C o n c re t e C l e a n i n g P ro d u c t s Clearly Clean An aggressive concrete cleaner that penetrates and lifts heavy deposits of motor oil, restaurant grease, ground in dirt in high traffic areas. Works great on loading docks, sidewalks, dumpster pads, drive thru, parking lots/ spaces & many other areas. Click Here
Oil Absorbing Filters • • • • •
absorbs petroleum based fluids such as diesel fuel, engine oil, gasoline and transmission fluids but repels water. Made with a double skin, this boom won’t tear or shed its filler. Absorbs up to 20 times its own weight in oil Strong skin Light weight Squeeze them out for repeated use. Click Here
R-202 Concrete Cleaner
DELTA-60™ Concrete Cleaner
Cleans heavy grease, oil and scuff marks from unpainted concrete and other alkaline water safe hard surfaces. USDA authorized for use in meat plants. Click Here
Portable Sand Dam-6ft.x6in.
Wash Pit Sump Pump An extreemely cost effective method for collecting your wash water before it enters the waters of the state. • 7” diameter • 115 volt • 5 amps • 8 ft cord • garden hose discharge • sump wash pit to 1/8 inch. Click Here
Steel Eagle Surface Cleaners
You can bring oil-stained concrete back to likenew. It’s easy. And it’s safe. Just spray on and pressure wash off. Watch years of deep stains disappear! It restores drivethru and entrance pads to look like new! Click Here
Portable Dam System with Handles Fill it with water to form a stable dam that will channel water to a portable vacuum system. Click Here
Drain Cover 4’6” x 4’6” 18 oz vinyl-coated polyester material, water or sand fillable Click Here
Mosmatic 21” Surface Cleaner with Recycling
Use the force generated by your pressure washer to spin two spray nozzles at high speeds, which maximizes cleaning on flat surfaces. It produces consistent quality and cuts cleaning time by as much as 66%. It also decreases operator fatigue. There are two models available • B models have a brass swivel, Max PSI-4,000, Max Temp-200°F, Max Flow-5.5GPM • D models have a stainless steel swivel, Max PSI-4,000, Max Speed-2000RPM, Max Temp-200°F, Max Flow-6 GPM Specify GPM, and Pressure when ordering Click Here
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Height Adjustable Housing High Quality Swivel Splash Protection If the surface cleaner is not in use, the fork support prevents the fork from coming into contact with the floor. • wivel: 1x DYCI • Nozzles: 2x 1503 (15-Degree Size 3) • Max Pressure: 5000 PSI • Max Temperature: 250 F Click Here
Whisper Pro Big Guy Platinum Series Surface Cleaner with FREE! Cleaner Pack The Whisper Wash Big Guy Surface Cleaner incorporates the signature balanced and machined spray bar of all Whisper Wash systems with a 28 inch wide surface coverage area to provide a comfortable and highly efficient flat surface cleaner. The Big Guy’s pivoting wheel design and a heavy-duty nylon brush provide for easy navigation through large areas while still containing the pressurized spray. The Platinum Series of Whisper Pro Surface Cleaners separates itself from the competitors and Standard Series Whisper Pro Surface Cleaners by offering: • A One-Piece Unitized Swivel Cartridge • A One-Year Full Coverage Warranty • 5000 PSI Max Working Pressure • 212º F Max Working Temperature • BONUS! This PowerWash.com EXCLUSIVE Bundle Pack also includes a FREE 5 lb. Sample Pack of R-202 Cleaner. This powerful sudsing alkaline powdered detergent is designed to
clean heavy grease, oil and scuff marks from unpainted concrete and other alkaline water safe hard surfaces. One use and you’ll discover why it’s the choice of Surface Cleaners everywhere. Big Guy Surface Cleaner Specifications: • 2” Nylon Brush • One 4” Caster • Two (2) 10” Pneumatic Tires • Oversized, self-lubricating twin thrust bearings • 2000-5000 PSI Pressure Range • Max Temperature: 212º F • Max Flow: 4-10 GPM • Housing Size: 28” • Two (2) 25-Degree Size 2 Spray Tips Click Here
In This Issue: The Flatwork Issue
5 Parking Garage Cleaning, by Scott Stone, A Mind for
8 Selecting the Right Surface Spinner: Guidance from
Steel Eagle GM Carl Harry
13 Sealing Broom-Swept Concrete, by David Phillips,
Southern Stain & Seal
23 Dumpster Pad Cleaning, by Carlos Gonzalez, New Look Power Wash
18 Strive to Exceed Breakeven, Part 2, by Tom Grandy,
Grandy & Associates
20 The Personal Touch Will Never by Replaced, by Rick
Meehan, Marko Janitorial Supplies
26 “Women’s Work:” Tina Porter, Sea to Summit Pressure
Washing & Window Cleaning
28 Pressure Washing for Commercial Properties:
Reducing Business Liability
Courtesy of Carlos Gonzalez, New Look Power Wash, Calif.
