Consumer Guides: Finding A Quality Contractor and Power Washing Tips
Power washing is the application of high pressure water spray. Some of the most popular services include Surface power washing the cleaning of concrete patios, sidewalks, decks, house siding, entrance ways, and driveways. In the hands of a qualified pressure washing individual, the results can be astonishing, and well worth the investment.
However, in the hands of an unqualified person, the results can be quite devastating. Water this powerful has the strength to cut wood and damage most surfaces. In the hands of the unskilled, the risk of damage is greatly increased, if not inevitable. For homeowners previously unaware of this danger, it has cost them dearly. Don’t fall victim to this.
Pressure washing requires SKILL and KNOWLEDGE. No common Joe can move the spray wand more accurately, more consistently, and more effectively, than the qualified power washing specialist. Fail to realize the skill of the trade and you may be setting yourself up for unwanted dissatisfaction and costly damage.
Finding a Qualified Power Washing Specialist.
Educate Yourself. This is the primary defense in protecting yourself from under-qualified and poor quality jobs. Once the consumer understands a service and what’s involved, they will be well equipped to distinquish cut-rate jobs from quality workmanship. Realize the possibility for damage exists, and cut-rate performance increases your exposure to costly repairs. Knowing what’s involved is your protection.
Educate Yourself -Family, Friends, and Neighbors. There are several ways of educating yourself. First of which, is to consult your friends, family, and neighbors. It may be that some of them are already familiar with the service you desire. They may already be knowledgeable of the application, procedures, outcomes, and liabilities of your situation. They may even refer you to a qualified contractor. Likewise, they may advise you to avoid a certain business that is notorious for poor service.
Educate Yourself -The Internet. There is a wealth of information pertaining to power washing on the Internet. This page and many others supply information for both the homeowner and the professional. Check pressure washing home pages, consumer groups, and bulletin boards. All of these will help. Simply type “power washing” or “pressure washing” in any major search engine or try the other consumer guides provided by Carved Stone Publications to get yourself started.
Educate Yourself -Keep Your Eyes Open. As you commute across town, keep your eyes open for pressure washing specialists at work. Don’t be afraid to approach them and inquire about their service. This is an excellent time to see the process of power washing at work as well as to ask any questions you may have. Most power washing contractors should be very excited to explain their service, its strengths and its limitations.
Educate Yourself -Talk to the Pros. Refer to your Yellow pages (Deck Cleaning, Pressure Washing, Power Washing, Water Pressure Cleaning, etc. ) and any other advertisements you may encounter. From these, contact several pressure washing contractors, inquiring about service, consultation, and estimates. Even if you receive a beautiful flier on your doorstep, be sure to call other contractors. This is your greatest protection. Talk to multiple contractors, asking them specific questions on service, procedures, expected outcomes, and possibilities for damage. Together you will receive a more complete picture of the service, weeding out obvious inconsistencies in service.
Meet the Contractor During the Estimate. Meet the contractor face-to-face during the estimate. By doing this, you and the contractor will take the time to evaluate the site together. This betters the channels of communication between the two parties, and reduces errors in the estimating process. Besides improved communication, this is perhaps the best way to judge the character and overall presentation of the pressure washing contractor.
Risks and Expected Outcomes. A qualified contractor will take the time to review your site, ask questions and seek out areas of concern. They will listen to your every word and interpret the service you desire and expect. In turn, they will also review with you, the strengths and limitations of their service.
Get Written Estimates. Having a detailed written estimate protects both you (the consumer) and the pressure washing contractor. It should explicitly state the desired service, expected outcome and complete costing in time and material. Keep in mind, less cost can mean (and probably does mean) less quality and service. Basically, you get what you pay for.
Procedures Listing. For popular and frequently demanded cleaning jobs (i. e., deck cleaning/refinishing), a pressure washing contractor may supply a procedures listing. This brief listing outlines the steps that will be taken during your particular job. It may be a separate sheet or part of the estimate. In either case, this can be a very helpful tool in comparing one service to another, understanding the entire process, analyzing cost comparisons, and weeding out possible low quality service providers.
Ask for a Demonstration. This is not always required, but if you are not sure about job outcome or expectations, a demonstration of a service may settle your mind. Make a demonstration mandatory if you can not be present at job start-up or if the service has few job satisfaction policies. As a note, demonstrations take an enormous amount of time from the contractor. Often they will try to forgo demonstrations, asking the client to be on-site during the estimate and/or job startup in order for you to evaluate work performance. This is not uncommon. Quality pressure washing contractors are in high demand and are very busy. They are just trying to make the whole process more time-efficient. If you are dissatisfied, don’t hesitate in telling them so. In the long run you will have saved them both time and effort.
Inquire about Equipment. Is it owed or rented? Owed or leased equipment is evidence of a long term commitment to the field of pressure washing. Renting shows only an occasional need for equipment. Also ask about the extent or power of their equipment. For most pressure washing jobs they will have equipment ranging at 11-15 HP (horsepower, strength), 3000-4000 PSI (pound per square inch, force) and 3-5 GPM (gallons per minute, flow). While for the most, they will not be using their equipment at full power, equipment of this caliber provides the head room and adequacy for doing business. A rating of 2000 PSI and 2 GPM or less, is a residential grade of equipment. It will not perform at the level of doing business (possible evidence of a substandard service provider).
Get Referrals. These provide the consumer with a detailed track record of a contractors past work experience. Just remember, a pressure washing business is called to perform any number of different cleaning services. Whether it be siding, decks, sidewalks, gutters, patios, or driveways, be sure the referrals and references you receive are representative of the service you desire. For instance, someone seeking deck cleaning should receive deck cleaning referrals, not vinyl siding cleaning. As for a number of referrals, the more the better, but 6-12 should suffice. And don’t forget, once you have the referrals, use them. Ask specific questions concerning quality, workmanship, expected outcomes, cleaning procedures, business character, and satisfaction.