Should a new guy clean a large frenchpane house as first job?


Hey guys I am a new window cleaner. I just have a few storefront jobs under my belt and am definately in the learning process. I have just now gotten the fanning technique down and am not so great at using a pole. My plan is to learn on the three accounts that I have and them look for some residential once I get better . Today a customer emailed me and she wants an estimate. My problem is that the house is pretty big. I have never done a residential house. It looks to have alot of french panes as well. Technically my ladder will reach all windows though. There will be some pole work. What do you guys think…should i pass because I feel I don’t have the skills or should I go for it?


I got into this business 9 years ago. It took me a month of really good training on about 140 storefronts. After that month was over it took me about 3 months total on those 140 storefronts to get down my speed and confidence. Without the confidence of your work, you will take longer working and nit picking everything you do. After that I did my first 2 story house about 6 months later, with an old 20’ extension ladder my 80 year old neighbor got me. The house was bidded at $160 and it took me 6.5 hours! I took so long due to nerves and making sure I did a good job. She did not know it was my first house ever and I should have let her know. I still did that house every year until she just moved to Florida. Last time I did it, it took me about 2.5 hours and the price was $240. I learned a lot from that job and was upset at first of the timing but there is a lot to do with window cleaning when doing residential. So plan on taking twice as long as you expect.

Also if I was you, I would let your client know this is your first house and you want the work so you can learn and you will do a great job. This way she has an idea if you take twice as long as a previous window cleaner and also if she sees a problem let her know you will fix it. You have to learn somewhere and letting the client know up front is the best bet. French panes can be a pest especailly if the water runs behind the slates. They will drip forever! Just plan on going slow and always keep your eyes paning the glass for fly poop and finger prints. The pole work on houses can sometimes turn out worse than commercial windows in my opinion so that might stress you.

Overall, I say let her know it is your first house and go for it! Houses are always nice for extra work during half the year. I love my storefronts though as they are consistant money flow on a regular basis. I service about 225 storefronts now.

Good luck!


No reason to shy away from work. Acknowledge that you are new but also grab the steer by the horns and offer your best.After each window you will find that you are getting better with practice. Own it.


Do it! Just like the other guys above said just let the client know this will be your first house.
Good luck, let us know how it goes.


For the french panes do I need to go measure and then cut a squeege to size?


JUST DO IT… Look if you wait and practice for 3 months 4 months you will still be going into the House as your FIRST HOUSE. Fenchies are fun :roll_eyes:

Go in with planning its going to take you longer then you think. Like stated above you will become anal with every section but that’s how you learn. Clean a section move to next then after 2nd section or bank of window look back for drips. Once you get the technique down you will be able to not check back as much. Key to Fenchies when I started was go slow watch what the water does on frames and adjust.

LUKE ( @Luke ) THE WINDOW CLEANER had a great video showing his style on french PAINS.

Good-luck and Congratulation on the First Residential


Here is the house…

The french panes im talking about are the ones you see here. Also those half circle looking windows I have never cleaned. The half circle looking windows around the front of her house kinda worry me because I wont be able to get to it with ladder and I have never poled anythinf like that.


do you have a swivel squeegee?


I just got back from a french pane job. Water fed pole all the way. Squeegees, rags and bare knuckles drive me mad on small panes.


@leavingnc No I dont. I can get one though. I have one of those half circle windows in my apartement I could practice on but its a bit bigger than those. Those look difficult especially when im not good with a pole.
Edit: is there a technical term for these windows so dont have to keep saying “half circle” lol


if you have a wag tail or excelerator it is much easier to clean those half circle windows with a pole if you have a fixed squeegee it’s much more difficult to squeegee those half circles with a pole


Since you have limited experience, I wouldn’t try using a pole on this job, get a ladder so you can get nose-to -glass to every window. I almost always fan french panes, with the exception of some super expensive high-end glass, which is forgiving ( no streaks when you straight-pull).
When cleaning french panes, I find the amount of soap you use important, too much is not good.
I use a combination of GlassGleam3 and Dawn, about 1.5oz of each per 2,5gallons.
The amount of water on your washer is important for french panes too - too much water will run down and add you work with detailing the edges.
My third advice would be a fresh rubber - more important for french panes than bigger windows.


There is no shame in turning down work your unprepared/ unequipped for. It’s way better than negative word of mouth.


@valex Thanks. All I have is a 22’ gorilla multi position. Idk if I will be able to reach those high half circle windows because I cant lean my ladder on glass. If the a frame position got me high enougb it would work though. If i could get nose to glass though I would feel alot more confident


I am not a fan of multi-position ladders, they are bulky and heavy.
I would get a 24’ Werner extension ladder, a pair of ladder mitts and a pair of Xtenda-Legs. My ladders are typeIII, (red caps) they are the lightest extension ladders.when you move them all day long, you want them as light as possible. Rated to 225lb, which is fine for most window cleaners:)
I use Werner 16’ most, ideally you should have 16,20,24, possibly 28 (all type III) and a 2’ step stool, of course for residential.
I use 2’ and 16’ the most.


Things that are important for every job we accept:

  • Ladder safety
  • Proper tools for the job at hand
  • Proper use of extension tools

With that said, it is not the end of the world, nor ability to land future jobs, to pass on ones that are out your present scope and ability.

Next time you will be more prepared.


@valex yeah they are heavy but will have to so for now. I need to make a little more money before I invest in a nicer ladder


Go for it. Don’t overthink it (it seems like I’m saying that all the time to newer guys). You will be slower. So what. You will make mistakes and not have every tool that you might wish for. So what.

I guarantee you will do the house again or one similar in a year, and do it better and faster. But you will not get to that point if you don’t start to take your chances now.

Go. For. It.


When you are ready to buy ladders, get a Lowe’s ProServices card, it’s free and you get 5% off every time.
You might be getting $700-900 worth of ladders and 5% is a chunk of change!
Home Depot might offer something like that too, not sure.


@Valex do you have a squeegee that you cut to size for french panes? If so what size did you cut it too?