This page is intended to help you make an informed decision regarding your power washing and Pressure Free Roof Cleaning™ needs. Reading this information can save you from making a bad decision that may cost you thousands of dollars and hours of aggravation.
1. Do it yourself or hire a contractor?
Ask yourself these questions when trying to decide whether to do it yourself or hire someone to power wash your property:
- Are you OK with heights and ladders?
- Do you own or can you rent the necessary equipment, such as tall ladders, extra pressure hoses (150 feet), chemical injectors, hot water power washer, detergents, protective clothing and eyewear?
- Do you have the time to power wash your house? This usually requires 1 to 2 days for an average house, 4 hours for an average deck or patio, 4 hours for a driveway with typical homeowner/rental cold water equipment.
- Pressure Free Roof Cleaning™ is not possible without the use of prefessional equipment and special detergents. It is also extremely dangerous due to heights and slippery roofs and therefore not recomended for homeowners to attempt.
- If you answered yes to all of the above, figure out your costs for the rental equipment, detergents, etc., taking into consideration your travel time and your labor. If the total is less than the estimates you get from professional power washing companies and if you are physically capable of doing the work, then the do-it-yourself approach could be right for you. If not, go to the next step.
2. How do I choose the right contractor?
A recent study by the Cleaning Equipment Trade Association (CETA) found that 9 out of 10 contractors go out of business in their first year. The two biggest reasons for failure were lack of experience and lack of professional training. Hire the wrong contractor and your house could become the “experiment.”
However there are professional power washing contractors who can do a great job for you. But there are also ten times as many inexperienced and ill-equipped contractors who will do a poor job, damage your property and/or overcharge you.
For your own protection, please take the time to investigate anyone you plan to hire so you can make an informed decision instead of an impulsive one. You’ll be much happier in the end.
When looking for a professional power washing contractor, you should ask the following questions.
- Has the contractor been in business full-time for more than 2 years?
- Have any complaints been logged against the contractor with the Consumer Affairs or Better Business Bureau offices in your county? (phone numbers are provided here.) Check the business name as well as the owner’s name and address. Some unscrupulous contractors change their business names often or trade under many names to prevent you from finding them if something goes wrong.
- Is the contractor registered with the State of New Jersey and does the contractor collect state sales tax on all services provided? Sales tax should be shown on your estimate and invoice as a separate line item. You may be liable for sales tax, penalties and interest if the contractor does not collect it at the time of payment.
- Is a physical address, not a P.O. Box, shown on the contractor’s business card, letterhead and invoice?
- Has the contractor provided at least 3 references?
- Are your phone calls returned promptly?
- Is a free estimate offered?
- Does the contractor specialize in exterior house washing? (Make sure the contractor doesn’t clean trucks, restaurant vent systems, boats or other things full-time doing power washing homes as a “favor” or “on the side” with someone else’s equipment.)
- Is the contractor in the business full-time or part-time? Part time contractors tend to have inferior equipment and only partial knowledge of the complexities of house washing. Usually you’ll get a “part time” result.
- Is the contractor fully insured, which equates to over $1 million in liability and completed operations including full workers compensation insurance for employees? (See insurance section.)
- Is the contractor borrowing or renting the equipment? A professional contractor owns a hot water power washer and the attachments to do your job right. (See services section.)
Make sure the contractor does not require any money up front and does not want payment until the job is completed as bid and you are fully satisfied.
Questions About Equipment and Detergents
- Is the contractor using hot water machines with detergent injection? (See equipment section.)
- Will ladders be placed against your siding, which can cause denting, scratching and damage?
- Does the contractor use biodegradable detergents specifically made for house washing, not laundry soap or detergents with paint stripper i.e. sodium hydroxide?
- Does the contractor use bleach on decking or bare wood siding? This will cause the lingen (glue) in the wood to deteriorate and the wood to crack and splinter, as well as bleaching the wood lighter.
- Does the contractor use flammable chemicals or paint stripper to clean your gutter exteriors?
- When using a paint stripper to remove old deck stain and sealer, all metal and painted surfaces should be encased in plastic to prevent damage. Is the contractor covering everything that could be damaged?
- Will the contractor leave equipment overnight on your property? If so, who is responsible for it? Is it insured?
- Will the contractor route hot hoses away from grass or vegetation that can be damaged by the heat?
Here are some things to consider regarding the cost of power washing:
- Confirm that the free estimate you received has a separate line item for NJ sales tax.
- Confirm that the free estimate is the exact price you will pay and that no “extras” or unexpected charges will be added later.
- Confirm the scope of the work and compare it “apples to apples” with three other estimates.
- Don’t go with the low bidder unless they can meet all of the requirements listed above. Remember that there’s no free ride… and you almost always get what you pay for.