Keep this on the truck!
Over the past two years, I’ve entered and fought for a space in a highly competitive pressure washing market in Charleston, South Carolina. I have grown my business, Mount Pleasant Pressure Washing, to averaging $25,000 per month with one truck.
Building my business from the ground up has fortuned me with learning everything the hard way in many cases – especially equipment breaking on the job. When you’re getting started, there is no possible way to have a spare of EVERYTHING that will break, and the same rings true for when you become an established business in your area.
What you can do though, is gather a spare of everything that is MOST LIKELY to cause you to come to a halt on the job.
This is the mindset I take into every aspect of my business – from marketing to automation to equipment, you cannot have everything there is to offer, but you surely can implement process and get the foundations set for what is most likely to give you a return on your investment.
There are many items on here that do not fit in a Milwaukee small parts box, as it covers many of the basics I carry in my own small parts box.
This Emergency Parts Kit is a culmination of everything I have found to either A) break the most often or B) cause you to be completely shut down on a job site and head back to the shop or to the local pressure washing supply store. Get these items, and you will surely have less stress, faster repairs on site, and more success in your business.
Pressure Washing Emergency Parts Kit
- High Pressure Hose – I carry 250 feet of high pressure hose on my reel with an extra 50-100 foot section still in the original packaging tucked away next to my buffer tank. I’ve found pressure hose rated for 6000 PSI lasts much longer than hoses rated for 4000 PSI. They are heavier and more expensive on the front end but will cause much less headache over time.
- Recoil Starters – Having a pull cord break on your pressure washer when firing it up to start cleaning is probably the most annoying of all things that happen on the job. Re-stringing it is even more aggravating. I’ve simply opted to buy several extra recoil starters for both my Honda GX390 motor and Honda GX200 motor. When I get a nice pile of broken ones, I take them to a local small engine shop and have them re-strung for cheap.
- Small Parts Box – This goes without saying, but you should have 1 or more extra of every fitting in your high-pressure line, soft wash line, swivels, and plumbing lines. Couplers, ball valves, O-rings, filters, barbs, check valves, metering valves, tees, you name it. I’ve had all of these things go bad at one point or another, and depending on how bad the leaks are, some of these repairs can put you out of work until fixed.
- Oil and Gas – Some of the simplest tools are most forgotten. Having an extra 5 gallons or so of gas has saved me on several occasions, and some engines will not even start without enough oil in the engine. Have a spare quart of both pump oil and engine oil just in case.
- Dental Picks – I learned this amazing trick from Aaron Parker and the Lean and Mean Academy. Things get messy when you are surface cleaning, and it’s easy to accidentally clog your high-pressure tips on your surface cleaner with debris when connecting and disconnecting hoses. In-line filters between your hose and surface cleaner help, but in the case of a clogged tip, you can unscrew the tip from your surface cleaner, use a dental pick to remove the debris, and get back to work.
- Commercial Water Key – As you start to move into cleaning apartments, restaurants, office buildings, etc. it is important to have a commercial water key. Some buildings do not have handles on their water spigots to prevent people from stealing their way. Having a commercial water key is essential for scaling up to wash large buildings, plain and simple.
- Bleach Neutralizer – We keep a bottle of Plant Protect from Southeast Softwash on our truck in the case of accidentally getting concentrated bleach on things that should not get concentrated bleach on them. Let’s say you blow a hose while washing a roof, and the hole in your hose lets out the mix onto your customer’s flower bed, we immediately grab the neutralizer and protect those plants as soon as possible. Water alone may not do the trick in some cases, so it is better to have some neutralizer on hand.
- Property Protection Kit – This simply boils down to drop cloths, tape, and nitrile gloves. We have been on properties where they have giant wooden tables, outdoor grills, and large delicate plants that cannot be moved easily. Without having a drop cloth to protect those items, we would have had to drive all the way to Home Depot and back just to wash one small area of the house effectively without damaging a $5,000 outdoor dining set. Having a $5 pack of drop cloths on hand at all times will save you on a weekly basis.
- Tape – we keep a few different kinds of tape on the truck. It is all personal preference. We tape off all outlets, doorbells, and garage door openers to prevent water entry. Without taping these things off, you are gambling on hundreds of dollars in repairs every job.
- Nitrile gloves – these are perfect for covering security cameras and Ring doorbells. Slip one over the top and you are good to go.
We have laid out some of the top tools we like to keep on our truck to help us in those “Oh Crap” situations. Especially when you are blocking and tackling during the busy seasons, house after house after house, it is important to be streamlined in your setup and teardown at each job.
Being faster in 5 ways 12 times a day saves you an hour every day, and if you aren’t having to go all the way back to your shop or the local pressure washing store every time you break something, you will save yourself countless headaches and hours of time every month by having the right back ups and redundancy on your wash truck.
Alex Hammond – Owner
Wash Mt Pleasant
Website: Pressure Washing Charleston