By Diane M. Calabrese / Published November 2022
Did a lawyer sit for the bar exam? Which board certifications does the medical doctor hold? We routinely ask for evidence that the professionals who provide important services are highly qualified to do so.
That’s as it should be. Qualified is good. Highly qualified—and demonstrably so—is better.
Members of CETA, the Cleaning Equipment Trade Association, adhere to safety, environmental, and workmanship standards. Ongoing educational opportunities, training, regional meetings, and the annual PowerClean conference and tradeshow strengthen and unite distributors, manufacturers, and suppliers.
A growing number of CETA members do more than adhering to the basics. They do so because they want to instill confidence in their customers, challenge themselves, and show their commitment to professional ethics: Many distributors attain certification. Many manufacturers subscribe to the CPC-100 performance standard.
A CETA-Certified Distributor has gone through the process of documenting its thorough and methodical approach to best practices. Display of the certification logo heralds to potential customers that they can rely on the distributor for top-of-the-line service and support.
CPC-100 provides a uniform method of testing and rating pressure washers. It allows easy and reliable side-by-side comparison of machines. The designation indicates to an end user that a pressure washer has met the specifications used to advertise it. (The standard encompasses portable, stationary, and fixed pressure washers with a hand-supported or manipulated discharge line; it does not apply to propane-powered engines.)
To be CETA CPC-100 certified a pressure washer must meet four major criteria: actual pressure in the equipment must be at least 90 percent of the advertised pressure; measured flow must be at least 90 percent of the advertised flow; if gas-engine powered, the engine must operate at 85 percent of its maximum capacity or less; if powered by an electric motor, the motor must not exceed the amperage on the name plate including the service factor, while supplying plus or minus 10 percent of the name plate voltage.
Additional criteria include deviation allowances for nozzles, gauges, and testing accuracy. The standard also establishes how ratings for gpm and psi will be assessed.
Currently Kärcher, Simpson and Delco (FNA Group), BE Power Equipment, and Stanley Black and Decker pressure washers meet the CETA CPC-100 standard.
“Why did All-Spray become a CETA-certified distributor?” asks Al Bonifas, former owner of the company
located in Swanton, OH. Reflecting, he explains, “I would have to say that it was mostly for the sense of personal development and accomplishment.”
In other words, like other CETA members, Bonifas’s company already dotted every ‘i’ and crossed every ‘t’ as it strove for excellence. But why not formalize the commitment?
Bonifas says he viewed the attainment of certification as a way of documenting the professionalism that was already built into his company’s practices. In turn, he hoped certification would instill confidence in new customers and simultaneously raise visibility in a competitive environment.
That combination of documenting all the good that’s already going on is one that CETA-certified distributors often cite. Of course, there are layers of reasons for obtaining certification.
“We became a CETA-certified distributor to support CETA as well as to promote the organization and its benefits to other distributors,” says Jim O’Connell, president of Pacific Bay Equipment in Modesto, CA. Expectations for certification serve as handy goal markers.
“To become certified, it does require attendance at the PowerClean event as well as attending the education sessions, which for us is very important to further our knowledge of the industry as well as learn new best practices for operating our business,” explains O’Connell. “The networking opportunities are always something I look forward to.”
In and of itself, membership in CETA buoys a business. Then, CETA certification adds to the lift. “Networking with other distributors and manufacturers as well as suppliers gives us a greater understanding of their pains that coincide with ours, allowing us to be emphatic and more understanding when we have issues with supply or manufacturing chains,” explains O’Connell.
“Because of our CETA membership I have made many friends and developed many business relationships that I would not have had an opportunity to do,” says O’Connell. “One other aspect is there is also the opportunity to volunteer your time as a member of the board of directors or on the board of trustees, which allows us to pay it forward, so to speak.”
The process of gaining certification is straightforward, says R. Calvin Rasmussen, CEO of Royce Industries L.C. with corporate headquarters in West Jordan, UT. At the same time, it does require an investment.
“Becoming a CETA distributor member is pretty simple; you just need to pay your annual dues,” says Rasmussen. “Becoming a CETA-certified distributor, on the other hand, requires an investment of time and money.”
The decision to become certified was immediate for Rasmussen. “Our company worked toward this status from the moment it was introduced,” he explains.
“Not only does the process of becoming a CETA-Certified Distributor help you fine tune your skills and knowledge needed within our industry, but also it brings additional credibility to your company by way of CETA’s stellar reputation.”
The benefits derived from certification continue to accrue, says Rasmussen. “The ongoing participation in this program is the best.” What makes it the best? “It requires you to be willing to continually invest, improve, and learn,” says Rasmussen. “Part of this learning is provided at CETA’s annual PowerClean, and here you can participate in excellent, relevant continuing education.”
Rasmussen explains that at his company they “don’t miss an opportunity to participate” in the annual conference and tradeshow. As a corollary, he points to the collegiality of association members and their willingness to help one another.
Exemplifying that collegiality, Rasmussen offers support to those considering membership in the association or “stepping up your game” with certification. “Let us here [at our company] help you,” he says.
Opportunities to work closely with other distributors count as one of the many significant plusses from CETA membership and amplifying membership with certification. Emphasize the “many” in plusses.
“Certification serves quite a few purposes and meanings to us as a company,” says Dennis Black, president of McHenry Pressure Cleaning Systems Inc. in Frederick, MD. “Professionalization and legitimacy” is atop his list.
“We hope it illustrates to our customers that we are involved and participate with the only national organization for our industry,” explains Black. “Certification further demonstrates our willingness to learn and educate ourselves to better serve our customer and industry and strive to be a professional business.”
The increased value of membership augmented by certification becomes an integral part of day-to-day business. “Certification provides us with information and education to be better equipped to prevent problems, accidents, and liabilities that may damage or hurt our business or employees,” says Black. “It is almost like an insurance policy to help protect what we have worked so hard to build.”
The process of maintaining certification becomes a self-check on distributors and their industry. So, too, does CPC-100 participation. Both signal businesses prepared to be immersed in their industry long-term.