Diversification: Pressure Washing
January 8, 2013
Welcome to the first entry of a new feature here in ICS Cleaning Specialist, where we’ll examine services that you can add to your cleaning and/or restoration business to further diversify yourself from the competition, while ideally increasing your profits. In this edition, we’ll cover pressure washing with Thom Fielding of Sapphire Scientific. Fielding serves a product management and sales role for the Legend Brands division and is a 28-year veteran of the cleaning and restoration industry. Fielding had a lot to say about pressure washing, from reasons why cleaners are getting into it to how it can be enhanced with a truckmount system:
On why cleaners are adding pressure washing as a service:
A prior big add-on was tile and grout cleaning. Why did cleaners get into it? You’re already in the house, your hoses are already in the house, your tools are already in the house - you’re stepping over money that you’re leaving at the residence by not doing this tile and grout. The same is true with pressure washing. And that’s why we’re seeing a lot of people doing the pressure washing as an add-on business.
On pressure washing applications:
Sidewalks, certainly commercial sidewalks. (We have a customer) who cleans AMC movie theaters all over the United States. He has three designated trucks that do nothing but run around from city to city doing movie theaters. That’s a great revenue source for him. He does the panels in the theater, he does the seats, he does the carpeted areas and he does the sidewalks outside of the movie theaters. It’s silly to literally walk over dollars when you could be doing the homeowner’s or business owner’s garages, sidewalks – all kinds of things. You could be doing a piece of equipment for them, hardwood decks, laminate decks, siding. Another big thing I’m seeing currently evolving in the industry – you get moss buildup on blocks or bricks. Pressure washing is an ideal way to get rid of the moss or mold or mildew or whatever else. Finally, pressure washing is huge in the restoration/remediation business. You’ve got a furnace that blew up in the basement, smoke damage, a flood where there’s been standing water – the pressure washing is certainly huge in the restoration field.
On pressure washing with truckmounts:
Back in the old days, we didn’t have the pressure or the heat necessary to actually do heavy-duty pressure washing with a truckmount system. With new technology and new innovations, we’re now able to have that 2,500-3,000 PSI. Some manufacturers have pressure washers that are also capable of hot-water pressure washing. We’ve got the heat and we’ve got the pressure available nowadays.
On addressing environmental concerns with pressure washing:
It used to be you just pressure-washed a Caterpillar or pressure-washed a sidewalk or something and you just let that water runoff naturally like rainwater would. More and more, the environmental laws don’t allow you to do that. The pressure washing industry hasn’t really come up with a way to recover the wastewater. (But) the beauty of a truckmount is that we have the ability to extract that wastewater into a waste recovery tank. We’re putting down an awful lot of water when we’re pressure washing. We’re putting down like 3.5-5 gallons per minute with pressure washing. The beauty with all the manufacturers now is that we have things called “APOs” or automatic pump-out systems, which actually drain the waste recovery tank that’s located on the truck or van. They pump off that wastewater as we’re cleaning. Now with APOs, we’re able to continuously work without the risk of shutting down the machine. The single biggest thing I would say that brought us into the pressure washing era is the EPA regulations and the fact that we can recover that water and dispose of it in a sanitary sewer or a designated authorized dumping site.