By Diane M. Calabrese / Published November 2023
Why not go the distance? Take that one extra step.
We could just be satisfied knowing that we meet or exceed all expectations in our endeavor. Or we could document our adherence to standards and performance.
The extra step allows us to be sure that nothing has been missed. It also gives us the opportunity to share results: This is what we have done and will continue to do each day. Certification and standards matter.
Fully committed to their industry, the members of CETA, the Cleaning Equipment Trade Association, adhere to safety, environmental, and workmanship standards. Members engage in educational opportunities, training, regional meetings, and the annual PowerClean conference and tradeshow, all of which strengthen and unite distributors, manufacturers, and suppliers.
By taking one step more and becoming a CETA-Certified distributor or subscribing to the CPC-100 performance standard for manufacturers, they do just a bit more.
Customers who see the CETA-Certified logo displayed by a distributor know immediately that the vendor has committed to best practices and professional ethics in all facets of business.
Customers who buy a machine that meets the CPC-100 performance standard know that they are getting equipment that has undergone uniform testing and rating alongside other pressure washers. A CPC-100 designation indicates to the end user that a machine has been tested and meets 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.
“It is my view that the only real pressure washer standard in the industry is the CETA CPC-100 standard developed by trained pressure washer engineers and technicians to certify compliance for safety and accuracy in ratings,” says Gus Alexander, owner of the FNA Group in Pleasant Prairie, WI. Measurable and repeatable data used to develop and assure conformance also makes the standard an indicator of reliability across all segments of the industry (manufacturer, distributor, and contractor).
Alexander explains that his company displays the CPC-100 logo on every product carton. “It’s important for us to show potential customers our support of the standard that they can rely on when buying our pressure washers.”
With a key brand (Delco) in the commercial/industrial sector and another well-known brand (Simpson) in the high-volume retail and contractor market, Alexander’s company has a high level of visibility across North America. With the CPC-100 logo “proudly displayed on each carton,” a two-fold benefit results.
One, buyers know they get a product that will function as promised. Two, the logo “provides outstanding exposure to hundreds of thousands of end customers each year that would not have ever known about our association and the importance of the most credible standard for our industry,” says Alexander.
For more about CETA CPC-100, see ceta.org/cpc-100-performance-standard.
Etowah Chemical Sales and Service, which is headquartered in Gadsden, AL, has nine distributorships that are CETA-Certified. The number is gratifying, but not surprising, explains JD Smith, a manager at the company.
“In today’s world customers have many choices and decisions to make when selecting a distributor that can sell and service their equipment and meet their chemical needs,” says Smith. The certification logo “instills confidence in new customers” because it signifies professionalism.
The “commitment to excellence” tied to certification is something customers welcome, explains Smith. It’s analogous to the certifications we look for on the walls of professionals in other industries, from accounting to medicine.
Everything about the CETA experience leads to a stronger industry, says Sandie Harris, a principal at Aqua-Engineers in Austell, GA. Attaining certification makes the most of the experience and fortifies the distributor as well.
“The education we receive through roundtable discussions, hands-on classes, and certifications is invaluable,” says Harris. “Knowledge throughout our industry is being shared among manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors so that we all can benefit.”
The “working relationships” that develop among CETA members add strength to individual companies and the entire industry, says Harris. “Sitting across the table from other members” is a great way to keep pace with best practices.
“Chappell Supply and Equipment is proud of our CETA certification and all that is done to achieve this within the company and the help and support from the employees,” says Mark Cunningham, the water treatment manager at the company in Oklahoma City, OK. Certification illustrates “dedication to our workmanship and craft”—the fundamentals.
What is included among the fundamentals? “There is recognition from others that you follow guidelines and don’t sacrifice integrity and safety,” says Cunningham. It heralds a company that invests in training with the time and effort required.
“Certification is important to all industry members,” says Dennis Black, president of McHenry Pressure Cleaning Systems Inc. in Frederick, MD. “It provides another level of knowledge and experience that will assist you in your business.”
The professionalism signified by certification “adds to the professionalism of our industry,” says Black. “We advertise that our company is certified by the [single] national industry organization. If your competitors are not, it is a way to distinguish yourself from your competition.”
Certification conveys strong messages. “It lets our customer better understand our commitment to provide them with a higher level of service and equipment than an online reseller,” says Jim O’Connell, CEO of Pacific Bay Equipment in Modesto, CA. It speaks to the “commitment to provide top quality service, parts, equipment, and customer service” and to invest the time and effort to do so.
“Another driving force for certification is to be able to further promote the organization,” explains O’Connell. “Our industry has many sizes of distributorships, from one- or two-person operations up to distributors with multiple locations across different states and countries.”
Yet certification brings uniformity. “All companies must meet the same criteria to attain the certification,” says O’Connell. That’s an assurance for customers—and the visibility of a strong industry when providing comment to regulators at all levels.
“Being certified shows solidarity within our industry as well as provides education for service techs, salespeople, and company owners,” says O’Connell. “For us this is part of us giving back to an industry that has been very good to us.”
For more about CETA-Certified distributors, see ceta.org/distributor-certification.