Building a business with pressure: Plamp builds budding washing business, helping farmers clean machinery
As a farmer his whole life, Cody Plamp knows how challenging and inconvenient it can be to thoroughly clean agriculture equipment.
When combines and tractors are out in the fields during harvest and planting season, they tend to get coated with plenty of dirt and mud. Rather than farmers having to stop what they are doing and take their large combines and tractors into town to get them cleaned well, Plamp brings his business to the farm. That was the genesis for his business, CP Pressure Washing, based in Mitchell.
“Growing up on the farm, I’ve always liked to keep my equipment clean. It helps them run more efficiently, and I started noticing how there was a need for mobile washing, because combines and tractors aren’t easy to drive down to wash bays that are usually in town,” Plamp said. “We can go right out to the field, so they don’t have to move at all. We also get really busy during postharvest and postplanting.”
Plamp uses two portable pressure-washing machines attached next to each other that he can transport into crop fields with his truck and trailer. Plamp knows time is a commodity, especially in the midst of fall harvest season. Cutting down on interruptions in such a crucial time to clean farming equipment and keep it functioning at its best is what Plamp has strived to achieve with his business.
“When you are rushing and working hard to finish harvest or planting, it can be a real setback having to stop where you’re at and drive into town,” he said. “The last thing I want to do after working a full day is to go through all of the work it takes to clean the combines and tractors.”
The two mobile pressure wash machines consist of cold and hot water that is pressurized and powered by a portable engine. According to Plamp, the warm water machine is typically used on most of the equipment and machinery he cleans, as it helps loosen heavy patches of dirt that typically dries up and crusts onto surfaces. However, Plamp said some equipment may be extremely hot after being driven for several consecutive hours in the fields. Therefore, the cold water pressure wash machine is sometimes used to create a cool-down effect, while removing dirt and mud.
“The 200-degree water can take the dirt and grease off the combines and tractors,” Plamp said. “We also can do interior detail work as well, but most customers are looking for exterior work.”
It’s been just over a year since Plamp started CP Pressure Washing, but he has found a niche. C&B Operations, in Mitchell, is one of those customers Plamp has been serving over the past several months.
The local John Deere dealer has utilized Plamp’s pressure-washing business when an equipment trade-in takes place, which usually entails a farmer trading in used agriculture equipment. Cory Thelen, manager of C&B Operations, in Mitchell, said the type of deep cleaning Plamp provides is a major benefit.
“He does a great job, and customers are able to get their equipment in good condition when he washes everything,” Thelen said of Plamp. “It’s always nice when he sends us photos of his progress as well, and we can always rely on him when we need things cleaned up.”
As the 27-year-old has been busy holding down a full-time agronomy sales position with Central Farmers Co-Op, finding enough time to keep up with the business growth he’s experienced is perhaps Plamp’s biggest challenge. To keep up with the demand and growth, Plamp knew he needed more help, prompting the hire of two full-time employees based out of the Sioux Falls area.
“Between agronomy sales all around the area, and farming and ranching with my brother, I had to work hard to get this business up and running. I take a lot of pride in keeping this business moving forward and succeeding, but I am very fortunate to have some of the best employees to make it all possible,” Plamp said.
Excluding his truck, the overhead costs for the equipment was around $10,000. Plamp said he charges by the hour rather than breaking it down to square footage of surfaces that need to be cleaned.
While the first few customers he took on were primarily farmers in need of equipment and machinery washes, Plamp has broadened his clientele rather quickly. As of recent, Plamp has noticed how dirty cattle barns, grain bins and residential decks tend to be. Now, he’s pressure washing the interior walls and exterior sides of large commercial buildings ranging from Cabela’s to cattle facilities, taking breaks from cleaning farm equipment in the fields. Plamp’s latest addition has been pressure washing concrete for masonry companies.
Although he continues expanding his services and growing his business, Plamp credits his deep farming roots for helping it all come together.
“Being a part of the farming community pretty much my entire life has helped me build a lot of connections and relationships with people in the industry. I’m really proud of how far the business has come, and the things I’ve learned while farming has helped me along the way,” he said.