Pressure Washers

Aug. 1, 2000
Pressure washers are some of the most widely used items in the rental industry, and rental center managers should consider customers' preferences carefully

Pressure washers are some of the most widely used items in the rental industry, and rental center managers should consider customers' preferences carefully before deciding which models to stock.

Are customers using the equipment for home or industrial purposes? Do they use cold- or hot-water pressure washers? Do they prefer gas or electric washers? What accessories do they need? Will they use detergent?

If the customer base consists mostly of homeowners with a mix of light contractors or painting contractors, consider stocking a combination of units with these specifications:

* 1,000 pounds per square inch, cold water, electric motor

* 2,000 psi, cold water, gas engine

* 2,500 psi, cold water, gas engine

* 2,400 psi, hot water, gas engine

* Low-pressure detergent injectors

* 12- and 18-foot extended-reach wand.

Homeowners like the compact design of these units because they can load and unload the units themselves. The washers most commonly rented by homeowners are the 1,000-psi electric and the 2,000-psi gas units. The light industrial users will ask for cold-water units from 2,000 to 3,000 psi or hot-water units from 1,000 to 2,500 psi with temperatures to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Electric units work well for light applications in which portability and spray impact are less important. These units are well-suited to many types of light household chores, but because of normal household wiring (120 volts), these units usually are restricted to 1,500 psi at 2 gallons per minute maximum. With an electric model, users also are restricted by availability of electricity and portability because extension cords will raise the amperage draw of the unit.

Additional power For professional users with heavy-duty applications, gas models provide more cleaning power, mobility and durability.

Industrial users rent washers with pressure from 2,500 to 5,000 psi. Occasionally, those users might need specialized units exceeding 10,000 psi. Here are some of the washers rental centers should consider stocking for industrial users:

* 2,500 psi, cold water, gas engines

* 3,000 psi, cold water, gas engines

* 4,000 psi, cold water, gas engines

* 1,000 psi, hot water, electric motor

* 2,400 psi, hot water, gas engines

* 3,000 psi, hot water, gas engines

* Rotary surface cleaner.

When purchasing equipment for the industrial fleet, make sure the manufacturer has a reputation for building quality equipment and stands behind its warranties. Also, know where the nearest service center is and what the manufacturer's lead time is on parts delivery. Make sure the units are portable for customer convenience.

Extras Accessories and detergents can make the job easier for the customer and increase sales or rentals. The detergent injector is by far the most popular accessory and a "must have" for the rental center. Customers will use it to apply mild detergents to home siding, decks, pools and for other household applications.

The rotating nozzle, originally designed for stripping paint, can be used to remove caked-on mud from tracked vehicles and to remove stains from concrete. The rotary surface cleaner will clean large areas in a short time. It cleans five to seven times faster than the standard 15-degree nozzle and does not leave striping normally associated with standard nozzles. The extension wand is available in 12-, 18- or 24-foot lengths.

The wet sandblast kit has become popular for the simple reason that many contractors cannot use air blasters in certain areas because of the dust emitted into the air.

The detergents selected by a rental center should be environmentally friendly. All-purpose cleaners can be used to clean vehicles, lawn equipment and windows.

Degreasers work on grease, oil, diesel and petroleum. Deck and house washes clean a variety of wooden surfaces.

Safety issues The most important issues are safety and educating your customers before they leave the rental yard. All major pressure washer manufacturers have a safety section in their manuals. Make sure your staff reads and understands it. Always explain the dangers of equipment if not used properly.

Pressure washers are necessities for all rental centers. Every customer who walks in your door has a cleaning application that will call for a pressure washer. Whatever your customer base - homeowner, contractor or industrial - the right mix of washers in your fleet will guarantee high rental volume at substantial profits.