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Heavy Equipment Cleaning

Heavy Equipment Cleaning

Construction companies always have problems with their heavy equipment cleaning needs. So why not help them with it?

As part of your detailing business, you have most of the equipment you need to be a highly sought-after heavy equipment cleaning company for local construction companies. It’s highly profitable and most construction companies will pay you onsite. If you aren’t already doing this, you need to start.

Cleaning Heavy Construction Equipment

Construction companies rely on heavy equipment to do their job. It’s difficult to dig, move tons of dirt, and build structures without the use of large construction equipment.

But that equipment gets dirty. Constant daily use means more wear and tear.

High-pressure lines blow and cover engines and radiators in thick mixtures of hydraulic fluid, oil, grease, and caked-on dirt. This build-up restricts airflow through the radiator, causing the engine to overheat.

Radiators can’t cool engines if the airflow is blocked by dirt and grime. Engines run badly when they are covered in similar grime and engine fluids. Oil pans need degreasing after the engine oil is changed. Heavy equipment runs constantly and needs maintenance to do so. But mechanics don’t generally clean the machines, they just work on them.

It’s up to professional heavy equipment cleaners to handle this part of keeping equipment running.

Heavy Equipment Cleaning

You’ve got a pressure washer, degreasers, cleaning chemicals and supplies, even buffers if they want them shiny. It’s a profitable niche business that you will enjoy doing. Now it does benefit you to look into hot water pressure washers or a steam generator that can create enough high-pressure steam to melt grease. Adding these high-end pieces of equipment to your arsenal will make you a powerful competitor in your local heavy equipment cleaning market. Using these will also increase your business many times more than your competition.

Picture of Detailing A Cat Excavator

Profitable Niche Business

Heavy equipment cleaning can be a profitable niche business like pressure washing and similar add-on services. Basically it isn’t your main source of income so you can afford to give some good deals out when you are a little slower. The average price for heavy equipment cleaning varies for different kinds of construction equipment but it averages in the range of $125 to $350 or more per unit. It really just depends on exactly what level of cleaning your customer expects since time is money and you need to complete several of these per job.

The Key to Success is Flexibility and Options

Keep in mind that this level of heavy equipment cleaning isn’t detailing an entire bulldozer or crane. The owner of a construction company generally isn’t concerned if his equipment has some dirt and mud on it. That’s what these things are used for. What does concern them is the machine breaking down because of dirt, mud, grease, and anything else that gets stuck in the radiator, half-tracks, wheels, etc. They want you to arrive at the worksite and clean their equipment when they aren’t working. This is usually at night or early morning. The key to success is flexibility and options when dealing with heavy equipment owners. Every hour that heavy construction equipment is down due to maintenance problems is costing the company owner thousands of dollars.

Maintenance Cleaning

Understand that I’m talking about the “maintenance cleaning” side of heavy equipment cleaning services in this article. Your customer might ask you to fully detail a piece of equipment that they are selling at auction or trading in on another piece of equipment. That is a completely different service and you would charge much more for that. I would do this frequently for several of my clients and charged anywhere from $1500 to $4000 depending on the level of detail that they needed.

This level of heavy equipment cleaning is for the majority of your potential construction company customers who are simply interested in getting their equipment “maintenance cleaned”. The main thing they are looking for when it comes to heavy equipment cleaning is services:

Steam Cleaning the Radiator

“Blowing the rad” aka steam cleaning the radiator is a highly specialized cleaning service. This is where the heated pressure washer if you spent the extra money on it, comes in very handy. You crank up the heat, lower the pressure and douse the radiator with degreaser while spraying it down with superheated water.

Radiators overheat when they are covered with grease and debris from the engine. So this type of cleaning is needed at least every few months or more often for heavily used equipment. The thing to watch when you are cleaning radiators is to keep the pressure low enough so that you aren’t blowing off the “fins” of the radiator. Fins are needed to allow airflow and keep the radiator cool which in turn cools the engine. If you accidentally do blow off the fins, you might end up having to buy the company a new radiator which sometimes can run as much as several grand.

