It is fair to say that when Alex Parks began Parks’ Housewashing service in 1983, he had an open mind about starting a business: he would have tried anything that sounded good to him. And he was willing to move from Meridian, MS to the coast to make his business work.
Parks who had been in retail sales for about 10 years, had been on the lookout for a business venture. He had put the word among his friends and family that he was in the market to strike out on his own in any type of business he believed he could make successful.
“My brother-in-law in Pensacola had this guy come out and wash his house, and he was really impressed with it, ” said Parks. “So he called me and said, ‘ You should come down here and look this guy up.’”
Parks did just that, and he discovered that the house washer in Pensacola custom-modified the trucks used in the business and was willing to customize a truck for Parks.
“I was originally going to do this (business) up in Meridian,” said Parks. “Come to find out, there wasn’t enough of a mildew problem in Meridian. You need to be in a coastal area with saltwater to get more mildew.”
At this point, Parks had already bought his customized housewashing truck and had no intention of giving up so easily.
“So my wife and I decided to sell our new house in Meridian and move to Gulfport,” he said. “I had checked it out down here, and ther wasn’t anybody doing it (housewashing).”
Even though he saw the Coast as an open market for his housewashing service, Parks remembers coming to the Coast as “taking such a big chance.” He and his wife both quit their jobs in Meridian to make the move. They had a young daughter, and after they’d left their jobs, said Parks, “My wife found out she was pregnant.”
But were undeterred. Parks started an advertising campaign soon after arriving on the Coast and, he said “Business just really took off. I had one little truck, and I was just running around like crazy.”
He was a one-man operation in those days and spent his time not only performing his business’s services but also educating people about what housewashing is.
“I’d have people call me and say, “How do you get the water out of the house?’ They thought we brought a hose in and just washed the walls, ceilings, and everything,” said Parks. ” So we ran ads to educate them.”
“Now, Ive got competitors out there, and people know what housewashing is, but I had to introduce it,” he said. Though it was a difficult task at first, he is proud of having been successful at starting such an unknown business.
Parks Housewashing in the beginning days was 95% residential. However, today Parks’ washes condominiums, apartments, and storefronts along the coast. Parks is also a goverment contractor and washes base housing as well.
Parks’ Housewashing can clean not only the exteriors of buildings but also patios, decks, fences, driveways, windows, and much more. Parks’ is now operating 3 trucks which he has customized himself, improving on the original truck he bought. “I started out with a huge truck and sized it down. It’s more fuel-efficient and is an improvement on the whole system,” he said. “I build my own equipment from the ground up. I order the engines in and the pumps in.” He said this makes it easier to fix proken parts and to replace things when they need replacing. And he is able to replace most broken parts with parts he buys locally, he said. He has 5 employees as opposed to just himself 29 years ago.
“We’ve got everybody on computer who we’ve ever serviced which is close to 30,000 jobs,” said Parks. “And they call me up (for repeat business).”
Without a doubt, even through the tough economy, the business has grown. I consider myself blessed. I also thank each and every customer that has supported this business and has helped make it what it is today.
Principles of our work
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