eClean Magazine is published monthly Publisher: Paul Horsley, firstname.lastname@example.org Editor: Allison Hester, email@example.com
eClean Magazine Box 262, 16 Midlake Blvd S.E. Calgary, Alberta Canada T2X2X7 www.eCleanMag.com 3
by Henry Bockman, Henryâ€™s Housework, www.HenrysHousework.com, and Contractors Foundation, www.ContractorsFoundation.com
4 Photo courtesy of TTech Power Solutions, www.T-TechPower.com
Parking Garage Cleaning
Photos courtesy of Clean & Green Solutions, www.CleanandGreenSolutions.com
by Scott Stone, A Mind for Detail, Mesa, Arizona, www.AMindforDetail.com
There are many people that want to make parking garage cleaning sound like one of the most difficult aspects of the pressure washing industry. This is just not the case! In fact, there are so many parts of parking garages that easily translate over from nearly other type of pressure washing. The biggest challenge many contractors face is making sure that they have the manpower and the equipment to perform the work that is needed. MANPOWER: Depending on the garage and what the specifications are, I usually plan on one man for 40,000 sq. ft. Because of my customer needs, I am not able to shut down a garage so that it is completed in one day. I have to work a live garage, and work at times that the traffic is minimal. This means that you have to be careful in the scheduling of the work to provide for the safety of your employees. Again, when I schedule a parking garage, I will typically plan for one employee for each www.eCleanMag.com
40,000 square feet I want done in a night of work. That footage includes ceilings, walls and stairwells. I have been known to complete a 150,000-square-foot garage by myself – and it can be done – but it is a very long week and you need a very understanding customer for them to be willing to allow you to do that. For what it is worth, a 150,000-square-foot garage can often approach 400,000 square feet when you start including coffered ceilings in a square foot price, or walls and stairwells. EQUIPMENT: As a professional contractor knows, there are many varying opinions on the use and techniques of cleaning a parking garage. There are some contractors that are of the extreme heat opinion. Some think that a fire hose is the best way to clean out a parking garage. Others use a combination of those methods. For the typical pressure washing contractor, using equipment he already possesses – a 5
Photo courtesy ofPanther Outdoor Maintenance Services, www.PantherOutdoor.com
Photo courtesy of Underpressure Powerwashers, www.UnderPressureInc.com standard 5.5 to 8 GPM machine at 3000 to 3500 PSI – is perfectly adequate, and with the correct chemicals, will accomplish all that is needed in the garage cleaning industry in order to satisfy a customer. Of course, because of the things that are found in parking garages there are some filtration requirements of the wastewater stream. When you are filtering the wastewater, one of the largest concerns of most municipalities that I have found are undissolved solids or
particulates. The biggest reason they have this concern is because they don’t want mud and silt settling and plugging the wastewater lines. Any chemicals, oils, or other dissolved solids are easily filtered out using the sanitary sewer system. Many of the same things that we have to deal with in a parking garage are found in nature, and are predisposed to be processed easily to purify the water and clean any potential contaminated soil. Please do not make the mistake of thinking that just because something can be processed naturally in a leach field that it is okay to dump your waste in an adjacent lot. That is not the case and you can be fined significantly if it is discovered that you are doing that. What can be done is to run your wash water through separation tanks to filter out the solids, dispose of the wastewater through the sanitary sewer – in accordance with your local wastewater guidelines – then take the solids that are separated out and put them in a dewatering basin to air dry. Once the solids are dry, it is typically perfectly acceptable to dispose of them in a sanitary landfill. This is also a very easy and inexpensive way to comply with environmental guidelines and perform the work that you are contracted to do. All of this is moot if the parking garage has a separator in the basement. This means that the owners understand the importance of environmental compliance and are ending the waste stream in their garage. Sometimes the owners will not permit you to use their separator because of a poor location, but this is rare. WHAT TO LOOK FOR: There are some “gotcha” items to look for in parking garages. These are little things that can significantly affect the outcome of the cleaning of the garage and your own profitability. I will be the first to admit that I have not made a profit on every garage I have ever done. I do make a decent profit on the vast majority and understand what I need to do in order to clean a garage in a sustainable – and profitable – manner. The first thing I look for when cleaning a garage is a water source. Sometimes the customer does not want to supply water for cleaning the parking garage, so you might need www.eCleanMag.com
to find an adjacent hydrant and get a permit to use that water. This might involve a backflow prevention device and arranging the installation of the correct equipment. A back flow device, or BFD, for a hydrant can usually be rented from a local construction supplier if the municipality requires it. When I am in the garage, I look up to see what is on the ceiling. Often there are things that are difficult to clean up there. In some areas, it is a game for people to put their show prints on the ceiling, or the vertical portion of the coffered ceilings. This drives me nuts and is a little difficult to clean if you are responsible for cleaning the ceilings along with the rest of the garage. Other things to look for on the ceiling of a garage are plumbing, fire sprinklers, or wiring. All of these things can be a potential challenge to a garage cleaner, requiring some understanding between you and your customersâ€™ expectations. Do they expect them to be rinsed, hand scrubbed, or wiped down? Is there a problem with water seepage in the conduit of the electrical systems? All these little things can lead to sleepless nights. How about posts and pillars? Are there any? Are there a lot? Are they so close that you are going to have to fight your hoses around them? Are they painted so that they are easier to clean? On the floor, what is the condition? Is it dusty enough that it needs to be swept? Did you take a broom on your inspection to see how dust covered the floor really is? I would. Is the gum a typical amount for an area, or is it excessive? Are the oil residues minimal, or horrible? What other kinds of stains are there on the floor? Maybe rust stains for overheated cars, or urine or vomit stains from inebriated patrons of the adjacent bars? How about the walls? Is the garage an underground garage where you might need to potentially have fans to supply fresh air for your machines or you? Are the sides of the garages open to fresh air? There are a lot of things to consider in each and every parking garage. It all depends on what you have for equipment and what your customer expects. You do need to remember www.eCleanMag.com
Photo courtesy of Underpressure Power Washers,
Photo courtesy of Extreme Clean Pressure Washing, www.ExtremeCleanPressureWash.com
that when you are bidding a garage, you need to observe the garage. Actually look in the corners to see how dirty it really is, and note any obstructions that might be in the way. Techniques are techniques that have been used for years in every other aspect of the pressure washing industry. Whether it be the environmentally correct chemicals to remove oil stains, scrubbing the stains to make it more effective for the chemicals to emulsify the oils, or doing a lot of work by hand so that you really can clean every corner of the garage. Scott Stone is the owner of A Mind for Detail (AMFD) in Mesa, Arizona. He has been pressure washing for over 20 years, specializing in parking garages and bus stops. At one time, AMFD was washing around 50 parking garages per year. Scott was featured on the cover of our February 2012 issue after being awarded a multi-million dollar contract. Visit www. ecleanmag.com/past-issues to learn more, or visit Scottâ€™s website at www.AMindforDetail. com. 7
Selecting the Right Surface Spinner Guidance from Steel Eagle GM Carl Harry by Allison Hester, Editor
Surface spinners (a.k.a. “surface cleaners”) have been proven to work as much as 66 percent more efficiently when cleaning flatwork than using a wand alone. Not only do spinners provide faster, more even cleaning, they greatly reduce operator fatigue. For anyone doing parking lots, decks, dumpster pads, driveways, sidewalks, and so on, surface spinners are no longer an option, they’re a necessity. But with the many different brands and types of spinners on the market, how can
