The official voice of  The Cleaning Show


Published 30th September, 2022 by Jack Homewood


Demand for pressure washers increases as businesses focus on cleaning

Daniel Took, head of professional marketing at Kärcher UK, looks at the pressure washer market and how customer expectations have changed given the backdrop of the pandemic.

At the outset of the pandemic, the desire to ensure spaces were cleaned in an effective manner led to a demand for cleaning equipment across the board. This demand drove pressure washer sales throughout the pandemic, beginning at the start of 2020 until the end of 2021, as sales greatly outperformed those of 2019. There were many factors behind the increased sales ranging from the increased focus on cleaning to more domestic customers purchasing professional equipment.

As users looked to improve hygiene in sanitary areas and outside of premises, there was a huge demand for hot water pressure washers in particular. With the added bonus of high temperatures that can kill pathogens and bacteria whilst washing them away, hot water pressure washers saw year on year growth as more users turned to them to tackle their cleaning needs.

This was particularly felt within the agricultural industry that relies on the ability to effectively eradicate pathogens to protect livestock and harvests. Between 2020 and 2021 there was a 25% increase in demand within the agricultural sector as more farmers switched from cold water to hot water pressure washers.

A similar increase in demand was felt within the automotive sector with a 40% increase in sales from 2020 and 2021. This was caused by an increase in the number of sales of the compact HDS machines (HDS 6/12 C and HDS 5/12 C in particular). These larger hot water pressure washers come with built-in fuel and detergent tanks, helping to speed up cleaning times whilst maximising the full potential that comes from using hot water to loosen dirt and oil when cleaning vehicles.

Whilst sales grew within these sectors, it was not the case across all industries. As many industries were affected by stay-at-home measures that forced closures of industrial sites, the demand reduced as some facilities were left unused. Despite this, demand is expected to increase as we continue to progress out of the pandemic as more businesses continue to focus on ensuring that their working environments are well maintained and kept safe for users.

When it comes to selecting which machines to purchase, there have been a few standout areas that customers are increasingly looking for during the buying process. These range from innovative solutions to support users, to more sustainable operating modes to help reduce the amount of energy that the machines are using.

The EASY!Force trigger that Kärcher has developed has proven to be one innovation that customers continually gravitate towards. The trigger is designed to provide a more ergonomic solution for the end user that can prevent downtime caused by injury. The trigger works by using the flow rate of the water and the pressure it gives off to push the trigger into the palm of the user, activating the pressure washer. This removes the requirement to hold down the trigger, which is key for cleaning over long periods of time where repetitive strain injury is a common issue.

Other solutions we have seen customers gravitate towards are machines with our eco!efficiency modes built-in. Eco!efficiency is a pre-set mode, in a wide range of our machines, that reduces energy and water consumption by up to 20% during use. This reduction enables users to get closer to meeting their sustainability goals without impacting on the quality of the clean that they are delivering. With more customers looking for a way to reduce water and energy usage, we are in the process of looking at ways to expand our current offering to better support our customers.

Another way that we can help them with this is through the expansion of our battery universe platform. The platform contains over 18 machines across a range of different sectors that can all be powered by the same 18V or 36V batteries. These batteries can be moved from one machine to another depending on what is required at the time of use. For instance, car cleaners could go from using the HD 4/11 C Bp pressure washer, that runs off a 36V battery, to clean the outside of a vehicle before using the Puzzi 9/1 Bp Pack spray extraction cleaner to do an intensive clean of the interior upholstery. To move from one machine to the other, the user simply needs to unclip the battery and place it into the next machine.

Offering dynamic opportunities to incorporate batteries as part of a wider cleaning regime will enable users to greatly reduce the environmental impact that they are having. With more cleaning expected than ever before, providing solutions that offer customers genuine return on investment and enable them to be more efficient will be key.

As we continue to develop our next generation of pressure washers, we are increasing our focus on developing more sustainable machines that maximise cleaning opportunities for the end user. We are already looking to introduce more variants of our battery powered pressure washers, to meet growing demand across all sectors, and are busy focusing our efforts on meeting the growing demand from businesses to meet their varying needs.

The pressure washer market over the last few years has continued to hold strong due to increased demands for the cleaning of sanitary areas and outdoor premises. As demand continues to grow for more sustainable options within the cleaning industry, it is important that we continue to focus on ways to help our customers meet their targets without having to compromise on cleaning performance.


How contract hire can solve fleet supply chain problems

Supply chains have been severely disrupted at the hands of Brexit, the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Paul Beddows, sales director at Dawsongroup emc, explains how municipal fleet managers can navigate these extreme supply and demand issues.

