Slamming Out A "Softwash" Trailer

Whenever I build something, I draw on a very wide base of experience, and I want my new equipment to as user friendly and as headache free as it can possibly be.  I had three days to bust this thing out, so I can send a single crew out to work with this thing and a couple hot water machines and a vacuum over the next 30 days to knock off four apartment complexes for an old customer I've worked for, for a long time.  Just about every part I had laying around in my shop except the little 12volt pump and a few fittings I was out of...  I knew what I wanted before I started on it earlier this week, and with that general goal in mind, I set myself to the build, working my way through each issue in linear fashion, often retracing my steps re-working a component to deal with a problem I couldn't forsee later in the system.  But I couldn't be happier with it.  The user can switch between fresh water or solution and automatically load his tank with any needed solution mixture recipes through a series of three separate 3 way valves.  The 12volt on demand pump does all the work, all he needs to do is to set the various 3 way valves to the proper configuration to load and mix, wash with solution, or rinse with fresh water and flush the system with clean water.  With our working spectrum of commercial industrial applications and virtually no residential, he has the capacity and battery power to work this thing all day without needing to stop and reload or recharge.  I'm stoked to put this thing through its paces next week!

New Media Gallery!

We are excited to launch and share our new media Gallery! This is where we will consolidate and share images and videos of our more notable cleaning projects!  Apparently a picture is worth a thousands words, so this is probably a good idea!  Our new media gallery page is an "index page" just like our "services" page, upon which, abbreviated thumbnails are shown as links for separate pages.   These pages under the Media Gallery index, are collections of related media.  Each page, whether they are photos or videos (or both) of entire projects or related collections of certain specialized equipment we use, each page in the Media Gallery index will showcase its own topic...

If you'd like to check it out, click Media Gallery here, or find it in our main navigation bar later!  I hope you enjoy seeing the messes we get ourselves into!  P.S. when V.R. really gets going, I'll make sure not to include the smells...

Taking time away from work!

As an obsessive type of person, I've learned that it's very important to take time away from work...  I've always been obsessive about whatever I was really interested in doing.  When I was younger it was climbing, when I was a soldier, it was soldiering.  But things happen.  Accidents happen.  As it happened in my life, a very serious climbing accident "happened"...  On a beautiful and otherwise perfect fall day while climbing the famous Fred Beckey route "Outer Space", a poor fellow in a climbing team above my partner and I, died after pitching off and taking a 400' ground fall, hitting me on the way down and nearly killed my partner who was belaying my lead on the 3rd pitch.  More than anything else, this was the single event that changed the course of my life and ultimately led me to starting my own business.  This absolutely horrifying event, pretty much doused the hot fiery passion I had for rock climbing.  It wasn't like a light was switched off though, it took a couple years, and although I kept climbing for awhile, I knew inside that my passion, that was so crucial to who I was as a climber, was simply just no longer authentic.  It's important to really LOVE climbing if you do it, so that you'll be good at it, and being good at it is what obviates the risk.  But that accident didn't cure me of my tendency to obsess and geek out on whatever I was doing.  Unbeknownst to me, this energy in me would soon be redirected into entrepreneurship...  Starting a business, especially one that involves hard physical work can be described in no other way than as "a black hole for energy".  Good thing I had lots to give.  As it turned out, years later and to my complete surprise, my long forgotten enthusiasm and passion for climbing returned to me!  I had just sort of resigned myself to the idea that, that part of my life was probably just over.  But as I settled into hiring and using employees over the years, getting more help, and growing the business and taking on more of a leadership type of role, this abundant supply of energy always in me, was not being sapped so drastically any longer.  A long hiatus from climbing, completely healed injuries, and a fresh and wiser perspective on the whole thing, yields a new found passion for my old Love!  Maybe my pressure washing businesses' website is not the proper place to share my climbing life, but from my perspective the two are intertwined, teach the same lessons, and are emergent phenomena of the same reservoir of creativity in me.  Here is a short video of just a few highlights of my life and work partner and our recent time away from work bouldering in the Easter Sierras in Bishop, California.  I hope you enjoy as much as we did!

