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contents

FEATURES

6

Going

Great Guns:

Kristy White builds her

San Antonio-based pressure

wash company into a

powerhouse -- after dark

and one sales demo at a time

12

Bo Knows HOAs:

Bo Josetti specializes

in the niche market of

pressure washing vacation

home communities;

but his experience offers

insight for anyone desiring

to land an HOA contract

18

Word of

Mouth:

Serial entrepreneur

Jay Baer’s formula for

growing your business

hinges on the free

advertising your

customers can do for you

27

“Washing

Babe-raham

Lincoln…

Excellent!”:

Iconic pressure wash entrepreneur

Henry Bockman, who has cleaned

national monuments including the

Lincoln and Jefferson memorials,

is now taking his brand national

DEPARTMENTS

4 Editor’s Letter:

The biggest thing that holds back

this industry is the industry itself

6 Guest Column:

Progress not Perfection -- Be like

legendary University of Alabama

head football coach Nick Saban and

win the day seven seconds at a time

10 Contents

under

Pressure:

A look around the

World Wide Web for

wacky examples of

pressure washing in our

culture’s everyday life

Vol. 1, No. 3, Summer 2019

Publisher: Jackson Vahaly

Editor: Drew Ruble

Design: Katy Barrett-Alley

Pressure Wash News is published 4 times per year and is independently owned by Jackson Vahaly.

All inquiries should be directed to:

Pressure Wash News, 110 Childs Ln. Franklin, TN 37067

jacksonv@pressurewashnews.com

Copyright © 2019 2 Dollar Enterprises/Pressure Wash News. All Rights Reserved.

VOL. 1, NO. 3 | SUMMER 2019 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | 3


EDITOR’S

NOTE

As most PW News readers know, three

primary entities serve the pressure wash

industry. The Power Washers of North

America (PWNA) is a trade organization

that is specific to pressure washers. The

United Association of Mobile Contract

Cleaners (UAMCC) is, as its title suggests,

a “united” organization for not just pressure

washers but also window cleaners,

janitorial services, carpet cleaners, and

other general cleaners. And the Pressure

Washing Resource Association (PWRA)

provides resources for individual contractors

to grow but does not serve any type of

certificatory or regulatory function.

There are benefits to all. As an individual

contractor, it is not unrealistic (and,

arguably, sensible) to be a member of all

three. How better to stay on top of industry

trends, new ideas to grow your business,

and networking for support and education?

When I talk to people in the industry, they

consistently tell me that the biggest thing

that holds back this industry is the industry

itself. What they mean by that is that there

are a lot of operators out there nationwide

who would like to “play professional,”

who are often already members of one of

these professional associations, and who

are perhaps even trying to “step up their

game.” But they still won’t wear their safety

ropes, they still do business under the table,

they still want to cheat the government on

their taxes, and they still don’t want to obey

OSHA laws.

It has to stop.

The

Road Ahead

Most companies out there check all

those boxes successfully. Nevertheless, there

are still far too many marginal companies

that occasionally think about checking

those boxes but never do. Let’s be honest: a

large portion of the industry is comprised

of a bunch of trunk slammers and gypsies

running around cleaning driveways for

$50 and really dragging the rest of the

industry down. That’s not unlike a lot of

industries. We are not unique in that. But

that’s no excuse for not dealing with such

problems head-on.

Every time someone in our industry

goes looking for the shortcut, or fails to

deal with safety and OSHA requirements,

or workers comp requirements, and they

do so because they’re more interested in

skirting around them than acknowledging

these are the things they have to deal with,

and that they need to be compliant with

regulations like the Clean Water Act,

we all suffer. Allowing members in our

industry to persist with the attitude of

‘don’t tell me what to do, if I want to get

up on roof without my safety ropes on

that’s my decision, it’s not going to

hurt anybody else,’ is simply

no longer feasible. Because

in fact it does hurt other

people. The minute that

person falls off the roof and

gets injured or dies, it registers

on the entire industry’s loss modification

risk ratio, plummets our collective

reputation, and raises rates for all of us

(not to mention the unnecessary

loss of life).

No wonder when you walk

into your local bank to borrow

money to build a building or

something like that that they too often

look at you and say ‘oh, you’re just some

stupid little pressure washing company.’

Why? Because we’re too often acting like

stupid little pressure washing companies!

Holding such companies accountable

and even pulling their membership from

the associations are reasonable outcomes.

Associations train people to use safety

ropes to get up on roofs and when those

companies flaunt and violate the requirements

it should jeopardize their membership.

There must be accountability.

Everything boils down to leadership.

Either those companies need to start

following the guidelines or the leadership

in this industry needs to bare more teeth.

Losing membership or even creating

controversy is less important than doing

what’s right. At the least, such

Let’s be honest:

a large portion

of the industry is

comprised of a

bunch of trunk

slammers & gypsies

running around

cleaning driveways

for $50 and really

dragging the rest of

the industry down.

members should remove the association’s

sticker from the side of their truck and the

association’s name from their marketing

materials. They must be held to a standard,

be certified, and essentially ‘cut the crap’

if the pressure wash industry is going to

truly mature as an industry. No doubt all of

the associations and organizations representing

this industry can agree on that.

I, for one, believe we’ve reached

that point and that matters are set to be

improved – which is just another reason

I continue to be so high on the future of

this industry.

Best,

Drew Ruble

drewruble@gmail.com

4 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 1, NO. 3 | SUMMER 2019


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Going

Great Guns

Kristy White builds her San Antonio-based pressure wash company

into a powerhouse -- after dark and one sales demo at a time

BY DREW RUBLE

in both Texas and the Southern United

a demo right in front of your face. And

Remember the old Febreze commercials

that aired during the 2012 London

Olympics? The ones where the aerosol

maker dangled treated jock straps from

the Azerbaijani Olympic Wrestling

Team under the noses of blindfolded

Londoners who were then asked to

describe what they smelled?

Responses ranged from “strawberry

milkshake” to “floral bouquet.” Future

product commercials utilized goats,

smelly fish, toilets, and body builder

armpits to prove a similar point.

Effective product demonstrations like

these have been around since the beginning

of sales history. They serve to make

clear to buyers that the product being

sold is worth the price. After all, what’s

more convincing than seeing it with your

own eyes? (Or, alternately, smelling it

with your own nose???)

Lucy Handley, writing in a 2014

article published in Marketing Week,

stated that “despite the digital age, the

saying that people buy from people still

stands – and they are more likely to do so

if they have an opportunity to try before

KRISTY WHITE

they buy.” According to Handley, 41

percent of shoppers who see a demonstration

of a product go on to buy it.

“That is why experiential marketing

and in-store demonstrating are growing

industries,” she concluded.

Kristy White, owner of Big Guns

SoftWash, is a big believer in the sales

demo. In fact, she’s ridden the method

(among other savvy business techniques)

to a spot among the most respected pressure

wash operators in the enormous

market of San Antonio, Texas -- the

seventh-most populous city in the United

States and the second-most populous city

States, with more than 1.5 million

residents.

“Yes, from time to time I even give

away services, and people are like ‘what

do you mean you give away services?’”

White said. “Well, frankly, I would rather

them see what I can do for them.”

White admits she relies heavily on

her instincts and emotional intelligence

before providing a free service, granting

them predominantly to prospects she

knows are highly likely to be closed.

“If I sense they are just trying to

get something for free then no, I don’t

do that; but when I know this might be

the sticking point on a sale, I’ll clean

something for free for them and show

them exactly what I can do,” she said.

“That live demo in front of them is so

impactful.”

White said she learned the art of

the sales demo from her mentor, Ron

Musgraves, who often reminded her

of the classic American door-to-door

vacuum cleaner salesmen now iconically

tethered to product demonstrations in

American lore.

“They would come in and give you

how many people would buy that vacuum

cleaner?” White said. “So it’s the same thing

with our pressure washing. And people can

understand that…That’s old school.”

Musgraves, a veteran pressure

washing contractor, owner of Pro Power

Wash of Mesa, Arizona, and controversial

past president of the UAMCC,

urged White go out and do about 12

demonstrations for clients, all the while

judging her results.

“I had to send videos of them to him

and he would say, ‘no, they’re not good

enough, you’ve got to practice more,”

White said. “’You can’t hit a homerun

if you’ve never done batting practice,’

he would say. He’s always quick with the

baseball analogies.”

