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Showing most liked content since 03/01/2004 in Posts

  1. 4 points
    We still go door to door and hang door hangers. This is the first marketing we ever did and although we have grown from other sources we refuse to quit what work for us in the beginning. "Never forget where you come from" It is not easy but in my opinion it is a great source for new business! Internet is an excellent choice as well! We have NOT successful with EDDM, and for that reason have discontinued it. If you don't mind doing a little extra work take a look at sendjim, https://sendjim.io/home they have some great marketing ideas at affordable pricing.
  2. 4 points

    Cedar shake strip and stain pctures

    Just a couple of pics of a project I am working on, this was some really old shakes that needed two fat coats of amber. you can see on the front where i left off on the second coat.
  3. 4 points

    Ego vs. Giving Back

    Support local charities and help people in your community who need it. Keep it between you, them, and God.
  4. 4 points

    Ego vs. Giving Back

    There is no drawback from doing the right thing. The drawbacks come from when people want to do the right thing for the wrong reason. Personally I think it goes against what god wants people to do to brag about how you donate or help out a service organization and expect to get positive exposure or a tax credit. Do it because you want to and be done with it. If you recieve a donation letter from them so be it but don't go looking for it.
  5. 3 points

    Lessons Learned in 2018

    My only "guarantee" is to turn up & do my best (results as explained)
  6. 3 points
    Beth n Rod

    Lessons Learned in 2018

    I find that customers like you described are often ones that have been either taken by another contractor or were given unreasonable expectations. I have won these types over by setting the expectations and when possible over delivering. Then there are ones that just can't be pleased no matter what and they expect miracles. These often have conditions that can't be reversed and likely induced by either the homeowner/diyer or a hack. Some people are so difficult that I will intentionally bid it high to deter their acceptance but in the case they become desparate set a very low expectation. In the case of excessive questions, I find it that they are insecure and often a bit squirrelley to begin with. I try to be patient but sometimes find I have to control the narrative and leave them with either yes or no responses because they don't understand aspects about the project/scope/technology/chemistry etc. This helps them to find a path to a decision but I often have to leave a comfort line at the end, something to the effect of....if you have any further questions you can call me at... Guarantees. What is to guarantee in our line of work? That the dirt will come off? That the results will last 'X' years? I offer none where this is concerned even if I am the first one on the job because there are things I have no control over. I don't make the sealers, chemicals, stains etc. that are being applied. I didn't get the substrate dirty and have no idea of what it has been subject to and no way to tell until AFTER the work begins to reveal what was hidden or obstructed/disguised. What are your thoughts on Guarantees? Rod
  7. 3 points
    New or return customers? If new customers, how did they hear about you? Referral? You'll likely have several different figures depending upon how they got your info. New customers who just found me online I'm about 40%, but that's only because I try and pre-qualify them before ever considering a site visit. I get a description from them over the phone or email, then I'll provide a brief explanation of the service I'm proposing as well as a price range. I let them know if the price range sounds reasonable to them, then we could meet to discuss & finalize the details. New customers who were referred to me from someone I've serviced in the past would be about 65%. Return customers about 90-95% When I first started my own biz in 1998, I thought I was killing it because I got most of the jobs I went and bid on. Come to find out it was only because I was offering my services way too cheap, (that's typically because many of us don't truly understand our total operating costs when starting a business). Although situations vary, I'd say that if you're closing % is much more than 50% from people who don't know you and just found your info online or in print, then you need to reevaluate your pricing.
  8. 3 points
    We use both M5 X-Jet for House washing and we use a 12 volt 7gpm Fatboy or Shureflow Pump for Roofcleaning. We like the X-jet because you can reach upwards of 3 stories. You can apply chemical without ladders and can also clean most vertical surfaces without ladders. The roof setup gets the right chemical on the roof surface at low pressure.
  9. 3 points
    mike movila

    Real Estate Agents

    I also have done quiet a bit of work for Real Estate agents in my area. What has worked for me personally is developing a good working relationship with those top sales agents and reward them with small gifts after a few jobs that goes a long way especially when you do excellent work.
  10. 3 points
    Beth n Rod

