Pressure washing can be a perfect business for those who have some extra cash laying around and are willing to work in the sun.
With high profit margins and low start-up costs, opening a pressure washing business could be a perfect fit for many entrepreneurs.
In this post, I’ll explain the steps and details of starting and growing a successful pressure washing business. You’ll learn the basic equipment needed to get started, how to craft a marketing plan to attract new clients, and learn how much money you can make pressure washing. Let’s dig in.
How to Start a Pressure Washing Business
Starting a pressure washing business can be quite a lucrative side hustle turned business. Below I’ll explain each step of how to get started.
1. Learn the Basics of Pressure Washing
Pressure washing is pretty easy to understand. The pressure added to water is powerful enough to clean any surface free of debris. But be careful! Because of the high pressure, you can damage some surfaces and foliage.
Even though it is relatively simple to understand, many amateur pressure washers can make mistakes.
You’ll need to do some research before you get started pressure washing. There are many different videos that teach various techniques. Below are a few to help you get started!
Practice, Practice, Practice
Before you go full-blown into opening your business, you’ll want to ensure your services are top-quality.
If you don’t currently have a pressure washer, consider renting one to practice. It will typically cost less than $100 to rent for the day, giving you ample time to work on your skills.
Practice and improve your pressure washing skills by offering to clean your neighbors’ driveways, decks, or home exteriors.
Follow up by asking them how they would rate your services. If they do not approve, go back and keep practicing until your skills are adequate.
2. Structure Your Business Operations
Before getting started, you’ll want to form the business entity legally and understand how it will operate. This means you’ll need to register your business with the state your company operates in, set up how your business will run, and have a plan to ensure the business can grow.
Determine Your Business Name
The first step in forming your business is determining its name. It’s a good idea to create a name that both describes your business and is not attached to you personally. This will allow you to sell the business at a later date if you choose.
You should also consider what domain names are available for purchase before deciding on a name. After all, if the domain is not available, you might not want to use that name for your business.
It’s also wise to consider the SEO value of your business’s name. Because search engines are more likely to rank your business if it has the words “pressure washing” in the name, this is something to contemplate. For example, this Louisville Pressure Washing company used the domain name “louisvillepressurewashingco.com” to give it’s ranking a boost in search engines.
Complete Your Business Registration
Once you’ve landed on the name for your business, you’ll need to register it with the state you reside in.
To register your business, you’ll need to provide a few basic fundamentals:
- The business structure such as a sole proprietorship, LLC, or other entity.
- The name of the business
- The location of the business
Obtain any Business Permits or Licenses
Depending on the state your business will be working in, you might be required to obtain a wastewater runoff license.
Keep in mind that any licensure requirements vary from state to state so it’s wise to visit the SBAs website for more details.
Purchase Business Insurance
Insurance is essential when starting a pressure washing business. This will ensure to your clients that anything that could possibly be damaged by your doing is covered by their insurance policy.
The costs are typically low but you can expect to shell out somewhere between $1,000 to $2,000 annually for your policy. You’ll want to review the details of the coverage before committing.
Open a Business Bank Account
You’ll need to keep your personal and business finances separate for both tax and organizational purposes.
Opening a business bank account is quite simple. Just visit your local bank branch and they should be capable of helping you get started.
In addition to a business bank account, you can also consider opening a business credit card to earn rewards on your business purchases.
Related: How to Start a Lawn Care Business
Purchase a Business Phone & Location
Unless you plan to conduct your business out of your home, you’ll likely need to find warehouse space to run your business. While it is not necessary, those with larger operations might opt for the convenience of having a physical location to conduct business.
In addition, you’ll also need to purchase a phone for your business for potential clients to get in touch. You can opt for a business cell phone plan or use a VOIP solution that will forward calls to your current mobile phone. Prices vary but you can expect to spend at least $50 per month for a business phone plan and at least $10 per month using a VOIP solution.
Understand Your Taxes and Accounting
Any revenue that your business brings in will need to be taxed no matter the type of business you select.
If your business is a sole proprietorship, you’ll need to include any income from your business on your personal tax return. With this in mind, you’ll want to set aside money from each job you complete to dedicate towards your state and federal tax bill. If you do not save any money, you could be in for a large amount owed come tax season.
As a rule of thumb, you should plan to set aside anywhere from 25% to 30% of your income for tax purposes.
But there’s good news. Any costs that your business incurs can be deducted from your taxes. This means that you will only be taxed on your business profits.
Costs such as marketing expenses, fuel for your vehicle and pressure washing equipment, office supplies, and many more can be deducted from your revenues.
Related: How to Start a Painting Business
Determine Your Pricing and Rates
Pricing your pressure washing services can be difficult. There are two main methods of pricing when it comes to service-based businesses: price per hour of labor or the price to complete the job.
Both pricing strategies have benefits and drawbacks. If you price per hour, you might miss out on more money if the job can be completed in a short amount of time. If you price for the entire job, you might lose money if the job requires more time than you quoted.
Either way can be successful. We’ve found that most of the time, pricing per job will balance out over time.