What Causes Zebra Striping? A common problem contract cleaners face when using a surface spinner is zebra striping on the surface being cleaned. While this could be the result of a spray bar being out of adjustment or a clogged nozzle, the most common cause for striping, according to Harry, is that the operator is simply walking too fast. Slow down,” said Harry. “Give the spinner more time to clean it evenly.” This is particularly true in areas that are very dirty and in need of a good cleaning. Once the surface has been cleaned at a slower pace, the followup cleaning – if put on a maintenance schedule – should allow the technician to work at a faster pace. 8
contractors choose the best one to meet their specific needs? To help answer this question, I recently had the privilege of sitting down with Steel Eagle’s General Manager Carl Harry, whose 30 years experience provided valuable insight into selecting the right equipment. Answering the Most Important Questions When helping contractors select the right size/style surface spinner, Harry always begins with a few basic, yet imperative questions. 1. What is your current pressure washer’s capabilities? No matter what type or diameter surface spinner a contractor desires, the spinner is going to be limited by the connecting pressure washer’s flow and pressure ratings. Also, some low-end units may not allow the use of hot water or chemicals with the cleaner. For example, surface spinners generally need to run off a machine that is at least four gpm and 2000 psi – at the very minimum. This rating, however, won’t allow for much bigger than a 24-inch spinner. A five gpm machine would allow for a 30” spinner, and the size goes up as the flow increases. As with most cleaning applications, higher flow and pressure allows for better and faster cleaning. It also affects not only the surface spinner’s diameter, but how many spray bars the spinner can support. The more spray bars www.eCleanMag.com
on a spinner, the more times the surface is hit per rotation. So, for example, using a three bar over a two bar provides the contractor “50 percent more coverage and the ability to walk faster,” Harry explained. However, you have to have enough flow – at least two gpm per bar – or you will lose efficiency. So for a three bar, contractors need at least six gpm. Four bars require eight gpm. With Steel Eagle surface spinners, contractors can upgrade their current configuration to add – or remove – one bar at a time. One imporantant sidenote: bigger is not always better. It may seem obvious but it’s worth saying. If you are cleaning in tight areas, you need a smaller diameter spinner. 2: How much will the unit be used? Like most things in the cleaning industry, there are different levels of quality available when it comes to surface spinners. Some companies sell low-end units with plastic decks and low-end components at a much lower cost. Of course, these don’t tend to last with contractors who rely on their surface spinners
regularly and who can’t afford to have a machine break down. Medium and high-end grade surface spinners are usually made of either aluminum (such as Steel Eagle’s machines) or stainless steel. They have a number of options and upgrades available, which we’ll get into a little later. However, the most important – and expensive – aspect of the surface spinner is the swivel – i.e., the center piece that actually does the spinning. Again, the amount of use is one thing to consider when selecting the correct swivel for a surface spinner. A contract cleaner, for example, who is using his surface cleaner six to eight hours a day and can’t afford to break down is going to want a higher-quality swivel. Those who only use their machines every other weekend can probably get by with a mid-grade swivel. The price difference among swivels is significant. For example, Steel Eagle’s list price for a 24-inch spinner with a mediumduty swivel is $920. The same machine with a heavy-duty swivel runs $1620. (These prices may vary.) In general, the higher quality the
swivel, the longer it will last. However, there are exceptions – and that is why contractors need to look at warranties before choosing a swivel. Some swivels, such as the Steel Eagle Talon 4, come with a limitedtime unconditional warranty. Other high-end swivels come with a longer warranty, but they are not unlimited. The swivel manufacturer – not the surface spinner manufacturer – is the one who determines if the swivel is covered or not. The most common maintenance problem surface spinners face is due to a bent spray bar, typically caused by a technician jumping a curb or hitting a bolt with their employer’s expensive, high-end swiveled spinner. “Once the spray bar is bent, it’s done,” said Harry. “It’s going to start to vibrate bad. The next thing they’ll see is the vibration transferring to the bearings of the swivel. Then the bearings go out, the seals come out, the grease comes out. Shortly thereafter, you’re going to be repairing the swivel.” Most swivel manufacturers do offer swivel repair kits, which can help offset the cost. Of course, unless the spray bar is also replaced, the new or rebuilt swivel will eventually face the same demise. 3. What other options do you need? The pressure washer’s capabilities and the choice of swivel are the two biggest factors when it comes to ensuring a surface spinner is going to be efficient for specific cleaning jobs. However, there are a variety of other options available to help make the cleaning job faster and more efficient. • Types of wheels – No one needs to be slowed down by a flat tire, and so Steel Eagle offers a few tire choices, including “flat free” tires. Ten-inch pneumatic wheels are another popular choice because “they roll easily and help minimize operator fatigue.” Some contractors prefer to use castors instead of wheels so they can steer from side to side as well as forward and back. Some prefer castors on the front for easy turning, and wheels on the back. Basically, these come down to operator preference and trial and error. www.eCleanMag.com
Swivels: To Grease or Not to Grease? Some swivels are greasable – which can be a good thing or a bad thing, according to Harry. The purpose of the grease in a swivel is to protect the bearings so that water and condensation can’t get in and rust the bearings. Some swivels are pregreased by the manufacturer, and as long as the seals remain intact, the grease will remain inside for months on end. It’s when a leak occurs that there is a problem. On the other hand, just because a swivel is greasable doesn’t mean it should be overloaded with grease. Some contractors will add grease every week, which can actually hurt the swivel if too much is inserted and the swivel cannot rotate. “That puts a lot of pressure on the seals.” Generally, a greasable swivel only needs to be greased about once every three months. • Brush Skirt Kit – different manufacturers design their decks differently. With Steel Eagle, for instance, the area beneath the deck is open – except for the back portion where the contractor is walking – so water and debris sprays out the front and sides as the unit cleans, but keeps the operator dry. An optional brush skirt kit can be added to the bottom so that the debris does not fly out from underneath, an important option particularly when working around storefronts or vehicles that could be damaged by flying objects. • Handle Configuration – Harry compares the style of handles to the “Ford/Chevy theory” – it just depends on the operator. Lawnmowerstyle bent handles versus a straight handles are the two most popular choices, and Harry said it seems to be about 50/50 with the units they sell. (They offer some more unique/ customized configurations as well.) • Handle Extensions – the typical spinner is designed for average-height users, not for taller 11
contractors who will have to slump over to push the spinner – which can become tiresome quickly. Spinners can be designed with handle extensions to raise the handle height and reduce fatigue. Steel Eagle’s units, for example, come with joints that can be easily added or removed depending on the operator. • Vacuum Recovery – according to Harry, this option is generally only needed if the contractor’s customer requests it, or if there are no drains available on the property. However, it is an option for those who need to collect their wastewater. •Adjustable Spray Bars/Nozzles – As mentioned earlier, the number of spray bars on a spinner will speed up cleaning, as long as the bars and flow rate align. However, some machines also come with adjustable height options, allowing the operator to raise or lower the distance between the spray bar and the surface. This is important when working on more delicate surfaces that could be damaged if hit with too much pressure. Similarly, some machines allow operators to change the nozzles – whether it’s a 15-, 25- or 40-degree tip – to again control how much pressure is actually hitting the surface. It’s a Matter of Preference These are just a few of the more popular options available for surface spinners, but there are others. In fact, because there are so many different surface spinner configurations available, Steel Eagle keeps very few “stock” machines on hand. Instead, they work with each individual contractor to determine which spinner will best meet his or her needs, then custom build the machines onsite. Because the parts are readily available, however, most spinners can be built and shipped within a day or two. No matter which company’s product you choose to use, your best bet is to find a company and representative who understands your unique needs as a contract cleaner and will work to ensure you have the right spinner to keep you operational and profitable. To learn more about Steel Eagle’s surface spinners, please visit their website at www. SteelEagle.com www.eCleanMag.com
