How to Start a Pressure Washing Business

how to start a pressure washing business

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A pressure washing business owner aims to please, and there’s no time like the present to get into that line of work. It may also be called a power washing business.

People are working from home. Businesses that focus on property enhancement – such as hardscaping, decks and backyard pools – are booming. Lots of structures around a home need the services of a pressure washer.

In addition to private individuals, corporate customers need your services. In the post pandemic environment, keeping work and home properties clean – and disinfected – is more important than ever.

How Does a Pressure Washing Business Work?

A power washing company can have a wide variety of customers. Cleaning may be needed for business fleet vehicles, pools and decks, home exteriors, boats and agricultural equipment.

When you have your own pressure washing business, you’re your own boss and you can choose a specialty. The main specialties are residential owners, commercial property owners, marine, and agricultral. Recent statistics put the pressure cleaning business at $2 billion annually, growing at a steady rate of 3.5%.

pressure washing

The Pressure Washing Industry in the US.

There are 135,000 companies employing about 187,000 people. The industry is $2 billion annually with a steady growth of 3.5%.

Pressure Washing Business Starting Cost

As you’d expect, pressure washing businesses operate with lots of equipment and the costs can vary. And this is why your startup checklist should be very thorough. There are some basic items you may already have, such as a heavy-duty truck, van and/or trailer.

If you have a truck or van, find out the maximum number for weight it can carry. A full-size one ton pickup truck can tote more weight that a 1/2 ton pickup truck, for example.

Also find out how much weight your vehicle can tow. A truck with an engine size greater than 5.0 can tow about 6,000 pounds (including the weight of the trailer) while a smaller 3.0 will have less towing capacity. Whenever you’re towing more than 3,000 pounds (total of trailer and load), you’re required by motor vehicle law to have electric brakes for your trailer. In some states, you may be required to also have sway bars to help control the trailer.

Here are some other basic equipment needs:

High power washers – Of 3,000 psi (pounds per square inch) and greater. These can be electric or gas. You’ll have to weigh the cost of gas to run the pressure washer, versus the cost of gas to run a generator for an electric pressure washer. Customers, especially residential customers, may not be happy when you tap into their power to run your equipment.

Hot water units – At least 18 horsepower.

Wand tips of various angles.

High and low-pressure hoses.

Telescoping extension wands.

Cleaning soaps, chemicals and additives.

A generator – If you’re using an electric power washer and working at an off-grid site. A 2,000-watt inverter isn’t going to be able to handle the work; you’ll need a 5-6,000 watt generator, and the associated oil and gas for it.

Pressure washing gear such as protective clothing.

15 Steps to Starting a Pressure Washing Business

Before you consider the steps, consider your level of physical fitness and the climate where you plan to work. Pressure washing skills are challenging, physical work done in various weather conditions.

1. Learn the Required Skills for Power Washing

It’s not simple. Too much pressure for the job, and you could inadvertently strip paint or damage items.

Use the wrong cleaning agent or additive, and you could also damage a surface.

Practice with your equipment on your own property and on property owned by family and friends. Can you apprentice with someone who owns a pressure washing business? That’s not likely if you’ll be competing for work in the same geographical area.

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2. Create a Business Plan

Creating a business model is a necessary step for all businesses. When starting a pressure washing company, you’ll need a business name and separate personal and business accounts at the bank. A separate business bank account can also help you establish your company’s credit history, when you’re ready to get a loan to expand.

You should also put pen to paper to write out a general plan. Don’t worry about too much focus on long-range plans. A plan is a moving target, that you can adapt to your needs as the business climate and your success rate change.

Research office or retail space, if you need it. Get a business credit card.

The preferred business structure is a limited liability corporation for your business, which will protect your personal assets. Personal asset protection is important, since you’ll be providing a service to items owned by others. You’ll need equipment insurance and liability insurance.

Think about who or what you consider as your ideal customer. Do you want to clean agricultural equipment? Residential decks and patios? Tailer your business plan to that customer.

