Posts Tagged ‘Vancouver’

How Water Restrictions affect Window Cleaners

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This summer North America has experienced record setting temperatures and right now Vancouver is experiencing the driest and hottest summer on record. Since Vancouver has limited water storage capacity, there is a fear that the water we have in our reserves will not be sufficient to last us until the rainy season from September to November. Droughts are a result of excessive heat and abnormal amounts of low rainfall. Years ago this wasn’t a problem, but recent population growth in the Lower Mainland has led to increased demand for water. City of Vancouver

The high summer temperatures are also contributing to the devastating growth of wildfires across British Columbia, leading the province to burn through three times the wildfire budget.

Due to the current situation, the city of Vancouver has imposed stringent water conservation measures to limit the amount of water use across Metro Vancouver. Stage 3 water restrictions are now in effect which means that as window cleaners we are not allowed to use treated drinking water to clean windows for aesthetic purposes.


In a situation like this, as a society everyone needs to do pitch in and participate.   Vancouverites all across the city are forgoing the aesthetics of watering their lawns, their gardens and being extremely mindful of water consumption. There are fines of $250 for those who don’t follow the restrictions and if that fails online shaming and apps are out there to report people who are watering their lawns. #Grassholes

The efforts are being recognized as we are seeing that Metro Vancouver’s consumption is now below the targeted levels which means that if everyone manages to maintain their water usage at this level that we will be able to make it until Fall without any rain.

So what happens when keeping things clean is part of your business? What happens when you have a team of 20 employees who depend on their paycheque to feed their families?
Typically summer is the busiest time for window cleaners. And window cleaners and pressure washers alike are feeling the heat. Business is dropping straight across the board and companies are looking at ways to keep afloat during this challenging time for cleaners.

From the beginning, we at Black Tie had decided not to put all our eggs in one basket. The strategy to diversify our services in exterior maintenance has benefited us and has lessened the pain. Currently we are in the process of building our offices so while we have a shortage of work, we are able to employ our crew in different areas.

Everyone is taking the water saving initiatives very seriously and that is one of the things I have always admired about Vancouver. It’s a green city and environmentalism has always been an important issue. Since the stage 3 restrictions, all window cleaning has come to a standstill.




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Check out our shiny new website!


We are pleased to announce the fresh redesign of our new website. Our initial site was set up 4 years ago, when we were just getting started, so we had to rely on a lot of stock photography. Now that we are more established, we have plenty of great shots and videos of our staff in action, and we used those to brighten up the new site. Please check it out for yourself!

We are a young, dynamic and we are growing. We are local. We are Vancouver.
And we love Instagram! In fact, we are hoping to feature one of the most exciting Instagram feed in Vancouver, showcasing a unique perspective of our beautiful city, taken by our staff on the various jobs they are working on.

We hope you enjoy exploring the new site, that you find what you need &
share it with your people. Please let us know what you think here.

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Job Alert: Black Tie is Hiring!


Are you looking to join a young, dynamic & fun company?  Are you hardworking, ambitious and looking for a job with room for advancement?   Black Tie is a fast growing, local Vancouver company, who is always looking for great people to join our team.  We specialize in in window cleaning and exterior building maintenance.  We take pride in the training and development of our team.

We have full-time positions from April to November, potentially ongoing throughout winter for the following jobs:

Experienced Rope-Access Technicians – Window Cleaning


  • SPRAT or IRATA Level 1 or higher
  • Minimum 6 months experience in window cleaning and power washing
  • High-Rise painting experience not necessary but considered an asset
  • Computer literacy and daily access to Internet connection (ability to fill out online work reports and communicate fluently in English via email).
  • Willingness to be open to different assignments given, including occasional swing stage work and post-construction window cleaning.
  • Positive attitude and proven customer service track record
  • Clean appearance, punctuality and all the usual expectations.