Like Musgraves, White has also (in

recent years) significantly narrowed the

scope of her business. Said another way,

she stopped chasing every type of job

and instead got laser focused on a niche

– commercial sidewalk cleaning.

“I do nothing but commercial now,

and I’m emphasizing residual income,”

White said. “So I have totally changed

the model of our business in the last two

6 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 1, NO. 3 | SUMMER 2019


years. I decided I was going to chase

nothing but sidewalk cleaning in San

Antonio. Now, yes, I do an occasional

roof cleaning…but my focus is on shopping

centers and restaurants -- anything

with a sidewalk.

“I’ve seen a lot of mistakes out there

in the industry where operators start out

and they want to chase everything. But

when you’re trying to do everything, and

saying ‘yes, I can do your roof,’ and ‘yes,

I can do your house,’ and ‘yes, I can do

this and I can do that,’ you just seem to

stretch yourself too thin, particularly if

you don’t have the right employees for all

those aspects.

“Then, doing residuals, I have them

on either a bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly

schedule,” she continued. “I’m not

doing ‘one and dones,’ to apply a basketball

phrase. I just send those to another

competitor in town…I pick and choose my

customers now whereas before I was always

like ‘yes, I’ll do your job.’ Now I’m focused

on who I want to work for and work with, so

that’s how I changed the model.

“The growth has been a little bit

slower but it’s steady now. Income is

coming in. With residual income, I know

every month what’s coming in I just need

to keep on adding to it and growing.”

White’s crews work exclusively at

night, and not just because her clients

exist in high-traffic areas.

“It’s hot in Texas, so at night it’s a

little cooler,” she said. “My guys work at

night and each of them have their own

route. That’s how I’m building it -- I only

do one guy per truck at night where a lot

of companies go out with two.

“Personally, I work a lot of days and

nights now. My guys go out at 9 p.m.

My down time is like 2 a.m. I do a lot of

training and sales during the day.”

Her formula has produced success.

And she’s built the company in rapid

order from when she and her husband

started in the industry just a few years ago.

Back in 2006, White was a supervisor

at the Department of Motor Vehicles in

Delaware.

“So I took people’s licenses away

from them,” she said. “I did that for 12

years and worked my way up through

the state and became a supervisor.”

Meanwhile, her husband, Darren,

was working for the postal service.

continued ...

BIG GUNS

soft wash

MAKING A DEMO

Thinking about launching a product demo-based ad campaign? Here

are a few important aspects to consider.

In a 2018 Forbes magazine article on how to have a “killer” demo,

writer Tom Taulli offered these steps to improve your odds of success.

DISCOVERY

CALL OR EMAIL

“Before the call, you need to get a good understanding of the pain

points, challenges, and requirements of the customer. One way to do

this is to add some fields in the sign-up form for the product trial. But you

should also reach out to the customer and ask some initial questions.”

START OF THE DEMO

“Before jumping into the product details, it is a good idea to spend a

few minutes talking about what topics you will cover and how long the

presentation will be. It’s also a good idea to give a quick description of

your company and how your products solve tough problems. Something

else: provide information that shows that your company is standout, such

as mentioning large customers. This will help to build trust and credibility.”

THE DEMO

“A demo is not a training session. Rather, it’s about addressing the

needs of the customer. So do not go straight into a tedious description

of your product. The customer will probably just zone out…Next, the

demo needs to relate the product to the daily problems or scenarios the

customer faces.”

THE TAKEAWAY

“At the end of the demo, recap the main points and how your product

can help solve the customer’s problems. Then, you need to talk about the

next steps. Is the customer ready for a purchase? And if not, who should

be the next person to talk to?”

Next, writer Larry Alton in a 2016 Inc. magazine article provided this

additional advice on successful demos.

MAKE THE

TEST CONVINCING

“If your users suspect you of manipulating the results in any way, the

demo won’t be convincing. Show everything ... even if some data or

results might work against you.”

TAKE A RISK

“Don’t take the safe route. Truly test the limits of your product. Can it

take 200 pounds? Try 400 pounds. Can it survive being underwater? Put

it underwater for a week. The bigger you go, the more impressed your

users will be.”

MAKE IT CRAZY

“Throw in something random, weird, or downright perplexing to make

the image of your test stick in your users’ heads. This is apt to become

your ‘hook.’”

VOL. 1, NO. 3 | SUMMER 2019 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | 7


BIG GUNS

soft wash

“We ventured into the pressure

industry, and I know their wives as well.

“That’s kind of how I got involved,”

country and we talk on a regular basis

washing business because Darren was

We all help each other.”

she said. “You get to know a lot of

talk about what we’re doing. If I’m going

kind of looking for a way out,” she said.

White’s rapid ascension in the

people. You build a cross-country

to teach them how to do business then I

“He didn’t really like the post office life

industry hasn’t been confined simply to

support system.”

need to do it myself properly. That’s my

because it was the same thing every

her growing business. She has also been

So how does she manage running a

philosophy,” she said.

single day. Also, I think we looked at his

on a rapid rise within industry circles.

successful, around-the-clock business and

The DMV supervisor from Delaware

pay and over 12 years it went up $4,000.

White is current president of the United

also serve the national organization ?

has certainly ingratiated herself into

And he was like ‘there has to be more

Association of Mobile Contract Cleaners

“I have a good support system,” she

Texas culture. How did she do it? Well,

to life then what I’m doing right now.’

(UAMCC). She credits that role primarily

said, adding, “I have ambitions.”

perhaps it starts with her savvy choice of

So one day he was listening to a radio

to her thirst for ongoing education.

White added that education more

company name, and logo.

program out of Houston and the guy

“I learned early on that I needed to sit

than competition drives her and that she

“We sat around the table in 2013

was talking about pressure washing

with people who were better than me, if

has a passion for seeing things improve in

trying to think of a fun name and Big

opportunities and the next thing I know

that makes sense,” White explained. “It’s

the overall industry.

Guns came up,” White said. “Texas is

we were talking about doing this.

kind of like in school where you have the

“I talk about ‘competitors’ here

big on guns. Everyone carries a gun

“One day we came to Texas to visit

cool table at lunch, you know? You want

in town; but to me, really they’re not

down here. And then Big Guns also

his sister and we ended up on that trip

to sit with the cool kids because you know

competitors because when you need help

kind of goes along with the muscle idea.

buying a house while we were there. I

you’re going to learn from them and grow.

or your equipment is down, you have

So it was just kind of fun. I wanted

called my mom and dad and said ‘oh,

“I wanted to sit with the guys that I

someone you can rely on, and that’s the

something totally different that I hadn’t

by the way, we’re going to move to Texas

knew were out making millions of dollars

beauty of this. I have one local compet-

heard of before because there are so

and start a pressure washing company.

in this industry, that had so many trucks

itor and we have dinners together every

many names out there that are the same

We changed our lives.”

on the road, and that were always pushing

once in a while. We sit down and talk and

across the country.”

White has been primarily steering

themselves to do more and be better. So I

hang out. It’s not cut-throat like some

The logo was actually designed

that company since 2013. Darren only

learned with Doug Rucker [of Kingwood,

places are. I’ve learned to get along with

through an online contest.

began working full time at their company

Texas, founder of The Pressure Cleaning

people and we all work well together.

“I think the guy that actually did our

last June.

School] and Ron Musgraves.

If we make our economy stronger then

logo was out of Indonesia,” White said.

What has it been like as a woman

“I believe in education in this business,

we’re both going to grow that way.

“All I said was I wanted a Texas theme,

owner in a predominantly male-owned

because education is key to being successful

“At conventions, I teach people how

a kind of a cowboy character, because

industry?

in life and learning to work together.”

to do the residual income. I teach a class

I wanted something to be memorable.”

“Being a female in this business was

She also volunteered at annual conven-

on how to do a proper demo and how

Memorable, indeed. Not unlike her

strange at first, but not now,” White said.

tions, learning at the ground level how the

to present that to a client. I have guys

company’s and her personal story of

“Plus, I have so many friends now in the

association and its events worked.

that call me all the time from across the

success in the pressure wash industry.

8 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 1, NO. 3 | SUMMER 2019


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Think Progress,

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Be like legendary University of Alabama

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He is the founder and the

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BY DR. COLBY JUBENVILLE

I can’t stress enough that neither your

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It’s a process. You’re going to have to be

patient, both with yourself and others.

Too many people I consult get frustrated

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They often abandon ship. That’s a huge

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I’m a list maker. I have a big list with

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Well, sometimes, at least a little bit.

