How to Start a Pressure Washing Business and Be Successful at It

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Pressure washing is an extremely effective method of getting rid of dirt. It’s much easier and produces better results than hours of scrubbing, and without the back-breaking work! This is a service that customers love. Pressure washing can avoid the need for repainting and can make a building look like new again. It is a great service for residential and business customers alike.

Here’s a tip on how to start a pressure washing business – it’s actually pretty easy! It doesn’t need a lot of start-up capital and the necessary skill-set is easy to learn. You’ll have the added benefits of being your own boss and working outside. No more sitting in an office 40 hours a week.

Once you’ve got the skills, it can be very satisfying to make things look fresh and clean again for your customers. The ideal pressure washing business owners are those with an eye for detail and good customer service skills.

Read on for some advice on starting your pressure washing business in this article created by our team at Trafft, as well as a few reasons you might want to consider this line of work.

How to Start a Pressure Washing Business

Reasons to Consider Starting a Pressure Washing Business

Reasons to Consider Starting a Pressure Washing Business

If you are considering starting a pressure washing business, you’re onto a good idea. That’s because you don’t need a lot of money to begin this kind of company. Pressure washing skills are easy to learn and you’ll get out in the fresh air each day.

That’s not to mention the benefits of working for yourself. You set your own break times, decide which clients and how many to take on. At the same time, you’ll be out and about getting your hands dirty outside. Nothing feels better than that!

It will be completely up to you how big you want your company to be. Maybe you’ll start off with just yourself and a few clients. Or maybe you’re dreaming bigger and want quite a few staff and many customers. You could specialize in certain areas, such as patio cleaning or truck cleaning. So, as you can see, there are many options for specialties in this industry.

All you need to make it in the industry is a passion for having your own company and being strong enough to use the pressure washing machines.

Know What You Offer

To start out with, you need to define exactly what it is you’ll do. What will be your main income stream? You may choose to focus on residential homes or commercial properties. Whatever you choose, make sure you don’t over-commit at the beginning. Your reputation is everything when you’re starting out and you need to protect it. If you commit to something, make sure you can complete the job. This means not overbooking yourself and making sure you have the right equipment for the job.

If you decide to offer only a narrow range of services, this lets you start doing a small number of things very well. It will mean you don’t need to buy a lot of equipment straight away which will be easier on your bank account.

So now let’s talk about your scope of services. You could choose from maintenance, concrete, restoration, windows, roofs and much more. Make sure you have a clear definition of your scope of services because you’ll need to find the equipment to fulfill these services.

The most important thing is that you start getting customers in the door. You don’t need to offer every service under the sun to do this. Once you have some clients on your books and have got some cash flow, you could consider doing other kinds of jobs. Then you’ll have the money to buy the equipment for these. If you want to be the only one working for your company, consider staying with what’s possible for only one person. Industrial contracts are better managed by a team, for example.

Make a Business Plan

Make a Business Plan

The first thing to do is to create a detailed business plan. What is a business plan? It’s a document that defines what your business will do. It explains your marketing plan and your financial plan. it should also include a projected budget. It can be a lot if you’re unfamiliar with the business world. If you break it down into smaller tasks, it’s much more manageable. At its very core, it’s just a detailed to-do list.

If you want some resources to help you out, you can find a guide on writing a business plan from the Small Business Administration. You’ll also find some business plan examples. This will help you out a lot with what your plan should contain. There are also plenty of templates you can find for free online, so search for those.

Any time you have an idea for your pressure washing business, write it down! Those who are constantly planning ahead can have the best success. That’s because they are always coming up with new ideas to beat out their competitors and are keeping up with industry trends.

Money Talk


There are four main expense categories in which you’ll be buying things upfront before you can start serving clients. These are:

  • Equipment costs. This should include chemicals, pressure washing machines, cleaners, and other similar items.
  • Permits and insurance. Any other licenses you may need to be a pressure washer.
  • Initial advertising costs. These are likely to be more at the start, and you will spend less on marketing once you already have some clients.
  • Transport costs. You’ll likely need some kind of van or truck to cart your equipment around and get to customers’ homes.
  • Maintenance costs. These include fuel and advertising. Anything to keep your business going.