Cleaning The Pan

The rest of the equipment can be cleaned in the same manner, but it’s much faster cleaning the grease off the engine and the body of the equipment because you don’t have to be quite as careful as you do with the radiator. Cleaning the pan is another specialized service. Advance warning, it’s extremely dirty work. The guys who operate the equipment will unbolt or lower the oil pan underneath the heavy equipment. You then load it up with degreaser and spray it with as much superheated water that you can find. It blows back and covers the guy cleaning it. We always wore big hazmat suits with respirators and masks when we did this work. We usually gave this job to one of our newbies. It was our trial by fire. If they stayed on working with us after cleaning the pan, then we knew they were keepers.

If you don’t have a heated pressure washer available, you can do heavy equipment cleaning work with a standard cold water pressure washing unit.  The only problem you run into is it is definitely harder work without hot water and it takes a lot more degreaser and cleaning chemicals.  More chemicals equal more cost which will cut into your profits on each job.  Keep this in mind before you head out to start getting this kind of work.

Heated or Hot Water Pressure Washers are Worth Every Cent

Heated or hot water pressure washers are worth every cent that they cost. They aren’t cheap, but I made back the cost of my first one in about two weeks. And that was a high-end Landa that I had spent about $5 grand on. Eventually we added several more Hotsy’s and even a few Karcher’s. Up here in Western Pennsylvania, we needed to be able to do work year-round and these hot water pressure washers kept us going year-round. Especially with our commercial and industrial customers.

Additional On-Site Mobile Detailing Services

Heavy equipment cleaning is also a great lead-in for additional on-site mobile detailing services. When you are on the job site doing heavy equipment cleaning work, you simply talk to the owner and other workers about the fact that your business is detailing and cleaning vehicles. They generally already know this but remind them and offer a discount to do some quick washes on their trucks. Construction workers spend an enormous amount of time in their trucks. Showing up once a week to clean the interiors and spray off the outside of their trucks will keep you in front of them for when they need larger heavy equipment cleaning jobs. With most of these companies, it’s unfortunately out of sight, out of mind. You could be their regular guy for any type of cleaning, but until you get them used to frequent visits, they forget about you. So if they only hear from you every few months they feel like they aren’t important enough for you to spend time stopping by. I usually picked a day each week where I would pick up donuts and coffee and drop it off at a few of my regular clients each week. They loved it. I usually got invited to most of my client’s Christmas parties just because they really appreciated me as a vendor.

Your Market is the Smaller Construction Company Not The Big Guys

This is another important thing to remember when it comes to dealing with construction companies.  Your market is the smaller construction company, not the big guys. Landing a 1,000 employee monster company is nice, but there’s absolutely no loyalty towards you as a vendor. The minute another guy shows up and undercuts you, they will go with him.

The companies you need to focus on are the smaller companies with one owner and 5 to 20 employees. These guys are all about the “stop-in” which is essentially just stopping at their job site to say hi. They don’t like email and usually have a wife or somebody back at the office that does those things. It may sound old fashioned, but construction guys are still part of the old school crowd. The first few times you may show up on a job site to talk to them about heavy equipment cleaning, you may hear some jokes or wisecracks about your shiny truck. After a few times though and they see that you are persistent but polite, they will usually give you a shot.

Here are some tips to closing smaller construction companies:

  • They love coffee and donuts. So find out when they arrive in the morning for their safety meetings and show up 10 minutes earlier with coffee and donuts. The owner or foreman is usually the first to arrive and seeing you there before them will make an impression. Also make sure there is more than enough for everybody. Don’t talk about business, just tell them you wanted to stop and say hi and let them know you were in the area so they “didn’t forget about you.”
  • Get special magnet business cards printed. This is important when dealing with heavy equipment cleaning. They don’t keep business cards, but they will put your magnet card inside the cab of the equipment or slap it on the side of a file cabinet. When the front loader is overheating because a hydraulic line blew and they forgot to clean the oil and grease off the radiator, who are they gonna call? Exactly. The owner will yell something like “call that pain-in-the-ass that brings us donuts all the time, his card is stuck to the side of the file cabinet”.
  • Downtime is money to these guys, so be ready when they call. If you tell them you will be their go-to guy for heavy equipment cleaning, you need to be ready to drop everything when they call. They’re reasonable and understand you have other customers, so being there in an hour isn’t what I’m talking about. If it’s 2 pm when they call though, they will appreciate you missing dinner with your family to take care of them at 6 pm that night after you complete your other work. I had a few generators with big spotlights and spent numerous nights taking care of my heavy equipment cleaning customers this way. And they usually always bought me dinner.
  • Be flexible, but fast with your billing. When I was done with a job, I would hand the foreman a bill and say something like “I can fax or email Sally a copy if you need me to.” Most of my clients just walked over to their truck and cut me a check while I was standing there. I was never pushy and never asked for payment while I was waiting there. Leave it up to them and always thank them for their business. Just remember, your $300 to $600 bill is much smaller than the ones they pay other vendors. So it’s usually not a big deal for them to cut you a check while you are still there on site. Leave it up to them but always be ready with a bill so you don’t have to wait for Sally back at the office to cut you a check in a few weeks.

Heavy Equipment Cleaning Customers Will Become Your Favorites

I can tell you from experience that your heavy equipment cleaning customers will become your favorites for all your customers. They are fun to work with and they are just all-around good people. They are also very loyal to the people who take care of them. So do a good job, make sure they are always happy and take care of them AND their employees. There’s always going to be one hard case on a job site who isn’t going to like you, just because he’s like that. Figure out a way to make him happy and you will keep that company as a customer forever. More times than I can remember I have stopped at customer job sites before lunchtime and they have told me to jump in the truck and took me to lunch with them. And they always buy regardless of how many times you try and offer.

You will really enjoy adding heavy equipment cleaning as a profitable add-on service to your business.

Mobile Detailing Equipment

Mobile Detailing Equipment

Your mobile detailing truck and trailer along with your mobile detailing equipment is referred to as your “Mobile Rig” or simply a “Rig”.

The mobile rig is the single most important part of the mobile detailing business. If you don’t have the equipment to get the job done, then you can’t do the work.

So naturally, mobile detailing equipment is going to be a subject that you focus on frequently if you are offering these services.

Some mobile detailing equipment companies promote the open trailers with the water buffalo, pressure washer and other equipment out in the open.

If you live anywhere cold or near any areas that aren’t exactly secure, then this will end up being a real pain for you.

In the cold weather, open trailers need anti-freeze dumped into the water supply and the pressure washer needs anti-freeze in all the plumbing just to keep from freezing. If you park your truck somewhere in a city or near a construction site the chances of something turning up missing when you get back are very high.

When we first added mobile detailing equipment to our detail shop business as an add-on service, we went the open trailer route because of the cost savings and we already had a pickup truck and a box-type mini-van that were both large enough to pull the trailer with water.

Closed trailers are another option for this type of work, but not the best choice.  You still have to drag a trailer around with you everywhere you go.

Try backing up a closed trailer in a parking garage without hitting anything. The only nice feature about the close trailer is if you use your pickup truck for personal business then you simply unhitched from the trailer and go. In the overall big picture a closed trailer is a good choice, but the best one. Your mobile detailing equipment will be enclosed and protected and it is easier to keep everything from freezing in the winter this way, but you still have the other issues I’ve mentioned above.

By far the best choice for hauling mobile detailing equipment and making the perfect mobile rig is a cargo van.  Preferably a 1-ton cargo van.  Our shop really loved the 1 Ton Chevy Express Cargo Van.  It was large enough to haul everything and had the power we needed to haul the ever-important water buffalo.  A measurement that will become very important to you when you start mobile detailing and cleaning is 8.34 lbs per gallon.  That is the weight of a gallon of water.  So when you are shopping around for mobile detailing equipment and you add your water buffalo, you need to keep this figure in mind.  It is very easy to exceed your max weight capacity on your 1 Ton Cargo Van if you aren’t careful.  Here are some things to consider when thinking about weight issues with your Mobile Detailing Equipment:

Mobile Detailing Equipment Weight Capacity Issues and Ways To Calculate

When it comes to mobile detailing equipment, weight is something that you worry about every day.  If you are adding a 200-gallon water buffalo, then you need to figure that weight when full which would be 200 gals multiplied by 8.34 lbs per gallon for a total weight of 1,668 lbs.