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What I’ve discovered from my

list-making obsession, though, is that

often an item on a list can’t be completed

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list, and feel a sense of accomplishment

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do on any given day is push the proverbial

rock up the hill a few more feet, or

even inches.

The other thing I have realized is that

eventually, sometimes after having the

same item on the list for days or weeks

at a time, I do finally finish and I’m able

to strike it off the list. How did I do it?

Was it achieved in one fell swoop? No,

it took adequate daily progress over a

period of time before ‘voila’ it was finally

(almost suddenly) accomplished -- and

strike-able.

We are a perfectionist society. We

look around and it seems that people and

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things overnight. Believe me, it’s not

happening that way folks. It’s a process.

And that process requires a mindset of

progress over perfection.

It is almost football season again, and

once again down in Tuscaloosa, Alabama,

legendary University of Alabama head

football coach Nick Saban has a team

primed for yet another run at a national

championship game. How does he

achieve such sustained success?

The answer might best be explained

(ironically since the Tide’s mascot is a

pachyderm) by first asking the question

‘how do you eat an elephant?’

A lot of people don’t know it, but

Saban has a personal advisor who has

been central to his success. His name

is Lionel “Lonny” Rosen, a professor

and psychiatrist who has been working

with Saban and his football teams since

Saban’s Michigan State days. Rosen

is credited with inspiring Saban’s now

well-known method for running a

successful football program, called “The

Process.” It’s based on what’s called

process thinking, or the breaking down

of things—like meetings, practices,

games, and seasons—into smaller pieces

that can be handled without anxiety.

According to Burke, it provides a way of

functioning without being overwhelmed

by the bigger picture.

Said another way, you eat an elephant

one bite at a time.

continued ...

10 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 1, NO. 3 | SUMMER 2019


It’s based on

what’s called

process

thinking,

or the breaking

down of things—

like meetings,

practices, games,

and seasons—

into smaller pieces

that can be handled

without anxiety.

As but one example of Saban/

Rosen’s process thinking as it relates to

football, Saban has smartly communicated

to his players that the average football

play lasts about seven seconds. Then

he tasks his players with one simple goal.

It’s not winning the game. Or winning

a championship. It’s certainly not about

looking at the scoreboard or focusing

on the end result. It’s about winning

those seven seconds. Then regrouping

(regardless of outcome) and focusing on

winning the next seven seconds.

Imagine how this concept might

translate into your own life and bring you

(like Saban) to the cusp of championship

(professional or otherwise) in your own

life. Can you win the first hour of the day

when you get out of bed by controlling

your thoughts and sending yourself

positive messages and inspiration for the

day? Can you win the next 30 minutes

of your day on the sales floor by being

focused and efficient on the task at hand?

Can you win your 2 o’clock meeting?

After work, can you say something nice

to your wife within the first five minutes

of being at home that will set the tone for

a nice evening at home with your loved

ones? And when the weekend comes,

can you focus for seven seconds every

time you stand over a shot on the golf

course thereby maximizing your chances

of making good shots that add up to a

solid round?

I’m not asking you to bust the monthly

sales record overnight! Or save your

marriage! Or lower your handicap! All

I’m asking you to do is think in bite-sized

increments in your quest for success!

Stop thinking about perfection and start

thinking about progress. Pair the process

to your dominate focus (sales!) and watch

GUEST

COLUMN

the personal championships rack up.

When I watch Alabama’s football

team play in championship games, I find

myself wondering: Do their players and

coaches make more sensible choices than

the other team? Do they produce repeatable

outcomes? Football, especially under

pressure, is complex. Does the Crimson

Tide’s step-by-step approach keep them

in games? Do they appear overwhelmed?

Yes, Alabama is blessed with the pick

of the crop of the best athletes in America.

But mark my words – Alabama’s players

and coaches are winning football games

as much with their thoughts and their

mindset of progress over perfection as

they are with their actions.

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VOL. 1, NO. 3 | SUMMER 2019 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | 11


HOA

Niche

operator

Bo Knows HOAs

Bo Josetti specializes in the niche market

of pressure washing vacation home

communities; but his

experience offers insight for

anyone desiring to land an HOA contract

BY DREW RUBLE

There are over 351,000 homeowner

associations in the United States, according

to HOA-USA.com. Collectively, this

represents over 40 million households, or

53% of the owner occupied households

in America.

Clearly, planned communities are big

business. And according to HOA-USA.

com, single family, townhome, and condominium

associations spend more than

$15 billion annually on their communities

on products, services, and maintenance,

including pressure washing.

Arguably no one knows the upsides of

building a business through agreements

with HOAs and property managers better

than Bo Josetti, owner of All Clean

Power Washing, which serves portions

of southeastern Pennsylvania, Delaware,

and the Eastern Shore of Maryland. In

fact, Josetti is not only an expert in the

niche market of HOAs. He’s actually an

expert in a niche of that niche – specifically,

vacation homes.

The lower Delaware region is one

of the fastest-growing areas on the East

Coast. Baby Boomers are retiring and

moving to the water in large numbers. In

addition, Delaware taxes are nearly unbeatable

– there’s no state tax and taxes

across the board are relatively painless,

making it a premier retirement destination.

“We’ve got probably 20 communities

under construction right now within

10 square miles of our shop,” Josetti

explained. “So why go someplace else to

expand when the area you’re in is blowing

out?

“It’s just growing inventory, and we’re

not talking about high-dollar beach

houses,” he continued. “I mean, there

are a couple of communities like that,

and one of our biggest contracts is one

of the finest communities on the Eastern

Shore where you’ve got multimillion-dollar

homes being built. But the majority

is the blue-collar, pension retirees that

are coming here and getting 1,500- to

2,500-square foot homes in one-and-a-

12 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 1, NO. 3 | SUMMER 2019


HOA

Niche

operator

half story type homes in a cookie-cutter

type setting of a neighborhood and living

a very simple lifestyle. That is really

what is going up all over the place and

that’s really our bread and butter.”

Serving a vacation or second home

market can be quite different from a

traditional HOA or property management

client. How so? Based near resort

communities like Ocean City, Maryland,

the Delaware beaches, and Rehoboth

Beach, Josetti services homes that are vacant

a large portion of the year.

“Since for these people it’s their second

home, and they are not here most

of the time, the water’s turned off,” Josetti

said. “When we first began washing

some of these communities through

the property manager or the HOA, we

would quickly run into water issues. For

instance, we couldn’t hook up to one resident’s

water because it’s turned off. The

neighbor is turned on, but the neighbor

doesn’t want you using his water to wash

the rest of the neighborhood.

“So I created basically an environment

where we’re able to bring the water

to wash upwards of 500 or more units.

We’re able to supply the water on water

trucks and trailers, and being able to get

that water to the location…to pull it off.

Not everybody could show up on site

and do that.”

The property management companies

soon found out that was exactly the

case. Given that insurance rates for the

industry are going up due to exorbitant

insurance claims, to the point where

many insurance companies won’t even

cover power washing companies anymore,

Josetti recently instituted a price

increase on one client. Not surprisingly,

the client asked for some time to shop

other options. Josetti happily agreed.

Why? Because as he expected, Josetti’s

value to the vacation home client quickly

became clear.

“What we do, in my opinion, requires

a premium, so as I’ve raised these prices

over the last few years, they naturally

have told me they have to get other estimates

to compare the pricing,” Josetti

said. “What they have found out and

come to realize is that based on the description

of the job at hand that we have

kind of created and provided to them,

the process that we’ve created and how

we provide this water remotely, and the

production rate in which we get it done

-- no other company can do it.

“Most of the competing companies

come in and say ‘we can’t do that, we

don’t have the capability.’ Other companies

would come in with such a high price

tag because they really had never done

this before and they were just guessing at

true costs. The HOA soon understood

that those companies were not going to

be able to perform the service, certainly

not in the time that we would, because

they just don’t have the same capability.

“We kind of created the specs for

these contracts and now have spoiled

(so to speak) the customer, the HOA, the

property manager, with being able to do

the job based on these specs, whereas the

rest of these companies can’t do it.”

Adding to Josetti’s value is the fact

that Eastern Shore water companies now

disallow operators from tapping in to

community fire hydrants. The area has

a lot of iron in the water; so even though

it goes through a treatment plant and

gets treated, there is still enough in the

pipeline sitting at the bottom that when a

company like a pressure washer taps

into a fire hydrant, they stir the iron up.

