Page 1

eClean Magazine

November 2012

www.eCleanMag.com

1


TM

1.800.433.2113

Wi n t e r M a i n t e n a n c e S u p p l i e s Briggs & Stratton Air Filter

A/C Air Filter, Honda HP

ID 5 5/8”, OD 7”, Height 2 1/4”. Fits many Briggs 16-18 HP twin cylinder engines. Click Here

Fits all 11 & 13 HP Horizontal Engines, but specifically designed to fit GX340 & GX390 models. Click Here

Honda Air Filter for 20 HP Engine

Briggs & Stratton Pre-Air Filters

Fits GX610 and GX620 (serial numbers beginning with 2), GX670 Honda engines. Click Here

This pre-cleaner adds a second layer of protection against airborne-dirt particle ingestion. It is meant for use with air filter 393957S. Click Here

Scaleaway Coil Deliming Acid

General Pump Maintenance DVD In this DVD, industry expert Larry Hinckley covers the repair and maintenance of a General Pump. Topics covered include, installing packing, removing the head, cleaning out the pump, and putting the pump back together. Click Here

A scientifically blended granular acid formulation designed to dissolve hard water deposits such as calcium and magnesium from pressure washer heat exchanger coil areas. This inhibited acid will not harm most metals. Click Here

Soot Remover A special blend of chemical compounds formulated to attack existing soot formations and help prevent further soot buildup. It cleans burner tips, improves burner efficiency, delivers more heat from less fuel, and combats the formation of sludge and gum deposits in the fuel tank, line, and filter. Click Here

Power Washer Safety & Power Washer Maintenance (2 Disc Set) Be prepared for any emergency with the valuable information in this 2 disc set. Click Here

RK-5835-2G Two Gun Machine PowerWash.com Standard Equipment

Briggs & Stratton Oil Filter

Replaces: WD-C34374, WDC34374, WD-C37545, WDC37545 Click Here

Honda Oil Filter

(OEM) replacement filter for 18 HP, 20 HP & 24 HP V-Twin engines, & GXV340 and GXV390 engines. Click Here

Racor Filter/Water Separator 10 micron filtration Spin-on convenience Water separation chamber 1/4” FPT inlet/outlet Easy drain water/sediment bowl Click Here

Atomizing Fuel Burner Nozzles These nozzles mix fuel and air to turn the fuel into a combustible mist. Designed and dimensioned to deliver a fixed amount of atomized fuel to the combustion chamber within approximately plus or minus 5% of rated capacity. Click Here

C-A-R-B

Compliant Specifications Dare to 800 CCA Battery Emissions 3,500 PSI at 8 GPM Compare! Honda GX690, 4 Stroke, Electric Start Engine with a 6.5 Gal. 2 X 50ft. High Pressure Hose System Unleaded Fuel Tank, Aprox. One Tank Run Time: 6 hrs. Ex e 2 X 36” Insulated Wand ept io n a l Valu General TSF2021 Belt Drive Pump, YU2140 Unloader 2 X Trigger Guns Beckett 12V Burner, Fuel Tank Size: 10 Gal., Aprox. One Tank Run Time: 5 hrs 1 X 8 GPM @ 3500 PSI, color coded, quick coupled nozzles Max Inlet Temperature: 200º F 2 X 4 GPM @ 3500 PSI, color coded, quick coupled nozzles 80 Heating Pressure Gauge (5,000PSI) Everything Included Schedule Coil Extra ¼” & 3/8” Viton O-Rings Excellent Service Racor Fuel Water Maintenance & Safety DVD Seperator Hour Meter Maintenance & Environmental Class Down Stream Chemical Injection Features Powder Coated Black Air Craft Quality Aluminum Frame Number of Guns: 2 High Pressure Pop-off Valve Mobile Skid Mount Belt Guard Dimensions: 42”L X Burner Cover and Control Panel 35”W X 45”H Battery Box Weight: 750 lbs. Plumbed with 2 ea ¾ inlet Barbs on the pump and 1 ea 5/8 Inch Bypass Barb Click Here from the unloader Water tank kit ING IPP H S PW

Others

Ex

ept

ional Ser vic

e

TM

TM

TM

TM

TM

TM

TM

TM

TM

TM

TM

+

$550 Value

E

E FR

www.PowerWash.com


www.eCleanMag.com

November 2012

In This Issue: The Winter Work Issue 5 Winter Work Survey Results

9 Cold Weather Fleet Washing: Guidance from Milwaukee’s 20-Year Veteran, Paul Kassander 14 Warm Window Cleaning Hands During Winter Months, J. Racenstein

9

14 Safety & Window Cleaning in Cold Weather,

J. Racenstein

18 Ice Dam Removal Services, by Henry Bockman 24 Marketing Your Snow Plow Services, by John Allin 29 Keeping Cool: Tips for Storing Pressure Washers in

Winter, by Paul Horsley

Additional Features

15 Seattle Window Cleaner’s Gift Saves Daughter’s Life

24

17 Blogging: New Study Shows Its Impact on Small Business’ Websites (and it’s pretty significant!)

21 Blogging Basics, by Anya Curry, Ambidextrous

Services

22 Ultrasonic Blind Cleaning: A Great Add-On Service, by

Jim Viviani,

24 Repeat Your Way to More Cleaning Contractos, by Rick Meehan, Marko Janitorial Supplies

Cover photo courtesy of Matthew Norman, Colorado ProWash, LLC, www.ColoradoProWash.com eClean Magazine is published monthly Publisher: Paul Horsley, paul@ecleanmag.com Editor: Allison Hester, allison@ecleanmag.com

eClean Magazine

November 2012

eClean Magazine Box 262, 16 Midlake Blvd S.E. Calgary, Alberta Canada T2X2X7 www.eCleanMag.com www.eCleanMag.com

3


wINTER wORK

T

hose of you who don’t really experience the frigid, snow-packed winters that some of your Northern comrades do, are blessed in that cleaning services may not be impacted in the winter. However, for some, cleaning has to stop altogether. For many others, cleaning slows down quite a bit. Earlier this month, we posted a winter work survey. Here’s what we found out from those who responded:

sURVEY Results

In the winter, cleaning Stops Slows Down Significantly Slows Down a Little Is Rarely Affected

Additional Services Offered to Supplement Winter Season: Holiday Light Hanging 6.9% Snow Plowing 12.7% Ice Dam Removal 9.3% Do not Add other Services 62.7% Other: 17.4%

Photos courtesy of D.J. Carroll, EasyPro Property Services, www.EasyProPropertyServices.com

It doesn’t snow hear so we don’t get all the snow work we would if we were north. We stay busy with the Christmas lights. I didn’t think it was going to be that much of a saver. It has turned out to be great. We work from November until mid February. It’s been what we need to keep our workers over the winter without letting any go. Last year we had to hire extra people just to keep up with all the work after Thanksgiving. 4

eClean Magazine

12.6% 35.6% 28.7% 22.9%

A lot of people do interior cleaning in the winter, a topic we plan to cover in our January issue. Fleets must be washed year round, and so those are a popular option as well. (See the article on winter fleet washing on page 9) Other ideas include dryer vent cleaning, fence and gate repair, arborist services (tree/shrub seasonal prunint), glass scratch removal, drainage mitigation (excavation and installation of enhanced drainage systems), gutter cleaning, carpet cleaning, pipe thawing and ground thawing. Most agree that even if cleaning stops, work should not. Winter is a time for planning and marketing, as well as for doing some things you enjoy that you may not get to do during the busy season.