The water buffalo itself doesn’t weigh much, but for easy math let’s figure about 32 lbs for the actual water buffalo to set our total water weight at 1,700 lbs.

One ton equals 2,000 lbs, but this is not your safe hauling weight.  That would be a newbie mistake to just take 2,000 lbs and subtract your mobile detailing equipment and water weight from that.

What you need is the GVWR from the door jamb of the cargo van, truck or whatever you are using to haul EVERYTHING.  GVWR is Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. The thing about the figures from the manufacturer is that they are figuring on an empty van. So according to Chevy here’s how they calculate maximum hauling capacity:

8,600 GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating)

5,291 Subtract Curb Weight also referred to as GVCW (Gross Vehicle Curb Weight) – be careful here though, this doesn’t include you or anything else but the empty van

3,309 Max Payload Capacity – According to Chevy this is what you should be able to haul safely.

A more accurate calculation includes you, your equipment and your water weight, then add that to the GVCW (Gross Vehicle Curb Weight) and that will give you the real number.  As long as you don’t exceed the GVWR number, then you are within your safe hauling capacity.

Another way to do this is trying to stay within these numbers and then call a nearby weigh station and ask if it is possible to take your fully-loaded vehicle to their weigh station to check it and make sure it is within safe hauling weight.

We did this with all of our vehicles and made sure the driver and the one or two additional workers that were on that job were included in the trucks when they were weighed.

The officers at the weigh station were more than happy to help with this and the supervisor at the station that I brought our trucks to each year complimented me on being proactive with my vehicle safety program.

We never ran into any issues on the road, but I’m sure developing a relationship with these state officers would have helped us prove that we were proactive in our safety and maintenance program if we ever had any problems while out in the field.

Another consideration when looking at Cargo Vans to haul your mobile detailing equipment is simple things like being able to lock your equipment inside.

If you park your van in your driveway when you’re at home during the winter you can run an extension cord to the van from your garage and plug-in a small electric heater to keep everything from freezing.

Plus, and this is a very big plus if you have ever returned home after doing a ton of fleet cars you know how tired you are. Imagine how excited you’ll be to have to unload the entire pickup truck or open trailer when you’re that tired.

With vans, you don’t have to do any of that. Vans work great. Plus, if you go to lunch on the worksite, simply throw everything inside the van and lock it up.

There’s a “ton” of different mobile detailing equipment you can get for your mobile rig.

Right off the bat, you’ll be excited to get everything you can afford, but don’t waste money at this point. You need all the operating capital you can get.

Your first mobile detailing equipment purchases should include the following:

  • 2000 PSI Pressure Washer
  • Hose – 3/4″ industrial garden hose – 100′
  • Hose reel with 3/8″ high-pressure hose – 100′
  • High-speed buffer – Makita 9227C, the most reliable and lightest
  • High-speed orbital buffer – Porter Cable 7424 is the best
  • Generator – at least 5,000 watts

That’s a good start to your mobile detailing equipment needs. Please check back and I’ll be updating this page with more specifics as to smaller things you need to carry with you to job sites to get work completed faster.

Good luck with your Mobile Detailing Equipment setup and we look forward to hearing about your success on our Auto Detailing Guide Community Forum page.

Detailer Transporter Plates

Detailer Transporter Plates

Transporting cars is an easy thing to do as long as your customer has their own license plate on the vehicle.

Unfortunately, doing business with individual customers is much different from wholesale or commercial work. When you start doing commercial detailing services for auto dealerships, car auctions, and even corporate fleet detailing, your needs change quickly in one major area of business – transporting vehicles.

Adding detailer transporter plates to your business sounds like a great idea until you start working on it. It’s expensive, complicated, expensive, and did I already say expensive? Yes, it’s going to cost you.

