Should I just walk from this job?


I put a bid on a condo building, one estimate on commons areas and a bid on the units. This is an old school converted. I was told the screens come out from the inside and told each condo has 4 or 5 windows. The windows looked to be vinyl windows in good shape.My mistake was not to check out the windows inside a unit. I did the first unit yesterday. I had 3 scheduled. The one unit took almost 4 hours to do! The windows were falling apart ( springs guides pulleys). Found out that to get screens out you had to take the window apart. Big double hung windows and the pane weighs about 60-70 lbs. To get them apart the pane has to be pushed to the very top and taken out while on an 8 ft ladder. I told the owner no way was I taking window apart. So she told me to just break the screen frame and take out. It turns out the units have 12 windows which none of the windows will stay up. I’m worried now that a window will open up but because of the parts coming out I may not be able to close the window and have someone wanting new windows. I know I should have checked things out better but it looked cut and dry. Lesson learned! Try to finish the building or give an explanation and bow out?


part of me always says finish what you started and what you quoted the job for. sometimes things are unforeseen and create such havoc that you don’t charge for what’s been done, shake hands and walk away.


I would explain my predicament to her and that I’m not able to be responsible for potential damage due to deteriorating windows. If she still wanted me to go forward with it, I’d have her sign an agreement.


Your commitment is asmirable, but trust me, there is no reason to push through a job like this. I’ve experienced jobs like this. It’s perfectly fine to wal away, and that’s what I would do. Perhaps pitch them an adjusted price.

I responded to the wrong person. My bad.


Sounds like lots of risk. If your insurance doesn’t cover that type of activities might be safer to peacefully bow out.


Customers have no idea how many windows they have, hell most newbies don’t even know how to count panes/windows… NEVER place a bid on a large job without inspecting all aspects of the job.
Right now the mistake is not the customer, it is yours, If you choose to walk then the customer has the right to post bad reviews, if you also provided a written quote then that would count as a contract and you may be legally required to complete or she may have grounds to pursue you in court for the cost of another company to complete the job.

If I was unfortunate to find myself in this predicament, I would do as @Scenix_Kyle says about withdrawing yourself from liability of the deteriorated windows and bite the bullet and get it done, next time you will be much more vigilant about a in depth inspection before submitting a bid.


LMAO The pain is real folks.


Bite the bullet and finish, good advice.

It is partially your fault for not checking what you were bidding.

How many units?
How many days will it take?

I would not damage frames to get screens out.
That could come back to you, if you do break them get in writing that it was approved.

Wow, from 4-5 windows to 12? Thats tough to not notice.

Please, please post a pic, maybe there will be some advice on how to make the process a little more doable.


If push came to shove I’m sure you could win the argument that the scope of the job is way more than what the customer led on to. SUch an argument, if it came to that, would show your un-professionalism of accepting a job without know the details of the issue; but lawsuit? Bring it.


Lawsuit would likely cost more than the loss you will take to finish.

What type of company do you want to be known for?


The guy who is over maintenance was the one who said that there was 4 or 5 windows per unit. When we did walk around the building I could see how many windows just not how they were divided up. I don’t know if I misunderstood what he was saying. But yes it was my fault for not requesting to go into one of the units to inspect the windows.


Right on brother! I’d give her the option as well.


Tell her exactly what you said here, then ask if she wants to have the work done by you at a higher price. She might say yes, or she might say no and try to find another sucker/window cleaner that will do it for the stupid price. You’re not a slave. Do what you need to do for you.



If she is saying to just tear the screens out, then she obviously knows that the old windows are not worth saving, and therefore need replacement.