November 2012

www.eCleanMag.com


Keep your rig ready to go with whatever the season brings! If you get above freezing, have some flat work accounts that you could offer a quick clean. Most sidewalks have sat for a few weeks and they’re filthy. Call the merchant and suggest a cleaning while you have warmer weather. You can also do dams when you get a lot of snow and the melting and re-freezing occurs.

Photo courtesy of Matthew Norman, Colorado ProWash, LLC, www.ColoradoProWash.com

Photo courtesy of Mike Wooley, Aqua Hot Wash Ltd., www.AquaHotWash.com

Fleet cleanig picks up, other cleaning slow down.

I would wash fleets in the winter but I am not properly trained or equiped to perform those jobs. eClean Magazine

November 2012

Photos courtesy of Dave Hudzinki, 5 X-Stream www.eCleanMag.com H2O


More Winter Work Survey Comments: Photo courtesy of Matthew Norman, Colorado ProWash, LLC, www.ColoradoProWash.com

The following are some additional comments posted during our November survey. Thanks to all who participated and to those who provided photos! Watch for a new survey coming soon.

Congratulations to our $25 Visa Giftcard Winner! Brian Smith, Brian Smith Power Washing, Chelsea, Alabama

Marketing & Sales “Use the extra down time to pull files from last year and give people follow-up calls. People get so busy that they forget to call you back sometimes. it’s not that they don’t want it done and sometimes that call is all it takes.“ “Do your best work and your best customer service on every job you complete all year long and you will make it through the winter months just ok!“ “Work on SEO and any other means of getting your company name out to those that you think need to see it for the Spring!“ “Start the next season’s marketing/sales. Order new signs and literature.Check in on previous customers. Look for new,everyone loves doughnuts!“

(Chosen in a random drawing of survey participants) 6

eClean Magazine

November 2012

www.eCleanMag.com


Discounts “We offer discounts on pressure washing during the winter months to customers that do not have a regular contract with us. Our waterproofing service always picks up in the winter as well.“ “Offer customers an ‘extra’ winter frequency at a discount. Keeping our crewmember during the slower months is important, so we are willing to cut into profits to extend discounts. If you can be persistent in marketing, customer visits and phone calls, you may even GROW your business during this time by introducing customers to other services that they don’t usually use your company for.“ “We do a mailing and offer discounts on interior painting, air duct cleaning and dryer vent cleaning during certain months. We can sometimes keep ourselves busy with this kind of service work that is not as affected by the weather. We, however, have never been very successful in staying busy from Thanksgiving through the Holiday season. Most customers don’t wish to have people in their homes during this time.“

Take Advantage of the Downtime “I expend the same energy on my business all year: 100%. It’s just that in winter that energy goes on maintenance, planning for the next season, updating website, marketing, improving customer tracking, etc. There is an endless list of things to do. While these things do not directly make you money in the off season (many may even cost you some investment), they WILL make you more money when you get back to it in Spring - working smarter and more efficiently with your time.” “Get all the maintenance issues squared away. Complete additional training for employees, plan for next season.“ “I have learned that certain months like February, I lose considerable revenue trying to keep my crews busy with limited work coming in the door. Last year I closed shop on February 1, gave my crew members half of one month’s salary (based off of 30 hour per week) and the other half when they returned for work on March 1. We all enjoyed the time off and it made March much busier after rolling over the work.“

Photo courtesy of Tony Shelton, Sonitx, www.Sonitx.com

“I enjoy the two slow months as I hit the gym and run quite bit to take off any pounds put on during the nine or 10 month work season. I spend lots of time with my girls in January & February and hit the Orlando parks (Disney, Sea World, etc) during this time when there are NO crowds.“

Wear your woolies and boots from ‘Shoes for Crews.’ Move slow and roll with a fall. Buy 4x4 trucks and teach employees how to winterize machines. Suit up and keep your “Don’t forget using slower times for looking in on contract accounts done on time with quality and catching up with family and friends, and enjoy a work. Don’t be stupid. If a night is really bad, little R&R. At the end of the day, that’s all that really reschedule as required. Safety first! Make sure matters!“ all of your employees have the cold gear they need to stay warm! eClean Magazine November 2012 www.eCleanMag.com 7


8

eClean Magazine

November 2012 www.armclark.com

www.eCleanMag.com


Cold Weather Fleet Washing

customers know, then arrives on site as soon as weather allows. In general, Kassander says he tries not to wash if temperatures fall below 28 degrees. “If it’s too cold, we don’t wash. It’s not that we can’t get the vehicles clean, Guidance from 20-Year Fleet Washing but the hazards in the parking lots are pretty dangerous for slips/falls,” Veteran Paul Kassander, he said. “It gets to a point where the Milwaukee, Wisconsin amount of things you have to do to keep that from happening outweigh the benefit of doing the work.” by Allison Hester There are situations where his customers need certain types of trailers cleaned no matter what, and his crews are there to take care of them. “I’ve never cleaned when it was 20 below, but I have done it in five degrees.” Other elements, such as sunshine and wind, can also impact his 28-degree guideline. “If it’s a sunny day that is not windy, we can wash down to about 20 Photo courtesy of Mobi-Clean, degrees and actually still clean pretty well www.MobiCleanInc.com without creating a bad ice situation,” he explained. “Even though it may freeze on contact, it’s amazing what the sun will do. The side that’s in the sun won’t freeze. The side “Always show up when you say you’re going that’s not in the sun will freeze instantly.” to show up.” This is the number one piece of Keeping Everyone Safe advice that Kassander gives contractors photoPaul courtesy of John Greene, Kassander’s top priority is to keep his Camelot Pressure Washing, www.CamelotPressureWashing.com interested in the fleet washing industry, and customers and his employees safe, especially it’s a principle that has served him well for over when dealing with cold, often icy conditions. 20 years as owner of Mobi Clean, Inc., as well One of the biggest safety issues is that as PowerWashStore.com. pressure washing creates ice on the ground. “Even if you don’t do the best job every time, Kassander doesn’t want the truck drivers – or if your equipment is acting up, show up or his employees – slipping and falling and and do whatever it takes to get them cleaned potentially injuring themselves. So his crews as best you can, even if it’s just getting the carry bags of salt to place on the ground after windows cleaned so their drivers can see the cleaning. (Some customers don’t allow salt, better,” Kassander explained. “Customers in which case he switches to sand.) “We don’t respect and appreciate that because they are want our customers to have to worry about the so used to companies that do a really great job the first time they clean, do a so-so job the next liability and worker’s comp problems that can occur from slipping on the ice,” he stressed. time, then they don’t show up at all. As for his workers, they typically “get Kassander practices what he preaches, traction fine” on their first cleaning pass. which is not always easy living in Milwaukee, However, by pass number two there may Wisconsin, where winter’s daylight temps be ice, so again they put down salt. They generally stay below freezing and the average also wear winter boots for extra warmth and annual snowfall is over 50 inches. traction. In the coldest settings, he has to sometimes While his crews are used to working under make exceptions – but it’s rare, and he lets the eClean Magazine

November 2012

www.eCleanMag.com

9


these conditions, occasional falls do happen. That’s why Kassander stresses the importance of teaching his team how to properly fall to minimize injury. “They know if they are slipping and falling, they need to throw the wand away from them,” he explained. “If they use it or try to catch themselves with it, there can be situations where it breaks off and they can

impale themselves with it.” He also stresses safety when it comes to what his crew members wear. Typically, they dress in insulated coveralls and sweatshirts. For gloves, he’s found that insulated leather gloves are better and less expensive than rubber-coated gloves. “When people use those rubber coated gloves, they get so stinky that

