How do I Become a Window Washer?

Patrick Roland

If you've ever seen people squeegeeing windows to a sparkling shine while dangling dozens of stories in the air and wished you could be part of the action, there are some initial steps you must take to reach your goal. If you want to become a window washer, you must understand the various responsibilities and the different equipment used to complete a job. You also must be an expert on safety procedures to perform this dangerous job.

When you get started in the window washing business, expect to get less risky, ground-level cleaning jobs first.
When you get started in the window washing business, expect to get less risky, ground-level cleaning jobs first.

There rarely are educational requirements if you want to become a window washer. Some employers prefer candidates with high school diplomas, and some do not. This does not mean that school cannot help you get into the window washing business. Math is used every day to calculate how much equipment is needed to complete a job, chemistry is important because you deal with many chemicals to wash the windows, and physics is very helpful in understanding how to safely operate a window washing scaffold.

Keep your feet on the ground at first if you want to become a window washer. Most people don't jump directly into cleaning an 80-story building on the first day. Instead, you can work as an assistant or get jobs that don't require scaling buildings. This is a great way to learn the trade and stay safe until you have the confidence to go after the big jobs.

If you become a window washer, no matter what job you get, you will need to understand the equipment. There are a variety of squeegees used to clean different types of windows, from flat plate glass to curved surfaces. More importantly, a large window-washing service probably will have a variety of equipment to get washers to the windows. You will need to know that scissor lifts are stationary platforms that rise only a few stories, boom lifts operate like a crane and can raise to a height closer to 10 stories, and a suspended platform is lowered from the roof and allows access to all windows.

Another important aspect needed to become a window washer is an understanding of safety procedures. Every country has its own set of regulations for window washers, but most places require safety harnesses for certain heights. Others require helmets and other gear when working even just a few stories off the ground. Many companies also have handling regulations for the chemicals that are used, and you must learn to follow them.

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