Pressure Washing Contractors – Is It Really About The Money?
As with any trade, a contractor entering the pressure washing industry has one main goal. That’s making money and A LOT.
This is probably the only common denominator that most pressure washing contractors give as a reason to join the ranks as a professional pressure washing contractor. Obviously there is nothing wrong with making money from your business; That’s why you’re in business, right? A contractor’s success is often measured by prescribed benchmarks that are passed down from one generation to the next. One of them is how much money do you earn? The formula has always been that money equals success. The other is whether you are busy or not. If a contractor is busy, then the old cliché is that he must be successful because he is busy. And if a contractor is busy 7 days a week, from dawn to dusk, obviously he’s making a lot of money, right?
The rat race of success?
Imagine having a 5 year business plan that produces such a surge of growth for your business that everything else in your life is put on hold to accommodate the abundant growth you experience year after year? The influx of sales calls must be answered within 24 hours preferably. Once answered, you then need to schedule the quotes. Don’t forget to take the time to review your marketing flyers/postcards in between responding to all the sales calls and budgets you just scheduled. Phone time with your dealer is a must to keep chemicals/soaps stocked. Phone time with your dealer also gives you the opportunity to ask technical questions about the “rattling noise” you hear from your equipment when it is running. For some of you, if your computer fails, then it won’t be operational for at least the next 24-48 hours minimum.
Fellow contractors also need your time on the phone with you so they can “tilt their ear” for tips and advice. Set aside some time in the evening to keep your company’s web presence on the cutting edge for your customer base and to answer emails from customers who have opted not to call you during the day. Training any new hire will take a good chunk of a work day, so plan accordingly. If you’re a one-man operation, you’ll obviously need to fine-tune your washing schedule to have time to do the work that was set aside from the sales calls mentioned above. In the past, you could make bank deposits every Friday, but today it seems like you can’t get to the bank until after it’s closed because you literally have a thousand other priorities going on with the success of your business.
In the midst of this fast-paced operation, you may be able to get your significant other on the phone to let them know you won’t be able to make it to your son’s Little League game or your daughter’s dance recital again as promised. You offer a sincere and heartfelt apology not only to your partner but, more importantly, to your son, who is obviously upset that she won’t be there, again. You had every intention of doing it this time when you left for work that morning, but luckily, a customer frantically called at the last minute saying the stain you applied yesterday was the wrong color. Before hanging up on his wife, he mentions that he won’t be home for dinner either. Has this been your routine lately? Do the demands of your business and the priorities associated with it overshadow the reason you’re in the pressure washing business in the first place?
What is your system?
Business growth and the effort it takes to manage that growth can be an enjoyable experience as a pressure washing business owner. As your business grows externally, ie sales, marketing, contract growth, you need to ensure that your internal business infrastructure, ie employees, managers, sales team, also grows to complement this external growth. It is highly recommended that your business plan not only talk about “systems” but, more importantly, understand action on your part to place the right people in your business so that the written “systems” can become reality “systems”. . As business owners, we often overlook the infrastructure part of our business plan by diverting our attention only to how to make our phone ring. When this happens, we find ourselves running our business in what is commonly known as ‘catch-up mode’. This means that no matter what time of day it is, you are behind schedule or in ‘recovery mode’ because your ‘systems’ are still down. In addition to being behind every day, we are also unconsciously at a very high risk of missing out on the joy of spending quality time with our family and loved ones, as outlined in the example above. Does this ring a bell?
Who is in charge?
There is good news and today you have the power as a business owner to stop this cycle of madness and take control of your business instead of letting your business control you. The first step in taking back control of your business is coming to understand and believe that consistent business growth is not necessarily the only indicator of success. As a pressure washing contractor with a family, you owe it to your partner and children to ensure that the growth of your business doesn’t constantly overshadow the simple things in life that everyone in your household needs and wants.
As business owners, we have the luxury and ability to ‘reduce’ our time in the field to take advantage of the time to give our family the care they deserve. Why? Because you are the owner and the BOSS. That’s right; YOU make the decisions about day-to-day trading and what the pace of your day’s trading will look like. If your ‘systems’ action plan only goes as far as writing it down on a piece of paper, then you are at very high risk of running out of steam very quickly. Coupled with this, coupled with mental peer pressure from your partner that you haven’t spent quality time with your family in the last 4-6 months, it’s plausible that one day you’ll wake up and realize you don’t enjoy what it is. doing, i.e. pressure washing.
Instead of starting your pressure washing season with the sole purpose of making as much money as possible, would you approach your pressure washing season with the mindset that your company and your family will maintain a “balance” during all year? ? Oh, the joy of seeing a little boy’s face light up when he sees BOTH parents sitting in the bleachers to watch their little league game in the middle of the afternoon; Or the smile from ear to ear when a little daughter jumps happily into your arms because you came to pick her up from school. Setting up the right “systems” in your business pressure takes time and ultimately trial and error. It’s okay if you don’t get it right after a few tries, but be careful and trust that you’ll eventually get it right. Managing your company’s growth may even mean temporarily not growing until you can find the right people with the skill set your company needs to take it to the next plateau.
time to reflect
If you find yourself in the middle of the pressure washing challenge today, take a moment and reflect on what is really important in your life on your terms. Ask yourself why you became a pressure washing contractor in the first place. Was it because you and your family wanted the freedom that you couldn’t get by working for someone else? If so, where is that freedom today? Take inventory of how your partner and children may view your time away from family today. If making money at all costs is what drives you, congratulations on your success. If you are looking for that “balance” between pressure washing and family, remember that you are empowered to be in control of your days. One of the rewards of owning a business is that you have the ability to keep any hours you want.
I personally know a pressure washing contractor located in Kentucky who has built a pretty decent pressure washing business. One of the keys to his success is running his business versus letting his business run him. It’s not uncommon for him to go out for a ride on his Harley in the afternoon or take his beautiful family to a local restaurant for an early dinner on any given day. This is an excellent example of how a pressure washing contractor has taken advantage of why he is in business in the first place; that is enjoying life. I don’t know how much money he makes a year, but my guess is that he, along with other pressure washing contractors who dominate this “balance” between work and family, is probably one of the richest guys in the industry and has very little if some have to do with the size of your bank account.
let’s go out to dinner
So while your phone is ringing off the hook and you’re trying to be Superman to all of your customers at the same time, stop and ask yourself, ‘Is it really all about the money?’ If so, continue your journey and you should be applauded for your sacrifice. If not, I’m sure you’d be superman, at least for that night, to your family when you show up at the house unannounced to tell them you’re taking them out to dinner.