by Bryan Henson, Xstream Pressure Washing
From the February 2011 issue. Download the pdf article here: XStream Pressure Washing
As the owner of Xstream Pressure Washing of Oklahoma City, I chose to specialize in an area that most would not venture into. Owned and operated by myself, Bryan Henson, and my partner, Jamie Sobkowiak, we at Xstream Pressure Washing have been making a name for ourselves in the car lot industry.
Many may question why we chose to specialize in this area when there are so many other more common pressure washing to focus on, but when it came Xstream Pressure Washing it wasn’t just a choice. It was a make it or lose everything choice.
How We Started
Xstream Pressure Washing was started in 2008 as a part-time business while I was working full time in the hotel industry. On October 28, I got the news that everyone hates to hear: “We would love to keep you, but business is slow so we will no longer need your services.” I was laid off with no hope in being re-hired. The first thing that popped in my mind was what am I going to do?
We were already planning a trip to Ft. Worth, Texas, to attend a roundtable hosted by Michael Hinderliter with Steamaway and Ron Musgraves of the National Cleaning Expo (NCE). We learned about the roundtable from www.pressurewashinginstitue.com. I called Ron and explained that we would not be able to attend due to my recent layoff. What Ron said to me during the phone call hit me so hard that to this day that it still gives me the chills! “You need to come to Ft. Worth. You and your company cannot afford to miss this round table.”
We attended the November 14th roundtable and was Ron so right! That was the day that changed our lives, our business and the way we looked at the pressure washing industry in general. We now had drive and a reason to succeed.
The drive home all we talked about was what we learned and how we were going to use the information. Something
needed to happen and it needed to happen fast. So we focused all our energy in an area that would allow us to generate income immediately.
At that point in time, our company had one restaurant account and one car lot with roughly 60 cars total. Car lots were the answer!
We needed a plan of attack so we got company shirts made, set our sales goal for the day and walked out the door. Jamie and I took turns going in one lot, then another. We needed to see which one of us was going to become the selling force for our company. With no surprise to me, Jamie blew me out of the water.
We both delivered six candy jars a piece with our company business card tied to the lid. I landed one out of six. She, on the other hand, distributed five out of six. So we were batting 50 percent success with the candy jars. Overnight we went from one car account to seven. From 60 cars to 200. We were growing!
We washed our lots on one day and delivered candy jars the next. We stuck to our marketing plan and never turned back. We just keep growing – adding a lot here and adding a lot there. Here it is now just a little over a year from my layoff and the results have been outstanding. Today, Xstream Pressure Washing services 40 lots, 30 of which we clean weekly. Our company washes 5000-plus cars a month, and we wash more cars in a day than most people wash in a lifetime.
Additionally, Danny Bates with Lone Star Power Cleaning in Dallas, Texas, whom we met at the roundtable, has been using Xstream Pressure Washing as a sub-contractor for some of his cleaning accounts in Texas and in Oklahoma. Still, the car lots remain 90 percent of our business.
What We’ve Learned
Out of all the lots we wash, only one is a new-car dealership. The rest are used dealers. We choose used dealers for one reason and one reason only: CASH FLOW. Used dealers pay when the job is complete so there is no net 10, 15 or 30. Paid daily! Immediate income!
Servicing used dealers also allows us to charge more for the services we were offering. In some cases, it’s even double the price we would get from a new dealership. We looked at it this way: sure, we could do 300 cars on a lot and make $300, or we could wash five smaller lots, same amount of cars and make $450. It was a no brainer.
We have washed so many cars that I now can wash a car in 30 to 45 seconds and every inch of that car is washed. Jamie can completely dry a car from top to bottom in 45 to 60 seconds. Average lots have 70 to 80 cars and can be washed and dried in 45 minutes. I know what it costs to wash each car from fuel to insurance. My overhead is low and my profit margin is high.
Services we offer to our lots are:
Rinse and Dry
Brush Service (This service alone accounts for 25% of our income )
Hand Wash Service
Tire and Wheel Service
Refresh (Wash, Vac and Dry)
A Final Note
Jamie and I both owe a special thanks to Ron Musgraves for being true to the pressure washing industry and believing in us enough to say that we could not afford to miss the roundtable. Also would like to say thank you to Danny Bates and the networking we have been doing for the last year. Together, both of these guys in one way or another have helped Jamie and I make Xstream Pressure Washing what it is today.
I am also the moderator over the car lot forum on www.fleetwashacademy.com, which is run by Trevor Steel of Clean Image LLC, where I help anyone with questions about car lot washing. We have also talked to several other companies around the country and guided them in the right direction in adding a car lot division to their companies. Danny Bates has also come down and worked alongside us and has been washing cars for several weeks now. His first account was 280-plus cars. That account alone will add thousands to his bottom line.
We at Xstream Pressure Washing have plans to add another rig in the beginning of 2011. This will allow our company to wash an additional 5000 to 8000 cars per month. We look forward to the day that we hit the one-millionth car washed. We have our sights set high. We will not accept anything less. We are building our empire one car at a time.