Soft wash system certification?

Hi. I am new to the forum, and I was wondering if anyone knows if you are obligated to purchase your equipment and chemicals through SWS to get certified through them?

Yes you are. Be very wary and cautious who you spend money with. Water from a well is just as wet as purified, sanctified, much hyped bottled water.


They have all their requirements listed on their site somewhere.

No you dont have to purchase their equipment and chemicals to be certified.

You do have to purchase their certified applicator educational program and pass a test. After that, you can use the SWS certified applicator logo. To use the authorized or 5 star logo’s, you have to use their equipment.

I purchased the educational program, and it is a very professional and thorough introduction to the industry. I got it at a discount at one of their paid events. It’s about 10 hours in total, and it covers everything from safety and regulations (ladder/PPE/road), to the basics of treating different surfaces, to plant and property protection, and a lot more.

Yeah, you can find pretty much everything on the internet… but the same can be said about virtually any topic or industry that offers an online certification… or really any college course in general.

Personally there are a couple of opinions that they present that i dont agree with (like claiming that a pressure washer cant soft wash), but overall, the science and information is solid. I feel like i got my money’s worth, but whether or not you would feel the same, i cant answer.

You can also use the program to train new employees, if you want, which is pretty handy. It comes with a workbook, and has specific lead tech and assistant tech videos.

As far as i know, it’s about the most professional online program around. Doug Rucker offers an online course, and i have purchased it as well, but i haven’t sat down and really went through it enough to be able to say one is better than the other. SWS’s is more of a classroom lecture style learning, while Doug’s is more of a hands on nuts and bolts series (with some lectures as well).

SWS gets a lot of hate, but there are some solid dudes in the organization. Any knucklehead can google ‘how do i clean a roof’, and within hours know the exact chemicals and methods of the top roof cleaners in the country, but making a successful career out of that is a different story. SWS’s approach is less about ‘how do i wash’, and more about ‘how do i succeed’… at least from what i’ve seen… but i am certainly not an expert on their organization.

As with anything, there is no guarantee for success, so do your research before you spend your money.


Thanks for your thorough response @tireshark! I was hesitant to ask about sws on a forum cause ive seen them catch a little flak in some comments, but i see alot of value in what they offer… I just wasnt sure if there was a catch after you get certified.

Im not bashing anyone who does certification courses. Education is the key to success in life…
What I do find skeptic is the value people hold for those logos you get after completing they’re courses. Logos wont get you jobs although they can make your trailer look pretty cool. Perhaps I shouldn’t speak on this subject as I really don’t know anything about it. But I am curious do you get a discount for buying they’re equipment?

It may not get you a job @Paul_Kelly, but I would hate to lose a job because i wasnt certified, and the guy a town over is… I also like the idea of having cookie cutter advertising material and training workbooks for my employees included in the cost. I think i also saw somewhere that they offer co-op national advertising.

No discount on equipment or chemicals.

You’re right, the public really has no clue what any of those logos mean… whether it’s SWS, UAMCC, or PWRA. I mean… there might be a little value to having some logos on your website, to differentiate between someone who doesn’t have any, but i imagine it is a bit less important than it seems to us in the industry.

But as a plus, at least with the SWS logo you can say that it required training and a test to be able to display. Now that i think about it, i think the UAMCC requires some training to use their logo as well (or at least for their ‘certified’ logos), in addition to paying for membership. PWRA and NSWA i think you just have to pay a membership fee.

I sure am glad the Wright Brothers got certified before they flew that milkcrate, otherwise we would have no planes. No you don’t need to be certified.

Someone will always be along to sel snake oil to the naive or unsuspecting. A pressure washing org sticker or the like on your truck will get you as much work as a stp sticker. I remember in the late 90’s when you could fill out paperwork to become a certified Wohlman stain pro. Everyone got stickers lol

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The public might not go looking for a “certified” contractor but you better believe that there are certain words that are very powerful in marketing and “certified” is one of them.

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I declare you certified. You may now use it in any marketing materials. If you want the official logo I can make you a copy for just $199.99

Most of the critics are just jealous of A.C.'s success. There are a lot of petty people in the pressure washing industry and lots of personality conflicts and lots of grown men who act like everything in life is a manhood measuring contest.

Don’t be afraid to join whatever organization you want to, or take whatever class you want, go to whatever convention you want to, buy whatever book you want to. If you think it will help your business, do it, regardless of what anybody else thinks about it.

Personally, I’ll start caring what everybody else thinks when they start paying my bills. Until then their opinion is just like a certain body part that everyone has…


AC coined a phrase and built a big company, great for him. I could care less. I don’t compete with him. Bottom line is, being certified to overhaul an engine by a manufacture is a little different than being certified by a group that thinks they invented soft washing. If you have to have a certification because you think its the only way to prove your self to customers than more power to you. But the question was simply do i need to get certified and the answer is still NO… I disnt mention,any names, I didn’t say that being certified did not help some people. I just answered the question truthfully… So calm down the sun will still come up in the morning.

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Actually the question was, am I obligated to buy equipment and chemicals from SWS if i get certified by them.


You are correct he did not ask that question. However your wrong. An un certified team invented the aor plane. I fly a PPG and A PPC there is no verification required from the FFA but there are group’s that will certify you. Even though the government does not require it. I can also fly a trike and a gyro if its under 256 pounds… You really need to get over yourself you may call yourself “The man” but your really talking out your arse… So calm down we all run our businesses that are best for us…

Respectfully, you are throwing a lot of spaghetti at the wall there.

As Aferland said, that wasn’t his question. Also, no one said that getting certified is the only way to prove yourself to your customers.

I agree with Steve’s views about the certification. If there is a choice between someone that was certified - especially if it was something that required instruction and testing -, and someone who learned from youtube and practiced on Aunt Lucille’s trailer, i would imagine that the person that was certified would get more work… or at least more well paying work.

It may seem not as important as engine certification from your point of view, but if you had $50,000 worth of landscaping, and knew absolutely nothing about pressure washing, then you might consider it similarly, or equally, as important.

An uncertified team invented the automobile and the rifle, and well… basically everything. Your analogy doesn’t really fit what we are discussing here. We aren’t talking about needing a certificate to invent something, we are talking about becoming certified on a task through training.

In this context, this comment, along with your earlier one, implies that obtaining a certification is snake oil and/or that it is a scam or unnecessary.

With all the complaints we hear about people asking dumb questions, or practicing poor techniques that give the industry a black eye, I feel we should be encouraging well-structured educational certification programs, and not dismissing them.


Gliders don’t have engines… Apparently you have no idea what a PPG, PPC or experimental aircraft is…
I don’t drink. But thanks for the condensending remarks. I bet you have a great bedside manner with your customers. You know if you were certified they may be able to overlook your arrogance and hire you anyway… Ok im done with this have your last word and pound your chest…

Everyone step back. Relax. Take a breath. Acknowledge that I’m right and just move on. There is nothing else to see here :slight_smile:

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