Paul Kassander: Owner of Mobi-Clean, Inc. & PowerWashStore.com Paul Kassander got into pressure washing over 20 years ago. A military veteran, Kassander was working as a movie theater manager when one of his battle buddies got into the car detailing business – and was making over twice as much in a single job as Kassander was in a day. So he bought an “overpriced how-to-start-apressure-washing-business book” – which he quickly threw in the trash. Then he bought out a small pressure washing business, van and all, along with its accounts. However, he quickly learned two important things. First, he didn’t like the van setup. “I couldn’t haul a lot of water to the jobs. Also, with the machine inside the van, it always smelled like exhaust even though it was vented.” Second, and more significantly, he didn’t have the patience for car detailing. The business he bought had a number of fleet washing accounts, however, and Kassander enjoyed those. “When you start, the truck is dirty. When you’re finished, it’s clean,” he said. “You can do it fast and there’s instant gratification.” He fiddled with his business part-time for about two years, working at the movie theater during the day and evenings, going home and getting three or four hours of sleep, then washing fleets in the wee hours of the morning. While he enjoyed washing and he was making good money at it, the idea of quitting a secure job with insurance and benefits was a bit scary. By 1992, he took the leap and his fleet washing business “exploded.” As the business has grown, Kassander’s 10 eClean Magazine November

days out in the field have lessened, although he usually has to go out and wash most weekends during the cold season. About two years ago, he also opened PowerWashStore.com, a national distributorship that works primarily with contract cleaners – something he really enjoys. As a contractor, he was always trying to come up with new ideas on how to do things better, and has tried out some “pretty elaborate” ideas. Now, as a distributor, he gets to do the same kind of thing, only with new ideas coming from contractors around the country. “Contractors come up with ideas and we work with them to develop and implement them,” he said. “If there’s not something we can find that will help them, then we try to build something.” He stressed that he finds that is also one of the biggest benefits for participating in trade associations and various events, not just as a distributor, but as a contractor himself. “The networking and ideas that are sparked when just sitting around and talking, you come up with ideas that can revolutionize your business,” he said. “Contractors getting involved and going to these events has really impacted the industry and grown it over the past few years.” Finally, he adds that he would like to see more contractors and distributors working together to create better ways of doing things. “Contractors and distributors need to stop being afraid of each other and instead work together to professionalize and increase the industry standards so everyone can make more money.” 2012 www.eCleanMag.com


you can’t keep them in the truck any more.” His team usually keeps a couple of pairs of leather gloves on hand so they can swap wet gloves for dry ones between jobs, then let the wet ones dry out on the dash. Of course, they also wear winter hats. “And we use face shields too. When that water shoots back on your face, even if it’s 35 degrees outside it might feel like it’s seven below. You’ll ice up and freeze.” Just as it’s important to be warm during the cleaning, it’s important between jobs to stay comfortable. “You either need to remove your coveralls between jobs or at least undo them so you can allow airflow in,” he added. “Just like if you’re surviving in the wild, don’t overheat yourself working outside. Once you start sweating, your body starts cooling down and you get cold. Once you’re cold, you’re slow the rest of the day.” In addition to the obvious safety aspects of cleaning fleets in the cold, Kassander brought up another very important point. In the winter, the vehicles are plugged into a wall because they have block heaters to keep them from freezing. While the plugs are supposed to be watertight, “If you spray those plugs with

eClean Magazine

water – especially with the salt residue and the chemicals running through them – you can short out these trucks and actually catch the trucks on fire,” he explained. The plugs are supposed to be on ground fault interrupters, but if a contractor trips the ground fault and doesn’t know it, the heater will turn off and the driver won’t be able to start his truck in the morning. “It’s a good idea to always unplug those cords and move them to an out-of-the-way area where you’re not going to get them wet,” he added. “Then make sure you plug them back in.” And when you plug them in, do it carefully by wearing an insulated glove and making sure you aren’t standing in a puddle of water. In fact, Kassander suggests unplugging the wires at the wall. “Then if it trips a breaker when I plug them back in, I know that water got into that plug and I need to take the plug off the truck, dry it, and check it. Hit the reset and try again.” Keeping Water from Freezing While safety is the top concern for washing in the cold, low temperatures also cause some issues with the equipment and chemicals. First and foremost is the need to keep the water

November 2012

www.eCleanMag.com

11


Photo courtesy of Mobi-Clean, www.MobiCleanInc.com from freezing. Most of Kassander’s trucks are enclosed – which helps keep heat in – and they are parked inside at night, which means he doesn’t have to winterize every night. If the temperature is above 28 degrees, he can usually get to any jobsite without worrying about anything freezing in the box. He does have a couple of exposed rigs, however, which require extra precautions to keep water from freezing. (He sometimes has to take these precautions for the enclosed equipment as well if the temperature is lower than 25.) One method Kassander uses is to add a bulkhead fitting on top of the water tank – “the way my tank is designed, I mounted one that screws into the cap” – then attach a nozzle. “Not a high pressure nozzle, but one low enough that the pressure is reduced and it will not suck soap from a downstream injector.” Next he takes his high pressure hose, quick connects it to the nozzle mounted on the tank and starts up his machine and runs it. “As long as the water is moving, it’s not going to freeze in the equipment or in the tank or in the pickup line.” Anything that spills in the truck bed will freeze, but the equipment should be ok. “I’ve gotten to jobsites and had two-foot icicles hanging off my truck, but my equipment is not frozen.” He adds that it’s ok to turn your machine off for a minute or two without it 12

eClean Magazine

freezing to change things back for operation. In cases where he’s traveling long distances and doesn’t want to leave his equipment running the whole way, he uses a different method. First he drains the water tanks. Next he fills a separate smaller tank full of antifreeze, closes off the water tank and opens up the tank for the antifreeze (using a ball valve), starts the machine up, and sprays the water out. “Let up on the trigger for a second to allow it to winterize the bypass line. Then squeeze the trigger again and spray until you see the antifreeze come out. At this point everything is winterized and you don’t have to worry about it freezing.” When he gets to the next jobsite, he closes the antifreeze tank off, opens up the water tank, fills it with water, starts up the machine, squirts the antifreeze back into the smaller tank, which can be reused, until he sees clear water coming out, “and now I know I’m ready to wash.” Changing Cleaning Methodology In cold weather, fleet owners typically don’t expect the same quality of cleaning/ brightening that they are accustomed to in warmer months. “Their big concerns in the winter are getting the big salt and dirt off, giving the truck a decent clean, and making it easier for the drivers to see out of the window.” So, when it’s really cold, Kassander usually only uses a single step method – i.e., soaping and rinsing. “When it’s below freezing, brushing is not a possibility because the brushes freeze instantly. And the customers understand this.” If a warm spell hits, however, Kassander will implement two-step cleaning. Additionally, the colder it is, the less effective chemicals are, so Kassander says he mixes his chemicals “a bit stronger” than he does in the summer. “However, the salt on the vehicles actually helps the cleaning process. So, you don’t have to go too strong. Spring and fall are really the times to up the concentrations.” Another problem for temperatures below freezing is that when you apply your detergent on the surface, it will almost always freeze right away. And, if there’s a layer of ice on the surface already, then the chemical reacts to the ice, not the dirt below it so those areas may need to be cleaned twice or you will have to

