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June 2015 Issue 34

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"If you haven't scratched glass yet, you haven't cleaned enough glass." This is a lesson Michael Draper has learned personally and witnessed time and again by window cleaners across the country. "It's going to happen, and when it does, it won't matter how professional you are, how big or how small you are, how long you've been in the industry. It can be a big deal that may very well put you out of business, or it can be just another insurance claim." For this reason, Draper – who has over 25 years window cleaning experience, including his role as national sales director for J. Racenstein – decided to start Glass Grinders in 2014. Glass Grinders is a consulting company that can help window cleaning companies get prepared for when that scratched glass claim arises, or potentially help them remedy a bad situation after the scratching occurs. Primary Causes of Window Scratches Scratched glass is a controversial subject in the window cleaning industry. "Everyone wants to know, 'Why did the scratch happen?'" A lot of the times window scratches get blamed on fabricating debris, and there are times when this could be the cause. However, Draper adds that there are times when scratches are caused by other issues. "We see a lot of different types of scratching occurring. Different characteristics define possible reasons for scratching." In particular, there are three types of situations where window cleaners are more likely to scratch glass. • New Construction. These windows are exposed to a lot of dirt, debris, concrete, sand, etc. – all of which can cause glass to scratch. With these situations, Draper says that you really need to "clean the glass before you clean the glass." In other words, take a water fed pole and rinse off any contaminants,dirt, debris, airborne particles, etc., that may be on there before ever trying to remove construction debris from the glass. • Razors. While razors are still the preferred method for removing debris, caution needs to be taken when using this tool, especially on certain types of windows, such as tempered, exposed low-e coating, and self-cleaning glass. If you plan to use razors – or any method that goes against the glass manufacturer's recommendations – Draper highly recommends having a scratch waiver in place. All glass manufacturer's have cleaning recommendations, and window cleaners often go against those recommendations. This is not only true with the use of razors, but even mop and squeegee. "Manufacturers' specs often say you can only use a micro fiber towel." So, to protect yourself in case of damage, you have two options: follow manufacturer guidelines or have your customer sign a waiver stating the way you will clean the glass as opposed to the way the manufacturer recommends." "Otherwise, if you use razors and the manufacturer guidelines say don't use razors, you could be viewed as the incompetent one and this could affect the outcome if it were to go to court," Draper stressed. As an IWCA board member, he Are You Prepared for YOUR Scratched Glass Claim? Guidance from Michael Draper of Glass Grinders By Allison Hester "Scratched Glass" 13 FEATURED

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