Pressure Washing Pricing Examples
Below is a list of common pressure washing services with the average pricing for each. Keep in mind that the complexity and size of the project will have a significant impact on the price you charge.
- Driveway Pressure Washing: $100 – $250
- Deck or Patio Pressure Washing: $200 – $600
- Home Exterior Pressure Washing: $500+
- Fence Pressure Washing: $300+
- Vehicle Pressure Washing: $50 – $60
3. Strategize a Marketing Plan
After you’ve formed the business from a legal perspective, you’ll need to craft a plan on how you will find new clients for your services. There are many methods of doing this outlined below.
Create a Website
In 2020, you NEED a website to attract clients to your business. Not only does it establish a method for customers to contact you, but it also proves your trustworthiness.
By having a company website, potential clients are more likely to trust that your business is authentic and you complete their job to their standards.
Your website should include necessary details about your business including the services you offer, any contact information, and links to your social media profiles.
For those looking to expand their business, you can also add a blog to your website to utilize content marketing as a method to gain clients. This is a more advanced form of marketing that requires a significant investment of time to utilize.
Social Media Marketing
Social media is a great way to promote your services to potential clients.
But what platforms should you use?
Facebook is most likely your best bet because of its aging user base that consists of those more likely to own a home.
You should post pictures of your services, customer testimonials, and any offers that you’re currently running to gain exposure to your brand.
For existing customers, ask them to follow you on your social media account to keep them up to date with your latest offers and service offerings.
Word of Mouth Marketing
Word of mouth marketing is a more traditional method of marketing that involves gathering and promoting customer testimonials with the goal of convincing new clients to use your services.
People are more likely to trust what others say about your services than yourself.
Paid advertising can come in many forms. From television ads to digital advertising, paid advertising is usually for businesses that have larger budgets and are looking to grow more rapidly.
It’s best to leave paid advertising until later in your business operations as it can become quite costly.
Flyers or print advertisements are the most common marketing strategy when it comes to service-based businesses. And for good reason, it works.
By creating and distributing flyers to local neighborhoods, you can quickly gain exposure to many potential clients.
You’ll want to include the basics of your business on your flyers such as the name of your business, the services you offer, and how they can get in touch with your company.
Companies will either leave their flyers in paper boxes or deliver them directly to doorsteps. You can also consider having your flyers delivered directly using the USPS. This is more costly but comes with higher conversion rates.
Door to Door Advertising
Another common method of advertising for service-based businesses is door to door advertising. This involves approaching potential clients by speaking with them at their homes.
This method will require the most time and effort but can be more successful than other types of marketing.
Vehicle wraps are a common form of marketing in the service business industry. Why? Because they are effective in getting customers to call without any work required. This passive method of acquiring leads is extremely cost effective.
A vehicle wrap will cost you a few thousand dollars but this is often recouped over the first few years of business.
A vehicle wrap also establishes your business as authentic and trustworthy.
4. Purchase Your Pressure Washing Equipment
Outside of the obvious items like the pressure washer itself, there are a few other items you’ll need to open a successful pressure washing business.
There are many different types and brands of pressure washers to choose from making it easy to get overwhelmed.
In general, you can determine the quality of the pressure washer by analyzing two things: the power it outputs and the brand that it is manufactured by.
The pressure output is rated as PSIs. The stronger the pressure washer, the easier it can be to clean surfaces. While you may not need the best and most expensive pressure washer to get started, you might want to consider any time savings that could accumulate both from equipment maintenance and time savings from ease of cleaning.
As for brands, Karcher, Honda, and Troybuilt are the most common and have strong reviews. You should do your research before making your purchase as it can be a costly investment.
You’ll need a vehicle to transport your equipment to and from jobs. You can opt to purchase a truck with a bed or a truck with a trailer to haul your equipment.
While the age or type of your vehicle does not necessarily matter, you’ll want to ensure it is capable of transporting your equipment.
Many pressure washers can use a cleaning solution in addition to the pressure of the water to clean surfaces. Depending on the power behind your washer and the degree of debris, this may or may not be necessary.
Ladders or Scaffolding
If you plan to clean home exteriors, you’ll need to purchase ladders or scaffolding in order to reach more elevated surfaces.
You can expect to shell out anywhere from a few hundred dollars to upwards of $1,000 for these items depending on the size and quantity for your needs.
5. Get Started!!
Once you’ve purchased all of your equipment, it’s time to get started. You should start your marketing plan and await new clients to contact you.
You need to be prepared to answer any potential client phone calls throughout the day.
How Much Does it Cost to Start a Pressure Washing Business?
I love businesses that require little upfront cash investment, and a pressure washing business is just that.
The equipment and materials required to get started are relatively inexpensive and you can often get started with less than a few thousand dollars depending on your wants and needs.
Those looking to expand their business and grow more rapidly can consider investing more money into equipment upfront. You can find some pressure washers for over $5,000.
For most, the cost to start a pressure washing business is roughly $3,000 – $6,000 in total.