November 2012

www.eCleanMag.com


melt the ice off the surface first. Cold temperatures also require special care when cleaning, and some areas need to be avoided. For example, some people will tape over the locks to avoid freezing them with water. (Kassander doesn’t do this personally.) Door seals are another problem in that the water can freeze the doors shut even if they are unlocked. At the beginning of the season, Kassander will leave lock deicer with his customers just in case a driver can’t get his doors open. He’s never had a complaint, but the deicer creates good will nonetheless. A very important area to avoid are the glad handles on a tractor and trailer – which is where they connect the airlines. “You can actually freeze the brake lines if water gets in them.” One of Kassander’s clients also requires that they don’t spray the back rims in temperatures below 15 degrees because it can cause the brakes to freeze up. In some instances, the contractors are actually blasting off snow, for which high flow machines are good, and heat is a necessity. Kassander adds that with some areas that accumulate a lot of snow, such as the

eClean Magazine

mudflaps, it’s easier just to kick the flap rather than spray it; the snow will fall right off. Kassander warns about getting too aggressive on areas where snow and ice has accumulated, and says to avoid trying to cut it with the nozzle. “What’s the snow collecting on? It’s collecting on a wire. A hose. A piece of metal. If you start cutting through an area covered with snow and it turns out to be a plastic brake line, then you’ve created a problem.” Instead, he tries to “melt it off from a distance.” In fact, Kassander’s advice for all of these issues is to back off your distance and pressure. “You’re not dealing with bugs so you don’t have to be as aggressive. Let the detergents do more of the work.” Work Smart These are some of the many challenges that cold weather fleet washing entails, but it’s an industry where cleaning cannot stop simply because it’s cold outside. Remember to work safely, keep your equipment in good shape by practicing smart winter techniques, and work less aggressively. Then you should be able to follow Kassander’s advice and show up when

November 2012

www.eCleanMag.com

13


Warm Window Cleaning Hands During Winter Months: by www.JRacenstein.com Window cleaners often think first of working efficiently regardless of the circumstances. The winter cleaning months create some unique cleaning conditions that require product choices that enable them to be efficient and warm. The first area that you need to consider is that of keeping hands protected from the elements and the water in freezing temperatures. The importance of keeping your hands warm and dry enough to work effectively and safely is paramount to the window cleaner

working in winter conditions. Many of the gloves used for outdoor window cleaning are made to be waterproof while offering the utmost freedom of movement of fingers to cleaners. Neoprene is a synthetic polymer resembling rubber that is resistant to oil, heat and weathering and is commonly used in many weather resistant products including gloves for window cleaning. Many window cleaners opt to use neoprene gloves without liners to give them the best dexterity for finger usage while cleaning, sacrificing the warmth of a liner. Temperatures dictate which type of glove a cleaner will use. The usage of neoprene only

Safety & Window Cleaning in Cold Weather by J. Racenstein,www.JRacenstein.com For some, the foremost objective of cleaning in cold weather may be to clean effectively. But cleaning effectively should never mean sacrificing safety to accomplish a speedy completion of tasks. Preventing hypothermia, frostbite, dehydration and other ailments cold weather can cause are all extremely important elements of “cleaning effectively” in winter conditions. The age-old adage that says “all injuries are preventable” can be applied accurately to cold weather injuries also. Aside from staying actively moving while working, eating properly, staying dry, getting plenty of rest and staying hydrated, it is also wise to take extraordinary precautions you normally would not consider while cleaning outdoors. These include: • Taking extra time to place ladders properly to prevent slipping on ice or snow. • Being extra aware of how you are feeling and keeping a good eye on your co-worker(s) for signs of cold weather ailments. • Taking more breaks than normal and seeking a warm place to do so. 14 eClean Magazine November

• Immediately changing any clothing that becomes wet to prevent cold weather injury. • Wearing Photo courtesy of Tony Evans, A sunglasses New View Window Cleaning, to help www.ANewViewIA.com prevent snow blindness. • Keeping exposed skin to minimum to help keep the body warm. In the end, prior planning and education is the best course of action to be able to clean effectively in cold weather. Plan to drink plenty of water the day before. Get plenty of rest. Read to understand the symptoms of each ailment so you can prevent catastrophe. “Cleaning effectively” in cold weather is to take all precautions for the well being of the cleaner while getting the job done simultaneously. 2012 www.eCleanMag.com


will suffice to temps down to about 20 degrees. Colder temps will necessitate utilizing a liner along with the neoprene. Often gloves offer curved fingers to reduce fatigue and Velcro wrist straps to keep cold air and water from getting inside the glove. The grip a cleaner will have to grab tools while using gloves is important, thus many winter cleaning gloves offer a non-slip textured palm. The second area that has to be considered is that of the water. When temps dip below 32 degrees, cleaners are forced to use methanol or other alcohols in their bucket to be able to continue to work outdoors. Not adding alcohol causes the water to freeze when placed on the glass. With the additive, window cleaners are able to get the water on the glass and back off again with a squeegee as they would at other times of the year. The final area that needs addressing is the

clothing in general. Window cleaning requires range of motion, so often times big or bulky clothing will not allow for proper movement. You have to layer your clothing so that the cold temperatures don’t affect your body temperature. Of course, as important as the outer clothing is proper footwear. Welllined boots that provide protection from wet conditions are crucial. So with the proper gloves, the right additive in the water and the proper clothing and footwear, one is ready to brave the elements and face the cold weather in winter months. J Racenstein & Co. (“JRC”) is a preeminent distributor of window washing supplies, tools and equipment in the U.S. JRC has been in the business for over 99 years and is nationally recognized as the comprehensive solution to the window washing cleaning industry. To learn more, visit www.jracenstein.com.

Seattle Window Cleaner’s Gift Saves Daughter’s Life by Allison Hester, eClean Editor

Keith Sherman started with his own window cleaning company several years ago, merging and taking over Evergreen Window Cleaning in 2010. On Halloween, Keith gave his (almost) threeyear-old daughter, Evelyn, a very special treat – his kidney. As a baby, Evelyn was diagnosed with “failure to thrive,” and later determined to have kidney disease. For the past two years, she has had to receive dialysis four times a week while doctors searched for a kidney donor. When Keith learned he was a match, the choice was simple. And so on Halloween morning, Keith donated his kidney to his young daughter – a surgery that may cost over $500,000 and possibly put Keith out of commission for six weeks or more. eClean Magazine

The surgery went well and Evelyn returned home on November 10. Both she and Keith are now recovering well. However, the financial burden remains. The Shermans are working with the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) to raise funds and awareness for Evelyn’s transplant. Fox Sports Grill in downtown Seattle has donated its space and appetizers for a fundraiser on December 16 where they are hoping to raise $10,000. They are looking for about seven corporate/business sponsors to each donate $100 to pay for the rest of the food for attendees. If you are interested in helping sponsor the event, or in giving a tax-free donation to help with the Shermans’ medical expenses, please visit Evelyn’s website at cotaforevelyns.com.