The current supply chain woes have hit the fleet sector badly in 2022, with long delays, availability issues and rising costs causing major problems for many businesses and local authorities delivering vital municipal services like street cleaning.

Problems initially arose after Brexit, when we started to see significant import issues, challenges accessing parts and lorry driver strikes. Then the pandemic hit and vehicle shortages and delays only intensified. The war in Ukraine has also exacerbated the situation, pushing up energy and material costs, with the price of steel now astronomically high.

However, despite these issues, demand has remained the same, leaving municipal fleet managers with a challenge on their hands. How does a local authority or business that relies heavily on its vehicles stay operational and deliver the task at hand, when faced with these complexities?

Here are our top tips for overcoming the currently uncertainty in the supply chain:

1. Switch your asset management approach

If you own your assets, you have little room for adjustment when it comes to fleet management, but contract hire gives you flexibility. You have more options to switch vehicles as your requirements change, ensuring that your fleet is always fit for purpose. Due to the buying power of the Dawsongroup, and our forward planning process, we can purchase bulk amounts of stock so we are ready and waiting to support new and existing customers. This gives our contract hire clients the pick of the most prestigious specialist vehicles on the market, even when other providers are struggling with vehicle availability. This flexibility means that we can fit around the client’s requirements, to ensure we are always meeting their needs at any given time. This approach significantly de-risks ownership, protecting budgets with just one monthly payment and no costly upfront overheads.

2. Take care of your assets

Keep your vehicles in good condition, and increase their lifespan, through regular servicing and maintenance. This not only ensures that the asset remains in a good condition for future customers, but it also retains a higher end-of-contract value. We have a team of manufacturer-trained engineers that provide support to our customers across the UK. We perform regular vehicle inspections and services to keep our machines in outstanding operational order and we have the full audit trail and vehicle history to back this up. We fix our maintenance costs within our weekly rental rate and our high standards of service and maintenance ensure that the residual value is at its highest at the end of the vehicle's life.

3. Keep assessing your needs

As a customer-focused company, we offer monthly, quarterly or bi-annual review meetings to discuss service performance and review any out of contract costs. We can also provide you with weekly and monthly KPIs to help you keep on top of operations. This way, we can ensure that you are getting the best solution for your business and can continue to improve our already high standards of service.

Moving forwards

We anticipate that these supply and demand issues will continue to have a knock-on effect for at least the next 12 months, and even when they are resolved, we expect there to be a major backlog, sparking even more of a shift towards contract hire.

If recession does hit in the coming months, contract hire will be a valuable option for fleet managers, enabling them avoid the initial outlay of investing in a depreciating asset. They can benefit from regular monthly payments that keep them operational and on the road, whilst protecting their budgets.


Getting to grips with graffiti

Taski Sprint Spitfire from Diversey is a ready-to-use heavy duty cleaner that is ideal for removing graffiti and other stains from most alkaline resistant hard surfaces. Its powerful formulation is based on a mix of detergents and solvents that quickly and efficiently removes mineral and vegetable oils. It is also particularly efficient for removing stains such as ink, marker, pencil, lipstick, black heel marks, smoke films, greasy food, and other tenacious marks.

For light soiling Taski Sprint Spitfire is sprayed onto a cloth or sponge and applied to the stained surface. It can be left for a short while and agitated if required before the affected area is simply wiped clean. For tougher stains the product is sprayed directly onto the stained area, scrubbed to speed up the cleaning process and allowed to act before wiping clean.

Taski Sprint Spitfire is supplied ready to use in 750ml spray bottles for convenience. It is easy to apply, does not require rinsing, except on stainless steel surfaces, and dries quickly without leaving streaks or traces. The formulation is freshly fragranced to create a pleasant odour which means it is suitable for public areas and enclosed spaces.

When graffiti is present on sensitive surfaces the Taski Wipeout Sponge from Diversey offers a chemical free cleaning option. This innovative spot cleaning pad removes stains from surfaces using water alone. The specially designed white polymeric foam cleaning pad is soft, gentle and flexible which means it can be used on many surfaces safely without the risk of scouring or scratching.

Taski Wipeout Sponge is especially suitable for cleaning surfaces such as plastics and ceramics where strong chemicals, abrasive materials or scouring powders could cause damage. Potential applications include removal of minor graffiti on buses and trains, clearing accidental permanent marker from whiteboards and cleaning stubborn spots from ceramic cooker hobs. No sprays or cleaners are necessary because the pad is simply rinsed under a tap, squeezed to remove excess moisture and then rubbed gently over the mark to remove the stain quickly and easily. Rinsing with clean water regenerates the pad which can be used again and again until the white foam has worn away. It can then be disposed of safely.


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