Cleaning coral/landscaping rocks

Have a client that had about 300 football size coral rocks used for landscaping around trees. I treated them with a 50/50 pump sprayer. My intention was to leave them and let the chemical work. But they were still brownish after awhile except for some that were in the sun. I came back with my machine and hit them with the wand and this did nothing. I did it out of frustration because the client kept telling me the last guy got them all clean without using chemical, just hit them with the machine. I said no way. But I did it anyway just to prove a point. Theses rocks are very porous and were almost black. And by doing what the client wanted I ended up rinsing the chemical that I had applied earlier treating the rocks. I know they are going to call me to complain tomorrow because they weren’t there and paid me using an app. But I know the complaint is on the way. The frustrating part is that every time I mentioned something about the price or the method I used the client kept telling me about the last guy who did it all perfectly for 150.00 bucks. All the rocks, two driveways (medium) the whole backyard patio, a sidewalk going around the corner, front porch and walkway and about25 huge potted plants in the way to move. I finally told the client go get the guy if he’s the boss around here I want to talk this professional.
So the question is what am I doing wrong Is there a way to do this with a turbo nozzle or something I only used a 45 tip from my J rod but it seemed labor intensive I felt like I should have just continued with the chemical/soft wash method

Why would you collect of you know you didn’t do a good job?

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I’m curious why they called you and not the guy that did everything for $150 back

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Because they told me how to do the job and the whole time that the other guy was a professional a big time professional. I originally quoted 300.00 on the concrete not including the rocks.

They said the 150. guy didn’t have time, then changed the story and said their machine was stolen.

The best thing I have learned along my journey is not every customer is right for you, and your service is not meant for every customer. Have a good laugh about it but at the end of the day you aren’t the other guy, dude is probably making $300 a day if his 2.5 gpm Simpson gets stolen he has no means to get a new one. I live in a ridiculously saturated market with tons of “value” companies in town and still am overbooked charging twice what they do. If you ever want help with pricing or need help feel free to give me a ring or shoot me a message

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Price is irrelevant. Other guy did a job that satisfied the customer and obviously satisfied him. This anonymous guy sounds like he isn’t happy, customer isn’t happy, or won’t be once he realizes he has already paid for an incomplete job.

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You ever clean landscaping rocks before?? I’m not sure I’d do a good job either😂

I’ve tried getting the lichen off my river rocks, last attempt was 50/50 mix, didn’t do much. Some came clean, others, well, not so much. This year straight is getting put on it. IF that doesn’t do it I don’t know what else to try, other than replacing which I won’t do.

Forgot to add, more worried about the fabric underneath than I am about killing grass/weeds. For me that is a bonus of no weeding.

We did this small job, with a Sodium Hydroxide Mix… The condition, determines what we use… Most clean up fine with SH…

With that being said, you should always rinse out your detergent between applications… chemicals work in tandem with your machine.

It was explained to me that the other guy didn’t use chemical. Just used the wand to get the rocks clean. These are not smooth rocks they are coral. I tried both chemical and the wand. The wand was the most ineffective method and that was after pretreating with 50/50. The only other option I can think of would be a turbo nozzle. Or maybe they were brown because I left the chemical on there too long. There’s no way someone just took a wand to these rocks and got them all white I’d have to call BS on that.OIP (1)
This is a picture of perfectly clean coral rock but the dirty ones have black mold/algae growing all inside them.

Depending on the type of rock and that looks porous it might have soaked up more chemical than you thought and needed a heavier application. Like using a 12V vs a pump sprayer on a driveway.

‘Coral is just calcium carbonate, aka limestone, aka Tums.:laughing:

Don’t believe “the other guy” stories from customers there all BS the majority of the time, when you deal with enough customers you see obvious patterns in scripts. 9/10 of every complex or obscure jobs I get there was “another” guy that did it ages ago 3 times as fast, and 4 times cheaper and turned up within half an hour of booking the job and also did some extras lol. In this business if you can’t clean organic growth with a 50/50 mix and a bit of pressure then it’s not going to appear clean no matter who the other guy was.

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Another reason to put together a 12V

lol
Don’t believe “the other guy” stories from customers there all BS the majority of the time, when you deal with enough customers you see obvious patterns in scripts. 9/10 of every complex or obscure jobs I get there was “another” guy that did it ages ago 3 times as fast, and 4 times cheaper and turned up within half an hour of booking the job and also did some extras lol. In this business if you can’t clean organic growth with a 50/50 mix and a bit of pressure then it’s not going to appear clean no matter who the other guy was.
Good point taking into consideration I think I will have to screen more carefully Hopefully I can get more clients so I can start doing that.

Thanks man I might have some questions about your site
which looks great

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Question: Why didn’t you give @Innocentbystander the opportunity to tell you to walk away BEFORE you quoted this job? (In other words, you should have checked here before you quoted that particular job)

Take it as a lesson learned and remember next time that, sometimes, walking away is more profitable than doing a job at 2-3 times the “other guy’s” price.

Also, remember to under promise and over deliver…That’s a job where I would have told the customer that I doubted I could make any difference at all, but that I would be happy to do what I could for $xxx amount. I have gained more loyal customers by talking people OUT of certain projects than I have by letting the customer dictate what I can or can’t properly clean.

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Agreed. I find customers can sense the fact I’m being honest and not trying to upsell them about everything. I’m clear about what I can do. If I’m not sure about the outcome on something small or specific I will quote x price “If it comes clean and you’re satisfied”. So far they always have been satisfied as have I regarding these specific things being cleaned.

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Nobody gonna comment on that? If you’re talking about a 45 orifice, you were probably using a lot less pressure than the last guy

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I never had any interaction with @Innocentbystander
But to be clear, I said up front that I didn’t want to do the rocks for any price. After the client kept asking
I said that when I came back the next day to move the plants that I would do a section of the rocks to see how it turned out. The section I did wasn’t bad at all they turned white. So I kept going with the pump sprayer. But they all didn’t turn the same. I could have used 12V. Anyway as I finished applying the chemical the client came out and started telling me I should have just used the machine. So fine I went back and got the trailer and hit all the rocks with the wand against my better judgement. The wand did nothing except wash off the chemical I just put on. It took me about 3-4 hours total to do it so I don’t feel bad about the extra $ to do the rocks. I spent about 10-15bucks in chemical. lol. Great learning experience. The client’s blowing up my phone today though. lol

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Make sure you refund them their money and consider it a lesson learned.

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