November 2012

www.eCleanMag.com

15


Fall Deals on Hot Water Pressure Washers Hot Water Power Washer • • • • • • •

Includes hose reel

2500 psi, 3.8 gpm 230v, 1ph motor - Diesel heated Adjustable temperature, up to 250ºF Full pressure soap injection Rustproof stainless frame and panels Wheel kit Stainless hose reel

$3595

Save over $2100

Hot Water Mobile Wash Skid • • • • • •

3500 psi, 3.5 gpm Twin cylinder gas engine - Diesel heated Adjustable temperature, up to 250ºF Steel Pro-Tect-It frame Rustproof stainless panels 13” 4-wheel kit

$3995

Save over $2600

Available at your local Hydro Tek distributor thru 12/31/12. Ask for the Harvest Special. 16 eCleanfree Magazine November www.eCleanMag.com Includes freight to distributor location 2012 in the continental U.S. Call 800-27-HYDRO or visit www.hydrotek.us to find a distributor near you.


Blogging – New

Study Shows its Impact on Small Business Websites (and it’s pretty significant!) By Allison Hester, Editor As the weather turns colder, many contractors use the slower season as a time to work on their marketing strategies. If you are looking to increase your search engine optimization (SEO) rankings, bring in more web traffic, and generate more leads, perhaps one of the smartest marketing strategies you can implement is also one of the least expensive – blogging. Blogging? Really? Yes, really. Maybe the following will help put it into perspective. The Hubspot Study A recent study by Hubspot – a company that specializes in software for inbound traffic – analyzed “the relationships between key inbound marketing activities and the volume of traffic and leads that correlate with those activities.” Specifically, they studied 7,000 businesses, looking at their websites, blogs, and social media accounts. What they found is that sites that blog have higher website traffic than those that don’t. Even more, those that blog often have much higher traffic than those that don’t. Following are some specifics of the Hubspot study: • Business-to-Consumer (B2C) sites that post one to two blogs per month produce double the traffic of those that don’t. • B2C sites that post 15 or more times a month get five times (or more) traffic than those that don’t blog at all. • Companies that increase their blogs from three to five times per month to six to eight times a month almost double their leads (not just their traffic). eClean Magazine

• Business-to-business (B2B) companies that blog only once or twice per month still generate 70 percent more leads than those that don’t blog at all. • Small businesses seem to see the biggest gains in traffic when they publish blogs. • Keep in mind that your past blogs are indexed in the search engines, so you can still generate traffic from them months after they are first published. The total number of blogs on your site impacts your traffic as well. According to the study: • An average company will see a 45 percent growth in traffic when increasing their total blog articles from 11 to 20 to 21 to 50. • B2C websites with a blog total above 100 can expect a traffic increase of 59 percent. So, in a nutshell, if you’re wanting to increase your website traffic as well as leads, blogging is a smart, inexpensive, and easy way to do this. We Want to Help To help you get started with your own blogging, we will be doing some blogging of our own. Starting December 1, eClean will be posting daily blogs to both help teach and encourage you to implement this important marketing tool. Until then, you can see the results of the Hubspot study for yourself by visiting their website at www.Hubspot.com. Be sure to check out “Blogging Basics” by Anya Curry, Ambidextrous Services, on page 19.

November 2012

www.spraynpay.com

www.eCleanMag.com

17


Ice Dam Removal Services by Henry Bockman During the blizzard of 1994 in Maryland, thousands of homes and commercial properties dealt with damages from heavy accumulations of snow, which caused a large number of roofs to collapse from the weight of the snow. At the beginning the concern was the amount of weight on the roofs, but that quickly shifted to ice dams as the snow started to melt and refreeze.

You can see a video of how ice dams form here: http://www.henryshousework.com/whatcauses-ice-dams/

18

eClean Magazine

What Is An Ice Dam? An ice dam is a buildup of water that is formed from melting snow on the roof, then runs down the slope of the roof and forms into ice near the outside wall of the house. This is usually at the soffits where there is slightly cooler air, because it’s located past the heated areas of the home, and where cooler air is drawn into the attic from the vents in the soffit.  It may only be a difference of one Degree but if temperatures are low enough, that’s all that’s needed for the water to freeze.  Through constant fluctuations in temperature, a wall of ice is formed across the roof and water begins to build up behind it. Once the pond of water behind the ice dam is deep enough, it starts to back flow into the exterior walls of the house.  Ice dams are usually formed very slowly, so it may take a day or two for the water leaking into the walls to be noticeable, but when this happens it can cause water damage to the walls and ceilings of every floor of the house below it. Ice Dams are not the only thing that can cause damages! As I mentioned earlier, when the ice dams started forming on homes back in 1994, the media started recommending that people hire contractors to remove the gutters from homes to remove the ice dams, and to prevent more from forming.  While this advice was intended to help, it made matters worse!  By the time I was able to contact the media hundreds of homes had been damaged by contractors in addition to the damage that

November 2012

www.eCleanMag.com


the ice dams had caused. Because when the gutters were torn down, there were hundreds of pounds of ice frozen on them, and to the roofing, which ripped shingles off the roofs, and in many cases ripped out the fascia and soffits as well.  Some windows were damaged as the gutters swung down and hit the sides of homes, cars and some contractors.  But it was about to get worse. As the rest of the snow on the rooftops melted, it was no longer diverted away from the homes by the gutters, so it dropped right next to the foundation of the homes and flooded their basements as well. As soon as I was able to reach the media, I explained to them why their recommendation was a mistake. Then I set up interviews with all of the local TV stations to come out to a couple of our jobsites so we could explain what caused ice dams, how to remove them safely without causing more damages, and what needed to be done to prevent them in the future. Some other contractors were shown removing ice dams using hammers, axes and chainsaws, which can easily damage roofs. One contractor decided to use a blow torch to “melt” the snow from rooftops and set a house on fire in Maryland. I have also heard of contractors using water to melt the snow off of roofs or using power washers to blast” through the ice and melt the snow. Using a regular power This photo shows an incident where one contractor caused an entire 3 story brick building to collapse in Middletown Connecticut in 2011, by using water to melt the snow from the roof.

eClean Magazine

washer like this is a recipe for disaster! If you spray water on the roof it will usually refreeze immediately, which will only add more weight to the roofing support structure that may already be over capacity. How to Remove Ice Dams the “Right Way!” In my opinion, the best and safest method to remove ice dams from roofs is to use roof rakes to pull the excess snow off the roof from a ladder. Then chip a couple of small channels in the ice dam so the water behind the ice dam, and the remaining snow on the roof will be able to melt and run off the roof. You can also use some brands of ice melt that are safe for roofing and the gutters that can speed this process up a bit. This can also be used as a preventative measure on homes that consistently have problems with ice dams. If you’re careful and know what you are doing, you can also use a hot water pressure washer that is capable of producing steam. Then if you’re careful, you can safely cut out the ice dam without adding more water on the roof. This is a method we use occasionally but I don’t recommend it to most contractors because it can be dangerous. A hot water pressure washer or steam unit creates a very thick cloud of fog which makes it nearly impossible to see. The refreezing water can coat the ladder rungs, and anything it lands on in the area with ice, which could turn into a deadly situation if you are on a ladder! How To Prevent Ice Dams To prevent ice dams from forming, the attic needs to be checked to locate and seal air leaks from the heated areas of the home, and the insulation levels should also be checked to ensure that there is enough insulation in the attic. Once that has been done, the attic should also be checked for proper ventilation. One of the most common recommendations for proper ventilation is one-squarefoot of vent for every 150-square-feet of attic space. But, each climate region has different recommendations, so always get a recommendation from a licensed local insulation service. An electronic ventilation fan with a thermostat that turns the fan on when the temperatures reach a certain point can

