Archive for August, 2010

Something Funny

Heres a little something to laugh at and perk up your monday afternoon!
Also available for purchase, here @J.Racenstein


Buy Now  http://www.jracenstein.com/items/Nipper_Reacher_Tool_40in.html

Hose Sprung A Leak?

Ken Murray, See Clear Window Cleaning

Ken Murray, See Clear Window Cleaning

Our customer Ken Murray, owner of See Clear Window Cleaning owns a 30 ft Ionic Glyder pole.  He had a problem with the original orange hose that came with it. He says the hose was very rigid and the areas where it connected to the water source and where it connected to the brush sprung leaks.

We fixed that problem by replacing it with a black hose, which is exactly the same thing, but something in the carbon black hose makes it easier to work with than the orange hose.

Y Fitting for hose to brush IonicT Connecter for PoleAlso, the pole had fallen down when leaned against the wall and the “Y” connector broke.  We had him replace that piece with a brass “T”.

Now that we fixed his 2 issues with the pole, he’s happy and has not had a problem since!

Government Incentives for Green Retrofits – PACE Financing

There has been a lot of buzz about PACE financing lately, but what exactly is it? And how does it affect the buildings we care for?

PACE is an acronym for Property Assessed Clean Energy. A PACE bond is issued by a city and the proceeds are then loaned to building owners, so that they can finance green energy retrofits.

Retrofits typically include installing energy efficient windows, insulation and solar panels.

The loans are then repaid over the assigned term, usually between 15 to 20 years, at a competitive interest rate, via an annual assessment on the owners property tax bill. A unique attribute to these bonds, is that the loan is attached to the property, rather than an individual.

These bonds have been creating a lot of stir in congress lately, and in the cities that are attempting to adopt them. So, let’s dig a little deeper…

Pros:

PACE bonds make energy retrofits affordable by avoiding steep upfront costs. Building owners can spread the cost out over time, so they can start to realize the energy savings before they have to make their loan payment — a situation which often results in net-positive returns at the end of the year.

The perk of the loan being attached to the property, rather than the owner, is that the risk is more proportional to the rewards. Without PACE, an owner might go through all the trouble of enacting energy saving measures, but may have to sell the property before reaping any of the rewards. With PACE, even if the owner has to sell the property soon after the retrofits, he or she can pass on a portion of the responsibility, along with the rewards, to the new owner.

And I cannot describe PACE bonds, without pointing out the obvious, yet crucial motive behind them: preserving the Environment. Incentivizing green retrofits in buildings will increase energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and encourage the shift to renewable sources of energy all of which will aid in larger climate goals.

Because PACE is funded through municipal bonds, it creates no liability to the city’s funds, yet it can help cities create jobs and thus spur local economic development.

Cons:

Sounds great, how could anyone object?

Well, as the LA Times reported last Thursday, lenders are alarmed by the fact that PACE funds are to be paid back before a mortgage in the case of a foreclosure. Lenders warn that they might have to tighten standards for entire communities that participate in PACE financing.

Tighter standards mean larger down payment requirements and less home loans. And for existing mortgage owners who participate in PACE, they might even be violating the terms of their mortgage.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which is the regulator and conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and 12 Federal Home Loan Banks, a.k.a. they can sort of speak on behalf of “lenders”, released a statement in July that PACE was too risky, especially in a shaky housing market.

Recent Developments…

Objections by federal regulators have put a lot of PACE programs on hold. As a result, projects have been halted and many building companies that were counting on eco-retrofit projects, are wondering if they can keep their doors open.

“Several lawsuits have been filed against the FHFA, and Congress is considering legislation that would force the agency to support the program,” according to the LA Times.

But many avid supporters of PACE are beginning to look at other funding solutions.

If you are greening your building cleaning and maintenance company, these eco-projects are probably on your radar as key growth targets (whether you knew they were dependent on PACE or not!) So, keep an eye on EcoGurus.com for updates on PACE and other green retrofit financing solutions.

PROMO: One Restore

One RestoreNOW $27.50

from 8/25/10 – 8/31/10

Formerly known as SafeRestore: OneRestore CAN now be sold in the state of California.

OneRestore is a breakthrough detergent that provides remarkable versatility, cleaning power and safety all in one product. It is capable of removing the deepest water hardness and pollution stains, and mineral and metal oxide stains from a wide variety of surfaces. It is an effective coating remover and safely cleans glass and anodized aluminum when used as directed.
Hydrochloric Acid based: Make sure you wear gloves with any type of harsher acid.

OneRestore won’t damage or change the color of any of the substrates it is used on. It will save hours of cleaning time versus the traditional bucket and brush method.

