Back in 2009 I started to research roof cleaning because a friend of mine was selling a house and the potential buyer said it needed a new roof because it was black. Need I say more! In my research I found RCIA and started reading etc. I also read other forums PT State, PWI, etc. Talk about confusing.. In the end I bought the equipment needed because I already had a half ton truck at the time. I went with the 12v setup and use it to this day. My first rig to setup was about $650.00, I had the truck, back then I bought the basic pump 5850, hoses, spray gun, used ladders, two 55 gallon drums, etc. In Des Moines, Iowa no one had ever heard of roof cleaning. I even had one guy ask me if I was going to sweep his roof. LOL Needless to say I realized then this wasn't going to be an easy sell. That is when I also realized having the equipment is one thing and selling a cleaning is another. Glad I still had a day job. Over time I was able to educate home owners to roof cleaning and started getting business. Still was a hard sell. So, I changed my market to cedar shakes roof cleaning and things turned around. I then traded my have ton truck for a F-250 and purchased the fat boy system from Bob @ Pressure tek. I still use a version of it today but have designed my own system. Thus my second rig. My cost was about $1800.00 for my second rig equipment. The I went one step further and did a partial wrap and a set of side board signs. I realized branding and marketing was much more important than the cleaning system I had. That cost was about $3000.00. Best investment I made through all this.
There is a big hurdle from looking good and being good. I get calls, emails, weekly from others wanting to talk about roof cleaning. They say "I'd like to pick your brain". I laugh at how they always say I am not in your area and won't be competition. I am not indicating I am the best roof cleaner or have the best system but I may well be one of the best branded for the service. I don't have crews or trucks, I do all the cleanings myself. There is just Maria, my ground person and myself. We work from May 1st to November 1st and always gross well into the mid six figures every year. We also don't work 5 or 6 days a week. I am 66 years old and those days are gone. Though locally we do all types of roofs and siding and deck cleaning. www.sullivanroofcleaning.com Our main business comes from Cedar Shakes roof cleaning. www.cedarshakesroofcleaning.com Yes, a niche service. Since I first started I have seen this industry take many turns. I see as many selling the roof cleaning equipment etc., as there are roof cleaners. Well, not that many, but you get my point. What I hear from the many calls, emails I get about roof cleaning is they spend their money on some system but have no money for marketing and branding. They put the wagon before the horse! The equipment you use will not make you a dime if people don't know who your are. There are three basic things that any potential customer must know: 1.) Who are you. 2.) What do you do. 3.) What is in it for them/benefit. If you don't get this out there and people don't see it, all the great systems, equipment, solution etc. have very little value to you building your service. If you have a truck, van or trailer already, you can build a very nice cleaning system for well under $2000.00, in most cases for around $1000.00 if you know where to purchase. My point here. Don't spend your money on looking good, spend your money on being good. Branding your service. The three elements above. Equipment just gets the service done, branding gets you the service/job. Because I have built my branding, I have not marketed directly my service in the last two years. I have no advertising budget. Everything comes off my branding. But starting out I had 70% of my budget going to marketing and building my branding. In the last 7 years I know of 5 others that tried to start up roof cleaning in my area and today they are all gone. Oh, they had real nice skids they paid thousands for and nice looking rigs, a lot better looking than mine. But they didn't have the branding and couldn't afford it after spending all their money looking good. So once again this year we have earned well into the six figures in our short season and they are gone. Not because I have the best cleaning system or that I am the better cleaner but because I had the better branding of my services! Food for thought.
Over the years I have used direct mailing and they worked great for me. Back when I started cedar shakes cleaning, which many said I couldn't do my way, LOL, I would drive a location write down all the cedar roof addresses. Would go to the assessors page and get their name. Developed a tri-fold and hand addressed them, stamped and mailed. Got a lot of work that way.
The time down here has been great. Sure beats Des Moines, Iowa weather. Trying not to work much but the phone has been ringing. Sure a lot of cedar roofs in Florida. Here are a couple we just finished. Took us about 5 hours each to clean. Wish they were that easy back home. No moss or lichen here. LOL Low hanging fruit!
Chris, Yes I drove my truck down and Maria followed in our other truck because we'll be here till April 1st and then back home. Not looking to do anymore work really. Made enough already to pay our stay. I am going to sell the location to someone in our network, as I am retiring after this year. Will be great location as I already have marketing started. Have to be a locate person/service provider. Solar panels were not and have not been an issue. Matter of fact it cleans them some.