Storm windows that don't budge


Today we had a home that had storm windows and we couldn’t lift the window to access the storm windows and pull them out for cleaning. Didn’t know this going into the job and found out later they haven’t been opened in 2 or 3 years. So not wanting to break any windows we asked the customer to sign a waiver not being responsible if something did happen. The customer didn’t want to do that and was not happy because we weren’t willing to take on the job. We apologized for the inconvience and time wasted and went our separate ways but the customer still upset. How would you handle this?


Same way.

We clean windows even though many in this trade are handy doesn’t mean we provide handyman services.

Older windows that are painted closed or mechanically not functioning really isnt in the scope of window cleaning.


I agree with @jhans. It’s not your job to fix something when you didn’t break it and all they are paying you for is window cleaning.


Similar thing happened to me, I told customer screens were sun damaged/deteriorating and they may tear when I attempt to clean them, she turns around and says you break it you replace it. I asked her to just touch a part of the screen, her finger when straight through it, she looked at me in disgust asking me why I told her to do that, I replied with “There not my screens, they are your screens. I was simply attempting to show you that the screens WILL fall apart if I clean them and I would be happy to not clean then and not charge you for screen cleaning.” I went on to advise her that in the quote she accepted there is in the conditions stating that we will not replace (free of charge) broken, brittle or sun damaged screens that break under normal cleaning conditions.

My quote is based upon the assumption that the customers house is in a maintained condition, I do not maintain the functionality of the windows, I was simply asked to provide cleaning to the windows.

I also advise customers that I do not remove screens that are screwed in place as in my experience the heads of at least one of said screws will already be all chewed out, ain’t my problem.


I don’t do storms anymore , but the first thing I ask is are they all sliding up an down.
I did have one job last year 15 storms I ask him if there moving , an he said yup. I get there , an … Nope.
Was he upset … a little , but it was me that should of been more upset for wasting my time

So , if you ask me this guy has no ground to stand on. To expect you to get them loose. BTW you were willing to do it. Did you hit him with an up charge?
An yes you were smart to have him sign a waiver.
Don’t worry about this guy , he is totally in the wrong period. Tool!!!


Wise choice.


Next! He needed a patsie, you didn’t bite. Bet you weren’t the first one. Not your problem, it’s his. Have learned we can’t please everyone. Give yourself a break and move on. We’re not in the nightmare business. Ol’ moneybags can hire a patsie handyman to fix those windows. Shake it off. Go make easier money. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


Without a doubt, an if I do … do them it’s at a premium price.


The old triple track storms / screens seem to be on every house over 25 years old in my area. I learned after my first experience to address all the pitfalls up front with the customers, and charge enough that I don’t “hate” cleaning them, which for me is $25 above the cost of the windows. Most balk at the idea, and I am happy to let someone else fight the headache.


Most people are reasonable and understanding of circumstances like this… It sounds like that particular person had an expectation that wasn’t met because they considered it your fault for not checking before hand… IDK But in my experience if I tell them up front what to expect and potential difficulties with stupid storm windows they are almost always gracious.


Wow, that’s good! Can I borrow that for my service agreement? :slight_smile:


sure mate.


I do storm windows for a considerable markup of price, first thing I do is go through every single one to make sure they can be removed and inform the customer directly after that which ones won’t budge (there’s always at least one). At that point they can see I’ve put in the effort to try and they have an understanding of what to expect.

I wouldn’t be sad if I never did another storm window job in my life but the money is nice if people are willing to pay.


How long does it take to do a bid for a customer this way.


I bid the entire job first, then if the price needs adjusted when there for service i handle that appropriately. A lot of the time people don’t even ask for an adjustment and pay the total original quote.


Except for the new builds, Northern VA is nothing but colonials with storm windows, and now living in Louisville we run into a few on occasion.

Very few double hung/storm windows beat me. I carry a rubber mallet and a couple really strong 5-way tools in the van. If it doesn’t open, the paint can be ‘popped’ by smacking the right and left corners of the window on top, then working around the middles.

Customers here are usually really impressed and thankful I can get them open.

Now one caveat, the REALLY old part of town has 110 year old houses and I just won’t do those if I can help it. If they don’t open freely, only the two sides get done.


Thank the Lord above I stopped doing combination windows and storm windows of any kind this spring, life has been great ever since.


We’ve had a 30 second rule in place for a few years now.

If we cant get the main window open or budge the storms with 30 seconds of trying, we move on and only do the I/Os.

Saves an amazing amount of time and frustration.


Ahhh man i swear i have had old ladys set me up to break their screens just to get them replaced for free. So right off the bat when its an elderly lady im already cautious. Just like you said the screens are deteriorating and your finger goes right through them. If the screens dont come out its good to have a helper push from the outside as you pull it in. Some screens didnt fit from the start and were forced in now 8 years later here we are trying to take them out. If i see a screen deteriorating and i have the feeling the people will want me to fix it i just pass. This is the best thing you can do because they will eventually call you back days later stating that its okay pull them out if they break we will get new ones.


Now, I have to ask…all this talk about damaging screens when taking them out, I’ve yet to ‘put a finger’ through a screen when removing one. Maybe I’m just extra careful but this is a foreign concept to me.

I offer on-site rescreening, so if I do notice they are worn out or have holes, it’s an added bonus to the homeowner to make the house look REALLY good.