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Paul: "Block paving cleaning, tarmac, floating concrete, pattern imprinted concrete, Indian sandstone, patios, driveways… There are millions of square metres of paving out there. There are endless amounts of projects you can work on."
Richard: "So far, I've done domestic driveway cleaning and patio cleaning, but I've not gotten into the commercial work yet. I like that it's a quick turnover and there's low-hanging fruit- because if I'm doing one driveway, the neighbour comes out and sees my work."
Paul: "Earning potential is limitless. Within a day, you could do 150 to 180 square metres quite comfortably if you've got good water flow and drainage.
Let's say you do 150 square metres at £3.50 per square metre- that's £525 turnover. Then you need to take your expenses out of that, which might be £50. So £475 per day? The earning potential is pretty good.
But I'm not saying you're getting 150- 180 square metres daily. But you average that out over a 20-day month, working Monday to Friday, and it adds up."
Once you're up and running, you'll still have other things to sort in the background:
So It will grow in time."
Paul: "When I started in 2004, there seemed to be quite a defined season. It would kick off in March and run its course through to September.
Easter Weekend was always a good one. People were spending time in their gardens and looking at the state of their pavements and patios. I used to get a lot of phone calls that time of year. So typically, doing two or three jobs a day was easy.
There's more awareness of this type of service now. I've found it (the season) to be more extended.
So, just get going. Once you've decided to do it, just get going."
Richard: "Currently, I'm doing five jobs a week. But that will increase as the weather gets warmer and as I push the marketing. If you've got your own business, it's the quality of life."
Paul: "I can switch it on and off, in and around, and that is priceless."
Richard: "If we're doing a job, we'll knock on the neighbour's door with some flyerS- I do quote cards as well. I'll look at the UPVC if doing the driveways or gutters and stick a quote card through the door.
I'm very much into social media. I have someone who assists me with that. So I have been dealing with the hands-on side, and I've got a virtual marketing assistant who will do my marketing and social media for me. That is a bonus."
Paul: "The good thing about that is that I put a pin in Buckingham, set a radius of 25 kilometres, and all my work comes from that radius. Back in the day, I was going up to an hour's drive away."
Richard: "Another way of thinking about these things is that there's a lot of low-hanging fruit. I've got a good client database and a good client management system. I do regular emails, and I'll send reminders out, so if I've done a job for someone, I'll send them a 12-month reminder.
It's all about trust. If people feel comfortable with you, they trust you, which goes a long way. That's what I find with the marketing side of things, so I will do a lot of before and after pictures on Facebook."
Richard: "I don't like laying down money unless I'm going to get a return on investment. But I got my money back in a week because I've got a good customer base. I said I was introducing this new service, and people snapped my hand off!"
Paul: "It was a no-brainer. As I mentioned earlier, with what you charge per square metre- 150/180 square metre, £400/£500 a day is quite achievable. It doesn't take long to get your money back."
Richard: "I've always come from the service background- I was in the RAF and then the police. It was a leap into the unknown to come out from that secure environment to be self-employed and to do all the marketing and other bits and pieces.
Once you get into it, once you get started, it is it for me. It gave me a real lifestyle change."
Paul: "It gives you a bit of a buzz as well- you've got the adrenaline flowing, and you want to make it work. So when you get out of bed for work, you're not always looking at your watch."
Richard: "Because I came from that service environment, I was used to the same thing every day. I went to being self-employed, and I was starting from scratch. It was a new industry for me. Initially, that was quite a leap of faith, so it took about 18 months to really start getting the name out there."
Paul: "You're always learning, aren't you? It's of great interest to have your own business, and then it becomes your 'baby', and you love it."
Richard: "With the pressure washing side of things, I've started in the right way with the domestic, and I'm building it up, and now I'm progressing to the commercial side of things. So looking back, the only thing I probably would say is, I wish I had started earlier!"
Paul: "Seriously, there's nothing I wish I'd started earlier. I enjoyed working in the markets for 20 years, but it was hard work. So I wish I'd started when I was a lot younger."
Richard: "For me, at the moment, I'm going to a job, and I'm looking at it and asking;
So I'll do a site survey. If I think it's going to take me three-quarters of a day or if I'm going to need a man with me, I pricing accordingly on that."
Paul: "I think you could start a job, and the flow rate could be a bit slow, so it might take longer than you think it's going to take. So, I charge per square metre; for block paving, I charge £3.50 per square metre, and for all others, £3.00 per square metre. That works well.
So I will go and do a site survey, and I'll measure up the job, and I'll meet the customer at the site. For example, if I measure 10 metres and then for the width 5m. 10 x 5 = 50 square metres. £3.50 x 50= £175.
First of all, present yourself professionally:
Customers are buying into that experience and buying into you. Don't be frightened to charge that money, because you'll certainly get it!"
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