Pressure Washing Vs “Soft” Washing

There are a lot of companies today selling a “new” service called “Soft Washing”. They all pitch the same thing: “safer than pressure cleaning”, “get clean with no pressure”, “the safest most effective way to clean your home”. Is Soft Washing actually a better, safer way to clean your home?

First, we must understand how both systems work to completely answer the question at hand. Both methods are very simple and basically the same thing. They both run water through a pump and a hose and the water is then sprayed onto the house to remove dirt, mold, etc. Cleaning solutions are able to be siphoned through the hoses and applied to the house or surface being cleaned easily with these systems.

Here are the key differences between these systems. With pressure cleaning, the water is being pressurize so it does spray harder to remove dirt, mold etc. The benefits of this is that you are able to use less chemicals when cleaning and you get a better deeper clean on certain surfaces (ie a concrete driveway). Is pressure cleaning safe? Yes. As with anything, if you do not use the equipment properly you can cause damage. But if you properly use a pressure cleaning system, you will have absolutely no damage to any surface and you will be able to get surfaces clean with little, sometimes no chemicals.

“Soft” washing runs water through a pump with no pressurization. This system normally consists of a higher volume of water being sprayed from the hose rather then pressurized water. Soft washing also uses a higher concentration of chemicals or cleaning solutions when cleaning a home. Where a pressure cleaner may be able to remove some dirts with no chemicals because of the pressure, soft washing systems need the chemical to loosen the dirt before the water is sprayed to remove it. The benefit of soft washing is that there is less pressure being applied to a home but that comes at the expense of more water and more chemicals having to be used. Is soft washing safe? Yes. Just like pressure cleaning, though, if you do not use the system properly you may cause damage. High chemical concentrates can kill plant life and damage certain surfaces. Properly used, it is a safe way to clean.

So which system is better? Well, from a selling aspect, Soft Washing wins. People hear soft opposed to pressure and automatically feel like it is a safer method of cleaning. From a cleaning aspect, I believe that pressure cleaning is a better method. You need less chemicals which is better for the environment and plant life that surrounds a home. Pressure cleaning is also necessary for cleaning driveways, sidewalks and other tough surfaces that soft washing just can not clean properly.

Either way, you are going to get a good, safe clean if the systems are properly used.

How to Position Your Home Based Franchise For the Three S Epidemic

There is a very powerful shift that is taking place in the direct marketing world. A shift that will have a powerful and profound effect on your home based franchise, but only if you apply it correctly AND only if you actually take the action to apply it.

I think that you would agree that whether you are marketing your home based franchise on line or off; your potential customers are carrying with them the “Three S Epidemic.” They are either scared, they are scarred or they are skeptical. Maybe they are all three. The bottom line is that the average consumer is becoming more and more resistant to the sales message.

Let’s go back in history a bit to illustrate this point. I remember in the 80’s, and yes I am dating myself a bit, that when a store was having a 25% discount…that was a huge deal and at times we stood in line to get the bargains.

Slowly, as the 25% off appeal wore off, it went up to 30%, 50% and now it is not uncommon to see a 70% discount, and if you use their store credit card you save an additional 15%. But as the promotions get juicer and better for the consumer, we are also turning the cheek because we are thinking the next big reduction is coming around next week.

Take a look at another industry… the automobile industry. These guys are certainly hurting these days, aren’t they? I don’t know about you, but there are constant parties with free food, the promise of free TV’s, weekend getaways, cash for clunkers and of course a terrific rock bottom deal if you purchase a car that day at the dealerships where I live.

In fact, my dad who plays the saxophone professionally is asked several times a year by one local dealership to come in and play so they can hopefully draw in the crowds to their showroom. It’s interesting, I asked him after his latest gig how the turnout was. What he told me was with each event; the crowds are getting less and less…The offers are just not big enough anymore to get the masses out to look, much less buy.

So what IS working these days in marketing for your home based franchise? It’s what I have been doing for years in sales and marketing and it’s called Soft Marketing.

Soft Marketing is when you don’t even realize you are being marketed and sold to. To illustrate this point, consider Coca-Cola or almost any brand of popular soft drink. Where are the Michael Jackson’s and the flashy dances of yesteryear that promoted and sold these products? You don’t seem them because that is not the soft wave of marketing. For a while Coke’s marketing share was being slowly eaten away by Pepsi and other popular soft drinks. They realized that they needed to change their way of advertising. Coke has made the transition brilliantly and now they soft market by having their products displayed during highly viewed television shows such as American Idol. The judges have their cups showing the Coca-Cola label and that is the advertisement. Icons are recommending the product without one spoken word…soft sell. Think about the movies that we watch with name brand products being used by popular movie stars…soft sell.