    Newbie question

    I will expound on what Guy was saying. There is a sliding scale that many contractor use towards pricing and it is representative of the time, labor and materials it takes to complete a job. Higher price/sqft for smaller jobs and a reductively lower price/sqft as the job gets bigger. ie; 1.00/sqft - up to 200 sqsft. .75/sqft - up to 500sqft. .50/sqft - up to 1000sqft.....etc. Find out what it takes to do jobs of various types and look into your costs. How much fuel does your machine consume in an hour? Factor that into the price. What is your travel distance and factor costs for ass time in the vehicle for each person and a service area radius to base your rates on. Compute for larger distances as an additional charge upon the regular area. What are your overhead costs you have to meet each month? Divide that total by the number of days you work to come up with a minimum per day you need to meet those expenses and learn to factor that into your hourly costs overall. Many companies here have stated that they have certain minimums they will need to make before accepting any job. That is another thing to consider but beware, it is also market driven and demographically sensitive. You can price yourself out of business if your area of business can't support your costs if they are too high. Let me know if you have any questions... Rod
  11. 3 points
    We used to do Ice Damn removal as well. Cold work and a bit treacherous in the snow of yards you have not been on before and are trying to find good footing for ladders. God I hate getting snow down the back of my jacket... Rod
  12. 3 points
    Thad, Nonsense. You and many others not mentioned in my post deserve credit. Going back in time, if I can remember, Mark Smith, Ken Fenner, Greg R., Jim B., Diamond Jim Foley, and others used this website and the old Delco board to get the wood restoration business recognised by the general public. It helped my small business and many others. So take a bow!
  13. 3 points
    Beth n Rod

    Show off your summer deck!

    Okay I have a few.....
  14. 3 points

    For those who do staining in Virginia

    Va is actually very fair about the issue. On contracting work when they pull a permit for a job they put your contractors licence number in the system and if it pops as inactive,completely fraudulent, or registered to someone else they make the contractor obtain a valid licence before they will sign off on the work.
  15. 3 points
    Mike Hughes

    Hi there

    The big 4-0 was this past September. I spent the morning of my 40th birthday in the Emergency Room with a kidney stone. That went away after some convincing, and all is well. My boys are 14 and 9 now........which is hard to believe. I stopped pressure washing in 2005 and switched to the HVAC business. I am in sales of residential HVAC and doing very well. For a couple of years I was a technician as well, but I enjoy sales more. Jim, I recognize your photo.......I hope all is well with you.
  16. 3 points
    Doing it for nothing is something I won't do. You are performing on someone else's property and if you aren't charging for it and it is not disclosed in a proposal, bid or estimate, you are liable for any and all damages that result. Hourly rates are for employee's and lawyers. Even plumbers and electricians don't give hourly anymore. They charge by the service. We don't give out an 'hourly' rate either. Due to the varying factors many projects will have, there is no way to really put an hourly rate on it considering there is so much more that go into costs. Rod
  17. 3 points
    Tim , I take care of a lot of furniture . Teak , cedar , pt, redwood, something that begins with a J. All furniture that ends up with people like us has gotten out of control and sticky . Over application of product is the biggest issue. So knowing what you put on and how to care for the finish is the biggest issue with outdoor furniture and when to start over again. Last year I did about 20 pieces of teak at the end of the year as a trial for he next 20 pieces in spring ( I think more). The tables could not be extended and the chairs couldn't be sat on when the temps hit 90. What a freaking mess but they new it . It went beyond there painter, local hardware store , paint store, handy man, advice from the product they put on,. The estate manager went to a dinner at one of my clients and ate / sat on the furniture I have cared for the last ten years. What a great new client I have and estate to work on . All because of something that couldn't be sat on ! Who wood of thunk ? With furniture less is best.... What ever is used don't over apply . Wipe off anything that doesn't sink in in 30 minutes . Don't allow much on the undersides at all . Just enhance the wood. With furniture the first finish and when to do the second finish is the trickiest . You cannot treat outside furniture like inside furniture.
  18. 3 points
    Beth n Rod

    Rock Solid and Restore

    If the coating is not permeable.....RUN. Beth
  19. 3 points
    I like forums better because there is much less politics and more networking and civil discussion by contrast. Rod
  20. 3 points
    Douglas Hicks

    Ego vs. Giving Back

    I have done work at a reduced rate for the Salvation Army, a women's shelter, and a Food Bank. Neither group cares who you are or what you do. Their only concern is if you need help. But if I am told that I owe a freebie, if they tell me I can take a tax deduction, if they pull the guilt trip, we are done. The other thing, is I do not help for free advertising or other b/s. I help because I like the org or their goals.
  21. 3 points
    The fishing part is not important. The being together is the important part. Just as important, is his little friends who do not have a good father figure in their lives. You have a chance to make a real difference in some kids life. Don't screw it up.
  22. 3 points
    Someone hook me up with a frubal, thanks.
  23. 3 points
    Frubals Have you ever heard the phrase 'instant karma'? Frubals (sometimes known as 'reputation') are are a very close equivalent. Let's say, for example, you see a post that you really like. You can validate that person by clicking on the little square green icon (if using The Grime Scene skin) or the scale icon (if using TGS Lite skin) that appears in that post. (It's toward the right-hand side, up top). A pop-up message will come up, asking what you thought of the post and will have a blank space where you can write your thoughts on that post. The other member will have it noted in their "User CP" that someone thought that that post was worth "frubals", and if you enclosed a note, that will appear next to the notation. Sending Frubals with a note is also a nice way to say thank you to someone who helped you. In your posts you will notice little squares under your user name. Mouse over them, and it will give you a message based upon your number of frubals. This changes as you get to new levels. There are many terms used on the forums that denote giving someone frubals. Among them are "frubaling a post," "frubalizing someone," and "fruballed." Here are some configuration numbers for you: Register Date Factor: For every 365 number of days, users gain 1 point of reputation-altering power. Post Count Factor: For every 100 number of posts, users gain 1 point of reputation-altering power. Reputation Point Factor: For every 100 points of reputation, users gain 1 point of reputation-altering power. Minimum Post Count: How many posts must a user have before his reputation hits count on others? 10 Minimum Reputation Count: How much reputation must a user have before his reputation hits count on others? 10 Daily Reputation Clicks Limit: How many reputation clicks can a user give over each 24 hour period? Administrators are exempt from this limit. 15 Reputation User Spread: How many different users must you give reputation to before you can hit the same person again? (Administrators are exempt from this limit.) 5
  24. 2 points
    mike movila


    Yes Sir F13 Gutter Butter they all yield different results based on the gutters manufacturers and the age of the gutters. You have to be careful with the paint and surface and keep it wet all times
  25. 2 points
  26. 2 points
    Done and getting ready for snow plowing. :(
  27. 2 points
    Largely, we have had great success with just our web site. Rod
  28. 2 points
    mike movila

    Exterior gutter cleaning

    I know that is my go 2 product
  29. 2 points
    Beth n Rod

    Armstrong Clark deck

    Thought I would post a job or two. It's always nice to apply this finish, the customers LOVE it! Beth
  30. 2 points
    Beth n Rod

