Pressure Wash News April issue

jvahaly

PASS ON WHAT

YOU HAVE

LEARNED


contents

FEATURES

The Great

8:

4

12

14

19

Eight Pressure

Washing and

Exterior Cleaning

Industry Trends

for 2020

Business

Lending

101:

Any firm can

apply for business

financing, no matter

how big or how small

Cleaning

Up the

Worker’s

Compensation

Process:

Exploring employee leasing

in the high-risk industry of

pressure washing

What’s Your

Your brand should

promote your business,

connect with your

customer base,

and differentiate

you in the market

20

Pass On What You Have Learned...:

Pressure wash industry guru Brandon Vaughn teaches fellow entrepreneurs how

to automate, grow and sell their exterior cleaning businesses

DEPARTMENTS

3 Editor’s Letter:

Be on Fire for Success

Vol. 2, No. 2, Spring 2020

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

16 Industry Dirt:

A look around the cleaning equipment

world for news and notes of interest

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

2 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 2, NO. 2 | SPRING 2020


Be on Fire for

EDITOR’S

NOTE

Success

Pressure Wash News is located in Franklin, Tennessee, just outside of Nashville – the

aptly-named Music City USA – the cradle of the country music industry.

Every day across the city, hundreds of the world’s best songwriters sit together and try

their best to write the next big hit that America will be singing along with on the radio.

One of my favorite hit country songs to come down the pike in the last few years

was written by Burton Collins, Joanna Cotten, and Bruce Wallace. It’s a song that artist

Tim McGraw made famous called “How Bad Do You Want It?”

“How bad do you want it?” the song asks. “How bad do you need it?” It then goes

on to ask “Are you eating, sleeping, dreaming with that one thing on your mind? ‘Cause

if you want it all you’ve got to lay it all out on the line.”

The phrase “how bad do you want it?” also serves as the title of a book by Matt

Fitzgerald, a well-respected coach, author, and sports nutritionist. It’s a book about

mental fitness that profiles numerous elite athletes such as ultra-distance runners to

identify their keys to success.

It’s true what Fitzgerald points out when he writes “Rarely do champion endurance

athletes credit their physical capacity for their success. More often, they insist that

their advantage lies not in having more to give but rather in being able to give more

of what they have.”

In actuality, my favorite passage in the book is this: “There is no experience quite

like that of driving yourself to the point of wanting to give up and then not giving up.

In that moment of ‘raw reality,’ as Mark Allen has called it, when something inside

you asks, ‘how bad do you want it? an inner curtain is drawn open, revealing a part

of you that is not seen except in moments of crisis. And when your answer is to keep

pushing, you come away from the trial with the kind of self-knowledge and self-respect

that can’t be bought.”

The question inherently infers that a person must be willing to take some degree of

risk. Answer this question: What risk have you been needing to take? And is anything

going to change in your life unless you take it?

You’ve got to be on fire for success. You’ve got to give a damn. You’ve got to be

intense and intentional. Not just for you but for your employees. Your future success as

a leader is directly tied to your employees’ perspective of how invested you are in this

whole process.

So tell me…“how bad do you want it?”

Drew Ruble

drewruble@gmail.com | Editor | PW News

VOL. 2, NO. 2 | SPRING 2020 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | 3


Great

Eight Pressure Washing and

Exterior Cleaning Industry Trends for 2020

The

BY SAM PILLAR,

CEO, JOBBER

In our 2019 industry trends report, the

core message for the pressure washing businesses

was to master the basics: build an online

presence, automate key processes, and

grow a team.

For some, though, 2019 left them feeling

burned out.

2020 PROMISES

TO BE DIFFERENT.

Lots of business advice is thrown

around, so cut through the noise and focus

on building up your business’s greatest assets:

efficient systems and truly great customer

service. Both will help you spend less

on overhead, attract more of the right customers,

and improve margins.

Over the past year, we’ve interviewed industry

experts and surveyed 20 pressure washing

and exterior cleaning business owners.

Here’s what they told us they’re doing

differently in 2020.

TREND #1:

SYSTEMS

ARE EVERYTHING

A system is simply a set of repeatable

rules or processes that help you get consistent

results over time.

Systems are powerful, help you stay organized,

and help your team work together.

Most importantly, they make you more efficient

and help your results scale, so you get

an exponential return with minimal effort.

In 2020, we’re happy to see more businesses

ditch haphazard processes in favor of

repeatable systems that work.

“You need a process for every single aspect of

the business. Whether it be hiring, screening,

interviews, client management, customer service—

everything needs a good process. For example, we

built a process for employee communication. As a

family business, it’s easy for everybody to be involved

in everything, and I don’t think it’s efficient

or healthy. So we’ve really defined our roles, and I

think it’s de-stressed everyone. We know our lanes,

and we don’t all have to be involved in all of the

challenges.”

– Christine Hodge, Clearview Washing LLC

No area of business should be immune

to systemization. Even the process of building

brand awareness across multiple customer

touch points can be systematized.

“From the moment a customer contacts us, they

are interacting with our brand. Our logo is on the

website, newspaper adverts, online ads, business

cards, work polo shirts, fluorescent jackets, email

footers, invoices, YouTube, and Facebook—everywhere

we have a presence. It is consistent.

Customers are checking reviews of our brand on

Google. Our communication with the customer

is detailed and concise. Before we arrive at their

door, they know what to expect and how we will

do the job. We want them to book us again and to

recommend us to their family and friends.”

– Paul Daly, Founder, and CEO,

Base Window Cleaners

TREND #2:

EFFICIENT

SCHEDULING TAKES

A FRONT SEAT

In our survey of 20 business owners, ‘attracting

more clients’ and ‘efficient scheduling’

tied as the top challenges window cleaning

and pressure washing businesses face.

Inefficient scheduling reduces employee

productivity, frustrates customers, and can

rob you of your focus.

Efficient scheduling, on the other hand,

keeps your employees productive and gives you

more time to focus on building your business.

You can overcome scheduling challenges

in 2020 by using the right tools and a

reliable process.

“Use a calendar or scheduling software religiously.

Lock every appointment in the schedule right now.

If it’s not on the schedule, it’s guaranteed never to

get done.”

– Keith Kalfas, Kalfas Professional Services

“For efficient scheduling, we use a master calendar,

and each crew is color-coded. It is very efficient and

has helped tremendously to stream-line our business.”

– Dave Moerman, Revive Washing

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TREND #3:

BUSINESSES

THAT MEASURE

THEIR MARKETING

EFFORTS WILL SEE

THE MOST GROWTH

In our survey, 80% of respondents said

they get new clients through word of mouth.

Other responses included:

✔ Google My Business (35%)

✔ Direct Mail, Flyers and Lawn Signs (35%)

✔ Website (30%)

✔ Facebook (25%)

✔ HomeAdvisor (10%)

Word of mouth will always be an important

marketing channel for service businesses,

but word of mouth alone won’t help

you scale or reach new markets.

In 2020, we expect to see window cleaning

and pressure washing pros double down

on measurable marketing channels to win

more business.

“The top channels I recommend for attracting new

clients in 2020 are Google Local Services Ads and

Amazon Home Services. When you set up marketing

systems instead of one-off marketing tactics, your

business will grow no matter what you’re doing.”

– Keith Kalfas, Kalfas Professional Services

“The best strategy for getting new leads has been

Google Ads and consistently posting content to our

Google My Business. We receive about ten leads per

day, and five of them heard about us from Google.”

– Dave Moerman, Revive Washing

“The most important thing for small businesses

when it comes to marketing is being found where

people want to find you. You need to make sure you

cover your basics: a Facebook page with the location

info filled in and a Google My Business account

with local information and service areas filled in.

It’s getting harder and harder to be found, and those

are the basics. If you don’t have the basics covered,

you don’t need to do anything else. Don’t hire anyone

to do SEO on your site. Don’t hire anyone to do

paid ads. Start with the basics.”

– Nick Keyko, Director of Marketing, Jobber

TREND #4:

HIRING REMAINS

A CHALLENGE

Hiring the right employees was named

the number one challenge across all industries

in our 2020 home services trends report.

For window cleaning and pressure washing

businesses in particular, two main issues

are hiring out of desperation and poor company

culture.

Because employees often come for the

money and stay for the culture, businesses

need to focus on creating a great culture. This

starts with owners relinquishing some control

and realizing they don’t have to go at it alone.

“A lot of service business owners think they are the

best and have to do all the work. This is a very

limiting mindset and will cap the growth and size

of your business. Hire people who are better at

certain tasks and activities than you are.”

– Dave Moerman, Revive Washing

You also need to make sure you’re hiring

the right employees in the first place.

One way to hire the right staff is to set standards

when you interview.