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Sealing BroomSwept Concrete
by David Phillips, Southern Stain and Seal, www.SouthernStainandSeal.com
Plain old boring everyday gray concrete. It’s so much a part of our lives that we rarely even notice it’s there. Well, that is unless you are a professional cleaning contractor. Ordinary broom-swept concrete is likely the surface you come into contact with most on a daily basis. For many contractors, especially those who do a high percentage of commercial work, concrete flatwork is the heart and soul of their cleaning business. From parking decks and commercial sidewalks, to residential driveways and patios, the concrete around us constantly gets dirty and needs to be cleaned. For a contractor with the right equipment and experience, cleaning concrete flatwork is usually pretty straight forward. It seems that “what to do after cleaning” is where it all gets foggy. Are there additional services you could be offering your customers? In many situations the answer is YES! We all know that concrete is very porous and easily damaged by the effects of erosion, freezing water, snow and ice. We also know all too well how it can be damaged by oil, grease, spills, and chemicals like salt. Do you know who also knows this? YOUR CUSTOMER! Aside from the massive corporations who have way too much money already, the average business owner or homeowner is well aware of the cost of concrete replacement. As a general rule, anyone who cares enough to hire you to clean their concrete also cares enough to protect it. Sure, not everyone can afford additional services like concrete sealing, but on the other hand, many can. Do your customers even know you can provide this service? Taking a few extra minutes to explain how you can not only clean, but also help them protect their investments, could be all it takes to double or www.eCleanMag.com
triple your profit per square foot on the project. When it comes to sealing broom-swept concrete, you want to keep it simple. Remember this is plain old boring concrete. Most likely, your customer will be interested in a simple nofrills proposal, and likely their budget will play a big part in their decision. (The exception to this rule is if they are interested in doing something more decorative like staining or coloring the concrete.) The first step is to talk to your customer. Find out what their needs and desires are. You will also need to ask questions about the concrete itself. How old it the concrete? Have there been previous sealers applied, and if so what were they? The information you gather will allow you to put together a simple proposal based on their unique needs and desires. Fortunately, you will only need a handful of options to cover most situations. Almost all broom-swept concrete is found outdoors, so we will only be considering exterior grade, UV stable, non-yellowing products.
Penetrating Sealers Penetrating sealers will make-up the majority of your outdoor concrete sealing work. They are very easy to apply, never get slippery, and offer great protection for outdoor concrete. Penetrating concrete sealers can only be applied to clean, un-sealed concrete. If you are working with concrete that has an existing sealer, it must be completely removed before applying a penetrating sealer. 13
There are many different types of penetrating sealers. Many are water based but some are solvent based. They also vary greatly in price and performance. Pay close attention to the percentage of active ingredients each product contains. With this type of sealer, you usually get what you pay for. Penetrating sealers not only offer great protection from the elements, but they are also very user friendly. Application of most penetrating sealers couldn’t be easier. Simply spray or brush the sealer on at the recommended rate and walk away. Easy application, combined with a very low failure rate, make penetrating sealers perfect for large areas of concrete where labor costs can add up quickly.They are also a great choice for outdoor flatwork since they do not become slippery when wet or change the color or appearance of the concrete. Since these sealers do vary greatly in price and performance, you should always offer your customer two options: a “good” and a “best.” This way you will be more likely to accommodate everyone’s budget.
In special case situations where a
penetrating sealer is not suitable, you may occasionally need to propose certain filmforming sealers. Usually these are decorative situations where the customer desires a wetlook, sheen, or wants to stain or color the concrete. Remember, film-forming sealers are always much more problematic outdoors. Unlike penetrating sealers, they have the potential to flake, peel, chip, or fail due to moisture and alkali beneath the surface. If your customer does require this type of sealer, be sure to choose carefully. Solventbased pure acrylics perform well outdoors and offer beautiful enhancement over stains or dyes. Avoid water-based acrylics outdoors. If you must have a water-based product, SealN-Lock’s Super Wet seems to work well. Also, keep in mind that film-forming products are usually more difficult and time consuming to apply than penetrating sealers.
Ok, this is where I often lose a lot of pressure washers. Most people think staining or coloring concrete is too complicated or difficult, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Don’t forget, we’re still talking about plain old outdoor, broom-finished concrete. The moment we step indoors all the rules change, but that’s another topic for another day. Just like with sealing outdoor concrete, we want to keep our staining options simple. We want products that work, that last, and that are easy to apply. When helping contractors propose outdoor concrete staining projects, I usually recommend that they give their customers three choices: acid stain, acetone dye, or solid color sealer stain. That’s it. If you offer too many options, you will quickly overwhelm your customer as well as yourself.
Acid Stains 14
Acid stains are a blend of metallic ions suspended in a solution of hydrochloric acid. www.eCleanMag.com
ecently, I’ve been approached by a number of contractors following this series of articles on staining and sealing. They have given me some great feedback, and I want to take the opportunity to thank them for supporting eClean Magazine! The one thing everyone has asked for is more information on choosing quality products for their project. How do they possibly choose from the sea of products on the market? Some are good, some are garbage, some are expensive and some are cheap. I am really excited to see so many cleaning contractors getting interested in offering these services. The problem is that many feel overwhelmed by adding something completely new. Even if they feel confident in which type of sealer they need, how do they know which specific one is most reliable, or which company is known for good customer service? Well, trial and error is probably the best method, but unfortunately it’s also the most costly. (Trust me, it’s the method I used!)
So, what’s the next best and least costly option? Talk to guys who have been there, made mistakes, and (hopefully) learned from them. I try hard not to mention or endorse specific products because everyone has different needs and requirements. Everyone bases their decisions on a variety of different factors. What is most important to you? Performance? Cost? Customer service? Ease of application? Environmental impact? The truth is, everyone’s response will be different and that response will ultimately determine which products you choose to use. Now, with that said, here’s what I will share with you: As we discuss each individual type of service, I will include as a starting point, the comparison charts directly from the help section of our website. These are based completely on our testing results and customer reviews. They are not my opinion, but rather a way to measure and compare the factors we mentioned above. Hopefully by sharing our experience, we can help you be more successful.
Acid stains actually chemically alter the color of the concrete, and are 100 percent permanent. They will never fade or lighten due to UV exposure. Acid staining produces a variety of rich natural earth-tone colors. The process of acid staining is messy and labor intensive, but if a natural earth-tone color is what your customer wants, it is usually
the best choice outdoors. The process of acid staining involves applying the stain, allowing it to react for several hours, neutralizing, scrubbing and rinsing. All of this is really messy if you are indoors, but outside itâ€™s actually not so bad. After thoroughly drying, the acid stained concrete must be sealed to enhance the color and protect the surface.
