pressure washer in action

Pressure washing is a satisfying cleaning process. There’s just something about turning a very grimy surface into squeaky clean. But pressure washers are not simple to use. They’re also not easy on the pockets, and not all have the budget and time to use and buy one.

However, everyone loves power washing services. So if you have a passion for cleaning using these machines, starting your own pressure washing business may be the best path for you. Not only you will you do an activity you love, but you’ll also earn from it in the process.

How Easy Is It To Get Started?

Like with any business, there’s more to starting a small power washing business than meets the eye. It’s not only about buying units, providing your clients with service, and then receive payment afterward. Although you can accomplish it with minimum training and investment on equipment, it will require a combination of stamina, physical fitness, and of course, business skills on your part.

It will only take you a few minutes to learn how to operate a pressure washer. But you can only acquire the skills you’ll need to clean various surfaces effectively and safely through professional training or experience. You also have to be aware of the license needed for a power washing business.

You can get a contractor license in most states and prove your experience and educational claims. You can obtain training by enrolling on certificate courses at trade schools or continuing education. You may also consider working for a local power washing business to get experience.

Back To Basics: Learn How To Properly And Safely Use A Pressure Washer

Becoming familiar with the things a power washer can do and what type of jobs it can handle is the first step you need to do. You have to understand the functionalities and restrictions of your unit. These cleaning machines may only use water, but it’s at extremely high pressure, which means it is capable of damaging surfaces as well as injure you. So it is necessary not only to familiarize yourself with its cleaning abilities but also the potential damage it can cause when used incorrectly.

Here’s how you can learn:

  • Before starting to clean someone’s property, it is recommended to start on your own. If you don’t have a pressure washer yet, you can borrow or rent from a friend or neighbor, and simply apply it to any nearby surfaces that require cleaning. Explore its nozzles and settings and take note of what works well with a specific type of surface.
  • You can also go online and watch power washing tutorials on YouTube. Make sure to take note of the steps, safety tips, and other important things covered, and then apply what you’ve learned to your business venture later.
  • Another thing you can consider is to take an apprenticeship with a local pressure washing company. Choose an already established business with a good and reliable reputation. Aside from learning how to power wash from the best, it’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself on how to run a business. Take note of how much each job costs, job scheduling, how much you need to maintain the equipment and pay the staff. Take all that information and apply it once you’ve put up your business.

You also have a choice to mix up these options if it suits you well. The most important thing here is that you’re prepared and well-equipped with the necessary knowledge of your tools, as well as the process and the business side of things.

However, you have to ensure that you’re physically fit for the job since it’s physically demanding. Not only will you spend more than six hours per day standing, but you’ll also be under the heat of the sun.

Determine The Service You Want To Offer

Decide on the focus of your service offerings as well as your target market. Will you be servicing commercial, industrial, or residential clients? Consider starting slow at first. There are cleaning jobs that may be too much for your equipment to handle.

You may also want to limit the services you’re offering. Doing so will be beneficial on your part since you’ll be able to master them. And, it’ll also narrow down the equipment you need at the start fo your business, thus, reducing your upfront costs.

Another thing you want to figure out is the scope of your offerings. Some companies focus on paint removal, restoration, roofs and gutters, windows, concrete, general maintenance, and other specific jobs. While there are some that also offer home cleaning and window washing services.

There’s no need to do everything. Simply focus on offering services where you think you’re great at. Once you’re already a professional, you will be ready to handle bigger contracts and clients.

Create A Business Plan

Develop a business plan that has all the essential perspectives of your power washing business. You need to research your competitors in your area, even those soon-to-open ones. You also need to plan how exactly you’ll earn from your business. Your plan should clearly explain how you’ll do your business, how you’ll maintain it, types of jobs you’ll handle, and what your future goals are.

Your pressure washing plan template should also include a list of the following:

  • Startup and operating costs which include everything from transportation, fees for permits and licenses to an advertising budget, insurance costs, and everything in between
  • Equipment and supply
  • Customer types
  • Your pricing
  • Anticipated expenses

Having a good business plan in place will not only manage your expectations, but it’s also a way to persuade any suppliers or investors you have in mind. Put some thought into it and make sure its well-written to show them that you’re professional and committed to your business.

What Are The Equipment You Need?

You need to have your own set of equipment for your power washing business. If you’re tight on budget, you may consider renting a unit at first, but once you’ve saved enough make sure to get your own.

Here’s a list of other essential equipment you need to get your business rolling:

  • Power washing equipment which includes the unit itself, nozzles, surface cleaners, and cleaning agents.
  • A van or truck for hauling your equipment.
  • Work shirts or uniforms for you and your employees.

Choose The Right Pressure Washer

The requirements of your equipment will vary depending on your scope and the types of service you’re offering. If your main focus is residential clients, you may want a power washer that has at least 3,500 PSI or more and comes with hoses, downstream valve, and nozzles that can reach a home’s second story. If you’ll do mostly commercial cleaning, go for a stronger industrial/commercial grade power washers (gas engine only) with a water reservoir and offers more functionalities.

Gas Vs Electric Pressure Washer

It is crucial to invest in the best pressure washer your money can get. It may hurt your budget, but getting the expensive option will show how serious you are about your power washing business. Not only will your clients trust you right away, but they’ll more likely recommend your business to their family and friends.

Pressure washers come in the following types:

  • Gas Power Washer. Gas-powered pressure washers can deliver higher water pressure. They can easily clean large areas like siding, driveways, and decks without the help of toxic chemicals. They’re also good at getting rid of tree sap, chewing gum, and other tough gunk.
  • Electric Power Washer. Electric-powered pressure washers are suitable for cleaning outdoor furniture, small patios and decks, and other small cleaning jobs, and works well at removing stains. These units are quieter and lighter, require little maintenance, and do not produce emissions. You also don’t need to winterize them during the cold months when you need to store them indoors.

Keep in mind that power washers are not created equally. Residential pressure washers are not designed to handle the wear and tear that comes with commercial use. So you’ll want a tougher machine for your power washing business, which in this case is the gas-powered type. Also, electric pressure washers need a power outlet nearby, which means they are limited by the length of their cord in terms of the area you can cover.

The Legal Side

One important requirement before your business can operate is to register for various federal and state taxes. You also need to obtain proper permits and licenses, as failure to do so can lead to hefty fines, shut down of your business, or worst, some jail time for you.

Here’s a list of business documents you need:

  • Bond. Before you can obtain your license to operate, you may be required to pay some sort of bond.
  • Business License. Register your power washing business in the state you’re in.
  • Sales Tax Registration. This tax registration is for IRS purposes.

Some states also require specific permits such as contractor and environmental permits, so make sure to check with your local licensing office for these.

Get A Business Insurance

You need to get insurance so that you won’t end up bankrupt in case you injure someone or damage their property while doing your job. Also, if you have employees, your state may require you to get them a workers compensation insurance.

The three insurance types your pressure washing business may need are:

  • Liability Insurance. This is for covering any damage you may cause while on the job.
  • Equipment Insurance. To cover any cost if your equipment is stolen or damaged.
  • Workers Compensation. This will cover the injuries you or your staff will acquire while on the job.

Final Words

There are plenty of factors involved in starting a power washing business. You don’t simply show up in someone’s home with your unit and start cleaning their property. You have to learn not only to the ins and out of your machine, but the business side of things as well. It will also require effort, time, and money.

It may sound daunting, but when you put your heart into it and combined it with effort and great service, then you’ll see all your hard work pay off in no time. At the end of the day, there’s nothing more fulfilling than doing something you love and earning money from it at the same time.


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