“You’re only as good as your weakest link. When

we interview, we stress that we want team players.

I used to hear people saying, ‘I don’t want to work

with this guy. I don’t want to work with that

guy.’ I don’t accept that anymore…We set certain

standards that we need our teams to meet, and we

stick to them. I will not tolerate not showing up,

not calling. That’s not even an option anymore.”

– Fred Hodge, Clearview LLC

Another way is to implement a hiring

process.

“We take steps to weed out those who aren’t going

to be a good fit. First, we take resumes and have

an initial phone meeting where I ask them a set

of scripted questions. If they get past me, then I

schedule a face-to-face with Fred. From there, we

go into employee manual training as well as field

training, where they’re out with the crews. This

is something we did not do before, but it’s very

surprising to see how much success we’ve had in

now finding the right people for us.”

– Christine Hodge, Clearview Washing LLC

PRICING

STRATEGIES

FOR SERVICE

BUSINESSES:

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

What are the different pricing strategies for service businesses? How do you

choose the one that’s right for you? Read on to learn almost everything you need

to know with this comprehensive service pricing strategies guide.

There’s more to pricing strategies than simply offering the lowest price to

beat your competitors. In fact, that may be one of the most dangerous pricing

strategies for service businesses, as it almost guarantees lost profits.

The right pricing strategy has to align with your business goals, whether these

are to maximize profitability, ensure your business’ longevity, or grow your customer

base.

■ The Challenges of Choosing

the Right Service Pricing Strategy

Selecting the right pricing strategy for your service business and ultimately

pricing your services is notoriously hard for several reasons:

The sheer number of pricing strategies for service businesses is overwhelming.

How do you know which one is right for your business?

No one job is the same. There are many nuances involved—like the travel

distance to clients, job complexities, etc.— which makes it hard to create accurate

estimates. As a result, you often only know what to charge as the service unfolds.

You have to manage your own insecurities, which may cause you to set low

prices in the hopes of winning the business

■ You Can Overcome Your Pricing Fears

and Get Comfortable with Service Pricing

Strategies

Pricing, like window cleaning, landscaping, or even marketing, is just another

skill you can master with time. So, instead of feeling intimidated or overwhelmed,

arm yourself with the right information from the start and you’ll soon

be a skilled pricing professional.

continued ...

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TheGreat

TREND #5:

MORE BUSINESSES

ARE PRICING

FOR PROFIT

Pricing remains a problem for service

businesses, with many lowballing or pricing

jobs based on what their competition is

charging.

“I believe most home service businesses do not

charge enough, and the problems in the business

result from poorly pricing the job to begin with. We

have set packages made up in Jobber for sizes of

houses for house washing, window and gutter cleaning.

For Christmas lights, we charge by linear feet.

Our systems are accurate about 80% of the time.

For more challenging jobs, having an experienced

person estimate the job in person is a must!”

– Dave Moerman, Revive Washing

The bottom line: you never have to undersell

yourself to win jobs and make a profit.

There are better, smarter, and more

profitable pricing strategies (see related

sidebar), such as packages, that will actually

help your business grow.

“In today’s market, customers like to choose from

packages. Often this gives them all of the context

they need to make a decision right away. But

it also puts the emphasis on value, rather than

features to be haggled over. By laying out a ‘good,

better, best’ option for customers to choose from,

you’ll close more jobs at higher prices, and your

customers will thank you!”

– Curt Kempton, Founder, ResponsiBid

“You shouldn’t be figuring out pricing details on

every job site. Come up with a pricing structure

that you can re-use and modify. Set your price and

don’t second guess your own decisions.”

– Stanley “Dirt Monkey” Genadek, social

media personality

TREND #6:

INVESTING IN

BETTER TOOLS

IS INVESTING IN

YOUR BUSINESS

Certain tools let you work faster and

more efficiently so you can earn more. Investing

in these tools is a no brainer—and

in 2020, we’ll see more businesses follow

this trend.

“In 2020, we will upgrade our equipment to the

highest tech available, which will save us time on

every job. This is a time saving of seven minutes

per operator at each job, which sounds small but

equates to a substantial increase in earnings each

week. We recently started using Jobber to organize

our operations, and we immediately saw an increase

in daily earnings. We drive shorter distances

between customers thanks to route optimization,

and the processes of quoting, scheduling, and

invoicing are really fast.”

– Paul Daly, Founder and CEO, Base Window

Cleaners

“The request → quote → job system for entering

new jobs in Jobber has been a game-changer for

us! We were still old school and doing bids on paper,

so being able to have all the customer requests/

quotes and the jobs we’ve done for clients saved in

one place, is a huge help.”

– Stephen Richardson, aka SteveO the

Window Cleaner, 20/20 Window Cleaning,

social media personality

■ What Are Service Pricing Strategies?

Service pricing strategies refer to the different methods services businesses use to

price their services. It’s a broad term that covers areas like market conditions, variable

costs, margins, and a customer’s ability and willingness to pay for your services.

■ Why Are Pricing Strategies Important?

Pricing strategies are crucial for many reasons:

✔ Choosing the right price has a direct impact on your sales and profits. As you’ll

see, a good pricing strategy doesn’t necessarily mean offering the lowest price.

Instead, it involves setting a price that’s aligned to the value you provide.

✔ Pricing strategies shape your prospects’ view of service quality. For example,

a low price may lead customers to believe that your service quality is poor.

✔ Your pricing strategy is a strategic tool to help you achieve your business’ objectives.

The most common objective is maximizing profit, but you may have

others such as growing market share quickly, edging out the competition, or

building lasting relationships with customers so they’ll continue working with

you for years to come. The best pricing strategy for your business is the one

that aligns with your business objectives.

■ 11 Pricing Strategies for Service

Businesses

There are many different pricing strategies to choose from. Here are 11:

1. Market penetration strategy: Set prices low to grow market share. Then

increase your rates over time as your customer base grows. Admittedly,

this isn’t a common pricing strategy for service businesses, but it can help

you grow your customer base quickly. The big problem with this approach

is that some customers may associate the lower price with an inferior level

of service. You will also have to work a lot harder to cover your costs.

2. Price skimming: The opposite of a market penetration strategy. Here

you set a high price and lower it over time. Again, this isn’t your typical

pricing strategy for a service business. But it may work if you have

something special to offer. The pros are that you’ll maximize your profits

upfront and grow a more sustainable business. The big drawback,

however, is that if you can’t justify the price, you’ll struggle to get your

business off the ground.

3. Premium pricing: Charge higher prices because you have something

that makes you unique. For example, do you offer a warranty or service

guarantee that your competitors do not? Do you use exclusive tools

or technology that make your business easier to work with and deliver

results that stand out?

4. Economy pricing: Set low prices because overheads are low. Your costs

may be low for several reasons. Perhaps you use software to organize

and manage your business instead of hiring an assistant. Or maybe you

have a special arrangement with one of your suppliers which allows you

to get inexpensive supplies.

8 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 2, NO. 2 | SPRING 2020


TheGreat

5. Cost-plus pricing: Calculate

the cost to deliver your services

and add a margin for

a profit. For example, if you

know your time and materials

cost $200, and you want

to make a 20% profit margin,

simply charge $240.

This is a straightforward

pricing strategy, but it can

cost you money because you

may end up setting a lower

price than what customers

are actually willing to pay.

6. Psychological pricing: Prices

based on the psychological

impact they have. For

example, it’s believed that

odd prices like $19.97 are

more attractive than round

numbers like $20.

7. Competitive pricing:

Charge according to what

the competition charges.

While competitors can give

you a good idea of where to

start, remember that your

business is unique. Just because

someone is charging

a specific price doesn’t

mean you should match or

undercut them.

8. Bundled pricing: Also

known as packaged pricing,

this strategy involves

bundling various services

together and charging one

price. Bundled services are

usually cheaper than if

customers were to purchase

each service individually.

If done correctly, this

technique is a great way to

upsell more services and

boost your profits.

continued ...

A LOOK BACK

Jobber’s Business Trends for Window Cleaning

and Pressure Washing Pros in 2019

1. Tailor your sales and marketing approach to your ideal customer

2. Continuously try out and test new strategies and processes

3. Level up your hiring practices to attract the employees you want

4. Change your processes to provide a better service experience

5. Make it easy for potential customers to get in touch via Google

6. Invest in tech, equipment, and expertise that increases efficiency

7. Challenge yourself to create an engaging social media presence

TREND #7:

BETTER CUSTOMER

SERVICE MEANS

A BETTER

BOTTOM LINE

Customer service is vital for any business.

But it’s especially important if you run

a service business. After all, “service” is in

the name.

Your clients can go to any competitor, but

it’s your professionalism, customer service,

and dedication to your clients that will set you

apart and keep customers coming back.

