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The Evolution of Gutter Cleaning Services – Gutter Cleaning Program Care

Overflowing GutterIn order to maintain a healthy business relationship, both sides must feel good about a service agreement; the purchaser and the service provider.  This can be especially challenging with gutter cleaning based on expectations for results of the service.  Can one visit in the fall to clean the gutters at a strata ensure that they are functioning properly until the same time next year?  Sometimes.  But often, this is not the case.  This is due to the differences between cleaning gutters and other services.   This has led to us to:

The Evolution of Gutter Cleaning Services

Most service providers offer a 1 X Gutter cleaning service.  In fact, in the GVRD, this is what most property  managers expect  is the only option that they are able to find for gutter cleaning.  However, in 2009, ServiceMaster Clean Residential introduced a higher level of service in order to meet the actual demands of gutter maintenance around the GVRD.  We believe this is the next step in the evolution of gutter cleaning service.  It has been met with great success over the years.

We realized that the same issues arose each year during gutter cleaning season and determined it was time to do something to address that.  So we took a look at what we routinely faced.  We found this necessary in order to ensure both we as the service provider and our customers felt good about the service arrangement.

We found the most common issues are:

-Small areas around a strata needing extra attention, or getting clogged up weeks or months after the initial service was performed.
– Minor issues that due to repair work needed rather than cleaning
-Strata’s not knowing what was done or not, as gutters can be difficult to see inside.
-Understanding what a ‘clean gutter’ is. (Click here for an article on what a clean gutter is)

We found that the approach most people had to addressing any issue with their gutters, was to phone our office and demand that we come back as we had ‘not done the job right.’

While everyone makes mistakes  and sometimes things might get overlooked during a service, we found that in the majority of these instances were related to one or more of the four issues outlined above.  So in many cases we would do a spot clean for the customer for free, or, clean the area but take photos proving it had been cleaned previously and then charging for the time, or, insist we needed to meet someone on site in order to show them that other problems existed that required repair and could not be fixed with cleaning.   No matter what both sides were not left feeling good about the way things unfolded.  And that’s not the way we want to do business.  We want our customers to feel great about using our company for services.  So what we needed was a way to address the reality of the situation so that everyone felt respected, valued, and treated fairly.  We did this by adding additional levels of service for low cost in our ‘Gutter Cleaning Maintenance Program’ offering.

Includes all Standard Gutter Cleaning PLUS

  • 6 SERVICE CALLS INCLUDED FOR 12 MONTHS AFTER INITIAL CLEANING (Potential Value $ 900.00)
  • INVESTIGATE and REPORT ON ANY ISSUES DISCOVERED
  1. SERVICE CALLS – By including 6 free spots cleans, our customers know we are dedicated to taking care of their ongoing needs, and that we understand a 1x visit to clean gutters does not always provide enough attention to keep gutters functioning properly throughout the year.  We anticipate that new clogs can and do happen, and are prepared to fix them as they come up over time.  We also look at the bigger picture to  determine how best to ensure that the customers gutter systems are maintained.

    Do new problems arise because a section of the strata has gutters in heavily treed areas?  Did the first service get done early in the season, and a lot of leaves fell after that service was complete?  Did a gutter get plugged up because some kids playing with tennis balls sent one up into the gutter that plugged the top of the downspout?  It doesn’t matter what the reason – we’ll take care of it, quickly, and at no additional charge when a strata has chosen a Gutter Maintenance Program.

    Does this mean we have less incentive to ‘do it right the first time’?  Absolutely not!  Every trip to a strata costs us in fuel and labour charges.  We don’t want to have to go back.  But we also want our customers resting assured that we will if necessary to take care of them.  That builds a stronger business relationship, and leads to approaching problem situations with a spirit of cooperation and understanding.

  2. Report Any Issues Discovered

This focuses primarily on providing information regarding the gutter system beyond our ability to address.  If there are areas that are off-slope and need to be adjusted, we can inform the strata.  We’re also looking for areas of heavy damage, areas which were not installed properly, or areas that are not functioning well due to overtaxing their capacity (may need another downspout installed, etc.)

This information can then be used if strata chooses to adjust their system so that its function is improved

So how can we afford to include all this extra work and service visits?

We charge a small amount more than for a regular gutter cleaning service, yet one additional service call could be $250-$475 at regular price.   We can afford to offer this to our customers because with such a large pool of customers each paying a bit more for the full maintenance plan, those who need it can benefit.  It’s like insurance; not everyone needs to use all of their service calls, and we can draw upon the pool to ensure our workers are paid for their time.  We also grow our business because our customers know we put them first, even if it may cost us a little.   That’s something very important to us; great customer relationships.

So if your strata’s haven’t considered a gutter cleaning maintenance program, they should take a look at the option.  It’s a solution to the real world issues faced during gutter cleaning to ensure that everyone wins.

Gutter Repairs

Sylvain 026We’ve had great success with repairing numerous problems with gutter systems at various stratas.  We’ve added an experienced member to our team to ensure most of these repairs can be performed.

Issues and Repairs:

Installed on an inproper angle causing overflow before water can drain down the spout.  (click here to view an article explaining this elsewhere  in our blog).    In many cases these sections can be adjusted so that the angle allows for proper water drainage.

Gutters pulled away from the fascia board causing leaks, and leading toward the gutter falling off the building.  In many cases these can be reaffixed, so long as the board itself hasn’t rotted out behind the gutter.  In some cases we can repair this as well, but a rotting fascia board should be replaced.

A hole in the gutter, causing a leak.  This can usually be patched, solving the problem without needing to replace the entire section of gutter.

Gaps in the seams where caulking has worn away, causing leaks.  Gaps and seams can be recaulked – but this MUST be done in DRY weather, in favourable weather conditions to allow the caulking to set.  These issues should be noted and then repaired in summer months.  Temperature ranges are more favourable and wet weather will just causing the caulking to run or drip out of the seam rather than repair it.

Clogged down spout, causing water to overflow over the lip of the gutter.  Clogs can be flushed out, removed with a drain snake or flexible tool.

Disconnected down pipe, causing water to spray against the building and around the foundation, rather than be carried away properly by the system.  These pipes can be reattached if still on site, or replaced.

Missing gutter inserts, causing the spouts to become easily plugged by leaves and debris which can cover the hole.  New inserts can be placed inside, helping keep the top of the spout clear and allowing the water to drain out.

We clean your gutters, and service them as well.  If you are having an emergency issue, call us.  Become more proactive this year and avoid the cost of emergency call outs, get your issues dealt with promptly and have a more comprehensive gutter service set up for your stratas.