To read this WorldSweeper Newsletter in your web browser, click here.
by Ranger Kidwell-Ross, editor
What's There to Say About Power Sweeping?
Through the years I have been asked many times "How do you come up with enough stories every month to fill a power sweeping newsletter, let alone one that wins so many awards?!" The fact is, sometimes I wonder myself what will be in the next month's issue.
In other months, like this one, we end up with more than our seven-story maximum and a non-time sensitive article or two are carried over to following months. In this September issue we ended up with a number of late-breaking stories – mostly generated by the World Sweeping Association – that called out for industry-wide attention.
Although it may seem like we're picking on WalMart this issue, that's not our intent. However, as you'll see, our September issue is somewhat 'WalMart intensive.' These articles will no doubt be of acute interest to our contractor readers. However, our municipal readers – who make up about half of our typical readership – will no doubt have less interest.
The good news for our street sweeping followers, though, is that our October issue will be packed with articles on how sweeping is redefining the way stormwater pollution runoff is being removed. We have a number of articles planned that are designed to 'move the information needle' for that segment of the industry.
For example, we have a commitment from Rachel Sim, Editor of Stormwater Magazine, for an in-depth podcast about the latest power sweeping has to offer her own readership. Plus, Roger Sutherland and I will provide a video presentation for you covering the latest on how street sweeping programs can be designed for maximum water quality benefit and the least amount of citizen pushback. And those two are just for starters.
The power sweeping industry of today is truly a multi-faceted, worldwide industry, one that's finally taking its rightful place as the 'first line of defense' for removing pavement-based pollution. As should be the case, municipal street sweeping departments are increasingly collaborating with their stormwater counterparts to develop combined strategies designed to maximize the benefit to both segments.
At the same time, the essential workers who make up the parking lot sweeping corps are on the front lines every night dealing with an increased level of potentially COVID-19 polluted material, like discarded masks and gloves, while having to deal with the vagaries of third party providers and reduced retail budgets. It's a difficult combination. We're proud to be the only venue to bring you all the latest information from both, month in, month out.
As always, if you have any news of potential interest to the power sweeping community, please let us know. Between this publication, the WorldSweeper.com website, and the World Sweeping Association, we'll be sure to get the information passed along to interested readers.
Executive Director, World Sweeping Association
Member, PAVEMENT Hall of Fame
PS Isn't it exciting that, as you will read in our lead article, Trombia is unveiling a sweeper that is both autonomous and electric? Now that's big news!
September Newsletter Contents
(Scroll down to read stories or click on links below.)
- Trombia Sweepers to Unveil "World's First Fully Autonomous and Emission-Free High-Powered Street Cleaning Technology"
- ASTM Considering New Stormwater Committee
- Payment Issues with KBS/National Maintenance Systems
- Selling Your Contracting Company When WalMart is a Significant Client
- Why My Business Improved After Quitting WalMart
- WalMart Testing Half-Time Day Portering
- Not Exactly Sweeping: NASCAR Driver Piles Into Track Sweeper
Trombia Sweepers to Unveil "World's First Fully Autonomous and Emission-Free High-Powered Street Cleaning Technology"
Trombia Technologies, the parent company of Trombia Sweepers, has developed a street cleaning technology that decreases the power consumption of high-power street dust and debris cleaning to only 15% of the currently available technologies. This unlocks, says company CEO, Antti Nikkanen, the potential for mass-electrification of heavy street cleaning equipment.
"This the first time in the world heavy equipment sector that a diesel-fueled heavy equipment vehicle is electrified without compromising the power and performance capabilities," said Nikkanen. "This is also the world's first high performance street cleaning device that is built to be operated fully autonomous in all-weather conditions in the modern smart cities and industrial destinations."
The online launch will air on the company's website platform as well as on the company's social media platforms. The timing for watching the launch as it occurs is very early for those in the U.S.: 6am, Eastern on September 29th. However, all of the information will be posted online for on-demand viewing after the launch. And, WorldSweeper's October newsletter will offer an in-depth look at this new sweeper. Our planned coverage will include an exclusive audio podcast interview with Antti Nikkanen, Trombia's CEO.
Take a look at the details.