One of my favorite commercials these days are the E-Trade commercials. That baby is brilliant. Yes, E-Trade is mentioned, but aren’t you more interested about the kid testing out his vocal pipes and when the next commercial is coming on?

What about many Internet and home based franchise marketers today? They are offering value to their prospective customers. Free training, free on-line seminars, free education courses and eBooks. All of this is not necessarily for their altruistic way of life…it is in hopes that once the customer/potential customer starts to like and trust them…that they will actually go on to purchase their product or service and you are then their customer…you now have been sold something probably without really realizing it. Let’s look at this soft marketing concept for your home based franchise in a bit more detail.

1. You are becoming the expert at what you do. Trust and credibility are two of the most important ways to succeed in any business. I cannot stress the importance of becoming the expert and the leader that people are looking for today.

One of the areas of soft marketing that I always suggest to my clients and team members is article writing. You are providing people value in your area of expertise. You are NOT writing about your product or service. You write an article in hopes of helping and educating potential customers. They start to trust you and follow you as a leader and eventually they take a further look at what your home based franchise and your offer actually is.

I did this all of the time in medical sales. I created newsletters pertinent to my specialty and once a month these newsletters would go out to my customers and potential customers. There might be tips on running a medical office. There might be a study that I came across that they might not have had the time to see. I have even put studies in my newsletters that were actually published by my surgeons and prospective customers. You get the point. I was creating additional value, building the trust and credibility…something that very few sales people do.

2. Give away free reports, eBooks and courses on the topic of your product or service. The philosophy is to educate your customer first and market to them second. To see this soft marketing approach in action…go to my website at and then go to my Recommended Resources. There you will find at least 4 powerful examples of soft marketing by Perry Marshall, Mike Dillard and Ali Brown. All resources that I use, but also resources that have free courses attached to each and every one of them. They are providing you with value and education first and then the marketing afterwards.

An example that I have recently read about is a well known realtor that offers a free report called “10 Ways To Get Top Dollar For Your Home.” It reveals tips on what is valuable and what is not when getting your home ready for sale. With this report, he is now the expert in the potential seller’s mind. Who do you think that seller will go to when they are ready to sell their home? What is an interesting twist to the story is that this realtor has been using the same report for over ten years. It has been estimated that this report has generated about 1.6 MILLION in profits. Are you ready to write your free report now?

3. Partner with a related, but non-competing business. Here is an example that my family used when we owned several restaurants that might get you thinking about how you can incorporate this great soft marketing technique to either your on-line home based franchise or off-line business.

A progressive beauty salon has partnered with our neighboring restaurant. The salon, upon check out, would present a gift certificate to our restaurant for either a free drink or a free appetizer to their customer. Now the beauty (no pun really intended!) of this marketing technique is two-fold… The customer thought the salon was giving this gift certificate for free. The salon is getting the benefit of the customer feeling gratitude and added value and that customer will more than likely be a repeat customer time and time again, creating not only more traffic for the salon, but more traffic for our restaurant. The reality of this marketing technique is that the salon did not purchase that gift certificate…it was paid for by our restaurant. What our restaurant was banking on that by coming in for a free drink or appetizer, this customer will also bring at least one additional paying customer with them. We were also banking on that they will not only have a drink or appetizer, but they will go on to have a full meal, and finally we were banking on repeat business. I can tell you first hand; this soft marketing technique has been profitable for my family since its inception.

If you have a home based franchise, the same technique can easily be incorporated into your business plan. All that is needed is a bit of imagination and finding a similar but non-competing company who might be willing to step outside of the box a bit in marketing.

Put these marketing techniques into your business plan. More importantly take action on them. The results will show you that as home based franchise owner you can ride, thrive and be incredibly profitable during this Perfect Storm in what others are considering as a nasty violent Nor’easter.

My Guide On Setting Up Your Own Home Photography Studio

First of all, it is recommended to use a smallish sized room with nice white walls. White walls will ensure that the light remains uncoloured, so that the person you are photographing doesn’t appear to be coloured by the light (imagine if your walls were shocking pink for example… ).

