Jeffrey Scott

Business Owner Interview
Questions by Michael Draper
Answers by Jeffrey Scott

1. You’re a second-generation window cleaner right?

- Yes, that is correct. My father started a window cleaning company shortly before I was born. He was trained by Jerry and Russ Rigdon in Iowa, and then relocated to central Wisconsin to start his own company. I have been very fortunate to have been able to witness the hard work he put in to grow his business and was even more fortunate to learn what a work ethic is truly about by working for that company from the time I was a young child. My father made the decision to sell his company 9 years ago and did very well for himself in the transaction. Instead of signing a non-compete contract and continuing to work for the new owners, I decided to create Green Window Cleaning Services and see what I was made of.

Green Window Cleaning Service
2. How long have you owned your own window cleaning company?

- We are currently in our 9th year of business. I originally started out physically knocking on doors to get the residential business going. Once I had a bit of work under my belt, door hangers became the name of the game. I could put out 100 a day and needed to get at least four bids secured from that, typically closing at least two. There is no secret to what it takes to not become one of the overwhelming statistics in the new business startup game. You have to be willing to do what most others are not. Grind, sacrifice, grind, continually learn, and grind some more. We now have a staff of ten. We offer residential window cleaning, screen cleaning, house washing, gutter cleaning, and pressure washing. After the first year in business we started getting back into large commercial work and now offer exterior building maintenance services to large commercial properties throughout the Midwest.

Midwest Commercial Properties Cleaning
3. You also own Safety Green Training. What do you do with that?

- Safety Green Training is my passion project. As you mentioned earlier I am a second-generation window cleaner, so I have had a lifetime of networking and friendship making opportunities with window cleaners from around the country. Window cleaners are my family. When guys take falls around the country it affects me personally and deeply. I used to donate my time and finances to the industry by being heavily involved in the IWCA and giving hands on safety training at those events around the country. Unfortunately, being a very new startup company (with a lifetime of experience), my finances could not support my ambitions to continue in that endeavor. Hence the birth of Safety Green Training which now allows us to give back to the industry in a much more sustainable way. We provide documented "Authorized User Training" for Rope Descent Systems at an affordable cost which will still allow us to continue offering the program. We are typically able to offer two training sessions per month. Our courses consist of a two-day session. The first day is eight hours plus of class room training, while the second day is eight hours plus of hands on training. This course conforms to and meets the requirements for OSHA - CFR 29 subpart D, Walking and Working Surfaces, 1910.27, and 1910.30. The price of the course is $500.00 per student for an open enrollment course, and $4000.00 plus travel for a private course. Both types of courses are capped at a maximum of twelve students. We also offer complete "compliance document package" for Rope Descent Systems. It is offered on a thumb drive with a completely editable Word version, a writable (fill in the blank) pdf version, and also contains a short video explaining how to input your own company’s logos and such. We sell this compliance package for $399.00, and it can be used an indefinite amount of times. The goal in doing all of this is to raise the level of safety in our industry through training, systems, and documentation. It allows me to sleep at night.

4. I see from different posts online you snowboard. What’s your favorite place to hit the slopes?

- Oh yeah. I absolutely love exploring the mountains and other beautiful places around the country. It really is amazing and helps put life into perspective. Since the Winter months are when I typically have a bit of free time, I have learned to use snowboarding as a way to push myself, conquer fears, and embrace limitations. I didn’t learn to snowboard until after a complete knee replacement at 40 years old. Embracing new challenges is something I hope I am always able to do. As far as a favorite place? For me it is usually wherever I can find steep and deep untracked powder.

5. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

- Well 10 years from now makes me 55 years old. I hope to have Green Residential Services, and Green Building Maintenance Services, running very near autonomously with great managers and staff in place who are able build their own dreams and futures. This will allow me to continue doing what I love most, which is transferring knowledge to others, who will then in turn build on it and pass it along, making the industry an ever-safer place to work for those with a desire to improve their own and their families lives. Losing a life is too high of a price to pay to provide for your family and build your dreams.

6. What legacy do you want to leave behind?

- Wow, a legacy? I sure hope it is a positive impact on the industry. There have been many people who have come before me who I idolize and hope to emulate. If I am able to effect people is a positive way that helps them perform their jobs more safely, I will be satisfied.

7. What’s the future look like for the window cleaning industry?

- I believe the future is bright for the window cleaning industry, and much safer than it has been in the past. The new OSHA regulations put out this last year have dramatically raised the level of what is expected for safety and documentation. I am sure there will be an adjustment period, and unfortunately many citations will likely be given before some companies decide to become compliant. However, the result will be an elevated level of safety and documented training for technicians, as well an elevated level of education and understanding for employers. The days of the fly- by-night type of operator are coming to a close. People must always come first. The industry will adjust, and pricing will reflect the added safety and professionalism. It is my hope that this will ultimately improve the perception and esteem of all Window Cleaning Technicians across the country. Be the change you want to see in the World.

Window Cleaning Technicians
Continue Reading

The customer factor
Technology is all around us. Are you familiar with the software's and apps available to help you run a more successful operation?