"Many people are lucky enough to know from an early age with what they want to do as a career, I didn’t, and now I work as an independent window cleaner in Chester."
The extra mile to keep your property looking its best all year round.
For most people, this would be viewed as a nightmare scenario, but you'd be wrong, and I am happy to explain why becoming a window cleaner has empowered me and given me a life to be proud.
I learned from an early age in my hometown of Lancaster that finding a job to love was going nowhere. This insight was back in the first years of the internet, and I was lucky enough to see its potential early on. Making a long story short, I had fifteen successful years as a web designer that brought me into this beautiful city of Chester.
However, fate has changed the course of my life, and now I'm working as a window cleaner.
This change came about because my web-based business was devastated by changes in government policies towards solar panels and I had to find a new revenue source quickly as my baby boy was born shortly afterwards.
A window cleaner friend of mine back in Lancaster showed me the ropes and helped me get my pioneering window washing equipment set up and working.
Being a progressive type of person, I not only wanted to improve on what others were already doing, but I wanted to change my window cleaning service to more modern standards.
This improvement I feel I have done in spades.
Using digital technology to improve customer service has been the kingpin of House Proud. I recognised very early in the business that people (most) don't want a monthly clean, but are happy to have a window cleaner arriving bi-monthly instead.
Using modern technology to its maximum, I do not harass my customers looking for payments in the evening time when my customers are spending valuable time with their families.
As I have always strived to do my best whether in paid employment or within my projects, I feel it is important to note that I have brought this highest level of self-scrutiny to my window cleaning business too.
As an example, I change the filters in my modern 'high-reach' cleaning system, well before is due to make sure every customer gets the 'perfect' clean and finish.
What is most surprising in this window cleaning adventure is my well-being from spending fifteen years web developing in front of my laptop, which was beginning to take its toll on my physical health and mental well-being.
There is no doubt that being a window cleaner is hard physical work. In the early days, I used to ache continuously after every day, but this was down to my low personal fitness levels from years of inaction.
They say that mind and body are connected, and I found this to be true as my fitness through hard physical work began to build me up both physically and mentally.
Luckily, my head for heights is genetic as my war hero grandfather was in the parachute regiment during the war. I have done parachuting and rock climbing, so I was good to go as a gutter cleaner.
The joy of working outside and in some of the city's most beautiful gardens is a simple perk of the job that I didn't expect. Seasons come and go, but for most of the year, I'm lucky enough to be able to avoid the rain clouds and work in one of the country's most beautiful cities and outskirts of Chester.
Being a window cleaner has allowed me to spend extra time with my son and it's this that I appreciate the most. During this period of readjustment, I have learned to understand my life in ways that I took for granted in my previous career and employment choices.
I would like to thank all my customers who I believe are fantastic. I think in cleaning more than what the customer expected, and it's this that has led me to be Chester's most recommended gutter and window cleaner.
My customers get their external features cleaned, a better level of cleanliness in their home and I hope I make them feel unique as a customer, because anyone who employs me to keep their home looking its best, I believe is exclusive - period.
Unexpectedly, becoming an external cleaner has shaped me mentally and physically in ways I never dreamed possible. My life in Chester took an unexpected right turn, but also surprisingly I now love my new life and will continue to grow in myself and my business.
Welcome to House Proud.
Have you ever wondered why I add a smiley sun to your bill on the most dreary of days? It's a small reminder that with each window clean, you are helping not only to support my son and me but help continue the Heat my Home project that is helping create a better world and solar-powered future.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
I had noticed a local window cleaning competitor had begun offering 'full external cleans' were before I started they didn't. Where most window cleaners only clean the glass, my innovative service make sure your whole house is looking its best. This difference is crucial if you are proud of your home.
Still the original and always the best.
It has been a year since I first set-up my solar-powered window cleaning business and what a year it has been.
I remember my first day with a bag full of freshly printed business cards and nothing but a belly full of anticipation and determination in equal measures. I set-off on my bike to find as many houses with dirty windows as I could, unfortunately, I finished that day; weary, deflated and wondering if I had made the biggest mistake of my life.
With the van prepared, the state-of-the-art equipment was installed, and although it had a few leaks in the system, I had already invested all I had in the embryonic House Proud.
