The last thing customers want after paying you to do their window job is to be cleaning up after your installers. But many window contractors don't even notice that they've left behind a mess. Sawdust around window jambs, fingerprints on glass, and a mud trail from the front door make it hard for customers to part with their money —and even harder for them to refer you.

Clean-Up Systems Larry Krohn of Hansons Windows in Madison Heights, Mich., says his installers are required to lay out runner drop cloths from the front door to the work location and around the work location.

Dan Ritter, owner of Beautyguard in Ambler, Pa., is clear with installers that jobs must be left clean. “We wash the windows inside and out,” he says. “You don't buy a dirty car. Why would you buy dirty windows?” But Ritter's window-replacement etiquette extends past leaving clean windows. “We also remove and replace blinds,” which makes customers happy.

Krohn makes sure that his installers follow up on jobsite cleanliness by soliciting customer input. “Not only does the salesman who sold the job visit the installation and the installer explain what's going to happen on the day of install, but we leave a ‘thank-you' packet asking about the quality of our work,” Krohn says. Of course, if his people leave the site a wreck, “the answers aren't pleasant.”

Furnish Training and Products Regency Windows in Twinsburg, Ohio, provides thorough training and gives its installers the products they need to keep houses clean. Production manager Dave Gordon says, “Our installers have booties to wear over their boots, they drop runners for travel paths, and there's a vac on every truck.” Combined with quality work, a clean project helps the company gain referrals. “More than 97% of our customers are willing to recommend Regency,” Gordon says.

In the end, it's about leaving the customer with nice new windows that they can enjoy instead of a mess they need to clean up. This kind of customer service is a great steppingstone to building your brand and bringing new customers through your door.