Commercial detailing work is a great profit center for any shop or mobile detailer. Provided you are able to ramp up your ability to do higher volume work and maintain consistent quality at the same time.

So let’s discuss the first step in the long process of getting started doing commercial or wholesale detailing work – obtaining detailer transporter plates for your business.

And don’t worry if you don’t understand a part of this. I explain everything in detail and start with the basics.

What are Detailer Transporter Plates?

Every vehicle on the road needs to be registered and insured. Each state has a DMV or Department of Motor Vehicles that regulates this process and issues a license plate to identify each vehicle. The DMV’s also have temporary commercial license plates for businesses that need to transport vehicles without the hassle of obtaining new license plates each time a car is moved. These license plates have names like Dealership, Repair/Towing, Transporter, and Detailer/Transporter.

Differences Between Transporter Plates and Standard License Plates

There is an insurance term called Care, Custody, and Control or the 3-C’s. In a standard vehicle license plate, the registration and insurance are tied to that vehicle owner and identified by that license plate. With a Transporter plate, the 3-C’s move with that plate, and subsequently the registration and insurance also go with that license plate. So it does not matter the vehicle, as long as that license plate is properly maintained and current, while also being used by an employee of the business that owns the plate, then that car is legally allowed to be driven.

Car Salespeople Use Dealership Plates Every Day

If you’ve ever visited a car dealership and took a vehicle on a test drive, then you’ve seen these commercial temporary license plates in action. Auto dealerships don’t have license plates for each of their cars. It would be a nightmare to keep track of everything.

So you pick out a car you like and the salesman grabs a dealer or dealership plate and puts it in the back window. Then you take the car for a spin around the block. Car salespeople use dealership plates every day.

The dealer plate is convenient because it allows car salespeople to use multiple vehicles without needing individual license plates and insurance on each.

The Insurance Goes with the License Plate

Since the insurance goes with the license plate aka dealer plate, it’s easily transferable between vehicles. Move the license plate and you move the insurance to another vehicle.

That’s the point of these types of license plates. That dealer plate insures that vehicle while the salesman is driving it.

So how does this help you? It doesn’t. You can’t secure dealer plates because you don’t own an auto dealership. I’m using it as an example for you to understand how the plates are utilized.

No, You Can’t Borrow Dealer Plates

I know you are thinking that. Right? I asked myself when I first went down this road. Why can’t I just borrow one of their plates? I’m moving cars for the dealership after all. But no, you can’t borrow dealer plates. It doesn’t matter that you are working with them, it only covers dealership employees.

None of the benefits of the dealer plates cover you as a contractor doing services for the dealership.

So what are your options? As a professional detailing business, you can choose to bring your equipment to the dealership in the form of a mobile detailing rig or van.

Or you can transport the vehicles to your detail shop to complete the work. To do so you need to insure the vehicles you are transporting.

Care, Custody, and Control

This is why most dealerships want you to have either “Repair/Towing” license plates, or “Detailer Transporter Plates”.

Both license plates serve to temporarily transfer your garage keepers liability insurance to the vehicle you are driving while you are in care, custody, and control of the vehicle. Remember the 3C’s from the above section and when I mentioned it on our business liability insurance page?

Insurance is tough when transporting cars. It depends on the state you reside in.

Detailers and Repair/Towing Plates

I’m not kidding when I say that DMV’s don’t like auto detailers. They don’t want you transporting vehicles.

For example, in Pennsylvania, you can’t get a Repair/Towing plate if you have the word “detail” in your name.

The government has its reasons for this. I’m simply relaying information.

Specialized Transporter License Plate

Although repair/towing plates are preferred, there is an option for detailing and reconditioning businesses. Most states have a specialized transporter license plate or a detailing transporter plate.

So why, if you own an auto detailing shop, would you want a repair/towing plate? Especially if states already make a special plate for detailers?

Let’s first start with this comment. If you only do car detailing, then you should get a detailer transporter plate.

If you also do other vehicle services, like reconditioning, paint repair, interior repair, dent pulls, bumper repairs, etc., then you should be able to utilize a repair/towing plate.

