Make Money Replacing Broken Window Glass
Owners or tenants pay you to replace broken window glass in their apartments or homes. This business idea can be either a part-time or a full-time way to make money, depending on the demand and your ambition. With the hard times we are having, people will be staying in their present homes longer, rather than trading up. This practice increases the demand for home repairs. (This is article #3 in a series of emergency handyman services.)
This business idea is best suited for people who are physically fit and enjoy working with their hands. You must be able to remove and replace broken window glass and repair damaged window dividers. This refers to window panes held in wooden sashes with glazers’ points and glazing compound (putty).
You should own a pickup truck or van to haul equipment, materials, supplies, and trash. You need to own or purchase the equipment and protective gear required for this activity. You should set up a home office with the basic office equipment and supplies.
Since this is an emergency type service, you should be able to make money without much trouble. Use a simple classified advertisement in the local newspaper or on to get customers. Also, advertise in any property owner’s newsletter.
Preliminary job activities
After arriving at the job site and greeting the customer, inspect the damaged window(s). Use a tape measure to find the approximate inside width and height of the wood frame to receive the new glass. The customer may be in a hurry and want you to work on a holiday, weekend, or at night to get the glass replaced. In addition, you may be asked to come back later and paint over the cured putty bead to make it weatherproof.
You can use standard job bid forms to estimate your labor and the costs of broken window glass and any damaged window dividers. This bid should include the fees for any extra services to be performed, such as painting or staining, and hauling away any trash. If the customer accepts your bid, you both can sign the bid form.
Main job activities
Before starting work, put on goggles and heavy work gloves. Then use a wide trowel or shovel to pick up any visible pieces of broken glass inside and outside the damaged window. Place these pieces in a sturdy cardboard box. Then lay down a plastic sheet to catch any more pieces that may fall down.
After heating the old putty, remove all remaining pieces of broken glass. Place them inside a sturdy cardboard box. Then use a chisel, putty knife, or utility knife to remove all the old putty from the window sash. Replace any damaged window dividers. Use a whiskbroom or small paintbrush to clean the wood where you removed the putty. Then apply linseed oil to all the bare wood.
Use a tape measure to find the actual inside width and height of the wood frame to receive the new glass. Then deduct 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch from each measurement to allow for clearance when replacing the glass pane. If the wood frame is straight and square, use the 1/16 of an inch deduction. Otherwise, use the 1/8 of an inch deduction.
Have the glass pane(s) cut to size at your local glass shop, hardware store, or building supplies store. (Be sure the glass is the correct size before you leave the store.)
Roll lumps of fresh putty between your hands. Use these rolls of putty to form a thin bed all around the wood frame that will receive the glass pane. (If the putty is cold, warm it up first.) Then gently press the new glass pane into the wood frame. This should force some putty out behind the glass.
Use a putty knife to insert new glaziers’ points every six inches or so along the wood frame. Force the point straight into the wood. Don’t put pressures against the glass, or it may break. The points should not be visible from inside the house. Use at least two points for each side of the glass pane. Don’t put a point closer than an inch from a corner of the glass.
Roll more lumps of fresh putty between your hands. Use these rolls of putty to form a triangular bead against the glass and the exposed wood frame. (If the putty is cold, warm it up first.) Then use a putty knife to flatten and strike off the surface of the putty bead. Shape this new putty bead to match any old putty beads near it. Also, the edge of the putty bead should not be visible from inside the house. Dip the putty knife in linseed oil if needed to smooth out the new putty bead. Use the putty knife to scrape off any excess putty around the glass pane and wood frame.
Follow the directions on the putty container as to curing and painting. When painting the cured putty bead, let the paint extend slightly beyond it (onto the glass and the wood frame) to protect the putty edges from the weather.
Final job activities
Inspect the premises to verify you have finished all required tasks. Remove all your equipment and supplies. Clean up inside and outside around the damaged window. Make sure you have placed all pieces of broken glass inside a sturdy cardboard box.
Collect your agreed upon fee from the customer. Haul the trash away, if part of your agreed upon services.