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Rust Removal Made Easy!

CodyHave you been asked by a client, “Can you remove rust stains?” What is your answer in those cases? Are you confident your technique and chemical choice is effective enough to make a noticeable difference?


Golf courses, living communities, restaurants, etc., where there’s a super fertilized green lawn chances are some examples of where you may find some rusty concrete. Iron in the fertilizer works wonders on the grass, but can leave terrible rust stains if spread over concrete. The client may have already tried something to remove it without good results. Noticing this opportunity can be a great upsell. Most rust jobs are fairly easy with little tools needed. There’s a lot of rust removing products out there and techniques but the most effective that I can personally say would be Rust Remover Plus.

You can remove rust and brighten the concrete, pavers, stone, brick, siding, awnings, as well as a host of other surfaces with just a pump up chemical sprayer. For concrete: Using one gallon of Rust Remover Plus can cover up to 200 square feet. This product can be mixed with at 1:5 or applied straight based on the severity of the stain. We recommend to test a small area to determine the dilution needed for each rust removal job.  Wet the area down with water first, spray Rust Remover Plus and let dwell for up to 10 minutes or so.  Brushing with a stiff bristle brush before the surface dries is helpful for getting it to soak deeper in the pores of the concrete. Rinse the area and allow to dry to reveal your work. In some cases a second treatment may be needed.RustRemoverFountian

Rust Remover Plus is sold in 16 ounce, 1 gallon, and 5 gallon sizes. It’s also a great concrete cleaner and brightener.  My favorite chemical in our arsenal absolutely has to be Rust Remover Plus. If you haven’t heard of it I highly recommend to check it out.

Please feel free to reach out to us if you have more questions. We are here to help.

RR Video Link

 

Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning For Winter Business

IMG_5107As winter approaches for much of the country power washing contractors tend to slow down and in some places shut down all together.  Cold weather creeps in and many of the specialty services that you or your company normally offer simply don’t sell in the cold winter months.  So, what are some ways you may look to get through that dip in revenue or in some cases how do you survive?  My suggestion is look at kitchen exhaust cleaning aka hood cleaning.  This may be a scary idea for some as it does differ greatly from a house wash, concrete cleaning or window cleaning, but this specialty can be really lucrative and it doesn’t take a break for the winter.


According to NFPA 96 (National Fire Protection Association), which for much of US and Canada is the standard fire code, all systems must be inspected and cleaned by a trained, qualified and certified person.  This means with the right training and demonstration of the proper codes and procedures you can use your power washing equipment to add this in demand service.  Not only is it a residual service that happens on varying frequencies, it is required by law.  This service is not cosmetic in nature, but an essential part of fire protection for the restaurants in your community.

The Phil Ackland Training and Certification course that I teach each month is designed to provide the correct training and understanding of this service.  It is an intense five-day course that goes over in great detail the fire codes, the expectations the cleaning company has on them, safety, environment concerns, in depth look at the systems themselves as well as the components that make up an exhaust system.  The combination of hands on training combined GA8Y4258with classroom learning provide the students multiple ways to learn andretain what is being taught.  At the end of the week an exam is given to make sure all the information learned during the five-day course has been understood and retained.

 

Not only are you trained in the “how-to” of kitchen exhaust cleaning, there is a day dedicated to learning the business development and marketing and sales aspect of the business.  This inclusive course gives you the tools that you need to be successful.  It is one of my favorite classes to teach as I love to see new entrepreneurs and companies add this service be successful.  We have fun throughout the week and you leave here with not only the knowledge and experience gained, but also with resources to find answers and solutions once you are back home.

We recently improved the class too.  More hands-on training, updated GA8Y4636curriculum, and the classroom is conveniently located at the hotel.  We bring in guest speakers and work with vendors to find you incredible deals and savings to help your business. It’s completely geared to being the absolute best value for you.

If you are feeling like you need something to help supplement the winter months, or maybe your current services are not offering the return you had hoped for consider kitchen exhaust cleaning.  Some of the most successful and respected men and women in the pressure washing industry focus on kitchen exhaust cleaning. With a little bit of investment, you can be on your way to taking on this very profitable service.  I am willing to bet that if you ask around you will find that a good “hood cleaning” company is really needed in your area.  That company should be you!

