LITTLE ANSE: A new business is working to fill a niche in exterior home cleaning.
Cape Breton Island Window & Eaves Cleaning of Little Anse specializes in cleaning windows, gutters and siding, as well as deck staining.
“There is nobody around here doing window cleaning, maybe some people might wash people’s windows with Windex, but you’re still not getting the same clarity you would get doing it with the proper products,” owner Patricia MacInnis told The Reporter.
MacInnis started the business last winter, with a partner, when she moved to Isle Madame from Ontario.
“I did work for a company in Ontario two years ago,” MacInnis recalled. “We worked in Toronto, so the houses were a lot bigger than here; multi-million dollar homes.”
Apart from the size of homes, MacInnis said the location of many homes close to the ocean brings with it different challenges, like algae and rust.
“It’s a lot harder work because of the ocean,” she said. “Every time I get to a house, and especially if I’m doing the siding, they’re like, ‘it’s not that bad,’ and when I get there, they look at one side that I’ve done and they’re like, ‘wow.’ The same with window cleaning; no one ever opens up their windows and sees what’s actually inside the tracks. If you have a bird feeder, there’s always seeds, or there’s bugs, and nests, and even under the window, you have algae two inches thick, growing.”
MacInnis said her business uses products and techniques that are safe but effective, including their own secret solution for tough stains.
“When I do clean siding, I don’t pressure wash,” she said. “I use a hose at a higher setting. I scrub, and once that is all done, I spot clean all the stains and rust and everything to make sure it gets as close to perfect as I can.”
When she did similar work in Ontario, MacInnis said many clients did not want pressure washing performed so she does the same here.
“We do wash by hand, and we don’t pressure wash at all because it can seep in and be very expensive to fix, and we don’t want to be liable for that, neither do the homeowners,” she said. “For the window cleaning, we clean the sills, we clean the frames, we clean the tracks, we clean the screens, we clean everything. It’s streak-free, you can see clearer.”
Depending on the scope of any project, MacInnis said she can do some jobs by herself.
“If you’re just going to go clean the gutters, then for one person, it takes a couple of hours,” she noted. “If you’re doing the siding, then the windows, it’s going to take two people a whole day.”
As a woman in business, MacInnis doesn’t believe it’s been harder for her.
“So far, I’m doing pretty good,” she reported. “For myself working, right now I’m pretty busy. I got out of the car one day, and this lady said, ‘you’re going to go up on the ladder and do that yourself?’ And I was like, ‘yeah.’ She said, ‘you’re kind of a little girl.’ I said, ‘I’m not that little.’”
At each job, MacInnis does a walk-through before and after, including taking pictures at the start and end of each project.
During the winter months, the new business does Christmas light hanging, and removal, MacInnis said.
MacInnis pointed out that all employees, including herself, undergo criminal record checks since they have access to the homes and properties of customers.
Cape Breton Island Window & Eaves has served customers as far away as Antigonish, and the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
Once school restarts, MacInnis will be going door-to-door to drop-off business cards and get the word out about her new venture.
As for the future, MacInnis hopes to be able to hire more employees, such as students looking for work.
“I haven’t had one negative complaint yet, everyone is very happy,” she added. “There hasn’t been a stain I’ve come across that I haven’t been able to get out. I have a lot of patience. ”
Cape Breton Island Window & Eaves Cleaning has a Facebook page and can be reached at: 902-227-7709, or via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.