Window Cleaning Certification. Good idea or not?

mistersqueegee

New member
There are a few things that result in heated debates among window cleaners. For instance, just ask a group of wcers about what soap they use or how they feel about ladders. For that matter mention fabrication debris and you better stand back. ;)
It seems that certification is also among those topics. I personally find this ironic since the IWCA (International Window Cleaners Association) has had a safety certification for years and even though they represent a relatively small percentage of cleaners in this country (let alone the world) it is a widely touted certification by those that attain it.
I know the UAMCC is now offering window cleaning certification and I for one think it's a great idea. As an industry we need to move towards things like this so the general public will see what we do as a legitimate service. Think about the mechanics in your area. No doubt there are several that tout ASE certification. It infuses a feeling of confidence to the customer.
On the other side of this issue are those that say who qualifies the ones certifying those cleaners. The short answer is the companies that value the certification and there customers. Again look at the mechanics - no doubt there are mechanics that have more experience than the ones on the ASE certification board but that doesn't matter. What matters is that there is a program for certification and as we support that it gains more and more value to both us as cleaners and potential clients.
 

apwasher

New member
I think you are getting the idea Tony! Its a chance for customers to know that their are standards your employees are held to that are controlled by a peer review from the industry, not just what the company says.
 

mistersqueegee

New member
I've come to realize that certs are a valuable asset for the industry. Beyond that they could become useful in cutting down on the numbers of cowboys and fly by nighters in the industry.
 

NJWashingGuy

New member
Certifications in this industry are a joke.
Ask yourself how many residential and commercial customers ask you if you are certified to provide your service to them. I have been asked for proof of insurance, workers comp insurance etc. You do not need to be certified to PW or Clean Windows. The only one making money are the ones providing the certification. Who are they and what makes them so special that they can certify you.
Look at the UAMCC. It is an organizartion that has been struggling to keep its head above water since its inception, there has been more turmiol and bs related to that organization, nnow they can certify you to clean windows. Will you provide a cleaner window because you are certified?? Or is it something that you will try to use to make yourself look better? Buy a nice shirt for your estimaes and act like a professional. That will help sell more jobs than being certified.

Also, look at Tony S's tagline....... certified to certify the certifiers with certification certificates.......really?? This is not a hit at Tony but an example of the ridiculousness of certifications.

P.S. certifications available upon request .......you may add your information to the fleet washing certificate below and make a few changes. You can be certified by whoever in whatever you want.......
 

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NJWashingGuy

New member
Michael - do you feel the same way about the IWCA safety certification?

I know nothing about the IWCA safety certification. If you plan on dangling off a building on a swing or a rope, you should have some training, not necessarily the IWCA certification. Do you need that safety certification to clean residential windows or low rise building windows?? Most window cleaners don't go up that high and most I have seen do not have the certification...
 

JimFergerson

New member
No, not for the windows that I do. I think that it would rate right up there with "Certification to tie one's own Shoes". My customers could care less.

IMHO - They view window cleaners as someone who just puts the water on, and wipes the water off... End Of Story.


I'm okay with that.
 

mistersqueegee

New member
Jim, you actually are making my point in a sense. Customers look at wcers this way because they feel it's a lowly profession that anyone can do. I'm here to tell you that isn't the case. It's more than putting water on and taking it off. Just like pressure cleaning isn't just squirting stuff with water.
 

NJWashingGuy

New member
Jim, you actually are making my point in a sense. Customers look at wcers this way because they feel it's a lowly profession that anyone can do. I'm here to tell you that isn't the case. It's more than putting water on and taking it off. Just like pressure cleaning isn't just squirting stuff with water.

Do you really believe that customers all across this country are going to believe that these trades are alot more than meets the eye due to some certification from some entity that they know nothing about. Do you think that somene whose trucks I clean gives a hoot if I am certified to do so..... They look at price, quality of the wash product and things of that nature. I have yet to be asked by anyone on any level if I am certified to do "x" job. If the federal government certified window cleaners and you could not clean windows leaglly without that certification, that is perhaps something that people could wraps their heads around (not that it should be that way).

It is like licensing.......When you buy a gun, do you buy it off the street with a removed serial number or do you go to a licensed gun broker / dealer / legal private seller? You want to get the peace of mind that you bought it legally so that you don't get into trouble with the illegal gun. People can understand the logic behind that. You will never get the masses to believe that some licensing / certifying entity is needed to clean a house or windows.
 

mistersqueegee

New member
I don't agree Michael. It may take time but in my original post I used mechanics and I'm here to tell you that in my area if you have 2 mechanics and one is ASE certified and the other isn't most are going to the certified guy.
 