Sometimes, this chemical is best sprayed onto the glass. When you spray on the chemical, it helps keep the chemical in a concentrated area when working. This is a smart technique when working on hot conditions. You do not want to have these harsher chemicals dry on the substrate. Note: if used in this manner, beware of hazardous inhalation hazards.

Frame restoration: You can also offer the additional service of frame restoration to the customers. OneRestore is an excellent product to restore the window frames. Spraying the chemical on the window frame will help keep it from getting on the window panes themselves. Scrub in the chemical with a steel wool pad, rinse, and dry. Note: If spraying harsh chemicals, beware of hazardous inhalation hazards.

3in Tucker Round Brush

The 3in Round Tucker Brush is a great tool for detailed work in hard to reach places.
Tucker BrushesLet’s say your working on cleaning some windows that haven’t had a good cleaning since, well… ever. So what you’re seeing is dirt really deep into the corner grooves of the window pane. Well you would first attach this 3in Round Brush and   scrub it up into the corners to really get in there since you can’t get in those corners with a normal rectangle brush. Then switch back to a regular rectangle brush and scrub then frame.  If its insanely dirty what you can do is attach a soap dispenser onto your pole and you can get a real good scrub from doing that. Then lastly you wash down the window then rinse it and your good to go!

Green Window Cleaning On A Massive Scale

Photo courtesy of Michael Slonecker via Wikipedia

Imagine cleaning all 6,514 windows on the Empire State Building.

That’s just what Anthony Concepcion is doing as part of “greening” the iconic New York building. It’s almost as difficult as it sounds but Concepcion cleans the windows after they are removed from each of the 102 floors.

Each window is removed, cleaned, retrofitted and replaced as part of a $13-million upgrade that will cut energy use by 38 percent and save about $4.4 million a year, according to USA Today.

Concepcion, 39, is work crew supervisor for the contractor, Serious Material of Sunnyvale, CA. He and his crew remove between 75-80 of the dual pane windows each night. Then by day, they detach the windows from their sashes, pull the panes apart, clean them, and add a new layer of transparent insulation film. The process began in March and is expected to wrap up in October.

Once the windows are resealed, they cook for an hour in a 205 degree oven to shrink the protective film in place. Next, a mixture of inert gasses is pumped into the space between the panes for insulation. They are then reinstalled the following night, before the next batch is collected.

It’s not often that a retrofit of this magnitude is done reusing the original windows, but this strategy has proven very cost effective (saving about $2,300 per window).  And it has also avoided the environmental impact of trucking new windows from the factory and old ones to recycling.

The new windows have 2.5 to four times more insulation and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given this project an energy star rating of 90 out of 100. Not too shabby for a building built in 1930!

Now, if you’re ever faced with cleaning more than 6,000 windows for a green building, we hope you would consult J.Racenstein’s green window cleaning section for a plethora of choices!

PROMO: 20% Off All T-Shirts!

T-Shirts

From 8/18- 8/24 All our T-shirts are 20% off. T-shirts are starting as low as $11.00!
Time to stock up on some new apparel!

JRC Rep In OR & WA 8/23- 8/26

Here in Oregon or WashingtonDo you live in the Oregon or Washington area?

Jim Foster will be traveling up Interstate 5 from Stockton to Seattle to demonstrate Water Fed Pole Systems and will be available for visits and demo’s during Aug. 23-26th and will return down the same route on Aug. 30- Sept 1st …be sure to get your request for a visit in early!

If you are interested in  scheduling a visit please contact Jim Foster at 1800-221-3748 ext 349 or via email @ jim.foster@jracenstein.com

We are introducing our new 3-star RO/DI Cart!

Social Networking On Facebook

It’s not what you know it’s who you know. I’m sure you’ve heard of that. So what about social networking? It’s all the rage. But can it help, or possibly hurt your business? My parents are both college graduates. They both majored in journalism. I don’t know if I heard it from them or I picked it up somewhere else, but as the saying goes, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

I believe that’s true to a degree. Here’s what I mean. I have a personal “One to Nine Rule.” If you do something great, one out of ten people will tell everyone about it. If you do something bad, nine out of ten people will tell everybody about it. What’s that got to do with social networking?

Recently, we have been networking with people (mostly prospective customers) on Facebook. Heck, we even network with the good people at J. Racenstein through Facebook. (You can too. Their FB name is Jracenstein Window-Supplies). We also network with other window cleaners through Facebook. We use Twitter for the same reason, but for the purpose of this blog, we will just be discussing Facebook (FB).

