Newspaper - Hunterdon Marketplace - August 18, 1999

What's worse than a constant busy signal? Probably calls that are never returned. And most people have indeed experienced the frustration of trying and failing to get a contractor to return their calls for estimates.

Alex Patullo, owner of A. Patullo Power Wash Inc. in Hampton, considers his business a solution. "In the constant aggravation of dealing with contractors, we bring you a breath of fresh air," he said. "We take pride in always returning calls, and you'll never get a busy signal."

Among other services, A. Patullo Power Wash Inc. can remove years of environmental pollutants mildew and dirt from homes, decks, commercial buildings, tennis courts, fences, pools, roofs, awnings, garages, concrete stoops, walkways, patios, basements, floors and asphalt.

"We will power wash anything," commented Patullo. "Mostly, we get calls to power wash homes and decks. Power washing can improve the look of your home and protect it as well. Regular cleanings improve paint life and remove mildew and mold spores that cause allergies."

Patullo guarantees his customers 100 percent satisfaction on all work performed, the use of professional equipment, professional employee conduct at all times, jobs that are fully insured and 10 years experience in the power washing industry.

"We put our service before being paid," Patullo explained. "In other words, we're always putting our work before asking for final payment. 100 percent satisfaction is what we strive for. We call you back, we show up to do the job when we say we will and we have very good customer service. We want your business again and we get it."

Oddly enough, Patullo has something with a 19th century English writer, art critic and economic reformer, John Ruskin, who eloquently wrote, "It is unwise to pay too much, but it is worse to pay too little. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot - it cannot be done."

Patullo quotes more of Ruskin on the back of his brochure. "John Ruskin is essentially saying that you get the quality that you pay for," explained Patullo. "We don't believe in shorting the customer, but we do believe in giving quality service. A customer must expect to pay a little more for a fully insured job by professionals."

Patullo is assuredly proud of the business that he started 11 years ago. "I am self-taught in this industry. We've got 20 years combined experience in this field," he commented. "My employees have been trained by myself in customer service, professionalism and skills in power washing."

Patullo started very early in the home maintenance industry: "I started at age 12 lawn mowing other people's properties. Then I started trimming bushes and trees and got into landscaping. I started an estate maintenance company that would take care of both the grounds and the home. It got to be a bit too much so we decided to specialize in power washing."

What exactly does power washing a home entail? First, a section of siding is rinsed with hot water. Then biodegradable chemicals are used to eliminate mold, mildew and algae. Then soap is applied and allowed to soak in. Next, another hot water rinse is used on the same section of siding to insure a clean as well as sanitary job. Most types of siding can be cleaned, including vinyl, wood, stucco/drivit, stone, aluminum, brick, concrete and masonite.

"Hot water is key. You don't wash your hands or shower with cold water," said Patullo, "so why would you do the same for your house?"

Patullo acknowledges that a drought does not help business, but he and his staff have been working to overcome the dry spell. "We've taken into account the drought problem," he commented. "We've bought a tank to transport water from not-so-dry areas to areas that need to conserve water. There will be no extra charge to our customers. We just want to accommodate customers so we just have to do our best with the weather conditions."

Among other services, A. Patullo Power Wash Inc. does wood and deck restoration, specializing in brick and stucco cleaning, interior and exterior painting, graffiti removal and protection, concrete and brick sealing, garage floor sealing and snow plowing.

Many people may not be aware that the damaging effects of weather on unprotected wood start immediately.

All types of precipitation are absorbed into the unprotected wood, causing it to swell and soften. The suns heat causes drying which makes the wood shrink. These wet-dry cycles that cause swelling and shrinking make wood warp, split and crack. Thus, wood has a shorter life span and you may have to make expensive repairs or replacement.

Patullo offers specialized wood restoration services. The deck is first cleaned to remove dead wood cells and all mold and mildew.

The detergent used is biodegradable, non-corrosive to metals and will not harm plants. After the deck has properly dried out, usually within a few days, the staff returns to apply a wood protectant. Patullo also offers free spot sanding of any rough surfaces on decks as well as free two-year inspections. "We want our customers to be informed," said Patullo. "We always call back and will address all concerns.