By Mike Dingler / Published July 2023
Many organizations exist in our industry today, and it can be a daunting task to figure out which organization can be the best to join. However, let’s back up and ask, why do you need a professional organization in the first place? Why do you need to follow a bunch of people who do the same thing you do to make money? Well, to make more money is the most logical answer here.
If you place a person in the forest and tell him or her to find his way out, he will take a while, but he will most likely find his way out. He will trip, fall, get lost, and turned around, but eventually he will find his way out. Now take that same person in the same forest but give him a guide: someone who has been in that forest before, tripped over that log before, gone that wrong way before, and just like that, the person finds his way out of the forest faster and with fewer issues, and this is the reason that having an organization of like-minded individuals within your industry is paramount. Into the industry, the PWNA (Power Washers of North America) enters. The PWNA is 500 members strong and is the oldest organization in the pressure washing industry. Pioneered in the 1980s by some of the largest names in the industry to this day, the PWNA set forth to create what no one had: a training regimen and networking regimen for power washers nationwide. What it has turned into is one of the best organizations to go to for training and education.
In the 90s a dirty driveway was cleaned with pressure via a surface cleaner or wand. Electric pumps and soft washing rigs did not exist on a major level, and neither did the internet. No YouTube University, no TikTok feeds of people washing in fast motion, no Face-book feeds with people telling other people they are doing it all wrong, but rather just you and your pressure washer and a dirty driveway. Oh, how things have changed! Now all one needs to do is pull out a phone, snap a picture of that dirty driveway, post it to an industry forum on an array of social media apps, and ask the infamous question, “How do I clean this, and how much should I charge?” In mere minutes you will have every answer ranging from how to clean that driveway via a surface cleaner with a 10 gallon-a-minute machine and posttreat with SH (sodium hypochlorite) to how to softwash that driveway, while never even using a pressure washer, and how the pretreatment, not posttreatment, is the best thing ever.
This is confusing to say the least. Who’s right? Both of them are right. What approaches should be used? They couldn’t be more different. What are the results? A clean driveway is the result. And speaking of what to charge, you’ll see a range from $99 to $999, and everyone in their mind is right. So, who do you listen to? All you want to do is clean the driveway, right? There is so much more packed into this seemingly innocent question, and listening to the right voice might save you half the job time, half the equipment cost, and a whole lot of headaches when it comes to what to charge. A few people had these issues, and they decided to form an organization of people who would help each other complete pressure washing jobs better, faster, and more efficiently for more money. Everyone wins.
Fast forward to today, and the current board of directors at the PWNA shares the same sentiments for training and goals. Ty Eubanks, the current president of the PWNA and a 12-year member, tells us, “The PWNA board of directors is a devoted group of knowledgeable individuals who will be there five years from now.” He also describes the PWNA members as a whole as “a group of tradesmen committed to success.” He describes the entire operation, both members and board members, as “a place to receive, then give their unique gift and tap into resources for business development.” This is why most of the instructors within the PWNA are board members. The PWNA clearly states what it desires the member to accomplish: to hone your craft in the industry and to always ask what the PWNA can do for you. Eubanks goes on to state, “The PWNA mitigates risk and helps people over barriers of entry in the pressure washing industry.” When asked what one of his favorite parts about being in the PWNA is, he replies, “I get to talk to everyone throughout the U.S. about pressure washing now!”
Joe Corley, another BOD member of the PWNA, states that he loves the PWNA because there is always someone one phone call away who has been through an issue, and the members can always reach out and find help. He also notes that you can’t find a college anywhere that offers classes on how to start and operate an exterior cleaning business.
Leaett Lipker, the PWNA’s executive director, shares that one of the main benefits she loves about the PWNA is the (monthly charged) Enterprise Package that has just been rolled out, giving members access to all the training for them and their employees. She also stated that the classes as well as the tests can be taken by all employees in a group setting. Lipker notes that there will be additional classes such as first aid, and these classes will be taught at all upcoming conventions in breakout sessions. There is also the ability to see PWNA’s instruction firsthand on the showroom floor.
Bo Josetti, a past president of the PWNA, states, “An industry without standards isn’t an industry,” as he now heads up the educational committees charged with improving the entry level classes the PWNA offers and then diving deeper into the more complex issues of business ownership. Josetti and Eubanks both state that scaling education is their next objective, with classes such as Business 101, 201, etc. in the works. By the way, did you know that currently the PWNA offers the most affordable and comprehensive training program in the industry? PWNA members even enjoy insurance discounts on their premiums by being a PWNA member.
So why a professional organization? Why does any of this matter? Pressure washing isn’t rocket science, right? This question ties directly into the vision of the PWNA. The vision of the PWNA is to equip an exterior cleaner or exterior cleaning business owner to face the challenges of business ownership with other like-minded individuals who have been there and done that, came out on the other end, and can now help others avoid the pitfalls of small business operation in America. All of this comes from people on the board of directors who are willing to help others succeed.
The vision of the PWNA also coincides with the direction America is headed, with manual labor and technically inclined people becoming less and less common. The truth is, we are in a pivotal time in American history where college graduates sometimes cannot find jobs in their degrees of study, and finding someone who is good with his or her hands and can think on his or her feet is becoming less and less common. This will directly impact all trades, such as plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and—yes—exterior cleaning. Employers will be looking for a place to send new hires to become technically proficient at exterior cleaning, and the PWNA is the industry organization that will be that place, with a board of directors full of knowledge and experience to help all members succeed and move the industry forward.
For more information about PWNA or to contact one of the helpful board directors, visit www.pwna.org.