Facebook Logo

There are a lot of good reasons why you might want to network through FB too. I’ll give you some of the pros and cons to doing this.

One of the pros of using FB is the fact that you never can advertise too much. If your prospective customer (prospect) happens to be your FB friend, and I use that term ‘friend’ very loosely, they will see just about every post you make to your wall. I’m assuming you understand FB terminology, but a ‘wall’ is where you post a short blog (message or note) and all your FB friends see it too. So let’s say Mrs. Bigbucks logs into her FB account, and if you didn’t know it FB can be very addictive and people of every social background use it. When Mrs. Bigbucks does log in, she reads all her friends’ posts. There’s Mrs. Rockefeller’s post that says, “Life just keeps getting better!!” There’s Vanderbilt’s post with her garden club photos. And then there’s Rob’s Window Cleaning’s post thanking Mrs. Rothschild and Mrs. Du Pont for letting them clean the windows on their home this week. When Mrs. Bigbucks sees that Rob’s Window Cleaning is the official window cleaner for Mrs. Rothschild and Mrs. Du Pont, who just happen to be in her garden club, Mrs. Bigbucks doesn’t want to be outdone by them so she sends you a message right through her FB account asking you, Rob’s Window Cleaning, to come do her windows. It doesn’t matter what the price, if you do Mrs. Rothschild and Mrs. Du Pont’s windows, she want you to do her windows! Pretty neat huh?

Robs Window Cleaning

Now here’s a con, getting FB ‘friends’ a.k.a. ‘prospects’. Right now I have over 1,200 FB friends. I found that after about 1,000 or so, the request to be someone’s FB friend start coming more frequently. But exactly HOW does one get these friends? Well, here’s how I started getting them, and if you have another thought on this subject, I would be very interested in it. I have my customer’s files with their contact information, name address, email address, etc. I started by going through the 800 contacts I had and after setting up my FB account, which is of course free (or it is now), I looked all those people up on FB and sent them a friend request. Almost ALL of them that had an account accepted me as one of their ‘friends’. When they did, most of them sent me a “here are some of so-in-so’s friends you may know” list. I also asked them to be my friend because, heck, anyone that’s a friend of so-in-so, is a friend of mine! That may seem like a good thing to do, ask so-in-so’s friends to be your friend, but if you REALLY don’t know them, FB may send you a warning saying ‘you are doing something that may be perceived as malicious in nature’. So what could happen is one of these people writes all of their friends and warns them about your ‘malicious’ activity. That’s the public relations rule (1 to 9 Rule) that you really don’t want to cross!

One really good thing about FB is that most of your friends will say on their profile where they work. If you do commercial work, this is a real plus as you now have contacts at businesses you didn’t have before. I have told some of my FB friends that I would really love to clean the windows at their place of employment, but didn’t know who to talk to and asked them to please give me the contact information. And they have too!

An interesting thing happened the other day. I could never reach one of my former customers by conventional means. One day, I sent her an invitation to be my FB friend. She accepted and a little later I asked her if she would like to resume her window cleaning at a restaurant she owns. She said she really wanted that service back. So we picked that account up again thanks to FB!

Facebook Wall

Another interesting thing happened when one of my FB customers a couple of weeks ago asked me for a quote to clean her house windows as she was having a party in a couple of days. We re-arranged our schedule to fit her in and she was ecstatic! By the way, I don’t ever remember talking to this woman or doing any work for her in the past. She is one of those people who I saw lived in our community and had FB friends that I already knew had disposable cash. You know the kind, ‘just-do-the-work-and-bill-me, I-don’t-care-what-it-cost’ friends. So I asked her to be my FB friend. In this case it paid off.

Customers have contacted be via FB to ask for window cleaning on a certain day. I communicated back to them by writing on their FB wall. Their friends see that we are setting up an appointment to do the work, so who knows, I may just get another customer and if you try this, you may too! Remember, it’s now what you know, it’s who you know.

Robert Lamb
http://www.robswindowcleaning.com/

PROMO: 20% Off Screen & Track Brushes

20% off screen & track brushes

Window Track Cleaning Brush:
Epoxy setting makes this brush stronger and non-shedding. Using the best quality nylon bristles down the center of the brush gives it added stiffness for a scrubbing effect. By having longer length bristles, this brush is the best thing for wisking away dust as well as getting into recesses and corners. It can be used wet or dry

Screen Brush:
Eight-inch flagged brush with synthetic bristles to pick up the finest dirt.

Brush for Window Track:
Handheld brush with heavy duty synthetic bristles to pick up the toughest dirt.

Find it here on our Special Promotions page:
http://www.jracenstein.com/catalog/special_promotions.html