Perfecting the Meaning of Clean
Perfect Power Wash marks 18 years of protecting homeowners’ biggest investments
Perfect Power Wash started as a college research project on entrepreneurship and eventually became the largest power washing company in Northeast Ohio, serving tens of thousands of business owners and homeowners each year.
Mike Palubiak launched Perfect Power Wash 18 years ago, just after graduating from Kent State University. He had borrowed $2,500 and set up shop in his parents’ garage, serving area neighborhoods. His company has since cleaned more than 25 million square feet of concrete and washed more than 70,000 homes.
“Mike was handing out flyers door to door, and soon business was brisk,” says John Kosmides, Customer Experience Manager at Perfect Power Wash. The young entrepreneur hired college friends to keep up with demand. “As his business grew, so too did his expertise. Carefully studying every manner of dirt, grime and mold Ohio has to offer, he perfected methods of removing them safely and efficiently from siding, roofing and concrete and became widely recognized as an industry expert.”
Palubiak and his team continued to refine their processes and procedures year after year to increase efficiencies, eliminate problems and leave homes and businesses looking as good as new. “Wow the customer” is the company’s mantra, adorning the sleeve of each staff member’s work shirt.
Today, the firm is a recognized leader in the power washing industry, having removed miles and miles of undesirable stains from the roofs, driveways and sidings of homes throughout Northeast Ohio. The firm employs about 100 staff members and maintains more than 30 service vehicles.
“Freeing homes from unwanted green moss, spores and other contaminants is something of a passion for me,” Palubiak says. He’s recognized as a leader in the industry; in 2013, he wrote best practice guidelines for the trade association Power Washers of North America.
The company has earned numerous honors over the years, including spots in 2014 and 2015 on the Inc. 5000 list for fastest-growing private companies and inclusion in the Crain’s Cleveland Business list of the 52 fast-growing companies.
The firm has about a dozen technicians who have been with the company for 10 to 15 years, Kosmides says, and the employee turnover rate is low.
“We’ve been blessed with a strong staff, folks who truly care about providing perfect results and making ecstatic customers,” Palubiak says. “The level of ownership each person has in this organization is astounding, and it shines through at every touch point. Many of our customers ask for in-field service technicians by name—that’s when you know you’ve truly done something right.”
The strength of the staff can partly be credited to the firm’s management style and work environment. “Our leadership team and culture we’ve built here are second to none; it really is the best work environment because everyone cares about what they do and one another,” Kosmides says. “It all starts at the top. Our department leaders truly care about the well-being of their staff. It’s not about punching the clock; it’s about giving 110 percent to a customer’s home.”
Management is deliberate in making the company a great place to work, Palubiak says.
When employees need a break in the office, they have access to foosball and table tennis. There are weekly contests to encourage staff members, and the company also hosts an annual cookout.
“The thing that keeps the staff going on these 12- to 14-hour days is the passion everyone has for the job; and it goes all the way up to Mike,” Kosmides says. “He works every day. There is not a more bought-in, passionate, caring, invested person, both emotionally and financially. He is focused on the growth of the people and the business.”
In addition to its large portfolio of residential projects, Perfect Power Wash also performs commercial work. What sets the company apart for commercial clients is the ability to provide one-day service.
“Imagine managing a large apartment complex with more than a half-million square feet of living space and 20 or so buildings. That’s over a month’s worth of exterior cleaning for your in-house maintenance staff, which takes them away from everything else they’ve got on their plate. It’s not realistic to expect them to be able to keep up,” Palubiak explains. “In contrast, the size of our fleet makes it possible to complete a job like that in a single day, minimizing disruption for tenants and your staff. It’s a huge win for everyone involved.”
Perfect Power Wash specializes in large brick or vinyl-sided buildings, important for jobs such as cleaning 10 buildings on the 14-acre Hunter’s Chase Apartments in Westlake, Ohio. “Algae, dirt and other contaminants had built up on the vinyl-sided units, detracting from the look of the buildings and giving residents and prospective renters a negative impression of the units before they even stepped inside. They needed it done as quickly as possible to keep the impact on tenants minimized,” Kosmides says. Perfect Power Wash sent 15 services vehicles, and the staff worked from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., clearing out before most residents returned home from work.
The company endures downtime each winter due to weather conditions. “We will have winter roundtables for three or four days every day with the key staff and leadership in our war room,” Kosmides says. “We work with all of our departments, going through processes and decisions and reflecting on the impacts of those. The goal is to make better decisions for the next year. Using this time gives us the ability to innovate products and services.”
During the offseason, the team will also gut the fleet and refurbish or replace equipment. This winter’s work will include expanding the fleet of service vehicles to 40. “Everything is enhanced and improved,” Palubiak says. “We truly take the four months to advance the staff and the equipment.”
Serving the Community
As the business has grown, Palubiak has become more involved with community activities. Under his leadership, Perfect Power Wash has teamed up with multiple charitable organizations, including the Wounded Warrior Project, Make-A-Wish America, March of Dimes and the Humane Society. Earlier this year, Perfect Power Wash cleaned grave markers at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Seville, a special project for the company that employs many veterans as well as reserve and active-duty members of the military.
“Concrete, marble, stone—all of that weathers and ages, especially since it is exposed to the elements,” Palubiak says. “This is the final resting place for our valued veterans, and we want to honor them by tending to their markers that get dirty over the years. We happily donate our time.”
The firm also donates its services to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, as well as making financial contributions and granting staff hours to answer phone calls during the hospital’s fundraising efforts.
Palubiak’s passion to help those in need and his drive to create a positive environment in the workplace extend to his customers.
“We have a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. It is in our name. This is Perfect Power Wash and that is the quality of service that we stand by,” Palubiak says. “When our techs are filling out their paperwork for a job, they literally have a button that says, ‘I wowed the customer’ that they have to hit. If we didn’t wow the customer, we go back until we do. It is a rallying cry for the organization.”