A conversation with Pristine Clean's Ken Wilson

Ken By Truck
Pristine Clean founder Ken Wilson lives in North Ridgeville with his wife and five kids.

By Mimi Vanderhaven

Mimi’s readers have been seeing Pristine Clean in our pages for several years now, discussing the importance of maintaining your home with regular power washing services. But we wanted to get to know founder Ken Wilson a little better. Mimi sat down with the successful entrepreneur last week to find out more about the man behind this pristine brand:

Mimi: Hi, Ken. First, tell us how you got into the power washing business?
Ken: I’ve been in home maintenance my entire career. Back in 2001, when I was 19 years old, a buddy and I were looking for beer money, so one fall afternoon we went door to door in North Olmsted neighborhoods asking people if we could clean their gutters. Almost everyone said “yes,” and we quickly learned that if we did good work and were reliable, people would call us back and refer us to friends. The gutter company grew from there, then we saw a need for reliable power washing and Pristine Clean was born in 2008.

Mimi: Was there learning curve with power washing?
Ken: Absolutely. I damaged the first house I ever washed because I wasn’t properly trained. That early experience helped create a company value we have today: the importance of training. We give our new technicians classroom training before the season starts, then they apprentice with our seasoned veterans. Power washing can be dangerous. Doing it right and safely is essential.

Mimi: From what I’ve seen in our magazine and in your Google reviews, you seem obsessed with customer service. That’s not always the case in the home improvement industry. What’s behind that dedication?
Ken: My faith and my personal values require that we treat people with fairness, dignity and respect. When we first started Pristine Clean, we wanted to establish a strong reputation in the community by providing the best customer experience around. That’s how you sleep at night, and that’s how you earn repeat customers. We also wanted to create a stable and secure workplace so we could provide good jobs for our community. We’re very community-minded.

Mimi: Tell us more about your community involvement.
Ken: Well, I’m married with five kids aged 4 to 16. Three boys and two girls. So right now we’re heavily involved in youth sports. I coach football, baseball and lacrosse, mostly in North Ridgeville where our home is. In fact, a group of friends and I created the Northern Ohio Youth Football League, which is 11-on-11 helmeted flag football. That means the kids have the real football experience, but it’s a lot safer.

I also volunteer at my church. I teach theology and apologetics to fifth- and sixth-graders. Apologetics is not what it sounds like. It’s the ability to craft well-reasoned arguments to defend your beliefs. It develops good decision-making skills. I’m also on the charter review committee for the city. I want to help build a better community that attracts good businesses.

Mimi: Why are sports so important to you?
Ken: A couple of reasons. It’s important to my kids right now and it’s important to me to be a big part of their lives. Second, group sports teaches sportsmanship, which includes many of the same values we have at Pristine Clean, including fairness, accountability and teamwork.

Mimi: Speaking of fairness, tell us about your company’s pricing strategy. We understand it’s different from a lot of other companies.
The home maintenance industry isn’t like other industries where there is a listed price. It isn’t like Target or Amazon. We have to look at a job and quote it, so there is a temptation among less reputable companies to quote an extremely high price and hope the homeowner doesn’t know any better. This is especially true when salespeople work mostly on commission. This practice really makes by blood boil because it’s often the most vulnerable who are taken advantage of. At Pristine, we have a flat rate per square foot and that’s what we charge everybody.

Mimi: So what is Pristine Clean’s big focus right now?
Ken: At the macro level, we remain focused on managing our growth, which has been significant. We keep investing in new trucks and leading-edge equipment so our customers don’t have to wait for service. On the more micro level, we’re still cleaning lots of grime, mold and mildew from siding and roofs, but we’re about to move into fall—the season of concrete washing and sealing. With Northeast Ohio’s harsh winters, it’s important to clean and seal your driveway regularly to avoid cracking and flaking.

Mimi: And you have a special discount going on right now?
Ken: That’s right. It’s the biggest discount we’ve offered—20% off through August 31. Right now people are worried about the economy and their personal finances so we want to make it easier for homeowners to take proper care of their homes.

Mimi: Finally, any advice for our readers?
Ken: For sure. If anyone asks to power wash your home, make sure they are well trained and insured. Even soft-wash systems in the wrong hands can damage your home and property. It really is a task best left to professionals.

Headquartered in Berea, Pristine Clean beautifies and sanitizes homes throughout Northeast Ohio. They are highly rated on Google, Facebook, and HomeAdvisor, and are rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau. Call 440-595-3958 to arrange for a free estimate, or visit PristineClean.com. All technicians are bonded, insured and certified by the Power Washers of North America.