There’s something so satisfying about pressure washing something and seeing it look like new again. But if there’s anything more enjoyable, it’s earning a 6-to-7-digit income through it.
With low start-up costs and high-profit margins, starting a pressure washing business can be a perfect fit for many entrepreneurs. However, just like any other business, there’s a lot you need to consider—investments, insurance, strategies, and more.
To get you started on the right track and build a stable income flow, we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide on how to start a pressure washing business.
Why Starting a Pressure Washing Business is Worth It
A pressure washing business grows with you. You can start with a small budget and expand over time.
There are markets for pressure washing, no matter where you live. You can target homeowners, commercial establishments, or specialize in cleaning building exterior or driveways, decks, and patios. Offering window and chimney cleaning services is another option.
The good news is that once you develop a great working relationship with your clients, they’re likely to contact you every time they need cleaning services. Therefore, establishing customer loyalty is also easy.
Making money with the pressure washing business can be a breeze, thanks to low start-up costs and favorable pricing. You can earn between $40,000-$50,000 a year from your business at the beginning, with the potential of making upwards of a six-figure income over time.
Plus, you don’t have to train extensively to qualify or earn a degree to pressure clean. All you need is basic business management skills and a few tools, and you can be your own boss.
The Investment Needed to Start a Pressure Washing Business
Hands down, the most significant benefit of starting a pressure washing business is that you don’t need much money to get up and running. You can get started with as little as $10,000, and while this isn’t a trivial amount, it isn’t big enough to make you lose sleep. It will be much less than that if you already own some of the equipment.
To get started, you’ll need a pressure washer, pumps, nozzles, engines, chemicals, surface cleaners, and so on. This will cost at least $2,000, going up to $25,000, depending on whether you buy new or used ones, or rent them.
You’ll also need a truck or van—one with your business name and contact details for promotional purposes—to haul your equipment. This will cost around $450 per month, plus money for gas and vehicle maintenance.
Next, you have to figure out where you’ll do business.
Unless you’re thinking of starting from home, you’ll have to rent an office or retail space for your pressure washing business. Depending on your location, this will cost about $500-$2,500 monthly. Paying for a business phone service/number is another crucial expense that can be as little as $20 per month.
You have to pay for insurance, permits, and licenses, which costs approximately $500 upfront and then $60 per month. Then you have to figure out the cost of marketing your business and hiring employees.
Some companies spend tens of thousands per year on marketing, while some pay less than $1,000. Considering you’re just starting, we recommend starting small (maybe $200-$400 per month). If you plan on hiring employees, it’s advisable to budget $1,000 or more for labor expenses.
You’ll also need other tools to streamline your daily operations. For instance, it makes sense to have software for accounting to keep track of your expenses. We highly recommend trying out QuickBooks. It can double as an invoice and accounting software and even manage your bills and maximize tax reductions. QuickBooks also offers a 30-day free trial so you can try before you buy.
5 Steps to Start a Pressure Washing Business
Let’s take a look at the steps involved in starting a pressure washing business.
Step 1 — Learn to Pressure Wash Like a Pro
Although easy, you have to be careful when pressure washing. The water pressure is powerful enough to clean any surface debris, which also means one wrong blast from your washer’s jets can shatter your customer’s car window.
To avoid this, you need experience, skills, and knowledge.
You can sign up for a local pressure wash training course or get some on-the-job experience by working for another company. The other alternative is to seek online help by watching YouTube tutorials from professionals.
It’s really one of those things you learn by doing. Someone who knows what they are doing can finish a house in half the time it takes someone who is pressure washing for the first time.
While you’re at it, make sure you get your hands on all the necessary equipment and space we discussed above to start your business. As you begin investing money into business needs, make sure you keep a complete record of all your expenses on QuickBooks or any other accounting software to streamline tax filing and prevent errors.
Step 2 — Create a Solid Business Plan
Developing a good business plan will help you map out the specifics of your pressure washing business and discover unknowns, allowing you to maximize opportunities and eliminate bottlenecks.
What’s more, a business plan makes it easier to secure business support or a loan—or even get a partner on board. It should typically include the following sections:
- Executive summary
- Company description
- Market research
- Product/Service description
- Management and operational structure
- Marketing and sales strategy
- Financial projections
When preparing a business plan, you have to figure out your scope of services and set your prices.
Think about what you want. Do you want to stick to pressure washing exclusively? Or do you want to offer additional services, such as general maintenance, cleaning drains, and window washing?
Next, figure out how much you’ll charge for your services.
After calculating your break-even point (where total revenue equals total expenses), check out what your competitors are charging. Here’s a rough pricing list for pressure washing:
- Residential exterior: $250-$800
- Commercial exterior: $200-$1,000+
- Driveway: $50-$250
- Deck or patio: $150-$500
- Vehicle cleaning: $50-$200
Rates will vary depending on the size of the project. Look out for specific areas that are going to take extra time or attention. Are you going to have to purchase a taller ladder or more hose to get the job done?
