David Hurwitz: Dressed for Success
By Matt Solis, Editor
ROHNERT PARK – When David Hurwitz established Glass With Class nearly three decades ago, he knew he needed a hook—something that made him stand out from other window washers and gave clients a sense of his personality at the same time. But it wasn’t until he received a random package in the mail that he knew he had something truly special. “One day, my mom found three really cheap tuxedos in a store and decided to buy them for me,” he remembers. “They were horrible—lime green and powder blue with ruffled shirts and the whole bit. I started going storefront to storefront asking if they needed their windows cleaned, and since I was wearing this weird tuxedo, people started responding really positively. It wasn’t long before I had a good storefront route going.”
David’s attention-grabbing tactics took on so much steam that several Bay Area newspapers wrote feature articles about him. “The Cotati Clarion saw me cleaning windows right near their office and said, ‘Wait, don’t move!’ They ran back to get a photographer, took a picture of me and gave me some good local exposure. After that, I had a contest to rename the business, and Glass With Class was the winner. I’ve taken off the tuxedo since then, but the name has stuck.”
Window cleaning has been a connecting thread throughout David’s life—he had his first experience with the business when he was 14 years old, and when he moved from Boston to California five years later, that was the first profession he turned to. “I came to California in 1984 because I didn’t want to work in the Boston weather anymore—there was one winter where the water was literally freezing on the glass before I could squeegee it,” he says. “After spending a couple days in Los Angeles, which wasn’t at all like I expected, I drove to Santa Rosa to visit two of my cousins. As soon as I arrived, I said to myself, ‘I’m home.’ I couldn’t have imagined a better place to live and work, so I decided to stay.”
Once he established a loyal clientele base by using his tuxedo gimmick, David gradually grew his business with strategic marketing and referrals from satisfied customers, which required him to expand his services. “Things really picked up when I started doing window tracks,” he remembers. “At first, I was just cleaning glass, and I eventually added screens at the request of my clients. Then I found out another local window cleaner was scrubbing and vacuuming tracks and getting a lot of referrals, so I added that to my repertoire. Being able to clean the whole window has been huge for us—our customers call us back year after year because they’re so happy with that service.”
When he’s not keeping up with the busy schedule of a Northern California window cleaner, David enjoys spending time with his wife, Janine, and their 10-year-old son, Josh. “He’s a baseball star and at the top of his class in school every year,” he beams. “This type of work is very seasonal, so I don’t get to spend a lot of time at home during the spring and summer, but during winter I get to be with my family a lot. We’ll go on ski trips and drive all over the country, which is fun.”
David started his window washing career with the goal of being the best, and after almost 30 years in the business, he continues to strive for perfection with each successive job. “My dad once told me, ‘You can do whatever you want and make as much money as you want, but make sure you’re the best at what you do.’ That really stuck with me, and it’s what I try to do every day. I’ve invested a lot of money in new equipment, I go to conventions and tradeshows all the time…basically, I’m always trying to learn how to be a better window cleaner. And trust me, there’s a lot to learn in this business. Every day I learn something new, and I always make sure my customers are the first to benefit from it.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: I’m a big fan of the San Francisco Giants, but since I grew up in Boston, I also like the Red Sox, Patriots and Bruins. This year’s Stanley Cup was exciting for me.
Q: What’s your favorite movie genre?
A: I like mysteries and thrillers, but since I’ve had my son, I go to a lot of kids’ movies as well, and I really enjoy them!
Q: If you could immediately master an instrument, which would you choose?
A: Guitar. It would probably be the easiest to move around, unlike a piano. My whole family is musical except for me…I tried to learn but I just never had the discipline to force myself to keep at it.
Q: What was the name of your first pet?
A: Smoky. He was a little mutt who barked at everything and wasn’t very nice. My favorite pet was a Golden Retriever named Sammy, but Smoky was the first.
Q: Do you have any superstitions?
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A: I try not to, but every time I walk under a ladder I think twice before doing it. I guess I have the classic superstitions—I’ll throw spilled salt over my shoulder, and if a mirror breaks, I’ll yell, “That’s seven years!” But I try not to take too much stock in all that because I don’t want it ruling my life.