Sunday, November 29th, 2020

Shopper Client Stories


SUDSY HOUSE WASHING

Entrepreneur Finds Soft Washing Houses Satisfying And Neighbors Watching Creates Instant Clients and Friends!

by Jean Loxley-Barnard


Mickey Ferrell is passing on his family’s entrepreneurial spirit to his son, Trey, who often assists him in his work.

Mickey Ferrell is passing on his family’s entrepreneurial spirit to his son, Trey, who often assists him in his work.

Mickey Ferrell is a man who knows who he is. He was raised in an entrepreneurial family, and it is definitely in his blood. By his junior year in high school, Mickey had begun working for his dad's pest control business, just as his 14-year-old son, Mickey, who goes by Trey, is helping his dad now.

The business Mickey chose just a year ago, is a pressure washing business he named Sudsy House Washing. Mickey is a pleasant perfectionist who has become quite an expert about the house cleaning business. Well-researched now, he shares his conclusions, explaining, "There is more to learn than one would think."

"I had my own bad experience," Mickey recalls. "I pressure washed my house a few years ago. It was green, and it took me 10 hours the first time. I knew it had to be easier and realized I needed to learn more. I had been searching for something in the service industry, which had been my background. And here I am."

"There seems to be three approaches to this business," Mickey learned. Because the industry does not have occupational licensing, anyone can buy a machine and pressure wash a house. And some looking to create a side income see home washing as a good way to start a business. Mickey smiles when adding, "Eager people will buy an electric pressure washer, but the result is like cooking steak with a lighter!" The physical work is simply more difficult with the wrong equipment and typically less effective. Many side businesses are able to charge a lower rate since they forgo purchasing liability insurance that protects your home from accidental damage.


"I had my own bad experience.
I pressure washed my house
a few years ago. It was green and
took me 10 hours the first time.
I knew it had to be easier and
realized I needed to learn more.
I had been searching for something
in the service industry, which had
been my background.
And here I am."

- Mickey Ferrell


Mickey frequently points out that most people have good intentions when washing the home, but, like most jobs, there is a lot to learn. Protecting plants near the home and taking pets into consideration around chemicals, requires awareness and knowledge. Many just decide to move on to something less demanding.

Next are those who use an outdated method, extremely high pressure, for every job. "Every home is different, as is every cleaning situation. You need a full toolbox to be effective and protect property." 2500+ PSI will damage vinyl and cement siding and can blow out the mortar joints on brick homes. Hard work and good intentions prove not to be enough to become a true professional. As in any business, it evolves and requires knowledge beyond what appears to be needed.

The final level is the professional level Mickey Ferrell insists on for his business. "It took me at least six months to feel comfortable in most situations, but I still strive to learn more every day," he said. "When serious entrepreneurs get to the level where they have studied and learned about all the elements of what constitutes a thorough work product, they know it. It is also a relief to have looked into all aspects of this business!" Mickey relates from experience.

The entrepreneur credits his longtime friend, Will Rice, with invaluable encouragement and help. "Will has partnered with me to get the business going, which is even more appreciated because he has a full-time job!"


These before-and-after photos show how a soft washing from Sudsy can restore the appearance of a home’s exterior.

These before-and-after photos show how a soft washing from Sudsy can restore the appearance of a home’s exterior.


With obvious pride, this father now has what his father had 20 years ago. "The recent school closing allowed me to take my 14-year-old son to work. Trey is super smart and was ready to go!"

Mickey credits, adding, "Trey did not complain at all and did a great job" he is obviously totally satisfied, but not surprised by his son's abilities.

Mickey sees a time when Sudsy will have many crews softwashing the houses all over Hampton Roads. Sudsy was a good decision, he believes. It is not easy work, but it is satisfying. He looks forward to an ever-growing professional crew doing the work and understanding what it takes, worth every minute. The secret of success is wound into doing the work correctly and understanding what, when, and how about every segment of the business.

"I always had an independent streak," Mickey admits, knowing he likes having his own business. "There are times now when he is tired and sore from the physical demands, but he believes he has made the right decision.

"Friends and family were a big help right off the bat when Sudsy launched last May," Mickey says gratefully. "By early fall, things were more routine, and by six months, we got into a rhythm.

People saw the work- "good work"- Mickey smiles, "and we had referrals from satisfied neighbors to their friends. It spread quickly!"

"Sometimes, a neighbor will talk to other neighbors thinking they could have several homes done in the same week," Mickey points out. But often, neighbors want to see the quality of Sudsy first. "I love it when a neighbor comes up halfway through my cleaning to say, "Stop at my house when you are done."

"Interestingly," Mickey kindly adds, "Clients say they saw our ad in The Shopper and almost always hand me the paper. It's unique from any other source of referral. The only one where they don't just tell me, but show me! Others tell me when they call and 60 percent of the time, as soon as I get there."

Asked what the full cleaning entails, Mickey points out the roof is one thing people often overlook. But it should be cleaned every 10 years. Streaks appear on a roof, running from top to bottom. Mold needs to be removed from the roof, and the difference is striking. "I had no idea," one woman commented upon seeing her clean roof, "that my roof was tan!"


Mickey Ferrell and Will Rice, owners of Sudsy House Washing

Mickey Ferrell and Will Rice, owners of Sudsy House Washing

Mickey comments that "I am even sometimes surprised when I see the before and after pictures." He adds, "Shingle manufacturers and trade associations recommend cleaning using chemicals made for the purpose. No pressure washing, just cleaning solutions to achieve the right results. Mickey points out this is not expensive when we consider the cost of a new roof! In fact, the cost of cleaning a roof is usually less than one tenth of the cost to replace a roof. The cost to clean a roof costs a few hundred, varying with the size, of course. An average vinyl house cleaning varies from $225 to $350.

Brick can be tricky; sometimes, those homes need only the trim cleaned because mold grows on painted surfaces quickly. At other times the brick, which is very porous, has lots of algae growth and can be a difficult cleaning. So with brick, Mickey always does an onsite estimate.

Some people have their homes cleaned every year or so. Mickey recommends cleaning every 18 to 24 months, but some can go four to five years. And he also recommends getting a driveway cleaned. Once homeowners see the difference, they want it done each time.


"Inexperience and lack of knowledge
can do damage without realizing it.
But not on my watch!"

- Mickey Ferrell


What people think of when hearing of a house needing washing is the north side of homes that clearly show mold. "People with one dreadful wall always ask, "Can you do just one wall?' Mickey says. "I say, "not on my first washing.' I always want to do the whole house first so they see what it should be. But, I tell them I will then do a north side maintenance touchup cheap in between full cleanings. And our cleanings are thorough, so they last longer."

Mickey is proud of the care Sudsy takes, especially in consideration of pets and plant life. "I like to water the plants around the house first with fresh water," Mickey says. "If the plant has not had water, it will soak up anything wet, even chemicals. We also rinse it in between starting and again at the end, just to make certain not to damage anything living. It's all part of the process. Inexperience and lack of knowledge can do damage without realizing it. But not on my watch!"




Sudsy House Washing

757-750-0400
www.sudsyhousewashing.com