A Pressure Washing Consultant’s Tips for Flat Surface Cleaning

At an initial glance, flat surface power washing may appear to be one of the most basic and easy power washing applications for a new business to launch.

As a power washing consultant will tell you though, this is not true. “Flat surface cleaning” generally refers to pavement, asphalt, concrete or interlocking bricks – not wooden decks. In addition, most of this type of power washing occurs on commercial, industrial or multi-family properties, such as apartment buildings, all of which present their own considerations to take into account.

Wastewater Recovery and Disposal

These surfaces and locations present some of the biggest challenges because of local ordinances regulating wastewater emissions and control. These areas often lack a vegetative buffer to absorb wastewater, and have multiple storm sewer drains that professional power washers will have to be aware of. So in addition to providing basic power washing services, a pressure wash consultant will advise you to provide for wastewater recovery and disposal.

Flat surface cleaning for automotive service locations, gas stations and similar businesses is even more challenging as the chance of having contaminated wastewater is high from contaminants located on the surface. For example, the cleaning of a dumpster will result in contaminants such as oils, hydrocarbons and plant/animal fats that cannot be disposed of through a standard storm water drain.

Failure to be aware of local ordinances and federal regulations on the appropriate handling of wastewater can have expensive consequences. For example, recently a fast food restaurant contracted with a power washer to clean the area around a dumpster at the restaurant. The power washer failed to provide for wastewater recovery and disposal, and as a result, the city fined the restaurant owner $6,000 for improper disposal of contaminated wastewater.

Wastewater management can provide one of the biggest challenges for professional power washers. But the good news for businesses considering starting or expanding flat surface cleaning is that this can be a very profitable year-around service in many parts of North America.

Good business owners and managers know that not only does a clean business attract customers, but that health and safety regulations require periodic cleaning of sidewalks and other surfaces. If you’re in an area where flat surface cleaning is seasonal, a pressure washing consultant will advise you to use the downtime to offer a discount to customers who pre-book spring pressure washing in advance.

Pre-Quote Inspections and Other Considerations

Before providing a quote, a good power washing consultant will always recommend that you personally visit the site to be cleaned, and flat surface cleaning is no exception.

By performing a pre-quote project evaluation, you can build a relationship with the potential customer and provide an accurate quote. Professional pressure wash consultant advice is to also use the on-site inspection as an opportunity to point out other areas of the property where your services may be useful, such as for graffiti removal or awning cleaning.

To quote a job accurately, measure the linear feet to be cleaned and use this to calculate the total surface area. This should give you a good estimate of the time required to clean the area, and include time for set-up and take down in your calculations. When you provide the quote, offer it for the entire job and not at an hourly rate, otherwise you risk losing money if your technicians are extremely efficient on that job.

To finish a job, and exceed your customer’s expectations, a pressure washing consultant recommends a quick rinse of the entire area, such as window ledges, trash cans and benches. This will put the finishing touch on your job and present a fully polished exterior for your customer.

Pressure Wash Consultant Cleaning Tips for Flat Surfaces

- Make sure concrete has had time to cure and is not brand new.
- When cleaning pavers, always use caution and don’t blow the sand out from between the stones.
- Explain to a customer that you will do your best to remove a stain, but never guarantee that a stain can be removed entirely.
- If cleaning a concrete slab, be extremely careful cleaning around the edges to reduce debris scatter.
- Always begin with a low PSI setting (about 2000) to test the durability of the surface and reduce the chance of damage.
- Follow the recommendations of your pressure cleaning equipment manufacturer regarding distance between the surface and spray head. If too far away, the cleaning may be ineffective; if too close, you risk damaging the surface.