How you present yourself, how you

speak with clients, and how you make them

feel is what ultimately decides if they will

give you the job and want you to return.

In 2020, customer service is nearly synonymous

with ease of use.

Make work requests easy with 24/7 online

booking. Accept multiple payment options

for those who want that convenience.

Make it easy for them to leave a review.

Make the entire service experience effortless

and your customers will reward you

with referrals and repeat business.

“The way people are paying for anything and

everything, including service, is changing. People

want convenient ways to pay. Most millennials

want to pay by credit card. People are looking for a

specific experience—and that experience may change

depending on your customer base, so you need to do

your homework. A good rule of thumb is to automate

your payment process as much as possible and

make it really, really easy for your customers. Your

turnaround time will be faster, and your admin time

will go down. Chasing payments is a lot of work

that’s not adding any value to your business, and it’s

probably frustrating both parties.”

– Darren Wood, Director of Finance

and Operations, Jobber

“Get to know your clients on a more fun level than

just doing the service you provide and collecting

payment. Being personable is huge in the service

business. It can make a huge difference when

someone is deciding between two companies for the

same service.”

– SteveO the Window Cleaner,

20/20 Window Cleaning

“As soon as a crew closes a job on the Jobber app,

the client is texted a link where they can review our

services…The way the world is going, people are

busy. They don’t have time to Google your company

name, find the account, and add a review. They

want everything quick and easy.”

– Dave Moerman, Revive Washing

TREND #8:

BUILDING YOUR

NETWORK

CAN HELP

AVOID BURNOUT

Being a business owner can be tough.

There will be sleepless nights and grueling

days. Plus, knowing that your team and customers

rely on you to think ten steps ahead

can be a heavy burden to carry.

But, you’re not alone. Your team, systems,

and, even in some cases, your business

community are there to support you.

In 2020, stay grounded and focused on

producing exceptional work, but don’t sacrifice

your health and risk burn out. Success

will come. Just be patient—and don’t

be afraid to lean on others.

“We decided to contact all of our competitors in

the area to have a networking meeting with them.

Everyone came out, we ordered some wraps, had a

few drinks, and talked about challenges. These are

direct competitors. It was really nice and something

I would have never thought of because we’ve now

become friends with all of these people. So if

someone can’t do a certain type of job or service,

they call us, and vice versa. If there’s something

that we can’t do, we call them, or we refer them.

If we can’t make it to a certain area on a certain

day, we’ll call one of those competitors. We

realized that you can really find success in making

your competitors your allies because we’ll all win.

There’s enough to go around.”

– Christine Hodge, Clearview Washing LLC

“Things move at the speed of light out here. Yesterday’s

technology can be today’s problem. Build a

team, create systems, start a profit account for your

business, and GIVE THE BEST DAMN CUS-

TOMER SERVICE IN THE INDUSTRY.

BE A LEADER YOUR WHOLE TEAM

CAN FOLLOW!

– Ryaan Tuttle, Best Handyman Boston

VOL. 2, NO. 2 | SPRING 2020 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | 9


TheGreat

CONCLUSION:

2020 IS YOUR YEAR

FOR SUCCESS!

2020 is all about embracing change,

taking control, planning ahead, and focusing

on fantastic customer service and efficient

systems.

Tapping into these eight industry trends

will help you achieve all this.

Just remember that you’re not alone

and can rely on your team, support from

your friends, and fellow entrepreneurs to

achieve success in 2020.

[Editor’s Note: Jobber provides industry-leading

software for growing home service businesses

that helps organize their operations, impress their

customers, and power their growth. Unlike pen and

paper or single feature apps, Jobber replaces daily

operational tasks and duplicate entry with streamlined,

tailored automation.

Sam Pillar is the CEO and co-founder

of Jobber. Throughout his 15-year career

as a software developer, management

consultant, and founder, he has embodied

the entrepreneurial spirit. While working

alongside companies to understand their

problems and build software solutions to

help them move faster, he recognized an opportunity

to improve the inefficient, manual

work being done by these small businesses,

many of which operated within the home

service industry. This led him to found Jobber,

an award-winning SaaS platform that

helps small home services businesses organize

their entire operations, from scheduling

jobs and managing their crews, to invoicing

customers and collecting payments.

Since launching in 2011, businesses using

Jobber have serviced over 10 million people

in more than 43 countries, delivering over

$6 billion annually, and growing, in services

to their customers.

To learn more, visit getjobber.com]

9. Tiered pricing: Offer clients the option of choosing

between different levels of service or packages. In

window cleaning, for example, you can offer a basic

package for $99 (outside cleaning only), a standard

package for $149 (inside and outside), or a deluxe

package for $199 (inside, outside, tracks and sills).

Each package offers incrementally more value, and

the difference in price gives the consumer a chance

to consider what they are willing to spend. You can

also experiment by increasing the lowest tier price to

give the two other tiers a higher perceived value. For

example, if you price the starter package at $129,

and the standard package is $149, clients may choose

the standard package because it’s a small amount of

money for considerably more value. The big advantage

of tiered pricing is that customers now compare

your packages against each other instead of comparing

you against the competition, which improves

your chances of selling your services.

10. Value-based pricing: Charge a flat fee based on

the value (benefits) your service provides. Value, for

example, could mean saving the customer time or

giving them peace of mind. Before quoting a client,

make sure you’re clear on the benefits your service

provides and, in turn, what they’re actually paying

for. For example, parents who use house cleaning

services are not really paying for the service itself,

but the time it frees up so they can spend with their

children. Charging for your services based on value

lets you charge a premium and protects you from

the all-too-common price haggling that occurs with

some customers.

11. Hourly-based pricing: Estimate how long a

job will take and multiply it by your hourly rate.

Although this pricing strategy may be suitable when

starting a business, do use it with caution as it has

its downfalls: You aren’t rewarded for becoming

better and faster at what you do; Clients may feel

you’re purposefully taking your time on a job so

you can earn more; The focus is on the cost of the

service rather than the value, which opens you up

to price haggling.

■ So, What Pricing

Strategy Is Right for

Your Service Business?

The many pricing strategies available can make it hard to

determine which one is right for you. But, you can make the

right decision by considering a few factors.

As you read through the upcoming section, remember

that no strategy is better than the other and will depend on

your unique business needs.

You can also use many of these strategies simultaneously;

you do not have to select one. For example, value and bundled

pricing are a perfect compliment to one another because in both

cases, you’re showing clients that you understand their needs.

■ Factors to Help You

Choose the Right

Service Pricing Strategy

Your overheads. If you have lower overheads, you can

charge more competitive prices. Conversely, if your costs are

high, then competing on price isn’t viable. You’re better off

charging a premium based on a unique differentiator.

Your goals. If you’re a new business looking to get customers

fast, you may opt for a market penetration strategy to

achieve rapid adoption.

How established you are. If you’ve been operating for a few

years and want to grow faster and sustainably, offering packages

is a good option. Providing packages helps you sell more by

turning the intangible (your service) into something tangible (a

product), which makes it easier for customers to buy.

■ The Bottom Line on

Pricing Strategies for

Service Businesses

The word “pricing” instills fear into many small service

business owners—and with good reason.

Pricing services is generally harder than pricing products

as each job is different, and you have to grapple with your own

experience, insecurities, and specifics of each job.

On top of that, pricing is complex with many different

pricing strategies to choose from.

Of course, just because something seems difficult, doesn’t

mean it is or that you shouldn’t try. After all, the more jobs

you bid for, the more you’ll learn about what works and what

doesn’t. It’ll only be a matter of time before you find a pricing

strategy that’s right for your business.

10 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 2, NO. 2 | SPRING 2020


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Cleaning Up

the Worker’s

Compensation

Process

Exploring employee leasing in the high-risk

industry of pressure washing

BY BRETT ARTHUR

um). The real issues start if you are found

worker’s comp policy through the same

to have paid wages under the table or if you

carriers that may have declined you on the

If you saw the title and are still reading…you

probably aren’t reading for leisure.

It’s because you have already had to deal

with obtaining worker’s compensation or

suddenly that sweet new vendor contract is

dangling out there and requiring proof of it.

Either way your eyes are on the right article.

I would like to ask a question. What did

it feel like and look like when you started

your business? I advise business owners to

reflect back to that point because you will

remember the exciting points about getting

started, but also gain awareness of

the painful points throughout the process.

Those painful points are usually the things

that we weren’t taught in school to prepare

us for business ownership. I’m confident it

includes the process of how to obtain worker’s

compensation in a high-risk industry

like pressure washing because it just isn’t

normally on the forefront of the mind.

Let’s start with some tips and insight on

things you should know ahead of time.

Be honest and accurate

with your estimated annual

payroll.