Also, research CRM software. A great program can make life so much easier, with appointment scheduling, tracking expenses, keeping personal and business expenses separate, accounting and tax filing. All these things should be part of a business plan that is well thought out so it can answer the questions investors or lenders might have.

3. Price Pressure Washing Services

A lot of pressure wash services are priced by the square foot, especially for home siding. Prices range from .35 to .77 per square ft.

Some price the service by the job, with prices for house siding jobs ranging from $170 to $225.

For small jobs, such as decks, you may need to add a minimum service charge.

4. Get Licenses and Permits

Check with your local licensing office to see what’s required. You’ll be operating potentially dangerous equipment and there will be run 0ff, either onto land or into storm drains.

Here’s a basic list:

  • Business license
  • Bonding
  • Sales tax registration
  • Contractor permit
  • Environmental permit

5. Buy the Necessary Equipment

You can start with inexpensive equipment but you’d likely have to replace or repair it in a short time.

Those in the business advise – Buy the best quality you can afford. If you can’t afford the best quality, save money towards the purchase and wait.

6. Invest in Quality Cleaning Solutions

Along with purchasing the necessary equipment, invest in high-quality, environmentally friendly cleaning solutions and additives. The right cleaning agents are crucial for effectively removing dirt and grime without harming surfaces or the environment. Research and select products that are effective and safe for various surfaces and that comply with local environmental regulations.

7. Hiring Employees

Based on the numbers, many businesses are sole proprietors. There are 135,000 businesses and 187,000 employees nationwide.

If you hire an employee or employees, you’ll need an employer identification number (EIN). Many hire seasonal employees during their busiest times.

8. Develop a Comprehensive Training Program for Employees

If you decide to hire employees, develop a comprehensive training program. This program should cover the technical aspects of pressure washing, safety procedures, customer service, and the proper handling of equipment and cleaning agents. Well-trained employees are essential for maintaining the quality of service and for the safe operation of the business.

pressure washing

9. Consider Joining Pressure Washer Associations

There are two main ones: Pressure Washer Manufacturers Association and Pressure Washers of America.

10. Market Your Business

You can set up partnerships with business owners to get your foot in the door with fleet sales, real estate, agriculture and construction companies.

No matter what segment you target, nothing tells a tale better than Before and After images. Be sure to post them on your website or FB page.

11. Utilize Digital Marketing and Social Media

In addition to traditional marketing methods, leverage digital marketing and social media to promote your business. Create engaging content, share before-and-after photos of your work, and interact with potential customers on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Utilizing digital marketing can broaden your reach and attract a diverse customer base.

12. Make Sure Your Business Complies with OSHA Regulations

There are proper safety precautions to follow for pressure washing equipment outlined in OSHA regulations. For example, any piece of equipment with greater than 3200 psi must have a 24″ hose guard on the hose, closest to the operator.

Consistently review and update your safety protocols to ensure compliance with OSHA regulations. Stay informed about any changes in safety standards and implement them promptly. Regular safety audits and meetings can help reinforce the importance of safety among your employees and maintain a safe working environment.

13. Scale Your Business

Set fees for common jobs such as driveways, houses and decks.

Have an adjustable budget for your business, making room for equipment maintenance and purchase.

14. Explore Diversification of Services

As your business grows, consider diversifying your services to cater to a broader market. This could include adding related services such as window cleaning, gutter cleaning, or deck restoration. Diversification can provide additional revenue streams and help balance seasonal fluctuations in your primary service offerings.

15. Establish a Customer Feedback System

Implement a system for collecting and analyzing customer feedback. This can provide valuable insights into areas of your business that need improvement and help identify opportunities for growth. Satisfied customers can also provide testimonials and referrals, which are invaluable for business expansion.

