Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • Beth n Rod

      The Grime Scene Terms Of Service and Forum Rules   08/23/2007

      Terms of Service Warning: The contracting trades are an activity in which there exists the potential for serious injury or death. ALL Users must read and agree to these Terms of Service before using this site. This web site is dedicated to the contracting trades, an activity which is inherently dangerous. You should not depend on information gleaned from this site for your personal safety. Your safety depends upon your own judgment based on competent instruction, experience, and a realistic assessment of ability. There are no warranties, either expressed or implied, that the information on this website are accurate and reliable. Your use of this site indicates your assumption of the risk of death or serious injury and is an acknowledgment of your own sole responsibility for your safety. The following terms and conditions are in reference to the The Grime Scene web site and discussion board (www.thegrimescene.com), here in referred to as "The Grime Scene". These terms and conditions apply to all sites, services, and resources within the The Grime Scene. ACCEPTANCE OF TERMS The Grime Scene provides its service to you, subject to the following Terms of Service (referred to as "TOS"), which may be updated by us from time to time without notice. You may review the most current version of the TOS at any time in the Announcements. In addition, when using particular The Grime Scene services, you shall be subject to any posted guidelines or rules applicable to such services.
      [*]DESCRIPTION OF SERVICE The Grime Scene provides users with access to informational resources including communication and interactive resources pertaining to the contracting industry. Under no circumstances shall The Grime Scene be liable to any user on account of that user's use or misuse of the site or reliance on the site. Such limitation of liability shall apply to prevent recovery of direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special, punitive and exemplary damages (even if The Grime Scene has been advised of the possibility of such damages). Such limitation of liability shall apply whether the damages arise from use or misuse of the site or reliance on the site, from inability to use the site, or from the interruption, suspension, or termination of the site or services offered on the site (including such damages incurred by third parties).
      Such limitation shall also apply with respect to damages incurred by reason of other services or goods received through or advertised on the site or received through any links provided on the site. .Such limitation shall apply, without limitation, to the costs of procurement of substitute goods or services, lost profits, or lost data. These limitations shall apply notwithstanding any failure of essential purpose of any limited remedy. The Grime Scene makes no warranties as to the accuracy of its information and due to the volatile nature of the information contained within The Grime Scene. The Grime Scene can not screen or authenticate all articles, posts, listings or other information.
      [*]TERMS OF MEMBERSHIP & USAGE RESTRICTIONS Site Membership Membership is available to any person over the age of 13 who registers and accurately provides all the required information, provides a legitimate electronic mail address and obtains a unique The Grime Scene member name and password. Membership is non-transferable. The use of web-based email accounts may be denied due to abuse.
      All membership information must be accurate and belong to the person registering. Invalid, incomplete, or falsified information can result in the immediate termination of all membership privileges for that user and, possibly a permanent ban, restricting the member from using any of The Grime Scene’s services at any time.
      Usage of this site is restricted to persons under the age of 13. (you must be over 13 to participate here)
      The Grime Scene is not responsible for the content of any member's posts, and the views expressed on The Grime Scene are the responsibility of the posting member and not The Grime Scene. The Grime Scene does not preview member posts in any way before they appear on the site. Any link posted to a third-party internet address does not imply an endorsement of that site or its content by The Grime Scene.
      The Grime Scene forums are for the discussion of the contracting trades and related topics. While the administrators and moderators of The Grime Scene will attempt to keep all off-topic messages off this forum, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the author, and neither the owners of The Grime Scene Room nor the moderators will be held responsible for the content of any message.