Buddies in the industry will tell you to

estimate lower and the premium will be

lower. This can be true if you are able to

obtain your own worker’s comp policy. Your

policy would be in your business name, but

so would your required yearly audit. If you

underestimate the payroll and report more,

you will owe a lump sum check for unpaid

or undisclosed premium (PEO/Employee

Leasing policies are pay-as-you-go premi-

over-inflated the annual payroll estimates

to obtain coverage easier as a “bigger account”.

You can be fined, face litigation,

termed for cancellation, or end up paying

more due to over anticipating. If you are

new in business or have had no prior coverage…it

is going to be extremely difficult

to find your own standard worker’s

comp policy. If you pay great wages

and have more than 10 employees,

it may be impossible. So, what do

you do now?

Introducing the PEO (Professional

Employer Organization) arrangement also

known as Employee Leasing.

This is the most likely destination to get

affordable coverage in place as a pressure

washing company. If you step foot on a

roof…it’s almost guaranteed. Don’t worry

though, many would agree that it is the

best option for growth, efficiency, and time

management of their businesses.

A PEO is an organization that takes

out a very large high deductible master

standard market. They look at the same

quoting information that your insurance

agent would (business info, payroll estimates,

class codes/job duties, number of

employees, number of claims, if any, prior

coverage, etc.). They use underwriters, who

could also double as private investigators,

to conclude if your business is worth the

risk versus the premium. This is based on

industry claims trends, actuaries, and social

media pages.

Yes! I said social media pages! Common

mistakes are using stock website photos on

your page showing someone on a roof if

you don’t do roof cleaning (expensive WC

code!). Or posting pictures of your employees

showing their killer biceps off to the

camera while on the ladder. These things

happen more often than you might think.

Sure the photo looks cool, man. Go ahead

and show it to the other guys on the crew

or your personal friends; nthen do yourself

a favor and save it in your personal gallery

rather than a page that blueprints your

12 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 2, NO. 2 | SPRING 2020


usiness. Think about it.

PEO’s can discount from state rates under

their own policy, unlike a standard work

comp policy. A PEO also provides you coverage

on a pay-as-you-go basis. This means

two things.

1. NO AUDIT RISK!!!

2. MORE CASH FLOW, BABY!

They process and deliver your payroll

and handle the payroll tax filings/w-2 issuance

on your behalf in a co-employment

arrangement. Essentially, your employees

are your employees, you maintain operational

control, just with taxes filed under

their FEIN number.

Remember that employee that was

showing off the guns on the ladder?

Let’s say he decides to now become a “jerk

employee.” How would you handle the situation

without putting yourself or business

at risk of a lawsuit?

Don’t worry! The PEO arrangement

includes human resources help. You have

access to a team of human resource gurus

and a team of lawyers that can provide you

with the appropriate steps to take in order

to handle any situation in your best interest.

Pretty good right?! Some PEO’s even

offer Employment Practices Liability Insurance

(EPLI). They offer it typically at a rate

of 99-cents per employee per week. This

protects the employer against claims made

by employees for wrongful termination, discrimination,

or sexual harassment.

I’ve explained what to expect, some

things to be aware of, and how a PEO is most

likely the best/easiest way to obtain coverage

for your business. So, how do you know which

one to go to and where to find them?

Your independent insurance agent is a

great start. They most likely won’t be able

to place you through their standard markets

but may already work with a PEO Brokerage

to help them in that scenario.

Your agent would still be the face of

your policy. Agents utilize a PEO Broker’s

help in navigating the PEO space.

Your best option would be to contact

a PEO Brokerage directly. The top brokerages

have access to shopping your rates

through many PEO companies rather than

submitting info to each one separately.

They have established relationships with

the top PEO’s allowing for heavier discount

abilities based on the volume pushed.

Finally, do your research and due diligence

on reviews. Have a discussion with

them. Make sure they are knowledgeable in

their craft. A good broker will shop it every

few years to keep your rates honest.

[Editor’s Note: Brett Arthur help consults

with pressure washing companies on

their best options for worker’s comp. He’s a

PEO Broker and works on the owner’s behalf

to shop the PEO (pay as you go) market,

which is generally the only option for

the industry other than the individual state

funds. He can help provide a means for best

rates, keeping current markets honest on

price, and providing for help with HR and

payroll processing with NO AUDIT RISK.

Contact him for insights or tips on what the

insurance carriers look for or provide answers

on specific situations that you may be

currently facing.

The POWER of :

• Increased profits and knowledge through free benchmarking for CETA Members.

• CETA Annual Convention with Tradeshow to socialize, learn and stay informed.

• Certifications for Distributors.

• CPC100 Performance Standard for Manufacturers Equipment.

• Use of CETA Logos, and CPC100 Performance Standards Logo, if certified.

• Access to leasing programs with discounted rates.

• Access to discounted shipping rates.

• Networking potential.

• CETA newsletter - Access and ability to contribute.

• Lost & stolen equipment alerts.

• Scholarships available for CETA member’s family and employees.

• Credit card processing discount program.

• - Education for Distributors.

Not a CETA Member, but want to be?

Contact the CETA Office today at 800-441-0111,

or visit ceta.org for a Member Application!

The CETA Technical Committee reviews, clarifies and interprets

technical, safety and regulatory issues impacting the pressure

washer industry. Changes the Industry is facing in 2020 and

beyond, changes to the CETA Performance Standard, CETA Prop

65 and deadline on UL60335-2-79. CETA understands the

frustrations its members face when it comes to finding correct

answers. To ease that frustration, members have access to the

Technical Committee. This information is distributed to CETA

members through various ways throughout the year, including:

• Annually revised strategic plans.

• Annual Trade Show meetings.

• Special Member alerts via website postings, email or letters.

• Phone or written correspondence as requested to the CETA office.

• Addresses current issues, such as COVID-19

This is your Industry CETA is working for.

Help support it by becoming

a CETA Member today!

www.ceta.org | 800-441-0111 | info@ceta.org

VOL. 2, NO. 2 | SPRING 2020 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | 13


Business

Lending

101

Any firm

can apply

for business

financing,

no matter

how big or

how small

BY BRYAN CROCKETT

Business lending is similar to a personal

loan, but is specifically designed for business

use.

With a business loan, your business entity

is lent a certain sum of money over a period

of years, and the finance charges and

monthly payments are fixed over the term.

Some business lenders offer access to

short-term finance. This is usually to help

borrowers finance for an immediate need

without the burden of long-term financing,

though short-term loans typically feature

higher interest rates than regular loans.

In many cases, short-term loans are

used to help a business build up inventory

or raise capital when temporary deficiencies

in funding occur.

For example, if a business needs to meet

expenses or payroll while waiting on clients

to pay invoices, a short-term financing option

may help the business acquire the capital

needed to make expenses when it has

the means or ability to repay the loan within

a short period of time.

Others will allow you to borrow larger

sums over a longer period.

SO, WHAT ARE

THE BENEFITS OF

BUSINESS LENDING?

Business lending can help with immediate

cashflow needs but can also help support

the entity over a longer period of time.

It can be a smart business decision to finance

capital purchases, leaving cash in the

bank for other items which may be harder

to finance, or come up unexpectedly (marketing

expenses, payroll, etc.)

Financing with a business lender that

does not also report the transaction as personal

debt can be important.

By making sure your business loan is

structured this way your personal borrowing

power will remain intact so that your ability to

take care of personal items (refinance mortgage,

personal auto purchases, etc.) will not

be hindered by business debt that would otherwise

show on your personal credit report.

There can be additional tax advantages

for your business by financing with a business

lender, and the tax benefits can be different

based upon the overall structure of

the finance terms.

Some types of business lenders will

work with you on how much you want to

borrow and for how long, trying to meet

any specific payment targets or upfront cost

targets you have.

Who can apply for a business loan?

Any firm can apply for business financing,

no matter how big or how small.

Crucially, what you need to realize is

that in the uncertain economic climate, it

has grown a lot harder for businesses to get

accepted for credit.

Some lenders may stipulate that you have

at least two years of filed tax returns, although

certain lenders are happy to lend to businesses

with less than two years’ history.

Some lenders specialize in financing

for specific business industries; it may be

helpful to find a lender that has in depth

knowledge of the industry your business

services, thus allowing the best types of finance

structures.

Editor’s Note: Aztec Financial specializes in financing options, Equipment Credit Line programs, and other benefits of financing for pressure washers, as well as tax write-offs specific to

the industry. Crockett is national account manager for Aztec Financial, which specializes in financing options, Equipment Credit Line programs, and other benefits of financing for pressure

washers, as well as tax write-offs specific to the industry. To reach Aztec with additional questions, business financing, or to get set up on an equipment credit line for future purchases, call

1-800-644-9537, email info@aztecfinancial.com, or visit www.aztecfinancial.com.]