Residential customers were getting very

angry because when they would turn on

their spigot they would have iron in their

water because somebody had just tapped

in to a fire hydrant down the street for

whatever reason (a lot of them were the

builders and construction companies using

the water during the construction of

all the communities Josetti describes going

up). Water companies said ‘no more’

and stopped granting any more permits

or allowing anybody to tap into fire hydrants

except the fire departments.

It could be said, then, that Josetti sits

in the Catbird’s Seat in Ocean City. But

it hasn’t always been that way.

Josetti came around to both pressure

washing and specifically HOA work after

a lengthy career in painting and restoration

services. In 1995, after working

for another contractor, Josetti started

Superior Painting Services in Philadelphia.

Then one day he had his “ah-ha”

moment.

“What got me into the power washing

business fully was that I had a painting

company and I was burning myself

continued ...

VOL. 1, NO. 3 | SUMMER 2019 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | 13


HOA

Niche

operator

out and I started to realize I was making

more money power washing the jobs

that I was getting ready to paint than I

was from painting,” Josetti said.

“Right around the late 1990s, early

2000s when they started changing the

building materials from wood to the

composite materials and vinyls and all

these different maintenance-free materials,

what I basically could see was that

in the future these materials wouldn’t

need to be painted or stained but oh,

guess what, they will need to be cleaned.

Every single house that was starting to

get built 20-plus years ago was needing

our pressure washing services within

two to three years. The light bulb went

off in my head. I said ‘all right, here’s

what we need to do.’”

In April 2004, he launched All Clean

Power Washing and slowly moved out

of all painting and restoration services.

Josetti’s gravitation specifically in

to the HOA space came in large part

due to the positive influence of his wife,

Meg, on the business.

“We finally realized that if we were

going to get to the next level with the

company, she had to get involved,” Josetti

said. “She has a business degree

and was also a property manager when

we got married. So she’s got experience

across the board and that helped us immensely

in our venture with the property

management work that we do in our

market.”

Sounds like a perfect marriage, no

pun intended…

Today, All Clean employs between

eight and 15 people depending on the

time of year.

A lot of small pressure wash operations

nationwide would love to land

an HOA contract and cease doing jobs

one residence at a time. Josetti said he

actually gets contacted all the time by

people asking questions about getting

access to property management portfolios.

And although he explains that

his “niche of a niche” is different from

standard HOA work, he does offer advice

and support for becoming successful

in the space.

“Just go do it,” he said. “For instance,

anywhere in the country these 55 and

over or retirement type communities

are taking shape and there are ways to

reach them and market to them,” Josetti

said. [See sidebar titled “Step-by-step

Guide to Marketing to HOAs”].

“They are basically created under

the same guidelines and needs that we

provide to our market here, where everything

is going to be taken care of…

from gutter cleaning to the exterior

washing to the lawn maintenance…and

that has to be done by an outside service

like ours. You can find those in the middle

of Oklahoma or Florida, obviously.

It’s all over the place. Be prepared,

think it through, and offer value.”

In addition to running his company,

Josetti has since 2015 served on the

board of directors of the Power Washers

of North America (PWNA), where

he teaches various certifications. He assumes

the presidency of the association

later this year.

“I came to my first convention in

2013 because I wanted to know what I

didn’t know,” he said. “I’ve been doing

this for a long time and within the first

literally 20 minutes of the first class that

I took I realized did I have a lot to offer

that I knew more than most of the people

in that room. Frankly, I knew more

than the instructor. And from there I

just had a passion for it and I have no

problem giving back and helping even

my own competitors.”

According to Josetti, it is not uncommon

for him to teach classes at conventions

to competitors in his own market.

“It’s about raising the tide of the

industry,” Josetti said. “And helping to

set some standards that everybody can

live by.”

STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE

TO MARKETING TO HOAS

As HOA-USA.com stated in a recent

white paper, “the opportunities

to market to this target audience are

tremendous, but also challenging.”

Why? Well, for one, homeowner

associations are nearly invisible!

“Most HOA’s do not have an office

or a phone,” the website states. “Only

a few maintain current websites and

are rarely found on a Google search.

Without an identifiable customer, you

cannot sell your product or service. So

how do you get in front of the board

members and decision makers for

these communities? And what do you

say in order to help them make informed

decisions to better their community

through you?”

HOA-USA.com was created specifically

to reach the targeted market

of HOA board members and decision

makers. HOA-USA works closely with

management companies and maintains

a Management Company Directory

nationwide of over 5,000 listings.

The following is a lightly-condensed

list of tips the website offered

up when planning a marketing campaign

to HOAs. [Visit www.HOA-

USA.com for more.]

RESPECT THE BOARD

MEMBER’S TIME

“People who serve as board members

for their HOA all do so voluntarily.

As an incorporated homeowners

association, board members cannot

be paid or otherwise compensated for

serving on the board. Board and committee

members put in a great deal of

time into board meetings, enforcing

covenants, collecting dues, and making

their community a better place. About

35-40% of HOAs contract with a professional

management company to

help ease the load of running the community.

The rest do so by themselves.

In either case, board members are the

decision makers for their communities

and their time is quite valuable. When

you get the opportunity to speak with

a board member about your products

and services, keep these thoughts in

mind. In most cases, boards are required

to get numerous bids on a variety

of different services. They want

to (and need to) hear about what you

have to offer, but often don’t have a lot

of time to hear it. If you are fortunate

enough to get agenda time at a board

meeting, keep your presentation short

and offer to send more information. By

being respectful of the board’s time,

you may find yourself in a better position

for an RFP (Request for Proposal)

and increased business.”

OFFER VALUE

AT THE HOA LEVEL

“Remember that when you are

reaching out to an HOA, you are speaking

to the community as a whole and

not just to one homeowner. Make sure

that your message speaks to the ultimate

goal of every board member: to retain

and increase property values of the entire

community…If your company typically

works with individual homeowners

then keep several things in mind:

• Often the HOA will have common

area and amenities that need servicing.

For example, the clubhouse may

need carpet cleaning, or the private

roads may need repair work.

• The board member is in a unique position

to tell the rest of the community

about your products and customer

service. A good impression to the

board member can go a long way.

• Offering discounts for multi-home

purchases is a great way to ensure

that the board or committee member

will tell their neighbors.

continued ...

14 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 1, NO. 3 | SUMMER 2019


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HOA

Niche

operator

Remember that HOA Board Members

CANNOT be paid or compensated

for their work as a board member,

so offering them personal incentives to

promote your product is NOT allowed.

However you can offer incentives to the

HOA or community as a whole. For

example, a power washing company

may offer a free exterior cleaning to the

HOA clubhouse in exchange for advertising

on the community website.”

TIMING IS

EVERYTHING

“Approximately 75% of Homeowner

Associations hold their required annual

meetings between the months of November

and February. This is important because

the annual budget also gets ratified

at the same time. If a board is going to

make a change in service provider for a

big-budget operating expense item, they

are likely to make that change around the

time of the annual meeting…Marketing

your services in the months prior to the

annual meeting is often a good strategy.

That’s not to say that all expenses are decided

during the annual budget. In fact,

much of the ‘operating budget’ will be

adjusted throughout the year. Seasonal

influences are likely going to dictate the

appropriate time to advertise…A sound

marketing strategy for HOAs will include

some amount of marketing year-round,

while leaving the majority of the advertising

budget for the months of the year

when board members are most likely to

pay attention.”

THE ROLE OF THE

MANAGEMENT COMPANY

“Approximately 35% of HOAs contract

with a professional management

company to aid with the governance of

the community. The other 65% choose

to self-manage or are, for all intents and

purposes, defunct…When an HOA

contracts with a management company,

they are assigned a community manager.

This person aids with collections, ensures

covenant enforcement, and generally

handles the financials for the board. The

management company will often have a

list of vendors that they go to when one

of their boards is in need of a particular

product or service. The property manager

will take bids from their vendors and

make recommendations to the board

on who to select. However, the decision

making power still lies with the board.

The property manager will always yield

to the board because the management

company works for the HOA (not vice

versa).

Reaching out to management companies

is almost always a solid marketing

strategy if you want to work with

HOAs. By getting your foot in the door

with a management company, you

stand the chance to be a “preferred

vendor” and may be asked to provide

an RFP for one of their communities.

