Story Time - Letting a Customer Walk All Over Me

I had a recent experience where a customer got the best of me and took advantage of my kindness so I thought I’d share… This was a lesson learning moment for me that I will never forget. Feel free to share any similar stories y’all might have as well.

I met up with my co-worker at a residential job a few months ago for an in/out cleaning with steel wool including screens and tracks. I’ll save price for the end… So we get there and get started right away. Everything is mostly going smoothly and most of the glass is cleaning up decently well but a good chunk of this front glass has some bad hard water stains as well as weld-pits. After about 4 hours we get finished up and my co-worker goes to get a signature and payment while I begin packing up all our equipment. About 5 minutes later he comes outside and tells me to get all the equipment back out - she’s (customer) unhappy with the windows. So she points out the hard water stains and weld-pits (we had already told her at the beginning that we wouldn’t be able to get those out), and she says “No no it needs to be done right so do it again.” So my co-worker reluctantly begins re-cleaning the glass while she walks me around to the other side of the house to point out some other minor imperfections that were also hard water stains. I explained to her again that we got what we could but if she wanted us to try other methods like razor blading or acid treatments it would be an extra cost. She replied “Well that’s not right. I was told that the glass would be perfect and like-new.” (Nobody ever told her that). I told her that we could come back with the equipment needed for a restoration but that it isn’t free and would be expensive. She rolled her eyes and just said to get it done right or she isn’t paying. So after about an extra 2 hours of re-cleaning glass that isn’t getting any cleaner (for free), she finally lets out a big sigh and agrees to pay us. But she makes herself clear that she expects us to come back soon to finish the job that was guaranteed to her. For the first time in my 3 years of window cleaning, I left a customer without a smile and a “thank you, have a great day” as I always just naturally say. After she paid and signed the invoice, we both silently turned around, grabbed our equipment and just left. She made sure to call our office to file a complaint about our rudeness. All in all, I made about $70 off that job after the commission split. Yup. Swore on that day that I will NEVER let a customer walk all over me ever again, even if it means losing their business. Not worth it. We agreed after we left that we are never going back there again no matter how many times she calls us.

Lesson learned.


Man that sucks. Sometimes you just cant make a customer happy. We had a situation like this last year. It happens to us all. Sorry that happened to you buddy.


I appreciate the kind words, Luke :v:

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That’s awful man, well at least you learned from it. Happens to all of us at least once.

Good job pointing out problems before starting, keep that up.


Ouch! This hasn’t happened to me in the window business but it happened to me in my web development business years ago and I had to start collecting half the payment up from for that and half when done. I can’t see myself doing that in the window cleaning business (talking half up front) but I hope it never comes to this. Because I’m super extremely nice but very direct and don’t take any shit either.

Glad you got paid in the end man.


Well s**t. First of all, like other guys, I feel sorry for your bad experience. Reading this story, kind of creeps to my mind that those stains are there for good, to make sure this person gets a free window cleaning every time.
I have no remedy for that, other than maybe make a written contract if you smell something wrong.
I had a leaf cleanup customer who started screaming (yes) pretty soon after I started machinery, was very critical about my plan (to move the leaves off her property). So she ended up with a heap of rotting leaves piled up to her wall, (as per ordered) and didn’t pay the bill. Some people develop a habit of not paying, if they get away with it. Glad you got paid in the end, though. I made sure to spread the word to my colleagues afterwards.


Oh man I would love it if we could collect half up front for jobs over $200, but yeah true some customers probably wouldn’t like that haha. I wouldn’t blame them. Glad nothing like this has happened to you in your time as a window cleaner. Hopefully it never does! :slight_smile:

Thanks for sharing your story. I wonder why she wanted the leaves in a corner like that haha. So weird but oh well. Sorry that you didn’t get paid either. That’s awful and totally immoral of her. I can never get in the mindset of somebody who hires a contractor then refuses to pay for a finished job. Most of the time it isn’t even worth going to small claims court over too. Thankfully most people can be trusted, but those few that can’t really just burn into your memory and stings a little.

By the way random side note but I noticed you live in Finland so I just wanted to mention in case you know of the band… Poets of the Fall (Finnish rock band) is either my favorite or second favorite band of all time. Finland has some good music!!

Sorry :neutral_face: to hear that. Had a lady with a $1.2 Million Dollar house; 30 oversized windows, 1/Side to be cleaned. Quoted $300, she said no; offered to do it for $240; she said no. She called me up and said she would pay $150. I thought :thought_balloon: that’s nice :slightly_smiling_face: but Home Advisor charged me $41 so $150 - $41 = $119. I told her I thought about it and I said no! She was like what? No? I’m could hear her nagging - you missed a spot. Better to just walk away. Some people like her think it’s just window cleaning but to make your glass look good after 15+ years of neglect, it takes time.


Totally true… Some people understand the value of our services and some people think we just do the same job as Windex but in a flashy way. That sounds like an awful experience. Definitely hope nothing like that ever happens again!

If you go out there im sure that would give problems anyways :wink:

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