Thimble: Can you tell me a bit about how you got into the pressure washing business?
Maite Montagut: I’ve started a few other businesses in the past. The most recent one involved buying new and used clothing in bulk and reselling it online.
Jose and I actually started the pressure washing business not long ago—about three weeks! So the business is brand new. We do pressure washing of building exteriors and sidewalks.
We still work fulltime. Jose does detailing at Chevrolet. We also have a two-year-old daughter, so we’re very busy! We started the business on the side with the hope that once we get it going, Jose will be able to quit his job and do this fulltime.
T: Why did you decide to pursue the pressure washing business instead of what you’re doing currently for fulltime work?
MM: We wanted to have our own business and be our own bosses. Jose already has experience with pressure washing and likes doing it, so we thought, why not? Let’s try it.
T: How’s it going so far?
MM: We already have our first contract. Jose is pressure washing the cars at a Cadillac dealership. Little by little, we’re going to build up our customer base. But I wanted to have all of our paperwork in order first.
T: Aside from getting insurance, what were the steps you had to take to get the business off the ground?
MM: There was a lot to take care of. It was the first time we ever did it, and I had no help, so I had to Google everything!
First, We had to go to the county to get our sales tax certificate. When I went to the county, they told me that we had to file a fictitious name with the state of Florida, and then we had to have the name published in the newspaper. So I had to contact the local newspaper and ask them to include us in their business directory. Once I had the receipt notarized, I was able to get the fictitious name, register, and go to the county to get the paperwork. And then, finally, I had to find small business insurance, which took me a few days.
T: Why the hold up?
MM: There were some companies that wouldn’t give me a price. They would tell me, “oh, someone will contact you.” But I needed coverage right then; I didn’t want to wait weeks on end. We couldn’t start working without insurance: even Cadillac told us we had to have insurance before we could start our contract.
T: How did you find Thimble?
MM: A friend who started a landscaping business not long ago was looking for insurance, and they told me to check Thimble out. The process was really quick and easy, and the app experience was refreshingly different from other old school interfaces. You can literally get insurance in two minutes. I took out a three-month policy to start just to see how it goes with the business, and then I’m sure we’ll take out a longer policy.
Most of the other insurance companies I looked at wanted me to pay for a full year, and it was way more expensive. I didn’t want to pay for a full year in case I don’t end up running the business for that long. With Thimble I was able to just pay for the first few months, and then I can renew in January if everything’s going well with the business.
T: Any particularly valuable advice you’ve received about getting a new business off the ground?
MM: It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it. If you are consistent and put in long hours at the beginning, it will pay off.
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Driven by a desire to be their own bosses, Sarasota couple Jose Aguilar and Maite Montagut get their feet wet in the pressure washing business.