Bishop March 2018

Municipal Consulting Spring 2017

I was very proud and happy to contribute my experience and my experiences when officials and employees who work for the city I call home, and where I operate my little contracting business asked to come by my shop to gather information in order to make the best decision they could when it came time to purchase a power washing system with waste water reclamation capabilities.  I had a chance to share with them, the things that work, the things that don't work and where they are likely to bump into difficulty with the cleaning systems currently available on the market that they had to choose from.  A chance to show them in what direction the equipment would be headed when manufacturers begin to catch up with the demands of real world working conditions...  There's something that just feels good when you get a chance to spare somebody else, the pain of hard lessons you've already passed through and learnt from...

Custom full reclamation chewing gum removers!

Generally removing chew gum spot stains is done with a traditional wand, and hot water.  Rotary surface cleaners can't do this, and more often than not, an entire phase of a cleaning project is devoted to just removing gum spots.  One of there problems with this is that in reclamation applications, you wind up capturing the wash water remotely, at a low spot or with vacuum booms.  However, when a non-profit "Friends of the Waterfront Seattle" reached out to us to clean the new light permeable sidewalks over the newly installed salmon habitat down at the Seattle Water front below Pike Place Market, I knew this technique wouldn't work.  There was thousands of chewing gum spots on the new light permeable walks and it drops right over the edge into the Puget Sound.  So, time to build a new innovative custom piece of equipment!  Thus was born the "reclamation chewing gum remover"! 

Finally! Our new website!

In June of 2011, I set out with $300.00 I really didn't have, and bought a copy of Apple's iWeb software, and built and uploaded a website for my fledgling company Mechanized Cleaning Solutions, Inc.  After learning a little about SEO (search engine optimization) I submitted my web address and site map to the search providers, and ran around to every public computer I could find and began searching for my website using the search terms I tagged my pages with, and hoped and suspected people and businesses might use when looking for the services I hoped to provide them...  A few months later, that modest website caught the attention of the management of a large Bellevue, WA high rise apartment building who was looking for a contractor to come clean their 6 level, 220,000 SQFT of parking garage.  I spent all day and night working on that website, and that led me to working all day and night cleaning that damn garage!  I spent 18 hours a day, running pressure washing vacuum trailers with 300 gallon waste water holding tanks up and down those levels to a big 5,000 gallon poly tank I had dropped off across the street, and with little 110v sump pumps would transfer the used wash water from the trailers I built, to the big holding tank I was renting.  Once freshly emptied out, I'd then wind the trailer back up through the levels to the work area.  At the end of the project, a pump truck came and emptied the large tank out for the last time and hauled the last load of waste water to the disposal plant.  Of the six hours I wasn't working on the job site each day, only about one of those managed to become a sleeping hour.  Little did I know in my naivety then, that how hard I worked on that first big job, would only be a small taste of the work ahead of me.  But, those first few years out on my own, and this natural empathy towards those that worked with me and for me, would profoundly shape my attitudes about what it meant to fairly compensate somebody for their time, what success really meant.  Those experiences also shaped my larger business strategy, to elevate every dimension of the efficiency of the exchange of resources between customer and service provider.  I made it my mission, from then on, to pay my people as much as I could.  I knew then, that my goal was not to make money, but to provide a superior service.  I would ask more of my workers, and give them more in return, and if the fates smiled on our endeavors we would provide a better service for a comparable price, and guys not educated past high school like myself, might find a good living working for a great company...  As I learned and suffered in the heat and the pressure of the crucible of self employment, I gradually became better and better at what I do, until one day, a large organization partially funded by tax dollars requested our services, and that meant my first time getting to pay my workers prevailing wages...  I am proud to report that as of 2016, over my first 5 years in business, with no college education, managed to start an environmentally friendly cleaning company during the second great recession, with an average hourly payroll rate of $42 per hour gross, with the guys taking home an average of around $32 per hour after taxes...  This is truly a point of pride for me...