Stealing Photos Online is a Crime

You can’t bring your potential customers on a tour of all your past jobsites, but you can use photos to show off your work. It’s frustrating when another contractor tries to pass your photos off as their own work. It’s also illegal. Photos, graphics, logos, text and any other content on your site is intellectual property protected by copyright and/or trademark. Stealing Photos is a crime. To put it simply, if you created the content, it belongs to you, but if you found it somewhere, you need written permission to display it on your site.

It is impossible to prevent people from stealing photos from your website or social media accounts. My grandfather used to say, “A lock keeps an honest person honest, but it only slows a thief down.” Someone with loose morals will always be able to get your photos, but there are plenty of things you can do to slow them down.

One of the easiest things you can do is add a watermark copyright on each photo. It won’t stop website visitors from stealing photos, but it will send a message that you value them. A watermark does not need to cover the entire photo. One of the most effective watermarks that I have seen is a small line of text placed on the bottom of a before and after shot. The shots are placed together as one photos so that any cropping will look obvious. If you use WordPress, there are plugins that will automatically add a watermark to every photo on your site. The drawback to watermarks is that they can be obtrusive, and they are usually easy to crop out.

If you don’t want to add a copyright watermark to every photo, you can add a copyright message to the footer of your site. By law, everything on your site is copywritten when it is published, but a footer message lets people know that you mean business.  You just need to add the copyright symbol and your company name.

If you want to go a step further to stop visitors from stealing photos, you can add a DMCA badge to your website. DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act. DMCA.com is a website that offers a takedown service if you feel that your content has been stolen. They also have tools like photo watermarker, and website scanner to help you find copies of your content on the internet. DMCA.com is not a law firm. They work directly with hosting providers and ISPs to takedown copyright infringements. If you see your content on another site, simply contact the DMCA, and poof, it’s gone.

Another way to stop visitors from stealing photos is to use a right click blocker. This will prevent people from being able to right click on a photo to save it to their computer. WordPress has plugins for this as well. There are still ways to get around this, but it is probably the most effective way to slow people down.

Use Google Image Search, or Tin Eye to find images that belong to you. Simply upload a jpeg, or insert a url into the search field. All images that match your filename, or look similar will pop up in search results. This process can be tedious if you have dozens of photos on your site. It might not be worth your time unless you know that some of your content has been stolen. DMCA’s website scanner is faster, but it is not free.

If you discover that your content is stolen, the issue can usually be solved quickly and privately. Most business sites have a contact form. You can usually use the contact form to send a message to the company. Don’t forget to include a screenshot of the content that you want removed. Be kind, but firm. Include a deadline for when you expect the content to be removed, but never give an ultimatum. If this approach doesn’t work, try using a service like registry.com to learn who owns the website. You can usually get a name, address, and phone number. Try contacting the site owner through one of these channels until you get a response. If this approach fails, try DMCA.com. If you really want to go nuclear, try a lawyer, but always consider if your content is worth the time and expense.

If you are a new business owner, you may be wondering how to get photos the right way. Stock photo sites can help you get started, but the photos are a bit generic. You can wash your own property and take before and after pictures of the process. You could offer to wash friends and neighbors’ property at discounted rates if they agree to let you photograph. Take lots of close-up shots so that you can use multiple pictures from the same location. A few before and after shots will get your message across.

Publicly shaming someone, posting negative reviews about their business, or sending threatening messages is never a good idea. If you have stolen someone else’s photos, remember that these things can happen. Theft of intellectual property is a crime. You can be sued for stealing photos. Be professional. Make sure that everything on your website is your own unique content.

Find an Insurance Agent for Your Power Washing Business

IMG_5107Why You Should FInd an Insurance Agent for Your Power Wash Business?

As an entrepreneur, you’re naturally driven and focused. You’re an expert in your business, but there are times when it makes more sense to delegate. You don't need to make insurance decisions on your own or pick a generic policy that doesn't fit your business. There are enormous benefits to partnering with an independent insurance agency that can maximize your protection and get you the right coverage for your business at the right price.  All business owners should find an insurance agent.