ASTM Considering New Stormwater Committee
The American Society for Testing of Materials (ASTM) is hosting a public meeting/call on Oct 1 from 9am-3pm (EDT). This meeting/call is referred to as an "Organizational Meeting" and the goal of the event is to decide on the formation of a new group within ASTM to develop testing standards and similar products for stormwater products and practices.
WorldSweeper encourages those invested in sweeping as a leading stormwater abatement method to attend this and any subsequent meetings in order to ensure street sweeping has an appropriate inclusion in the mix of ways to reduce stormwater pollution.
Take a look at the notice and get involved.
Payment Issues with KBS/National Maintenance Systems
A member of the World Sweeping Association reports trouble getting paid with Kellermeyer Bergensons Services (KBS). That company's National Maintenance Division has repeatedly promised to pay the contractor for sweeping done at a Lowe's location – but they've only received one check since starting to sweep for KBS in March of this year. That check, sent early last May, was sent only when the contractor told KBS they would be quitting sweeping. That means KBS is currently at 120+ days of sweeping Lowe's with no payment. Not surprisingly, the contractor recently quit sweeping due to non-payment. BTW, the owner said they are also familiar with another contractor in their area who is in a similar situation.
As is done for WSA Members, the organization 'went to bat' for the contractor in terms of investigating how to get them paid. The link below includes the timeline and email exchanges between WSA and KBS. In the meantime, be advised that if the KBS/NM organization has fallen behind in payments to your company you may want to stay on top of the situation. And, if you are not already a member of WSA – the sweeping association that keeps contractors up-to-date with industry issues twice every month – it's a great time to support these kinds of efforts and join today!
Check out the information.
Selling Your Contracting Company When WalMart is a Significant Client
Recently a seasoned business owner tried to purchase a power sweeping company. He was incentified by a COVID-related, low-interest loan program the SBA was offering so the pursuit was somewhat time-sensitive. Unfortunately, the buyer and seller were ultimately not able to come to an agreement.
Although the primary reason for that included several factors, the most major was that a significant amount of the sweeping company's business was sweeping WalMart lots. WalMart's Master Service Agreement includes language that gives WalMart the sole discretion to decide whether or not to allow a new owner, one who has acquired 50% or more of a vendor company, to keep the current contract.
The article, provided by WSA to non-members until October 15th as an industry courtesy, includes a 25-minute audio interview with the potential buyer. A variety of advice is offered, from packaging a company for sale, to a potential workaround for WalMart-centric companies that work through third party vendors, to what bankers want to see prior to finalizing a loan.
Take a look and a listen.
Why My Business Improved After Quitting WalMart
Mike Oetting, owner of Indiana-based Summit Sweeping, has been a sweeping contractor for 28 years. During that time he has had plenty of experience sweeping for WalMart. In light of some of the difficulties that have been reported about working within the WalMart system, Oetting took the time to provide us with his personal/company reasoning for no longer sweeping for America's largest retailer.
Although this may not mirror the experience of everyone who sweeps for the company, it's a heartfelt rendition of Oetting's own experiences in doing so. Oetting wrote the following as a letter sent to Ranger Kidwell-Ross, Editor of WorldSweeper, in his 'other hat position' as Director of the World Sweeping Association.
Read what Mike has to say on the topic.
WalMart Testing Half-Time Day Portering
The World Sweeping Association reports that the Jacksonville, FL, location of third party provider, City FM, has picked up 156 stores located in AL, FL and GA. The company put out to open bid (to WalMart authorized sweeping vendors) a re-bid that cuts sweeping in half, with day portering on the non-sweeping days. Apparently, this is a trial to see how the new method will work with the idea of moving the system to other WalMart locations if it does.
The reporting contractor said that if they are fortunate enough to retain their contracts, under the proposed half-time porter proposal they'll be losing about $1500/week. And, they are clear they do not believe the parking lots can be cleaned correctly under this system. If you have info on this topic to add please let us know. (If you are a member of WSA then you have already been notified of the above information. Why not join WSA today?)
NASCAR Driver Piles Into Track Sweeper
Although many NASCAR races have wrecks that often occur, few attendees or television viewers would expect the accident that happened in late July in Iowa at the U.S. Cellular 250. It was late in the race when Dillon Bassett came around the infield area to take a pit stop and failed to navigate around the track's sweeper.
Check out the link shown below to see the accident as it occurs. No doubt the sweeper operator was as surprised as Bassett – and everyone else watching the incident take place!
Take a look.