Acetone Dyes This is the newest generation of concrete coloring systems. They are quick, easy and come in an almost endless variety of colors. You purchase these dyes in a highly concentrated form, and then dilute them on site with acetone. They apply almost effortlessly with a special acetone resistant sprayer, and the acetone dries almost instantly. After application, the surface can then be sealed immediately with a solvent-based sealer, or after one hour, with a water-based sealer. Although they are UV stable, most dyes will eventually fade or lighten some over time if used outdoors in direct sunlight. If time is of the essence or you are trying to reduce labor costs, acetone dyes are a perfect choice.
Solid Color Sealer Stains
Solid color sealer stains are exactly what their name implies. They are a one step, opaque colored, acrylic sealer. These are economical and easy to apply. They are
perfect for covering imperfections in concrete or mismatched pours. Sealer stains come in a wide variety of colors and dry to a solid color matte finish. The only sealer stains we recommend are ones made from a solventbased pure acrylic formula. These colored sealers are actually surprisingly durable, easy to apply, and offer easy, future maintenance. With sealer stains, no additional sealer is required after application. Offering additional services like concrete sealing and concrete staining to your new and existing customers is a great way to maximize your return on each job lead. Not only will you make more money on each job, but you will also be providing more value to your customer. Remember, broom-swept flatwork is the â€œeconomyâ€? version of concrete. Keep your proposals simple and affordable to your customer, and choose products that perform well and are easy to apply. In business, your customers are your most valuable asset. By helping them protect their investments, you will also be helping to protect yours. David Phillips is the owner of Southern Stain & Seal, www.SouthernStainandSeal.com. Sign up for the Contractor Rewards program at www.SprayNPay.com
Strive to Exceed Breakeven: Part 2 by Tom Grandy, President, Grandy & Associates, www.GrandyAssociates.com
includes $64.23/hour in fixed overhead leaving a net profit of $17.37 or about a 15% net profit. Once the budgeted billed hours are covered the net profit goes from $17.37 per billed hour to $81.60 per hour … or a whopping 70% profit margin! I don’t know about you, but if it were my company, I would make every effort to exceed my budgeted service hours as soon as possible. Think about it: if our service tech could bill out Service Installation even 50 additional hours per year, that would generate an additional profit Average Hourly Rate Pd to Techs $18.00 $16.00 of $4,080. The overall principle is to Fixed Overhead Rate per Hr. $64.23 $21.87 be conservative when estimating our Variable Overhead Rate per Hr. $16.23 $12.85 billed hours, and then strive to exceed Net Profit Per Hour $17.37 $5.63 those hours as soon as possible. Hourly Rate = $115.83 $56.35 Installation: When it comes to installation, the basic principles are very similar to service, but The above hourly rates were developed the overall application is a bit different. based on billing out 1,000 hours per year for Like service, we want to strive to exceed our one service tech and 3,600 total hours for budgeted hours. Let’s assume it’s midour two installers. If we bill out less than the above hours, all our fixed overhead costs will November and the installation crew has billed out 3,500 of their budgeted 3,600 hours. NOT be covered. If we bill out exactly 1,000 The company now has a chance to bid on a service hours and 3,600 installation hours, we large job that will require 350 man-hours to will have covered our estimated overhead and complete and they can finish it by the end profitability goals will have been met. Now for the fun part – once we exceed our of the year. Can the company lower their bid price on the job and still make a nice profit? budgeted hours, 100 percent of the fixed You bet they can! It will only take an additional overhead is covered and it drops out of the equation. That means all additional hours billed 100 billed hours to meet their budget for the year, at which point the fixed overhead of out for the year, over and above our estimated billed hours, will have NO fixed overhead on $21.87/hour will drop out. That means 250 of the 350 man-hours will not have any fixed them. That’s huge from a profit standpoint! overhead attached to them. Let’s see how exceeding our breakeven will Now let’s do the math. The company could affect both service and installation. technically lower their bid price by $5,467.50 Service: The hourly rate for service is $115.83, which (250 hours x $21.87) and still make the same 18 www.eCleanMag.com If you remember, last month we talked about how understanding the numbers is the key to profitability. If you really want to be profitable, you need to know your numbers. We discussed the difference between fixed and variable overhead costs and estimated what “normal” billed hours were for the service and installation departments. By the time we finished Part 1, we had developed the following hourly rates:
profit. In most cases they will not need to lower their bid price anywhere near that amount to get the job, however they now have the flexibility to lower it if they wish. If the company were to get the 350-hour job without lowering their price they would actually INCREASE their normal profit margin by the $5,467.50 figure. Either way the company wins, once they exceed their break even hours for the year! The same principle holds true throughout the year. Let’s say it’s May and the company has billed out 43 more hours, year to date, than they were budgeted to bill. That means
the sales person now has the opportunity to lower the price of their next job … if they choose to. They don’t have to lower it, of course, but they now have the flexibility to lower their pricing if they want. Like we said earlier, understanding your numbers can make a huge difference in the company’s bottom line profit. This article was brought to you by Grandy & Associates. If you are serious about running a profitable business please check out their website at www.GrandyAssociates.com, TomGrandy@GrandyAssociates.com, or call 800-432-7963 (Canada 270-926-3212).
Now it’s time to have a meeting with our service techs. The conversation needs to go something like this: “Hey guys, we have completed our budget for the coming year. Because of the increased cost of doing business we are going to have to increase our hourly rate for service to $115.83. Now for the good news! Our budget is based on each one of you guys producing 20 billed hours per week. The other 20 hours are what we call non-billable hours which includes shop time in the morning and afternoon, travel time between jobs, callbacks and several other things. Here is the deal. If you can reduce your non-billable time, and therefore increase your billable hours to exceed the 20 budgeted billed hours a week, we will pay you one additional hour’s pay for every hour you bill out over and above 20 billed hours a week. Now we are all aware that some weeks are busier that others so we will pay bonuses on a monthly basis. “As an example let’s say you bill 24 hours week one, 18 billable hours week two, 22 billed hours week three and 23 hours during week four. That means for the month you had a total of 7 hours over budget. To calculate what your monthly bonus will be, it would be seven hours times your base hourly rate. Now for the really good news. The total billed hours per week will INCLUDE overtime hours. That means during those long summer days when you traditionally work five to 10 overtime hours per week, your bonuses for working those extra hours will be substantial. Now keep in mind we have budgeted 20 non-billable hours a week. If you can get out a little quicker in the www.eCleanMag.com
mornings, maximize your travel time and keep callbacks to a minimum, exceeding the goal of 20 billed hours a week will be very reachable even without overtime.” When the bonus program is presented in this way your techs should have substantial buy-in. It also rewards the techs who are willing to work overtime and encourages the service techs to use their time more effectively each day. How does this program affect the company’s bottom line profit? If you will remember our fixed overhead of $64.23 becomes 100% profit when we exceed 20 billed hours a week. Our service tech is making $18 per hour, so with taxes he is perhaps costing the company $20/hour. If we pay the tech $18, and added $2 for taxes, that means the tech made a nice bonus and the company made an additional profit of $44.23/hour for every hour over 20 billed hours per week. That is what I call a win-win. What about those overtime hours? Now we are paying the tech time and a half, so with taxes he is costing us $30/hour. That still leaves the company with an additional $34.23/hour. Wow, still a win-win! It is my hope that this series of articles has done two things for you. The first objective is to help you understand the value of exceeding your breakeven billed hours. The second objective is to help you realize the value of understanding the numbers in general. Keep in mind that the most profitable companies in the trades industry are run by owners that truly understand the “business side” of their business. That’s right; if you really want to be profitable you need to know your numbers. 19
The Personal Touch Will Never Be Replaced
by Rick Meehan, Marko Janitorial Supplies, www.MarkoInc.com Now that pad computers, smart phones, and the World Wide Web have infiltrated most aspects of our lives, you might think the nanosecond has become the standard clockspeed for all transactions. Not so! Dealing with people in a meaningful fashion still requires patience, and a level of understanding far deeper than any machine can facilitate. In difference to sci-fi buffs, I must say Virtual Reality may one day attain this height. This day however, reality still rules the marketplace. The great myth perpetrated by the electronics world is that computers and devices can do anything — including sell products and services for you. Nothing makes me angrier than to receive one of those computerized advertisements on my cell phone where the computer finally asks me to press in my credit card number to order. This is even worse than putting up with telemarketers — no offense to those in the biz. Here’s the point: computers and telemarketers cannot afford the luxury of patience. Patience takes time; in fact, some believe time is patience.