What You Need to Know

Having an insurance agent’s advice is important because every business is different. An agency that specializes in one industry has the experience from working with other companies that are similar to yours, so we can quickly guide you toward industry-specific coverages you might need or help you identify potential risks and how to mitigate them. Your agent provides an expert set of eyes and ears when it comes to risk.

Picking the Right Insurance Agent

Insurance is a commitment and not just any agent will fit your business. Below are a few questions to ask when considering what insurance company or agent to trust with your business.

  • Does he or she have experience in my industry?

  • How many years have they been in business?

  • Have my friends or business associates recommended this person?

  • Do I feel comfortable with this agent?


This last one is crucial because of the nature of insurance. Improper coverage will burn you in the event of a claim, and having an agent you trust is essential to maintaining peace of mind while you focus on growing your business.

An Agent You Can Trust 

Insurance is complicated. Make a mistake choosing your coverage, and damage to a customer’s property or an injury could bankrupt your business. It's time to pay attention to the risk of not hiring a professional to guide you through the insurance process. There are many insurers who will write policies in the powerwash industry, but many exclude crucial coverages, such as care custody and control, in the fine print. You need a company that looks out for your best interest and will discuss the coverage your business needs to succeed.

Check out the video below for Joseph D. Walters Insurance to gain some insight into choosing the right insurance for your company.

JosephWaltersInsVid

What Is Wrong With My Charging System?

CodyWe have had some conversations recently regarding battery powered electronic systems used in this industry. Soft washing pumps and some electric start pressure washers rely on the correct amount of voltage and amperage to operate correctly. I would like to share some of my basic electronic knowledge to assist in trouble shooting.  You may run into an issue with a component that could just have of the simplest of things to resolve.

When checking 12 volt electronic equipment, I recommend using a voltage meter as oppose to a test light. A test light is a good tool to have to see if power is coming in but it will not tell you exactly how much. A volt meter can help truly determine if you’re getting the right amount of power to the component that is tested.

When attempting to troubleshoot an issue like this I usually ask the following questions. Did you replace anything? What happened before it stopped working? What changed?

So I will give a few examples:

You have a battery that is fully charged but the unit will not power on. Check a few things in this scenario. Starting from the battery to the switch.
Here are some helpful troubleshooting tips to get started.

  • Corroded Terminals- One of the most overlooked simple problem is a corroded or loose terminal. If your former shiny new terminal looks green, its needs to be cleaned. Use an aerosol spray terminal cleaner and a wire brush. Check the wires at the terminal for corrosion too. In some cases, corroded wire may have to be replaced if it’s too bad.

  • Check your ground- if the ground wire is loose this will cause many problems especially with charging properly. If the ground wire connects to the frame check the terminal and ground screw for continuity with a volt meter.

  • Loose or damaged wires- So, if you able to move the wire and hold the wire in a certain spot then it works but not when it sits normal ,then something is wrong. The wire may not be connected properly, burnt, or even cut in some cases.

  • Burnt Fuses- If your system has a fuse, easily check the fuse for a broken connection inside the fuse. Replace the fuse and see if it pops. If it continues to pop there may be a short from the ground or an electronic component that is malfunctioning.

  • Battery and Charging System-Verify the battery has the specifications required to power the system properly. A battery can be tested for 12 volts easily with a volt meter or test light. But it can be difficult to test the amount of amps the battery is pushing out. Diaphragm pumps require 30 amps out of the battery to work properly. When under 30 amps this may cause the relay to malfunction and need to be replaced. Since battery chargers do not normally come with batteries its best to match up battery charger with the battery. My personal preference is a 10/2 amp with an analog meter that can give you a visual of where your charge is at. Digital Chargers are good but some of them only offer led lights that show charged, or charging.  If your charging system is part of your pressure washer, then check the voltage coming off of the system and check for loose belts.

  • Check your switch- look for corrosion, or a damaged switch. Are the terminals connecting to the wires? In some cases the switch just needs to be replaced.


