Conversation with Craig MacPhee

President, Big Mac’s, Custom Pressure Washing

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Why would someone want their wind turbines washed?

For one thing, when you’re erecting turbines in somebody’s back yard, they want them to look nice, so it really helps in terms of your relationship with the community. People can get touchy about how these windmills look, and they might not say anything when they’re clean, but they’re sure to notice when they’re dirty. But there are more important reasons, including improved aerodynamics of the rotors. These things have usually been shipped from overseas, spending months on the ocean, so they’re covered with salt spray and even rust that’s dripped off of the steel cages that contain them in transit, and they’ll be streaked with grease from the dock cranes, too. Some trucking companies will tape lights to them during shipping, and dust and grime will accumulate on the adhesive that’s left behind once the tape is removed. And all of that’s just on the outside.

We do a thorough external and internal cleaning before the tower is erected, and you’d be surprised by how much dirt can accumulate inside while they’re laying on the ground at the site. There can be just one little slit in the tarp that covers them, and since these farms are found in extremely windy areas, the tower will fill up with dirt in no time. We’ve found tires inside of them, trees, and a foot of mud once. We’ve yet to come across anything we can’t clean up, or off. We clean everything inside and outside before the windmills go up — including debris around the job site — and then we offer an interior maintenance program where we’ll go back and do any cleaning that’s necessary post erection. The way we approach it is that, if we’d just bought a four-million-dollar car, we’d want it to be delivered clean.

What other services do you provide?

One thing we’ll do that others don’t usually offer is touch-up painting. This saves the contractors from having to hire somebody else for that. We also take care of punch-list completion items. We’ll go in and complete their checklist, making sure that all the ladder bolts have been properly tightened, tensioned, and torqued, for instance, and then we’ll mark them as proof that the work has been done. So between the cleaning, painting, and punch-list work, we can handle quite a few different functions all at once, which increases efficiency.

Our team is made up of people from a wide variety of different backgrounds, such as construction management, shipping and receiving, and quality control, so we have an understanding of what our customers are looking for. We know that you just can’t keep ironworkers and crane operators idle because that’s costing you a ton of money. Sometimes people will go out and hire a local pressure washer who doesn’t have experience cleaning wind turbines.

On paper it looks like you’re saving money, but it’s exponentially more expensive than working with us because they will take four times as long. Plus we’re trained to operate equipment such as aerial lifts, which they would have no reason to know how to do, so you’re paying for them to learn how to use the equipment on the job. We know how important it is for our work to be done, and for the turbine and components to be cleaned and ready to fly by the time the ironworkers arrive. You won’t have to wait on us.

What about safety? Are you insured?

Safety is of the utmost importance on every wind farm, and I put the safety of my men and others first no matter what. Everyone on our team is trained and certified in first-aid and CPR, and we use the very best safety equipment available. We have a strict safety program, and we stick to it. We also carry a two million-dollar liability policy, and workman’s comp, which you won’t find with a local pressure washer company. We specialize in wind turbines and are insured accordingly. No matter where the job is located we’re going to approach it professionally and with an inside understanding of what the customer needs. Even though some of these might seem like small points, wind-energy professionals in the field know they all matter, and that’s why we get so much return business and so many referrals. Having repeat customers really is the best endorsement you can have.

For more information: Call (989) 550-2197, e-mail info@bigmacwind.com, or go to www.bigmacwind.com