Today, I will teach you how to start a power washing business that can make you money part-time or even full-time.
What I will share with you is that most personal finance blogs and websites that discuss “Ways to Make Money” share the same information when it comes to starting a side hustle…
Just as guilty as the rest, many articles online that are focused on helping others create a side hustle that makes $1,000 or more per month start with the typical;
- Start a blog
- Fill out some surveys
- Drive people around using Uber
- Walk dogs
- Be a handyman
And so on, and so on…
However, for some people – they want to be outside, they want to do something physical, and they want to provide a service for others without sitting behind a laptop.
Lucky for you, I have experience starting outdoor businesses and I have written countless articles on power washing, which is why I will teach you below how to start your very own power washing company!
The Actual Steps to Start a Power Washing Company
1. Don't assume power washing is easy.
It is vital that we first point out that just because you saw your neighbor power wash their deck or you saw another friend hire a power washing company to clean their home, this doesn't mean it is easy.
Many times people will ask my friend who happens to own a large power and pressure washing company, “Is it easy to start a power washing company?”
The answer is no, it is not easy.
Now, what is encouraging to know is that no business is easy to start due to the fact that businesses require hard work, background knowledge, time, and capital.
The positive news is that power washing companies or even power washing as a side hustle are not capital intensive like other business ventures. To help start by answering the simple questions:
- Is power washing something you have experience with?
- Is there someone who can teach you or show you the ropes, like a mentor?
- Have you done your research, joined Facebook groups, and studied the business model?
- Did you look at the cons? Like hypothetically what if you break a window or mess up a house?
- What is your customer management process?
- How big will your company be?
- Do you mind getting soaking wet?
Lucky for you, for the questions listed about that you are not quite sure about, we got the answers below in our complete guide to starting a power (or pressure) washing business!
2. Get your power washing business setup
The first thing is first, even if you operate your power washing business as a side hustle or part-time job, it's not a bad idea to do it the legal way and get an LLC and some insurance.
When you want to provide service for others, you will want legal protection in the form of an LLC and insurance to prevent any worse case scenarios. Hypothetically, you want to be protected in case you accidently break something. It is also a good selling point to clients who are hiring, they want insured contractors.
Follow these simple steps to getting things setup:
- Create an LLC with either your state or use a service such as Legal Zoom
- Come up with a solid business name. Billy's Power Washing isn't a good name. Instead, consider something more elegant such as Stream Bright Power Washing or use a last name, “Brickman & Co. Power Washing”
- Next, just get a small general liability insurance plan
- Check for an Environmental Permit – State by state have different laws, but some require an environmental permit since you are discharging water to a stormwater management system
- Review local business ordinances to procure a business license which is often required
- Bonus: Start a website and be sure to have an email that is firstname.lastname@example.org. Having a Gmail email does not look as professional! At the very least, start a Facebook Page for starters.
Once you have your company all set up, you will want to know how to power wash prior to landing your first customer.
3. Know how to power wash and pressure wash
Trick question, do you know the difference between power washing and pressure washing or do you think they're the same?
Most homeowners and people think they're the same, but they are not. Power washing and pressure washing both used highly pressurized water to remove dirt, grime and build-up but the key difference is that power washing uses heated water!
Now that you know this simple difference, be sure to gain some experience pressure washing before you go charge someone for a service. Power washing does not mean you just blast off grime, instead you will want to do the following:
- Rent or borrow a pressure washer from someone and use it on your own house, your mom's house, or a friend's house
- Study PSI guides. You do not use a pressure washer on a roof, which can cause damage. Luckily, you can read up on PSI guides for different surface types. For example, a concrete driveway can handle higher pressure than siding.
- Watch videos on YouTube
- Do your research on chemicals. Professional power washing companies (which is what you are starting) know how to use the proper soaps and surfactants to get the job done. Chemicals and soaps are not something you wing, you need to be prepared.
Once you have your business set up and you have gained some power washing experience, the next step is to get the necessary supplies.
4. Get your power washing supplies & equipment
Just like when you spend money, there are needs and wants in life. The same goes for your power washing business.
You will want to make your company as legit as possible, but don't go spending a ton of money, instead get only what you need to start:
- Truck to haul equipment – does not need to be flashy, just clean and presentable.
- Power Washing Equipment – power washer, nozzle, hoses, protection gear
- Chemicals – soaps and surfactants, guides, soap concentrates
This should cover the basics, and most of this you can find used and as your power washing company grows, you can upgrade your equipment.
|Power Washing Equipment||$1,500|
As previously stated, this is a basic estimate to get you started. When your income grows you can upgrade your power washing equipment to something like the image below, which starts at $10,000!