It is important not to forget about

the 65% of the market that chooses to

self-manage. These communities need

your products and services too, but they

don’t have the luxury of asking a community

manager to help find your company…Working

both sides of the market

is important, and understanding

that in both cases the ultimate decision

maker is the board member may be the

key to your success.”

CONSIDER TURNOVER ON

HOA BOARDS

“Serving on an HOA Board can

be quite rewarding, knowing that you

have helped your community maintain

its property values and become a

community worth living in. However,

if you have served on an HOA Board,

you know that it is also a time consuming

and often thankless job. Thus, the turnover

rate among board members can be

high. Most new board members will take

office at the beginning of the calendar

year. This can often breathe new life in

the community, as new board members

often have a number of things that they

would like to see improved in the community.

However, many first-time board

members have limited (or no) experience

serving on a Board of Directors. With

this in mind, it makes sense to advertise

to HOAs at the beginning of the year, so

now you can be heard by fresh faces on

the board. New board members can feel

overwhelmed at first and will sometimes

take several months to get accustomed

to life as an HOA board member. A

marketing campaign than spans several

months (January – April) will give you a

chance to leave a lasting impression with

these folks.”

GEAR YOUR

WEBSITE TO HOAS

“If you plan to advertise your products

and services to HOA board members,

it is important to remember that

you must speak to their needs as a community.

Dedicating a section of your

website to this agenda is a sound strategy,

as most people will take the time

to look up a company on the internet

before doing business with that company.

If a board member is able to visit

your website and quickly find a page

that speaks directly to them, you have

put yourself in an excellent position to

earn that community’s business.”

USE SOCIAL MEDIA

“People are using social media as

a primary means of communication,

which can translate into referrals and

excellent word-of-mouth advertising.

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are

great places to advertise specials, post

testimonials, ask for referrals, and join

HOA-specific groups. Having these social

media tools link directly with your

website is also a great way to improve

your search engine optimization. Talk

to your webmaster or website designer

about integrating social media into your

overall marketing strategy if you have

the time to devote to it and you’ll hopefully

see positive results for your efforts.

Look up some other businesses (or your

competitors) to see how they are using

social media. A few posts or tweets per

week will take no more than a few minutes

of your time, and can lead to increased

exposure and business.”

BANNER ADVERTISING

“Banner advertising gets your company

name and logo in front of your

customers, and more importantly drives

them back to your site, increasing your

site traffic and Google rankings as well.

This important first step in the marketing

process reinforces your brand recognition

to the decision makers who matter

most to increasing your businesses sales.

By carefully choosing only relevant sites

your banner ads appear on, you can

make sure that you reach the right audience

and drive targeted traffic to your

site.”

DIRECT MAIL

“Lately everyone has gone digital, so

there’s been less of an emphasis placed

on using direct mail to reach your targets.

This has caused a resurgence in

the effectiveness of this type of marketing.

To create an effective marketing

strategy, it’s important to reach your

target market in various ways. Send out

direct mail to various targeted lists of

homeowner associations.”

16 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 1, NO. 3 | SUMMER 2019


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CONTENTS

UNDER

PRESSURE

A POP CULTURE-

INSPIRED LOOK

AT THE PRESSURE

WASH INDUSTRY

A look around the World Wide Web

for wacky examples of pressure washing

in our culture’s everyday life

BY DREW RUBLE

App-ropos

Secret Entourage, a consortium of

millionaires who now work to help tens

of thousands of entrepreneurs start and

grow their own businesses, interviewed app

developer Allen Wong of Rego Apps a few

years ago.

Wong told Secret Entourage that his first

app was a browser that removed the toolbars,

did not save your browsing history, and

allowed you to view websites while offline.

One of Wong’s earliest successful apps was

called News Feed Elite, which was the #1 news

app back in 2009. Using the technologies he

developed from his browser app, he made an

app that made it easy to view various news

sites. It was successful because it allowed you to

scroll through websites by tilting your phone,

save news articles to be read at a later time

(even offline), block ads, share sites to Twitter/

Facebook, and other things. It basically paved

the way for the other popular news apps you

see today.

But his most successful app was his 5-0

Radio Police Scanner…5-0 Radio was for a

time the #1 police scanner app for the iPhone.

At its peak, it was in the top 10 paid apps in

various countries. People had many uses for

this app, ranging from monitoring crime in

continued ...

18 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 1, NO. 3 | SUMMER 2019


CONTENTS

UNDER

PRESSURE

their neighborhood to getting live alerts about

hazards in the region to keeping in touch

with family members who were members of

a police force. People also used this app to get

early tornado warnings, hurricane warnings,

flood warnings, and other news before the

radio and TV broadcast them. It made it

to the top of the charts after Wong added

internet radio stations to the app and created

a free ad-supported version of the app. Other

copycat apps later popped up and saturated

the market.

In all, according to his personal website,

Wong’s apps have been downloaded by at

least 15 million people.

Not long after Wong began having his

wild success in app development, the then

20-something posted some pressure wash art

he had completed on the sidewalks outside of

his swanky new home to social media.

First came Batman. More followed. But,

alas, eventually his artistic liberties met their

match.

As described by Wong in his last social

media post on the matter, the neighborhood’s

home owner’s association had the last laugh.

“HOA’s response to my sidewalk street art,”

Wong wrote at the time, his words placed next

to this picture of broken out sidewalk concrete.

“Well played, HOA. Well played. You win this

round.”

A WALK WITH

DR. SEUSS

The Dickinson Press reported on Jeff Borys,

who used a pressure washer to inscribe a

passage from a Dr. Seuss story on the sidewalk

outside his house in Grand Forks, North

Dakota (pictured here).

20 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 1, NO. 3 | SUMMER 2019


WORD OF

MOUTH

Word of Mouth

Serial entrepreneur Jay Baer’s formula for growing your business hinges

on the free advertising your customers can do for you

BY DREW RUBLE

Jay Baer is a seventh-generation entrepreneur.

An internet pioneer, he has

written six best-selling books, founded

five multimillion-dollar companies, and

is currently the president and founder of

Convince and Convert, a social media

consulting company that advises some of

the world’s most iconic brands, including

Hilton Hotels and the United Nations.

Baer doesn’t think a business like a

pressure wash company should have to

spend a single dime on advertising in order

to grow their business. He cites Robert

Stevens, the founder of Geek Squad,

who said advertising is “a tax paid by the

unremarkable.” How then does he expect

a business to grow?

“If you do it right, your customers

will do the growing for you,” Baer explained.

“The best way to grow any business

or to grow margin is for your customers

to do that growing for you. But

for that to happen, you have to give them

an opportunity to do just that.

“There is no question that word of

mouth is the single most important way

that customers make a decision about

where to give their business. But here’s

the tragedy. You have to do word of

mouth on purpose and almost nobody in

this industry or any industry is doing so.

“Fewer than 1% of all businesses

have an actual word-of-mouth strategy,

even though we all know how important

word of mouth is. It’s how we make decisions

in our own lives, right?

“You probably have a marketing

continued ...

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WORD OF

MOUTH

strategy, a social media strategy, a hiring

strategy, a compliance strategy, a real

estate strategy, a banking strategy -- you

have a strategy for everything except the

one thing that can actually grow your

business the most affordably, which is

word of mouth. We have to do word of

mouth on purpose.”

Baer said embracing the concept of

word of mouth requires first turning

loose of the notion that competency

alone creates conversations amongst

customers.

“We believe that if we just run a really

good business, if we just take care

of the customer, if we just don’t make

mistakes, if we continue to invest in new

equipment, if we roll out at new idea…

then people will talk about us. But that’s

not how the world works.

“Nobody has ever said ‘hey, let me

tell you about this perfectly adequate

experience I just had.’ You never say

that because it’s not an interesting story

to tell and it’s not an interesting story to

listen to.”

Same is lame, Baer preaches.

“As human beings, we are wired to

discuss things that are different and ignore

things that are average…So you

have to give your customers a story to

tell. You have to give them something

that they perceive as different. And that

difference -- that thing that you do that

they are not familiar with -- that becomes

the story that they tell their friends.”

Baer says doing something unconventional

that creates a customer experience

has been proven to accelerate word

of mouth activity among customers.

According to a recent research paper by

global consulting firm McKinsey, 50 to

80% of word-of-mouth activity actually

derives from an experience that “deviates

from what’s expected,” or as Baer

says, something “outside their frame of

reference.”