Since there isn’t enough time to exercise patience over the phone, telemarketing companies must lean on probability and statistics to close enough sales to survive. Probability dictates that if enough numbers are dialed, then eventually a sale will be made. This is the myth-busting truth about electronic gizmos: when selling complex varieties of products and services (like janitorial work and cleaning supplies), no machine or telemarketer can touch the salesperson patiently demonstrating wares in front of a prospect. We humans are not mechanical. Our emotions are stroked by our interrelationships with others, and emotions control our buying habits. A salesperson who works patiently with a client face-to-face will outsell a telemarketer simply because of proximity. It’s commonly known that a warm body is harder to get rid of than a voice on the phone. Don’t forget the impact of the senses either. Seeing, hearing, smelling, touching (and tasting, although not so much in our industry) a product evokes hundreds of instant emotional responses, which can never be rivaled by a telemarketer or a fabulous web design. Proximity alone brings out feelings necessary to make informed decisions. Imagine trying to sell a multi-thousand-dollar automatic scrubbing machine to a client who has never seen one or attempting to explain to a prospect that you will restore their indoor stained concrete slab that cost them megabucks simply by using your great expertise. Odds are you wouldn’t. Why? Because you aren’t close enough to evoke the emotions required to make a decision to purchase what you’re selling. An alert salesperson reads emotional responses (body language) from the prospect, evaluates the effect of each statement he or she makes in a presentation, and utilizes that knowledge to guide the prospect into a sale. www.eCleanMag.com
This emotion-reading function is normal to all relationships, but salespeople usually have a heightened awareness. Again, emotions control our buying habits. How can a computer, smart device, or a telemarketer perform this function? Personal contact is needed, especially for contract cleaning companies where word-of-mouth advertising is the key to success. For the next few moments — not nanoseconds — I want you to consider the following scenario. Pretend you are using your new CompuPod 5000 Wrist Communicator. The year is 2016, the date is August 8, and the time is 3:52 P.M. It’s Wednesday. Total access to two-way voice/video, fax, e-mail, text messaging, ordering system, multi-media color catalog, and a myriad other menu choices are at your thumb tips. You are following up on a lead given to you by a satisfied customer named Bob. In fact, your prospective buyer, John, just answered his desktop Vid. He looks strung out. You: “How’s it going, John?”
John: “Oh, hello. Sorry. I was expecting another call.” You: “I hope I’m not interrupting.” John: “It’s pretty busy, but what can I do for you?” You: “Actually, your name came up in conversation the other day. We completed a total house makeover for a buddy of yours, Bob. He suggested I call to see if you might need for the same service at your place.” John: “Bob? You mean my neighbor down the street? Yeah, I saw you guys blasting off the vinyl siding the other day. Looks good, but I don’t need that kind of service right now. If I need anything, I’ll let you know.” (John looks away as if talking to someone else.) You: “Mind if I ask one more question? Have you taken a look at Bob’s freshly cleaned concrete drive? (You punch up a video which shows on John’s terminal in a window.) John: “No. I haven’t paid much attention to it. (Aside: I’ll be done in a second, Mary.)” John looks anxiously at you, not paying attention to the video on his screen.)
The biggest mistake that I see cleaning contractors make is to assume that just because they do a good job, customers will flock to their door. This is also the largest reason for the majority of startup cleaning services to fail before they even get their feet wet. I’ve actually heard this comment over and over again: “You mean I have to go out and sell? I’m not a salesperson!” Guess what, we’re all salespeople to one level or another. As a contract cleaning outfit, if you’re not out there searching for new clientele every single day, you’re going to eventually fail. Here’s a checklist of things you MUST do to grow your business: • Learn basic selling techniques, whether by using books, audio or videotapes, or taking a professional sales course at the local community college. • Practice these words in front of a mirror every day and live by them: “I am happy. I will smile. I will meet new people today. I will show them I am a good person to deal with.” • Meet with customers and prospects in person and on a regular basis so they don’t
forget you. • Send personal mailings that include “Thank you” notes, “Customer Appreciation” cards, and “Invitations” to free food and service demonstrations. People love to eat free. • Follow up on a regular basis with your customers to ensure they are happy about EVERY level of your service. Always ask for referrals from satisfied clients. • Thank people for their time, their business, and their consideration of your proposals. Charm them with your goodwill. • Be consistent. If you give them a great performance today, but next week you drop the ball, they will search for a better contractor. • Honesty solves most ills. So, eliminate the possibility of going under by going door to door. Keep your current customers happy. Show prospects that by doing a great job on every level, you will save them money. A bad job wastes dough. Never let that happen! Word-of-mouth advertising can make a business and break a business. Don’t get broken.
You: “Our new concrete cleaning machinery and scrubbing methods will save you a lot of money in the long run. Are you interested?” John: “How do you know whether I need your service or not? And for that matter, how does Bob? Have you been out to my house? I’ve got an asphalt driveway and a brick exterior.” (You hesitate, not sure what to do. You’ve never seen John’s property, so you can’t say for sure your cleaning methods are appropriate. John notices your hesitancy.) You: “Why don’t we meet at your place sometime soon and I’ll see what XYZ Super Cleaners can do for you?” John: “That’s too much of a hassle. Tell you what; I think I’ll have a little talk with Bob and if I need you, I’ll give you a shout.” You: “Okay, John. Well, thanks for talking to me. Let me know if you need my help.” John: “Sure. Gotta go. Bye.” (John breaks the connection.) Suddenly, you realize what just happened. Your prospective buyer was not impressed by your whizbang digital presentation. In fact, he seemed rather put out. Why? Your CompuPod had worked perfectly. He wasn’t able to smell the onions on your breath from lunch. You only took up a minute of his time.
