Tips for Professional Pressure Washers
“If you give me a free house wash, I will be sure to tell all my friends about you, and you will get loads of experience!” I am not a pressure washer, but I heard this offer frequently when I was a budding photographer. I did a few jobs for free in the beginning. The clients were usually a pain in the rear, but I desperately hoped that all that experience would eventually lead to a paying gig. Before long, I realized that my bills were piling up while I was working for free.
Bleach. Yes, the most common word this time of year. But it has many names and many misunderstandings. SH, Sodium Hypochlorite, Liquid Chlorine, Laundry Bleach, etc. This chemical is used in many ways in the pressure washing industry to make some serious cash. Contractors are using bleach for treating mold and algae from houses, roofs, gutters, driveways, and large concrete areas. Sometimes even accidentally reducing the maple tree population.
A question I am asked, maybe more than any other is “what pressure washer do I buy to run a power washing business”. To me it is somewhat of a loaded question because I could probably talk for hours on the possibilities, therefore the short answer is always “well it depends”. There are far too many variables to have a straight answer to this question. That said, I believe with conviction that the answer is never a consumer or prosumer model that is most often found in the big box stores.
Often applying soaps at high pressure is the most effective way to clean a surface. However, most pressure washers are not equipped to apply soap with upstream injectors. This reduces the cleaning effectiveness and requires the use of higher amounts of soaps or stronger, more aggressive soaps.
It is important to understand that there are three primary components that make the cleaning process possible: agitation, chemical, and/or temperature. Agitation can be achieved by applying the blasting power of a pressure washer, brushing, media blasting, etc. Chemical blends are used to break bonds and attract pollutants away from the surface. Temperature is used to enhance the cleaning process so as the temperature increases the less time it will take for the cleaning process to transpire. Depending on what is being removed, the cleaning technician must decide what combination of agitation, chemical, and temperature will achieve the desired results in the most cost-effective and efficient manner.
High pressure soap applications (upstream injectors) are best used when the surface to be cleaned could easily be damaged by more aggressive cleaning detergents or when the use of strong chemicals will have a negative impact from repeated use. That said, most pressure washing pump components will be damaged if stronger blends of chemicals are run through them, so it is very important to know what will be running through your pump and what effect it will have.
Back in 1982, when I started in the industry, almost every machine was set up with the option of “upstream injection”. That is because the mass production of pressure washers was not in full swing yet and only contractor cleaners or industrial users had one. Normally, they were equipped with hot water and upstream injectors. As time passed many new outlets have entered the market offering equipment targeted more at the general public, who prefers a simpler process for applying soap. Hence the need to apply soaps with a downstream injector. It is easy and requires very little knowledge to do it. For most box store pressure washers, changing out the nozzle to a low-pressure nozzle, AKA a “soap” nozzle, is all it takes to be able to use the pressure washer to apply soap.
To apply soap at high pressure, the soap must travel through the pump. This is where the term “upstream” comes from, because the soap enters the flow of water as it flows to the pump. This method works best when a holding tank is use for drawing water into the pump. By restricting the flow of water to the pump a vacuum can be created because the pump is working to pull water in faster than the flow that can be achieved with just the force of gravity. Since the restriction is not always the same, a gate valve is used to adjust to the desired restriction. Next install a metering valve somewhere in the line between the gate valve and the pump. This is where the vacuum will be created to draw in the soap. From the metering valve run a hose to the soap tank.
I am Michael Hinderliter, president of PowerWash.com. If you found this information useful and educational, please share it with others. Thank you and have a successful day.
Every year, I see a new crop of rookies promising to wash any house for just $99! This classic mistake only makes sense to a novice. Be the lowest priced choice, and people might forgive my poor service. Unfortunately, there are two major issues with this ideology. First, a bad experience will stick with you even if the price was low. Second, the “tire-kicker” customers who chose you solely based on price will abandon you as soon as someone with a lower price comes along. Pressure washing is a service industry. Successful businesses separate themselves from their competitors by constantly improving their services to build a loyal customer base.