Another option to get out of this, is to convince here that it would be better for her and the tenants to have those old obsolete windows replaced now. She could skip this cleaning of the old crappy windows and have that money better spent towards replacing them, which need to be replaced anyway. If she spends the money cleaning these old windows now, then it will be a waste of her money when she has to replace them shortly down the road anyway, She knows that tearing the screens up will either have to cost more money to replace, or leave her with unhappy tenants. Whereas brand new windows that actually work properly would result in happier tenants, and could also justify her next rent increase. If she considers the long term, then she will know that her best bet is replacement, and would probably thank you for bowing out of the contract to clean. You would be after all looking out for her best interests.

If she says no to replacement, then I would go forward with the damage waiver…

Yep, lesson learned the hard way.

Looks like you will be scheduling 2 each day and taking 50% longer to complete. If you cannot convince her to use this cleaning money towards replacement instead, Of course, getting paid for what you have done so far and letting her schedule those windows as last on her replacement list if she does them one unit at a time starting with the ones in the worst condition. I’m sure the tenants would be willing to stand the dirty windows a little while longer knowing they are in line for getting new ones that work.

Seems like lots of mistakes here, not just your bidding. :blush:
Maintenance man can’t count higher than the fingers on one hand. :thinking:
The property manager hired him. :crazy_face:

Good Luck!


I had an after thought about this.
If she told you to break the screens verbally, then I would try to get a confirmation in email or text, so you would have it in writing that she told you to break them. If she ever forgot that she told you that, then it would be her word against yours and any judge would probably side with her and find you responsible for fixing it, simply because it does not make sense for an owner to tell you to break up/destroy their property while just cleaning it, Cover your butt.


Sorry. Are they looking for a scapegoat here? Hope this mess works out. Bad reviews…there should always be a way for biz OP to comment his side. Keep us posted. Cherish the memory. Run from trash.


UPDATE: I did another condo unit. The owner had been talking to the owner of the first unit we did and was told about all the parts falling out of the windows. She told me not to even open the windows just take screens out and wash the windows. That turned out great.So far all the residents I have talked to say they have bad allergies and never open the windows so they say break the screen frames and discard. The third story windows I will have to open the windows to break the screens and hope I can get them shut. Next year will be easier with all the screens gone. I think this is going to work out. The residents have really been understanding about the situation.
Thanks for all the advice.


Glad it all worked out.

Not sure how I missed the fact that these were condos (very first sentence). For some reason I had it in my head that these were apartments. Must have been the maintenance guy, and when you said you told the owner, and she said… I wasn’t thinking of an owner of the condo, but an owner of the building. Oh well, mark that one down as a brain fart on my part. :blush: (I’ll try to be more attentive in the future)


Sometimes those tough jobs with bad first days seem worse that they may end up being. Yes, this is still a tough job but to push through and complete has already turned your thoughts on it around.

Now your thinking about next years cleaning on this job.

Make mistakes and learn, find reasonable remedies to problems.

Glad you stuck with it.


I have these limitations in every contract…then one can revisit a situation

Limitations: In the event of unforeseen circumstances or additions that significantly affect the time required to complete this project, we will contact you and negotiate additional surcharges. Example: Added mirrors, solar panels, significant paint overspray, heavy smoker residue, mineral deposit damage cleanup, etc.
We cannot be responsible for damage or complications related to removing alarmed screens and/or screens that have pre existing cracks or other damage.
We point out preexisting scratches or poor seals in windows that create a “foggy” effect as soon as we notice them. We are not responsible for preexisting conditions.
Windows with mineral deposits that require special treatment are not included in this estimate. This condition, if present, can be addressed at an extra charge.
Windows that require dangerous ladder climbs, roof walking, windows at great heights, or other conditions that we deem “dangerous” will be cleaned as best we can with an extension pole or other, cleaned from the inside of the house, or left uncleaned. I don’t anticipate this being an issue from what I’ve seen.
On occasion things occur that we don’t “cause” but still occur. We are not responsible in those situations. Example: We open a window and the supports are broken and the window falls to the ground and breaks or we open a sliding glass door and it jumps the tracks due to wear. We are not the cause and will not be responsible. If we are negligent and are the cause of a problem we will pay for any repairs.