breaking this wretched and inexplicable deadlock”. Cousins and Moore have known each other since their 20s. “Alan’s a good friend, and he just said ‘I’ve had enough of this’,” said Cousins. “He’s put his money where his mouth is. There are good people out there – it’s just the men in suits.”

The Home Office said: “We welcome those who wish to make a life in the UK with their family, work hard and make a contribution. But family life must not be established here at the taxpayer’s expense.” The rules governing British citizens who wish to bring a non-EU spouse to the country were “based on advice from the independent Migration Advisory Committee … approved by Parliament and upheld by the courts”, the spokesperson continued. “All cases are carefully considered on their individual merits, in line with the immigration rules and based on evidence provided by the applicant.

Since Moore’s donation was made public, Cousins’s case has spread across the web, with a series of small donations made to a crowd-funding page set up by his son. “If it’s a good enough argument for Alan Moore, it’s good enough for me,” wrote one anonymous donor on the page. Cousins said he was lucky to be in a position with “good and influential friends, but some people don’t have that luck. So as soon as our own case is sorted, I will campaign for the rest of the people who are affected by this.”

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