14 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 2, NO. 2 | SPRING 2020


INDUSTRY

DIRT

A look around the cleaning equipment

world for news and notes of interest

Good Representation

Christy Turner of Etowah Chemical was

named Ambassador of the Year by The Chamber

of Gadsden & Etowah County at its 107th annual

meeting and awards luncheon in 2019.

Etowah Chemical Sales & Service was established

in 1980 in Gadsden with five employees.

Since that time, the company has opened 5 branches

located in Birmingham, AL, Mobile, AL, Chattanooga,

TN, Knoxville, TN, and Atlanta, GA.,

and has grown to a 60-employee company.

Etowah Chemical carries a board line of

cleaning products and cleaning equipment, industrial

high-pressure washers from 2 gpm to 30 gpm

with pressure up 6000 psi, and drive through truck

washes, among other products.

The Chamber promotes Gadsden as a place to

launch and grow small businesses. It recently implemented

a five-year economic development plan

called “Partnering for Prosperity.” That plan focuses

on four key sectors — Business-Driven Talent

Development, Partnerships with Public Education,

Existing Business Growth and Retention and Entrepreneurship,

Innovation and Incubation — that

were identified by the local business community.

The Chamber’s goal is to attract $1 million from

local investors to work on those sectors. Upcoming

initiatives include a co-working space (basically a

shared workplace for workers from different companies);

a downtown incubator for small businesses

to help fledgling entrepreneurs get started; a Small

Business Week designed to bring like-minded individuals

together; and a search for solutions to food

insecurity, especially for children after school and

on weekends.

20 Years of Taking

it to the Streets

Partners

with Patriots

Throughout calendar year 2019, Plymouth, Michigan-based Vortexx Pressure Washers offered a

“Military and First Responder Appreciation Program” supporting those who serve, or have served, in

the United States military, or as a Police Officer, Firefighter, or EMS/Paramedic.

Through this program, those active or non-active personnel received a discount off the list price for

any single Vortexx Pressure Washer and associated accessories.

In 2019, Taginator and Tagaway graffiti removal products

celebrated 20 years in business. For two decades, countless government

administrations, and private organizations have turned

to Taginator and Tagaway graffiti removal products to restore

surface materials which have been defaced by vandalism.

Not only does vandalism decrease the quality of life in a community,

but constant cleanings are also an expensive, yet necessary

burden property owners must manage. Whether it’s spray paint

or permanent marker, there’s no shortage of graffiti tagged across

towns and establishments nationwide.

Taginator and Tagaway products are eco-friendly graffiti removal

solutions to erase graffiti and permanent markings without

causing harm to the surface of building materials. Both products

work in hot or cold environments for year-round graffiti removal.

Visit www.taginator.com for more information.

16 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 2, NO. 2 | SPRING 2020


Send your company news and press releases to drewruble@gmail.com

Innovating the Future of Sealing

After years of rigorous field testing

with a number of chemical companies,

Seal ‘n Lock System Corp. of Odessa,

introduced its ‘All In One Day’ process

and environmentally safe products. Using

the Seal ‘n Lock process and products,

pavers can be pressure washed,

joints sanded, and two coats of sealer

can be applied in the same day with no

down time and no chance of the pavers

turning white. The sealing industry

is now able to work all year round in a

healthy environment while completing the job ‘All In

One Day.’

Richard Colletti, President of Seal ‘n Lock System

Corp. and innovator of the Seal ‘n Lock System recognized

the need or water-based products with low VOC’s

as an alternative to solvent-based products, thus, generating

a new technology which is the Seal ‘n Lock System.

“We learned early, through our experience in the

brick paver cleaning and sealing business, that there was

a real need for a better way of doing the job,” Colletti

said. “We began developing a process with compatibly

designed sealers that would reap numerous benefits –

not just for our business and for our customers, but for

our health and the environment as well. It was time to

change the concrete paver cleaning and sealing industry.”

Pavers are a lifetime investment and, as such, manufacturers

and installers get only one chance to sell or

install their respective products. Once installed, protecting

this lifetime investment requires regular maintenance.

This need gave birth to the cleaning and sealing

industry, which continues to grow year after year. Those

in this industry have an exciting opportunity to sustain

a lucrative business simply by enhancing and prolonging

the life of pavers.

The current method of cleaning and sealing pavers

is cumbersome at best. Most types of sealers require

2-5 days to complete the job, depending on weather

and drainage conditions. Pressure washing is performed

first, the pavers must be completely dry, then the joints

are re-sanded, and solvent-based acrylic sealers can be

applied. Having to depend on weather, results in the

loss of time, and time is money.

This is the leading contributor to a

high failure rate in the solvent-based

acrylic sealer’s business.

“I know this from personal experience;

my business certainly

suffered from using solvent-based

acrylic sealers,” Colletti said. “I ran

from one job site to another several

times to determine if a paver area

was dry enough to be sealed. Then

I would re-sand the joints, hoping

that the sand wouldn’t coagulate from the moisture in

the spacer joints, which would require my going back yet

another day. Even after insuring that the surface was dry

enough, I still incurred problems with the pavers turning

white in certain areas due to poor drainage. Too much

down time!

“That’s when I decided to step in and create a new

process with unique water-based sealers that could be

applied immediately after pressure washing and re-sanding,

leaving no chance of the pavers turning white.

We started out by examining some of the water-based

sealers available in the marketplace. We applied

one such product on a 550 sq. ft. pool deck area.

The total cost for the sealer was impractical (about $400)

and we lost money. Worse than that, some of the pavers

still turned white while others lacked a luster.

“We then began researching companies in Germany

(where paver manufacturing originated) and working with

chemical companies that produce chemicals for the cementitious

industry. I explained the paver sealing conditions

that exist in the United States and that our sealers would

need to leave sand joints stabilized, provide a protective

barrier and enhance the pavers with a long lasting ‘luster,’

or a ‘wet look.’

“Now, with our Seal ‘n Lock System, and our unique

Paver Protection Products, I am able to work all year

round in a healthy environment and complete the job

“all in one day” – with no worries!

Visit www.sealnlock.com for

more information.

VOL. 2, NO. 2 | SPRING 2020 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | 17


INDUSTRY

DIRT

On the Pulse

ProPulse was chosen to supply hydraulic

hose assemblies to John Deere’s operations

at multiple sites. ProPulse is a supplier of

high-pressure hose assemblies based in Peosta,

Iowa (Dubuque County).

“To better serve an ever more sophisticated

client base, our team has been focused

for five years on the implementation of a very

well-defined strategic plan and the development

of world class manufacturing, quality

and logistical systems,” stated Jeff Theis, president

and managing partner, in a press release.

“New business is the reward for all that

hard work and we are very proud and pleased

to be in prestigious company as we continue

to serve our new customer, John Deere.”

ProPulse manufactures and assembles

thermoplastic and wire braided rubber hydraulic

hose assemblies. Founded in 1998,

ProPulse specializes in supplying OEM production

lines for world class companies that

manufacture machinery and equipment in

the construction, forestry, agriculture, cleaning,

and transportation fields.

Road 2 Recovery

CETA/PWNA

co-conference set

for Nevada in 2020

Again in 2020, the Cleaning Equipment

Trade Association (CETA) and the Power

Washers of North America (PWNA) will

co-locate their annual meeting.

In 2020, the co-location will happen October

22-25 in “the biggest little city in America,”

Reno, Nevada. The 2020 event will

represent the third straight year the two organizations

will co-locate their annual meetings.

Both CETA and PWNA share a common

goal of promoting the industry, and

moving it forward. Co-located shows allow

members of both associations greater networking

opportunities and business opportunities.

Bringing together manufacturers,

distributors, and contractors at a single venue

has proven to be an incredible catalyst

for advancing the entire industry.

PowerClean 2020 will feature the industry’s

leading exhibitors, equipment training,

seminars, networking, and fun. While both associations

will remain independent and have

events on their own, CETA and PWNA feel

that these two great associations can combine

efforts to work towards a common

goal: Two Teams. One Vision. Advancing

the industry forward.

Kärcher North America, a subsidiary

of Alfred Kärcher SE & Co. KG – the

global leader in cleaning technology – announced

a partnership with Road 2 Recovery,

a non-profit organization founded

to help AMA licensed professional motocross/supercross

athletes with financial assistance

if they sustain debilitating injuries.

“We are excited to be a part of this

admirable organization that does so much

good for these amazing athletes,” stated

James Gordon, EVP for Retail, Kärcher

North America. “Supporting our communities

is a core value for Kärcher and we

are proud to be a part of this great motorsport

community.”

Lori Armistead, Director of PR and Marketing

for Road 2 Recovery, stated that Road

2 Recovery was excited to team up with an

industry-leading company like Kärcher.

