Thirty Years of The Windowclean Centre
This year is thirty years since we set up the Windowclean Centre – a milestone well worth celebrating. The decision to create this business was by no means straightforward, but the result has been a wonderful three decades for us.
What Came Before the Windowclean Centre?
We did have a business before the Windowclean Centre, but it had nothing to do with windows. We sold industrial floor cleaning machinery, mostly to large organisations, from Marks & Spencer to the NHS. In those days, these organisations employed their own cleaners and required high-quality machinery. It needed ongoing maintenance, too, and we could keep their machines going for a long time.
That came to an end, though, with a combination of recession and the change of culture towards contracting out services like cleaning. The problem was that the contracts were normally only for three years, so the machine only had to be good enough to last that long. If the contract was renewed, they bought a new machine.
This meant fewer customers for our high-quality machines and fewer maintenance contracts. We did survive a few years longer by exporting second-hand machines to India, Sri Lanka and other countries, but eventually the supply of second-hand machines dried up. We needed something new.
The Birth of the Windowclean Centre
I was aware that my father had had a window-cleaning business in his youth, but I’d never considered following in his footsteps. But maybe that made me look at suppliers of window-cleaning equipment — and what I saw wasn’t impressive. Companies were competing solely on price, and most of the promotional material consisted of photocopied sheets.
When I visited the USA, however, I found a very different picture. I went to a trade show dedicated to the sector and saw far more sophisticated products and marketing. However, there was initially little interest in exporting to the UK — but we changed their minds.
Our Leading Products
We began to introduce exciting new products to the UK, marketed with colour brochures, and the launch of our first ecommerce website in 2005, allowing us to sell worldwide. If anything was new, we’d have it. And eventually manufacturers started approaching us to sell their products. Among our bestsellers over the years have been:
- Ladder Mitts, protecting the customer’s property against damage by the ladder.
- Titan Laboratories products, such as their innovative detergents Glass Gleam 3 and 4, and their specialist products Cement Off concrete dissolver and Oil Flo 141 safety solvent.
- Winspray products, designed by us, including the Pouch & Belt Kit, Jumbo Double Pouch and Padded Tool Belt.
- Gloves designed for working in cold weather, such as the Glacier Perfect Curve and Sealskinz All Weather Gloves.
What Has Changed Over Thirty Years?
Back in the early 90s, when we started, most window cleaners were simply using a washer and a squeegee – still vital tools – but with the introduction of pure water, our range has expanded to include kits, tools and equipment for both traditional and pure water cleaning.
Pure Water has been around for some time, mostly used in laboratories and manufacturing. However, legislation restricting the use of ladders on commercial sites meant alternatives had to be found, and Pure Water was the perfect solution.
Pure Water technology was made more robust and adapted for external glass. The poles also developed fast, so the system can now be used in domestic settings as well as commercial. Pure Water makes a window cleaner’s life so much easier when working at height and it can also be used to clean solar panels.
So where will window-cleaning equipment be going in the years to come? Well, developments will certainly include improvements in purifying water – but whatever changes, we’ll be introducing new products to take advantage of the new opportunities.
Give us a call to find out how we can help you, as we start on our next thirty years.