Nearly anyone can start a pressure washing business. It requires no special certifications, skills, or permits. You can start it with minimal supplies, making it a lucrative full-time operation or a profitable side hustle. According to industry statistics, the average pressure washing job costs between $200 and $400. With two jobs per day charging $250 each, you could earn $130,000 annually with plenty of time off to enjoy your earnings.
This guide will walk you through how to start a pressure-washing business. Whether you’re new to the industry or looking to transition from employee to business owner, get ready to turn your passion for cleanliness into a profitable enterprise!
What Is A Pressure Washing Business?
A pressure washing business uses high-pressure water to clean surfaces such as residential homes, commercial buildings, decks, porches, fences, driveways, and walkways. The process uses pressurized cool water to clean the surfaces. In some cases, power washing may be necessary, which utilizes pressurized hot water to remove tough stains, moss, and mold.
The clients of a pressure washing business can range from individual homeowners to commercial establishments. In either case, building positive customer working relationships is essential for maintaining loyalty. The main goal of a pressure washing business is to provide efficient and effective cleaning services to clients while maintaining professionalism and high-quality standards.
How Much Does It Cost to Start A Pressure Washing Business
Like any other business, startup costs for pressure washing businesses vary from place to place. Generally, you should expect to spend around $2000 to $5000. It includes
- Business registration and licensing costs: $100 to $400
- Business insurance costs: $750 to $1200
- Pressure washing CRM software: $400
- Pressure washing equipment costs: $600 to $2500+
- Uniform and safety gear: $50 to $150
- Website and marketing costs: $200
You’ll also need a truck to haul equipment and crew to the site. So. If you don’t have a truck already, add an extra $10K to $30K to these costs. Fuel costs, vehicle insurance, etc., can also take up some part of your budget.
How To Start A Pressure Washing Business Step By Step
Let’s look at the step-by-step process to start your pressure washing business.
Step 1: Learn How to Pressure Wash
Sure, you don’t need special certifications for this job. But you need the necessary skills and knowledge to provide quality pressure washing services.
Otherwise, you may risk causing damage to your client’s property due to the intense water pressure involved.
Fortunately, plenty of free resources on YouTube offer tutorials on pressure cleaning. Practice on your own home and driveway to sharpen your skills. To gain extra experience, consider offering free pressure washing services to friends and neighbors.
However, be transparent about your learning stage and potential risks.
Another option is to work for an established pressure-washing business to learn from experienced professionals before branching out independently. This way, you’ll acquire the necessary skills and confidence to start and grow your successful pressure-washing business.
Step 2: Write Your Business Plan
To start a pressure washing company, you’ve to write a business plan outlining important details, such as the services you’ll offer and the rates you’ll charge. For instance, Residential pressure washing services can have the following cleaning types::
- Sidewalks and driveways cleaning
- Roof, floor, and gutter cleaning
- Windows cleaning
- Siding, fence, and concrete cleaning
- Decks and patio cleaning
- Outdoor furniture and garbage bin cleaning
- Car and Vehicle cleaning
If you’re going for a commercial pressure washing service, it can include the following:
- Grease traps cleaning
- Graffiti removal and wall cleaning
- Heavy machinery cleaning
- Commercial vehicles washing
- Post-construction cleaning
- Road or street cleaning
Pro Tip: Limit your services initially. Focus only on the ones you excel at. It will help you narrow the equipment list, reduce startup costs and build a reputation faster.
The U.S. Small Business Administration provides several templates to help you create a business plan. Usually, a typical pressure washing business plan includes a summary, a mission statement, a company description, market research, business structure information, the services you’ll offer, a marketing plan, financial projections, and any funding or employment plans.
Step 3: Establish Your Business Structure
Next, you must choose a business structure and file the necessary paperwork to offer services legally in your area. There are three options to choose from:
- Individual or Sole proprietorship,
- Limited Liability Company or LLC, or
- S or C corporation
A sole proprietorship uses your Social Security number with a DBA name, but this structure can lead to personal liability. It’s recommended to choose an LLC or corporation to limit personal liability.
To establish your business entity, you’ll need to conduct a name search with the secretary of state’s office to ensure there are no competing business names. Then you’ll file the required paperwork with the state, including the entity’s owners, business name, and contact information.
Step 4: Obtain Permits, Licenses, and Insurance
No matter which type of business entity you opt for, you’ll require licenses and permits to provide your pressure washing services.
The specific requirements may differ from state to state, so check with your state’s small business website to determine the particular licenses and permits necessary for your pressure washing business. Some states mandate that pressure washers obtain special environmental licenses to ensure that they dispose of wastewater properly.
For instance, obtaining a license through the Contractors State License Board is mandatory for operating a pressure washing business in California. The eligibility criteria for obtaining the license is being at least 18 years old and having four years of journeyman experience.