    Defining your Overhead

    Hello Everyone. Thought I would put up some relevant articles for those who are trying to figure out how to price their bids/quotes. Many people on TGS and other bulletin boards have asked the question; How do I figure out my price? The responses have been varied but the most common have correctly been to find out what YOUR costs are and price yourself in respect to them. Other contractors prices may seem like a good gauge or a way of being competitive but their pricing structure may be wrong or not inclusive of the many necessary costs of doing business and as a result we see those companies disappear in a short time because they weren't properly covering their costs and ran the business literally into the ground and went broke. So when it comes to competitive pricing, one must consider there will be many aspects of a competitors price that they won't be aware of and as a result, it becomes a shot in the dark when applying their pricing to yours. But how does one determine their own pricing? Overhead is the first part of it. It all starts with the constant costs or recurring costs of doing business. These costs are the underlying basis of what has to be paid to operate a business and are seen in the forms of: -phone bills, internet service and possibly cloud based services with a monthly fee -utilities (electric, water, etc) -insurance(s) (Business, workmans comp, vehicle, liability, health and equipment etc) -Space/building rent/lease and maintenance fees -Administrative staff -Equipment rental/payment and repairs -Licensing and in some localities, taxes. These are the most common and come with a regular billing cycle and as such can be quantified into monthly averages or increments which can be factored into a unique cost percentage that becomes part of the overhead equation. Some of these are direct costs while others which occur as a result of operational requisite become indirect costs. One way and typically the easiest way to derive an overhead cost is to gain an average. Taking all these costs and any others your business may incur into consideration, add them all up together. Divide them either by the number of months if they occur quarterly, semi annually etc and then divide by the number of days in that period relative to their billing. This gives you a daily cost. Take all others which occur on a monthly basis and divide by the number of days in a month if they are billed in that manner. This gives another daily cost. Add these costs together and get a cumulative cost for all. This is what you need to make per day to cover these expenses. Let's break that down into some examples. Monthly costs; rent/maintenance fees-$3000.00 utilites-$450.00 (avg) phone-internet-cloud based subscriptions-$1000.00 Insurances (combined for this example) $5000.00 Administrative/staff-$20,000.00 State/local taxes (average for this example) $1500.00 Equipment/vehicle payment/repairs-$1500.00 Total Monthly payments:$32450.00 Divide that by 30 days (365/12=30.41666) =$1081.00 This is the amount of money you need to bring everyday to cover your operational costs. Now, you can look into other costs that will be added into your overhead figure and broken down to equate to a price you can use towards bidding/quoting a job. Employee wages for the work as a start. Do you have any measure of productivity to apply towards gaining an hourly price? For example, how long does it take to wash X sqft of ____________? You can use a couple of ways to determine that but most people who have been in the business know how long it takes to wash anything they bid. They time it or they use the results in the time taken in previous jobs similar to it to create an average by the hour or sqft. or even sqft/hour and that will be based upon the equipment being used or not used, the number of employees on that job and include set up and break down times. Some will even factor a travel time based upon a service area they designate and anything that falls outside of that area, an extra cost will be added in the form of a percentage of labor/fuel and any other expenses such as tolls and metering fees if they need to attach to a hydrant. Many companies make the mistake of solely pricing by time and materials in which time is the wages of the employee's on the job and not necessarily those of the owners and administrative staff (if any) creating a negative pricing structure which leads to a company working into debt. This is why knowing all your costs up front helps to keep your company profitable and helping to create a price that not only covers all your expenses but also contributes to profits and incidental cost coverage without which can hurt of cripple a company. I will provide a small example of a pricing model, but realize this is but an illustration for the basis of helping you to determine how to go about creating your companies unique pricing guide. Only you know what those costs are because you are the one that has set them up, and your responsibility for paying them on time and regularly depends upon accounting for them in all bids and prices you give. Earlier, we arrived at a price of $1081.00/day the business needs. Let's assume you have enough business under your belt to have a record of previous jobs which are recorded for start and end times, the number of employee's on those jobs and the expenses that went into completing them. 1. Travel time: 20 minutes city driving/15 mile radius 2. Time of the job: 4 hours 3. Employees active: 2 4. Wage of each employee: $14/hr and $16/hr 5. Fuel for the power washer at $2.59/gal and the power washer runs for 5 hours on a 7 gallon tank 6. Plus diesel fuel for the burner at $2.99/gal and it's duration is dependent upon temperature required X time in use. 7. Avg at same 5 hours of gas used and heated to 150*=6 gallons/5 hours=1.2/gal/hour 8. Vehicle fuel at $2.59/gal and your mpg is 15X15 miles=1 gallon of gas used to transport vehicle and employee's. 9.Set up time=15 minutes 10. Break down time=15 minutes 11. Chemicals used @ $3.00/gallon X 1 gallon and downstreamed 1 -> wages for travel (butt time) 14/hour/60=.23/minute X 20 minutes=4.66 + 16/hour/60=.26/minute X 20 minutes = 5.33 which equals $9.99 2, 3 and 4 -> job time; 14 X 4 =56, 16 X 4 =64 which equals $120.00 5-> 7/5=1.4gal/hour X 4hours = 5.6 gallons X $2.59 = $14.50 in gasoline fuel used 6, 7 -> 1.2/gal/hr X 4/hrs = 4.8 gallons X $2.99 = $14.35 in diesel used 8 -> $2.59 for vehicle fuel 9 and 10 ->.23 X 15/minutes = $3.45 + .26 X 15/minutes = $3.90 which equals $7.35 X 2 (break down time added here) = $14.70 11 -> $3.00 chems. Total-$179.13 direct job cost (time/materials etc) Average this for a regular day at 8 hours equates to $358.26 Add in the overhead figure-$1081.00+$358.26=$1439.26 For simplicity sake, divide by 8=$179.90/hour Break that down by sqft if you like by dividing that number in the total sqft covered. Let's put a figure out there of 3500/sqft / 4 hours = 875 sqft/hr that 2 employee's can cover in a 4 hour period 875/4=218.75sqft/hr 218.75/2 employee's = 109.37 sqft/hour Now, we have broken this down to the hour and sqft. Do we know how much we need to charge per/sqft to cover a days expenses? 3500sqft x 2 = 7000sqft a crew can cover in a day. $1439.26 is our direct cost including overhead. 7000/$1439.26=.20/sqft BUT!!! that doesn't cover any margin we need to make also known as profit. What is the percentage you wish to make to help your company grow? 10%, 15%, 20%? Take your total expenses and multiply it times the percentage you need to make. Remember though, this can affect serveral things. One is your competitiveness in pricing. The other is your revenue tax bracket. An accountant would be best served to advise you on this subject. Below, I have provided some links to the topic for the benefit of supporting documentation and reference in case something is not clear here. Remember also, that in a service business, many examples provided in the links will be based upon selling a product. I have tailored the examples here to apply towards a service business like our industry has and it is from that basis that I hope to have covered as many bases as possible. Feel free to ask questions, make suggestions, post examples and any other relevant information or ideas. After all, this is where people come to learn. http://smallbusiness.theprivatebank.com/how-to-avoid-three-common-profit-mistakes/ http://www.wikihow.com/Calculate-Overhead Rod
  31. 2 points
    Guy B

