Tuesday, May 29, 2007

...but then you have to close

When I lived on the east coast, I never got acquainted with pressure washers. Then I moved to the Pacific Northwest and learned that the hundred-plus days of consecutive wet that we call winter (eat your heart out Noah) tends to make lots of things moldy/mildewy/mossy and so a pressure washer becomes standard household equipment.

I went out and bought one this weekend, and now the deck around the pool looks shiny clean.

When shopping for pressure washers, you quickly learn that there are two variables at play, and that they scale more or less linearly: Price, and Pressure (as in output water pressure ) rated in PSI. There's also a gas vs electric question, but I have a hunch that this is a non issue. Small ones are electric, big ones are gas, and that's that.

It only takes a couple minutes using one to figure out that more pressure means that you can hold the diverging spray further away from the work surface, and that this in turn means the spray is wider and you can cover a larger area in less time. Given that more powerful units cost more, there's a pretty clear time-is-money trade-off the buyer is making.

I don't think most people figure this out before buying one. Thus I was pleased when shopping for one this weekend and saw that Loews has all their displays with a uniformly presented rating translation. Something akin to "this pressure washer can clean a _25_ square foot area in 5 minutes.

I have a hunch, however, that they are leaving a bunch of sales on the table. What they should have done was connected the dots for buyers. Determine the size of the average deck or driveway, and then said "This unit will clean the average driveway in 4 hrs".

Customers would have a clear choice then of what their money bought them. "Hmm.... do I want to spend an extra $100 to save 2 hrs every time I do the driveway?"

Never hurts to make the value proposition crystal clear to the customer.

1 comment:

John Stark said...

You are assuming the average consumer reads anything before buying. A huge assumption.

When I bought, I had a budget (or at least a dollar value in mind), the model I bought fit into the budget. Of course, I do not have to clean off my decks regularly like you do. I use mine to clean the pool filters, once in a great while sweep/clean the deck, wash of stuff I think needs washing, spray the kids at a distance (fun!), terrorize the dogs (more fun!).

I think the extra PSI can get you into trouble too, as even my little machine can etch concrete, strip paint, etc. if you don't pay attention.