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Thread: First House Wash Ever - HELP A ROOKIE!

  1. #1
    Squirt
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    24

    First House Wash Ever - HELP A ROOKIE!

    So, I'm obviously still in the learning stage. I did my first house wash yesterday, and probably as most first timers, I had a good time, but also got frustrated as it didn't go as easy or smooth as I thought. I'm posting seeking someone to look over and tell me what I did wrong, I know this is hard without being there in person, but I'll put it in context as clear as possible.

    First, my first house was probably too much for a first job. I bid it at $450. for a house wash and driveway wash. This was a large 2-story stucco home. With a steep angled roof, with a chimney stack as a third floor height, that was black and stained up. Complaints from HOA. So, I needed to get that chimney clean and wash the house and drive.

    I bid at $450, projecting 3.5-4.5 hours. Wrong, it took 8 hours. I was hoping to be able to knock (2) 2-story houses out a day starting out. Is this because I'm still learning or is it still possible?


    Many things I screwed up the first time.

    1. X-Jetting. Never again. Ordering a down stream kit and by-pass kit, right now. Took way too long rolling my cooler around filled with my mix.

    2. I had issues with the gutters. X-jetting them with my mix, (4) gallons 12.5%, (6) gallons water, (32) oz. gain green. Let the solution dwell for 5-10 minutes, rinse. Stains still there? Repeat. Repeat. They would lighten each time, did this multiple times until they were gone. This cost me an additional hour it seems.

    3. Same problem as above with the chimney, except I couldn't hardly reach with the x-jet. It was turning to like mist before it hit the surface. Took 4-5+ applications.

    4. Left on windows too long. They fogged real cloudy. Pain in the but to get clean. Is this due to me using gain and not a professional product?


    Any suggestions, pointers, tips? I really let myself down, because calculating finances, I was hoping I would be able to wash 2 houses a day starting out with my 4 gpm. Then possibly 3 when I up to an 8 gpm machine. Is this not possible or is it just that I'm slow and learning?

    With that said, I'm ordering this downstream injector, j-rod, and by-pass valve quick style.

  2. #2
    1. The X-Jet is fine to have in your arsenal. Can especially come in handy when washing stucco (true stucco, not Dryvit) and you need a stronger mix. DS'ing is the way to go.
    2. You have to brush gutters with an extension pole. You also need a specialty gutter cleaner. Click the store link and order Gutter Grenade (F-13)
    3. I can't stand the X-Jet because it produces that cloud of doom (chemical mist that can travel far and settle where you don't want it too. Invest in a 12V pump (also available in the store). A good 12V with the right tip will let you shoot a stream of chem 25-30'
    4. The first line of my training manual says: Windows and plants.. keep them wet.

    Observations:
    - Stucco is a completely different beast and requires a little more experience. Cost to customer is usually double as time is often doubled. Add in extra for high, hard-to-reach chimneys. You usually need stronger chems for stucco especially when mold has turned to black.
    - Don't beat yourself up. My crews can do 2-3 stucco house and 5-6 Vinyl houses per day. My first year doing a stucco house took me two days.
    - You aren't going to make much money your first and probably even second year. Keep a part time job and reinvest into the business for better equipment and marketing.
    - You could get faster and do 2 houses per day, but how are you making the phone ring? Do you have a website? A plan and budget for SEO? A budget for advertising? It takes awhile to get rolling.

  3. #3
    Ken just gave you a gold mine btw. Downstreaming is by far the most efficient way to clean most houses. You also don't need a bypass kit for down streaming. I only use it for when I'm cleaning concrete so I can have the extra gpm for my surface cleaner. x-jet works wonders for stubborn stucco homes though. Luckily I don't run into too many of those around here but I keep it in my tool box and it has saved my butt a couple of times. Focus on getting the calls and you can buy all the equipment you want when your working every day.
    Daniel Dinkins
    HydroPlus Power Washing LLC
    Greenville, NC
    www.hydroprowash.com

  4. #4
    Also, get you some Elemonator from Bob. Professionals don't use dish soap.
    Daniel Dinkins
    HydroPlus Power Washing LLC
    Greenville, NC
    www.hydroprowash.com

  5. #5
    Squirt
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Spartanburg, SC
    Posts
    6
    I also just did my first stucco house and was surprised by how stubborn the mildew was compared to vinyl. I'll definitely be upping the strength of my mix for the next one. Also seems like you shouldn't beat yourself up too much over the $450 day. If the homeowner was happy when you were done, that won't be time lost. When I have days like that, I console myself by thinking about how much I made per hour working for someone else.

    Mike
    Vista Pressure Washing
    Spartanburg, SC
    vistapressurewashing.com
    Last edited by vistawash; 05-01-2018 at 12:21 PM.