    Newbie question

    From your background, you should already have a good idea as far as chems....it's acids, caustics, or bleach.....the job determines what is to be used. I know what "we" should be charging, the question is what should "you" be charging.....I have no answer to that....only you know. It could be as low as $.05 per sq. ft. or as high as $1.00 per sq. ft......depends on the situation & job....many factors play into pricing......Good luck!
  32. 2 points
    Thanks for the reply. Also just want to say thanks to you and Beth for creating this community and wealth of knowledge. And to all the contributors. Was reading through this post of cold weather hints and point #2 made me realize we're missing the bypass line when running antifreeze. We just use a funnel and pour until we see antifreeze come out of the whip. Now I'll have to make sure to put a gun or a valve on to get it into the bypass. That's one headache I now won't have. I've got limited experience as a contract cleaner so far (5 years, but really only started learning in the last 2), but I am a techy guy so hopefully that's where I can help provide some knowledge. I'll start a new topic in the next little while and see if there is any interest.
  33. 2 points
    Our season tapers off around ThanksGiving. December is not as busy. Jan-Feb are too cold. Start up in March. Rod
  34. 2 points
    ACR is a great find for new or old salts in the PW business. We're fortunate to have Tom, Barbara, and crew local to keep us in business. Been dependent on ACR for now 14 yrs. for nearly all of our chemicals, stains, equipment, and repairs.
  35. 2 points
    Beth n Rod

    Cleaning dairy farm

    That is the important part of this job. Setting expectations. I tend to set them low and over deliver. Rod
  36. 2 points

    Cedar shake strip and stain pctures

    Big house. Lots of windows and dormers. It is a shame to put a solid stain on decent lap cedar. I'd charge an extra 20% on labor just to put up with the sacrilege.
  37. 2 points
    There is a reason acrylic has cry in the middle of the word !
  38. 2 points

    2015 Northeast Pressure Washing Seminar

    HOT OFF THE ACCUWEATHER LONG RANGE FORECAST For those cold weather wimps, and you know who you are, great news. This frigid winter we have experienced here is about to break, just in time for the 2015 Northeast Pressure Washing Seminar! No snow or rain, just sunny skies and seasonal temperatures. Thursday, March 5th Cloudy High 36 / Low 13 Friday, March 6th Sunny High 33 / Low 13 Saturday, March 7th Sunny High 44 / Low 18 Sunday, March 8th Sunny High 37 / Low 24 This is our first sniff of spring. So no excuses, be there!
  39. 2 points

    Making my own stripper.

    It's the nature of the beast Ryan when stripping with a hot mix or multiple strips combined with the age of the wood it's bound to be fuzzy! I've seen newer wood not get as fuzzy as like a 5-10 yr old deck after stripping. It's a small price to pay when starting over by removing a old stain with the stripping process. The bright side is the deck should never need to be stripped again once you are done stripping /sanding and staining! :cool:
  40. 2 points

    Making my own stripper.