Baer provides this example. There

is a band in Nashville, Tennessee comprised

of eight Grammy award-winning

musicians. Every member of the band

has won a Grammy as a session musician.

Each member of the band, though,

is under contract to record labels in the

city to play on albums with some of the

most popular artists in the world and

therefore are contractually bound to

NOT play out in public under their own

names. So what do they do? They make

an unconventional choice. They dress up

like mummies, concealing their identities,

and they travel around the country

wowing crowds with their world-class

music. (The band is called Here Come

the Mummies.)

“Now, would you tell a story if you

went to a music show and everyone was

dressed as mummies compared to if

you just went to a music show even if it

was the same good music?” Baer asked.

“How could you not tell that story?”

Baer said every business needs to

seek to identify their own similar “differentiator”

so that people will talk

about their business as well. He calls

this a “talk trigger.”

Baer describes a talk trigger as “an

operational choice” that you make on

purpose that causes customer conversations.

The key word is operational choice.

This isn’t really marketing, not in the

classic sense. It’s not a promotion. It’s not

a price. It’s not a contest or a coupon or a

billboard. It’s something that you do differently

-- something operational -- that

customers notice and talk about. It really

is part of your operation. It’s part of

your customer experience.

According to Baer, good talk triggers

share four things in common. The first

one is that your talk trigger, your differ-

continued ...

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WORD OF

MOUTH

entiator, has to be remarkable in the

true definition of that word, which is

worthy of remark.

Take CVS Pharmacy. Baer said many

people have experienced the CVS talk

trigger without even noticing it. Think

about it. What is remarkable about the

CVS experience?

Well, CVS has massively long receipts

on purpose. And customers notice it and

talk about it. One customer, after visiting

a CVS, went on social media to express

that he had run out of wrapping paper

for presents so he used a CVS receipt

to wrap presents. A sort of inside joke,

it got a lot of attention on social media.

Another customer had a window blind

break in his bedroom, so he used the

CVS receipt to replace the missing link.

The social media post received 57,000

retweets and 256,000 likes. CVS couldn’t

buy that kind of publicity. It’s an operational

choice that the company made on

purpose to create conversations, or a story

worth telling.

The second thing Baer said that your

talk trigger must be is repeatable. Baer

explains that the best way to create a talk

trigger is not for special occasions or people

on their birthdays or a certain day of

the week but for everyone all the time.

“All customers must have access to

your bonus because you are trying to maximize

the number of people who will tell

your talk trigger,” Baer said. “Business, a

lot of times, they think…we’ll just do it on

their anniversary or their birthday or for

our best customers. I understand why we

think that way, but you are then reducing

the number of talkers.”

Baer tells the story of a restaurant

in Sacramento, California called Skip’s

Kitchen. The restaurant is by no means

remarkable from a curb appeal standpoint,

it’s just a simple family-owned

business that makes good hamburgers.

According to Baer, Skip, the owner, has

spent a grand total of zero dollars and

zero cents on advertising in nearly a decade

in business. And yet there is a line to

get in to the restaurant almost every day.

Every person

gets a crack

at it. It’s not just

on Wednesdays

when business

is slower. It’s not

just on a person’s

birthday. It’s not

ladies night.

It’s everybody.

How did they accomplish that in a

saturated restaurant market? How do

they create that kind of traffic without

telling anybody about the business?

“It’s because their customers do that

for them,” Baer explained. “Their customers

are volunteers marketers. And it’s

because they have a story to tell. They

have a talk trigger.”

Here’s how it works. Skip’s is a counter-service

restaurant, meaning that you

order from a menu board placed behind

the cash register then wait for your food

to be brought to your table. Except at

Skip’s, after you order but before you pay,

the counter person whips out a deck of

playing cards, fans them out face down,

and says ‘pick a card.’ If when you select

a card you turn over a joker, your entire

meal is free.

“Approximately four people a day win

this game,” Baer related. “Everybody

gets a chance, but about four people win.

And when they win, they go crazy. It’s

like winning the lottery. The Patty Melt

lottery. They are taking patty melt selfies.

They’re calling their mother. They’re

putting reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor

-- it’s a whole thing. And it’s so successful

that in Sacramento, despite the fact that

there’s a big sign outside that says ‘Skip’s

Kitchen,’ most of the people in Sacramento

call it ‘that joker restaurant.’”

Now that’s an effective talk trigger.

But, as Baer stresses, one of the reasons

it’s so powerful is that every person gets

a crack at it. It’s not just on Wednesdays

when business is slower. It’s not just on

a person’s birthday. It’s not ladies night.

It’s everybody.

“Consistency is the key, especially

when you’re trying to create word of

mouth because you want them to tell the

same story to more and more people,”

Baer concluded.

The third thing your talk trigger must

be is reasonable.

Baer said a lot of times business owners

think that in order to get attention,

or get new customers, they have to do

something over the top, like hold a contest

where the winner gets a new car or

something crazy like that.

“We think that we have to blow people

away or we have to shock them,” he

said. “You don’t need something big. In

fact, it shouldn’t be big and here’s why.

Because when you do something for customers

that’s too grand, it doesn’t create

the kind of conversation we think it does;

rather, it creates suspicion. What they say

is ‘wait a second, what’s the catch? When

is the other shoe going to drop? This

can’t be true, they are not really going

to give somebody a car.’ Also, it’s like the

Publisher’s Clearinghouse effect. People

think ‘I’m not going to win that, so I’m

going to throw it away because it’s too

big, it’s not reasonable.’”

According to Baer, you don’t have to

make it big; it just has to be different and

consistent. Consider, he says, Double-

Tree Hotels by Hilton. The hotel chain

has given every guest a warm chocolate

chip cookie at check-in every day for

30 years. (Now that’s a talk trigger with

some staying power!)

“They hand out an incredible 75,000

chocolate chip cookies a day,” Baer said.

“How effective is that? I conducted a survey

of thousands of DoubleTree guests

while consulting Hilton and found out

that 34% of them -- more than a third --

have told a story to somebody else about

that cookie. What that means is that

22,500 stories today will be told about

that chocolate chip cookie.”

Baer follows up with a simple question.

When is the last time you saw a

Double Tree advertisement or TV commercial?

It’s not very often because the

cookie is the ad and the guests are the

sales and marketing department, he said.

“It’s not a car, it’s not a trip to Hawaii,

it’s just a chocolate chip cookie, but

people talk about it all the time online

and offline,” Baer said. “People are making

hotel decisions based on a chocolate

chip cookie!”

Baer cited another example pulled

from the story of a tire shop owner he

met in Kansas. In this businessman’s

hometown is located an artisanal root

beer company. The man loves this root

beer. So, when you take your car into his

shop for maintenance, or to purchase

tires, or for tire rotation, and you pick

up your car after he services it, every

customer finds in their passenger seat a

two-liter bottle of this locally-made root

beer with a little note that says thanks so

much for your business.

“In that town, he is known as the

Root Beer Tire Man,” Baer said. “You

don’t get free tires. It’s not something big.

It’s just root beer. But it’s consistent and

it becomes the story people tell.”

The fourth and final thing your talk

trigger must be is relevant.

“It has to add up,” Baer said. “It has

to make sense. The Root Beer Tire Man

makes sense because he likes root beer

and the root beer is made in that town. It

must speak to who you are and what you

are because then the story is easier to tell.

There’s not a lot of follow-up questions

that have to occur.”

As another example, Baer points out

a locksmith in New York City who is the

highest rated locksmith in New York

City, and also one of the highest-rated

businesses of any kind and all of New

continued ...

VOL. 1, NO. 3 | SUMMER 2019 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | 25


WORD OF

MOUTH

York City. How?

“Once he is done with the job you

called him out to do, he goes around

your house and checks every door and

every window and does a thorough security

audit,” Baer said. “He’ll say ‘this

one’s a little bit loose, this one could be

jimmied open’ – he does that whole process

totally for free.”

That inventory -- his talk trigger --

makes sense, right? He wouldn’t think

of offering you a warm chocolate chip

cookie like Doubletree, would he? That

wouldn’t be relevant.

“So it has to make sense for you and

your business,” Baer said. “The cookie

works for DoubleTree because they are

focused on the warm welcome. They are

focused on the first seven minutes from

the time you walk in their door to when

you make it to your room. That is also

why they spend more money on lobby

design than other places. Plus, it is not

just a cookie handed to you or under

glass. It is a cookie ceremony. The person

behind the register goes to a warm

oven behind them, puts it in a plastic

bag, and hands it to you. The hand-tohand

pass is a big part of it. It’s not just

a cold cookie under glass at the register,

it’s a warm cookie. A warm welcome. It’s

an experience.”