      The Grime Scene forums may contain profanity.
      As a condition of buying and selling items listed in any forum of The Grime Scene, Buyer and Seller agree that The Grime Scene is not brokering or otherwise participating in any purchase or sale. The Grime Scene has no knowledge of the terms of sale, the condition of any items offered for sale, the accuracy of any aspect of the sale or the use to which any item shall be put. Buyer assumes all responsibility for proper use of any item so purchased. Buyer acknowledges that improper use of some or all of the items offered for sale on The Grime Scene may cause serious injury or death. Buyer shall seek qualified assistance and instruction in the use of all items purchased.
      Pornography of any type is not allowed.
      The owners, administrators, and moderators of The Grime Scene reserve both the right to remove, edit, move or close any thread for any reason, and the right to suspend or delete any user account for any reason we feel is in violation of the TOS, both explicit and implied.
      Membership in The Grime Scene is a privilege, not a right. We reserve the right to deny service to any person at any time without cause.
      [*]INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY It is the policy of The Grime Scene to respond expeditiously to claims of intellectual property infringement. The Grime Scene will promptly process and investigate notices of alleged infringement and will take appropriate actions under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"). Should a violation of intellectual property be discovered, the document(s) or messages in such violation will be removed in a timely manner after any and all investigating has been completed to prove the authenticity of such a claim.
      [*]PUBLIC CONTENT ON THE GRIME SCENE Any and all content posted for inclusion in publicly accessible areas of The Grime Scene are the responsibility of the creator. The Grime Scene makes no claims or warranties about such information or its authenticity. Upon posting any content on The Grime Scene, you grant The Grime Scene the non-exclusive right to publish, modify and use such content solely for the purpose of displaying such content.
      [*]LIMITATION OF RE-USE You agree not to reproduce, duplicate, copy, sell, resell or exploit for any commercial purposes or noncommercial purposes any portion of the services or content contained within The Grime Scene and its subsidiary sites. In order to use any content, graphical art, photos or files owned by or published by The Grime Scene, direct, written authorization must be obtained from The Grime Scene with no exceptions at any time for any reason.
      [*]LEGAL RESTRICTIONS This agreement shall be constructed and controlled by the laws of the State of Maryland, without regard to its conflict of law provisions. Any dispute arising hereunder will be governed by the laws of the State of Maryland. Each member agrees to personal jurisdiction by tile state and federal courts of the State of Maryland.
      The Grime Scene reserves the right to change, modify or update this TOS agreement at any time without notification. Membership in and the use of resources contained within The Grime Scene constitutes full agreement and acknowledgment of the restrictions, limitations and terms set forth in this agreement.
      [*]Forum Posting Rules The following is a list of basic guidelines about what is and is not allowed while posting on The Grime Scene. These rules are in addition to what is listed in our Terms Of Service . Please read through all of these sections before using our site and contact us if you have questions. Users shall treat each other with respect at all times on The Grime Scene. Name calling, personal attacks, or other inappropriate behavior will not be allowed and may cause your account to be banned.
      Advertising on our site is specific to Contractors and to those Manufacturers and Distributors serving our industry. All Manufacturers and Distributors must have a signature, and should not solicit in the main forums. Please use the vendor area. Members who try to sell products and/or services to contracting professionals in the main forum area may have their accounts privileges suspended or revoked.
      No pornographic material or links to pornographic material may be posted on this site.
      Profanity shall be kept to a minimum. Words that appear to be blanked out with stars (*) are not allowed.
      You may only post material and content that you own. Posting copyrighted material, trademarks, and other violations of the DMCA is prohibited. Anyone posting an article must credit the author and provide a link to the original data.
      These rules may be altered at anytime without notice so please check the Announcements often.