November 2012

www.eCleanMag.com

19


also help. These fans can also be used in the summer to keep heat out of the attic. If you are interested in adding ice dam removal services to your company’s list of services, so you can earn more money during the winter, contact the Contractors Foundation at 1-866-621-7511 to learn more about removing Ice Dam Removals, add on services, or any type of power washing service. Their instructors have over 50 years of combined experience running successful companies that earn millions of dollars a year in sales, and they can help you reach your goals too. I won’t lie to you, removing ice dams is hard Photos courtesy of Matthew Norman, Colorado Pro Wash LLC, www.ColoradoProWash.com

Before

After 20

eClean Magazine

work, and it can be dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing, but it is also VERY profitable. With a two man well-trained crew and the right equipment, you can usually earn an average of $3,000 a day for removing ice dams. Considering that most power washing companies lay off their employees and close down for the winter because they can’t get any work, ice dam removal services are something that contractors should consider offering to their clients. I always suggested that contractors add on other services to build their companies to stop what I call “seasonal suicide.” So many companies spend all year searching for the right employees, then spend months training and teaching them the systems you created for your business, then lay them off for the winter. I call it seasonal suicide because you spent a year PAYING your old employees to learn how to start their own power washing company! Then you give them the entire winter off to think about starting their own company. By adding on services instead, you can offer job security for your employees, and even better, you can keep valuable employees that are fully trained and ready to roll when spring arrives. So instead of scraping to get by through the winter, you can kick into high gear and get jobs done quickly while your competitors are still trying to find and train new employees. Henry Bockman is an approved instructor for the Power Washers of North America and was involved in teaching, and creating courses for the PWNA, Alliance Trade Educations Services and the Contractors Foundation. Bockman served on the PWNA Board of Directors, is the creator of Clean Across America campaign. Bockman has received several industry award, as well as letters of recognition from the U.S. President and the Governor of Maryland. He has been involved with different government agencies including the Historical Society, the Maryland Home Improvement Commission, and various EPA departments regarding power washing and EPA compliant cleaning methods. Bockman currently resides in Maryland with his wife of 20 years and two teenagers, and operates five different companies.

November 2012

www.eCleanMag.com


Blogging Basics by Anya Curry, Ambidextrous Services, www.UniqueAmb.com

It’s a fact that service-based businesses receive over 55 percent MORE traffic on their website just by blogging. Considering how much it would cost in Pay-Per-Click campaigns to bring that kind of increase, blogging is a much more cost effective option. With that being said, it can seem like a daunting task. With everything else you have to do, writing a blog article can keep moving down your to-do list. Keeping your blog a priority is a must though. Let’s face it; we can’t all be like Bradley Cooper in Limitless, finding some secret miracle drug that will allow us to pour out impressive, witty, and heart-pounding content without much preparation at all. So here are few ways to steer you in the right direction and make the task seem less intimidating: Don’t Post Daily One of the misconceptions about blogging is that you have to do it every day to be effective. While this may be true in some industries, it’s not necessary for pressure washing and window cleaning. Try writing something up once a week, or every other week. Keep It Simple Stupid A blog post need not be a huge, long, detailed article. A few short paragraphs and a bullet point list will do. It also doesn’t need to be super technical. Write to your customers. Write what you would talk about with them at their home or commercial property. Don’t be afraid to use your own personal swag! People appreciate it when your site (and blog!) lets some of your personality show. It means you’re a real person, not some big faceless, soulless corporation. Use Images eCleanMagazine Magazine eClean

Add images to your blog posts to keep the article interesting. Try and stay with the same personality level though. If you tend to write super-professional, keep your images geared that way. If your articles include a humorous line or two, your audience may appreciate a (RELEVANT!) funny picture. Either way, try to use at least one image per article. Don’t Always Sell We are all being inundated with advertisements every waking hour of the day. Don’t push your services on your customers in your blog articles. Give them brief howto’s, explain your techniques, or show the importance of a particular service (even if they don’t use you for that service!). Keep It Relevant Don’t blog about your Aunt Suzie’s Muffin Shop. That has absolutely nothing to do with your business. Write about subjects that directly relate to your services. Save the plugs for Facebook or Twitter. As with anything else, the more you do it, the easier it becomes, the better you get at it. Blogging is no different. Give it a try and you might be surprised to find you like it! Anya Curry is the owner of Ambidextrous Services, which specializes in designing websites for the mobile cleaning industry. She is the wife of Alex Curry, a second generation power washer and owner of ARC Powerwashing in Raleigh, NC. Visit wwww.UniqueAmb.com to learn more.

November 2012 November 2012

www.eCleanMag.com www.eCleanMag.com

2121


Ultrasonic Blind Cleaning A Great Add On Service

By Jim Viviani, Wash Rite Inc, www. washritecleaning.com

Are you looking for a good add-on service to complement your existing cleaning business? Ultrasonic blind cleaning may be a great additional service your current customers would be interested in. Ultrasonic blind cleaning is a necessary cleaning service for residential homes as well as public venues such as clubhouses, fitness centers, offices, hospitals, schools, nursing homes and restaurants. Just think of all the businesses, buildings or residential homes and the thousands of window blinds that need cleaning. You won’t believe how many of my customers were unaware of this service and now use it as part of their routine maintenance. What is Ultrasonic Blind Cleaning? Ultrasonic cleaning has been used in the space, electronics, jewelry, medical and automotive industries for decades to safely clean or disinfect many items of all shapes and sizes. Ultrasonic blind cleaning not only improves the appearance of your window treatments, but also improves the indoor air quality of your home or business environment. For many of today’s window treatments, Ultrasonics is the most effective and recommended cleaning technique. Ultrasonics is a method of cleaning your blinds and shades through the use of energy created by sound waves. The ultrasonic cleaning tank creates vibrating soundwaves in warm water, which in turn produce millions of microscopic bubbles that gently remove visible and microscopic dirt particles and germs from an object. These bubbles are so small that they can reach every crevice and cavity to be cleaned, along with removing dirt, stubborn stains and biological 22 eClean Magazine November

contaminants. The ultrasonic cleaning process breaks the static bond with the aid of a mild biodegradable detergent solution. The blinds/ shades are then rinsed to flush any residual soil away and by then dried.Hester, Editor Allison When properly used, ultrasonic blind and shade cleaning is a fast and yet effective way to deep clean many types of blinds and shades without the harsher handling required to hand scrub or wipe each individual section. It does not scratch, pit or damage items the way conventional cleaning methods can. No dangerous chemicals are involved in the cleaning process. Ultrasonic’s cleans every surface of the vanes/slats and intricate parts of the blinds and head rail, as well as the cords, strings and wand. Besides the health benefits, such a deep cleaning extends the life of your customers’ shades by making them operate more smoothly, and thus saves money. If you don’t want to replace them prematurely. Regular cleaning is important. Why Blind Cleaning is Necessary Did you know that window blinds and shades can harbor biological contaminates such as bacteria, molds, mildew, human skin cells, nicotine, viruses, pet dander, dust mites, insect feces and pollen to name a few? While carpets and floors are routinely cleaned and periodically deep cleaned, many home and business owners neglect to clean their window blinds. Air moves around the windows constantly, and allergens are deposited on the window treatments. Allergic reactions can be triggered 2012 www.eCleanMag.com


