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4 Ways to Avoid Getting Ripped Off

6 Misconceptions about Pressure Washing

7 Mistakes to Avoid when choosing a Contractor

4 Steps to Help you Protect your Investment

Report Author: Barry Maddox from Midwest Pro Wash - Please do not use this report without his permission.

4 Ways to Avoid Getting Ripped Off:

Rip-Off #1: Unbelievably Low Price.
To some degree, all of us are attracted to low price because we want to work within a budget. But some power washers use price as the bait in order to land a job. They are hoping you are basing your buying decision on price alone and if they are the cheapest, they will get the job. Unfortunately once they get the job they have to take shortcuts in order to make a profit. Professional power washing is not as cheap as some unethical power washers would like you to believe. Make sure you are paying for the level of quality you expect.

Rip-Off #2: Crafty Claims Like: We Use Hot Water or High Pressure.
You may read this in ads, or hear this from contractors. High temperatures and high pressure should not be used in every situation. Both can cause damage when not used properly. Hot water is not necessary on residential jobs and many contractors use way too much pressure when cleaning. Too much pressure forces water behind your siding, lessens the longevity of shingles, and damages wood. We rely on our cleaners to do the work, use the right amount of pressure, and hot water when needed. The result is your property is thoroughly clean
and undamaged.

Rip-Off #3: Outdated Beliefs: "Just Power Wash the Deck and Use an Expensive Sealer."
Many people believe that using an expensive sealer will make all the difference. The fact is: the number one reason a sealer fails, no matter how much it cost, is because the wood is not prepared properly. Wood goes through many stages while being cleaned. When using the proper cleaner the wood turns very dark, as the ph level goes up. A neutralizing
process is necessary to lower the wood to a more acidic level, so the sealer will adhere properly. With the wood prepared properly, it can then be sealed with a contractor grade sealer.

Obviously, each contractor will be biased toward his own method. You should look to what wood professionals say. There are wood restoration classes that contractors can take to become certified, check to see if the contractor you are considering is certified.

Rip-Off #4: Offering to wash anything and everything.
Contractors wash many different things, from houses to tractors and from decks to parking lots. A company offering to wash almost anything may look impressive but is a sign of not being established. There are a lot of fly by night companies that come and go, who will offer to wash anything for a dollar, they never really get good at one thing. Make sure you hire a contractor that specializes in just a handful of the services you are interested in.

6 Misconceptions about Pressure Washing:

Misconception #1: It's Easy Enough That We Can Do It Ourselves.
This may be true to some extent but you can easily cause damage to yourself and your home if your not careful. I don't recommend to anyone to pressure wash from a ladder, this is very dangerous and should be left to a professional. Washing your vinyl siding from the ground at an upward angle will force water behind the siding causing water damage. Getting up in the air and away from the house will allow you to rinse the siding at a flatter angle. This can only be done with the proper equipment. Another thing is even small consumer grade pressure washing units put out too much pressure to wash vinyl, asphalt shingles, and pressure treated wood. Having the right equipment allows you to turn down the pressure, so your not causing damage.

Misconception #2: High Pressure Is The Only Way To Get It Clean.
Not true at all. Only contractors that use inferior cleaners have to depend on high pressure to do the job. High pressure can do a lot of damage to your home. To much pressure will force water to get behind the siding of your home causing mold and mildew problems. Wood is softer than you might think, and using too much pressure to wash a deck can cut wood and leave unsightly marks and scars that will show through the sealer. Using too much pressure on asphalt shingles is a huge mistake. Shingles have small pieces of grit on them, similar to sand, called granules. Excessive pressure can blow these granules off the shingles, lessening the longevity of your roof. Make sure contractor grade cleaners and the right amount of pressure are being used.

Misconception #3: The Cleaners Being Used Will Damage Your Plants Or Hurt Your Pets.
Quality contractors use only environmentally safe products that will not harm your pets.
But plants are more sensitive and need to be protected. If a cleaner is allowed to dry on the leaves of a plant it can leave burn spots. Covering plants with plastic is an option, but that can also be dangerous to the plants on a hot day. A better alternative is to wet the plants down with water before, during, and after the cleaning process. As long as cleaners are not allowed to dry on the plants, there should be no damage.

Misconception #4: Your Roof Is Black Or Has Black Streaks On It And Needs Replaced.
Not necessarily true. Unsightly black stains or streaks on asphalt shingles is caused by a
hardy type of algae called Gloeocapsa magma. This type of algae thrives in humid and
warm climates and usually appears, first, on the North slope of the roof where shade is
prevalent and moisture tends to accumulate. The algae feeds on the crushed limestone
that is used in asphalt shingles. Rain then spreads the algae down the roof, causing black
streaks. As the algae breaks down the shingles, the granules that protect the shingle are
loosened and begin to fall off. This causes the roof to deteriorate and diminishes the roof's ability to reflect heat rays. If left untreated, the algae will reduce the life of your roof,
diminish your home's curb appeal, and increase your home cooling cost.

This roof algae can be killed and removed to restore your roofs appearance. But the right
cleaners and low pressure is a must, so that damage is not done to the roof.

Misconception #5: You Should Hire the Company that Offers the Lowest Price.
Maybe, but not always. Here are some points to consider:

(1) The price you see advertised may not be the price you pay. Many homeowners have
learned that the low price they saw advertised lasted only until the contractor did the
estimate. Then they were pressured into paying a lot more for a variety of add-ons.

