757-384-0411 bill@neptuneclean.com
Bidding Pressure Washing Jobs – #1 Reason No Gov Bids

Bidding Pressure Washing Jobs – #1 Reason No Gov Bids

Bidding Pressure Washing Jobs – Why I don’t compete for Government Work

Why bidding pressure washing jobs solicited by the government is a losing game. I’m going to share an experience I recently had when competing for a contract to soft wash the buildings, clean the windows, and pressure wash the concrete for several community college campuses here in Hampton Roads, Virginia.

My goal in sharing this with you is to raise the collective awareness within our industry to a higher level of understanding. Particularly when it comes to bidding pressure washing jobs for goverment exterior cleaning opportunities.

I understand there are numerous ways to price a job and for the most part I see consistency among professionals in my area. I feel that when it comes to commercial work however, you can’t carry over a residential pricing structure, especially when the jobs are as large as a college campus.

I’m about to share my opinion so for what it’s worth you can agree or agree to disagree. After the solicitation ended and the quotes were made public, I noticed that several companies truly low-balled their pricing.

bidding pressure washing jobs

At the prices these contracts were awarded, I would have lost money bidding pressure washing jobs for this state owned community college. I understand everyone has different operating expenses and mine may be higher than a one-man operation. Regardless of that fact, these prices were WAY too low. We are cheapening the industry by offering to do the work at these low prices.

Having a mindset that doesn’t take into consideration the profit that is due you affect the entire industry. It also shows you basically have a job and not a business. Using a low-ball bid strategy, you’re simply working for the government and not yourself. You’re a contractor and not a business owner.

Businesses pay their owners AND make a profit on top of that. This is why we’re in business to begin with. This where some entrepreneurs run off the rails when bidding pressure washing jobs for government entities. They do not put enough value on the knowledge they’ve acquired through hours of study and experience.

They don’t place the proper value on the risk they’ve taken investing their hard-earned dollars in gear, equipment, materials, marketing, or other administrative expenses.

There is a risk associated with government contracts. You must price this risk in and here it is… If you don’t price government work correctly, you’re still obligated to perform at the price you quoted.

If you make a mistake bidding on large contracts, it could be the one that puts you out of business. Best case is that you basically work for free or lose money in the process of completing the job.

Getting back to this competition and why I won’t be bidding pressure washing jobs in the future. I thought I had a great chance to win several of these contracts since I worked for more than six years for a government contractor doing business development. I also have a thorough understanding of my pressure washing business model and what it takes to turn a profit.

If you’ve ever competed for government work, you understand there is a process that you must follow to be successful. Some are more complicated than others but overall, pressure washing contracts are straight forward.

Let’s take a moment to run through a couple of these properties to analyze my bidding on pressure washing jobs process and then look at the end results of the competition. To see the rest of this post, watch the video at the top of this page. I’m going to run my bid process so you can see how I structured my bid.

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Maker Pipe Storage Rack for Pressure Washing Rig

Maker Pipe Storage Rack for Pressure Washing Rig

Make Pipe Storage Rack for Pressure Washing Truck

Maker Pipe to the rescue! Last year I made the decision to take Neptune Clean to the next level with the purchase of a beastly Ford F450 with a twelve-foot flatbed. Since this truck can carry about 16,000 pounds of cargo, it allowed us to upgrade our equipment and install a much larger water tank, SH tank, and batch mix tank. I’ve still got m

The first thing that needed to be done was to install a ladder rack prior to mounting all the pressure washing gear. Since the pressure washing season was in full swing when I purchased the truck, there wasn’t much time to fabricate anything else that it needed. Frankly, there wasn’t any money left to pay for welders or the metal they would need to customize it further anyway.

Fast-forward to the winter of 2022. During the off-season I wanted do maintenance, make some additional upgrades, and organize the rig for efficiency. Building a rack to take advantage of the vertical space on my truck my goal. Since the cost of metal is on the rise in a big way I and I don’t know how to weld, searched for an alternative and came across Make Pipe.

Make Pipe

Maker Pipe Entrepreneurial Journey (Short Version)

A husband-and-wife team set off on an entrepreneurial journey born from a desire to find strong, convenient, and affordable ways to build furniture and other things to use in their home. A great place to look for inspiration sit the maker community. The maker community is a fun one to be a part of with lots of support and idea sharing.