We hear this question all the time, what’s the difference between using an X-Jet chemical applicator nozzle and a downstream injector. The case for both can easily be made. However, it comes down to personal preference and for a lot of people it is a very passionate preference. Let’s take a closer look at the differences so you can make an informed decision.
Written By: Trey Posey
head. Life couldn’t be better. The other camp is asking how to make the phone ring and struggling to keep a full-time schedule. Worry or doubt may be setting in. Why such a drastic difference?
For some, sales and marketing comes naturally. For others, the struggle is real. Trying to figure out what works for them, they deal with endless research, ideas, and promises that seem to be a never-ending rabbit hole. Unfortunately, “what works for you” is not an easy or straightforward answer. There is a lot of information out there, and I recommend that you become a student of marketing trends and ideas, join networking groups (both locally and nationally), read books, Google “small business marketing,” and find a mentor. From there, make a plan. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a marketing plan. Once you are confident in your plan, commit to it.
When I first started in the pressure washing industry in 2002, direct mail postcards was my marketing media of choice. A good friend and mentor told me, “No matter what, make sure your postcards go out weekly.” Although it was difficult at times, I made that commitment. My first money in went right back out to my mailing campaign. That meant my cable was turned off (even my power was turned off once) and I had to eat peanut butter and jelly. I was committed, and it wasn’t long before I started seeing results (although during that time, it seemed like an eternity).
These days, direct mail can be just as effective, but there are many approaches to marketing. If you are struggling to get work, don’t over complicate it. You may not have a huge budget to commit to a marketing plan, but inexpensive plans will work. The key is commitment. The committed marketer will find work.
It is also extremely important to figure out who you are and what you are trying to deliver. You cannot be all things to all people; not everyone is your customer. Define your ideal customer and make sure your approach is reaching that customer. Be as specific as possible when defining who you are and who your ideal customer is. We all grow and change, so your ideal customer may be different five years from now. If you’re new to the business, you may struggle to define. Don’t use this as an excuse to stop trying. This is unacceptable if you truly want to succeed.
Don’t take it personally when things don’t work, and don’t be afraid to redirect when you figure out your ideal customer isn’t buying. If nothing you’re doing is working, maybe you’re doing it wrong. Don’t blame your competition or your market. You control you and your business. Those who blame other things are the first to shut down shop and give up. If that’s not you, get out there and do something about your thin schedule.
Marketing is not magic, and although some people and companies luck into contracts at times, the majority make their own luck. They made a plan (specific, targeted, time-based, and measurable), they committed to the plan even when it was uncomfortable, and they executed the plan.
To succeed, you must be passionate about your company and the endless possibilities that exist. Find a local networking group (Chamber of Commerce is a good place to start). Look for the next free social event — maybe they offer something like Coffee and Contacts (AM), Business After Hours (PM), or a luncheon that may cost you the price of lunch. These free events can bring you out of your comfort zone. Go share your passion. Make your business known to your community. Offer your ideal customer something of value through Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and LinkedIn. Work hard on these. Share quality information. Don’t make it about you; make it about your ideal customer. Your customers care about them, not you.
Don’t get discouraged when you see the success of other pressure washers. Be encouraged. It means you can do this and success is there to be had. Make it happen.
For Tempa Sherrill, founder and CEO of Stay The Course, a Fort Worth, Texas-based 501(c)3 organization that provides whole-life care, equipping and counseling for veterans and first responders and their families, the lack of resources available to help them led her to take action. Stay The Course's mission is "to serve veterans, first responders and families who have sacrificed for our country. We provide guidance, wellness and healing from invisible wounds."
A sudden pressure drop can be alarming when you depend on your pressure washer to put food on your table. Don’t panic! It may be something that can be corrected quickly.
A pressure washer surface cleaner is a must have accessory for anyone who cleans concrete. They can speed up your work and smooth out the final product. Edit snippet