Best Practices: Washing close houses. Aka, how to not anger the neighbors

So, where I live, the vast majority of newish developments are basically lot line houses. The majority of the time, the neighbors are away at work or just staying inside.

I try my best to avoid overspray on anyone’s property, but it does happen,and wind can’t be avoided. At least not until I reach my final form…

I even rinse off cars etc.

However, I would love to know what habits, tricks and methods you use to minimize soaking the people gardening in their backyard.

I am fast enough to be in and out in around an hour for an average 2 story, and I have had almost no complaints yet. That usually means that one is incoming.

And suggestions?

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Ask bill, he does shore houses, they are practically on top of one another. His back is probably against one while washing the other.

Edit: @Clean_Blue

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If it’s going to get sprayed, knock/explain if possible, pre-wet it for sure, let the client know as well. Some people get all enviro-crazy that we’re destroying the world by spraying some 1% SH on a house…


I’ve backed away from washing these high-dollar sardines, at least with SH. So far the neighborhood just wants the dust gone and I’m fine with that.


I get sh and water on the neighbors houses, windows, decks and cars all the time. Fortunately I very rarely have any issues. I clean 3 and 4 story shore homes that can be 10 feet apart. It’s easy to blast the neighbors house with soap or water when your on a deck 2 or 3 stories up soaping railings, spraying soap out. I rinse the neighbors house and cars when I’m done. If they come Outside anytime while I’m cleaning I tell them I might rinse their house or cars down if I get soap on them. If they complain I say the same thing and they always respond positively. I can count on one hand my negative interactions.


I think knocking at the neighbor’s door before you start, explain what you are doing, ask if they may close their windows/ move vehicle/ call the kids inside, in a very respectful manner, is the best thing to do. We do this all the time and neighbors almost always gladly cooperate. I think it’s the responsible thing to do, avoids drama, potential accidents, and may get you new clients.

Of course it doesn’t work if they’re gone and left their windows wide open and their car with the windows open…

Good thread topic by the way.

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that’s about average to what we wash 'round here…we’ll rake it in washing those all day long!

Does yours have Hardie board with that stupid Sherwin Williams paint? Half the houses have some beachy bright color.

Most Hardie has integrated color now…just had to spot repair one from our Christmas light business, so a lot of reading about that product… However, if a client even mentions SW, I hang up :joy:


I actually have a couple folks who tossed out a painter’s bid because he wanted to use SW, and they’ve heard me talk about it so much, lol.

Did the UV rays from the bulbs fade it or something? I’m corn-fused.

Don’t ask…sore subject :joy:

Okay, haha. Nevermind. That Sherwin guy is a jerk.

It wasn’t the finish, it got chipped in places…long story. They sell a colormatched touch-up kit for small chips in the integral finish they use now.

I really like this and I think I need to implement this asap. It’s also a great way to put your business card into the neighbors hand.

I guess I haven’t been doing it yet because deep down I am hoping to just splash and dash before the neighbors figure out what I am doing or who I am. Can’t complain if you don’t know what/who happened.

But, it’s definitely more professional your way, and I know as a home owner that I would appreciate it myself if a contractor informed me if work on my neighbors was going to affect my property.


This. That’s what I do. The absolute last thing you want is a conversation when you’re trying to work or someone wanting to add to your schedule. The quickest way to get added to my DNA list is to share my number with a neighbor.


It’s been windy here for 6 weeks. I 've been rinsing off a lot of cars. Also good way to meet neighbor if you haven’t already.


I always love the “best practices for running yourself out of business” comments…it’s so much easier when that’s your goal :joy:

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Two minutes ago. If you took every job or call that came in you would have to have 50 trucks on the road in this area. I don’t want that. Referrals just mean more work and they’re only so many hours in the day


Like I said…lol. You need to find you a decent service new guy or 2 and kick them these for 5-10% of the ticket value, then they can work for the repeat business…