After some ideation and experimentation, the couple begin with one basic connector. This connector was their minimum viable product necessary to begin testing the waters, with their target market. The idea was to pair the connectors with inexpensive electrical conduit as it’s readily available pretty much everywhere, strong, affordable, and transportable.

 The response they got to the product lead to a Kickstarter campaign in 2015. It wasn’t an instant success but with perseverance and some creativity they funded the second Kickstarter round in 2016 in just 6 hours. Pretty cool if you ask me. I love an entrepreneurial success story.

Maker Pipe storage rack project

Getting back to my Maker Pipe storage rack project. Since I’m no stranger to the maker community, I engaged my woodworking skills to design and build my new storage rack. It had to be strong enough to hold a 13-gallon fuel tank above my 8 gallon per minute pressure washer. It also needed to support a surface cleaner and provide storage for bottles of cleaner we carry on the truck.

The Make Pipe storage rack design is simple and I’m very impressed with how strong it has turned out. I added a couple of 45-degree connectors to provide lateral support and hard-tied it into the bed of the truck as well as the vertical bulkhead some-times known as the headache rack. I have no doubt it’s going to stand up to the stress of a professional pressure washing operation. It also looks great!

I opted for the black vinyl connectors and wrapped each pipe with black shrink-wrap that is offered on the Maker Pipe website. The black finish blends in perfectly with the painted flatbed and ladder rack. I added a bar to hold the pressure washing surface cleaner in place as well as a bungee cord. Two closable storage bins hold the cleaners and fit perfectly into the space below the surface cleaner. I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out. If you have a project you’d like to make, look at the Maker Pipe.

Building My Soft Wash Blend Manifold

Building My Soft Wash Blend Manifold

Blend Manifold Build – My Custom Soft Wash 3-Valve Setup

Prior to building my first blend manifold, I had a bunch of decisions to make. Before I launched my pressure washing company, I did hours and hours of research on which equipment to use and why. I soon learned there are two basic methods of delivering a cleaning solution to a home’s exterior, down-streaming and soft-wash. The term soft wash can get confusing, however. Soft wash simply means low-pressure application of a cleaning solution that will not damage a building’s exterior.

Commercial pressure washers, 4 gallons per minute and up, are scary strong and if used improperly can force water underneath a home’s siding, through construction gaps, or behind window and door jambs. They can also damage wood siding such as cedar shake or even fiber cement products like Hardie Board. Having said that, I consider down-streaming as a method of soft-washing since pressure is reduced significantly in down-stream mode allowing for a “soft” application of the cleaning solution. Its only limitation is the cleaning blend. You have to pre-mix your cleaning solution which isn’t right for every application.

blend manifold

During my time as a Navy SEAL, I learned that when it comes to gear, one is none and two is one, so I have both systems available on my rig. Soft wash systems are unique however, in that they allow for the use of a blend manifold which can meter the exact amount of cleaning solution needed. This is especially important for cleaning roofs. Cleaning most exterior siding requires a 1-3% sodium hypochlorite (SH) mix, but a roof will require a strong 6% blend. The only way to do this on the fly is with a blend manifold.

Blend Manifold Basics

A blend manifold has metering valves that control how much cleaner is allowed into the system. It automatically mixes the concentrated SH with water to arrive at the desired mix strength. A blend manifold can consist of multiple metering valves to allow adding additional cleaners into the mix. I can add two additional cleaners to my SH mix for stubborn stains or simply based on the material to be cleaned.

My blend manifold has three metering valves on it. Each valve is plumbed to a tank that holds a specific cleaner. My SH metering valve is ¾” allowing for maximum flow of the SH. The other two metering valves are plumbed to two different tanks each (four in total). I have a three-way valve that will allow one metering valve to pull from two separate tanks. This flexibility allows me to spray an alkaline cleaner like Cleansol BC,  an Oxalic acid or Sodium Percarbonate and a bleach neutralizer. Each of these are used for different cleaning applications.

As you have probably figured out by now is that a blend manifold has plenty of benefits. Another largely overlooked benefit is the material cost savings. Being able to dial-in the exact amount of necessary cleaner saves a few dollars on every single job. That adds up over time and contributes to you company’s profitability.