    No problem.. No the glycol adds some boosting power to the stripper.
  41. 2 points
    Yeah I remember that, we were blocked from participating by a local guy who planned it, yet, I was the writer for CT who got the assignment to write about it. Go figure. LOL Beth
  42. 2 points
    When we first were getting set up back in 1998 before our launch in '99 we scoured the net for any information we could find on process, chemicals and anything that would help us to the job better without going through the mistakes and errors the hard way and having to fix them. There was no one sharing anything. Everyone was tight lipped about their chems, their methods all of it. Wasn't until we found the PWNA and joined that we started to find some people willing to help and that happened at our first convention we went to in Baltimore MD. I learned a great deal in the classes and round tables and met some great people. They helped me and I benefitted. My attitude is to return the favor in kind to those who are serious about building a solid business and are looking for advice and information. Beth lead the way with wanting to create a BBS where we could provide that networking and archival platform for others to use for their business. We chose to give back to the industry. To help it grow and become filled with better educated people in the field they chose to pursue. Rod
  43. 2 points
    Ultimately before the good in anything gets tainted, it's mankinds inert drive that propels us through history to do better and advance ourselves to a more comfortable "survival setting". Many of us share to help newbs avoid the learning curve and mistakes. Many of us share different techniques from pro to pro. Many of us don't care, many of us do. It's a lot the same on many of the forums out there that I am members of. Ultra lite aircraft forums....... man those dudes will fly to you and land in your back yard to help out with your build. On the guitar forums.... there are secrets shared that can make a washed up rocker that would make one come out of retirement. The product and invention forums are similar but very guarded. I think it all comes back around full circle for everyone at some point... You ask the question "Why do we help with info"..... I say why not........ we know who needs help and who doesn't..... but for the folks that stumble on these forums looking for info, I prefer that none of my info be incorrect...... so I bite my tongue sometimes too, until I'm sure of myself. But hey, after 12 yrs now, I'm in it, with what I know.
  44. 2 points
    A couple of years ago I got a message from a FM in Michigan. He wanted to know how to contact Dave. He wanted Dave to add his jurisdiction to Dave's service area. That is an indication of the high regard others had of Dave.
  45. 2 points

    X-Jet and 8.25 household bleach

    Have u ever tried an injector? They r amazing and u can get a long range nozzle to reach the high parts. Just my two cents.
  46. 2 points
    We've been with them for a little over a year. Had two other agencies in this area. No service whatsoever. And that was with no claims. Made me think "what if I had a problem?" Joe Walters has been very attentive so far. At least that makes me feel more secure. A guy told me one time "If your customers are bothering you, ignore them. They'll go away!" Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk ANR Cleaning Services LLC www.anrcleanteam.com www.anrcleanteam.com
  47. 2 points

    Exterior Doors?

    You can develop a whole business around front doors which companies have. Deck stains don't work well unless the doors have complete cover from the weather. The doors are usually to dense or to hard to except enough stain . Plus your dealing with an area of 30 square feet which presents a whole bunch of different variables to contend with. I have removed the Doors to work on them . Used paste to scrape off the finishes and steam . Lots of sanding . Many coats of a sealer. I have seen doors companies remove doors to bring back to their shops and put up plywood to block and protect the doorway until they finish. Very high end niche market and specialization .
  48. 2 points
    Jason Reider

    Rock Solid and Restore

    I couldn't talk my neighbor out of using Restore completely, but was able to at least get her to test it on some wood lawn chairs first. After doing the chairs, she finally agreed on what I was trying to tell her. It is a terrible product plus looks awful, and like Beth said "If the coating is not permeable.....RUN." All of these companies keep trying to develop a product that can beat Mother Nature. The fact is Mother Nature will eventually win.
  49. 2 points
    ^^^this. I agree, Rod. It seems like the orgs are always "at war" with each other. It seems kind of dumb to me. I came to this site due to the lack of name calling, bashing and all around "internet tough guy" knowitall crap that exists on a few other forums.
  50. 2 points
    That is exactly how we do it as well. Allison was kind enough to use a picture of my son Zach rinsing out a gutter after scooping the debris. A link to the magazine http://issuu.com/pccmag/docs/eclean_issue_18/1