There are many similar connection scenarios that can be resolved by just checking a few simple things. But sometimes the situation may require a little harder and sometimes frustrating troubleshooting. Reviewing a diagram or schematic for a detailed map of what goes where is very helpful. I will touch base on this more in the next coming articles.

Have a great week and Wash on

The Importance Of Before And After Pictures

CodyWhen you are advertising your pressure washing business, it is helpful to provide proof of your quality. Potential customers may want to see your work, or if they did not think to research, it is a good way to gain customers by showing them your before and after work. Before and after pictures can be a tool to use with social media, door hangers, or even your vehicle. Results are what the customer wants to see, so show them what you have done! Recently, I have seen excellent side by side flatwork pictures that have really caught my attention, and would surely get the attention of a potential customer.

Another tip about taking before and after pictures is liability of your work. For example, it is possible to go to a location and notice something on the property that might not allow you to produce great results, or possibly put the blame on you or your workers for damages. Taking thorough pictures of the property before you begin your work  and after you have completed ensures that you will not be blamed if something happens after you have left.

Having record of a job from beginning to end can help your company improve in quality.  It is a good way to show your own improvement over time by looking back at how you may of improved your techniques, or have upgraded your equipment to allow better quality work.

RustRemoverFountian

Have You Seen This Text Spam in Your Inbox?

You may have seen this text spam in your inbox. It goes something like this. “Hello, I will like to know if you do power wash in Dallas and do you except credit card for payment” I have always wondered what this was about, so I texted them back.

textStringI haven’t met anyone who has actually fallen for this baloney, but many people are frustrated with the clutter in their inbox. So what can you do? Unfortunately, there is no way to eliminate spam, but there are some things you can do to slow it down.


You can block individual phone numbers. To block a number on iPhone, click on the i in the upper right corner, then click on the number. Then scroll to the bottom of the screen, and click “Block this Caller.” To block a number on an Android phone, click the three vertical dots, select “People and Options”, and block. If you want to go a step further and report the message as spam, just forward the message to 7726.

There are also apps that can help stop spam. TrueCaller is my favorite app for spam blocking. TrueCaller relies on a community of users to report spam numbers. When a reported spam number tries to call you, your phone will show you a spam alert message so you can ignore the call. It doesn’t catch everything, but it helps.

The most important thing to remember about any spam is to never engage them. It can be tempting to prank them, but this could lead to even more spam. Sometimes spammers get a list of random numbers and text them until they get a bite. If you reply, they know that they have a bite. Never click any links from a contact that you do not recognize. A hacker could use this to gain access to your phone and monitor your activity.

Always be careful of magic bullets. No one has a complete solution. Spam is not going away anytime soon. Keep blocking numbers, use apps to help, or just ignore it.

 

Guide For Power Wash Insurance

IMG_5107As a mobile cleaning contractor, this knowledge is essential to protect yourself from financial disaster.

If you are like most people, your company, is next to your family, your pride and joy. It is also the major source of financial security for you and your family; perhaps your greatest asset. In many ways, your business is your life and someday your retirement.

Your business can also be, unfortunately, your greatest liability. There are no shortages on potential disasters: accidents, vandalism, dealing with employees, dealing with sub-contractors, shoddy workmanship, and unreasonable deadlines. Let’s not forget dealing with some clients.

There is not enough time to talk about everything that can go wrong, but it is not really all that bad.

A longtime friend and insurance broker, Tom Svrcek from Joe D Walters Insurance Agency, has shared a few secrets for protecting your business and achieving peace of mind.

“I am going to share with you a few secrets for protecting your business and achieving peace of mind; it is a little tricky, and it is important to do it right to ensure that you protect yourself and your business, and have the protection you need. I want to do this because I have found that time and time again, generosity and the willingness to provide really great service comes back to me ten times over. This information is all about your business, the unusual risks you face, and how our exclusive mobile cleaning contractor insurance program was designed to cover most, or even all of these risks.