Since it saves you money in the long run, the investment isn’t that bad if you purchase the parts separately and build a custom unit for your application. The metering valves are the most expensive part followed by the check valves. The rest of the blend manifold is nothing more than Banjo brand fittings that I source mostly from Zoro.

blend manifold metering valve
#1 Reason Why You Should Start a Pressure Washing Business

#1 Reason Why You Should Start a Pressure Washing Business

Why You Should Start a Pressure Washing Business

This article is for anyone who’s ever thought about how to start a pressure washing business.

While pressure washing is a commonly-used term that most people recognize, it’s often difficult to find someone to wash your car, boat or house when you need it done. Soft-washing is another common-used term used mostly among pressure washing professionals. Homeowners are becoming more familiar with it, however.

Basically, it’s applying a detergent at a low pressure to eliminate the risk of damaging to a home using high pressure. The cleaning agents do all the work removing the environmental contaminants.

If you have the skills to pressure wash residential or commercial properties and are looking for ways to earn extra income, starting your own pressure washing business could be the right move for you. Even if you lack the skills, it’s very easy to learn. Before you do so, however, it’s important to consider the following three things before you start a pressure washing business.

3 reasons why you should start a pressure washing Business

1) Demand for pressure washing services is growing 2) It’s easy to set up a business these days and startup costs are relatively low 3) The market is wide open for competition. Let’s take a deeper dive into each one.

#1: Demand for pressure washing services is growing with so many homes and businesses needing their sidewalks, roofs, driveway, walls and more cleaned off, there are opportunities abound.

#2: While you may need some special training to get started the invest in high-quality equipment can be as low as a $2000 to $3000. This is considering you already have your own truck. You can start on a shoestring or go all-in and build a extremely capable pressure washing rig.

#3: Competition is a good thing! That means there’s a market for pressure washing services. Your goal is to over-deliver on your value proposition to make the competition a non-factor. If you do that, the competition will be asking themselves “what happened to all my customers?”.

Start a Pressure Washing Business

How to start pressure washing

The first step to starting any new business is to figure out if it’s something you would like to do and more importantly, is it profitable. If you don’t have pressure washing experience, there are plenty of books, YouTube videos and websites that will teach you how. The SBA has plenty of resources that will walk you through the steps of planning, launching, and running a pressure washing business.

The best time to start pressure washing is now

While the pressure washing industry is not (yet) as saturated with competitors as some other industries, it’s still growing. According to one source, the global pressure washer market size was estimated at USD 1.88 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 1.95 billion in 2020. Another perk?

Where can I find customers for my pressure washer business?

To start a pressure washing business you’ll need to do some research to make sure you’re targeting the right customer segment. Where you find your customers will depend upon which business model you decide to start. Conducting primary and secondary research will identify customer segments and help you decide what type of business model to start.

Do you want to focus on the residential exterior home cleaning market or the automotive cleaning / detailing market? Do you want to do commercial work or strictly residential? Each of these is a separate market segment with different needs, wants and profitability.

Where can I find used pressure washers?

If you’re looking to start a pressure washing business, but don’t want to spend a lot of money, then buying used pressure washers is an option. There is more risk with purchasing used equipment, but you can get some good deals if you’re careful. I suggest implementing a strategy to immediately re-invest your earnings into bigger and better equipment.

This shoestring startup strategy is a viable one and through disciplined pre-planned action, is a great one. Check your local pressure washing store for used gear, Craigslist, Offerup, or other auction sites for great deals.

What type of detergents should I use in my pressure washer?

The most common cleaner used in the exterior residential and commercial building markets is Sodium Hypochlorite (SH). The chemicals you choose to use in your pressure washer depend on what kind of cleaning job you’re doing.

If you’re cleaning concrete, make sure to use detergents specifically designed for these surfaces but also the kind of stain you’re trying to remove. If your cleaning job involves soil or other organic or environmental material, you still must consider what you’re cleaning as well as the type of stain.

Gutter guard installation

What equipment will I need start a pressure washing business?

