3rd Story Tips?


As I’ve been building my customer list, I came across an assisted living center. I made a bid on 2 properties. One is a large, 2 story complex and the other is an even larger 3 story building. They prefer if I do all the cleaning outside, so I don’t disturb the residents. There are screens on all the windows, so it looks like I will need to buy a bigger ladder unless there is a way to remove them from the ground. I’m wondering if you all have advice for cleaning 3rd story windows? (Safety, screen, systems, pricing, what ladder to buy, etc…)

Thank you in advance!


for the most part a 40 foot ladder reaches third floor, possibly a 32-foot for residential style usually have lower floor Heights.

As far as removing screens from a third-floor window or even a second-floor window you’re pushing your luck on that.


32 footer gets almost all 3 story windows. Get one of those lil mini paint can openers to pop out screens.


A ladder standoff can be helpful to push you away from the window and give you a place to hang your screen if you need to


i hope your risking your own life wrestling screens that high and not asking a staff to do it.


Why shouldn’t employees remove screens from the third floor


When you follow up with them I would suggest they remove all screens before you clean the windows.

Have it in your contract with them that they are responsible for all screen removal and installation once the job is complete. Any unit with a screen does not get cleaned.

I have had to work around these issues dozens of times, as long as you communicate with the decision maker theses “issues” are nothing more than a memory.

Also, when I present a formal bid I’ll give them a price which includes screen removal/installation and the next price will be exterior only and no screens to remove/install. Of course, the price with screen removal is always going to be higher. I charge an hourly rate for some services I offer, with a 2 hour minimum charge on those hourly services.


well as you said it’s pushing your luck. the guy climbing that huge tower is far safer than any window cleaner i know. he’s got 2 safety lines and while working also a safety belt he has 5 points of contact while working as opposed to standing on a ladder monkeying around with a screen.
so i think if there’s going to be risk the owner should take it himself as opposed to asking someone else.
personally i would tell them take the screens out or we skip the window and i would wfp it.


I mention pushing his luck in reference to trying to remove any 2nd or 3rd floor screen from the ground, like asked in original question.

Nothing wrong with taking a normal screen off from a ladder.


ah i see, in that case we disagree on the safety of such an endeavor but that’s ok.


Did you check to make sure they’re removable from the outside?


Charge a substantial amount so that they opt for their staff to remove them.


3 story ladders blow…big time. I would ask them to remove and replace the screens. Buy a wfp to clean or use a lift to do it all and add it to your price.


i did 3 storey for about 5yrs, i think its a right of passage in the industry to do it ,the risky stuff ,the daft challenge- if not for the money its about proving that you [and your workers] have the bottle to do it

“been there,got the t shirt”

but i moved on from it,and i recommend you do that too. plain fact is,youre pushing your luck, a wind can pop up from nowhere
moving on for me was dropping All of my 3 storey work and at same time pushing to find plenty more of the lower stuff . not once have i regretted it


Plus one on this one.
They have maintenance personnel to do these things for you…


this pic is a good example for new guys, that guy on the ground is crucial. he is there to call the ambulance when the guy on top falls.


Now I’m even more nervous about this job, thank everyone :sweat_smile:

I think I’m going to tell them that I expect them to remove the screens, and offer to clean them as well while they are removed and safely on the ground for an up-sell.

I’ve been looking at some of the WFP’s here and I’ll be honest it’s a little confusing. What is a good starter WFP that will reach 3rd story windows? The area is notorious for having hard water. If I’m only doing this on the weekends, is a WFP worth it? Has anyone ever used a 30 foot standard pole to clean windows that high? 12 feet is the highest pole work I’ve done.


Did you check for removing from outside?


Yes, all the screens are removable from the outside.


It might be better to give them the “option” to remove it themselves instead of expecting them to do it. Because what they are going to do is add the cost of what they pay the one or two men needed against the estimate. You may lose the gig like that because the others bidding on it probably won’t do that.

Give them x-amount for you pulling screens (from the inside), x-amount for pulling from the outside, x-amount for them to do it.

Don’t know how disabled the ones who live there are, but they may be able to pull the screens out on their own?

Just make sure that if they choose an option to where you aren’t pulling screens, that if a screen is still on the window that you are skipping that window.

If they leave a window open, (if you are wfp’ing the job) that window plus the ones(s) above that window will be skipped and not revisited.