Keep track of your customers
with a computer and database program
If your not good with computers
it's time to start learning. It can help your marketing tremendously.
The advantages of having a computer are numerous, but the main advantage
is the ability to keep a great database and market to your customers.
Most of our business now is from repeat business, and keeping in
touch with those customers would be much more difficult the old
fashioned way. There are many books and programs that can
help you to learn about computers and software.
Programs to set up databases
Microsoft Works is an inexpensive
but powerful program the integrates database, form letters, labels,
etc. into one program. It's not the best program for your
flyers because it's not very good at handling graphics.
Programs to make your Flyers
Microsoft Word is just one, is
comes with many computers these days. There are many programs
that are great for flyers and the quality of these programs has
really improved recently. They come with a lot of clip art
and are fairly easy to use.
Yellow Pages Ad
In the Detroit area there is a
category in our Yellow Pages called Deck
Cleaning, it was added by popular demand. Placing a
small three line yellow pages ad can really help your business.
The prices can escalate rapidly the fancier your ad gets so keep
Pricing varies around the country,
check out our bulletin board for what others are charging.
On the average are prices have gone up about 20 cents a square/ft.
in the last couple of years.
Our favorite low priced sprayer
is the Gilmour Spray Doc 2000P available in Builders Square, HQ,
Home Depot, and Several other stores. Several other more expensive
options are available, airless sprayers work great but are expensive
and require more maintenance, a good place to find one and get good
advice is a store like Sherwin-Williams, they can recommend a good
machine with the right type of gun and tips. Our company has
tried several options and still prefers the less expensive sprayers
for there ease of use and storage capabilities, they are also great
for triceps development.
Most paint stores now carry inexpensive,
plastic or metal, over spray sheds with an attached handle so you
don't have to bend over. This really simplifies working around
the edge of the house. A good size is 24" wide. A bigger size
can be awkward.
Controlling Over Spray
Spraying sealer on a deck is one
of the more challenging aspects of deck sealing. It is however,
in our opinion, the most effective way to work quickly and get an
even finish. The problem with spraying is definitely the over
spray The best way to avoid over spray is to use plenty of
drop cloths. The bigger the better. We use 10' x 25',
4 mill thick plastic drop cloths. They cost about $5 a piece.
When doing your estimates figure the cost of the drop cloths
into the price. To avoid over spray along the side of the
house use a good spray shield as mentioned above. What causes
most problems is the wind. Sealing a deck on a windy day
requires a little creativity, try to seal the floor boards during
the windiest times, and seal railings during the wind breaks.
Wind and rain are your enemies in deck sealing. Treat the
windiest days like a rain day and do more washing or other productive
Angular Sash Brush
This may sound simple but working
with an angular sash brush vs. a regular paint brush is much easier,
especially when cutting in where the railing meets the house.
We found a good size to be a 2" brush. No need to spend
a lot of money, just get the mid priced brush and store it in a
ziploc bag between uses.
A good addition to your tips is
a turbo nozzle that many manufactures make (Dirt Killer, Rotomax,
etc.). They are not good for wood but really help on concrete.
These tips are more powerful (zero degree tip that rotates in a
figure 8) and tend to leave less zebra stripes. It is easy
to pick up extra money by suggesting to customers that you can clean
up other hard surfaces around their house. An example would be to
wash their front walk for $50. These tips are rated for the
flow of your pump so make sure you get the right one.
Flat Surface Cleaners
If you find yourself with a lot
of flatwork opportunities, a flat surface cleaner is a great investment.
On surfaces such as concrete they can literally let you work 20
times faster as advertised. Even though they are advertised
to work on wood we do not recommend it. Since the tips are
spinning in a circle they tend to leave swirl marks on the wood
when you slow down.
A great form of advertising is
yard signs. Many business use them and most home owners don't
have a problem with leaving a sign on their yard for a few days.
Deck jobs tend to spread through word of mouth in neighborhoods
and condominium complexes, and a yard sign can be a big mouth.
High Pressure Hose Reel
When buying a high pressure hose
reel make sure you also get a section to connect the hose reel to
your power washer, the length varies depending on your set up.
We use a 9' length.