First imagine a disaster. One day as you get to your work site, you are the first one there as usual. As you get there you know something is wrong. You see the fire trucks are just leaving and the house you were working on has burned. The house is a disaster and nearly gutted. The house was scheduled to be finished and the owners who are on vacation will be back in town in 2 days. It may take months to rebuild and remodel the damage. The water damage was almost as extensive as the fire damage. What do you do besides freak out? You were the only contractor on the site. Would your insurance program cover the loss and the additional cost you will incur? The material? The labor? Will you get paid for this job? What about all the other jobs you bid on and need to start? What if this fire is your fault and what about the lawsuit that is probably coming? What do you tell the family who will be coming home from vacation to see their house burned, and will not be able to move anytime soon?

You need insurance that can cover anything that can hamper your business and endanger your revenue stream. Anything less than that is inadequate! How do you get adequate coverage? How do you know what to buy and what risks face you and your business?

We have heard every horror story under the sun. If they were my clients, we would take care of their problems, quickly and easily. Why, you say? Because we know what mobile cleaning contractors need and we give them the important and necessary coverage to protect them. We have studied and worked with every type of power washer imaginable. I will tell you how to get properly insured, I will tell you how to get peace of mind.

  1. Have a business insurance specialist conduct a risk analysis of your company and its operations. No two companies are the same; even two that are in the same business. No other contractor does what you do or how you do it. You need an experienced agent familiar with your industry to assess your company and your specific risks; then put together a comprehensive insurance plan to protect you.

  2. Use an independent Insurance Agent. As a business owner, you want options. As such, don’t call on an agent who is an employee of an insurance company. You want someone who will work for you, and who has access to a variety of insurance carriers. You want an agent that specializes in what you do.

  3. Don’t trust your business to an agent who does not specialize in the mobile cleaning contractor business. Most agents don’t have a comprehensive understanding of the special problems contractors like you face every day. Whether you call yourself a power washer, roof cleaner, soft washer, or window washer, you want and need a specialist.


Many kinds of contractors fall under the broad definition of Artisan Contractors: Plumbers, Electricians, Cabinet Makers, and even Power Wash contractors. They all need property coverage for their building and business contents. General Liability and a commercial umbrella are the insurance contracts typically written for these types of contractors. Very few agents know how to order proper coverage for their Artisan contractor clients, especially power wash contractors.

Care Custody and Control is by far one of the most important and necessary coverages a power wash contractor might need, but is sometimes hard to obtain. Accidents do happen. This coverage protects you for damage to a customer’s property that you are working on. Sometimes referred to as the Faulty Workmanship coverage, it protects you from mistakes you make. There is an exclusion in most general liability policies that takes “Accidents Happen” or “Faulty Workmanship” out of the policy. The problem is this: How does a new guy in business even know to ask for this important coverage? How do you know what you don’t know? And if you are not dealing with a specialist in the mobile cleaning business, you are probably not going to get the coverage you need.

A real-life example of this, is a loss regarding a power wash contractor from Illinois. An employee of the power wash service was power washing an expensive floor in a customer’s building, and the power washing nozzle flew off and ruined the floor. The insurance carrier for the power wash service denied coverage sighting care, custody, and control exclusion. Without this vital endorsement, there is NO coverage for the item you work on.” -Tom Svrcek, Joseph D Walters Insurance Agency

Insurance is always one of those necessary evil’s in most contractor’s minds, but it doesn’t have to be. As a legitimate contractor who is building security and providing for their family it makes sense to be properly covered and not exposing yourself to liabilities that can quite frankly sink your business. I hope Tom’s information is great food for thought on your own coverage and what you may or may not be exposed to.

 

When Should You Use a Holding Tank?

I pulled the trigger of a power washer at the early age of twelve, in 1978, when my dad let me ride along with him one weekend to do fleet washing.  It was the coolest thing to be out with my dad and experience the force and awesome blasting power of that pressure washer.  To this day, I still love to pull the trigger and witness the sheer force of watching water blast dirt, grime and other pollutants off dirty surfaces to reveal a shiny clean surface below.  And the cool thing is there are so many different items that can be cleaned with a power washer.  The list is long but some of the more common items are houses, roofs, gutters, big rigs, construction equipment, farm equipment, kitchen exhaust systems, vehicles, buildings, boats, sidewalks, drive thrus, dumpster areas, loading docks, etc.  All these items can be rewarding and fun to wash but there is one thing that must be present to power wash and that’s water.