Popular Content

Showing most liked content since 01/16/2018 in all areas

  1. 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.
  2. 2 points
    mike movila

    Lessons Learned in 2018

    I am curious to learn what lessons you learned in 2018 and what things you would do differently to increase your business output. And how would you rate 2018 a success or not so much. Mike Movila
  3. 2 points

    Closing Bids percentage for 2017

    What percentage of bids is everyone closing on? We were right at 80% for this year but I feel like we left a lot of money on the table! I don't want to close on all of them just wondering if that's about normal for some of you that have been in the business for several years?
  4. 2 points
    Hello and welcome to The Grime Scene. #1 is a matter of demographics and preference. I will answer for the residential aspect as we found more problems in securing reliable cash flow from commercial due to many non-compliant companies always giving us 'their' schedule of when they cut checks etc. Got fed up with the hassle and concentrated specifically on residential. The only part the comes close to commercial is our relations with property managers which has been very successful and reliable. The details on how to charge vary on what you are washing and if you are going to offer any followup services for wood cleaning/restoration which involves some carpentry and sealant/stain applications. This part is highly weather dependent and I would not dive in until you have taken a certification course to help gain a basis of knowledge. I suggest PWNA for a start. The pricing has to do with YOUR business model and your pay structure. How long does it take you to wash 'X' and what does it cost you to wash: wages, insurance, fuel(s) including travel time and ass time for your crew, chemicals, payments for equipment and any rentals you may have to hire etc. You can price by sqft but you have some math to do. Figuring out what you need to stay afloat is a start combined with the previous paragraph will help guide you on your pricing. Rule of thumb: Raise your prices as the market will bear and only in relation to cost increases you have to pass on to your customers. Depending upon the job size we charge the customer a 1/3 to get started (upon booking) and balance upon completion. In cases where the job is very large and requires more than on trip, 2/3 upon completion of (specified phase of work completed ei; wash/stripping a deck) on the first trip. Balance upon completion of the rest. Some companies offer financing to those customers whose jobs exceed a certain dollar amount and allow payments over a period of time. That can work both ways positively and negatively on cash flow and making payroll if a number of customers are late on payments. #2. You already have a client base to start from and if you have some decent references from them the advantages save you the advertising. I would start by examining each customer you have and coming up with a sheet detailing the optional items you could wash: Patio, walkway, Siding, gutters, pool apron, wall(s), deck(s), fence etc. and how much sqft of each. Offer them the additional services at introductory rates while you are ramping up. At each customers location, pass out a flyer to each house next door and to all houses across the street as a rule. As you know, people talk to their neighbors and ask for feedback on the contractors they use. Great word of mouth. You just have to generate their attention. Landscapers/lawnmowers don't often get much attention but when a crew starts up a pressure washer, people become intrigued. Use that to draw attention to your services. #3. Consider a Sprinter van. They have up to 2 tons cargo capacity. I have a dual gun pressure washer installed at the back, a 200gal square supply tank just forward of it with a tool box on top (plywood table of sorts and a drawer/shelf system along side) and a 3 stack hose reel towards the front just behind the driver seat. Of course you will want a partition wall to protect the occupants in the event of an accident but the main point is all of what you need is on-board and enclosed from the weather and theft. #4. You will find many pressure washers and wood restoration companies won't get out of bed for less than $75.00/hr. Others are around 100-125. Depends on what your market will bear. Once you have done some research on other more established companies, you will find out what is competitive and what you can be profitable on. After 18 years in business, we are of the top highest priced contractors and with a good reputation and service can basically command your price. #5. Sounds reasonable to start if that is what you always book. In our experience, travel also plays a factor in how much you can get done. The jobs get more sporadic in locations as you may have guessed and this will factor into it. The size of the house(s), the type of surface you are washing, the landscape difficulties (plantings and such that get in the way, make access difficult to not possible), rinsing and diverting water to ground (gotta watch out for the water cops) [Clean water act] Plus you will have to check into local laws AHJ's (authorities having jurisdiction) as well. Another issue is water access and flow. Many homes don't always have water flow that can keep up with a pressure washer so that is another factor you will Have to consider in not only the equipment you purchase but if you may require a hydrant meter for tapping a water hydrant if the site doesn't have enough flow AND how to charge for that option as well. The size of the tank can be an issue if you have too many residents with low flow (<4gpm-Gal/per/minute). #6. Many of us 'Specialize' in a specific aspect and up-sell to other items as a rule. ie; we specialize in wood restoration and up-sell house washing and pressure washing services (detailed items according to what is present). We are aware of a number of people in your area that target specifically house washing, fence washing (species of wood specific too) etc. The rest are add-on services and it makes it easier for your crew to be able to sell them on the spot if you come up with a structured price list they can follow. I hope this helps provide some modicum of direction and sense of probability. Rod
  5. 1 point
    Hello All, Looking at expanding into KEC and purchasing a hot pressure washer from Northern trailer mounted so I can also clean front of stores, residential, etc., Etc. Any suggestions or any others use this type? Pro/cons. Appreciate any and all suggestions as I start this new venture. Thank you, Richard
  6. 1 point
    Biggest problem I have heard comes from a company that services them. They break down and are not as well designed. I would suggest you look into buying from a distributor locally and I would suggest Hydrotek as the pressurewasher of choice. They are local in california as well, so you may look at some savings that way. On the east coast, we have to pay shipping and markup fees. Rod
  7. 1 point
  8. 1 point
    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
  9. 1 point
    My neighbor has a hunting lease with electricity available but no water. He is wanting to buy a power washer to use for washing off their atv's when they get muddy but wasn't sure if it would work. I did a little looking yesterday and from what I can tell (right or wrong) is that IF the power washer is a belt drive power washer then he is OK but if it's just an inexpensive one, it relies on being fed pressurized water. Is this accurate? If he opts for the cheaper option would he need some kind of inline pump to provide the needed pressure? What would you all recommend to him? Thanks
  10. 1 point
    CA nestor

    pre treating concrete

    Hey all....question on what is common practice on surface cleaning .driveways/sidewalks. Instead of downwashing with use of a machine can i use a mixture of 12% pool shock and water via a hand pump sprayer? if so at what mixture 50/50? Also should if finished with an undiluted light final coat of the pool shock? I am just getting started and am using a MiTm 3500 pressure washers and 24" Hotsy Surface cleaner.
  11. 1 point
    I’m 55, been in this business for 25+ years. Climbing ladders hurts a little more than it used to but I’m still rolling along. Busy most days of the week.
  12. 1 point

    pre treating concrete

    I don’t pretreat if it’s just dirt or mold. oxalic acid can help remove rust stains around pool aprons. Putting pool shock (SH) will instantly kill any vegation it touches and will destroy the O-Rings in the pump sprayer unless they’re Viton seals. A light acid coat when the concrete has dried from the washing will brighten it, makes it look nice Let us know how it turns out.
  13. 1 point
    Beth n Rod