This failure reminded you of the old days when telemarketing was accomplished without all the latest multimedia. Despite the slick modern delivery method, John had still taken the call as an interruption! He had seemed preoccupied, so you had not been able to spend the time necessary to present your product properly. This was no different than in the past! The truth is smart phones (or CompuPods) really are an interruption. They will always ring, buzz, or squawk at the most inconvenient times. People die every day using them while driving. Salespeople in general are considered interruptions too, but there is a difference. It is inescapable that a happy salesperson brings welcome relief from stressful work atmospheres. They are vents for frustrations, sounding boards, even scapegoats! However, professional salespeople arrange to meet their prospects at the most convenient times in order to use Patience as a sales tool. While business transactions are reaching the speed of light with the advent of newer communications technologies, never forget that proximate salespeople will continue to guide emotions with patience to close sales faster than any machine will ever make possible!
Dumpster Pad Cleaning Dumpster Pad Cleaning
by Carlos Gonzales, New Look Power Wash, www.NewLookPowerWash.com
Before & after photos courtesy of New Look www.eCleanMag.com Power Wash, www.NewLookPowerWash.com
No doubt about it, dumpster pads and their interior conditions can be an eyesore. The accumulation of months of food grease, stains from garbage and just plain old dirt is often a pressure washerâ€™s worst nightmare. Cleaning dumpster pad areas on your commercial account can mean the difference between your client offering you high praise or questioning your ability to perform specifications of your contract with them. 23
In this article, tips and suggestions are offered so that you can be equipped with the initial knowledge of knowing what you need to tackle some of the worst dumpster pads on the planet. You should also have a proper understanding of how to deal with wastewater in accordance with the law. Preferably you are equipped with hot water capability. This in itself will afford you an advantage over the use of cold water when cleaning greasy concrete. Should the use of hot water not be in your arsenal just yet, you can still utilize the suggestions outlined here and still obtain measurable success. Equipment Check List Hot Water Pressure Washer Stiff Broom 2 Gallon Pump Up Sprayer Soap/Degreaser Elbow Grease Surface Cleaner 15 Degree QC Prior to firing up your rig you will need to remove all items off the dumpster pad. Laundry bags, grease buckets overflowing with old discarded grease and trash are just a few of the many items that often greet contractors when access to the dumpster pad is made. Ensure you are wearing protective gloves and safety goggles as the chances of running into a dead rat or two is highly probable. If possible, roll out all the trash containers off the pad as well. Sweep up all accumulated dirt and trash. Pretreating the grease buildup with a degreasing soap is a critical step and serves as one of the key steps to achieve the results you want. However, pretreating is just one of many steps that are necessary in order to obtain that “wow” reaction from your client. The 2 gallon pump sprayer is a handy tool to have for pretreating the accumulated grease area. Spray a liberal amount of your degreaser to the point where you begin to observe the “puddle effect” on the greasy concrete. Dwell times vary from one product to the next but on average you want your dwell times to be in the 15 minute range at minimum. The Suds Say It All Agitate the pretreated area with your push broom to the point where suds are created 24
due to the agitation. The color of the suds will reveal several important things. This will determine whether or not you proceed to the next step or continue with your pump up application and agitate again. If the suds turn a very deep dark brown then this shows you that not only is your degreaser working but more importantly that an additional application is advisable. Prior to reapplying, ensure you agitate the original pretreatment vigorously into the pores of the concrete with some good old elbow grease. Reapply your pretreatment mix with the pump up sprayer. The amount applied should be enough to only get the surface wet again. Bring out that push broom and agitate some more. Repeat if necessary You will begin to see those deep dark brown suds that were observed on the very first application turn into a light chocolate milky
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appearance. This is a good indicator that your soap has dislodged and/or removed the grease from the surface. One important note about the soap that you apply, it is only as strong as the chemicals that make up the formula. My company has had positive success with a variety of degreasers on the market today. Time to Wash the Pad As your pretreatment continues to dwell, now would be a perfect time to prepare your general purpose mix in preparation to clean the entire pad. The most common way to saturate the pad with a general mix is either through downstreaming or x-jetting. Don’t rush your dwell times here. Give the general purpose mix the same dwell time consideration you afforded the pretreatment. Often, contractors rush through this step as they are anxious to get the surface cleaner on the concrete. Once you are satisfied that the soaps have had plenty of time to “do their thing,” surface clean the pad. Water temps should be no lower than 165 degrees. As you surface clean over the accumulated grease stains on the concrete, you will begin the see the positive results from the fruits of your labor. Obviously there will be blotches of grease that surface cleaner may not have been able to “cut into.” Do not spend www.eCleanMag.com
much time going back and forth over these areas with your surface cleaner. You will be able to hit these blotches during the rinse down step. Rinse and Roll ‘Em Up The rinsing part of dumpster pad cleaning is important, as it is the step that allows you to actually see what has cleaned up and what has not. With a 15-degree tip begin to hit those grease blotches in the same fashion as you would when popping gum off concrete. Another recommendation would be to bump your water temp up an additional 10 degrees. Pay particular attention around the grease pit area as this is commonly the area where grease is difficult to remove and clean. Rinse your walls and concrete with plenty of water. As you are rinsing your way out of the dumpster pad, you hopefully have a huge smile on your face due to the fact that the dirty dumpster pad that you started with is now a shining piece of work, and your client will shake your hand and say, “Job well done.” Carlos Gonzales is the owner of New Look Power Wash, a pressure cleaning company that provides services in California. To learn more, visit their website at www. NewLookPowerWash.com. 25
by Allison Hester, eClean Editor
ina Porter entered into the cleaning industry somewhat by chance, but boy, is she glad she did. Over the past three years, Tina has washed houses, windows, gutters, flatwork, apartment complexes, historic structures, restored decks, sealed pavers, and the list goes on and on. And not only has she found a process that she is passionate about, she also found true love in the process.
