How to Start a Pressure Washing Business

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Image of a man Pressure Washing

A Quick Overview of The Pressure Washing Business

Pressure washing, also called power washing, is the process of cleaning surfaces with high-pressure water sprays.

It doesn’t require a lot of technical skill. You can effectively clean concrete, wooden decks, aluminum or vinyl siding on houses, sidewalks, and more.

The high-pressure blast removes mold, gum, dirt and other stains from concrete. It helps wash away fading finishes on wood surfaces and helps keep siding on homes looking new.

Skill Set:
Employee and Job Consideration During The Start-Up Phase or In The Future:
Equipment, Supplies, & Services During Start-up OR In The Future:
  • Pressure washers
  • Hoses
  • Tips for hoses of varying sizes
  • Turbo nozzle for cleaning concrete
  • Surface cleaner
  • X- Jet (nozzle for houses, roofs, and tall structures)
  • Chemicals and soaps
  • 0″ flat surface cleaner
  • Turbo nozzle
  • 24′ Extension Wand
  • 100′ of 3/4″ quality water hose
  • 100′ 4000 PSI Goodyear high-pressure hose
  • 110′ commercial fill hose
  • 12′ to 18′ extension wand for 2nd-story access
  • Gutter cleaning bar
  • 4800 PSI-rated high-performance wand
  • Four-head aluminum water broom
  • 5-gallon concentrate super house washing biodegradable soap
  • 1-gallon Simple Awesome degreaser (great for driveways and walkways)
  • Hammerhead surface cleaner rated at 4800 PSI, poly shroud with dual spinner action; cuts cleaning time by 60%
  • Commercial grade rotating turbo nozzle (great for gum removal and oil spots)
  • Full set of pressure tips
  • Essential office Equipment
Monthly Expenses and Operating Costs To Consider:
Licenses:
Approximate Minimum Startup Cost:

The investment required to start is relatively low, though pressure washers can cost from only a few hundred dollars to as much as twenty thousand. Hoses can also cost from about $50 to $1,000, depending on the type.

It is best to buy the best you can afford when you’re starting. If you have limited startup capital, a smaller, less expensive power washer will be fine. Just keep in mind that it will take you longer to do commercial jobs and you will need to replace it sooner.

Tips & Considerations:
  • Before starting, rent a pressure washer for the weekend, one or borrow one, and pressure wash your own house. Keep in mind that it will be harder for you at this stage because you will not have all the right tools and the experience. (It gets easier.)
  • When you are choosing which pressure washers to purchase, deciding between cold water and hot water pressure washers. You need to consider what you plan to offer in terms of services and you need to consider how much you can spend on cleaners and cleaning chemicals.
  • Hot water is a natural emulsifier, which means it doesn’t need a lot of additional chemical help to get off grime and other stubborn and sticky substances. Hot water and steam’s natural cleaning power will reduce your dependence on cleansing agents, which will save you money.
  • Unlike cold water machines, hot water/steam machines can take care of jobs in cold weather. You can use hot/steam water machines in fleet washing, flat work, environmental cleaning, and house washing. You don’t want to use hot water or steam on wood surfaces, as it will cause the wood fibers to soften and swell.
  • The larger pressure washers will contain more water. If you’re focusing on residences, you may be able to start with a smaller pressure washer.
  • The amount of pressure the washer has is also important. The higher the psi (pounds per square inch), the harder the water will come out of the hose, which will make the work quicker and more effective.
  • If you plan on investing on a pressure washer, make sure you choose a vendor that can provide you with the best technical support available. See to it that the equipment you buy is easy to maintain and that its parts are readily available.
Pros and Cons:

The Pros:

  • A wide variety of surfaces to clean.
  • Cleaning will need to be done on a regular basis, so the potential for repeat clients is good.
  • Large contractors often decline to take small jobs. These are opportunities for you
  • The earning potential can be $40 to $60 an hour.

The Cons:

  • Homeowners can buy their own pressure washers and do it themselves.
  • Zoning restrictions may limit your work hours.
  • Environmental protection laws may regulate your use of chemicals and soaps.
Type of Customers:

Your market can be divided into two groups: commercial and consumer/residential markets. The advantage of servicing the consumer market is that you will only need a fraction of the startup capital you would need to cater to the commercial market. The commercial market may cost you more initially but it also allows you to earn more because the service contracts in this market tend to be larger.

You need to choose your preferred target market. Once you have made up your mind, you can look into the competition in your area.

Revenue:

Commercial and residential pressure washing is a multi-million-dollar industry. Large corporations are hesitant to have their own personnel do the job due to the large overhead cost (staff salary, equipment, training, liability, insurance, etc.). That is why more and more companies hire an outside professional contractor who will do the job faster and for less money. The market for pressure washing is limitless.

While rates can vary according to the region, here are some average rates, during the time of this publication, you may want to check into current rates:

Residential Services

Houses

$100 – $300 flat price
$0.50 – $2.00 per linear foot.
$0.10 – $.20 per sq. ft.

Driveways and Sidewalks

$75 – $200 flat price
$.08 – $.15 per sq. ft.

Roofs

Cedar Shake Roofs – $.60 – $.90 per sq ft.
Composition Roofs – $.10 – $.30 per sq ft.

Mobile Homes

Single Wide – $40 – $55
Double Wide – $50 – $65

Commercial Services
New Construction

Remove Mortar Tags from New Brick – $.18 – $.30 per sq. ft.
Surface cleanup (wand spray down) – $.02 – .03 per sq. ft.

Parking Lots, Sidewalks, and Drive-Thrus

Bank/Restaurant Drive-Thurs – $8 – $30 per lane
Parking Lots, Garage Floors – $.03 – $.20 per sq. ft.
Parking Spaces – $8 – $20 per space

Resources:

Courses:

Pressure Washing Business

Equipment and Supplies:

Higher Power Supplies

Power Washing Full Startup Kit

Forums:

Power Washing Guide Chat

UAMCC

Associations:

United Association of Mobile Contract Cleaners (UAMCC)