“This partnership gives the consumer

a chance to get a quality product and

support the athletes they love at the same

time,” she stated. “A percentage of each

Kärcher product purchased using the code

goes directly to R2R to help support our

mission. It’s a win-win for all and we are

grateful for the opportunity.”

On qualifying Kärcher Home & Garden

product purchases, 20% of the purchase

price will be donated to the Road

2 Recovery Foundation. To qualify, visit

Kaercher.com/us, add any Home & Garden

products to the shopping cart, and enter

code R2R2020 at checkout. With the

code, 20% of the purchase (before taxes)

will be donated to the Road 2 Recovery

Foundation, and the customer will also receive

a 10% discount on the order.

Kärcher is the world’s leading provider

of cleaning technology. The family owned

enterprise employs more than 13,000

people in 70 countries and more than

120 subsidiaries. Kärcher Region North

America is one of the largest subsidiaries

of the Kärcher Group, with over 1,000

employees. In the United States, Kärcher

produces and distributes products and

services under the brands Kärcher, Windsor

Kärcher Group, Landa, Hotsy, Water

Maze, Spraymart, and Cuda Kärcher

Group. The company’s solutions serve customers’

cleaning needs in an economical

and environmentally friendly manner.

The Road 2 Recovery Foundation is a

501 (C) (3) non-profit organization founded

to help AMA licensed professional

motocross/supercross and action sport

athletes with financial assistance if they

sustain debilitating injury as well as providing

motivational, emotional, and spiritual

support to these individuals and their families.

Learn more at Road2Recovery.com.

18 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 2, NO. 2 | SPRING 2020


What’s Your

Your brand should promote your business,

connect with your customer base, and

differentiate you in the market

BY DEBRA GORGOS

According to Wikipedia, the idea of a

brand has some pretty innocuous roots.

“Initially, livestock branding was adopted

to differentiate one person’s cattle from

another's by means of a distinctive symbol

burned into the animal’s skin with a hot

branding iron.” You know: Cowboys. Right

to Property. The Wild West.

Eventually, the term was extended to

mean “a strategic personality for a product

or company, so that ‘brand’ now suggests

the values and promises that a consumer

may perceive and buy into.”

Think your customers won’t buy into it?

Think your rural market is protected from

the Starbucks-sipping, Target-addicted, iPhone-blinded

masses? Think brand doesn’t apply

to a small business with only one location?

Think again.

Brands influence loyalty.

✔ 80% of your company’s future revenue

will come from 20% of your current

customers. This statistic applies

to rural *and* urban markets.

✔ 58% of people buy from the stores

and brands whose loyalty programs

they belong to at least once a month.

Brands influence spending habits.

✔ 38 percent of moms are more likely

to buy from brands their friends

“like” on Facebook).

Brand perception starts right away.

✔ 59 percent of consumers say their

decision of when a brand becomes

a favorite of theirs occurs right after

their first purchase.

Brands encourage your customers to

go out and get you more customers.

✔ Brands that inspire a higher emotional

intensity receive three times as

much WOM as less emotionally-connected

brands.

(Sources: www.forbes.com, www.invespcro.com)

So, understanding the importance of

a brand (and with the caveat that creating

one is a fairly inexpensive and harmless

process), let’s move on to the big stuff:

SET BRANDS TO STUN:

DEFINING YOUR BRAND

The first step in defining your brand is

deciding if you already have one, if you need

to improve upon it, or if you need to create it.

Depending on the answers to these

questions, you might decide your business

is any or all of the following:

✔ Friendly

✔ High-quality

✔ Luxury

✔ Budget-friendly

✔ Speedy

✔ Clean

✔ Safe/secure

✔ Convenient

✔ Modern

Focus on one or two of these qualities (or

whatever else you might come up with) to focus

your brand identity and direct your future

growth. Remember: Your brand will go everywhere.

It will permeate all areas of your

business; from how you answer the phone

and sign-off on emails -- to how your employees

dress and the signage at your location.

Not only will your

brand go everywhere,

it will have a lot to say.

“Your brand character

should promote your business,

connect with your customer base and differentiate

you in the market,” according to

Dan Einzig of Mystery, a brand development

company based in the U.K. “When

building your brand, think of it as a person,”

Einzig advises. “Every one of us is an individual

whose character is made up of beliefs,

values and purposes that define who we are

and who we connect with. Our personality

determines how we behave in different situations,

how we dress and what we say. Of

course for people it's intuitive and it's rare

that you even consider what your own character

is, but when you're building a brand it's

vital to have that understanding.”

Finally, you should be prepared to stay

true to your brand. If your mission is to be

the friendliest and most cost-efficient pressure

washer, then you -- and your employees

-- had better be prepared to deliver on

it during every single customer interaction.

VOL. 2, NO. 2 | SPRING 2020 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | 19


PASS ON WHAT

YOU HAVE

LEARNED

Introduction by Drew Ruble

INTERVIEW LIGHTLY EDITED AND PRESENTED BY

DREW RUBLE

There’s a “guru” explosion happening in the exterior cleaning

services industry.

Scads of “thousand-aires,” or people who have built their pressure

wash companies (impressively) to the half a million-dollar range are

now suddenly calling themselves coaches, mentors, and gurus and offering

up their services as consultants to smaller pressure washers in an

Pass On What

You Have Learned...

effort to help them grow (for a price, of course).

Brandon Vaughn is a real guru in the pressure wash space.

Vaughn built his former company, Pacific Northwest-based All

Clean, from a very small service company with zero employees to

70 employees and went from $8,000 per month in revenue to almost

$500,000 per month in less than six seasons.

Simply stated, there is a stark difference between the kind of advice

you get from someone like Vaughn, who built his company to

the seven-figure level, and what you are likely to get from this explo-

Pressure sion of gurus who built wash their companies industry to the $400,000, $500,000, guru Brandon Vaughn teaches fellow

or even $600,000 level. Financially and operationally speaking, it’s

entrepreneurs just next-level stuff. how to Conquer their exterior cleaning businesses

Vaughn, who was awarded the 2017 S.B.A Small Business Person

of the Year for the state of Oregon, now helps small business

owners in the exterior service industry systemize their companies

so they can spend more time doing what matters most in their lives.

Vaughn is a formidable force in America’s exterior cleaning industry

based on the amount of people he has influence over and the people

in his Conquer program. Many of his students are rapidly approaching

his lofty status.

Most people started their business at zero. They envision massive

growth in their small business. Is it really doable? Vaughn is proof

positive that it can be done.

The following is a lightly edited transcript of an interview Vaughn

granted to Pressure Wash News, organized and presented in Vaughn’s

own words by editor Drew Ruble.

20 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 2, NO. 2 | SPRING 2020


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BRANDON VAUGHN

My father started a window cleaning

company in 1978. Pretty much the only

thing that he did was cleaning glass. He

was face to glass for 33 years. It was pretty

much him and a helper for 33 years. He

did about $100,000 a year.

I actually started working full-time

with him at the age of 13. I homeschooled

through high school and worked full-time

with him. But I remember going with my

dad when I was like eight or nine years old

and he would give me a nickel for every

screen that I would wash. Then he would

pay me to fold towels -- a quarter to fold all

the towels for his business.

My siblings all worked with my dad at

some point over the course of time too. It

was really a family business. I grew up with

that being my dad’s job my whole life so

I’ve been around the industry a long time

from that perspective.

My brother, he spun off and started

doing window tinting. My sister spun off

and did window treatments -- blinds and

shutters and that type of thing. So we still

kind of make jokes that we are all still in

the window business, all of us as a family.

The day I turned eighteen, I went out

and got my own business license to just start

doing some of my own jobs on the side. My

dad wanted to pay me as a 1099 subcontractor

rather than an employee, so he encouraged

me and pushed me to go out and

get my own business license so I could take

some jobs on the weekends that he could legally

pay me as a 1099 contractor.

I caught the itch to be a business owner

from that point moving forward. I moved

from there into a construction business

after that and really I didn’t get back involved

with my dad in the cleaning side of

the business until about 2011/2012 when

my dad was diagnosed with heart disease.

So I actually left the cleaning business, had

a construction company, bankrupted that,

(which, if you want to start a business in

the construction industry, I recommend

not doing it right before a huge economic

downturn in the construction industry,

which is what I did in 2005 and 2006).

Then I went and actually got a corporate

job for a time, which was actually really

22 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 2, NO. 2 | SPRING 2020


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PASS ON WHAT

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a powerful learning lesson seeing how a

much, much larger company does business

-- some of their systems and processes --

and also learn some financial understanding

I needed.