You can use the following prices as a guide to how much you may spend at the start:

  • $1,500 – pressure washing equipment
  • $5,000 – transport, such as buying a used truck
  • $500 + $60 a month – insurance, licenses and the like
  • $250 – advertising to get your first 50 clients

How Much to Charge

How Much to Charge

The next important factor is of course, how much are you going to charge for your services. When setting a price, consider:

  • How much time it will take you to do the work. Make sure to include getting to the job site.
  • How much the materials will cost you. Remember fuel, chemicals, and other consumables.
  • What the surface area is of the item the customer wants to be washed.
  • If there are any particular difficulties in the job, it may take more time, so take this into account.
  • Your business overhead costs.
  • Competitor prices.

The price you charge will affect how many new and repeat clients you have. This will be vital to a successful business. If you offer pressure washing for cars, you could charge between $50 – $100. If you’re getting repeat clients, this adds up quickly. This would include detailing which is the finished work such as waxing the vehicle.

Another common job in this business is cleaning the exterior of homes and commercial buildings. With this type of job, you can charge by the square foot of the area you’re going to clean.

Here are some prices you could charge:

  • $100 to $300 for a home exterior
  • $80 to $200 for a driveway
  • $250 to $500 for a deck area

Formal Tasks

Here are the official tasks you’ll need to undertake to set up your company.

Form a Legal Entity

Starting a business means you’ll need to formally establish yourself as a legal business. This means you will not be personally liable in the case your company is sued. You can select from a few different kinds of businesses – Corporations, LLC’s, and DBA’s.

Register for Taxes

Before starting to serve clients, you will need to register for taxes. This requires applying for an EIN which is easy to do and free of charge.

Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card

Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card

It’s best not to use your own bank account for official business proceedings. Start a business account for your protection.

Obtain Necessary Permits and Licenses

You’ll need to apply for the necessary business permits. This can be done at the county clerk’s office. You may also need a contracting license from the department of revenue in your state.

This step is extremely important because if you don’t get the permits you need, you can find yourself with large fines.

Get Business Insurance

Business insurance is a necessity. If you accidentally cause damage, liability insurance will cover this.

Getting the Word Out

Marketing is vital for bringing in clients to your pressure washing business.

Company Name and Logo

Of course, you’re going to need a business name. The next step is to create a logo for your business. These are both required when registering your company.

You should put advertising on your work vehicles so people can call you when they see you out and about. Put your contact details on quotes, emails, and marketing too.

Utilize Marketing Aids

Utilize Marketing Aids

You should buy yourself a set of business cards to hand out to potential customers. You should also get some fliers and marketing materials. These should be posted and left around town so that people can pick them up and call you.

Include Digital Marketing

It’s important that you have a website so that you can be found online. A digital presence is necessary for this day and age. When they need something done, potential clients will often turn to the internet. You want to make sure that when they type in ‘pressure washing business near me’ your business name pops up.

Make sure to ask the digital marketing agency that you consider hiring the right questions before you strike a deal with them.

Marketing on Social Media

Marketing on Social

Social media accounts are of great benefit to business owners. You’ll need to post regularly and start off by promoting your posts to make sure that people see them. Respond to any messages on social channels quickly and with wonderful customer service. This will help potential customers engage with you and want to use your business.

With all the social networks out there, you’ll have to pick and choose what you can manage. Which one/s you go with will depend on the kind of posts you want to make and what social channels your customers use.

Ready to dive in?

There you have it – you’re now ready to start your pressure washing business. Does it seem feasible for you? If you think it’s the career path for you, just follow this guide to get your business up and running. Hopefully, you’ve found this a helpful starting place – the biggest barrier is often not knowing where to start!

The great thing about this kind of company is that you can start small and scale-up. Start by offering just a few services in one area. In no time, you may find that you can expand your service range or area you serve.

Starting out doesn’t require a huge investment. But you will need to be physically fit and have some business acumen. Undertake the health and safety training to do the job the best and safest way that you can.

Ending thoughts on how to start a pressure washing business

Think about specializing in one kind of cleaning to start out with. As you get more customers and can afford more equipment, you can gradually offer more services. Try specialties such as homes, truck cleaning or commercial building cleaning.

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Trafft Team
Trafft Team