(2) Some contractors market strategy is to get jobs by being the lowest bidder. The
contractor will then cut corners in order to turn a profit.

(3) Due to low start up costs, many companies come and go. When first starting up, a lot of companies do not educate themselves, because power washing looks easy and profitable. So, they lack the right equipment, cleaners, insurance, knowledge, professionalism, and normally, will charge an extremely low price.

Misconception #6: Any Honest Power Washing Company Should be Able to Give an Estimate Over the Phone.
It would be easier if this were true, but it is not. Honest, reputable power washing companies almost never give a cleaning estimate over the phone. Most companies charge by the square foot or linear foot. But there are too many variables that can change that price from one home to another. For instance, different types of terrain or landscaping can affect the price. What type of wood is your deck? Has it ever been sealed? Is water accessible at the job site? Maybe your house is not extremely dirty and could be done for less than a dirty house the same size. The good news is, once an estimate is given by a quality contractor, you know that that's the price you will pay (no last minute surprises).

7 Mistakes to Avoid when choosing a Contractor:

Mistake #1: Choosing a Company Without Testimonials.
Any reputable company, with a good customer base, should have testimonials. If their clients are not saying good things about them, how can you expect good results?

Mistake #2: Choosing a Contractor Based on Low Price.
If you choose a company based only on price, it's because you had nothing else to base your decision on. There are better things to base your buying decision on when it comes to protecting your investment. Professionalism, quality, knowledge, appearance, what their customers are saying about them, and what are the benefits to you are all things that should be considered when choosing a power washing company. Also, some companies bid low to get the job and are then forced to cut corners and sacrifice quality in order to turn a profit.

Mistake #3: Choosing a Contractor Based on a Single Phone Call.
Instead, invite the contractor to your home, and ask for a free estimate; most quality contractors offer them. Free estimates are a great way to test the contractors knowledge and to see his appearance and professionalism first hand, with no obligations. You will also have a written estimate, so there will not be any overcharges or surprise add-ons.

Mistake #4: Choosing a Contractor Whom Does Not Offer a Guarantee.
Why should you have to pay for a job that you are not satisfied with? Not all power washing companies offer a guarantee. If they do, the guarantee may be limited. Ask the contractor if he offers a money back guarantee, and then make sure he includes his guarantee on the written estimate.

Mistake #5: Choosing a Contractor Without Getting Comments from his Other Clients.
Any contractor can say anything about his past jobs, and some of what he says may not be true. Make sure that you ask for references or read comments from past customers, so you know you can depend on the contractor and his work.

Mistake #6: Choosing a Contractor whom is not Certified.
How do you know whether the contractor has the knowledge or experience to restore your deck or fence? If you want to be sure you are hiring a competent professional, make sure he has some sort of certification in wood restoration. The contractor must earn that certification through study, experience, and successful completion of examinations. In effect, contractors who are certified in wood care are much more knowledgeable and competent, and their work will result in a better quality job.

Mistake #7: Choosing a Contractor Whom uses Consumer Grade Equipment and Cleaners. Cheap equipment may be a sign of a "fly-by-night" company. Big, high- dollar, skid- mounted pressure washers are not necessary to do a quality job. But, if the contractor uses the same little 2.2 gallon per minute pressure washer that you saw on sale at the home improvement store, you might want to reconsider hiring him. Most quality contractors use 3.5 to 5.5 gallon per minute cold water units for residential use. If a contractor is using consumer grade equipment, he is probably using consumer grade cleaners, also. House, deck, and concrete cleaners, that are sold to consumers, have to be safe to handle, therefore, they are not very concentrated or very effective. Contractor grade cleaners sold through distributors are still environmentally safe but are more concentrated and must be handled with care. Contractor grade cleaners are necessary in order to achieve quality results, without using high pressure, which could lead to damage.

4 Steps to Help you Protect your Investment:

If you are thinking of having something cleaned, we encourage you to follow these four

Step#1: Make a Commitment to yourself to get your home or property cleaned.
The longer it remains dirty, the more damage is being done to your image and your investment.

Step #2: List Your Objectives.
Do you want a real simple wash, something you could do
yourself with a rented machine, or do you want a complete, quality job? Do you want to
work with an honest, reputable company, or are you willing to risk work with the company
that offers the lowest price, even knowing that they may not be in business tomorrow?

Step#3: Ask the Correct Questions of a Power Washer Before You Hire him.
The way that you learn about a contractor is to ask specific questions and listen carefully to the answers. Here are some tough questions to ask a contractor before you decide to hire him.

-What is your cleaning process?

-What type of equipment do you use?

-How much pressure do you use? Answer should be no more than 800psi on vinyl, 1000 on wood, and only garden hose pressure on roofs.

-What type of cleaners do you use?

-How often should I have my house, gutters, etc cleaned?

-Do you have any wood restoration certifications?

-Do you have any before and after pictures I can see?

-Do you have any customer testimonials?

-Do you have any references?

Step#4: Once you are satisfied that you are working with an honest, competent professional, invite him to your home and ask for a specific written estimate in writing.
A written estimate gives you the assurance that you know exactly what your job will cost (no surprises).

By reading this report and following these steps, you will have all the information you need
to make an informed and intelligent decision. If you want a quick and cheap exterior
cleaning job, many companies in the phone book can help you. You can rent, or buy a
pressure washer, and do the job yourself. But, if you want to discover the benefits of hiring
a professional power washing company, then I invite you to call us. We will be happy to
answer your questions or provide you with a Free Exterior Cleaning Evaluation.

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