Resist the temptation when you were

working on creating your talk trigger

to just do something “random,” Baer

warns. “Think of something that is true

to the spirit of your organization and

then turn that into your talk trigger.”

Here are two final examples of talk

triggers that Baer shared.

There isn’t much in the town of Santa

Claus, Indiana. Certainly not Santa

Claus. Mostly corn, Baer said, and he

should know living in nearby Bloomington.

The one thing they do have in

Santa Clause, Indiana, though, is Holiday

World Theme Park and Splashin’

Safari Water Park, a family-owned water

park and amusement park. It’s not

the kind of place you would expect to

find an amusement park, Baer said. In

fact, Baer describes the location as “objectively

terrible.” As such, location is

a distinct disadvantage. So too is the

fact that the park is family-owned so

they don’t have a tremendous amount

of budget. They can’t just spend their

way to success competing against the

deep-pocketed folks that run amusement

parks elsewhere in the nation

and that boast characters like Mickey

Mouse. But what they do have, Baer

said, is an extraordinary talk trigger.

“When you go in to Holiday World

and go through the turnstiles, the first

thing you see is a little hut, a little building,

and you soon realize it is a free sunscreen

station,” Baer said. “These are

spread all throughout the park. They

offer an unlimited Supply of sunscreen.

“It is a total freak show…It’s like a

slip and slide but everyone standing up.

It’s a greasy audience.

“The owners obviously run a very

good business. A tight ship. They know

what they’re doing. But people don’t talk

about good. They talk about different…

what they talk about is free sunscreen.”

“And, in fact, Holiday World ranks

as one of the very highest rated theme

parks in America on tripadvisor.com --

higher than Disneyland, Disney World,

Universal Studios, and Cedar Point! And

almost every one of the reviews that leads

to that rating mentions free sunscreen.

“It’s repeatable, relevant, reasonable,

remarkable,” Baer concluded.

Finally, there’s a business in New

York City called Paragon that services

cars. Their talk trigger was based on

an epiphany. Paragon’s owners asked

themselves a simple question related to

the time and effort it takes for a customer

to service their car. And that question

was, ‘when do our customers NOT

need their cars?’

The answer? When they are sleeping.

Paragon now has a mobile app

Think of

something

that is true to

the spirit of your

organization

and then turn

that into your

talk trigger.

where customers schedule an appointment

for their vehicle. Paragon then

picks up their customers’ vehicle at their

home once they return from work for

the night, usually around 6 or 6:30 in

the evening. They take it to their repair

center, fix it overnight “like a magical

elf ” Baer said, texting you periodically

for your approval if they identify other

services that are needed or they recommend

for your automobile. Then they

bring your car back to you before you

leave for work the next morning.

Not surprisingly, Paragon has massively

increased revenue since making

the operational change, and customer

satisfaction is through the roof.

“Now if somebody fixed your car

overnight like a magic elf, would you tell

that story?” Baer asked. “Hell yes, you

would tell everybody you know that story

because it’s universally awesome and

remarkable.”

So how do you come up with your

own talk trigger? Baer explains the process

in full in his book on the topic, but

does offer this advice up for starters.

“Talk to your customers about what

they expect and then use that research

to come up with some candidate triggers,”

he said. “Then test them.”

Bear adds that the secret ingredient

of word-of-mouth advertising, he believes,

is “empathy.”

“It is taking the time to really understand

where your customers are

coming from, to be aware of what they

really need, and delivering that,” he

said. “It’s really more psychology then

it is execution.”

Baer finished with one last example

of a talk trigger premised on this notion

of customer empathy. KLM, a Dutch

Airlines based in Amsterdam, had an

admittedly poor system for reuniting

customers with items lost on their planes.

People would lose their headphones or

sunglasses on the plane, the flight attendants

would place them in a lost and

found, customers would contact the airlines

looking for their possessions, forms

would need to be filled out, and perhaps

a couple of weeks later the items would

be returned. As a solution, KLM trained

beagle dogs to board planes after arrival,

identify scents on lost items, and run

through terminal areas returning items

before customers left the airport.

“So a beagle shows up with your

item,” Baer said. “Is that a story you tell?

“Empathy does not have to be complicated,

it’s just people understanding

people. Simple is amazing. It’s relevant.

It’s an operational add on that becomes

a talk trigger.

“That’s the best place for you to

start your own talk triggers. Exceeding

empathy expectations causes conversations.

Make your business care more. Be

the guys that care more about your customers.

And if you do that…your path

is success.”

Advertising is a tax paid by the unremarkable.

Your customers are your best

marketers. If you give your customers

a story to tell about you, they will tell it

over and over and you will grow.

[Editor’s Note: Baer, who is also a tequila

collector and certified BBQ judge, was

keynote speaker at The Car Wash Show

in Nashville, Tennessee, May, 2019.

This article was created from Baer’s

keynote address to attendees that day.]

26 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 1, NO. 3 | SUMMER 2019


WASHING

Babe-raham

Lincoln ...

Excellent!

Iconic pressure wash entrepreneur Henry Bockman, who has cleaned national

monuments including the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials and is an expert at

performing “big jobs” like the University of Maryland football stadium and the

D.C. Armory, is now taking his brand national

BY DREW RUBLE

Henry Bockman, you might say, has

always been red, white, and blue.

A veteran of the Navy, Bockman

served aboard the USS America as

an aviation ordinance specialist with

the F-14 Squadron “The Starfighters”

weapons systems.

“I went into the military because I

wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do after

high school,” Bockman said. “I wanted

to get out and see the world a little.”

Bockman served three years in the

service. Afterwards, he started out working

at the Department of Energy as a

security guard but decided it was “too

much like being in the military.” He had

a friend who had a window cleaning

HENRY BOCKMAN

company and asked him to do a job for

him when he was going on vacation.

“So I did that and made like three

hundred and fifty bucks,” Bockman said.

“And I was getting paid about that same

amount for a week in the military! So I

was like ‘this is pretty good.’

He bought a couple squeegees and

started cleaning windows. From there,

beginning in 1989, he started adding

other lines of business, including gutter

cleaning and, in 1990, pressure washing.

He would eventually start Commercial

Restorations, a company specializing

in delicate commercial pressure wash/

cleaning jobs. This included work on

Washington DC-area historical memorials

like the Lincoln Memorial and

Jefferson Memorial. Bockman cleaned

the plazas, exterior areas, and some

of the lower parts of the Lincoln Memorial

in 2002 and again in 2006. He

did the same for the Jefferson in 2006.

Other historic projects on his resume

include the Abner Doubleday Stadium

in Cooperstown, New York, the home

of the Baseball Hall of Fame. In short,

he’s done a lot of high-pressure jobs, no

pun intended.

The first time Bockman cleaned

sections of those national monuments

was as part of the ‘Clean Across America’

program that he created. Clean

Across America was nothing short of

a brilliant marketing idea for the entire

pressure wash industry. Bockman’s idea

was for pressure washers everywhere to

clean historical areas nationwide free of

charge both as an act of altruism but also

as a means to promote the industry to the

general public. The Pressure Washers

of North America (PWNA), for which

Bockman is a former director, adopted

the idea and made it the organization’s

continued ...

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number one outreach initiative.

“As far as I know, that was like the

biggest promotional thing still to this

day that the organization ever did,”

Bockman said. “So basically the organization

-- free of charge -- offered to

clean the nation’s historical areas. It

was a community thing that I did for

my own companies and communities

and then I went to the board of directors

of PWNA and introduced the idea

of making it a campaign for the organization

to use it for promotion and as a

membership building thing.”

Once again, in classic service to

America style, Bockman had made an

imprint in a patriotic way. This time

he was recognized for his work in a

high-profile manner. As creator of Clean

Across America campaign, he received

the Daily Points of Light Award from

then President George Bush.

Working on national historical

monuments inside the Beltway was no

panacea, however. Doing government

work by its very nature means lots of

bureaucratic red tape. Cleaning historical

monuments adds another layer of

regulations and, frankly, obstacles to

performing a successful clean.

“Most of the stuff you have to run

by National Park Service,” Bockman

explained. “They have approved products

you use for the Lincoln Memorial,

for instance… it really was nothing.