Starting a pressure washing business doesn’t require an enormous outlay of cash, but you will need to purchase some equipment—the total cost is dependent on a few considerations. First, you need to think about the business model you’d like to start.

Will you serve the residential market, commercial or both? Will you offer additional services like roof cleaning or window cleaning? There’s many more considerations but these examples require different equipment and therefore, more capital.

How do I get my customers?

Getting customers for your pressure washing business can be tough—especially if you don’t have any money to spend on advertising or building awareness. So, how do you get customers? Here are three great ways to drum up business for your pressure washing company: Attend networking events.

If you meet someone who needs pressure washing done, ask if they know anyone else who might need it done. Go old school and drive through neighborhoods looking for homes that need cleaning. You can leave a doorhanger with a quote on it to clean the home. Better yet, knock on the door and hand them the quote. You might just get the business on the spot.

What if it rains?

Light rain never hurt anyone, so I’ll put on a light raincoat and keep working. If the rain becomes too heavy it will rinse the soap off prematurely so you may have to wait for the rain to lighten up a bit. Pressure washing near me is a season business so we like to take advantage of the time we have and service as many customers as we can.

Can I make money at this?

The great thing about a pressure washing business is that you can choose different business models. I like to think there’s riches in niches so plant your stake in the ground and specialize in the automotive detailing area, restaurant hood vent cleaning, or even window washing.

There are plenty of people out there who make money washing cars, windows, and homes, but can you? As with any business, you’ll need to assess whether it’s a viable option for you. Consider these factors when determining if starting up your own pressure washing business is worth it. I will tell you that I would not be doing this if it was not profitable. That’s what you go into business for in the first place.

How much will it cost me to get started?

How much money you will need depends upon your business model and what equipment you already have. Do you have a truck and a trailer? You’ll need transportation to get you to where your customers are. The customer segment you intend to serve as defined in your business model will dictate the equipment you need and therefor the price.

I would plan to spend anywhere from $1000 to $5000 and more depending upon your resources. A market research study will help you in determining how much money you will need. To start a pressure washing business you can also begin providing services on the weekends until you build up a reputation and enough business to go full-time. If you’ve decided to start a pressure washing business see the Small Business Administration Startup Guide.

Click here if you’d like a quote on pressure washing services

Titan Hose Reel Install

Titan Hose Reel Install

DIY Titan Hose Reel Install

I began this Titan hose reel install journey about 2 months ago when I started looking for the reels. Originally I wanted two 18” Titan hose reels but they were next to impossible to find due to the global supply chain disruption that is happening in 2021. Since I wanted electric, stainless-steel reels, my choices were limited to a couple top brands and Titan was my first choice.

 I researched several different brands and all of them were backordered. I would imagine that it is the raw materials that’s holding up everything. The price of metal has skyrocketed due to this global, COVID induced, supply chain issue. The manufacturers just can’t get the raw materials they need to produce the products they sell.

 After some thought, I decided there are probably not many people looking for the larger size Titan hose reels. To my surprise I was correct. I found two, 22-inch Titan hose reels and quickly purchased them. I’m still waiting for the Titan stack kit to complete the Titan hose reel install and hopefully it will arrive the beginning of 2022. Once I complete the Titan hose reel install I’ll still be waiting on the chemical hose that is also on backorder.

Titan Hose Reel Install with Guide and Stack Kit

Titan hose reel for soft wash system

To begin the Titan hose reel install, I had to remove the NorthStar hose reel that holds my 4gpm pressure washer hose. Since I’m planning on running with two crews this summer, this hose reel and the 4gpm pressure washer will be relocated back to the small trailer I started with.

 The process for the Titan hose reel install was simple. Mount the hose reel to the deck of my flatbed, run a battery wire to the hose reel and that’s about it.

 My first task was to install a power distribution block (PDB) on the truck’s flatbed and run a wire from the battery to the PDB. The PDB has 4 studs that allow you to add other 12v devices such as a transfer pump for pumping SH into my holding tank.

New Titan hose reel unboxed

I mounted the PDB to the vertical flatbed wall that protects the truck cab in a place that we semi-protected to minimize the chances of something coming into contact and shorting it out.