5. Learn how to estimate power washing jobs correctly
Estimating how long a job will take and what to charge the homeowner is both an art and a science. On one hand, if you charge too much – you will be outbid and won't land the job.
On the other hand, if you don't charge enough and you could actually lose money! That is why it is important to know how to bid jobs correctly. Bidding a power washing job includes:
- Estimating size and scope of project
- Manpower and man-hours required to complete project
- How much supplies and materials you will need
- Whether the job is even worth it or too big for your expirence
Early on, look at opportunities to provide your services as a way to get pricing experience, and be sure to create a pricing system that works for you. Most companies price by the hour, per project, or base on the surface area. Do your research to find pricing norms and be sure to join groups that help.
- Facebook Power Washing Groups
- Power Washers of North America
- Find a Power Washing Mentor
Be sure to keep good records of everything and use a CRM or invoicing program for all invoicing purposes. In the beginning stages, you can require 25% up front to start if it a large job to protect yourself or simply bill it all at the end. PayPal offers invoicing online that is free to use (they keep a % once paid) and is simple to use!
6. Marketing your power washing services
Hopefully, at this point you're not second guessing starting a power washing business. This is not meant to overwhelm you, but instead prepare you. That said, this is the most important topic – marketing.
Without a customer base, you could have the best equipment, the most head knowledge, but you won't make a single dollar until you land a customer.
Here are some basic marketing tips to help you get started:
- Tell everyone in your power base (family, friends, associates) that you offer power washing services
- Post on Facebook, Craig's List, Instagram
- Visit local community offices, post offices, etc. and introduce yourself/pin your business card
- Find a mailing flyer package that guarantees a return, pay the mailing fee and mail out flyers
- Offer irresistible promos with your company like, “Free patio cleaning with any power washing service.”
- Lastly, don't think customers will just find you!
Often times where business owners fail is in terms of client acquisition. They tend to think people will just find them and their services. Always assume “If it is meant to be, is up to me.”
In the beginning, you will want to focus 80% of your effort on marketing, 20% on business administration. It is called the 80/20 rule and it is a MUST for new business owners.
The final word on owning & operating a successful power washing business:
Business ownership of any kind will have its highs and lows. Whether you start a power washing business or a online based company, you will have endure a learning curve that can take months to multiple years before you really feel like you hit your stride.
Assessing whether you are more of the entrepreneur type is a must. If you like working for yourself, taking a few risks, have patience, like working with customers, and have a passion for providing a home service, then starting a power washing business as a side hustle or full time endeavor is a good place to start!
Hopefully, this guide will help you get your start!
Frequently Asked Power Washing Business Questions:
What are the pros and cons of starting a power washing business?
With any business, there are pros and cons to starting a power washing business.
The pros include the ability to control your hours, you can make a profit, you own a business, you don't need to know a ton to start a power washing business compared to other endeavors. Also, you get to be outside and provide a valuable service.
The cons of starting a power washing business include smaller profit margins, the potential for unhappy customers, seasonal work based on weather, inconsistent workloads, dealing with employees, equipment breakdowns, irregular customers since most people don't need power washing every so often.
Is starting a power washing business profitable?
Any business can be profitable when done correctly, that said in order for you to have a profitable power washing service business, you will want to make sure you charge correctly. Either charging by the hour based on your estimated time doing the project. For example, when you account supplies, fuel, and time spent, you can charge $55 per hour. If a project will take 4 hours then you would charge $220.
How much can you make with a pressure washing business?
Some pressure washing companies make $40,000 a year, a larger business might make $250,000 a year when the company has been scaled. When just starting out, to make $52,000 a year gross, means you would need to make $1,000 per week. This means if you worked 40 hours a week, you would want to charge at least $25 per hour.
In order to make your business profitable, consider creating a pricing system that works best for you!
How much should I charge for pressure washing/power washing?
You can charge by the hour, per project, or per square foot when you own a pressure washing business. If you charge per hour, charge at least $40 per hour or more.
Charging by surface area is usually around $.45 per square foot or higher. Some companies have a minimum of $150 to make sure they don't lose money.
Josh writes about ways to make money, pay off debt, and improve yourself. After paying off $200,000 in student loans with his wife in less than four years, Josh started Money Life Wax and has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post and more! In addition to being a life-long entrepreneur, Josh and his wife enjoy spending time with their chocolate lab named Morgan, working out, helping others with their debt and recommend using Personal Capital to track your finances.