Challenges of hiring commercial window cleaners amid a high-rise boom


Finding employees can be hard to come by in any industry, but this is especially true for commercial window cleaning.

With many other high-rise projects going up across the city, employers are feeling the pinch.

KHON2 spoke with one company who said it’s trying to keep up with the boom in high-rise buildings while also retaining hardworking employees.

Dino Pertzoff told KHON2 the demand for commercial window washers in Honolulu is sky-high.

“It’s out of control. We are trying to take care of our existing customers and we’re doing a pretty good job of it but the new customers are coming on very quickly,” Pertzoff said. “We’re just training them as fast as we can and we can’t find enough people.”

Pertzoff is president of World Wide Window Cleaning.

He said window washing is a necessary trade here, but it’s one that’s often overlooked.

“The window cleaning industry, sometimes we’re known as high rise janitors,” Pertzoff said. “Because we’re cleaning, the pay is not there and the market doesn’t support. It’s janitorial and we’re trying to change that.”

We asked Pertzoff what’s the biggest challenge when hiring window washers? He said, “The biggest challenge is finding someone to show up every day to work.”

Experience used to be a requirement, but now the company is offering on-the-job training to keep up with the demand.

“We do rope descent work. We work from chairs, so we’ll drop them from our office, one story, a hundred times before they go to three stories, and then they go to ten stories, and then they’ll go to 20 stories,” Pertzoff said. “We go through every single step and by the time they go over the side, they’re scared but they’re not panicking.”

Entry-level employees start off between 12-15 dollars an hour but that number can climb depending on experience and other trade skills.

“Our union guys are [at] almost $50 including benefits,” Pertzoff said.

Routine window cleaning on buildings that are no longer under construction is considered non-union work.

If you’re interested in joining the industry, you need to be able to lift 50 pounds and the companies can provide the rest.

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