Keep good records for how long jobs take so you can get a sense of what makes sense for you to charge.
Step 3 — Set Up Your Pressure Washing Business
Starting a washing company involves many steps. You have to choose a name and a legal structure and acquire the correct licenses, permits, and insurance. Let’s discuss each step in more detail.
Choose Your Business’s Name
Select an attractive and relevant name for your pressure washing business, complete with a matching domain. You can check out our guide What’s in a Name? How To Use Naming Conventions To Convert for more tips on choosing a good business name.
Register Your Pressure Washing Business
You can run your business as a sole proprietor, in which case you don’t need to register it. But registering your business will give you access to legal benefits, tax benefits, and personal liability protection, making it well worth the effort.
When selecting a business structure, you have five options:
- Sole proprietorship
- C Corporation
- S Corporation
- Limited Liability Company (LLC)
Each option has its share of pros and cons. It’s why you should do your research before making any decisions. You can learn more and setup your business in minutes online at ZenBusiness.
Sort Out Legal Formalities
You have to understand the legal requirements for doing business as a pressure washer to stay on the right side of the law. This includes getting the proper licenses, permits, and insurance.
For the right business documents, get in touch with your city’s licensing office or county clerk’s office to find out the exact requirements for your area. Here’s a list of documents one needs to start a pressure washing business:
- Business License — Register your business with the state.
- Bond — Pay a bond to get a license to operate a pressure washing business in your area.
- Sales Tax Registration — Register your business with the IRS for that purpose. Go to the IRS website to file for your EIN (Employer Identification Number).
- Specific Permits — Get a contractor permit to pressure wash in your area, plus an environmental permit to ensure you discharge your wastewater carefully.
You’ll also need insurance. Every pressure washing business usually requires three types of insurance:
- Equipment insurance to cover damage or if they get stolen.
- Liability insurance to cover damage that may be caused when pressure cleaning.
- Workers’ compensation to cover injuries to you or your staff members while on the job.
You can visit insurance agents to get customized reports and advice when making insurance-related decisions.
Step 4 — Open a Business Bank Account
A business bank account enables you to separate your personal assets from your company’s assets.
This is especially important if you want to retain your personal asset protection. The other advantage of having a separate business bank account is that accounting and tax filing becomes a lot easier.
You can get a business credit card to separate your personal and business expenses too. Not only will this help with your company’s credit history, but it’ll also keep you in the IRS’s good books.
Remember that you’ll need specific documentation and information to open a business bank account, including an EIN, business formation documents, and proof of business address.
Step 5 — Strategize Your Marketing Plans
Brainstorm effective marketing strategies to find new clients for your pressure washing business and earn more revenue.
Assuming you’ve already chalked out your brand identity (business name, logo, tagline, brand colors), you can start implementing a combination of online and in-person marketing tactics to get the word out about your pressure washing business. Here’s how to go about it:
Create a Website
Having a website for your pressure washing business is a no-brainer. It’s probably the most effective way to attract clients while simultaneously establishing a method for prospects to contact you and prove your credibility.
You can create a professional website using a free website builder like Wix, where all you have to do is select and customize a template using its drag-and-drop interface.
It’s easy, secure (meeting the highest grade of industry security standards), and reliable. Your company website will always be available to potential customers because of Wix’s strong infrastructure, zero-downtime maintenance, and managed monitoring and optimization.
Leverage Social Media
Create business accounts on leading social media platforms to promote your services to potential clients.
Facebook is likely your best bet for the pressure washing industry due to its broad user base and extensive reach. Many Facebook users are likely to own houses or commercial establishments, making it an excellent place to advertise your pressure washing services.
Post pictures of your services, customer testimonials, and offers to boost engagement and gain exposure for your company. You can also ask your existing customers to share your post or post reviews to generate word-of-mouth publicity.
Make sure to create an account on other platforms, too, like LinkedIn, Google, and more.
Don’t Dismiss Offline Marketing
Online is the way to go today. But that doesn’t mean you cannot employ offline marketing tactics and reach out to local people to bring in more business.
Start by getting the word out there. Tell your friends, families, acquaintances, colleagues—and anyone who listens—about your pressure washing business. Ask them for references and recommendations.
You can also distribute flyers, use vehicle wraps, or opt for the classic door-to-door advertising tactic. You never know what may work and get you your next client!
Once you get the ball rolling for your pressure washing business, your next priority should be to increase profits. This means growing and expanding your business.
When you start taking on more customers and scaling operations, you can’t be a one-person show anymore. You’ll need to hire additional staff to let you take on more clients or allow you to step back and focus your attention on other aspects of the business, such as marketing and customer service.
You’ll also have to ramp up sales and marketing, which means spending more money to acquire more customers.
To help you figure out the specifics of expanding a business, we’ve compiled the following Crazy Egg guides: