If you think pressure washing can’t make you money or that it’s for low-income earners, then consider the difference in other professions. You can hire a kid to mow your lawn for $10, and you can hire a landscaper to develop your garden and lawn area for much more. It all depends on what the offer is and level of skill. Anyone can hose something down, it takes a professional with the right equipment to make something look new again.
A well-developed and professionally run pressure washing business can be very lucrative. You can run it as a side hustle on the weekends or look to turn it into your primary career going forward.
Whatever the case, you’ll need some concrete steps to get started, so we’re here to show you how to start a pressure washing business.
Start by researching your local area to see what other pressure washing businesses are available and their rates. If your local area is saturated with low-rate pressure washing businesses, you’ll need to consider who their customers are.
There is consumer pressure washing, commercial, and industrial pressure washing. So if all of your competition is part-timers or people only providing consumer work, you have an area you can work in.
It’s essential for any business to build a business plan; this will allow you to plan and account for everything before starting your business.
Your initial business plan is how your business will be started, managed, and grown to be successful. You want to consider everything required, including costs, services you’ll provide, prices, your marketing plan, who will be involved, and their responsibilities.
While you may not think it’s important for a pressure washing business, it allows you to layout the business and makes sure you’ve thought of everything, and even that, it’s a viable business to start for you.
If you need help building a business plan, take a look here: Write Your Business Plan.
As part of your business plan, you need to consider how you’ll get work as a pressure washing business. So let’s discuss how you can do that because it may not be apparent.
Everybody is turning to Google to search for services when they need something new. So having a website optimized for pressure washing and your local area will be crucial to be the first option potential customers see in their search results.
You can hire a professional web developer with SEO skills or use a service like Wix.com, where you can create your website without any experience needed.
Create a social media presence on bigger platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Tiktok.
You may not think you have anything to post, but consider putting up some of the dirtier or more interesting jobs that you do. As strange as it sounds, people love seeing pressure washing videos that go from extremely dirty to clean.
It’s free and may bring in customers for you.
Paid Google ads are a reasonably cost-effective way to get yourself to the top of the google results, so potential customers find you easily.
Advertisements on industry or farming magazines or newspapers may be good to bring in the commercial or farming business.
Cold call or cold visit businesses that you think could benefit from your services. Please have a good marketing pitch ready to discuss or provide to them.
Sometimes customers don’t think to get pressure washing done, so giving them an active reminder could bring in business for you.
Discuss with any customers you work for if they’d like ongoing help to pressure wash their home, business, or anything else. For example, you can discuss a contracted rate, where you come once a month and get the job done for them.
You may want to offer better rates or other incentives to onboard them to your company.
Having a steady supply of customer work can be the difference between a side hustle and a full-time business for you.
It would help if you had professional-grade equipment when running a business. Please don’t show up to customer sites with low-quality pressure washing equipment. This approach will not give you a professional appearance, and you may have quality and time issues.
Professional equipment will be faster, perform a better cleaning job, and handle being used for long periods.
Consumer-grade equipment is much cheaper because it’s generally not used for long periods or heavy-duty jobs. So you’re likely to get a slower and poorer result with equipment that may break down.
An average cost for a commercial pressure washer is around $1,000 to - $3,000 and can certainly go higher if you’re looking at industrial pressure washers.
If this isn’t in your price range, then you have two options:
1. Find a used commercial pressure washer on craigslist or eBay.
2. Use a consumer-grade washer, which can cost you $100 - $1,000.
You’re going to need a work truck or van to carry your equipment and get you to job sites. A car generally won’t be big enough and certainly isn’t professional. If you already have a personal truck or pickup that you can use, then go for it.
The vehicle cost depends on what you get or if it’s new or second-hand. You could get something for as low as $5,000 or much higher. Just ensure that the vehicle is going to run without issue.
You’ll also need to get insurance for a commercially used vehicle; your personal auto insurance won’t cover you if you use it for a business. This could cost around $900 - $1,200 per year.
Most businesses will have a water supply for you to use, so you don’t need a water tank in most situations for the water supply. However, water tanks can help with pressure and supply when the tap from the business is performing poorly. A 100-gallon water tank could set you back as little as $100.
If you don’t have a tank, you will need to ensure each job has access to a water supply and turn down any jobs that can’t provide this. So for the cost of $100, you’re missing out on some jobs.
You will need long hoses and some additional nozzles for a commercial operation. The distance from the tap to where you need to clean could be substantial, so if you turn up and can’t reach the water supply, then you’re wasting time and may even lose the job.
A set of hoses and some nozzles could set you back $100 or more.
Total potential costs just for the pressure washing side of the business could be as low as:
Pressure Washer: $1,000
Auto Insurance: $900 / year
Water Tank: $100
Nozzles and Hoses: $100
A key component to any business is understanding what to charge; this can be somewhat determined by the competition you found in your initial market research. However, there are some points to consider when setting your price.
You can provide custom quotes to customers based on pressure washed, how much area, and how long it will take you. Custom quotes are a good option when dealing with businesses or long-term customers.
Many customers calling or looking at your website want a quick quote, which can be challenging to do on the fly, and if the customer is waiting, they may move on. So providing set fees for different things can be a better option for new customers.
You can provide a simple cost for the time of your services, though many new customers don’t want this type of pricing because they’re worried you will go slow to increase your profit.
It can be an excellent option for any long-term customers or businesses looking to book you for an entire day.
$50 - $150 per hour of pressure washing.
This can be a reasonable way to assess cost with anybody who knows the specific area they want to be washed. It’s also much fairer to you as a business.
Common areas: $0.50 per square foot.
Higher risk areas: $0.70 per square foot.
Providing set costs for specific things allows customers to compare you against other businesses, or even if your service is just not in their budget. Many customers don’t know the square foot of things like their driveway or house.
While this is an easy option, it can be unfair to you if you end up working on a large house, large driveway, or the time to do it all is just too high.
$100 to pressure wash a patio.
$150 to pressure wash a driveway.
$250 to pressure wash the outside of a house.
If the costs and the benefits of this type of business appeal to you, get started with some market research to see if it’s a viable business for you in your local area.
With a small initial investment, you can start building a real business that has the potential to earn a lot of money.