 Next, we ran a wire from the battery to the PDB to provide the necessary power. The Titan hose reel install required 6-gauge wire, so we had to crimp on the correct size eyelets and put some heat-shrink tube over the connection to protect it from the elements. The wire from the battery to the PDB was customer made and so was the wire from the PDB to the Titan hose reel.

New Titan hose reel unboxed

The hot wire from the PDB is connected to the Titan hose reel solenoid which sends the power to the motor when the button is pushed. This is a simple hookup once you know which side of the solenoid gets the hot wire.

Once the reels are secured to the flatbed deck using stainless steel bolts, washers and locknuts, the wire can be connected safely. That about all there is to the Titan hose reel install. Next, I had to remove the old 4gpm pressure washer and get it ready to install on my little 4’x8’ trailer. That little one-man setup can produce $600 per day easily so I’d be a fool to not get that up and running for the 2022 season.

Be sure to check out the video of the entire process embedded at the top of this page. It’s a little long but worth the watch. Also, be sure to check out my DIY Downstream Injector Box Build.

Click this link to check out my other Pressure Washing Business posts. Click this link or more information on Titan Products

Titan Hose Reel Unboxing and Guide Installation

Titan Hose Reel Unboxing and Guide Installation

Titan Hose Reel Unboxing and Guide Installation

Bill Seith here with Neptune clean. I wanted to take the time to share something exciting news. Well, it’s exciting for me anyway. In the age of COVID supply chain struggles, I finally found a couple of Titan Hose Reels. I’ve been looking for some Titan Hose Reels for quite some time now with no luck. The COVID induced supply chain issues have made finding them a chore.

I had been looking for 18” Titan Hose Reels with no luck. Most suppliers will take your money and tell you it could be 6 months before you see them. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to tie up my working capital for that long.

So, you know what? I began to think of alternatives. Why can’t I use 22-inch reels?  I’m upgrading my soft wash system and I want to put 300 feet of chemical hose so why not. After researching what it will hold, a 22-inch Titan Hose Reel is a perfect fit.

My thought process is that most pressure washing companies are looking for the smaller 18” model so I thought I’d call around for the larger one. Well, my persistence paid off and I found a couple of them at SprayerDepot.

I thought I’d share my excitement with a videotaped unboxing of the 22-inch Titan hose reel and hose reel guide. Since its winter here in Virginia Beach, Virginia I might as well install the hose reel guide and get them ready to be installed on the rig.

Titan Hose Reel with Guide and Stack Kit

Titan hose reel for soft wash system

I’m also upgrading the soft wash system to a 11gpm 300psi gas powered soft wash pump. I’m taking off the Doug Rucker special, which has served me well. It’s been a decent setup but I’m ready for the next level. The current soft wash system uses an air diaphragm pump, FlowJet pump with a small compressor from northern tool.

Since my goal is $55,000 a month in revenue this coming season, I’m going to throw the smaller soft wash system and my 4gpm pressure washer on a trailer and run with two rigs this summer.

So, these new hose reels are going to be great when combined with the more powerful gas soft wash pump. The 22-inch Titan Hose Reel can easily hold 300 feet of 5/8th inch chemical hose. That is more than we’ve ever needed to date so I think we’re covered for future jobs.

This all-new setup with its 300 psi at 11gpm pump, is going to be a soft washing beast.

Getting back to installing the new Titan Hose Reel Guides. This is an easy install. There are two brackets that are bolted onto the hose reel and then the Titan Hose Reel Guide is bolted to the bracket

Purchasing the Titan Hose Reel Guides for my new reels was a bit of an ordeal. The first company I tried to purchase them from ended up not having them, so I went back to SprayerDepot.com and found the two I needed. I’m still waiting for a Titan Hose Reel Stack Kit so I can get the two reels stacked and mounted on the new F450 flat bed.

One thing I did want to show you though, are the differences in the mounting brackets. One side is longer and has a different bolt pattern than the other. It’s easy to figure it out, just match the bolt pattern up to the holes on the Titan Hose Reel and then you’re ready to go.

 You’ll have to remove the two top bolts from where the push button switch is to install the left side bracket. Once you get both brackets installed, you’re ready to bolt on the Titan Hose Reel guides.

Click this link to check out my other Pressure Washing Business posts.

New Titan hose reel unboxed