Why it's important to be skilled in the use of traditional extension poles

In any profession a good tradesman needs to know his tools. - How to use them and when to use them.

The modern window cleaner has a vast selection of tools at his or her disposal. To be a truly professional window cleaner you need to be able to identify which tool is best suited for the job and then be skilled enough to use it effectively. Your level of ability in this regard will determine how long you take to complete a job, the kind of results achieved and will also influence the kind of impression you portray to your customers.

Those that have recently started a window cleaning business and have purchased a water fed pole system from day one, may have little experience in the traditional methods of window cleaning and this can sometimes lead to problems.

There is no doubt that water fed pole systems are a valuable asset to any window cleaning business. In most cases, the water fed pole can save a lot of time and produces excellent results. However, water fed poles do have their limitations.

Some window cleaners reading this will already be feeling a little defensive of their pride and joy, however the purpose of this article is not to undermine the benefits of water fed poles but to highlight the fact that a 'professional' window cleaner in the true sense of the word, should be adept at using all tools of the trade so as to offer the customer the best service possible.

To illustrate: Jim regularly cleans a large commercial building. It’s a dream job with the windows being ideally suited to the use of a water fed pole. Undoubtedly it is the tool of choice in this case. Jim flies through the job in no time and gets good money for it. But one day the client asks Jim to clean the internal windows. Unfortunately using a water fed pole to clean the internal windows is not an option. The trouble is, for the last couple of years Jim has almost exclusively been using water fed poles and only on rare occasions has he used traditional methods for some small jobs. This job is going to involve a lot of traditional cleaning and not having the necessary skill it’s going to take him a long time.

To make things worse, there is a large section of internal windows about 6 or 7 metres high. An experienced window cleaner could do a good job of them using an extension pole, but Jim doesn’t feel confident enough to tackle it with an extension pole thinking it wouldn’t do a good enough job and so suggests the use of a scissor lift. Unfortunately, that is not an option either due to the kind of flooring fitted and the windows being above stairs in some places.

A main reason of buying the water fed pole was to avoid working at height and Jim rightly decides that ladders are not the best option either. As a last resort Jim suggests a mobile scaffold tower and prices the job accordingly taking into account the hire of the equipment and the extra time Jim knows it is going to take to erect, move and dismantle the tower etc. The client raises an eyebrow as he listens to Jim’s account of why it will cost so much to clean the inside. The reply leaves Jim feeling slightly embarrassed;
“Our last window cleaner just used an extension pole.”

After considering the quote the client decided to ask a couple of other local window cleaners to give an estimate, found them to be considerably lower and subsequently decided to change window cleaners meaning Jim lost the dream job.

A sad story, but one that could easily happen if you do not have the necessary skills to offer your customers a complete professional service. True, the proficient use of an extension pole is not easy. To be self taught takes time and experience.

It's now possible for you and your staff to shorten the learning curve and learn the skills needed with the use of our latest training video, Advanced Window Cleaning Skills. With this Dvd you will be shown the various techniques for using a traditional extension pole up to a height of 10 metres, plus many more essential skills that can improve your window cleaning knowledge and skillset.

Learn more about running a window cleaning business with our list of window cleaning articles