Ultimately, the repair/towing plate is better and more flexible for your needs.

Talk to Your State DMV Office

Either way, talk to your state DMV office that handles these types of license plates. They will tell you exactly which plates you are eligible to obtain.

Here are a few reasons the Repair/Towing plate is preferred if you can get it:

  • You can use them 24 hours a day versus transporter plates being limited to use only during your business hours. A big problem if you happen to be driving a car beyond your regular hours of operation;
  • They are easier to get since the DMV is much more stringent on detailing applications than they are for mechanics shops and towing companies who use these plates most of the time;
  • Many states are phasing out the transporter plates and just telling detailers not to move vehicles. Amazing how bureaucrats can think their solutions are so easy to live with, isn’t it?

Detailer Transporter Plates

The concept of auto detailer transporter plates was specifically designed for transporting cars between auctions and dealerships.

Auto Detailers picked them up when the state DMV’s didn’t think they were actually considered repair shops. So they rejected the detail business applications for repair/towing plates.

Unfortunately, this means that many detail shops with these detailer transporter plates use these plates beyond their intended purpose when they transport cars between dealerships and their own shops.

Transporting Cars

Unfortunately, the only way you can get auto detailer transporter plates is to convince a dealership to do a contract with you that says you will be transporting cars for them.

The application specifically says that you can’t be driving their cars between your shop and the dealership. So essentially, the DMV doesn’t want the auto detailers moving cars.

Denying car detailing shops the use of these plates is their way of making it more difficult for detail shops to do their work.

Auto Mechanics shops have repair/towing plates.

Auto Dealers have dealer or dealership plates.

Automotive auctions have transporter plates that they use to transport vehicles between dealers and the auction warehouses.

Commercial Profits Come with a Price

Unfortunately, those profits come with a price in the form of new insurance, equipment, and a host of additional headaches if you don’t know what you are doing.

From scaling the volume of cars you can complete per day to increasing the number of employees to be able to handle that volume. It takes an organized approach to expand your business in this way. And the first step is to start the process to obtain detailer transporter plates.

It’s absolutely not easy to get these types of commercial license plates. But I’m going to give you some background, teach you about the different types of license plates, cover insurance requirements, and the step-by-step process for getting your own detailing transporter plates.

The Key to Profitability with Car Dealers

Commercial detailing can be rewarding if you are careful to focus on providing solutions for the pain points of your potential customers.

For example, with car dealerships, a major issue with them is where you plan on detailing their vehicles. Space is a premium and they won’t just hand over a repair bay. Those make too much money for the dealership.

Once you see the problem, you realize the solution. The key to profitability with car dealers is the ability to transport their cars.

This creates the need for your shop to obtain specialized license plates. And that just opened another Pandora’s box of issues for your business.

We Qualified as a Body Shop

So auto detailers are in a weird limbo area between these other types of automotive businesses.

My company didn’t have as many problems because we did so many types of reconditioning services that we qualified as a body shop.

We also got around a lot of these issues by simply building up our mobile detailing crews and sending them to the dealer locations to do the work at their facility.

If you do get transporter plates you need to make sure you are insured with garage keepers and vehicle transport insurance on EACH and every plate you own. That will run you about $1,400 to $1,800 per plate.

Plus the state makes you get the insurance BEFORE they even look at your application. That makes it fun since it takes them over a month to process it.

You Can’t Be In Business Without Being Properly Insured

The auto detailing business is like any other. You can’t be in business without being properly insured. The reason you have insurance is to make sure you are covered in the event something bad happens.

So by cutting corners like many detail shop owners do, eventually you will get burned in some scenario that you might have thought sounded good but in reality just doesn’t work.

When securing auto detailer transporter plates for your shop, you need to make sure the insurance part is set up and maintained correctly.

When Naming Your Business, Don’t Use The Word Detail

***TIP*** When naming your business, don’t use the word detail anywhere in your legal name.

Call your business something along the lines of Joe’s Vehicle Reconditioning or Auto Recon Experts. Or many other variations that don’t include detailing in the name.

