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10 Tips For Starting A Pressure Washing Business

 
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Midwestpro
Site Admin


Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 862
Location: Indiana

PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 7:50 pm    Post subject: 10 Tips For Starting A Pressure Washing Business Reply with quote

UPDATE - I've updated this post because more and more I see guys making the same mistake. If you don't do half of the other stuff I mention below at least do this step - BUY QUALITY EQUIPMENT!!

I'm telling you straight up, if you're planning on succeeding in this business, don't by cheap shit that isn't going to last. You're going to be running your new pressure washer almost daily and for hours at a time so don't skimp on buying a pressure washer. If you want to save some money then don't get a hot water machine right away, just purchase a cold water. 90% of the time we use cold water anyway and you can also upgrade later or by a hotbox.

I recommend buying a belt driven washer for multiple reasons. 1. it lasts longer because the motor isn't vibrating the pump like on a direct drive machine and the pump runs at slower speeds as opposed to overly high speeds in a direct drive. 2. A belt driven machine will suck water from a tank or container while a direct drive can only be directly fed or gravity fed.

I also recommend at least a 4 gallon per minute pump for fast and efficient cleaning. Your flow rate or GPM is where the cleaning speed comes from. Faster cleaning means more profit for you. I also recommend a Honda engine, hands down best small engine available. My first machine I bought was a 4gpm belt driven pump with a Honda motor and to this day it still runs and we still use it. That's after 9 years of abuse! I like both BE and Pressure Pro brands. I put a link below so you can see the type of machine I'm talking about.

Quality Pressure Washers.


1. Be certain you enjoy the work. You are going to be devoting a lot of time and energy to starting your new pressure washing business and building it into a successful venture, so itís vital that you truly enjoy the work. Whether youíll be doing the physical labor yourself or just running the business end of the company, you better be sure you enjoy it or youíll be burned out before you even get started.

2. Have your personal finances in check. Starting a new power washing business can be tough. Realistically it may be awhile before your new business actually makes any profits. Starting your new business while your personal finances arenít quite up to par will only put an extra strain on you and the new power wash company.

3. Donít do it alone. Itís imperative and usually overlooked, that you have a support system while youíre starting a business (and afterwards). A family member or friend can be someone to bounce ideas off but be sure they give you positive feedback; some people will actually drag you down and tell you that youíre idea is crazy. Find a successful business owner that can serve as a mentor, someone whom has what you want. Talk with other contractors in the pressure washing industry for support.

4. Get clients or customers first. Donít wait until youíve officially started your business to start looking for customers, because your business wonít survive without them. Do the networking, make the contacts, sell, or even volunteer your services just to get things rolling and to give you some practice. You canít start marketing too soon. You canít buy $10,000 worth of equipment and just expect the phone to start ringing the following week.

5. Write a business plan. The main reason for writing a business plan first is that it can help you to avoid wasting your time and money on starting a business that will NOT succeed. Your business plan should contain your companyís purpose, goals, budgets, projected income, customer demographics, market analysis, advertising and marketing plans.

6. Do extensive research. Youíll do a lot of research while writing a business plan, but thatís just a start. You need to become an expert on the pressure wash industry, products, equipment, services, methods, and techniques if youíre not already. Joining related message boards, forums, and attending networking events are great ideas.

7. Hire professional help. Moreover, just because you run a small business, does not mean you have to be an expert on everything. If youíre not good at accounting or bookkeeping, hire one (or both). As a new pressure washing contractor youíll be tempted to wear many hats but youíll waste more time and money in the long run by trying to do things yourself that youíre not qualified to do.

8. Have some capitol lined up. Save up if you have to or approach potential investors and lenders. Figure out your financial safety net plan. Donít expect to start a professional pressure washing company on a shoe string budget. Fly by night companies do this all the time and thatís why they are gone as fast as they came. To do this professionally you have to look professional, and that will cost some money initially.

9. Be professional from the get-go. Everything about you and the way you do business needs to give people the perception that you are a professional contractor running a serious pressure washing service. That means getting all the trimmings such as professional business cards, a business phone, a professionally designed logo, matching paper work, lettered vehicle, insurance, and treating people in a professional, courteous manner.

10. Get the legal and tax issues right the first time. Itís much more difficult and expensive to detangle a mess afterwards. Register your company with your State. Find out about licensing. Make sure you have the proper amount of general liability, commercial auto, and workman's compensation insurance. How will the entity of your business affect your income tax situation? Consult with an accountant or lawyer as to what business formation you should set up. Learn what your legal and tax responsibilities are before you start your pressure washing business and operate within the law.


Last edited by Midwestpro on Sat Nov 17, 2012 10:08 am; edited 7 times in total
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Shoot2thrill



Joined: 24 Mar 2008
Posts: 9
Location: Atlanta

PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heyy! Razz

I just purchased a 4000 psi, 3.5G/M pressure washer and a 32inch floor cleaner.
Right off the bat I had a 230ft driveway that I charged $275 for and a very small 1 I charged $140 for.
Both were calls because utility vehicles left stains in thier customers driveway.

My company will specialize in handwashing windows inside and out and ofcourse pressure washing.

We have ads in the yellowpages and in a newsletter for a 30,000 home subdivision.

Areas I need to address is drumming up tons of business.
I was going to go on an e-mail campaign to a few hundred Realtors in the area and offer a quick rinse special.

Maybe just rinsing off a house from the ground for $99 to $150 depending on the size.
Upselling a few items such as window cleaning and a complete driveway cleaning for the 'Realtors special'.

What do you think of this?
Any other ideas?

