Articles for Contractors

Power Washer Survival — Advice to Live By

Spare Parts, Don’t Forget the Spare Parts

Always be positioned to survive. Be ready for any eventuality. In both life and in business.

Jack was an outdoorsman. Not quite like the “Survivor guy” on TV that cooks up scorpions over an open fire to eat for dinner, but damn close.

If Jack was ever caught out in the deep woods, alone in a storm, cold and wet, he would realize one basic truth. He would say to himself, “I deserve this for not being prepared. He would be so embarrassed by his lack of planning he wouldn’t even try the cell phone for a signal. If he couldn’t get himself out, then he didn’t deserve to get out. No forest rangers coming to the rescue for Jack. To Jack’s way of thinking it would be like taking a corporate bailout. Instead of money he would be placing his rescuers life in danger because of his mistakes. It’s unacceptable on any level. Better to let nature take its course, the woodland critters and the buzzards would clean up the mess, circle of life stuff.

Should someone that makes bad decisions pay the consequences? To Jack, the answer isn’t just yes, the answer is his credo, his lifestyle. Fierce independence is his way of life. What can a mobile washer learn from Jack? Plenty. When the storms of your business hit you, be prepared. I bring this up now for a very important reason. Our economy has been down the tubes for a while. Everyone that supplies our parts are running lean and mean with extremely low inventories.

From the biggest pump companies on through the supply chain parts are going on back order. Parts that you would never believe could run out are running out. So it is more important than ever to think ahead and stock the crucial spare parts that you need to stay in business. This has always seemed like a simple decision to us.

Let’s say today you plan to make $500 washing trucks, or buses, or houses, whatever. When you start washing your chemical injector, or unloader, or trigger gun fails. If you are prepared you suffer a few minutes delay until you put on a spare part. If you don’t have any backup you lose $500 that day, and perhaps lose a customer for good to the guy who plans ahead and doesn’t disappoint their customer. Happens all the time, because of a part that is worth a few dollars.

Here is a list of parts that will cause you to kick yourself for not having spares:

  • Nozzles (high pressure, rotary, thruster, low pressure)
  • Nozzle holder (twist, shower, ball type, or trombone)
  • Lances (different lengths, they break)
  • Trigger gun (this is a wear item)
  • Short jumper hose (gun to long hose)
  • Couplers and plugs (Always have these new and ready in your inventory)
  • Hose (If one blows, clip on the next)
  • Chemical injector, tubing, and filters (no chemical? Without spares you go home)

Hey, look at that, we have made it to the pressure washer. If you are a small operation and think any of the above spare parts aren’t necessary, I hope you are very lucky, or want to stay small time.

Let’s keep working back upstream:

  • Jumper hoses (replacements for any on your machine)
  • Pipe fittings (to replace what you have on your equipment)
  • Hot water coil (now that’s a big item, you may have to work cold for a while, bypass it while you wait)
  • Burner parts: Igniter, Fuel nozzle, Fuel pump. Fuel filter, French fries (sorry, checking to make sure you are paying attention, they wouldn’t stay hot anyway), flow or pressure switch, thermostat, high-limit switch
  • Unloader (a must have spare, at least one)
  • Gauge (or at least a plug for when it leaks)
  • Pump or parts (short of having a new one on the shelf, check valves aren’t a bad idea)
  • Inlet water filter (because things happen)
  • Fill hose (for when something destroys it)
  • Chemical (you wouldn’t run out of detergent, would you?)
  • Drum pump (if you depend on it)
  • Belts (don’t forget belts)

There you go. Now you won’t have to call up to be rescued. Eat a good breakfast and work and play hard.

Advice to live by! And remember to Power Through!

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