So... you have a mess. A big mess. You need the help of a mobile pressure washing service but you don't know where to start. Don't worry, you are not alone. Most people don't know anything about power washing until it is time to hire a company to help them clean up the mess. The three most important factors to consider when hiring a power wash company are their equipment, experience, and professionalism.
The equipment used by a power wash company is paramount to the quality of service they will be able to provide. Good pressure washers use industrial machines that are capable of producing steam and hot water over 250°F (121°C) and 3,000psi. Heat is the key to effective pressure washing. Bad pressure washers skimp on their equipment to keep costs down, but you ultimately pay the price. They will have to spend more time on the same area and/or use harmful (and expensive) chemicals to get the same results as a "good" company. Ugly pressure washers use consumer or light-commercial grade cold-water machines with improper accessories. They can cause serious damage to your property and should be avoided at all costs.
Shiny, high-tech equipment alone will not clean up your mess. It needs to be put in the hands of a trained and experienced technician. Due to the poor economy and the relatively low start-up costs, new companies show up all the time. A good company, however, will have at least several years of experience. Many power wash companies have been in the industry for over 10 years with a proven track record backed up by references, before & after photos, and a high rating with the local Better Business Bureau. Bad companies will use unqualified, inexperienced, or undocumented workers to save money. Again, you pay the price with poor quality or property damage (3000 pounds per square inch can do a lot of damage if not properly handled). Ugly companies pay sub-standard wages to undocumented workers "hired" from the parking lot of the local hardware store that have never operated a pressure washer before. Again, irreparable damage is highly possible.
The final consideration when choosing a good power washing service is their level of professionalism. Good companies respond quickly to your requests and are have excellent verbal and written communication skills. A professional company will be able to accept credit cards as a method of payment. Contractor licenses are not typically required, but the organization should be in good standing with the state's corporation commission and carry general liability, commercial automobile, and workers compensation insurance. Good companies will happily provide you with certificates of insurance as proof of their coverage to give you peace of mind. Bad companies use pushy sales techniques to make up for their lack of professionalism, will have little or no insurance, and be unorganized and difficult to deal with. Ugly companies are not insured, impossible to communicate with, and will likely disappear once paid or at the first hint of your dissatisfaction.
To find the good power wash services out there, search the Internet or your local business directory and invite 3 or more companies to provide you with an estimate. Good power washers will be happy to provide you with a free estimate. Depending on the size of your project you might be able to get a quote over phone, but larger projects typically require an on-site visit. This allows a good power wash company to give you the most accurate estimate possible and gives you an opportunity to examine their equipment, experience, and professionalism first hand. When you have accumulated all your estimates, use what you have learned here to choose the most qualified company for your particular project.