Then, like I said, in 2011 my dad was

diagnosed with heart disease…He was told

he couldn’t do any physical work anymore,

so that’s when I kind of stepped back into

the business really to help out my dad out

because they had no savings, they had no

retirement, they had no back-up plan…

So I bought the business from my dad at a

pretty high rate. I bought it on a monthly

basis where I just basically gave him three

thousand bucks a month for life – those

were basically the terms so that he could

retire and him and my mom did not have

to worry about working anymore. Of

course, the business, at its size, it couldn’t

really sustain that. So that’s when I kind of

figured that I’d have to set out to grow the

business to be able to not only sustain them

but also sustain me and my family too.

It gave me a unique perspective. I lived

that first-hand witnessing of my dad, who

in essence had a “bus factor” of one --

meaning if he got hit metaphorically or realistically

by a bus, the business would completely

shut down. Seeing how that affected

him and realizing how if you fall off a roof

or something happens to you, something

unexpected…when your whole business is

dependent upon you as the owner and you

have an issue like that, it’s game over. That

actually terrified me in a way to make sure

that I didn’t repeat that same path where

I had a little bit more sustainability. I had

a team. I wanted to pull myself out of the

field. I wanted to build a business. I think

the hard part is that a lot of small business

owners look at their business and conclude

that they are the business. That is their

identity when in reality the business is its

own entity. It’s its own thing. So that was

a big switch going off in my brain kind of

seeing this whole thing go down first hand

and steering me on how I wanted to design

the business moving forward.

It was tough. It took a lot of work to

automate the business. I’ll give you a prime

example of the journey. My dad had a huge

paper calendar. Every client and customer

-- everything -- was on that paper calendar.

All the jobs, all the job notes. I remember

being so terrified that we had in this booklet

our whole lives. A whole business was

in this paper booklet. And there wasn’t any

backup of that whatsoever. But my dad

had all that information in his head. That

was the backup. So if you asked him about

Nancy Jackson, he would say ‘oh yeah,

Nancy, we do this on her house, this is the

price, we have to start in the back.’ All of

the information was in his brain so therefore

no one in fact could do it as well as him

because he had all that information locked

up inside of his own skull! So the first thing

we had to do was we had to extract all that

information out of his brain and put it into

a format to where anyone could have access

to it. We started digitizing all that stuff and

having really detailed notes. It took time. It

took a full year before we were really able

to extract all that information about every

single one of our clients and all those little

nuances that were important to the client

and made us successful. Then we actually

could start bringing new people in from the

outside and they could read the note and

they could say ‘oh, okay, when we start on

this job, we want to make sure we start on

the back on this corner, we want to make

sure we get there by such-and-such a time,

we have to watch out for the dog Fluffy because

Fluffy can’t get out of the back’ and

all of that information that was important

to the client was finally available to new

people in a simplified way. That was really

the creation of our first system and kind of

opened my eyes to saying ‘okay, what else

can we streamline and systemize to where

it doesn’t require me as the owner to know

this information or consult my dad and

continued ...

24 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 2, NO. 2 | SPRING 2020


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PASS ON WHAT

YOU HAVE

LEARNED

where I can make it available to a team, to

my employees.’

The very first year that I bought the

business, one of the first things I did was I

went out and bought a pressure washer to

expand the business, the scope, to grow at

the rate I needed to grow it. It was a very

cheap pressure washer. I bought it at Home

Depot. I had no idea what a surface cleaner

was, I had no idea what a turbo nozzle

was, I had no idea what down streaming or

X jetting was, I actually didn’t even know

there were organizations like the Pressure

Washers of North America or that there

was education even available for this kind

of stuff. So really I just kind of got started,

went out and got some equipment, had

very, very humble beginnings.

I remember my first roof cleaning setup

that I bought was this little custom package

that I bought from someone on the other

side of the country that was like a gallon

and a half per minute electric pump that

ran on this tiny little battery and I cleaned

roofs using this little gallon and a half

pump. It was ridiculous and excruciating.

It took me forever to do this stuff. I had to

mix chemicals in a big 55-gallon drum with

a stick, swirling it around and dropping a

drop hose in there. So I didn’t really come

out swinging with like the big skids and the

big equipment because frankly I couldn’t

afford them but also because I didn’t even

know they existed or what the benefit of

those types of systems would be.

Nevertheless, as soon as we started adding

on more services, that’s really when the

business started to grow and it was starting

to become a little bit more clear what we

wanted the future the business to look like.

If I was to break down a few of my

most important things for how I grew the

business, I’d say the first one was having

a really, really clear goal-setting plan. You

know, you can’t be reactive when it comes

to growth…You have to be super intentional

with it…From Day One, I charted

a five-year growth plan. It was a tiny little

plan – something like we go from $100,000

to $250,000 over the course of five years. I

just didn’t know what I didn’t know at the

time. I didn’t know it was possible to grow

faster than that. But when I got that first

year under my belt, I actually went and

connected with [people in the industry],

did my first educational events, and really

kind of saw what was possible.

When I saw companies that had 30

trucks in their fleet, it kind of blew my mind.

Understanding that something like that was

actually possible was crucial. I think really

one of the first steps toward true success

was my belief had to get shattered that it

was even possible to do it and to adopt the

belief that if someone else could do it, why

couldn’t I? That was a big thing that held

me back. So I started getting mentorship, I

started getting coaching, and really tried to

force myself to have accountability towards

achieving those goals.

I started setting out a game plan. I asked

myself ‘if we’re going to double this next

year, what would that look like?’ Then I started

reverse engineering it from the end goal

step by step on how theoretically I would get

there. How many trucks do I have to buy

this year? When would I have to buy them?

When would I have to hire my employees?

How much money would I have to spend on

marketing in order to get that? How many

new jobs would I have to get? How many

new customers? How many doors would I

have to knock on? How many phone calls

would I have to make? How many Chamber

of Commerce meetings would I have to go

to? I’m talking really, really granular, stepby-step,

how I would do it.

Then I just turned it over to an actual

calendar where I said, ‘okay, this is what I

have to do every single month, these are my

tasks that I have to do this month,’ and then

actually met with a coach on a monthly basis

to sit down and tell her what my goals

were. Then we would put a plan in place to

make sure that they happened. I’d go and

I’d do them and I’d come back and I’d meet

with her the following month to see if we

achieved them and discuss what was next.

That small progression is really what

made it feel very possible to be able to grow

as fast as we did. At one point it kind of

felt like if I wrote it down on a piece of

paper, it was going to happen, and I know

it’s going to happen if I actually meet with

someone on a regular basis that’s holding

me accountable to actually make it happen.

So, the first step is belief, the second

step is writing down really clear goals, and

the third step is having someone else hold

you accountable to those goals.

It was not all sunshine and roses as the

company grew. Honestly, it’s just how resilient

are you to getting kicked in the teeth

and getting some lumps and bumps and

bruises along the way.

Business owners get burned when an employee

leaves and starts their own business, or

an employee leaves, or damages stuff, or sues

them, or whatever ends up happening that

is possible with employees; and immediately

the owner reverts back to the idea that their

lives and business were simpler and easier

when it was just them working alone…that

there are no good employees, and that no

one wants to work. They just prejudicially

blame all employees, prejudicially blame an

entire generation as to the reasons why they

can’t be successful when in reality it’s just

continued ...

26 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 2, NO. 2 | SPRING 2020


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PASS ON WHAT

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because they aren’t resilient and they can’t

take the lumps bumps and bruises of being

in business. They don’t have thick skin and

they’re unwilling to learn how to motivate

this newer generation of employees.

That was certainly the case with me. At

one point in 2015, I had over half of my

employees quit within 30 days of each of

each other while we were booked out solid

for two months in the middle of our busy

season. That was a devastating blow. I had

a full-blown panic attack. I curled up in a

ball on the couch. I cried. I was hyperventilating.

I thought I was going to die. I told

my wife ‘employees suck.’ I was done.

It wasn’t by pure happenstance. There

were several reasons as to why it kind of led

to that path. The previous year, my brother,

who was working for me at the time, he

took his life. It was very unexpected. It was

a hard blow to our entire family. It was a

hard blow to the business. It was hard on

the employees. It was hard on everyone. I

kind of disconnected from the company

and just stopped really caring about any of

my guys and about the business. About seven

or eight months after that is when all of

this happened with employee departures.

I’m not saying that was the reason why everyone

quit; but it definitely was a contributing

factor to have a CEO just suddenly

not really care anymore about the employees

and about the business.

That was one of those times where I had

to kind of pull myself up and recognize that

I was not caring about my team and I wasn’t

focusing on their education and dreams

and personal goals. One really eye-opening

moment for me was when one of the guys

who quit said ‘Brandon, I know exactly how

much money you make. You make $1,600

a day in production and I only get paid

$200 of that, therefore you are taking home

$1,400 every single day -- times every crew

that we have. You’re just raking in the money

and I’m the one that’s doing all the work.’