Tips to Run a Successful Pressure Washing Business

Here are a few quick tips to running a successful pressure washing business:

  • Use promotions and packages, advertising and promotions to attract new customers.
  • Stay in touch with customers, reconnecting with them after the job.
  • Use top notch CRM software. The cost will pay off in high profit margins, since you’ll have more time to work on getting new business.
Use promotions and packagesUtilize promotional offers and package deals to attract new customers to your business.
Stay in touch with customersMaintain communication with customers after completing a job to build lasting relationships.
Utilize top-notch CRM softwareInvest in high-quality CRM software to streamline operations and focus on new business leads.

pressure washing

What is the average business income?

The average income is $40 to $60 an hour and about $28,000 a year (after expenses).

In good markets, the top salary range is close to $40,000.

What is the best pressure washer for a pressure washing business?

Gas washers have more power. The range for consumer power washing equipment is from 1200 to 2500 watts, and these are used for jobs such as washing fences and grills.

Commercial pressure washers range from 3,000 to 4,000 psi. Those can handle boats, siding, driveways, industrial equipment and paint/graffiti stripping.

Marketing Strategies for a Pressure Washing Business

As a pressure washing business owner, one of the most critical aspects of your success is effective marketing. With the right marketing strategies, you can attract new customers, build a strong reputation, and increase your revenue. Here are some marketing strategies to help you grow your pressure washing business:

  • Create a Professional Website: Your website serves as the online face of your business. It should be visually appealing, easy to navigate, and mobile-friendly. Include essential information about your services, pricing, contact details, and customer testimonials. Showcase before and after photos of your work to demonstrate your expertise.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Implement SEO strategies to improve your website’s visibility on search engines like Google. Use relevant keywords, create valuable content, and build backlinks to your website. Local SEO is particularly important as it will help your business appear in local search results when potential customers look for pressure washing services in your area.
  • Google My Business (GMB) Listing: Create and optimize your Google My Business listing. This ensures that your business appears on Google Maps and in local search results, providing valuable information to potential customers, such as your contact details, operating hours, and customer reviews.
  • Online Reviews and Testimonials: Positive online reviews and testimonials are powerful tools for building trust with potential customers. Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, and Facebook. Respond to reviews, both positive and negative, in a professional manner to show that you value customer feedback.
  • Social Media Marketing: Leverage social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to showcase your work, engage with potential customers, and run targeted advertising campaigns. Use eye-catching visuals and videos to demonstrate the effectiveness of your pressure washing services.
  • Local Advertising: Consider traditional advertising methods like flyers, door hangers, and local newspapers to target homeowners and businesses in your area. Local community events and sponsorships can also help raise awareness of your brand.
  • Referral Program: Implement a referral program to incentivize satisfied customers to refer their friends and family to your business. Offer discounts or free services for successful referrals.
  • Email Marketing: Collect email addresses from your customers and website visitors, and use email marketing to stay in touch with them. Send newsletters, promotions, and updates about your services to keep your business top-of-mind.
  • Networking: Attend local networking events and join industry associations to connect with potential customers and other professionals who might refer clients to your business.
  • Seasonal Promotions: Offer seasonal promotions and discounts during slow periods or during peak times when customers are more likely to seek pressure washing services.
  • Branded Vehicles: If possible, invest in professionally branded vehicles to serve as moving billboards for your business while you work on-site.
  • Online Advertising: Utilize online advertising platforms like Google Ads and social media ads to target specific demographics and geographic locations with your marketing message.

Remember that consistency is key in marketing. Develop a comprehensive marketing plan that combines multiple strategies and consistently monitor and analyze your marketing efforts’ performance to refine your approach over time. By effectively marketing your pressure washing business, you can attract more customers and increase your business’s profitability and reputation.

Image: Depositphotos

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Lisa Price Lisa Price is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 4 years. She has a B.A. in English with a minor in journalism from Shippensburg State College (Pennsylvania). She is also a freelance writer and previously worked as a newspaper circulation district manager and radio station commercial writer. In 2019, Lisa received the (Pennsylvania) Keystone Award.