    Cleaning recommendations

    General practice after applying any product that is on the alkaline side is to apply a neutralizer. While percarbonates become inert after they exhaust themselves, the pH is still alkaline. Stains/sealers are designed to go onto wood that is in its neutral state which is acidic in nature. Wash, rinse, neutralize, rinse. Rod
  14. 1 point
    Beth n Rod

    Cleaning recommendations

    Since you are using Pt Pine, you can seal it within 2 weeks of installation according to the American Wood Preservers Association, the organization that sets the guidelines for pressure treatment in wood. If you are going to wait that long, your exterior environment will be a dictating factor on what you will need to do. Oxy clean is easy enough for just gray wood and some mildew growth. Neutralizing with an acid is recommended. I am not sure what stores you have in your neck of the woods but look for a product that has either Oxalic or Citric acid and is designated for use on decks. If you are looking for more specifics, try https://www.opwdecks.com/ If your deck environment has high moisture conditions from a pool, hot tub or pond/water feature or sits really close to the ground and has little to no air passage beneath (less than 2' results in pockets of dead air and high moisture retention) then you may have to look into an additional mildewcide to help stave off mold growth during the drying period which with A/C can be anywhere from 2-5 days depending upon how much sun and shade you have. More sun, less dry time. Rod
  15. 1 point

    Looking for more of these:

    Not sure if you ever found them but I get those from The Home Depot pressure wash section but I am also in California. - Andrew
  16. 1 point
    I mentioned this in a previous post, but I desperately need some help from someone experienced in this business. I started up last month. I've took on a bunch of work, 20+ houses, large HOA contracts, neighborhood pools, tennis courts, club houses, sidewalks, a few commercial jobs and so forth. However, I feel like I'm still not succeeding. I've been in the service industry for over 10 years providing a different service, which I had great luck with, however I'd like to really build this business and make great money at it. When I started, I had a lot of learning to do. Learning equipment, understanding productivity, pricing, how much work I can get done in a day starting out, and there was many more questions. Many of which I've answered for myself. With that said, there is some aspects of the business I still need help with, and that's why I'm here with a fresh post. Over the past month, I've targeted large residential neighborhoods with 100k to 200k homes. I'm not having as much luck as I expected. I feel like I could spot houses with mold all over the siding, and offer a half price house wash, and explain the benefits, and still couldn't get a homeowner to care enough to get it cleaned up. Despite me explaining the cost of replacing their siding down the road, health risks, or even just how much more amazing their property would look if it were cleaned up. With this said, I really started looking at my target audience. To be more specific, the homes I've been chasing after are $199. house wash homes, and 90% of them take me from 2 to 2.5 hours from load up to driving off. The problem is, I'm not finding enough people that care enough, for me to make a living. So I'm lucky enough to live in one of the biggest cities in the US. I live within 30 minutes of driving from 10+ very wealthy areas, most of which are 500,000 to 4 million dollar homes. These areas happen to be very, very restrictive with HOA, most of them are historic sites, where minimal new construction, and lots of old renovation projects are highly encouraged. With the above said, I cannot afford to keep chasing a lost leader, and throwing all my eggs in one basket. So after reading the above, does anyone think I'm chasing after the wrong crowd? I've calculated numbers over and over. If I were to switch markets, raise my prices $100. to $150. on house washes, and target the larger much more affluent neighborhoods in my city, I would have to wash literally (HALF) the amount of houses per year to make a good living. As of now, my current target audience, I need to pick up about 400 house washes to make a living. If I were to switch markets, that number would cut in half to about 200 houses per year. I expect it would take less marketing material and cost to pick up half the amount of washes, not only that, but I feel these high class areas would offer MUCH MORE add on services. As of right now, if I make a sell, it's a house wash or driveway only. I feel these affluent areas would want more wood restoration, pool patios washed, decks cleaned, and so on. I know there are many variables, but I need some answers from someone who's established. Am I marketing to the wrong crowd before I put too much money in and sink myself? Again, my current primary target audience is, middle class, 100-200k homes, $199. house washes. I have over a half a million of these home types around me within an hour of driving. Or I can focus my efforts on the affluent neighborhoods, $500,000+ homes, and have approximately a half a million of these homes to choose from. These homes and areas are mostly historic, with very high neighborhood ratings, lots of activity going on, lots of restaurants, things to do, high class and taste, and so on. I don't mean I would simply raise prices because of the home values, but the building structures and architecture in these historic areas would require a different level of service, and would require me to charge more. My ears are open and I'd love to hear from someone with years in the business.
  17. 1 point
    Thanks. It has been a wild ride to this point and we are a wreck each game. Me gots no finger nails left!!! Rod
  18. 1 point
    So, this was my first month in business. I don't mean my first month "official" either. I mean my first month period soft washing. I've been landscaping 10 years, and running my own business over the years dealing with apartments, commercial, and such. So everything isn't new, but it's a learning experience. I've got the grasp of it down, I'm very good at washing, good at the business side, but still trying to perfect the sales and marketing. Which is weird, because I had that mastered in landscaping. I'm putting out about 1,500 flyers out a week currently. (Well Written) professional flyers. I've landed about 23 residentials, 10+ driveways, a few commercials, a neighborhood basketball / tennis court, a swimming pool and club house, and a couple of pretty big parking lots, one of which was over 20,000 square feet. The only problem I'm having right now is building a consistent work load. My goal is to be able to wash 10-15 houses a week solo. I'm about to start a facebook page and build a website, and get some seo. I'm currently acquiring HOA Contracts, working in the neighborhood, getting seen, then hammering that neighborhood door to door with flyers and talking to people. As mentioned I'm about to get a fb, website, and start putting yard signs in the neighborhood I'm working in each week. What other interesting ways is there to attract new customers? https://ibb.co/dqhEy8 https://ibb.co/cR62ko https://ibb.co/ncqbd8 https://ibb.co/cFS8Qo https://ibb.co/ej76d8 https://ibb.co/gbbPy8
  19. 1 point
    Sounds good Rod I hope your team wins the Stanley Cup
  20. 1 point

