Giving Back – Firehouse Pressure Washing

Giving Back – Firehouse Pressure Washing

By Terri Perrin / Published April 2024

Firehouse Pressure Washing work trucks

A devastating fire that destroyed his family home in Brooks, GA, and resulted in the death of two of the family’s pets compelled then 16-yearold Mike Dingler to aspire to become a firefighter. He became a fire cadet at the age of 17 and entered firefighter school in 2004. A year later he met Monica, who was attending EMT training, and the two became fast friends and, eventually, married. She graduated in 2006, becoming the fourth paid female firefighter in Fayette County. As the saying goes, “First comes love, then comes marriage,” and by 2010 the Dinglers were putting out fires and pushing a baby carriage.

“We both loved being firefighters, but 20 years ago the pay wasn’t great, and it was challenging to make ends meet…with a mortgage to pay and two little boys to raise,” recalls Mike. “My father owns a house painting business, and since 1998 I have been pressure washing houses for him. So, essentially, I was a pressure washer before I was a firefighter. It wasn’t long before I was making more money on my days off by power washing homes than by fighting fires. I specialized in soft washing, pressure washing, and roof cleaning, providing services in Senoia, Peachtree City, and Fayetteville, GA. Ninety percent of the business is residential.”

“But it wasn’t just the pay that was challenging,” adds Monica. “We were dating the whole time we were training as firefighters, and when we got married, they put us on separate shifts. We only saw each other about 10 times a month. That was tough. Then I found out I was pregnant and was put on administrative duties. In 2011 I hung up all my firefighting gear and stayed at home to raise our boys. In 2014 I went to work in the ER so that we had a sense of security, since Mike had quit the fire department to start pressure washing full time. By 2017 he had scaled the business to where I had to quit working in the ER to help him full time in the business.”


In 2009 the Dinglers expanded their then home-based enterprise, buying their first trailer and full equipment. They came up with the name Firehouse Pressure Washing and developed a strategy to grow the business by helping others who were in the same situation as they were. They only employ working or retired firefighters and EMS personnel, who work with them on their days off. (Yes, it makes employee scheduling a challenge, but they make it work.)

“Both of us were still working full time for the fire department, and it was natural for us to hire our colleagues—not only because of the camaraderie and need for all of us to earn more money, but because they have such advanced safety training and teamwork skills,” states Mike. “I’ve ridden in an ambulance or fire truck with half the guys that have worked at Firehouse Pressure Washing, so I know who works hard, and we share the same values. Firefighters don’t typically stand around and talk about how to handle an incident in the heat of the moment, and that mentality and professionalism carries over to our pressure washing contracts.”

Firehouse Pressure Washing Team

“It’s a bonus when hiring that firefighters must also have clean driving records, no drug use, and some of the things you may have to worry about then hiring everyday lay people,” explains Monica. “It has actually worked out well because following systems and processes are a firefighter’s bible. On the admin side of our business, there is a way to do everything, and they don’t question that. On the job site already having ladder safety training, advanced first aid, OSHA certification, and more makes training for power washing so much easier. As a bonus I think our guys make people feel safe when they show up. It just makes people feel better as homeowners, … knowing that the individual coming to power wash their home might have saved a child the night before.”

Firehouse Pressure Washing Truck

From Home Based To Warehouse Space

As the business grew, both Monica and Mike grew weary of doing double duty. In 2014 Monica quit her job in the ER to support the admin side of the business full time, allowing her to work from home and be there for her boys when they needed her. At the same time Mike started to do some number crunching. “I had been a full-time firefighter for 10 years and decided that I could transition to being a volunteer firefighter and full-time business owner, also working from my home-based office. Back surgery necessitated retiring from firefighting altogether in 2022. While I miss hanging out with the guys and the camaraderie of station life, I love being home with my family.”

In December 2015 they bought their first F550 flatbed pressure washing rig and assembled it on their home driveway. Having the extra vehicle required the move to warehouse space. In 2016 they moved the business to rented space.

Today Firehouse Pressure Washing operates out of a 2,600-square-foot space and has three flatbeds and one trailer rig, two box trucks for Christmas lights, an F250 with custom pressure washing skid for their operations manager, and a Tesla for their sales manager. They have five fulltime and five part-time staff. At their peak in 2022 when they employed just off-duty firefighters, they had 16 men. (One full-timer is equivalent to four part-timers.)

“Success means that we are bursting at the seams!” says Mike with a laugh. “We are building racks to store Christmas lights in the bay, which is a service we began offering in 2022. Christmas light installation and takedown enable us to keep the team busy year-round. We did 39 houses the first year, 86 the second year, and are aiming for 150 houses annually in the next couple of years.”

Giving Back To The Community

While their business model in itself is a way of “giving back,” the Dinglers love being an active part of their community. They support events and fundraisers for local sports teams, schools, and the fire station costs and awards ceremonies by donating cash or “gifts in kind,” like house and roof washing. But they do much more than that. In 2020 when one of their parttime workers suffered third degree burns while on duty as an EMT—he saved someone from a burning car before the fire truck arrived—they staged a huge fundraiser for him. They sponsor a benefit race for special needs children and a Cares for Kids annual golf tournament, along with Keller Williams Real Estate.

“One of our biggest community contributions to date was in 2020, during the COVID pandemic,” reports Monica. “We washed over 40 public playgrounds for free. This was so important at a time when everyone was hyper aware of cleanliness and disinfecting.”

To the Dinglers, “giving back” not only means supporting the community but being active in the industry.

Mike still holds a National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedic License; is certified as a HAZMAT Technician and a SWAT tactical medic; is the president of the Peachtree City Firefighter Foundation; serves as the chair of marketing for the PWNA; and teaches PWNA safety classes at conventions, such as the IWCA.

As a working couple, they are also always eager to expand their knowledge, believing that “you have to meet people who are smarter than you, and make more money than you, to learn and grow your business.”

When asked if, given the opportunity, they would do it over again, the answer was a resounding “Yes!” “Being a husband-and-wife team is difficult; it can be hard to differentiate between being married and being business partners,” says Monica. “It’s been tough … but also very rewarding to look back and see how far we have come. Running your own business has risks, but it’s not as risky as being a firefighter! Besides being your own boss, having complete access to our children and all their activities makes all this worth it. I get to be at every event, party, field trip, and baseball game. We don’t get that time back, and I want to take advantage of this very special opportunity that we’ve sacrificed for.”

“I’m glad that I was a firefighter, but I’m also glad I am no longer a firefighter,” concludes Mike. “We are blessed to have the flexibility to be a part of our children’s lives.”

Learn more about Firehouse Pressure Washing at www.firehousepowerwash.com

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