By Mike Dingler / Published March 2023
The PWNA (Power Washers of North America) visited the IWCA (International Window Cleaning Association) event in Las Vegas this past January, and something spectacular happened! While working the tradeshow floor, the PWNA signed up its 500th member, a rather historical feat. The PWNA was founded in 1992, making it the oldest organization within the exterior cleaning industry. The PWNA was founded and run by some of the pioneers in our industry with names like Robert Hinderliter, Michael Hinderliter, and Joseph Walters, just to name a few. These great names came together this past year at PWNA’s Powerclean in Orlando, Florida, and the reunion was documented in the December 2022 edition of Cleaner Times.
At Powerclean there was speculation that the PWNA would reach 500 members in the near future, and the IWCA event proved to be the grounds on which this membership milestone was reached. Pictures and videos were made, and the entire moment was surreal to many of the PWNA board members, both past and present.
With so much noise in our lives today, it remains a challenge to remain devoted to one thing—moving the industry forward—as many board members can attest. So why do they do it? Why do other business owners who have many other responsibilities take time out of their busy lives to volunteer to be a part of the PWNA? Jorge Aguilar, a PWNA board member, took the time to answer this question. “I love being on the board because it is an opportunity to help and serve a community that helped me bring my company to where it is in knowledge, safety, and compliance,” Jorge says, also stating the fact that he appreciates the relationships and camaraderie with other top-tier people and companies that help his business and life be more enjoyable.
Noise, as was mentioned above, is prevalent in our industry, and a lot of the individuals making the noise may not be the best individuals to listen to. Internet gurus, YouTube stars, and keyboard warriors dominate our industry, just as any other industry, thanks to the internet. Before the internet we read Cleaner Times and other industry-related magazines. Not much noise there, and the noise in these magazine articles was being made by people who had been there and done that and are now writing magazine articles. Great people to listen to.
The internet, however, changed all this, and now knowing who to listen to is just as important or even more important than what advice to listen to. Technicians with less than a year in business can now tell you they are right and you are wrong, all from the comfort of their parents’ basements. The status of being on YouTube or other social media platforms is what these individuals crave, and the look of having it all together and being financially independent is what they put out there; but their knowledge level of operating an exterior cleaning business is what’s lacking.
It is a common thought that if you are proficient enough at business, you shouldn’t have made all your money from other business owners, but that you should make it with your own business—the whole “stay in your lane” approach, if you will. That’s great for most people, especially the ones who have no business coaching other businesses because they are still relatively new to the game and inexperienced. But what about successful business owners who have been in the exterior cleaning industry for not just years but decades? What do they do to give back, and how do we as entrepreneurs find these people and actually listen to them—the ones who have succeeded greatly in their fields and markets? Christian Militello, a PWNA board member, has answered this question for us.
Christian started his painting and power washing business in 2001. All along the way he has recognized that he would not be where he is today without people (and associations) in his life that have helped guide him, offer advice, or tell their story. Or, it may be that his journey would have been extremely different than it has turned out to be today. Being in the service industry, he has always recognized that he has wanted to help. It started by meeting in person every month with a local painting group, then serving on the board of directors of the Painting Contractors Association (PCA), established in 1884, and has now led to him serving on the board of the PWNA.
Christian wants the best opportunity to give back and to help somewhere, somehow. Serving on the PWNA board, he has put himself out there so that he can have a big impact by allowing others in the industry to reach out to him and to use his voice to help develop the industry. Christian has remained humble and remembers his roots—this has kept him grounded and kept that passion for service well lit.
This is an example of a long-time business owner who has dealt with socioeconomic ebbs and flows and has come out on top, ready to help others navigate through and conquer some of the obstacles he faced along his journey.
Another board member for the PWNA, Daryl Mirza, answered why he gives back as well: “The reason I like working with people on the PWNA board is to listen and hear what they have to say and to not say. I like to hear how they get their ideas across using their personal experiences. The new members as well as the old ones have something to offer the group. They don’t have to be the biggest or the best to offer their ideas, and that’s what makes us a better board. I love the fact that we can all have agreements and disagreements about topics, but we all work closely together for a common goal: to make the industry that supports us better as well as allow our families to prosper. I have made several close friends that I know I could call on at any time for anything, and they would answer the call. They would give me their full and honest opinion, and that helps me to grow and to be a better person. It’s hard to get this in my local area of resources for many reasons. To have this kind of connection and advice available has helped me over the last 30-plus years be who I am. All I can say is ‘thank you,’ and I hope I gave more than I have received.”
We can see now the reasons PWNA board members give back, and why they recommend a PWNA membership to all contractors no matter their experience level. It has been proven time and time again that knowing who to listen to and then implementing the systems and processes they suggest can scale your business up quickly, and the PWNA has a board of knowledgeable and experienced business owners to do just that. Focusing on the four pillars of the PWNA—Education, Networking, Compliance, and a Clear Voice for Our Industry—the PWNA has become the standard for power washing contractors in North America. To make this even better, the PWNA just rolled out its Enterprise Package, a program that gives you and your employees unlimited access to all training, compliance, and certification classes the PWNA offers. This will definitely create a competitive advantage in your market as well as help you scale your business quickly.
In closing, find someone to listen to who has been there and done that, and there is no better place to look than the Power Washers of North America.
Contact the PWNA today at 800-393-7962 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and to learn more, visit PWNA.org.