Monday, September 28, 2015
Nothing is free anymore. We all know about anything offered for free and what really happens.
As an experiment with our surface restoration business, I wanted to try and do something unique ( one of our regular services)for free. What I really wanted to know is what free would cost the business in total value. As an owner operator with no employees it important to put a value on your time. Time is worth way more than the cost of materials in this business. My first opportunity came with a friend needing to replace a laundry room floor that had been gouged and destroyed by a water leak. This 12x14 room was the perfect opportunity. The materials would only be $600 to turn this old wood subfloor into a concrete epoxied beauty. Plus I needed to shake off some of the rust with my trowel work.
The floor was pretty straight forward and easy to layout. The concrete though took a little longer to set and dry because of the high humidity of the Oregon weekend and rain. We were able to pour out the base of the floor on Friday, but couldn't get the last colored skim coat finished until Sunday. So after about 18 hours worth of labor (translated $1800) we finally had our floor in ready to seal. And of course, taking advantage of me being there, my friend had me professionally clean the carpets while we watched the floor dry...so add all this up and the weekend basically cost us about $2600 in Free services...
And I still have to take another couple hours to seal it two days later.
So, there are a few free services out there, but they are unusual and have a "friendship" of some sort attached to them...,
Why couldn't he needed pressure washing and sealing of his concrete or deck? That would have taken half the time and money....?
Now onto a regular paying customer....
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Oil stains on concrete can be a real problem. Whether it is on a roadway, driveway, restaurant drive-thru, bank drive thru, mall parking lot, parking garage, large or small it can be an ugly mess. Typical cleaners and degreasers will have some affect, however, they do not go deep enough into the pores of the concrete to remove the black oil stains so only the surface of the oil is removed and a lasting stain remains - the results are usually less than satisfactory.
We utilize a " bug" that eats away at the oil stain for up to four days.it will do what even the harshest of chemicals can't. The differences can be dramatic visually.
The next time you have an oil spill or want to try and get rid of old stains from oils, remember to call a Fast Finish expert
Monday, September 21, 2015
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Roof cleaning is one of those tasks that you know needs done, but usually wait until it's just a mess to do it. The home owner can get it done safely by using an experienced cleaner safer and quicker than any home owner typically can and with better results if they used the certified approved methods. Skip all the expensive do it your self box store treatments that partially work. You can find several companies on Angies list, yelp or through a Google search easily.
XtremeProWash is one that has aggressive pricing and the correct technique. After cleaning roofs for several years we have connected with Xtreme as they have the same great like minded way of going about cleaning roofs and communicating with customers. As a valuable extension to our existing clients and those needing their roofs cleaned. We will make sure you get it done right the first time. Call us today and schedule your roof cleaning. You will be glad you did!
Monday, September 14, 2015
Concrete sealers. There are many and they are just as diverse as the surfaces they protect. So how do we pick the right one for our surface?
Many manufactures have tried to make the super sealer that can cover everything. This concept is obviously attractive to the installer and home owner alike as it just keeps everything simple. But is that the best approach? And is the seal good enough for "every" surface or even most surfaces? Let's take a closer look at sealers, specifically the ones for concrete or exposed aggregate for now. I will go into other hard surface sealers in another blog post later on,.
First some background- with chemistry as hobby and 25 years in industrial chemical sales, it's safe to say that I have seen a few revolutionary products as well as complete disasters. Also , working with large general contractors that are eager to test products over the years has afforded me some grey hairs that remember what works and what failed over time. Sealers are one of the items that fall into that category. One of my first experiences was watching the de lamination of sealer on concrete that hadn't cured long enough to accept it.
That took a lot of sorting out as the manufacture gave some wrong information on its use as well as installer error and other various conditions causing multiple faults and failures.
But let's not get overly concerned about failure of multi million dollar construction projects. Let's look at the simple home owner driveways, walkways, patios and entry ways etc...
To make it simple I will skip over all the box store sealers that are made for home owners. Most contractors that do any amount of sealing most likely won't use them. The two basic types are silca and acrylic or water based and solvent based. The water based types are utilized indoor more often as the solvents are toxic with fumes that are also flammable and shouldn't be used in enclosed areas with spark or ignition sources. That said, they both have about the same longevity from my experience, and needs to be re applied after a couple years to maintain the look that is desired.
I will cover stone sealer at a later time and some of the potential issues with those...
