As my wife came out of the restaurant tonight while we were walking across the parking lot I heard the sound of a small engine running. I looked up the sidewalk in front of Verizon and there was a guy with what looked like a Campbell Hausfield or something similar wanding the sidewalk. I stood there in disbelief that someone would be trying to clean a commercial sidewalk with that type machine. It couldn’t have put out over 3 gpm. I was going to take a picture but my wife wouldn’t let me. She said if it works what’s wrong with it. I explained that it doesn’t work and it hurts everyone that try’s to do it right. I understand what it’s like starting out. I get it I really do. But there’s got to be a point where common sense kicks in. I’m not saying that someone has to run out and drop 15k to get started but at least don’t take jobs that’s beyond your equipments capabilities. I see people on here just starting out asking how much to charge. That’s a private thing. PM someone you trust and run it by them or just bid the job and if you don’t make the money you want you bid to low. Personally I feel like someone doesn’t need to even attempt to contract on their own until they’ve done it enough to at least know what they’re doing and how much to charge. Rant over. This is just my opinion and I could be wrong
Maybe drive back out that way tomorrow and check out his work he might have done a good job. when I was like 15 I used pressure wash people’s walkways with a wand it took awhile but I did a pretty dam good job . If not leave your business card on the door . Im from Philly so im a underdog kind of guy I respect the guy who hustles to make something out of nothing as long as he is doing a good job.
I don’t fault anyone for doing the best they can. But a 3gpm machine and a wand on a commercial sidewalk is bad business. The problem is he’s probably not charging half what the job is worth so when someone who has invested to do it right comes along the customer wants them to clean it right for the price of the low baller
Was he a store employee or did you see a company name? Around here a lot of stores have a small machine they keep in the back and have an employee do it.
I would guess it’s big company bundling multiple services to the property. (Lot sweeping, day porter…)
I watched something like this 2 days ago at a Krystal’s. 2 teenage girls had a Craftsman pressure washer trying to clean a drive thru barefoot and no chemicals lmao.
I went by yesterday and they maybe removed 10% of the oil and grease and left stripes.
They also tried to wash the building to no avail.
A franchise like that and they don’t want to hire professionals?
Exactly this. I’ve tried to go after a few small business near me before and given them my bids (which were VERY fair). And now twice I have driven by and seen some guy with a maybe 2-3gpm machine from lowes/HD, with 50 foot of hose, and just a wand cleaning the sidewalk. I’m sure he’s doing it for half of what my bid was because he doesn’t have insurance to pay for, or adequate equipment to maintain. He maybe spent $500 total on his equipment so sure, why not make $250 in 5 hours. After all thats 50/hr which is more than any other job he can probably get.
But for someone with thousands of dollars invested in equipment, insurance, and workers/crews (for some of you), $50/hour just won’t cut it. But NOW this property manager or store/restaurant manager has an expectation of getting that side walk cleaned for $250, even if he’s not happy with the work that other guy did, if you come in and bid $500 on it, he’s going to think you’re out of your mind, that’s DOUBLE the last guy, he’s going to think you’re trying to pull a fast one on him. When in reality you’re charging like a professional because you are a professional, and the other guy will probably not going to be cleaning for very long.
It hurts us in multiple ways and it’s very irritating. Even if they do a “good job”. Just the other day I was doing my door hangers (4 arounds? I think it’s what @squidskc calls them) and I noticed that on every mailbox in that neighborhood there was a piece of paper taped to it with a “$99 Pressure Washing special for house and FREE driveway”… I didn’t even bother and left. Some guy out there is washing 3000 sq ft homes with at least 1500 sq ft driveways for $99… I don’t care how good a job he’s doing. That’s hurting all of us in the business.
Quick! Print up professional door hangers that say, “we FIX $99 power washing jobs”
He had a white cargo van with magnetic door signs.
That’s my point. I would even be for licensesure costing a significant amount with insurance being required if they’d enforce it to keep the illegitimate guys out. Then the legit business can get the rates needed. Because the fly by nighters are not going to pay more in insurance and licensing than their equipment cost. Im working on designing a bifold for a commercial handout. I am thinking about an educational part within it describing the difference between these guys and a professional company and why they’re better off with a legitimate business. Along with the bifold verbally explain it also. I started out with cold water also but for the most part stuck with houses and charged what it was worth
It’s all relative. I feel the same way when i ride by dnd see someone washing with a 4 or 5 gpm machine and a hamnerhead surface cleaner. Let em work and make a dollar. You aren’t paying them and wouldn’t have for the work anyway. Go get a coffee and read the paper. Enjoy the day and don’t worry don’t it
People pay for results, they generally don’t care how they are achieved. I’m paying a painting contractor several thousand dollars to paint my house. I don’t care if he uses Q-Tips to paint with as long as my house gets done right.
Dang, and here I thought I was doing good yesterday when I did a driveway and patio with my 4gpm and 16” surface cleaner. Took me a whole 3 hours to make $350.
Like i said, it’s all relative. It could have been $350 with 8gpm and 2 hours :). I like a 16 inch surface cleaner.
Agreed. A guy with a 3gpm machine uninsured is not the competition for most guys here. From what I read the challenge for most, IBS excluded, is sales and marketing. $10k or $20k for a small business equipment is nothing. Many require $100k plus. Their is skill and craftsmanship in good work but that can be learned by most. Sales? Marketing? Connecting with customers? That’s not easy for most and probably why I regularly see nice rigs for sale locally.
The sales and marketing is easy for me but I’ve been in and out of sales most of my life. Everything from car sales to furniture to insurance. Relationship selling is key to building value in your product or service. But with these guys running around we still have to overcome the customers mental block on their perception of what the price should be based on the splash and dash guys.
If your doing good work, after a year or two you shouldn’t have to spend any money on sales and marketing to stay full time 6 days a week. Unless your trying to add more trucks and crews
This is 100% truth
Your posts are the main reason I already want a bigger machine & hot water. But we all have to start somewhere.
I definitely aspire to have a business as big as yours one day.
No you don’t. This stuff sucks. I’d give a lot to just wash 2 or 3 houses aday, by myself and have no employees or trucks