Learning the Business
round threeand-a-half years ago, Tina met and became good friends with Len Sutton of Sea to Summit Pressure Washing, LLC, in Clemson, SC. Tina recognized that Len could use some help with the bookkeeping, mailings and other administrative tasks. “While Len could handle the paperwork, he was growing 26
to where he just didn’t have the time,” she explained. Soon after, she decided to power wash her own home herself using a small, inexpensive machine. Tina found power washing to be difficult, time-consuming and cumbersome – and to top it off, she couldn’t reach the second story of her house. She eventually asked Len for his help finishing the project. “Len went back over the whole house, including the areas I had hand scrubbed,” Tina said. “What he did was nothing like I had ever seen or considered pressure washing to be.” In the meantime, a number of events went into play. First, Tina found she had a lot of questions about the meaning of different industry terms and was trying to learn the business. So Len suggested she come out in the field to see first-hand what the cleaning entailed. Second, somewhere along the way, she and Len began dating. She loved the low pressure washing process – a.k.a. “soft washing” – and the ability to clean several stories high while standing on the ground. Seeing the dramatic before and afters of low pressure cleaning left her in awe – and energized. “The whole concept of cleaning with good detergents and low-pressure water without having to work off of ladders amazed me. I got hooked.” Because Tina was working a full-time desk job for the Cancer Centers of the Carolinas and Len was cleaning most evenings and weekends, so to spend time together, she would go with him to work. After finishing her day job, Tina would meet up with Len on the jobsite in the www.eCleanMag.com
evenings, work weekends, and help whenever she had some time off. Tina also learned how to do estimates so that she could assist with the schedule, cover more ground, and help Len achieve his company goals. As Tina learned more about the cleaning processes and the business itself, she also helped with marketing. She was great at sales, largely because of her fervor for educating customers. “I always look at it from a customer’s standpoint, and I’ve seen the differences it makes in peoples’ homes and lives,” she explained. “I’m passionate about informing customers on the right way to clean things because I’ve experienced the wrong way first hand and have seen the damage that can happen by doing it the wrong way. Educating customers gives me that warm fuzzy feeling, which is another reason I love this job.” Tina is also passionate about gaining more education herself, and is constantly learning new things from Len and other industry members. The couple has attended various industry-related events – including the National Cleaning Expo (NCE) in Tampa, the Sunbrite round table meetings in Atlanta and the PWNC round table meeting in Myrtle Beach – to learn not only about cleaning, but about running a more efficient business. She also attended a Seal N Lock class and became a certified technician to seal pavers. Perhaps best of all, Tina has learned how to properly clean many different types of surfaces and to take care of her own home. “I really enjoy doing the work,” she said. “I love having the customers come out and see the results of a black gutter turning back into a white gutter, or a house they thought needed to be painted actually only needed a very good cleaning.”
Made Just for Her
n fact, because of her love of cleaning and her work ethic, she often took over the work – “because it’s so much fun” – while Len ran the hoses. So earlier this year, when Sea to Summit’s old trailer finally gave way, Len put together a new trailer – complete with a machine designed specifically for Tina. “We now have a ‘his’ and a ‘her’ machine,” she laughed. Tina stressed that she “does not lift weights,” but she can run a machine and clean www.eCleanMag.com
up to four stories high without getting on a ladder – something customers often must see to believe. Len listened to Tina’s feedback about matching equipment to her capabilities and put together a system that’s comfortable for her. He has also implemented some of Tina’s other ideas for the new trailer, such as adding a locker where she can lock up her purse, keep a change of clothes, etc. He also added a few extras like interior lights, a mounted mirror and even a cell phone charger. She also told Len that females had “going to the bathroom issues that guys do not have,” so Len provided her a camper-style portably potty. “Our trailer is enclosed and the door is lockable from the inside, so privacy is no longer an issue.” Timing is everything, and the company’s growth, Tina’s newfound enjoyment of the job, and now their October wedding have fallen into place. About a month ago, Tina’s company went through a merger and Tina was laid off after 14 years. Sea to Summit has grown exponentially, and Len needs to start looking for another full-time employee very soon. Now, the newly-married “dynamic duo” is set to grow their business – and their future – together. Tina added that she is “very proud” of Len for his accomplishments and is grateful to be a part of them. “To any home or business owner, I truly recommend the low pressure washing process and process/techniques that Sea to Summit Pressure Washing uses to help maintain your home or business,” she added. “This really is the perfect job for me,” Tina stressed. “I’m getting to work with Len, and we enjoy that time together. I am supporting him in his company dream and investing in our future. I’m meeting new people and getting to see a lot of beautiful homes. I enjoy the work so much because I believe in the process and can see the results immediately. I’m learning lots of new things. I’m out in the field instead of behind a desk.” Best of all, she concluded, “When I go home at night, I can honestly say that I’ve had a rewarding day.” This article was used with permission from the National Cleaning Expo and Pressure Washing Institute, www. PressureWashingInstitute.com. 27
Pressure Washing for Commercial Properties: Reducing Business Liability by Paul Horsley, eClean Publisher
by Paul Horsley, eClean Publisher
There are plenty of good reasons to hire a commercial property cleaning company: You’ll achieve professional results in a short amount of time, for instance. But what many business owners may not realize is that partnering with a power washing experts can also provide a real liability benefit, as we describe below. ELIMINATE SLIPPERY, HAZARDOUS DUMPSTER SLIME The David Lynch film Mulholland Drive features a terrifying scene about a hideous dumpster monster hiding behind a coffee shop. The man in this scene has dreamt about the monster, and a friend helps him confront his fear. Many businesses have their own form of “dumpster monster” – a slimy, gooey mess around the dumpster. This slippery area may not be as heart-stoppingly frightful as Lynch’s monster, yet it can pose a petrifying threat for the business owner: namely, the possibility of being sued by a customer or employee for failing to maintain a safe commercial environment. Power washing experts can make this scary possibility disappear like a bad dream. With regular commercial property cleaning around your dumpster, you won’t have to worry about ending up in court after a customer falls and breaks a hip. Indeed, most outdoor surfaces are porous enough to allow the growth of mildew, which can quickly become a slipping hazard in rainy conditions. Commercial property cleaning of sidewalks, entryways and other areas where customers tread is a good idea from a liability standpoint. HIRE A COMMERCIAL PROPERTY CLEANING EXPERT FOR INSURANCE COVERAGE Why hire a commercial property cleaning outfit when I can do it myself, or have an employee do it? This is the viewpoint of many business owners, and it makes sense. After all, most small business owners are the roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-to-work type. They don’t dilly-dally around when they can do something themselves, or arrange for a staffer to jump on it. Yet for the smart business owner it’s well worth the professional fees. Hiring a professional means any damage caused during pressure washing will be covered by the commercial property cleaning company’s insurance. If you do it yourself and end up doing real damage to your building’s exterior, you will have to pay for those costs out of pocket. This may not seem like such a big risk – after all, anyone can operate a power washer, right? – but modern machines are powerful enough to tear away siding, scratch up decks and destroy screens. Don’t risk racking up extra costs to repair what you just wanted cleaned. Hire a commercial property cleaning company for its insurance protection. www.eCleanMag.com
Cleaning Flatwork/Commercial Concrete: parking garages, dumpster pads, choosing surface cleaners, sealing concrete.