Thursday, September 10, 2015
By now most people who spend any amount of time online in the business world have heard of LinkedIn. I call it the face book for business. It has more business related contacts within it than personal ones like Facebook. As a business looking to get noticed linked in provides yet another layer that connects your name ( business name) with the cyber world. The attractive no cost free cyberspace also makes it easy to get it out there. We have yet to spend a dime with their next level marketing packages they offer with the rest of the marketing companies looking for dimes, but what you can put out for free has shown more than enough for google to find.
With a new business, everything that you can get out there that is linked to popular sites creates more relativity. Granted, putting yourself out there will also produce more sales calls looking for your money, but the trade off of filtering through the calls is well worth the effort.
We will discuss how we have managed to filter out the unwanted solicitation later..
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Angie's list, living social, Groupon, & now Amazon all work in a similar fashion by taking a percentage of the deal that you put out. Typically it is 25-35% of the deal. I have found that each of these have their own niches and benefits to utilizing their marketing services..
Doing a $100-$200 job can be a lost leader for a small business when the advertiser gets $30-$60 of the gross income. However, if you put any dollar amount ( budget) to putting out flyers, mailers etc... At all..You will find that it is money well spent ((( if)))you utilize the fringe benefit.
-What are those fringe benefits..,?
What we have found is that most customers know how these value companies work on their deals. They buy the deal often times knowing that they will utilize the service provider for more service than originally purchased..Often times, the deal does not fit their exact scenario due to different limitations in size, quantity etc... And there is an up sell involved in the transaction. The upswell is usually minimal but makes up for the money list in the transaction to the advertiser... Now, that isn't a huge benefit in and of itself, but you as a service provider are:
1. In front of a client ( repeat customer)
2. Able to demonstrate other potential services you provide
3. Able to get a positive review in return
4. Have the ability to grow online presence....
The last one (4) is the most important reason of all. The whole process just enabled you to link up with infinite opportunity through much bigger online presence than you could do on your own with thousands of dollars...
How does that happen?
You have a web site and business name attached or linked to a much bigger and well known business name. The search engines (google) looking for content find your unique name in multiple places at reputable and familiar sites already established. In the online world- more means more. The more people see you, visit you, spend time with you, the more you will be seen. Now granted, that is only one piece in the complex online marketing puzzle, but it is one that any online business must attain.
Fast Finish was able to get there within three years organically. The phone rings to the point of almost needing an answering service now. We are even getting calls got peripheral services that people think we might be able to do and don't due to ( limiting ourself frankly)
But the phone rings! And we don't need to push trade shows, go door to door or run a bunch of places to book jobs.
Now if you are a customer and found us, chances are you googled a key word with the service you were looking for and we popped up on the first page somewhere.
If you are another business reading about how to get there, you might have done the same thing..,
Fast Finish has provided top notch surface restoration services to clients all over the Salem Oregon area as well as helped other small business owners grow their online presence as a business mentor to them. This is what makes Fast Finish a great company-
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
It is that crucial time of year to get that last minute project of roof cleaning done.
Fall brings leaves and pine needles in overwhelming fashion for many home owners. This onslaught,clogs drains and gutters, collects in the valleys of the roofs and become great fertile places for moss and mold to take hold. These xtreme conditions require attention to detail and the best methods to clean the roof properly. Go with a company that has a proven track record with great reviews. Fast Finish and Xtreme ProWash have combined expertise to bring you the best in roof cleaning for residents in Salem and Portland Oregon. We have even discounted the service with an Angies list customer discount and big deal so that you can get the roof done at a reasonable cost. We take the hassle out of roof cleaning and have great follow through on past visits to make sure you have the best service possible.
Sunday, September 6, 2015
We are certified TMT business owners. That means we have taken the step/s to try and be independent from working for someone else and running our own thing.
After all the dust has settled and we finally look at everything we have in front of us to do, one of the most overlooked and actually the most important from my perspective is the marketing portion of the business, specifically the online piece of the puzzle.
I have been marketing for over 25 years and have watched it evolve. It is ironic that I got into the cleaning business with so much marketing background. It really does not matter what business you are in or how great you are at cleaning floors, if you can't market well, you will be back in the job force looking for work real soon.
Sadly, most owners fall towards the latter and end up selling out. I think that this can be changed through proper marketing... If you want to learn more, make sure and subscribe to my blog. I will be helping new business owners get their phone ringing. And I will be posting my tips and tricks along with updates on the cleaning business in general. Make sure and read some past posts regarding marketing when you can as well.