Also, didn't see it in the other topics but whats up with muriatic acid?
When should this be used and is it safe to run through the chemical applicater tip on the pressure washer?
I ofcourse have a downstream chemical injector on the pressure washer.

Anyways... nice running into the forums. I have no doubt I'll be back with 4 million questions!

Thx,
Shoot
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Midwestpro
Site Admin


Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 862
Location: Indiana

PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the forum. You bring up some great questions.

One concern I see with offering a "quick rinse" service is wondering if you are really going to get the house clean? You have to use the correct cleaners, or contaminants such as algae and mildew will not be killed effectively, hence they will return in a short time. Using the correct cleaners won't allow for a quick splash and dash, the surface must be washed to remove all the pollutants and to rinse off the cleaner.

I am not saying your idea won't work, but you don't want to leave a wake of unhappy customers feeling like they got what they paid for, cheap pressure washing.

Muriatic Acid can be applied through a chemical injector, you'll just have to know what percentage of draw your injector is to figure out the ratio of mixture you are applying. Be sure to always flush your hoses and injector out with water immediately after downstreaming any chemicals. Here is more on Muratic Acid.
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Shoot2thrill



Joined: 24 Mar 2008
Posts: 9
Location: Atlanta

PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Correction Arrow The subdivision we're targeting has 4,000 homes not 30,000.

We were thinking the quick rinse was mainly to wash the pollen, dust and dirt off the homes for realtors that want to keep thier cost at a minimum while actually noticeably cleaning the house.
Any mold, mildew or stain removal we can also do but will be extra.

I do have a few more questions!

Arrow First is advertising. What advertising works very well, works well, works so-so, and what doesnít work Ė for small commercial and residential?

Arrow My next issue I would like input on is labor. How are the best ways to advertise for help, and different opinions on how to compensate help?

Arrow Third is software for administrating the operation. Does everybody have any software that maintains customer base and work schedules?

Thanks in advance for your help and advice!
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Midwestpro
Site Admin


Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 862
Location: Indiana

PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shoot2thrill wrote:


Arrow First is advertising. What advertising works very well, works well, works so-so, and what doesnít work Ė for small commercial and residential?

Advertising has many variables that play a role in its success. Timing, the right audience, the headline, the message, the offer, price or value, and the demand for your type of service just to name a few. What works best is when all of these variables are present and up to par. It doesn't matter what media type you are using (yellow pages, newspaper, mailers, website) they can all be very effective. With advertising, be it commercial or residential, the best thing you can do is to take aim and keep firing, be consistent, it takes time for people to trust you. The 10th time someone sees your ad will always be more effective than the 1st time they saw it.

Arrow My next issue I would like input on is labor. How are the best ways to advertise for help, and different opinions on how to compensate help?

I've been told, by other reputable contractors, they have had success running a help wanted ad on craigslist.com it's free and can be very effective. Just like with advertising, a well worded help wanted ad can bring you a better turnout of potential employees.

Most employers in this industry pay their help hourly, but this seems to create the revolving door syndrome. Some contractors have reported longer employee relationships and better quality work from their help by paying them a commission or percentage of each job they perform.


Arrow Third is software for administrating the operation. Does everybody have any software that maintains customer base and work schedules?

Quick Books Pro is a very popular program among contractors

Thanks in advance for your help and advice!
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Newbie



Joined: 12 Oct 2008
Posts: 2
Location: NW Ohio

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2008 2:07 am    Post subject: Thank You Reply with quote

I first have to say thank you! Finally, there's someone out there who is willing to help people get started in this business. I have taken an interest in starting my own business for some time and I can't wait to learn more about it. My story is probably typical; I hate my job, I'd like to make more money, and I would like to start power washing on a part-time basis and grow it into a full time profession.

Thanks again!
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FCPWLLC



Joined: 15 Sep 2008
Posts: 144
Location: Lexington, KY

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2008 8:21 am    Post subject: Re: Thank You Reply with quote

Newbie wrote:
I first have to say thank you! Finally, there's someone out there who is willing to help people get started in this business. I have taken an interest in starting my own business for some time and I can't wait to learn more about it. My story is probably typical; I hate my job, I'd like to make more money, and I would like to start power washing on a part-time basis and grow it into a full time profession.

Thanks again!


Please fill out your signature so that we all know who you are.

Welcome to the Board.
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Newbie



Joined: 12 Oct 2008
Posts: 2
Location: NW Ohio

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry about that, and thank you for the welcome. I'm going to try to learn as much as I can from this forum before I ask too many questions. In the mean time if there's anything anyone feels could help me learn even more, I would greatly appreciate it.
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Blue Heron



Joined: 17 Feb 2011
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:59 am    Post subject: 10 Tips For Starting A Pressure Washing Business Reply with quote

Nice post as well as great tips for Starting a Pressure Washing Business. Starting a real pressure washing business can be hard work if you don't know the proper steps to take. So to make things a little easier, just use these 10 tips as part of your plan. When you are choosing which pressure washers to purchase when you start a pressure washing business, the decision between cold water pressure washers and hot water pressure washers is somewhat complex. Most people would think before starting a business in pressure washing, or any business for that matter, that you need a huge business loan to go out and purchase all the equipment youíll need for your business.
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MikoMcGreg



Joined: 11 Feb 2014
Posts: 9
Location: Louisville, KY

PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A basic washer is not going to last you long at all if you use it consistently.

You will need to register as self employed and then get yourself some public liability insurance and then it is word of mouth and local advertising.

May not be a market though, as many people now own this item and do it themselves. .
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