Make it stronger, faster, better. Right? Keep that ego in check, my friend.
I turned 50 this year. On the age scale, I now consider myself "older". My body considers itself "ancient". My AARP card came in the mail and I'm not ashamed to use my discount. Many of my decisions these days relate to how they will affect either my business or my body.
A successful business relies on so many components to work in harmony. In the pressure wash industry, we look at customer acquisition, retention, bidding, cleaning procedures, equipment, efficiency and costs. And that's just to start!
Every year we see trends in equipment. For many years, the gold standard in the residential market was a 4 GPM 4000 PSI cold water belt drive pressure washer. Usually paired with a General Pump and a Honda GX Series engine. Over the last 2 years, we've seen the trend change and the gold standard has now become the 5.5 GPM 3000 PSI cold water belt drive pressure washer. And this year, the trend has become the 8 GPM and 10 GPM belt drive pressure washers because bigger is better, right?
Depends. Working residential with 8 GPM is a lot of water to manage. If you aren't moving quickly, the mud puddles can start accumulating. And beyond the water management, have you held an 8 GPM wand for several hours a day? It's tough. At ANY age! And unless you have a trapped pressure unloader, every time you pull that trigger, your body is going to get a nice little kick of built-up pressure from the system. You know exactly what I am talking about. That abuse on your body and joints adds up. The number of posts relating to carpal tunnel syndrome and other muscle/joint issues isn't surprising. Using larger gallon per minute machines on larger areas of flat work isn't the same abuse on your body that using it in residential areas where you will be on and off the trigger fairly consistently.
Consider your usage pattern. Consider your physical stamina. Consider any physical limitations you may have. Choose your equipment to fit YOUR needs and YOUR usage expectations.
Recently, we had the opportunity to work in the field using some of our EPC, Transport Wash and Ultra Grime Shine products on some heavy equipment. Rather than utilize a single larger GPM machine, we utilized a twin setup with dual 4 GPM machines. There were times that all 8 GPM wasn't necessary and when we wanted the full amount, it was available. I also like the twin setup because it gives me a back-up unit. Unless both units malfunction during the same job, there is a working unit to continue without a work stoppage. And during the busier seasons, repair wait times can be a few weeks. That second unit could be a life-saver.
The same type of advice can be given with your chemical usage. Take the time to learn your stain and the surface the stain is on to avoid the mistake of throwing more of the wrong action chemical on your stain. Usually, if the chemical isn't working, you may have chosen the wrong type. For example, if you are using bleach but should be using an acid, you can continue to throw gallons and gallons of bleach on the stain, but you won't have success. The key isn't always bigger, stronger, better; it's called using the correct product for the correct stain type. If you have a stain that isn't budging. STOP for a minute and think.
Leave the ego at the door when you are building your business. Sure. You need to have some bravado and confidence. But there's a difference. That ego can lead you down the wrong path with over-sized equipment, an over-sized budget and over-sized debt. Starting smaller may be exactly what your business plan needs.
- Kimberlee Handl