As with any trade, a contractor entering into the pressure washing industry has their sight on one primary goal. That is to make money and LOTS of it.
This is probably the one common denominator that most pressure wash contractors give as their reason for joining the rank and file as a professional power washing contractor. Obviously there is nothing wrong with making money with your business; this is why you are in business right? Often time a contractors success is measured by prescribed benchmarks passed down from one generation to the next. One of them being how much money do you make? The formula has always been that money equals success. The other is whether or not you are busy? If a contractor is busy, then the old cliche is that they must be successful because their busy. And if a contractor is busy 7 days a week from sun-up to sun-down then obviously they are making great money ~ right?
The Rat Race of Success?
Imagine having a 5 year business plan that yields a surge of growth for your business that everything else in your life is on hold in order to accommodate the abounding growth you experience year after year? The influx of sales calls must be answered within 24 hours preferably. Once answered, then you must schedule the estimates. Do not forget to take the time to proof read your marketing fliers/postcards in between answering all the sales calls and the estimates that you just scheduled. Phone time with your distributor is a must in order to keep the chemicals/soaps stocked. The phone time with your distributor also affords you the opportunity to ask technical questions about the “rattling noise” you hear on your rig when it is in operation. For some of you, if your rig goes down then you are nonoperational at least for the next 24-48 hours at minimum.
Fellow contractors need their time also on the phone with you so they can “bend your ear” for tips and suggestions. Set some time aside at night to keep your companies web presence in the forefront for your customer base and to answer emails from customers that opted to not call you during the day. Training any new employee will take a good chunk out of a work day so plan accordingly. If you are a one-man operation you obviously will need to finesse your washing schedule in order to make time to actually perform the work that was booked from those sales calls mentioned earlier. In the past you were able to make bank deposits every Friday but today you just cannot seem to make it to the bank until after it is closed because you literally have a thousand other priorities going on with the success of your business.
In between this fast operation tempo you may manage to give your significant other a call on the phone to let them know that you will not be able to make it to your sons little league game or your daughters dance recital again as promised. You offer up a sincere and heart felt apology not only to your significant other but more importantly to your child who is obviously upset that you will not be there – again. You had every intention to make it this time when you left for work that morning but as luck would have it a customer frantically called at the last minute saying the stain you applied yesterday was not the right color! Before you hang up with your wife you mention that you will not make it home for dinner either. Has this been your routine lately? Do the demands of your business and the priorities associated with it overshadow the very reason why you are in business of pressure washing in the first place?
What is Your System?
Business growth and the effort that is required to manage that growth can be a pleasant experience as a pressure wash business owner. As your business grows externally i.e. sales, marketing, increase in contracts, you must ensure that you internal business infrastructure i.e. employees, managers, sales team is also growing to compliment this external growth. It is highly recommended that your business plan not only speaks on “systems” but more importantly that you understand the action on your part to place the right people into your business so that the “systems” in writing can turn to “systems” of reality. As business owners, we often overlook the infrastructure portion of our business plan by diverting our attention on only how to get our phone to 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 the day it is, you are behind schedule or in ‘catch up mode’ because your “systems” still lay dormant. In conjunction with just being behind schedule every day, we also unconsciously run a very high risk of losing out on the joys of spending quality time with our family and loved ones as described in the example above. Does this sound like you?
Who is in Charge?
There is good news and today you are empowered as the owner of your business to stop this cycle of madness and take control of your business instead of letting your business control you. The first step in order to regain control of your business is that you need to arrive to the understanding and belief that constant business growth is not necessarily the only indicator to success. As a pressure washing contractor with a family you owe it to your significant other and children to ensure that the growth of your business does not constantly overshadow the simple things in life that everyone in your household needs and wants.
As business owners, we have the luxury and the ability to ‘scale back’ our time in the field in order to make the time to give our family the attention they deserve. Why? Because you are the owner and the BOSS. That is right; YOU call the shots on the day to day operations and at what the operation tempo of your day will be like. If your ‘systems’ action plan only got as far as it being written on a piece of paper then you run a very high risk of burning yourself out very quickly. Coupled this along with the mental peer pressure from your significant other that you have not spent quality time with your family in the last 4-6 months, it is plausible that one day you may wake up and realize that you do not enjoy what you are doing i.e. pressure washing.
Instead of starting your pressure wash season with only the purpose of making as much money as you can, could it be feasible that you approach your pressure wash season with the mind set that your business and family will sustain a “balance” through out the year? Oh the joy of seeing a young boys face light up when he sees BOTH parents sitting in the bleachers to watch his little league game in the middle of the afternoon; Or the smile from ear-to-ear when a young daughter happily jumps into your arms because you came to pick her up from school. Establishing the right “systems” in your pressure washing business takes time and ultimately some trial and error. It is okay if you do not get it right after several attempts but be mindful and confident that you will get there eventually. Managing the growth of your company may even mean temporarily not growing at all until you able to find the right individuals that posses the skill set your business needs to take it to that next plateau.
Time To Reflect
If you find yourself in the middle of the pressure wash gauntlet 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 could not obtain working for someone else? If so, where is that freedom today? Take inventory on how your time away from the family may be viewed by your significant other and your children today. If making money at all costs is what drives you then congratulations on your success. If you seek that “balance” between pressure washing and family remember that you are empowered to be in control of your days. One of rewards of being a business owner is that you have the ability to keep any schedule that you wish.
I personally know a pressure washing contractor located in Kentucky that has carved out a pretty decent pressure washing business. One of the keys to his success is that he manages his business verses letting his business manage him. It is not uncommon for him to be out riding his Harley in the afternoon or taking his beautiful family to a local restaurant for an early supper on any given day. This is a prime example of how one pressure washing contractor has taking advantage of why he is in business in the first place; that is to enjoy life. I do not know how much money he makes a year but I would guess that he, along with other pressure washing contractors that have mastered this “balance” between work and family, is probably one of the richest guys in the industry and has very little if any to do with the size of his bank account.
Lets Go Out for Dinner
So as your phone continues to ring off the hook and you are attempting to be superman for all your customers all at one time, stop and asked yourself whether or not ‘is it really about all the money?’ If so, continue on your journey and you should be applauded for your sacrifice. If not, I am sure you would be superman, at least for that night, to your family when you show up at the house unannounced to tell them you are taking them out to dinner!