You could use a soft box, an umbrella, or both tools in the studio. A soft box is a small box that fits on top of the flash, the small flash tube shoots out light, which is reflected off the insides of the walls of the soft box and then passes through a translucent material which covers the front of the soft box, dispersing the light in lots of different directions.

An umbrella is a very similar piece of apparatus to a soft box with the main difference being that some of the light from the flash can pass through it, and the rest reflects off it. You can use it both ways to get different lighting results. When you put the umbrella onto the head of the flash, you will have a spill kill. It is a round piece of metal that fits around the end of the flash. We call it a spill kill because it prevents light from spilling out past the umbrella. This prevents light from hitting the walls and the ceilings, which can completely destroy your photography efforts. The whole purpose of a home studio is for you to have control of the light.

Let’s look at the differences between the light that comes from the soft box and the light coming from the umbrella. Flash heads have what we call modelling lights, which are simply tungsten bulbs that are always on. By adjusting the output you can make the light level go up and down. It enables you to see how the light behaves at various outputs. As you change the exposure you can see how the shadows change around the person or object you are shooting.

If you are using a flash, it is recommended that you use a flash meter. There are other ways of doing it but they are not precise and it would require a lengthy explanation. Firstly, you start by adjusting the ISO speed on your flash meter to match the your camera’s ISO speed. Set your flash sync speed to an adequate setting. To do that you will need to find out what the sync speed of your camera is. It is not a good idea to point the invercone directly towards the flash. Instead, point it at the position of the camera. If you’re buying a home studio kit, it will probably come with 200 or 400 watt second lamps. Using the flash meter you can measure the aperture. F8 is usually a good aperture to use.

If you’re using an older set of lights, the voltage will be different to more recent electrical appliances and can damage your camera, so it is recommended that you don’t connect your camera directly to an older set of lights. Instead of doing that you can trigger photoelectric cell triggers on your lights using a pop up flash on top of your camera. So that this doesn’t mess up the lighting of the shot, you will be able to adjust the flash on your camera to be a very small fraction (2% for example) of its normal output.

By working with an umbrella instead of a soft box, we can let some of the light escape through the umbrella, reflect off the walls and ceiling of the studio and make a softer overall lighting effect, rather than have almost all of the light reflect back onto the person or object we are shooting (as would be the case with a soft box). The shadows on the model’s face will not be as strong when using an umbrella as they would when using a soft box.

If you turn the light around to point directly towards the model, with the umbrella between so that the light goes through the umbrella, the room will be a great deal brighter than before. You’ll need to set the exposure again before taking the photographs. Doing it this way will obviously create softer lighting than if you just use the soft box, but the lighting will still not be as soft as letting the light bounce out of the umbrella (with the flash facing in the opposite direction to the person you are shooting).

A very popular method of setting up your lighting is ‘flat light’, which will reduce textures and shadows by using two or more flashes. Shadows on a person’s face will make their wrinkles and imperfections more obvious. Having one light shining towards the subject from one direction and another light from a different position will help to soften up the shadows. You might decide to let some of the light shine off one of the side walls. If you pay attention to these small details you will notice some very interesting results.

To set up the exposure, you’ll need to do one light at a time to guarantee that the light is even from both light sources. In this instance, I recommend that you do point the invercone towards the light. If one is about F8 and the other is around F8.5 it will be good enough, as the difference won’t have much of an effect. If your lights are on sliders, then just by sliding them forward or backward by a couple of inches will enable you to make very subtle changes.

If you are planning to create some soft shadows, you can use a technique known as Key And Fill, which is where you will have a light that is the key light (your primary light), which will form shadows on the subject’s face. Then you can use the other light to soften those shadows. You should start by setting up the key light before the additional light. It should be almost in line with the position from where you take the shot. After that step, set up the fill light to soften the shadows. You should play around with the location of the fill light, but it will probably be pointing at the model approximately at 90 degrees to the direction of the key light. If the key light is about F16 for example, and the fill light is about say F8, this should work quite nicely.

The next thing to check is the overall exposure. Turn both the key light and the fill light on, ensure you’re not standing in front of the key light, then check the exposure at the point where the subject is positioned using the flash meter. You can now set this on your camera.

If you use a longer lens and standing slightly further back, you can make sure that no unwanted light gets into your camera directly from the light sources.

By understanding how to meter it and spending time setting it up, you know that light will remain constant for a few hours, unlike natural light from a window which is constantly changing with the direction of the sun.