Simultaneously, you should look into obtaining pressure washing business insurance. You’ll likely need various insurance policies covering various aspects of your business. Consider purchasing plans that cover stolen or damaged equipment, property damage from pressure washing, or injuries you or your employees sustained while on the job. Some insurance policies you may want to obtain are
- General liability insurance
- Equipment insurance
- Worker’s compensation insurance
- Business property insurance
Step 5: Set up your Banking Channels
Having a separate bank account for your business can have several advantages. Firstly, it can keep your personal and business finances separate. Secondly, it can make tax filing easier. Additionally, a business bank account allows you to get a business credit card. It can assist you in monitoring tax-deductible business expenses. However, to open a business account, you will need specific documents such as business papers, evidence of your business’s address, etc.
Step 6: Set your rates
Before you start looking for work, getting your pricing in place is important. Depending on your location, and scope of work, you can set hourly, fixed, or square footage pricing. Below is the average cost to give you some idea of the power washing business income:
- House pressure washing: $90 to $633
- Driveway cleaning and washing: $65 to $350
- Window cleaning: $50 to $560
- Deck pressure washing: $50 to $830
How to price your pressure washing business?
- Research competitors – This will give you an idea of what local pressure washers are charging and what you should charge to attract clients.
- Calculate labor cost – multiply hourly wage by the hours it takes to complete a job.
- Estimate monthly expenses – Calculate your monthly overhead expenses and divide them by the number of working hours per month. You will get your hourly overhead expenses.
- Material costs – Add a markup on the material costs for the time and effort it took to gather them.
- Factor in taxes – Include income tax, sales tax, insurance costs, etc and then multiply your subtotal by that percentage to get a better idea of your total earnings.
- Estimate your profit margin – This is the income your business generates after removing all the expenses. Go for at least 10 to 20% of the overall value to become successful.
Step 7. Buy Equipment & Supplies
To start your business, you’ll need the following pressure washing business equipment and supplies:
- A trailer, van, or truck to transport your equipment
- A power washer with at least 3,000 PSI
- An electric motor or gas engine is known for reliability
- A hot water unit with at least 18 HP and V-twin motors is essential.
- High and low-pressure hoses, ideally 50ft in length, with a portable case
- Turbocharged nozzles for concrete and hard surfaces
- An X-jet to wash different structures using soap and chemicals
- A sewer jetter for clearing debris, ideally with a pressure of 2,500 to 4,000 PSI.
- A pressure washer gun assembly with a gun, hose connector, and mosmatic swivel.
- Chemicals and surface cleaners
Step 8. Market your pressure washing business:
To increase your client base and earn money for your pressure washing business, you must market it effectively. You can use the following marketing techniques to stay ahead of the competition.
Word of Mouth
One effective way to market your business is through word of mouth. You can encourage your existing customers to spread the word about your services by setting up a referral program and asking for online reviews.
Another effective way to market your business is through social media. You can create Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram profiles and regularly post engaging content to attract your ideal customers. Additionally, you can build a website that showcases your services and allows potential customers to book your services online.
Online Business Directories
You can also list your business on online directories such as Google Business, Yelp for Business, and Bing Places, where potential customers can easily find you. Networking with other entrepreneurs and joining pressure-washing associations and groups can help you reach new potential customers.
To promote your business in the neighborhoods where you’d like to work, you can print pressure washing flyers and hand them out door-to-door. Additionally, you can leave behind yard signs after you complete each job if your customers allow it.
Finally, branding your business through business cards, branded uniforms, and vehicle wraps can reinforce your business branding and make your business look more professional. You can also brand your quotes, invoices, emails, and other materials to help your business stand out.
What’s The Difference Between Pressure Washing And Power Washing?
While most people use these terms interchangeably, they are vastly different. Pressure washing uses normal water and more pressure to clean surfaces. On the other hand, pressure washing utilizes hot water and normal pressure to clean stuff. Power washing is ideal for very dirty surfaces that require extra sanitation to clean them.
How Do Pressure Washing Companies Get More Clients?
Most press washing companies thrive on word of mouth. As a startup, you can get more clients by utilizing a door to door campaigns in your area. You can also put ads in the newspaper, magazines, or mailers. Last but not least, you can also go for online ads. Each of these options has its pros and cons.
How To Scale A Pressure Washing Business?
To scale a pressure washing business, prioritize revenue-generating activities and establish a pricing strategy allowing you to sell your products and services at a higher price than your competitors. Building strong relationships with your customers is also essential for sustainable growth. You can do this by providing excellent customer service and creating a positive customer experience. Invest also in your business by hiring staff or purchasing new equipment, enabling you to focus on sales and marketing efforts. Lastly, be mindful of how much time you spend on non-profitable tasks, such as administrative work or answering emails, as these can hinder the growth of your business.
With the increasing demand for pressure washing services among homeowners and businesses, it’s not surprising that the market in the US is valued at approximately $1 billion. The industry is also projected to grow at an average of 5.7% annually. Following the steps in this article, you can set up your own pressure washing business and capitalize on this growing market. With the right equipment, marketing strategies, and dedication to quality service, your pressure washing business can thrive and succeed.