NJWashingGuy

New member
I don't agree Michael. It may take time but in my original post I used mechanics and I'm here to tell you that in my area if you have 2 mechanics and one is ASE certified and the other isn't most are going to the certified guy.

Using an automechanic is based upon trust, because in every industry there are unscrupulous people who will cheat you and take your money. When I look for a mechanic, I don't check the wall for the ASE certification, I find someone that I am comfortable with. Just as in all industires, you don't need to be ASE certified to be a mechanic.
Most certifiers are just money makers for the person certifying.

What legal attachment does the certifier have to you if you are sued?? What good is it to the contractor tangibly.... not opinion based??
 

mistersqueegee

New member
Something else to think about - Jim said "They view window cleaners as someone who just puts the water on, and wipes the water off" and Michael said "Do you really believe that customers all across this country are going to believe that these trades are alot more than meets the eye"
In the last decade there have been more changes to windows and architecture than the previous several decades combined. All those changes require wcers to be highly educated about chemicals, glass surface defects, IG units issues, window accessibility options, etc. Customers themselves are becoming more educated as well thanks to the internet. It's not just a splash and dash industry anymore.
 

Diamond Jim

New member
I think you can have training programs at different levels to enhance your skills and knowledge .

So if a guy who never washed a window but is a pressure cleaner and took the course and past the certification test is now a certified window washer ? What about guys buying watered poles who never washed
a window buy hand ? Are these people worthy?

Its just like a basic wood restoration certification . It's beginner training not a certification in my opinion. These people are still clueless for a couple of years.Training programs and work experience and then move to the next skill level . Something like this in my opinion any who ?
 

Diamond Jim

New member
Little back ground on me. Started washing windows 27 years ago. Restored a huge solarium today with acid. Have a watered pole system. Mainly do exterior windows on large homes after pressure cleaning now.
 

JimFergerson

New member
Something else to think about - Jim said "They view window cleaners as someone who just puts the water on, and wipes the water off" and Michael said "Do you really believe that customers all across this country are going to believe that these trades are alot more than meets the eye"
In the last decade there have been more changes to windows and architecture than the previous several decades combined. All those changes require wcers to be highly educated about chemicals, glass surface defects, IG units issues, window accessibility options, etc. Customers themselves are becoming more educated as well thanks to the internet. It's not just a splash and dash industry anymore.


What... windows are no longer made of glass?

Maybe i DO need to get certified!


Sorry, but i think this thread has gotten silly now.


BTW - I personally see no need to try to use any kind of propaganda to attempt to win customers.
 

Ron Musgraves

Exterior Restoration Specialist
Staff member
You can't get www.uamcc.org certified , it requires you be in business longer than you have.

We are shooting for 2 years, now its Five with certain requirements
What... windows are no longer made of glass?

Maybe i DO need to get certified!


Sorry, but i think this thread has gotten silly now.


BTW - I personally see no need to try to use any kind of propaganda to attempt to win customers.
 

Ron Musgraves

Exterior Restoration Specialist
Staff member
I think you can have training programs at different levels to enhance your skills and knowledge .

So if a guy who never washed a window but is a pressure cleaner and took the course and past the certification test is now a certified window washer ? What about guys buying watered poles who never washed
a window buy hand ? Are these people worthy?

Its just like a basic wood restoration certification . It's beginner training not a certification in my opinion. These people are still clueless for a couple of years.Training programs and work experience and then move to the next skill level . Something like this in my opinion any who ?


Jim we are requiring five years for certain training requirements, even someone like you would have to re-cert. Yours might be mentoring a new guy trying to get his hours for taking test. Apprentice & mentor programs will be a huge part as time goes by.
 

gtsowi

New member
Before I go on a small rant, I truly believe all of us deserve to be entrepreneurs. But, with recent corporate downsizing more CEO's, VP's, etc etc thought starting their own window cleaning business was going to save them. The truth is, it may have saved their mortgage but some of us were affected negatively. Now on the upswing many of us have benefited even more. But, I would have rather trained 40 competitors than competed against 40 amatuers. I see how certifications help this. So the next time you see hour competition ask them if they have joined an association, and why not.
 
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