Costs of Operating a Pressure Washing Business
While the cost to start a pressure washing business might be cheap, you’ll want to consider the ongoing costs of running your business. In this section, we’ll explore some of the most common ongoing costs of your business.
For smaller pressure washing businesses, you might forget about the cost of maintenance on both your pressure washers and vehicles. It might be easy to overlook these, but the time and money spent maintaining your equipment can add up.
Depending on the amount of equipment you have, you can budget around $150 to $250 per month for smaller businesses or over $500 per month for larger operations.
Some of the most common maintenance tasks include:
- Regular vehicle and pressure washer oil changes
- Regular vehicle tire replacements
- Routine inspection of wands and attachments for your pressure washer
For each client you service, it’s going to cost you in the form of fuel. Depending on where your operation resides, the cost of gasoline can be anywhere from $2.00 to over $4.00 per gallon. You’ll also want to consider the costs of fueling your pressure washers. It’s same to budget a few hundred dollars each month for fuel costs.
If you’re running a larger operation with employees, you’ll need to have a good idea of what to budget for them. Depending on the amount of work you have, it’s advisable to budget $1,000 or more for labor expenses.
Marketing costs can vary widely depending on your efforts. Some companies might spend tens of thousands per year on marketing their business while others might spend less than $1,000.
It’s smart to budget marketing into your business plan so you can start your business on the right foot.
Office or Warehouse Space
If you have an office or retail space for your business, this can cost you each month. Depending on your location, this could cost anywhere from $500 to over $2,500 per month.
One of your most vital expenses, is phone service to communicate with customers and potential clients. If you’re just getting started, you might opt to use a cell phone which will often cost around $100 per month. If you’re utilizing multiple phone lines, this price can swell to over $250 per month.
How Much Money Can I Make Pressure Washing?
Starting a pressure washing business can quickly become profitable. Because of the low start-up costs and favorable pricing, making money with a pressure washing business can be a breeze.
Depending on the size of your business, you could make upwards of 6 or 7 figures!
For those with a crew of employees, you can increase your earnings even further.
What is Capable of Being Pressure Washed?
Pressure washing can be done on many different surfaces. From driveways to siding, there is never a lack of surfaces to be pressure washed.
Some of the most common surfaces to pressure wash are:
- Brick and Stone
How to Make More Money Pressure Washing
When growing your pressure washing business, you’ll want to consider a few options to help keep your income increasing.
Having a team of engaged salespeople can work wonders on just about any business including pressure washing. These employees will work to gain new clients, close deals, and develop relationships with current customers.
Expand Marketing Efforts
There’s no doubt that increasing your marketing spend can result in more leads, and therefore more clients for your business. If you’ve found your business model to be profitable, consider allocating more money towards your marketing efforts.
This could be by printing more flyers or spending money on a digital advertising campaign like Facebook Ads.
Cultivate Relationships with Current Customers
Your customers can be your greatest assets when it comes to finding new business. You can ask them if they know of anyone needing your services to expand your business.
If you’re finding it difficult to close deals, you might want to examine creating exclusive offers to seal the deal. It might be something like 10% off their first service or various other offers.
This will give your potential client the need to act soon to benefit from your offer.
Expand Your Offerings
If you’re currently only offering your services to residential customers, you can consider expanding to offering commercial services as well.
These clients will usually be easier to work with and will also have larger budgets, making it a great way to boost your companies revenues.
If you’re ready to take the next step in your pressure washing business, you might want to examine hiring employees to help you complete work. Once you have an established base of customers, you can hire employees enabling you to take on even more customers.
These laborers are often inexpensive costing you anywhere from $10 to $20 per hour.
How to Start a Profitable Pressure Washing Business
As with any business, there is a certain element of risk when getting started. But that doesn’t always have to be the case. To start a profitable business, you’ll want to focus on two numbers, your revenues and your expenses.
If your business is currently losing money, you’ll need to either gain more customers or cut costs. I recommend the first option to help your business grow. This can be done through marketing your business more effectively – perhaps passing out more flyers or spending money on pay-per-click marketing.
When starting your business, start small, but trustable. For example, you don’t need the best pressure washer available, but you also need to have one that’s capable of completing a multitude of jobs.
Knowing your target audience is key to acquiring new customers. You’ll want to go after homeowners with a medium income who don’t want to do the work. You can entice these potential customers with offers to close the deal and make more money.
Final Thoughts on How to Start a Pressure Washing Business
Pressure washing is a simple service that you can provide with the right equipment. This equipment will typically cost you a few thousand dollars or less to get started.
First, you’ll want to learn various pressure washing techniques to become a strong competitor. Then you can form your business entity from a legal perspective. Next, you’ll want to craft a marketing plan to have a solid understanding of how you will attract new clients. Following the construction of your marketing plan, it’s time to put together your plan on how you will operate the business. Who will answer the phone? Finally, it’s time to purchase your equipment and get started!
Starting and growing a pressure washing business is like any other business. It will take time and effort to grow. But you will get out what you put in.
Dedicate the time and you could grow your business into an income-producing machine!
Are you interested in starting a pressure washing business? Why haven’t you started? Comment below!