  6. #6
    Squirt
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    24
    Quote Originally Posted by pressurepros View Post
    1. The X-Jet is fine to have in your arsenal. Can especially come in handy when washing stucco (true stucco, not Dryvit) and you need a stronger mix. DS'ing is the way to go.
    2. You have to brush gutters with an extension pole. You also need a specialty gutter cleaner. Click the store link and order Gutter Grenade (F-13)
    3. I can't stand the X-Jet because it produces that cloud of doom (chemical mist that can travel far and settle where you don't want it too. Invest in a 12V pump (also available in the store). A good 12V with the right tip will let you shoot a stream of chem 25-30'
    4. The first line of my training manual says: Windows and plants.. keep them wet.

    Observations:
    - Stucco is a completely different beast and requires a little more experience. Cost to customer is usually double as time is often doubled. Add in extra for high, hard-to-reach chimneys. You usually need stronger chems for stucco especially when mold has turned to black.
    - Don't beat yourself up. My crews can do 2-3 stucco house and 5-6 Vinyl houses per day. My first year doing a stucco house took me two days.
    - You aren't going to make much money your first and probably even second year. Keep a part time job and reinvest into the business for better equipment and marketing.
    - You could get faster and do 2 houses per day, but how are you making the phone ring? Do you have a website? A plan and budget for SEO? A budget for advertising? It takes awhile to get rolling.
    Ken, thanks for all the help bud. Your advice is pretty sound to me. Also, I wanted to ask, aren't you in Houston also? So I'm betting you defiantly know the market here where I am pretty good. With that said, let me get to addressing some of things.

    I recently put in an order to PressureTek. Have a J-rod set, new YRL51 gun, swivels, 200 foot of Neptune, General Pump DS High Draw Kit, (5) gallons of Elemonator, (2) Stainless hose reels, and more all on the way. X-jetting honestly has been a pain in the butt. But I also feel unloading and loading water carts, constantly replacing o-rings in the water hoses from unloading / loading so much, trips back to the truck for additional hose, and so forth. I Feel once this order drops, I figure my time will increase dramatically all at once. I've read about a 30% increase in time down streaming. So I'm hoping switching to DS, adding all new hose reels, an actual "Professional" detergent for faster rinsing, I'm hoping to see at least a 25% increase in time at minimum (at least I hope.)

    A quick update: I've washed several two story houses this week. My times are already improving, even x-jetting. Last 3-4 two story houses took around 4 hours with the driveway. Again, this is using a 4gpm machine. Also, this is not rushing any job. I'm taking my time to learn. I make sure to cut in all edges and corners with the gun and so forth.

    Now to the gutters. I have already went and bought an extension pole and brush for gutters, and attachment for windows. The extension worked flawless on the last few houses. Got the gutters to clean up. However, I forgot to purchase gutter grenade in my big order, is there anything local I can purchase this week to get me by until I place another order?

    As far as marketing and business. I went and filed the DBA to get started last week, along with a 1 mil policy through the same company I use for my landscaping business. As for marketing, I have a multi-step approach, however it's a process. However, I'm taking the same approach I took getting my landscape business off the ground. I must mention when I opened up the landscape business, we started in Austin, just up the road 2.5 hours. We picked up 65+ weekly residential contracts, 8 apartment complexes, and 10+ commercial businesses within a 1-year time frame.

    My approach: I start with the old-school method, but it works. I have a commercial printer, buy ink by the gallons, and 110 lb card stock in bulk. Material wise (card stock and ink) I pay .039 cents per full page 8.5 x 11 currently. Now I'm currently doing 4.25 x 11 door hangers (2) to a page. With that said, in house I'm doing all my printing and paying only 0.019 cents each per door hanger from start to finish. (Including cutting them myself with a cutting machine.) I run the printer at night, wake up around 3 am, box them all up, and hit the streets distributing them from 6 am to 9:30'ish am on the average day. Then I start what house washes I have booked. Saturdays and Sundays, I'm putting out 800 to 1,000 per day. Then another 200+ each morning between 6 am and 9ish. It took a few weeks to get it rolling, but I have quite a few house washes booked through early next week.

    I also consider myself an expert when it comes to graphic design and copy writing. I write my sales pages myself, and also design all the door hangers above. This allows me to easily edit them and personalize them from neighborhood to neighborhood.

    My next marketing approach: I also build websites. So a website and seo is to come in the future works when I get some more time to sit down for a good day at the desk. I'm planning to build a nice informative website, FB page, +Google page.

    As for additional marketing, I've been stopping in by commercial offices and buildings that need cleaned in free time. Got one business to sign up for a building wash every 6 months this week. As I drive daily, I make a list of anything and everything I spot that needs to be cleaned. I'm also keeping well organized documents of every sell, that way when gutter cleaning season rolls around.

    This year is really a "Set-Up" year. Once I got the work, I'll look into picking up an 8 gpm from Bob, and so forth.

    With all the above said, hopefully I answered your questions, and I think you did a great job answering mine!

    Also, Ken, what areas do you work? I'm currently starting to market to everything in the Wild West. I have 100,000+ houses mapped out in the West to market to. (Mostly Katy, Sugar Land, Highway 6, and 99 area) along with all the other small towns (Richmond, Rosenberg, Fulshear) etc. However, being from Austin, I know a lot of great areas up there + have lots of family up there, so my goal is to work all of West Houston and all of West Austin once I get everything set-up!

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