For 20 years, Grant Mogford of Culver City, California, has helped grow a small, family-owned company into the largest kitchen exhaust cleaning organization in California. But this was only after an unforeseen event changed the course of Grant’s career path.
A Hero and a Tragedy
In 1986, Grant was about to be hired as a California firefighter when the unthinkable
Scott Stone, owner of A Mind for Detail (AMFD) in Mesa, Arizona, has gone from a small but well-established pressure washing company to an industry leader, virtually overnight. In 2011, AMFD won a multi-million dollar government contract with the City of Phoenix, and work began on January 1, 2012.
But it did not happen without years of sweat equity. Scott has diligently worked for 21 years to help A Mind for Detail build a reputation of quality, top-notch service. Without it, they never could have received such a huge contract. “We are the only company that bid on the contract where the principles have actually done the work,” he explained. “Coupled with our 11 years of experience performing identical work, we were well prepared to tackle this project.”
Scott started pressure washing part-time as a way to earn extra income so his wife, Cheryl, could stay home with the children. He began by detailing cars (“A Mind for Detail”), but soon realized it was not the right fit for him. “It’s really hard to make money in that business.”
Scott’s part-time company then switched to fleet washing, his first account being a crane company that he washed for 15 years until they decided to take the cleaning in-house.
However, that didn’t keep Scott down. “A couple of solid recommendations and a little bit of proper timing, and I was soon able to wash some of the higher profile accounts for Ryder,” he explained. He kept those accounts for six years – “which is the longest anyone had been able to wash those prime accounts without complaints” – until Fleetwash received the accounts as part of a national contract. “I felt it coming, and had expanded to other customers. We have continually made higher profits every year, except one.” After several years of washing fleets, one of Scott’s City customers lost the pressure washing company that was cleaning their bus stops because they were pulling out of the area. “They sent out an IFB (invitation for bids) that we bid on, and – much to my surprise – we won,” he explained. Since winning that contact, AMFD has stopped washing fleets – and all private contracts – to concentrate on municipal government work. First, he focused on parking garages, washing as many as 50 per year with just two crews. But he also washed bus stops, which eventually took over 90 percent of his business.
Helping Other Contractors Scott says he has always “been one that wanted to share correct information with people.” He added, however, that “my version of what is correct, compared to someone else’s version of what is correct, could be totally different.”
Over the years, he has been involved with and a moderator on several BBS’s, and an admin on a couple, including pressurewashinginstitute.com, where he has actually served as administrator twice, once early on and then again for the past three years. “As for PWI, I do it because it provides me relief, and every once in a while I learn something that lets me add to my business,” he explains. He adds that although his business model seems to be quite a bit different from almost all others on PWI, “I also am certain that there is not one aspect of the industry that does not have something to contribute to what I do, and how I do it.”
Additionally, in 2009, Scott hosted the National Cleaning Expo’s roundtable in Phoenix. “That was a blast,” he said. The event had around 12 contractors in attendance. “We covered a lot of basic stuff and demonstrated recovery equipment that some of the contractors had never used or seen before. It involved a full day of class instruction, and a full day of field instruction at an abandoned shopping center we’d gotten permission to use.” This was also the first roundtable that gave away a pressure washer. “It was an old machine that needed a little bit of work, but it was a machine, and was basically functional,” he laughed.
The (Multi) Million Dollar Deal
In 2011, the City of Phoenix put out an IFB for cleaning the City’s bus stops. Stone had bid on the project before, but was “tossed out” during the evaluation process. This time he worked extra hard to ensure he won. Before he could submit a bid, he had to have his company in order to prepare to receive the contract. For example, he had to make sure he could get enough financing for at least 16 vehicles, for three-months pay for his new workers (“in case an invoice was late coming in”), and for new equipment, as well as having suppliers lined up to provide all needed equipment and materials.
One thing that separates AMFD from all the others is his Scott’s wife, Cheryl. “I have never known anyone who has such an eye for detail,” he said. He added that a large part of their financing was being prepared by Cheryl’s oversight of the books so that they could have a high enough credit score to be a safe risk for the lenders. “In fact, one of our lenders commented that not only were we the perfect combination for the contract, but that they had never seen such clean books. That is fully attributable to Cheryl minding the business of keeping track of the money.”
Since winning the contract, AMFD has had to make some significant changes to prepare for the scope of the new project. Scott has gone from five technicians to 37 employees, and from four trucks to 20. Work on the project officially rolled out on January 1. It is taking AMFD a little time to get used to working such a massive project. “The exhaustion of the roll out has been a bit rough,” Scott admits. “The advantage is that every one of the 30-plus employees we have for this contract knows that I am doing EVERYTHING I can to make this contract a resounding success.”
Scott adds that so far, A Mind for Detail is getting huge compliments from the City, riders and neighbors on the quality of work they are doing. “It’s all because of the people in the field though,” he concluded, “and, of course, my wife. I could not do it without her.”
There are many and useful ways today that enable you to get your pressure washing marketing message in front of potential customers. Ones such as electronic messages, tweets, social networks and telemarketing too name just a few. Though some may disagree but the era of Door-To-Door marketing is alive and well. Nothing can replace a firm handshake and eye contact with a potential customer within the comfort of his home.
One of the most common used tools for homeowners and contractors is a pressure washer and often times there is damage done and we are quick to blame the equipment and not the lack of education in using this piece of equipment. Homeowners use a pressure washer for many different uses including cleaning of their vehicles, houses,
The Top Ten Questions To Ask A Contractor Before You Invite Them To Your Home
Most licensed contractors are competent, honest, hardworking and financially responsible. However, home improvements, such as Pressure Cleaning, are a top source of consumer complaints nationwide. By asking these ten questions you will greatly reduce the chances