Website templates and MS Expression Web resources...

Company History


In 1969, a fellow in Salinas, CA had a business in the then-small town of Salinas, washing shopping carts with a portable pressure washer.   At the time, Salinas had all of perhaps 7 or 8 shopping centers.  As the shopping carts were stored outside the stores each night, he had the accounts to pressure wash them down periodically.    Over time, some of the shopping center managers, realizing he was there at night when all the cars had left, asked him if he would please also hose off their sidewalks, pick up the debri, etc....    For a while he did this by hand, just as a side-track to his main business of pressure washing.  But eventually, it got to be time-consuming enough, that he reasoned "there must be a better way".  So he invested in a golf-cart sized little ride-on sweeper machine.   

In the mid 1970s, upon the man's passing away, his widow gave this fledgling little business away, as payment on a family debt.   As the new owner took over the accounts, he began to expand it more towards the sweeping end, and discontinued the pressure washing aspect.   By the mid 1970s, sweepers (for purposes of shopping center night-time parking lots go) was evolving to be truck-mounted vacuum style, rather than miniature broom ride-on types.  So this owner updated to include several "Belair" brand sweepers.  This greatly increased the speed and efficiency, and he began to add many more shopping centers in the growing county.   Backpack blowers also came into use, and the service of blowing off sidewalks, blowing out corners, etc... was added.   The little broom type sweepers were kept around for whenever heavy rock and dirt sweeper calls came in, but the business was primarily night-time shopping centers.
In 1978, this owner sold the business.   The new owner changed to "Mr. Air" brand sweepers, and kept the primary focus on shopping centers, for the next 8 yrs.   The little golf-cart sized broom sweepers would still go out to do industrial yards, and the occasional call for some construction type cleanup, where dirt and rock was involved (since parking lot vacuum type sweepers are not suited for heavy rock and dirt)
In 1987, this owner in turn sold the business to the current owners.   We continued to do everything the same, but quickly noticed that we would occasionally get calls to do asphalt or construction related work, which our little broom sweepers weren't equipped to handle.  Looking around at what the contractors were hoping to hire, we saw that there was quite a market of demand for large municipal sized sweepers, and not the small ride-on type brooms.   At the time, since we were the only local sweeper company that even had a broom of any size, we saw the frustration of contractors calling for someone to travel in, from out of town, to fulfill these needs.   So in 1989, we took the plunge, and entered in to an arena of which we had absolutely no idea how to fill!   The road was rocky, and we learned the hard way how to maintain them, use them, price them, and the types work they could do, and how to do it, etc.... But within a few years, we got to where we could reliably send them out to jobs.    Along the way, we dabbled into a very exclusive niche of sealcoat preparation (which is very handwork intensive) for awhile.  While we still do that work upon request, we evolved to tend to put our resources more towards asphalt work related sweeping.
By 1997, we began to focus all our energies and resources to just the big sweeper market.  We sold off all our night-time air sweeper routes, and now strictly do the large sweeper market.      
In the mid 1990s, the Operating Engineers union in northern CA, had its sights set on forcing street sweeper companies, who were then working with signatory general contractors, to join the union.  This was done under threat of no longer being able to work for signatory general contractors, unless they joined.   Prior to this time, if there were prevailing wages to be paid, it was paid "cash in-lieu of benefits", and there simply were no union brooms north of southern CA.    So if that pressure had ever been posed to a signatory contractor, he would rightfully say "there is no union brooms to choose from", and therefore could call any other qualified vendor.  
After several years, of pressuring many sweeper companies, the union was able to get a few to "sign on the dotted line", with the promise of un-limited work, at whatever prices/rates that sweeper cared to charge.  In other words, the signatory contractors, under their own "preservation/protection union clauses" would be forced to use the union sweeper that was being pointed out to them, simply because they were union.   It could no longer be shown that "there was no union brooms to choose from".  And no matter how many breakdowns, and how lousy the quality, the signatory contractor would still be forced to use the lesser-able vendor.  While this was far from perfect, it had the ripple effect of causing whomever was in the geographic vicinity of the one union broom, to likewise "sign on the dotted line", to get his market share back.   In a lot of cases, these sweeper companies had merely done primarily prevailing wage work anyhow, so it didn't seem like paying into funds (verses cash in-lieu of benefits), was that painful of a pill to swallow.  And once others sign, they too gets calls to go to the remotest ends of the state, to also fill signatory voids in those areas as well.  Thus the ripple effect continued around the state, with the union clearly "winning". 
We too, if we intended to continue to work for signatory general contractors in this area, were forced to sign, lest we merely see the union refer far away sweepers to come to Salinas.  Often time they could not even perform, nor were near any backup options in the case of breakdowns.   But this made no difference:  the union was adamant that our customers had to call these other sweepers.   We finally had the choice: 1) sign, if we intended to keep this half of our customer base, or 2) don't sign and keep on with the other half of our customer base: the non-union non-signatory work we were doing at the time.   By signing, we risked "pricing ourselves out" of the private market.  But by not signing, we risked loosing some of our biggest customers.   We eventually decided to sign, in the summer of 1999.



Contact Us

Services Offered

 Customer Information


Company History

Copyright A1Sweeping.com 2010 All rights reserved.