With a fast growing baby Brandon getting bigger by the day, I stuck my cards everywhere and anywhere while using my Web site skills to fashion together a web presence. I knew getting my web site into Google's good books would take a bit of time, so I worked on it evenings and got out and about to find those essential first customers during the daytime.
One thing I remember vividly was that one new customer seemed to lead to another, almost like following a trail of breadcrumbs. With many recommendations under my belt, my confidence began to grow, and something started to happen. People were paying me extra to clean other external features using my high-reach extendable pole system.
Another unexpected aspect of the business came when people wanted me to clean conservatories, clear gutters using my ladders and powerwash patios, so suddenly my company was not only growing, but diversifying too.
After a productive summer the winter months were closing in fast, but I still didn't have enough customers yet. Nevertheless I had the spring back in my step, but unfortunately, it was not going to last.
The van broke down spectacularly on the A55 as Christmas was just on the horizon. The timing chain snapped and this meant a whole engine rebuild was required. Not a cheap fix and financially this nearly broke me as the fruits of my summer’s labour vanished in a single garage bill.
I write this, as the daffodils are now appearing and summer is just within our grasp. However, the winter months have been a real struggle as one after another, my laptop died, fridge freezer breaks, my car is crashed into and the wettest January and February in a hundred years takes its toll.
With that said; what has surprised me the most, is the overwhelming kindness that my customers have shown me. I now love being out and about during my day, as opposed to my previous incarnation as a web designer, where I only had the radio for company.
And with a diary full of prompt paying customers today and a web site that now brings me many more enquiries, the future may now allow me to think about employing someone to help me continue to provide the service my customers genuinely deserve.
Stuart & Brandon.
Setting new standards in windows cleaning was never going to be easy, but after learning the ropes from my good friend Iain Sinclair window cleaners (based in my hometown of Lancaster), I set up House Proud in 2013 to give my son a fighting chance in a world without mercy.
I believe window cleaning services should be about keeping the external house clean. With my specialist equipment, I set-up and haven't looked back. The responses and feedback from my customers have been overwhelming kind.
With many recommendations under my belt, I am happy to report that the darkest hours have been replaced by a sunnier dawn.
I believe that to appreciate the good times; one must first encounter and conquer the bad times.
I hope this is true for me and my precious son, Brandon.
I would like to thank all my customers who have reinstated my faith in the future.
I am happy to report that Brandon is growing quicker than I could ever have imagined and loves his weekends with his daddy.
Thank you for your custom.
For most of my adult life, I have never really considered being a dad. Parenthood was always something everyone else did. But now he's here; I love it.
I love making Brandon laugh; I even like changing his nappies. But before I get too gushy on you, I have to confess that the earliest stages of daddyhood for me was a complete nightmare. For the last decade, I have been optimistically pursuing a career in the solar panels industry.
As global warming becomes a more urgent issue and the price of heating our homes projects increasingly higher, it made sense that people would begin to adopt alternative ways to cushion themselves from traditional forms of power generation.
As a keen and self-taught web site designer, I began to use my combined interests to create awareness of solar panels through my web site called Heat my Home. Everything was going well, and as the site started to show fruition, my optimism for the future began to grow.
However, after the financial crash of 2008, the government (at that time) seemed to be slowly investing in greener technologies. This era was all to change though when the austerity government came to power, and one of the earliest victims of the cuts was (yes, you guessed it) the solar industry.
With only a two-week warning by the government, the industry went into meltdown as multiple incentive cuts throughout 2012 and the resulting high-profile court cases (government lost plus three appeals), put off many people from adopting this vital technology. A detrimental effect on my income came just at the time Brandon was due.
Money has never been that important to me previously, as I believe we are the luckiest generation of human beings to have ever walked on the Earth, but when a newborn child is involved, my view quickly changed.
To cut a very long story short, Brandon's first year on the planet was also my worst. The financial pressures and stresses didn't show any mercy to his mum's and my relationship, and unfortunately, we were unable to stay together during this most critical of times.
My window cleaning days began by noticing years before; those window cleaners were only cleaning the glass and leaving the frames dirty. Remembering this, I decided I could do better. Maybe even set new standards in the window cleaning industry. After all, what's the point in having clean windows if the rest of the property looks dirty?
House Proud was born.
100% satisfaction guaranteed.
A job worth doing is a job worth doing right. If you are unhappy for any reason, then call me back and I will re-clean for free. Nobody has ever asked me because I do the job right the first time, every time.