This job is sometimes referred to by alternative titles
Window cleaners clean the windows and other glass surfaces of buildings such as houses, shops, schools, offices and hospitals.
Window cleaners with up to two years' experience usually earn
$16-$18 per hour
Experienced window cleaners and those working on tall buildings can earn
$18-$30 per hour
Source: Window Cleaning Services and Clean Scene Window Cleaning, 2015.
Pay for window cleaners varies, but they usually earn between the minimum wage and $18 an hour.
Contractors, experienced cleaners or those using abseiling equipment on high-rise buildings can earn up to $30 an hour.
Sources: Window Cleaning Services Ltd, 2015; Clean Scene Window Cleaning Ltd, 2015.
- PAYE.net.nz website - use this calculator to convert pay and salary information
- Employment New Zealand website - information about minimum wage rates
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the figures and diagrams in our job information)
What you will do
Window cleaners may do some or all of the following:
- set up cleaning equipment
- clean and dry windows and frames
- look after cleaning equipment
- keep records of work done.
Window cleaners who specialise in cleaning windows on tall buildings also set up industrial access ropes, scaffolding and rigging, and use these to access difficult-to-reach windows.
Depending on the company they work for, some window cleaners may also do related work like house washing.
Skills and knowledge
Window cleaners need to:
- have cleaning skills
- be familiar with relevant safety procedures
- have an eye for detail
- understand cleaning equipment and substances, and how chemicals react to window frames, glass and other surfaces.
Those cleaning windows of tall buildings need skill working with ropes and setting up scaffolding and rigging.
- usually work regular business hours, but may need to work evenings or weekends depending on client requirements
- work on the inside and outside of schools, offices, houses, shops and hospitals
- work indoors and outdoors in a variety of conditions, including high above the ground on tall buildings.
What's the job really like?
What's it like abseiling from a tall building?
“I wasn’t the best at heights when I first started, but due to demand I had to train in abseiling. The first few times were a bit nerve-racking but then I began to really enjoy it.
“I did high-rise work until I started running my own business. I couldn’t be up on a building answering the phone, so I got other staff in, but I would be quite happy to get up there and do it again.”
What do you need to know to run a window cleaning company?
“Quoting costs is a big part of the job because there are so many variables, especially if you are using equipment hire.
“Every job has to be done differently. Basically we look at it and say that nothing is impossible, everything is just a challenge. And it’s taking up that challenge and seeing it through that keeps things exciting.”
What do you enjoy most?
“You are not sitting at a desk looking at the clock all day – the days go quickly, the work is quite enjoyable and it’s great to be able to look up and see the difference your work has made.”
There are no specific entry requirements for becoming a window cleaner. However, an industrial ropes access course, at-height training or a scaffolding or rigging qualification are useful for window cleaners who work at heights.
A Site Safe certification can also be helpful.
There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a window cleaner.
Window cleaners need to be:
- reliable and motivated
- quick and efficient
- able to follow instructions
- safety-conscious and comfortable working at heights
- presentable, especially if working in residential areas.
Useful experience for window cleaners includes:
- work as a cleaner, scaffolder or car groomer
- work in the building construction industry
- any work with heights, including abseiling experience – especially for window cleaners using ropes and harnesses to work on tall buildings.
Window cleaners need to be physically fit.
Find out more about training
- 0800 277 486 – firstname.lastname@example.org – www.careerforce.org.nz
- Site Safe
- 0800 SITE SAFE (748 372) – email@example.com – www.sitesafe.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Chances depend on level of skill
The window cleaning industry is small, and not growing fast. Chances of getting a job as a window cleaner depend on the type of cleaning and the applicant’s experience.
There is higher demand for skilled cleaners. Entry-level or unskilled applicants may find their chances are average to poor.
There is also higher demand for window cleaning in summer (when it’s dry) than in winter.
An ability to work safely is important, especially with the introduction of newer, tougher health and safety regulations.
High-rise window cleaners in demand
Companies that specialise in cleaning windows of high-rise buildings often struggle to find window cleaners. People with rigging qualifications or abseiling experience are most in demand.
High-rise window cleaners often need to be trained by their employer, because of the difficulty of finding someone already qualified for high-rise work.
Ground-level window cleaners are generally less in demand, because fewer skills are needed.
Window cleaners work for specialised companies
Window cleaners usually work for cleaning contractors that are hired to clean commercial, retail and private buildings and residences.
Window cleaning companies range in size from contractors with fewer than five staff, to those with more than 30 employees.
Some window cleaners are self-employed.
- Crawford, L, office manager, Clean Scene Window Cleaning, Careers New Zealand interview, December 2015.
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2006-2014 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2015.
- Roche, M, health and safety director, Window Cleaning Contractors, Careers New Zealand interview, December 2015.
- Trask, S, 'Alex King Lives the High Life in Wellington', The Dominion Post, 26 August 2015 (www.dompost.co.nz).
Progression and specialisations
Some window cleaners progress to running their own business.
Window cleaners may specialise in aerial window cleaning of tall buildings.
Last updated 9 June 2017