    For Sale....

    Can I post equipment for sale in this forum?
  21. 1 point
    This was a great read an oldie but a goodie :)
  22. 1 point
    Hello, I’m new on here. I’m preparing to purchase a new pressure washer and was wondering if anyone has had experience with or knows someone that has had a Bulldog Pro pressure washer sold by Jerry with scirocco
  23. 1 point
    Mark your calender. 2018 PWNA Annual Convention & Trade Show Orlando FL Oct 19th through 21st. Don't miss the Largest show ever. You don't want to miss this event!!
  24. 1 point


    I built my own as well and learned some SEO. It's starting to get some organic traffic.
  25. 1 point
    Unfortunately, there is no stain on the market I am aware of that will sustain the effects of chlorine on it combined with full sun UV any longer. A quick cleaning/neutralization and reapplication is all I can suggest at this point. Hopefully, others may lend their experiences. Consider though, my experiences with products is skewed by comparison due to the VOC regulations in our region over what you have access to purchase in yours. Rod
  26. 1 point
    Making the rails all one color is fairly standard and lowest in maintenance costs. The trim edge of the deck is typically stained the same as the verticals so running a tape along the decking would help to keep the solid off them. Edging with the semi-transparent is simple enough as well. The end result is a very nice manicured look and is not hard to take care of albeit you will need to touch up these edge tops every time you do the floor. Rod
  27. 1 point
    Yeah, I’d definitely mask and prep. Wasn’t going to skip that just wondered if all the time you put into masking and plastic sheeting etc is worth it. But I imagine hand brushing all the ballasters lattice etc is going to be worse than all the time spent taping and protecting. Thank you for all the advice. I know I’m full of questions, I just try to know as much as possible for any project I take on.
  28. 1 point
    Beth n Rod

    Late Start

    Yeah, we're all having the same drifting our way over here in the dc area. Rain, snow, cold, rain, cold, windy cold.....yeah....enough already Rod
  29. 1 point
    Any respirator with an OV cartridge. Personally I go full face and wouldn't use anything but. Get a north silicone full face...it's money well spent.
  30. 1 point
    Never really understood why anyone is done for season. If money is on the table go get it. Can understand if it is wood but anything just cleaning you need to go get it before they change there mind or something else comes up and they don’t do it.
  31. 1 point