Building Maintenance Ground Crew – Power Washing and Window Cleaning


  • Minimum 6 months experience in window cleaning and power washing (desirable but not necessary, as training will be provided for the right candidate)
  • Ability to maneuver ladders up to 32′ and water-fed poles up to 50′ water fed pole and post-construction window cleaning
  • Positive attitude and post-construction window cleaning.
  • Clean appearance, punctuality and all the usual expectations.


If you fit the above requirements, please send your resume via email to  And please feel free to share this with anyone who might be interested.  Compensation will vary according to experience.  Applicants who meet all requirements may even qualify for a signing bonus. Message us if you’d like more information on our fair and competitive compensation structure.

Don’t delay, Apply today.  We would love to hear from you!

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Hawk Attack! -The dangers and perils of window cleaning

Written by Roberto Castillo


It started off as a regular morning. We worked from morning until noon, and went for lunch as usual. After lunch, we stepped into the swing stage and began going up to continue our window washing work. Our job was to clean the windows from the 21st floor, all the way down to the bottom. But when we passed the 16th floor, we saw an excessive amount of feathers floating down from the sky.

We continued up until we reached the 19th floor, and at that point we saw the head of a giant bird, peering down at us. We frantically pressed the buttons to go up faster but upon reaching the 20th floor, we saw the bird in its entirety. It’s beady eyes were looking straight back at me. It was huge! It flew towards us, with its claws still firmly gripping the dead body of a half eaten seagull.

It circled around and proceeded to fly directly at us. We started to freak out and our survival instincts clicked in. Immediately I grabbed my squeegee, while my coworker, Cesar, grabbed the scraper as his first line of defense. We braced ourselves and prepared for attack. But when we looked up the huge bird flew away.

It was a scary sight: the blood, the feathers and the seagull remains, scattered about on the side of the building. We went downstairs to inform the building manager,  just in case the bird decided to come back to finish his lunch. When we spoke with the head of security, he let us know that what we actually saw was a hawk. Certain species of hawks will pluck their prey before eating. And you know they are around when you see a pile of feathers on the ground or floating down from a tree limb. Even though they can be dangerous, hawks are protected by the BC Wildlife Act and hurting one can result in fines or even jail time.

Jail or no jail, I would never want to pick a fight with such a scary animal! I figured the hawk was at least 2.5 meters with outstretched wings.

Out of curiosity though, I looked it up and found that under the BC Wildlife Act:

All birds are considered wildlife and are afforded full protection under the BC Wildlife Act.  A person commits an offence if the person except as provided by regulation or by an issued permit, possesses, takes, injures, molests or destroys a bird or its eggs.

Fair enough. Let’s leave those beautiful birds alone.

Our workday was put on hold and we played it safe by waiting about an hour before continuing the job. And then it was just work as usual, except this day I got to go home with an exciting new story that only gets better over drinks!

My advice to anyone who comes face to face with a hawk, is  to try to have quick access to your phone so you can take pictures.  Just kidding. But on a more serious note, don’t try to be tough and just let the animals do their thing.  They have a right to be there too. The hawk is a beautiful animal but it can also be extremely dangerous. Did you know that the Red-Tailed Hawk is on the list of Top 10 Birds most likely To Kill You? I feel lucky that nothing happened to us!

Please stay safe out there.

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Black Tie Photo Contest Announcement

“A day in the life of a window washer”

Last week, our valued team at Black Tie submitted their pictures collected over the year from previous jobsites.  The results were breathtaking.  It was a difficult choice … but as a team, we voted on the top three pictures in ranking order. Below are the results. 

Hang tight  to your seats if you suffer from Acrophobia!

#1 Window Cleaner’s Perspective

Photo Credit: Rob Baril


#2 – Boy’s Hanging Out

Photo Credit: Rob Baril


#3 – Everything is going to be alright

Photo Credit: Philip Walter


There were so many stunning photos to choose from that it was a challenge to narrow down the best ones.

To view the top picks, please click here for our latest photo album: Top Picks from Black Tie Team Photo Contest & please click : “Like” while you’re there!

Viewing these photos was such a pleasant experience that we’re already looking forward to next year’s contest!  

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

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