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

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Beth n Rod

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About Beth n Rod

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    Site Admin(s)

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  • Website URL
    http://www.seedirtrun.com

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Not Telling
  • Location
    Maryland
  • Company Name
    See Dirt Run! Inc.
  • First & Last Name
    Beth Borrego & Rod Rodriguez
  • City & State
    Germantown, Maryland, United States
  • Occupation
    Offering full service wood restoration for anything from historic log homes to decks. I am also a fr
  • Biography
    Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it. Henry David Thoreau US Transcendentalist author (1817 - 1862)

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  1. 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
  2. Teak Swim Platform clean and restain

    Can't be specific without seeing the condition of the platform and the coating installed. Got pics? Rod
  3. Looks like were still at it this week and into the week of the 11th..... [scrambling] Rod
  4. 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
  5. Sodium Hypochlortite pricing

    I don't even bother with buying in bulk or that concentration anymore. We have switched to just single bottles of clorox at HD and a few detergents/foaming agents/builders/rinse aids and extension poles and brushes. Get far better cleaning results, no bleach residue left behind, no oxidation issues to contend with and customers that call us back every two years to deal with the problematic sides and the rest of the house is a breeze. Same money, easier cleaning, less time and repeat business. Rod
  6. 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
  7. SANDING CEDAR SIDING

    Clean it first. Then sand it. Use no higher than 80 grit. You can use a couple of different methods but grinders help get the job done faster if you learn how to keep it with the grain. If you run into corners, use a palm sander (square type the you have to use hook bars to hold the paper which is cut to size specifically for the sander). Rod
  8. House Washing

    Keep the percarb from drying on glass. It turns it cloudy. The cause is the cure fortunately but it ends up taking more time and effort to physically rub or brush them to remove the haze. I would suggest a maintenance strength sodium hydroxide based cleaner and then neutralize. Rod
  9. Cedar Shake Questions

    I can understand your intention to address the customers request but keep this in mind. . . The customer doesn't always know what is best. Cleaning just a part without touching adjacent shakes is a surgical operation and unless you intend to do it by hand just give em a price break to clean them all to look the same (or as close to it as possible considering the proximity to the ground.) I am guessing the shakes have been replaced at some point in the past and the h.o. is proceeding based upon advice given by the installer. The installer is NEVER there to see the progress of nature and exposure for the sake of maintenance. They only see it once everything has gone to rot and decay requiring replacement. Use your best judgement and remember also this....your reputation is in the results. Others don't know the arrangement you make and their perceptions will be based upon solely what you complete. They may think you weren't doing a good job and got fired. Food for thought. Rod
  10. Help removing valves

    Bumping the thread to see if anyone can help... Rod
  11. Composite deck and acids

    Prewet the composite first since you have to neutralize the wood rails. Rod
  12. Good to hear but it would depend on the severity of the rust to do that. Those elements are not active on rust typically. You got lucky. Acid is the way to go. Try tennis ball feet on wrought iron in the future, or clear coat with a Rustoleum product. Beth
  13. Adjusting unloader

    Your gauge should be after the gun. The tip after the gauge to determine the pressure according to the nozzle size designated for your pump. Rod
  14. Pressuretek

    You're Welcome Mike. Rod
  15. Deck Project

    Gotcha. I thought you meant it hadn't been sealed yet. Then the dark patches are where water is showing it has gotten into the wood. Not a sealer failure, just an eventuality since the deck can't be sealed on all sides once it is built. Rod
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