So, you want to start a pressure washing business. Numerous homes throughout the neighborhood look tired and sad, dusty or dirty due to age or recent storms. You can help bring them back to life. You see a niche.
Like any other small business, you need a thorough business plan, funds, equipment, and perhaps even employees.
1. Learn How to Power Wash
Ideally, you would be experienced in pressure washing services. If not, before starting a successful pressure washing company, you should learn to pressure wash like a pro.
Picking up a pressure washer from your local home improvement store is enough. Get a professional-grade machine. Pressure washing may seem less complicated than other trades, but there is still a learning curve.
Start around your own home. Learn the ins and outs of your machine; use it on common surfaces:
If you do not own a home, ask your landlord, friends, or family to let you practice in exchange for free power washing services.
2. Write a Business Plan
Before you start any business, you should write a business plan. It will help you outline a clear strategy and examine all essential elements of starting a business. It’s also a requirement for most financing.
Amongst other things, a business plan should include:
- Your Ideal Customer — Who is your perfect customer? Where do they live? Homeowners or renters? Craft an ideal customer and market your services to this demographic.
- Product and Value Proposition — Why would local folk hire you over the competition? It could be tricky to nail down a value proposition. You could start by asking customers why they might choose you? Focus on their response and improve upon it tenfold.
- Revenue Streams — How many pressure washing services do you offer? Do you cover commercial, construction sites, equipment or mobile washing, interior surface cleaning, or exterior concrete washing? A variety of service offerings will keep you covered.
3. Invest in Pressure Washing Equipment
You will need the right equipment: a really good pressure washer. You can find a high-end one built for commercial or industrial use at most home improvement stores; if local stores don’t carry them, shop online. In most cases, you can buy directly from a manufacturer.
Ideally, you will set aside a bit of capital for equipment. If not possible, consider a small business loan. Whatever you do, don’t skimp on equipment.
4. Create Your Brand
Before you start selling your services, you should come up with your brand. A strong brand will make you visible and encourage homeowners to hire you. A brand is an essential part of your company’s image and should be reflected everywhere (logo, flyers, business cards, website, etc.).
If you have the funds, hire a professional to design your logo and website. If coming up with a good business name is challenging, employ a creative mind to brainstorm a few options.
In terms of marketing, there are a few options. You could go as simple as putting your logo on a wrap on your truck or invest in a web marketing campaign. Advertising on Facebook or Google can help quickly put your name out locally.
5. Licensing Your Pressure Washing Business
Professional licensing is extremely important when starting a power wash business. Many states require a power washing business to be properly licensed by their regional regulatory board. In addition, many states, counties, and municipalities require general business licenses.
You must also find out about relevant rules and regulations. For example, restrictions on detergents and cleaning agents, some of which pose health risks, and may be tightly controlled.
6. Marketing Your Pressure Washing Business
Chances are you will cater to local clients and remain within your municipality. At least in the beginning.
Marketing a small business locally brings about numerous challenges. Here are a few tips for marketing your pressure washing company’s services.
- Local SEO — Ensure your website generates traffic and brings in leads and sales. Most customers shop online, even for local services. Your local SEO will include content creation, website optimization, strategic social media management, and more.
- Online Reviews — Again, folks today are more likely to call local businesses with plenty of five-star reviews on various sites. Ensure you collect reviews from happy customers. When you finish a job, ask them to leave a review on Yelp, Facebook, or Google.
- Community Activity — You are a small business focused on the local market. First, join your local Chamber of Commerce. Second, consider sponsoring a local event or charity drive. Attend street markets and fairs with flyers or demos.
7. Planning for Future Growth
As with any business, when starting a power wash business, you should also plan for the long term. Once you have a full portfolio and can’t service everyone on your own, you might start hiring employees or subcontracting. This might also mean bigger offices – or an actual office instead of a garage – more vehicles, equipment, etc.
Consequently, you will be able to take on more clients and increase revenue, etc., which will help you keep growing. It’s good to have some projections as to how far you would like to go, how much you may be willing to handle, and what your financial aspirations are. Do you want to remain a small family business, or do you want to go national?
Growth can happen quickly, and you should have a plan so that, 1- you don’t have to turn away business, and 2- you don’t overstretch yourself. Especially the latter can result in shoddy service, double-bookings, short-staffing, delivery delays, rushed communication, and mistakes, all of which can adversely affect your reputation.
A key factor in handling growth is budget. From the onset, you may allocate some funds for future development; destine a portion of your revenue to an expansion fund, or consider financing.
It’s not uncommon for businesses to fail because they grew too fast (and without a plan)! A good business plan will consider scaling your business.
8. Using Pressure Washing Business Software
Why do I require pressure washing business software? Business automation is becoming more widespread with businesses of all sizes.
There are generic software options, but specialized pressure washing company software will help you run more efficiently. They can help manage scheduling, dispatching, reporting, invoicing, and other tools/services your company can use daily.
- Scheduling — create and adjust driver schedules to guarantee timely arrival at a
- Invoicing — A paper invoice is a relic. Most clients will prefer automated invoicing these days.
- Management — If you have a large portfolio of repeat customers, pressure washing management software can help keep track of customers and service dates.
9. Pricing Pressure Washing Services
Believe it or not, operating a pressure washing company is not cheap. You may have overheads like employees, equipment, insurance, etc. Regardless of your location, you should aim for a rate of around $50/hour. Any lower and your operating costs will eat into your finances.
Below is a sample pricing plan, based on what some well-established pressure washing businesses offer:
- Concrete Cleaning – $.10/sq. ft.
- Brick Walls and Siding – $.15/sq. ft.
- Flat Surfaces – $.25/sq. ft.
- Concrete Cleaning – $.15/sq. ft.
- Interior Cleaning – $.25/sq. ft.
- Roof Cleaning – $.30/sq. ft.
- Exterior Concrete – $.10/sq. ft.
- Stairs, Sidewalls, and Breezeways – $.15/sq. ft.
- Pool Cleaning – $.20/sq. ft.
This is a small sample size, and you may adapt prices depending on where you live, your state, and whether you are new or more established.
You could also include specialized services, such as gas station, restaurant cleaning, or construction site cleanup.
10. Managing Employees
For the first few months, or even a year, you may choose to handle all business yourself. You may initially save some money by avoiding costly wages and insurance costs. But, as your customer base grows, you may find one worker (you) is not enough.
This is where planning for growth comes in. Where will you find employees? How many will you hire? What qualifications will your employees hold? Answering these questions in your business plan will save you many headaches.
You have a few options here. You may post an ad online, maybe in local groups on Facebook, to hire in the community. Post an ad in your town’s daily paper or on a bulletin board at the town hall or the supermarket. Many small businesses visit job fairs at local schools or community colleges.
Once you acquire an employee or two, your job is to inspire them. Ensure your employees help build your brand, take pride in their work, and bring in new clientele. How? Bonus incentives, advancement opportunities, and autonomy all work wonders.
Now, Let’s Get to Work
We’ve reviewed some of the key elements to consider before starting a pressure washing business. We have also mentioned some of the common pitfalls for new business owners, so you can avoid some of the stresses that can dampen the thrill of starting a business.
Is starting a pressure washing business profitable? Yes, it can be as profitable as you want to make it if you have clear goals, a plan, great service, and a creative approach to growth.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of how to start a pressure washing business, bring in a profit, and feed your entrepreneurial spirit, one client at a time!