Water is not always a resource that can be found near the wash site.  If it is available, make sure that there is a high enough flow to keep up with the gallons per minute, GPM, of the machine and that the water is clean, so it will not cause damage to the pump.  But, what do you do if there is no water or the water flow is not sufficient to keep up with the GPM of the machine?  This is when you should use a holding tank.  The size of the tank can vary drastically and should be chosen based on the following five points:

    • Truck or trailer maximum gross vehicle weight. Combine all the weight of the items that will typically be needed to perform the cleaning service to be provided.  Take this weight and subtract it from the available load capacity of the truck or trailer.  This number then can then be divided by 8.34, the weight of 1 gallon of water, to determine what the maximum size tank could be used.  For example, if a three-quarter ton truck is used and the total of all the equipment weight is five hundred pounds then take 1500 – 500 = 1000 pounds of available carrying capacity for water.  Which equates to 1000 / 8.43 = 119.9 or a 120 gallon water tank.
    • How often will water be needed at a jobsite(s)? If the primary service market will be at job site where water is normally available, then the choice may be not to do jobs that don’t have water.  On the other hand, if having water can create a competitive advantage over others that don’t want to fully invest in the equipment to service these customers then it may create an opportunity for charging a higher price to service these customers.
    • How far away is the water source? Some customers or regions may be located where there normally isn’t water. In this situation, it is advised to have enough water capacity to run for several hours, around five to eight.  This will vary based on the needed GPM, so a capacity of five hundred to two thousand gallons in not uncommon.  Of course, this is the extreme, in most cleaning scenarios water will be close enough that being able to wash for one to two hours will suffice before driving a short distance to refill the holding tank.
    • What is the average GPM in the area? Most power washing contractors are going to clean with machines that run four to eight gallons a minute.  This means that the water source coming from the tap needs to be able to keep up with the flow needed to constantly supply the pump with water.  Otherwise, it will cavitate or pull air into the supply line and potentially cause damage to the pump.  If sufficient water flow is not available, then using a small holding tank of fifty to one hundred fifty gallons can be used to buffer the supply of water.  So, when first arriving at the jobsite the water connection can be established and turned on to start filling the tank.  As prep work and jobsite planning is performed the water tank can be filling up.  Then when the work begins the pressure washer will have a sufficient supply of water.   That is until the water level gets low enough that it begins to suck air.  In some cases, in may make more sense to come with a full tank then allow the water flow to replenish as much as it can so that delays are minimized.  Otherwise, taking short breaks will be needed to allow the holding tank to replenish before washing can resume.
    • Cost of hauling water. Keep in mind that hauling extra water weight can be expensive, increasing fuel cost.  So only do it when necessary.  Drain the tank when the water supply will be more than ample on the upcoming jobsite.  And try to determine what the smallest size tank will be needed to provide water.


Water is the life blood of power washing.  Without it, the pressure washing process cannot happen.  So always think ahead and plan for the specific wash scenarios so that an adequate supply of water is available to complete a project.

Do You Use IFTT?

ClydeEdit2IFTT stands for “If This Then That.” It is a free web service that is connected to all kinds of websites and devices. You can use it to automate tasks and work faster. For example, you could use it to automatically turn your lights on when you get close to your office. IFTT is easy to program and super handy. Here are my favorites for work and personal use.

  • Instantly email my location to someone when I push a button on my phone. The IFTT program is handy if I am in a bad area, or if I need to remember where I parked.

  • Automatically back up pictures to cloud storage.

  • Automatically send an email on a specific day of the week to ask for project updates.

  • Automatically post blog updates to a Facebook page.

  • Get an automatic reminder to bring my lunch with me when I leave home in the mooring

  • Automatically show my todo list when I enter the office in the morning.

  • Automatically sync iOS contacts and Office365 contacts

  •  Push a button on my phone to call myself. This is handy for ditching boring people.

  • Get a notification on my phone if I get an email with a specific subject. This is handy for tracking website up time or downtime. It also comes in handy when my kid’s school sends out reminders and progress reports.


Everyone can find a use for IFTT. If you have never used IFTT, I encourage you to give it a try.
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