    cleaning & sealing flagstone

    Great answer
  32. 1 point
    In December we completely stopped power washing to make room in our schedule for Christmas light installation. Kept us busy thru Christmas!
  33. 1 point
    I have lots of questions and dearly need help and opinions from several of you guys in the industry, who might have a little time to spare and help someone out. I'll start by introducing myself and move on to some questions for you guys. Again, if your willing to help, your time is greatly and dearly appreciated! With that said, I'm not looking for negative feedback, but will accept honest criticism. I'm a long-time landscaper, a member of large commercial mowing forums, and I hear guys tell new guys on there, how hard it is to get started, and many criticize them rather than helping answer their questions. So I'm looking for honest help of answering my questions so I can gain some insight on the industry. A little about me: As mentioned above, I'm a long-time landscaper. I started mowing and doing residential and commercial lawn care many years back. I developed a passion for it, grew a good size business, and really enjoyed it over the years. I started off from the bottom, with a push-mower and a truck, working 7-day weeks, from dusk to dark. A few years later, I was maintaining 15+ apartment complexes and commercial contracts, and over 40 residentials. I have a good amount of knowledge in business and come from a business family. However, like any other service industry, landscaping has its set-backs. Mostly high over-head, high operation expenses, and a lot of hassles when it comes to equipment maintenance. When I got into commercial landscaping, it almost seems as if things are constantly breaking, this year we're replacing several engines on mowers, at several thousand dollars each. The lawn and landscaping industry has really payed me well, but I'm not sure it's worth all the hassle to keep running. My days are often long, then I come home, and often find myself spending hours and hours at night working on things, then paper work until Midnight, and back up to mowing the next morning. Now that you know a little about me, I've been looking into the Pressure Washing Industry. I've been running some numbers, the numbers don't look far off or bad in comparison to what I currently do. The expenses look a lot less on the Power Washing side. And not to say this industry doesn't have its down-falls, because every industry has those. But it honestly looks like a lot less stress and hassles. So that brings me to this forum to pick all of you seasoned guys knowledge, for those whom are willing to share their knowledge and experience, I'd appreciate your time. Power Washing Business and Questions: I know this will be a major transition and take many leg hours of research, reading, and learning to understand things better. Please ignore my basic newbie questions, but I'm starting from ground zero and honestly, some of my questions may sound really newbie or annoying, but like I said I'm starting with the basics, so here we go. 1. One problem I'm having is understanding operations and income. One thing I loved about landscaping was my money was consistent each month. I always knew I had x amount of money coming every month and who it was coming from. The only way I can see that happening in the "Pressure Washing Industry" is by targeting a large number of commercial contracts, whom are willing to pay for Pressure Washing several times a year. Possibly places that need a "Neat and Clean" appearance to attract customers. I'm thinking Hotels (Structure and Parking Lot), Gas Stations (Parking Lot and Structures), commercial office and buildings, and etc. So my question is, when finding commercial contracts, how are you guys coming across consistent income? Are you guys selling them x amount of washings per year? I could see offering service visits at intervals for example, every 30-days, 90-days, and 120-days on commercial places and offering a discount per sq. foot the more cleanings they agree to per year? Does this sound right, or am I way off? 2. Question two involves generating residential Income. With my old business, I frequently used EDDM or Every Door Direct Mail marketing to reach and gain residential clients. I would use an awesome flyer, with professional copywriting to gain the attention of prospects. I've been running some numbers, starting out solo, I would need to average 1-2 houses per day, or a minimum of 5 driveways a day, to make a living that would equal up to my previous pay. I have money in the bank to start-up and was considering sending out 2,500 Flyers Per Week through EDDM. I've always averaged a 1 to 3% response rate. But worse case scenario, sending out 2,500 a week, at only a 1% response rate, that should be enough to pull in 20-25 jobs per week. Does this sound like it would be a reasonable way to gain residential clients? Also, are residential clients usually willing to sign up for a cleaning say example (every 180 days) or (Twice a Year) or are they usually a one time job? 3. The next question involves equipment and set-up. What would you say the basic equipment that is needed to get started or at least test the waters? I live in a huge city (Houston) and everyday I dread pulling a large landscape trailer full of equipment in traffic. My idea on it is an efficient set-up, not having to pull a trailer. I do have a HD truck, and my idea was a flatbed, large tank, commercial cold washer (4,000 psi / 4 gpm) to start, possibly a hot washer, a telescoping wand, ball valve, hoses, a good commercial surface cleaner, chemicals, and ladders. Am I missing anything that would be a basic necessity? 4. My last question involves pricing. I've did a little bit of research on numbers. I know the average price per square foot in my area. My question is what are you guys striving for per hour on Residential and Commercial? My minimum has always been $50.00 an hour, however I often shoot for $75.00 an hour when I bid. I was thinking on the Pressure Washing side around $75.00 an hour? Does this sound reasonable? 5. Next, my last questions involve efficiency. I do have pressure washing experience, however in a different environment. I used to do pressure washing on military equipment. Cleaning the tents, equipment, and machinery. However, I've never got into residential and commercial. This question is pretty broad and basic, but I'd just like a reasonable guestimate as I know there are a lot of factors that can play in here. How many driveways per day (Using a 24" Surface Cleaner) could one person expect to do in a day after they are seasoned and experienced? Also, how many houses could a solo person expect to do in a day, using a (1-story - 2,000 square foot surface area) as an example. I was thinking (5-6 driveways) per person, or (2) Houses per day. 6. My last question involves selling and up-selling on (RESIDENTIAL). When you guys market, what is your bread and butter on calls that you receive? Do you sell mostly "House or Structure" Cleaning, and then up-sell driveways, windows, patios, fences, and so on? What would you say you get the most calls for (Houses and Structure, Driveways, or something else? Again, I'm sorry for all the basic questions, but this is a short list of the things that are confusing me, that I desperately need answers for, and insight on, to at least get me started drawing up a business plan. I really and truly appreciate any help and answers from anyone who is willing to help me get started!
  34. 1 point

