By Starrla Cray
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN Drew and Jennifer Anderson and their sons, Nick and A.J., have learned to “go with the flow” in their Lester Prairie-based professional pressure washing business.
“Last week, we had a call about midnight from a place in northeast Minneapolis,” Jennifer said Tuesday. “Their roof drains were iced over, and with all the melting, it was coming in. Then, all of a sudden, we had five more calls for flood recovery.”
The Andersons take it all in stride, though, smiling through each manhole cleanout, graffiti removal, surface re-sealing, and parking ramp sweep.
“It’s really a fun industry,” Jennifer said. “It’s a lot of variety, and we love that.”
Drew and Jennifer started Olympic Power Wash Services a little over a year ago, when they were living in Waconia. In June, they moved to rural Lester Prairie, because it gave them more space.
“We really love it here,” she said. “We picked this location because it’s close to Highway 7, and it’s also a quick jump to Highway 212.”
The majority of the jobs are in the metro area, but Olympic Power Wash Services takes clients up to 100 miles from Lester Prairie, in any direction.
Each person in the Anderson family has a specific role in the company. Drew, who has many years of heavy equipment and pressure washing experience, handles operations.
“I’m really proud of Drew,” Jennifer said. “He’s very focused on the company and on family.”
Jennifer, who has a business management degree, does all of the scheduling, marketing, and accounting.
Nick, 23, is the lead wash technician.
“He’s an awesome worker,” Jennifer said. “He pays attention to details.”
A.J., 16, is currently taking online high school courses through the Minnesota Virtual High School (MVHS) program, but he also finds time to help out with the family business.
Olympic Power Wash Services also employs two full-time workers, plus seasonal help.
Spring, summer, and fall are the busiest times of the year in the pressure washing industry.
“I tell our employees, ‘you get to rest in the winter,’” Jennifer smiled.
Olympic Power Wash Services employees also work a variety of hours.
Commercial clients often prefer pressure washing for store fronts, fuel islands, and sidewalks to be done at night, when fewer customers are around.
At the Methodist Hospital parking ramp, Olympic Power Wash Services cleans a couple levels at a time, so that it doesn’t ever have to be completely shut down.
“That’s a multiple-night job,” Jennifer said. “You really work closely with the security people.”
Residential customers often prefer that their work, such as water damage/sewer backups, walkway and paver restoration, garage floors, and deck refinishing, be done during the day.
Jennifer said the family doesn’t mind working unpredictable hours.
“It’s just the nature of the business,” she said.
Flood recovery and emergency spill-cleanups, for example, are jobs that often need to be done right away.
“Typically, they’re in a panic state when they call us,” Jennifer said. “Drew is super good at care and calming. He’s very knowledgeable about water and equipment, and he helps people understand what’s going on. He’s empathetic, and has a good way with people.”
Drew’s desire to please each client is evident in the way he handles each job.
“One gal had a wood, three-season porch that she wanted cleaned and resealed,” Jennifer said. “Drew, being customer-service oriented, told her that we don’t usually do interiors, but said he’d give it a try.”
The crew had to watch out for windows and ceiling fans while pressure washing, but in the end, the customer was very happy with the result.
“Drew carefully taped everything,” Jennifer said. “It was just so comical, because the crew is used to being outside.”
Another memorable job was the Carlson Towers parking deck, which covers 1 million square feet.
“Nick ate all his sandwiches on the way to the job,” Jennifer laughed. “I think it was nervousness. Nick is our comedy show, that’s for sure.”
As members of the Power Washers of North America, the Andersons are continually researching ways to increase efficiency and exceed industry standards.
“When we started, we made sure we had the latest in environmentally-friendly technology,” Jennifer said.
Olympic Power Wash Services has a 500-gallon storage tank for water that separates the oils and takes out the sand, making it reusable for washing purposes.
The Andersons will be at the Minneapolis Home and Garden Show Wednesday, March 2 through Sunday, March 6, in booth 1246.
For more information about the company, call (952) 715-2164, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to www.olympicpowerwashservices.com.