Q: Why should we have our house cleaned?
A: Just like having your teeth cleaned, it helps prevent bigger, more expensive problems in the future, while making everything look nicer today.
Q: Why KIND of problems will it prevent?
A: Unwanted growth can cause many problems fro your homes exterior. Algae can promote rot, moss can lift up shingles, mold can make decks slippery and lichen will eat into roofing as shown below.
Q: What IS all that gunk growing on our house?
A: It may be moss, lichens, algae, fungus, or mold... or a combination of them all! These growths thrive in our damp seaside environment and some actually feed upon the materials in the shingles common to our area.
Q: Are you licensed?
A: Exterior cleaning is an unregulated industry in Massachusetts; no licenses are offered or available for what we do. Keep that in mind when somebody tells you they are licensed for this work! However, Outside Cleaners is highly rated with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and is a member in good standing with the Orleans Chamber of Commerce.
Q: Are you insured?
A: Yes, we are fully and appropriately insured for this work. Our insurance includes liability insurance, workers compensation insurance, and commercial auto insurance. But don't take our word for it... I'll happily provide you with a certificate of insurance upon request.
Q: I've heard conflicting advice on how to clean our house...
A: Because housewashing is an unregulated industry, there are no uniform industry codes or standards on How to do What. Within the industry, lots of money is spent fighting for business through deceptive marketing, and homeowners hear many conflicting claims about which cleaning methods are "best."
The "best" or "right" way to clean something depends upon WHAT is being cleaned, it's CONDITION, the LONG-TERM PLAN for the property, the customer's BUDGET, and their ENVIRONMENTAL PRIORITIES. Unlike most exterior cleaning services, I can offer multiple cleaning options for most surface types, so that we truly arrive at the best cleaning option for YOUR situation.
Q: Why Clean?
A: Most people don't realize that the lichen, moss, algae, and mold that can accumulate on houses, decks, roofs, and fences isn't just unsightly: much of it causes expensive damage to these surfaces. Lichen, for example, will feed upon the limestone grains which make up the outer layer of modern composite shingles, ruining a roof long before it should need replacing. Algae on cedar siding will trap moisture, promoting rot. Moss on a cedar roof will do the same thing. And, of, course, it all looks unsightly to both the homeowner and perspective buyers. On top of all that, algae on a deck or walkway can make it dangerously slippery.
Here on Cape Cod, we seem to have a nearly ideal environment for growing mold: lots of moisture in the air, wind to blow spores from place to place, and many buildings roofed and sided with porous organic materials (i.e. cedar) on which these growths can live.
Options to prevent this growth are limited, but there are many ways
to remedy it.
Q: Can you explain the different types of insurance?
A: There are TWO TYPES of insurance which EVERY service provider should have:
1) LIABILITY insurance covers accidental damage to property.
2) WORKERS COMPENSATION insurance covers expenses due to workplace injuries.
Liability insurance is the cheaper of the two. But what if a service provider gets hurt working on YOUR property? In this age of lawsuits and high medical bills, it's the property owner who commonly gets targeted with a lawsuit when there's a serious workplace injury and no Worker's Compensation.
Massachusetts law requires that business owners obtain workers compensation insurance for their employees but it's OPTIONAL for the business owner themselves. As a result, most small business owners and "owner/operators" around here are NOT covered by workers compensation insurance. Sole proprietors often say, "I have all the insurance that I'm required to have." That may be true, but
do yourself a favor and make sure that EVERY person working on your property is insured with both liability and worker's compensation insurance. Ask for a certificate of insurance to be mailed or e-mailed directly to you from their insurance provider. If they ARE "fully insured," they'll be happy to do this. Bottom line: exterior cleaning is a messy, slippery job. In case anything really serious injuries occur, rest assured that Outside Cleaners is FULLY insured with both liability insurance and workers compensation insurance.... for my protection and yours.
Q: Do you use bleach?
A: When it’s appropriate. Bleach has its place, but it's not the only tool available to restore the appearance of your building's exterior.
Most cleaning contractors use a bleach-based solution to perform exterior cleaning. This method provides a "lightening" of decks or siding that many homeowners are satisfied with. However, bleach has limitations and potential downsides, including the potential to harm nearby landscaping and to leave unintended chemical burns on nearby surfaces. Additionally, the common practice of adding biocides, industrial detergents, and "pH boosters" to the bleach solution make this the least eco-friendly option available.
For these reasons, along with offering traditional cleaning options, we offer greener alternatives for most cleaning jobs.
Q: Won't power washing damage wood deck?
A: It can, which is why I’d never rely upon pressure alone when cleaning a wood surface. Powerwashing relies upon brute pressure to clean a surface. That's fine when the surface is very hard (such as a metal or certain types of stone), but it's a bad idea when cleaning soft, porous building materials. I use sensible, effective cleaners to kill what's growing, and then rinse it away with far less pressure than would otherwise be needed.
Q: Why should we hire YOU?
A: There's so many reasons:
1) Cleaning is what I do! I'm not a painting contractor with a power washer and a bucket of pool bleach, or a lawn care company looking to supplement my income. My expertise is in cleaning!
2) I'm local. My livelihood depends upon my reputation here, so it's important that my customers are happy when the job is done.
3) I'm accessible. If you have questions, I'm available to talk. If you have specific requests, I'll do what I can to accommodate them. And, after the job, I'll still be right here on the Cape, able to be reached in case you have follow-up concerns.
4) I offer Green cleaning options! As well as offering conventional cleaning methods, I advocate eco-friendly cleaning which uses environmentally sound products and methods. As a result, the cleaning process can be safer for you, me, your property, and our environment.
5) I offer different services and products to help match your maintenance budget.
6) I’m FULLY insured including liability, worker’s comp, and commercial auto.
7) As a local family business, our reputation is our livelihood. As such, we do all we can to make our customers happy. We answer the phones, return calls, meet prospective clients, write our own estimates, and perform the work personally. No subcontractors, and no "independent salesmen" trying to make their commission. You deal with us directly from start to finish.
Q: I'm interested in having my house washed. What's the process?
A: Contact me by phone, e-mail, or my online form. I will promptly come out to look at the job and provide you with a written quote. If you're not local, I can send the quote to you by e-mail. If you like the proposal, sign the quote and I'll perform the work as soon as my work schedule allows. If you want to compare prices and shop around, you're free to do so. It's that easy.
Q: Will the cleaning process harm the plants around my home?
A: No. I take great care to not harm your plants and landscaping.
Q: Can you just clean out our gutters?
A: Of course.
Q: Do you accept credit cards?
A: Yes, but we prefer checks. If paying by credit card, 3% may be added to your invoice to cover the credit card transaction fee.
Q: Do we need to be home when the cleaning is performed?
A: No, I can carry out all my work while you're away.
Q: You're on Cape Cod. Will you travel to my off-Cape location?
A: I primarily work on-Cape but I'll be happy to consider jobs elsewhere. E-mail me your location and a description or some photographs of the areas you need cleaned, and I'll get in touch with you with a quote.
Q: Can you treat our deck after you clean it?
A: We can refer you to an excellent local painter who will provide a free and fair estimate for your choice of staining, sealing, or painting your deck.