    Washing a black painted house

    I have been facing issues with a house I'm washing. It's a brand new built house which is painted black. Ita covered in lots of dust and construction dust. I have tried soft washing it with a pure water system but once it dries there is still a lot of dust left over. I'm looking for the best way to wash house easily as soft washing is not been effective.
  35. 1 point
    Rod, you definitely gave me some guidance and insight that I needed. I decided to go ahead and go through for it, so I'm going to give it a round. Having been in the service industry for nearly a decade, I really don't see it as being difficult to get up and running. I like your idea of a sprinter van, I will defiantly be changing vehicles now that my towing truck better known as gas guzzler won't be needed to tow around 3 or 4 zero turns at a time. I'll probably go for something economical. My main and only concern I would appreciate you touching on a little more is marketing and getting constant cash flow coming in. I'm really worried about constant cash flow, as in landscaping, I've had year around customers, on a weekly schedule, and that money was guaranteed every month. With power-washing I worry the week work schedule and work load could simply depend on luck in marketing. What do you do to guarantee cash flow? The first year, I plan to start solo, but can easily hire someone if it takes off. Just to make a living, according to my math, I'll need at bare minimum of 15 to 25 customers a week, depending on how much they spend on up-sells. If I can up-sell a lot through the week, I could make it work with 15 customers or jobs per week. Here's what I have planned for marketing, let me know what you think and if you think it will be enough to book between 15 and 25 jobs a week. Step 1: Tomorrow I will start on building a website and a business Facebook account. I already have a business name in mind that I'll need to file a DBA for that is not in use around here. I'll use the social media for creating a portfolio and building a name, and also have the website ranked near the top on Google. Step 2: I have a local printer that prints me (10,000 Full Page 8.5 x 11) Flyers at a time for $250.00. (I use full page, because I noticed an increased response rate in previous years over business cards and small postcards.) I plan to have 2,500 of these go out every single week. I plan for this to be my primary mode of marketing. I will either pay someone to distribute 2,500 each week or use EDDM through the postal office. I expect a 1% response rate at minimum off of them each week. In turn, this should provide me with 25 calls at minimum. I prefer this method because I can control my work area and have a tight route each week, and practically be in the same zip code all week rather than having too much windshield time between each stop. Step 3: Every job I complete, I intend to drop a 2nd flyer off by hand to the closest (5) neighbors, letting them know we had just did their neighbors, which I'm sure they will take notice of. I will also use coupons on the flyer to reel them in. With that said, I'm hoping these (3) small steps will be enough to at least get my feet wet and reel in the amount of work or 15-25 jobs a week that I need to keep a float until I build a reputation. Ram, please let me know what you think about the above and you think it will AT LEAST real in enough work to keep a solo guy busy his first year? Also, my ears are open to any other tricks or methods you might have to reeling in or securing steady cash flow.
  36. 1 point
    Think I did my last one yesterday! Now time for my body to recuperate until March.
  37. 1 point
    We been down a couple weeks ! Still scheduling a few for spring 2018
  38. 1 point
    We're getting close. Got a log home to blast on monday and a play lot to do some repairs on but that will probably end our season about the 2nd week of December. After that...indoors we go! Rod
  39. 1 point
    I don't bother to quote stripping that stuff anymore. It is cheaper to re-skin the deck. Consider that the wood has already gotten to a point that this is a last resort for anyone to consider using this....Crap! After having it on for a long enough period, the wood starts to rot because it is holding in moisture where ever it fails and allows water to collect beneath it where it flakes off. I have tried to strip it off only to find a turbo nozzle works the best and even then it never got rid of the stuff that goes into the cracks. For all the cost associated with trying to remove it, it is far cheaper to just replace the wood and then apply a sealer. fwiw. Rod
  40. 1 point