by biological contaminates as well as infectious illnesses. Some symptoms of health problems caused by these pollutants include breathing problems, sneezing, watery eyes, fever, and coughing, etc. Asthma can be triggered by mold, pet dander, pest droppings and dust mites. mobile instead of working out of a shop and do These airborne pollutants can be distributed on-site cleaning; your costs can be much more through your home, business or recreational depending on how elaborate of a set-up you environment. It is known that measles, want (generators, instantaneous water heaters, influenza, tuberculosis, Legionella, chicken pox custom trailer with high ceilings, etc.) and staphylococcus infections are transmitted Training is available through major by air. manufacturers of ultrasonic cleaning You may be interested in the findings equipment. Some offer packages that include of a school science project conducted by a training with the purchase of their machine. pediatrician at a day care center in the Central Another option may be to get training from Florida area. Cultures taken from the walls, an established cleaning contractor and pay a floor, tables, chairs, book cases, toys, etc., consulting fee. Some contractors may also offer were analyzed and the blinds were found to be hands-on training. harboring the most germs in the classroom. Next, you need to know the proper way to Why? Because the window blinds were only handle various types of window treatments. dusted and not properly cleaned. Not all materials use the same cleaning General good housekeeping is very important process (heat or cleaning solutions). Some of to reduce exposure to biological contaminants, the major window treatment manufacturers but simply dusting or vacuuming the blinds/ offer installer training classes, which will shades can actually aggravate the problem. familiarize you with the handling of their If the debris on or in the window treatments window treatments. A professional window is disturbed by dusting or vacuuming, you’ve treatment installer in your area is also an just spread these allergens. Additionally, hand option to help you and your employees with dusting creates static electricity on the slats the handling of different window treatments. or fabric and turns them into virtual dust Before jumping in to this add-on service, magnets that attract more dust and allergens. talk to some existing customers for feedback. The chemicals in some household cleaning Do they have someone doing this service? products may damage the finish or fabrics of Would they be interested? your blinds as well as remove paint or dyes. Ultrasonic blind cleaning has been a Wouldn’t it make more sense to flush the profitable add-on service for us, and it may be allergens lying on your window treatments out a good addition for you as well. using an environmental friendly wet cleaning Jim Viviani, owner of Wash Rite Inc., has method? been serving the Orlando and Central Florida Start up - What’s involved areas since 1991 providing exterior pressure An ultrasonic cleaning machine costs around washing and ultrasonic blind and shade $10,000 to $15,000 depending on its features. Cleaning Services. Please feel to contact Jim You can save by buying used equipment, but at www.washritecleaning.com if you have you don’t know its history, if the machine has any questions or would like some additional been maintained properly, etc. If you want to go information on this topic. eClean Magazine November 2012 www.eCleanMag.com 23


Pricing Your Snow Plow Service

By John Allin

Photo courtesy of Matthew Norman, Colorado ProWash, LLC, www.ColoradoProWash.com Contract cleaners who live in colder climates often turn to snow plowing in the winter to keep their businesses and their crews running. How successful these contractors are with their snow plowing depends on the equipment they invest in, the amount of knowledge they have for their industry, and their attitude about how successful they really want to be. Those contractors who consider their snow business as a profit center rather than an afterthought generally report gross profit margins in the 55 to 65 percent range. Deicing profit margins are often 70 percent or more. These are the contractors who believe they can make a profit in snow work, and they usually do. Those who believe they cannot make a profit, don’t. The Markets: Commercial and Residential The first step in making a profit is finding customers. Many of the clients you serve with your cleaning business may also need snowplowing services in the winter. Snow plowing generally can be sold to three types of commercial clients: industrial, office parks and retail facilities. Industrial accounts usually pay the lowest because they don’t require cleaning to bare pavement; the workers can still get to and 24

eClean Magazine

from their vehicles even with some snow/ice on the ground. Office parks and other white-collar facilities require a higher quality of service. White-collar workers generally wear shoes that are less conducive for walking in snow. Retail facilities – such as restaurants, shopping centers, and even hospitals – require the highest level of service due to safety concerns for patrons. They are more prone to liability claims and it’s your job to keep the site safe for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Then there’s residential. If handled smartly, residential plowing can be a lucrative business. Residential customers generally require less time at their site. By having several customers lined up in a small proximity, you can make a good amount of money in less time than a commercial account requires. Pricing Your Work Pricing snow work takes a basic understanding of the snow industry. Some mistakenly price by the hour. This pricing method requires very little understanding of the industry, and the profit margins are very low – usually in the 20 to 25 percentage range. A better option is to charge customers “per push,” which means customers pay each time you visit the site and provide a service of some sort. A third option is “seasonal pricing,” where you estimate the average number of times you will visit a site, what will be required for each visit, and then you give the customer a flat fee for the season. Although this is good for cash flow, it can be a low margin option if it snows more than expected. Most contractors won’t use this option for more than 30 percent of their business. Another good option is to secure non-

November 2012

www.eCleanMag.com


refundable retainers, especially if you’re in an area that doesn’t get a lot of snow. In this case, you price a job (e.g., $25 for residential, $150 for commercial), and say that you require two plowings paid up front. These are nonrefundable, even if it never snows. You have expenses that must be paid whether it snows or not, and this will assure your customers that you will be ready to come to their rescue when that first snowfall hits. They might hang up then and there, but if they agree, this will be a profitable job and you get your retainer money up front. This will also allow you to take fewer of those small, non-profitable $15 driveway jobs. Just the Beginning Success in the snow plowing business requires more than just hooking a plow up to your truck and getting out in the snow. You need to research the types of equipment available, research removal prices in your area, learn how to properly remove snow and network with others in the industry. Not to mention marketing your services! If you are serious, a few resources I recommend are Snow Magazine, the Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA), and the Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA).

eClean Magazine

Photo courtesy of D.J. Carroll, EasyPro Property Services, www.EasyProPropertyServices.com John Allin is globally recognized as the foremost snow and ice industry consultant with over 30 years experience developing and testing snow removal strategies. Mr. Allin’s book, Managing Snow & Ice, is considered the bible for snowplowing contractors in North America, which led to an accompanying CD,Snow Business Forms filled with forms discussed in the book. GIE Media also publishes an Estimating Package CD under license from Mr. Allin as well. John has authored dozens of articles on snow removal for numerous national landscape and pavement maintenance trade publications.

November 2012

www.eCleanMag.com

25


Repeat Your Way to More Cleaning Contracts by Rick Meehan, Vice President of Marko Janitorial Supply, www.MarkoInc.com

How many times have you heard the old saw, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again?” Usually, when a saying becomes a cliché, we find there is some truth to its message. Let’s test the adage with another question. How many times have you or your sales people followed this advice to rope in new clientele? If the answer is less than always, your cleaning company is losing valuable business! In spite of our best intentions, when it comes to selling, we as an industry simply do not maintain enough contact with prospective buyers to lead them into becoming customers. In fact, many of us cleaning professionals have no idea why such regular contact should be a part

of our businessbuilding program. Another old saying happens to explain this lack of contact: “Out of sight, out of mind.” Therefore, it is paramount that we continually keep our information in front of those who would hire our cleaning services. Recently, and for the umpteenth time, I was asked by a local contractor for tips on how he could get more jobs. Remember, my line of work is to sell professional cleaning supplies to those folks that do the actual cleaning. It is in my best interest to help my customers garner more business for themselves so they can purchase more from me. I gave him some ideas.

Happy Representation Makes for More Business How many times have sour corporate representatives (salespersons) discouraged you from making a purchase when you actually had a real interest in their products or services? I’ll bet it has happened numerous times. In fact, I’ll stick my neck out and say that unpleasant representatives cause more loss of sales than any other factor. I’ll further state that every employee in a company is a representative, from the billing clerk to the cleaning personnel, and each individual can have bearing on a contract cleaning company’s image. If that image is not one of excellence and proficiency, sales will be lost. There is one sure-fire way to improve your company’s image. SMILE. Teach every employee to do the same. Pretty soon, not only will your workplace be happier, but clients and prospects will notice how pleasant it is to deal with your company. There is no excuse for being unpleasant in any business situation, even if the customer is irate. In fact, the way to diffuse and disarm is to maintain a pleasant demeanor. Smiling helps. True smiles are positive and mood-changing. Teach every employee in your cleaning company to smile its way to higher sales. 26

eClean Magazine

November 2012

www.eCleanMag.com


The steps to getting more business are actually fairly simple to implement; the problem is few cleaning pros actually understand that they must follow them all the time. Here they are: • Promote word-of-mouth advertising. This is the foremost method for cleaning companies to get more business – and it’s free. If a contractor does an exceptional job for one client, it is guaranteed that client will tell someone else. Ask a happy customer to give a written endorsement of your work that you may use to show to others. Ask that same client to make a recommendation. Get a list of prospects from them if possible. • Record happy clients in a “tickler” file. Rarely is a cleaning job a one-time operation. Things get dirty again over time. Why forget about a client that is already “sold” on your work? Contact them after an appropriate passage of time to remind them that you would like to work for them again. A phone call or a postcard, or both, are inexpensive ways to “tickle their fancy.” • See as many prospects a day as possible. Here’s the area where most contractors drop the ball. We think that doing a good job is all we have to do to stay in business. Besides, we’re not salespeople; we’re hands-on folks that do a lot of hard work. I contend that the hard work is selling clients to use your company for the job. Like it or not, personal contact with prospects is the best way to get more business. Buy professional business cards, put on decent clothes, bone up on sales techniques, and get in front of people that need your services! Yeah, I know. You have to do the work too. Make time for prospecting and learn how to do it right. There is no excuse for skipping this most important aspect of selling. • Budget advertising dollars. As your business grows, some money needs to be set aside to build your brand name presence. Business cards are great, but the Yellow Pages TM really do make the phone ring. It doesn’t take a full page ad to grab someone’s attention either. A simple text eClean Magazine

listing under the most appropriate section is sufficient. Another “must” these days is the dreaded website. Many people browse the web on their cool little smartphones to find information about cleaning companies these days. If you don’t have the knowledge to do it yourself, find someone to build a professional web presence for your company. Don’t forget to run small ads once in a while in local newspapers and business journals too. • Man the booths at local trade shows. Most towns have area events that are appropriate avenues to advertise your contracting services. Find them. Go to them. Man your booth and be prepared to put your printed information sheets in people’s hands. Load your booth with graphic testimonials to the fine work you have done for others. Make your presence different by coming up with audience participation projects like teaching people how to clean a common item. This demonstrates your skills and involves potential buyers in what you do. • Promotional items are simply candy. Beyond print, the web, and telecommunications, there is the idea that “givies” will help sell your business services.

November 2012

www.eCleanMag.com

27


WRONG! You sell your services, not a pen or hat. Although your logo may be plastered on the givies, these items are costly and transient. What do I mean? They are simply gifts of appreciation that eventually find their way to file thirteen. Use promo items sparingly as a friendly reminder that you are still out there, but keep plugging in person all the time. • The THANK YOU card is perhaps the most important advertising expense. Always thank people for their business in writing. Always make it a personal note and not a prewritten generic card. Go a step further and send a “thanks” to those prospects that gave of their time to hear what you had to say. After all, time is money – their time; their money. Yours is not important (to them). • Create a list of prospects to check back with. Consider this: if you have qualified your potential client as someone who needs what you are trying to sell; if your company does this job better than any other; if your follow up service is the best there is – are you not obligated to maintain contact with a potential

client until they hire you? The answer is a resounding YES, of course! Not only will you be helping yourself, but they will benefit from your exemplary services. Selling is a two-way street with benefits to both sides. It wastes everyone’s time and money if you don’t eventually garner the contract! • Repetition builds sales. After all of the above and more have been done to build your brand of services, the most important thing to do is keep on, over and over. It is a fact that repetition builds sales effectiveness. Just think about your favorite television commercial. I’ll bet you saw it numerous times. In other words, it became a jingle. Jingle your customers and your potential clients to bring in more business! • The proof is in the pudding. If you make great pudding, people will want to buy it – if they know it’s available. Your number one job is to make sure they do. This takes repetition of all of these steps as long as you remain in business. I could throw out a bunch of facts and figures to prove what I’m saying, but you wouldn’t believe me. I could say that an inexperienced salesperson in our industry takes eighteen attempts to sell a single new client. I could say that an experienced salesperson in our industry can do it in six. Here’s the deal: you have to get out there in the market and do it. That’s the bottom line. Never give up on a potential client. If they hire someone else to provide cleaning services, they can certainly entertain the idea of hiring your company instead. It is a matter of discovering what the client really wants. Is it better service? Are there problems that only you can solve? Find out what the problem really is and offer to fix it. Sometimes it takes more than one meeting to discover a client’s true needs. Sometimes it takes fifty. That’s why you should never give up on a qualified prospect. Once you’ve found the magic issue only your company can solve, a new contract is in the making. It’s called the “foot in the door” process. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try, try... and keep on trying until the deal is done. Repetition is the key to building a better business. November 2012 www.eCleanMag.com

Let us put our expert knowledge of legendary Landa equipment to work for your cleaning needs. Specializing in Power washing equipment sales, service and custom manufacturing

(403) 771-7774 www.HydraEquipment.com

28

eClean Magazine


Keeping Cool:

Tips for Storing a Pressure Washer in Winter by Paul Horsley, Publisher Before you store your pressure washer for the winter, it’s important to prepare it to prevent unnecessary damage and ensure the equipment is ready to go when the weather warms. Power washers in cold climates are particularly susceptible to the damage that freezing weather can cause, making pressure washer winterization a necessity. TIPS FOR POWER WASHER WINTERIZATION

eClean Magazine

Antifreeze: When winterizing power washers, use non-toxic automotive antifreeze to prevent components within the washer from freezing and breaking. Remove the pressure washer’s regular hose and replace it with a 3-foot section of garden hose. Mix equal parts water and antifreeze and pour down the hose and into the pump. Start up the pressure washer and hold the trigger for a couple of minutes or until the antifreeze mix starts to come out of the pump outlet. Stop the machine, but continue to pull the trigger to release the pressure within it. Hoses: Leave the hoses disconnected from the washer over the winter, and remove any residual cleaning solutions before storing them. Gasoline: Drain all the gasoline from the power washer’s tank, carburetor and fuel lines. Alternatively, you can fill the tank almost full of gas and add a vehicle fuel stabilizer. If you choose the latter option, run the power washer for a few minutes so the fuel stabilizer can circulate throughout the various components. Oil: Change the oil, oil filter and fuel filter so sludge doesn’t build up over the winter. Battery: Disconnect the battery so it doesn’t slowly discharge. Lubricant: After removing the spark plugs, spray a lubricant into the carburetor and cylinders. Let the engine turn over so the components get well coated. Pump saver: Add a pump saver to the water pump to prevent the pistons, manifold and pump seals from cracking or sticking. November 2012 www.eCleanMag.com 29

eClean Magazine November 2012  

eClean Magazine November 2012: Staying Busy in the Winter. Fleet washing, ice dam removal, winter window cleaning, snow plowing, ultrasonic...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you