The window of opportunity

22nd of July 2019
The window of opportunity

What are the most challenging aspects of a window cleaner’s everyday life? What are the tasks they spend most time on during a typical working day, how do they organise their time and work in the most productive way possible? And what are the most valuable tools in helping them to operate efficiently?

Whether they’re working for a business or self-employed, window cleaners are expected to deliver high standards on every job they do, create a positive image and guarantee good customer care. What are the aspects of the business that are the most challenging, how can they organise their time most efficiently during the working day and how is the equipment they use enabling them to deliver high standards, more productively?

The positive news is that the window cleaning market is in good shape and there are plenty of opportunities for growth. “The market is developing extremely positively,” says Stefan Kossmann of Unger, which specialises in window cleaning equipment. “There are more enquiries than orders can be completed. However this does not just affect the market for glass cleaning, the entire cleaning industry is prospering and more and more attention is being paid to quality.

“Building service providers follow market developments and try to adapt themselves so that all expectations can be met – as the customers’ expectations are also increasing,” he continues. “So cleaning companies must continue to evolve to ensure the end customer is satisfied.”

Moerman’s Jeroen van Hecke agrees. “The window cleaning market is certainly prospering,” he says. “A number of factors are influencing and confirming that.

“Many people now have a demanding job and prefer to enjoy their free time rather than cleaning windows. And against the background of accelerating demographic ageing more people may decide to outsource their window cleaning. The fact there is now a wide variety of architectural designs with a tendency to more windows/lights/large windows requires cleaning from specialised window cleaning companies.  And in some regions of the world, more high-rise buildings are being constructed – again needing professional cleaning.” Moerman specialises in window cleaning tools and systems.

There are some key factors affecting how window cleaners are doing their job, explains Stefan Kossmann. “A major trend in the industry is automation. Drones and robots are already being used for suitable objects, especially for large and complicated glass surfaces. Cleaning with pure water can still be seen as a trend. In particular, working with deionisation (DI) or reverse osmosis (RO) systems. This cleaning method is not yet established all over Europe, but has been influencing the market for some time.” Unger produces a number of pure water window cleaning systems.

As in any cleaning business the cost of labour is one of the greatest challenges for the window cleaner. “Our sector needs more skilled people,” explains van Hecke. “Time is also crucial so there is a continuous search for time-saving tools and this has brought about the creation of specific apps to optimise work schedules.

Environment issue

“The environment is also becoming a more prominent issue,” he continues, “and because of climate change waste water in particular has become a hot topic.”

Customer care is key to success. Kossmann says: “The biggest challenge is continuity, creating a positive image and delivering first class quality for every job. It’s also vital for the window cleaner to increase their knowledge about all the products available and the respective interfaces.

“Customer loyalty is what the window cleaner must strive for,” Kossmann continues. “There is only a small share of spontaneous orders – the largest share of work is contracts.

“Essentially though, the job of the window cleaner has not changed significantly in recent years. The difference we are seeing is in the number of services being offered, and the window cleaner is becoming a full service provider more and more. For example this could be in glass renovation or surface care.”

In terms of technology, what have been the key advances affecting window cleaners in their daily work? “Moerman is constantly looking for other ways to clean windows according to our EASE principles,” replies van Hecke. “EASE stands for Efficiency/Amazing Results/Safe/Ergonomics. Each tool that we develop, should be EASE and facilitate the daily job of a window cleaner.

“Safety is also very important of course and that is why window cleaning companies now often use poles instead of climbing ladders.”

“The most important technological innovation for window cleaning is pure water cleaning,” believes Kossmann. “Cleaning with pure water enables safe and fast work from the ground and there is no need to work with scaffolding. No compromises are made in quality and studies show cleaning with pure water is twice as fast as traditional window cleaning. And pure water cleaning is done with water-fed poles, made of light and stable carbon fibre material.”

High quality tools

Kossmann continues: “Window cleaners now pay more attention to high quality and ergonomic tools. Ergonomics make daily work easier, so the window cleaner can work longer and the tools are gentle on the body and joints.” Unger offers a wide range of cleaning tools and accessories.

Looking ahead there are opportunities for window cleaners to develop their business in order to prosper and secure the future of their company. Jeroen van Hecke explains: “They can develop by having a better organisational structure – so time saving, calculating estimates, routing, etc – and we find window cleaners are very eager to learn and very proud of their work. As a supplier we at Moerman listen to their concerns and take note of their challenges. Then we aim to come up with concepts that make the job easier.”

Unger’s Stefan Kossmann also sees new potential. “The market for solar and PV cleaning continues to develop very positively,” he says, “and that offers many opportunities for the window cleaner. One advantage of pure water is that it can be used not only for cleaning glass, but also for cleaning PV and solar systems. Further areas of application are facade cleaning and maintenance cleaning.

“The personal support and customer service we can offer is becoming increasingly important. For example demo days featuring demonstrations and product tests of new and proven products are always very well received.”


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