This way when you apply for a Repair/Towing plate and they ask you what you do you can honestly tell them that you recondition vehicles, which is entirely true.

Set it Up Right From The Start

Too many detail shops start out just detailing, but by the time they get big enough to need something like detailer transporter plates, only a small portion of their business is actually performing actual car detailing.

So keep this in mind early on when you are naming your business or when you eventually incorporate, consider slightly changing the name.

I hope you have success in securing your transport plates. They are hard to get but definitely advantageous. Most of your competition won’t have the knowledge or the financial resources to get these plates. So they offer you a definite competitive advantage in your local area.

I hope this overview of detailer transporter plates is helpful and informative. As I said, it’s a long and expensive process, but it’s so worth it if you can manage it.

Pressure Washing Services

Pressure Washing Services

Pressure Washing Services

Another great area to market as a mobile detailer is in the pressure washing services industry.  Many detailers forget about this end of the business, but it’s very profitable. You are a mobile detailer and that’s your main business, but you’ve already got the equipment on board to do pressure washing services, so why not?

Because pressure washing services aren’t your only source of income you can cherry-pick the best jobs and leave the crappy ones to the guys who do that for a living.  You can market your pressure washing services to restaurants to clean off their sidewalks, awnings and dumpster areas.  Office buildings to clean sidewalks and lower level walls that get dirty.  Another area of pressure washing services to consider is graffiti removal, but we address that in more detail in another update article.

With pressure washing services, you charge by the square foot like your competition.  The fact that this isn’t your main business though allows you to be more competitive with lower rates and flat-rate pricing based on what you believe it will cost to do the job.  If you are already loaded-up and trying to find some cars to do because you are slow with your detailing business, stop by some local businesses and offer pressure washing services at a discount.  Most restaurants hire pressure washing services on a regular basis. So if you can prove you’re insured and you can offer excellent pricing, then you might have a shot and getting some side work.

These businesses will appreciate the fact that this isn’t your main line of work as the reason you can charge less. You have to remember many times the low bid is looked at as a low-quality unreliable business, so you should explain why you can keep your prices lower than the competition.  If you are offering quality pressure washing services and lower costs, you will get the business.

Keep in mind also that when I say low prices, I don’t mean the bottom of the barrel.  Many times if you can beat your competition by even 10% you’ll get the work simply because of your price.  If you look professional with a logo t-shirt uniform, offer a solid and concise estimate and contract forms and give them a good price, then you will cover all your bases.  This is what they get from their other pressure washing services vendors and what they expect from you.

The other important item to remember with pressure washing services is that you make sure you don’t take enough jobs to kick your total amount of this type of business to over 70% of your total income.  If that happens then your insurance company will consider you a pressure washing services business instead of a mobile detailer and either drop you or dramatically increase your business liability insurance premiums.  Neither of these is a good thing.  Insurance companies don’t like businesses that only offer pressure washing services because there is a lot of potential damage you can do to a property with a pressure washer.  So it’s hard to insure pressure washing services.  So be careful and watch the income level from that part of the business.

Pressure washing services are an easy business to start.  This is why everybody with a pick-up truck and a home depot special power washer is now an expert in the pressure washing services industry.  Mobile detailing services are much more intricate and a lot more training is necessary to get good at your job.  Pressure washing services offer a guy pulling a pressure washing wand trigger and then cleaning things with water pressure and possibly some degreaser if it’s dirty.  Don’t get me wrong, there are things you want to stay away from and leave to the power washing pros.  Things like new concrete can be scarred and marked.  Brick cleaning for new construction is always easy to damage.  And you may be excited about the prospect of larger jobs like shopping center sidewalks that may look easy, but it’s not.  Try spending all night walking behind surface cleaners hooked to hot water pressure washers.  The hours are very long, the work is labor-intensive and overall it generally really sucks.  So with some jobs, you are going to want to leave those to the guys who choose to make that their main source of income.  You stick to the detailing and pick and choose some profitable side pressure washing jobs to handle and you’ll do great!  Pressure washing services are a great add on service and can be very profitable if you do it right.