Palmolive probably would have done a

better job. Or you could have just used

hot water at low pressure.”

In the spirit of Clean Across America,

and/or with profit in mind, pressure

washers nationwide should consider sizing

up their own local historic inventory

(smaller in scale though it may be) and approaching

the proper government entity

(planning commissions, historical societies)

about getting a chance to clean them.

Bockman offers up this advice for

those thinking of doing so.

“It’s not just different methods and

chemicals and processes but also navigating

governmental entities. It can be

very complex and not for everyone,”

Bockman said. “Even for small-town

operators, they need to prepare their

minds to sort of go through some hoops

and do some things that you wouldn’t

normally do just getting a residential

or commercial job.

“Sometimes it’s a huge hurdle,” he

added. “For instance, you often have to

do core samples…So you may have to

wait a year before you can actually go

out and do the job. You’ll have to show

consistent cleaning performance on different

areas of the buildings and in removing

different stains. They may want

it to dry just to make sure it’s right. So

there’s a lot of prep work involved to secure

it. You’ll have to put a lot of work in

place before you can even begin bidding.

“Also, wages. Sometimes you have to

pay a certain amount on different projects

on government jobs. Some of them

they require you to pay wages that could

be $30 an hour and you have to pay your

guys that if it falls under certain guidelines.

You have to know that fact going in

and plan for it or you’ll under bid.”

According to Bockman, on some of

his highly-sensitive DC jobs, his crews

will be guarded by armed security the

entire time they are on a job.

“They guard us with M-16s,” he

said. “So you have two security guys

per employee on a job site following you

around watching you the entire time

and inspecting your vehicles and going

through your chemicals every time you

pull in…A lot of contractors way under

bid these kind of projects because when

you have to go through a security checkpoint

every single time you do a property,

it can take an hour just to get on the

property and through security. Time is

money. Then you’re guarded and you

can’t move around quickly. So, for instance,

if a window is open, they’ve got

to call to get clearance to go in there

and close it. Some of the jobs that we’ve

done that would normally take us three

or four hours can take two days just because

of the bureaucracy. So pricing is

huge for these jobs.”

Not understanding all these ins and

outs of government can cost you in the

long run, both financially and reputationally.

“On some jobs, they don’t allow us

to use any acid-based materials at all,”

Bockman explained. “So if you have to

remove rust or lime or calcium without

an acid-based product, that has to be

covered in the contract that you submitted.

Because if they expect that to be

removed, there’s no way you can really

remove it. If that fact is not made clear in

the contract, you have lost all credibility

when you have to bring that fact up in

the middle of a job.”

Education, then, is key. And no one is

more known in the pressure wash industry

for an emphasis on education than

Bockman. Arguably no one in the field

has as many certifications and credentials

for various types of cleaning techniques

as Bockman. He is also a prolific

teacher in the field. In fact, Bockman

created many of the power washing and

soft washing classes in existence today

across the globe.

His restoration work in particular requires

continuous education on the latest

and greatest products and methodologies

being developed to deal with historic

or sensitive projects.

“Staying on top of the industry in

this specialized field is key to success,” he

said. “I recently took a class that taught

me how to rebuild statues. Let’s say you

have a statue and a grape bundle breaks

off. This allows you to remake the grapes

and attach them and bond them so they

won’t break off the next time it freezes.

Really cool stuff, and very lucrative.”

Bockman isn’t just known for historic

jobs. He’s also known for his ability

to do big jobs that other pressure

washers simply couldn’t bid on because

they don’t have the bandwidth, equipment,

knowledge or experience that

Bockman possesses.

continued ...

VOL. 1, NO. 3 | SUMMER 2019 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | 29


WASHING

BABE-RAHAM

LINCOLN

For instance, Bockman recently

pressure washed the DC Armory, which

opened in 1941 as the headquarters,

armory and training facility for the DC

National Guard. Commonly identified

by its domed roof, is a 10,000-seat

multipurpose arena with 70,000 square

feet of drill floor, the Armory today is

Washington, DC’s most versatile venues,

serving as an auditorium, arena,

big top and ballroom.

“That’s the biggest project I’ve done,

really,” Bockman said. “Limestone

and…bigger than a football stadium.”

“The project was over half a million,”

he said. “I spent three and a half weeks

on it.”

Not unlike historic jobs, successfully

completing big jobs, Bockman said, is

also highly dependent on planning.

“A lot of it is figuring out the fastest

and most efficient way to do something

with the least amount of manpower and

the least amount of resources,” he said.

“But the biggest thing on big jobs like

stadiums is to make sure that you have

access to water or enough water to feed

your equipment. You have to make sure

you have enough water access to run

full out and non-stop…I’ve got pump

systems to do 45 gallons per minute. In

addition, I have all kinds of different

and weird equipment that I either made

or designed or created to do stadium

jobs. I created a special surface cleaner

and patented it – a modified a piece

of equipment to do multiple things and

which made a huge difference on a stadium

jobs. We tripled our speed when

I designed that on the second day of a

big job that was eating our lunch. The

first day, we got like two sections done…

once you go through that, you say to

yourself, ‘okay, what can I do to make it

easier. You learn on the fly. Sometimes

every couple hours you try something

different just to get two more rows done

in the same amount of time.”

It’s not just getting the water on site

but also getting the water where it needs

to be. At the University of Maryland football

stadium, for instance, Bockman needs

equipment that allows him to get water

hundreds of feet up to the top rows.

“We had to run lines 250 feet up to

the very top of it and then 150 to 200

feet down,” Bockman said. “So minimizing

how many times you have to go up

and down the stairs to clean – well, you

are going to think deeply on that.”

Once again, pressure washers nationwide

wishing to ramp up from residential

jobs to big commercial jobs like football

stadiums can learn a lot from Bockman’s

experience and advice. Which includes

perhaps to consider NOT going in to

that particular line of business after all.

“Everybody would like to get a job

like that, but are you really in a position to

do it?”Bockman questioned. “In addition

to questions about adequate equipment,

there’s also the financial side of it too.

“If you want to take on a $50,000-

to-$75,000 project, can you cover the

overhead to get through the project?

Can you cover payroll? Equipment,

chemicals, and gas? And you’re probably

not making any other income if

you have everybody on your crew out

there, so there’s no other jobs coming

in every day to make money…Can

you go three to four weeks without

any money coming in at all? And, after

that, another 30 days to get paid? Not

getting paid for a few months would

put most guys out of business.”

So how did you do it?

“I learned by trial by error or trial by

fire,” Bockman said. “It’s a calculated

risk and you take it in some cases.

“I’ve made big mistakes on jobs…I

screwed up one bid on an apartment

complex of three-story townhouses, 275

total,” he said. “I was tired while I was

running the numbers and wrote up a

price not realizing until we got on the

job that I calculated square footage for

one story, not three. So I did the job for

a third of the real price. I think I made

$300 on that whole job after labor and

materials. I was like ‘don’t make that

mistake again.’”

Bockman’s service to America was

most recently on display during his recent

tenure as an appointed member

on the Commission on Veterans Affairs.

Though he describes his two-year

term on the commission as “boring as

hell,” with more time spent in meetings

listening to presentation than actually

taking action, he said he did his best to

promote the commission and get it out

there on social media so more people

recognize that we even have a commission

and its programs.

“They move so slow,” Bockman bemoaned.

“I could have renewed it and

stayed on but I figured there’s a lot of

things I can do community service-wise

and helping people on my own rather

than sitting in meetings.”

He has done so by recently testifying

to Congress for a new training program

for veterans that teach them how to deal

with government contracting for free, and

which also helps veterans network with

the powers-that-be who facilitate these

contracts. Bockman was also recently

recruited to participate in a new veterans-in-business

online training program.

What’s the latest from Bockman?

Well, after decades of running six companies:

Henry’s Housework Inc., Commercial

Restorations, Extreme Marketing

Solutions, a training company called

the Contractors Foundation, and two

companies that operate online stores

and internet directories, he was (at press

time) in the process of merging all of his

pressure wash businesses into one powerhouse

of an entity.

“The new company is powerwashcompany.com

and it has the ability to do

power wash servicing on a nationwide

scale,” he said, highlighting setting up

different branches, working with other

contractors, and lead generation. “I can

launch a company in any place easily.”

One can’t help but expect that another

venture related to his service to the

USA is also in the offing for Bockman.

30 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 1, NO. 3 | SUMMER 2019


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