Now, any business owner who hears that will

probably laugh their heads off because they

know it doesn’t even remotely work that way.

So I started realizing that I wasn’t teaching

my employees how the business worked and

how it runs. That led to me teaching our employees

how to read a profit-loss. We would

hand out profit-loss sheets to all of our employees

and teach them how to read it, teach

them how they could impact the business,

teach them where their budget line was for

their pay, and see all the other expenses of

the company. Then we just really started obsessing

and focusing on educating our crew

members and our employees as if they were

our family, including teaching them how to

do a household family budget, how to improve

their credit score, how to build a different

skill sets that maybe they were more

passionate about than cleaning stuff, and

provide them with free education on that

side. Out of this tragedy and my subsequent

auto-pilot approach to running a business,

we just really focused and went deep on

creating an amazing company culture that

became a competitive differentiator for us

as a company as to why employees would

want to come work for us. That changed it

to where we had to work a lot less hard to

try to get people coming to us for employment.

Instead, we suddenly had a sea of

referrals that came in to us and we actually

had a waiting list for people to come join our

company because it was such an amazing

company culture.

On of my closest friends, Josh Latimer,

likes to say ‘everyone sees the wine; nobody

sees the crushing of the grapes.’

It’s really easy to just look at the success

that All Clean had and think it grew because

it had no hiccups on the journey…The

reality is that the entire time that we were

growing, I had all of those terrible moments,

including where employees tried to sue me.

You still get those bad actors even when the

company is doing great and fantastic. You’re

still going to get the lumps in the bumps and

the bruises. You’re still going to be terrified.

To get somewhere you’ve never been

before means doing something you’ve

never done before. So the mark of actually

knowing that you’re going in the right

direction is being a little bit terrified and

feeling scared. That’s the only way that you

grow. They call them growing pains for a

reason! You have to go into it knowing that

troubles are going to happen.

During that time around 2015 where we

went through the family tragedy and had

those employee issues, I made a promise to

my wife that I would grow the business to

a point to where we could sell it and that I

would do so within five years. I still had my

dad to take care of so I needed to make sure

they were good even if we were to sell because

that was the promise I made to them.

But when we set out to grow the business and

get it ready to sell, an amazing thing happened.

It’s kind of like when you fix up your

house to sell. You finally paint the trim, you

finally fix that squeaky door hinge, you redo

the carpeting with hardwood floors, you

go through and change all the windows to

nice new windows, and you just make it look

beautiful. Then, finally, when you take a step

back and you look at it and it’s ready to sell,

you’re like, ‘dang, this business is sweet! It’s

automated. It’s systemized. It looks beautiful.

I kind of want to keep it!’

That’s kind of where I was at the point

when I was ready to sell. I did very, very little

in my business. I would walk in the shop and

there would be someone new rooting around

on shelves and I’d be like ‘hey, can I help

you?’ and they would turn around and not

recognize me and say ‘Can I help you?’ Here

was a new hire that I hadn’t even interviewed

or talked to and he was trained and he was on

board and he was wearing my uniform!

But that’s exactly the thing! If someone’s

going to buy your business, that’s exactly

what they want! They don’t want to buy a

job. They don’t want to buy a full-time position.

They want to buy something that can

be an investment in their portfolio, grow and

accrue, and get a return on their investment.

If it’s a serious buyer, they don’t want to be a

full-time operator in the business.

When we got an offer, it was a great multiple,

it was a great number, it was one that

we were very happy with, and it just kind of

felt like the right time. By this point, I was

already kind of traveling all over the U.S.

speaking at different events about business

continued ...

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PASS ON WHAT

YOU HAVE

LEARNED

ownership and growth. I had a lot of people

that were reaching out to me on a routine

basis and I was helping some people out

doing some coaching. As I said, the business

was pretty automated, it wasn’t really needing

me on a day-to-day basis, so I had lots of

free time and I was filling up that free time

helping other small business owners do the

same thing I had done. It was becoming very

quickly my new passion in life.

It was just amazing to be able to help

those other business owners and see their

growth and see them finally get off the truck

and finally start growing their business and

giving them my systems and having them

utilize those. So the timing just worked out

really good and it just kind of felt right to

sell and to move over into this new space

full-time because I felt like I could create a

bigger impact doing that. Not that there’s

anything wrong with the cleaning business.

I love the cleaning business. In fact, I’d love

to get back into it again and build another

business and see how fast I could build it and

document the whole process. That’s kind of

like a dream of mine down the road. But I’m

loving what I’ve been doing now and the experience

going through a sale of a company

was also a massive education for me to see

how that works and gave me an amazing

business lesson that will help me and others.

My new company is called Conquer. The

parent company is Automate, Grow, Sell,

which is Josh Latimer’s previous venture.

Conquer is basically a really in-depth

coaching program for a select group of small

business owners. It’s only for home service

business owners. Not everyone who applies

gets in. We turn down people on almost a

weekly basis if we don’t feel like it’s the right

fit. Those who we do decide to work with basically

what they get is they get weekly coaching

and weekly accountability sessions working

with another home service business owner

that owns a seven- or eight-figure home service

business. So, for instance, if someone

decided to join Conquer, they would typically

get teamed up with three other service business

owners that were also in the program

and about the same size as them all over the

country. They would form a Conquer group

and they would meet with their coach on a

weekly basis over Zoom online.

It’s all about…where are you stuck? What

are the things you’re setting out to do this week

to move the ball down the field? And then the

coach provides the clarity to make sure that it’s

the right thing to work on. Because, as business

owners, we can work on a billion different

things at any given point in time, but working

with someone who’s already built a seven- or

eight-figure business and can sit down

and say ‘you don’t want to work

on this, just stay focused over

here, get your training program

done next week,

show off the two training

videos that you did

to the rest of the group,’

well, it’s critical.

It’s all extremely collaborative

and there’s lots

of ‘community.’ They meet

with their coach once a month oneon-one

as well. Then, we also provide hundreds

of systems -- documents, tools, things to

just help their business grow as systems that

I’ve spent a thousand plus hours working on

over the years. Systems that our other coaches

have built and developed and perfected. They

get access to those from Day One. So they can

come in and have the inventory management

system that they never had and it’s ready for

them to just click on and adapt into their own

business. A safety program. A marketing program.

Sales programs. Everything. We have

all these systems that are available to them.

Then, because Conquer has grown so much

in the last 12 months, we also have lots of

vendors that we now give our members exclusive

discounts to products and services. Some

participants actually save more money than

they actually pay to be a part of Conquer just

through discounts they get with vendors.

It’s just kind of a win-win all the way

around and it’s an amazing group of entrepreneurs.

It’s a very tight-knit community.

We call it Conquer Family. We celebrate

our Conquer wins.

All of us are kind of

setup to grow our businesses

but mostly to get more time and

freedom to be able to step out of the business.

That’s kind of the whole purpose of

Conquer is to ‘conquer your why,’ which,

usually, for most people, is to spend less

time in the business not more time in it.

What I’m doing now is extremely rewarding

as far as a career goes. To be able

to get messages from dozens and dozens of

business owners that I’ve talked about how

they’ve taken their first paid family vacation

ever or that they finally got out of the truck

-- I get a tremendous amount of personal

reward from that.

For me, it has always been about creating

that time/freedom to be able to pursue what

really matters. Not to make the millions of

dollars in a business. I’ve never been money

motivated. It’s always been about how can

I have more time/freedom to be able to be

involved with the things that I really love.

Again, overcome that belief that you can’t

get there. Write down your goals in crystal

clear fashion and be specific and granular

about things like your target for the month

and your target for the week. Then get some

accountability in your life, even if it’s not one

of our seven-figure certified coaches.

For instance, if you can set your goals

really transparently with your team so that

your team knows what you’re working on.

That’s a good path. Or, if you can call your

shot publicly on a forum or in a Facebook

group or to someone who’s not a spouse or

a friend or a buddy -- someone who is actually

going to hold you accountable to it,

someone you really respect and don’t want

to let down – that’s good too.

The hardest part about being the boss

is you’re the boss. You don’t have anyone

holding your hand over the fire…I still pay

for coaching myself. I pay $25,000 a year

to be in a coaching program still and I’ll

always be doing coaching because to me I

need it. I’m extremely A.D.D. I’m all over

the place and I need to be reined in. I know

that’s my biggest weakness. So I have to put

those boundaries in place so I know that

I’m actually doing action and moving forward

in the direction I need to go.

Editor’s Note: visit www.agsconquer.com

for more information.

30 | PRESSURE WASH NEWS | VOL. 2, NO. 2 | SPRING 2020


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