    Cold weather Graffiti removal

    Hey Mark, Winter graffiti removal can be done, but how successfully varies. General rules: 1. Apply the product on the tag as hot as possible. I use hot water baths and store the product in them right up until they are applied on the surface. The products will only work until they get too cold and everything grinds to a halt, so the goal is to give them enough momentum to fully emulsify the tags before they stop working. You can reapply hot product over existing product to try and help keep things working. Spraying hot water may keep things working but I find that creates ice everywhere else, better to reapply. 2. Masonry acts like a cold battery. Even it is warms up during the day to above freezing, consider the overnight temps. The bricks take awhile to heat up, especially if they are not in direct sunlight. If your surface is still freezing cold its going to affect the outcome. 3. You only get one chance at removal. Make sure the pores are not full of ice. Once you have applied the product, let it dwell for as long as possible, test a small corner and see how it is coming off. Once you have pressure washed everything off, if it is below freezing temps, the water will freeze in the pores of the masonry, and no further attempts can be made until it thaws and dries in the spring. The surface of the bricks can look completely dry, especially if the spot gets sunlight, but the pores may still be full. The problem is that you can no longer get product onto where it needs to go, it can't get past the ice in the pores and to the paint. So be sure you are ready to pressure wash, whatever your tests reveal is what you can expect. Any shadows you are trying to clean up are the hardest to reach places in the surface, ie deepest pores. 4. Manage customer expectations carefully. There is no way to say that this product works on these brands of spray paints or these colours. When they manufacture the paints, they use whatever solvent is the cheapest at the time, and this affects how well and quickly it can be removed. I've had situations where I've applied product over a variety of tags and had it remove 3 of the 4 different colour, but not touch the last. If it was summer, you could try again either re-applying or trying a new product or method. Winter does not allow for this flexibility. I personally use products from http://www.graffitisolutionscanada.com/ The Rhino Blast is a gel based product which helps to keep the heat and keep working. The Metallic Paint Blaster is another great option which works in about a minute and is really helpful for winter removals. I speak with the owner Cal regularly and he really knows his stuff. Everything I talked about above I learned from him and from personal experience. Still have lots to learn but this is how I understand it so far! Regards, Andrew
  41. 1 point
    i use a bandanna and daft maneuvering to avoid the caustic mist. sometimes ill turn the fans on to suck it out of the kitchen as well as help coat the ducts going up and through the fan before i even go on the roof. just be sure your plastic is secured or you'll get the ol' plastic up the hole panic and mad dash to hit the switches. especially after youve washed off the hoods and all that grease is on the plastic... talk about rage, when you gotta clean the **** off again. the risk is part of the fun!
  42. 1 point
    Thanks Guy. I did learn the old fashion way by asking knowledgeable guys who actually clean garages and how they did it. I asked and also get asked what prices can we look to get to clean these giants. Only one person always spouted off how he gets 25cents a sq', makes 70k a day cleaning garages because he can clean 280,000sq' a day including gum popping but doesn't have employees because he can't afford the workers comp. Time for me to do the right thing and protect other contractors from people like this instead of looking the other way. Those days are over.
  43. 1 point
    Nice and clean

    Pricing myself out of jobs

    Probably looking at least 20 gallons of degreaser and meet profit would be around that but isn't that the reason we are in business to make money? People don't respect pressure washing companies because of the hacks who do a job that size for 500 dollars worth a home depot bought machine
  44. 1 point
  45. 1 point
    I used fine recycled glass along with our Farrow System.
  46. 1 point
    Yes, it's a Farrow System machine.
  47. 1 point
    That looks great excellent work, is that a farrow machine I looked into buying one a couple years ago.
  48. 1 point
    Looks terrific ! What do you use for the media? Must be something fairly soft.
  49. 1 point
    This is the front of that building we've been working on for the last week or so. This is the front of that same building right after we restored it with our wet abrasive blasting process. The history of the building is that it was originally constructed in the 1920s as a Chevrolet dealership in Hopewell New Jersey and operated as a Chevrolet dealership until General Motors shut them two years ago. Anyway it's being repurposed as a Green Organic Farmers Market... and no chemicals were used in this restoration.
  50. 1 point
    This is a project we did last week which we're just wrapping up right now. The building was from 1920's and had close to 100 years of dirt and crud on all the bricks. You can see the old color of the building on the left side and the restored area on the right. This is the side of the building wet abrasive blasted... note how there is no dust and no water on the ground... very clean! This is what this side of the building looked like all cleaned up This is the back of the same building before we wet abrasive blasted it.. the area on the right is still being worked on by the masons. This is what the back looked like all cleaned up This black stuff was all over the building and pretty much is what had to be removed without damaging the bricks. Again what the bricks looked like all cleaned up and ready for sealer. Again the wet abrasive process in action... Note how there is very little water (Just enough to control dust) and how the ground stays dry. Still the building cleaned up real nice even in 100º temp Hey it's good to be green!:thumbsup: