How To Start A Power Washing Business [Read This Before Venturing Out]

A guide on how to start a power washing business doesn’t sound like something too complicated, nor the task of starting of such business. At least that’s what most people think about this type of business.

However, in reality, underestimating the complexity and circumstances that surround power washing businesses is a fatal mistake for many first time entrepreneurs. The power washing industry has expanded exponentially in the last several years and has become a very competitive one. However, it is fair to say that this is still a rapidly growing industry with huge potential. The only trick is to build your business from the ground up and set it on a solid foundation.

Here is how to start and which steps are essential if you want to own a thriving power washing business.

Where Do You Start?

Before starting the business, you need to check if there is a demand for this type of business in the area where you want to operate. And if there are many power washing businesses, are people pleased with them? Sometimes there might be plenty of competition, yet people may not be happy with their services.

What you need to do is to do your market research. Create a short questionnaire asking people about that kind of stuff and send it to a selected audience. You can reach them through social media, email, phone calls, pamphlets, and any other way you can think of. This is the first and most important step that should give you the green light or to stop.

If there is no demand, there is no point in starting in the first place. But if you get some data saying otherwise. Here's what follows.

What Is the Next Step?

Next, learn the trade. That’s assuming you have zero previous experience with power washing machines. You can start by checking out some YouTube channels that teach people how to use power washing machines. There are plenty of videos that are very educational and can teach you a lot about this business.

There are even some beneficial books and guides on this matter. Each can teach you a thing or two about this type of business. That way you will be able to learn how to operate this type of business, what kind of equipment you need to start, the operational costs, etc. All you need is extra free time of hard-work and internet connection. All of the videos and most of the guides are available for free. However, you may need to spend a few bucks on certain books and webinars.

Get Some Experience

Once you are done watching educational videos, go and rent a power washer. You can start by power washing your house and its surrounding first. Clean every space you can with a power washing machine. 

Check which types of machines work best for which surfaces and how you can make the most of things. Practice with power washing machine accessories and learn that as well. It’s one thing to watch other people do it on YouTube, an entirely another thing to do it on your own. 

Experiment with every available type (gas and electric) of power washing machine and learn how to operate them correctly and efficiently.

In the process try to apply all the knowledge you’ve accumulated from the educational videos and materials. If needed, take care of your friends or neighbours houses and driveways free of charge. But make sure that they understand that in case of some damages you are not responsible. There are risks in any jobs; power washing is no exception.

For example, power washing can cause flying debris. That can cause damage to the property or other people. That's why professionals have insurance policies that cover that. Practicing on your own won't make you the ultimate expert, but it is a start. If you could convince someone with experience to help you out or even pay him for some lessons, then that's even better.

A bonus tip:- It is better to start out with the electric pressure washer, especially if it is your first time as they are easier to operate.

Make a Business Plan

How to start a power washing business

So you did your market research, learned everything that needs to be learned, gained some experience, it is time to start working on your business plan. The business plan is the blueprint of every business. The better the business plan, the higher the chances for the business to succeed.

Marketing your business is very significant and an essential part of every business plan. But it is even more important to calculate your investment, your operational costs, and expected revenues. At the end of the day, all it matters is how much revenue you can generate after taking care of all the expenses.

So, How Much to Get Things Started?

Here are some of the most basic stuff to get you started:

  • Basic pressure washing gear
    This will cost you at least $1,500 for the things you can’t go without and some accessories. Pressure washer using gas will cost more obviously but it is more powerful and does not need to be connected to a socket.
  • Transport vehicle
    Used van or a small truck can be found for around $5,000.
  • Licenses, Permits and Insurances
    You can’t be in business without them. They will cost you around $500 per month and another $50 per month. However, the rates can vary from state to state.
  • Advertising your business and finding your first customers
    The projection for 50 paying customers is around $250 worth of advertising. That can be social media, flyers, or other type of advertising.

That comes down to an upfront cost of $7.250. Not a small amount, but then again, not big enough to get you in serious trouble. After all, starting a business without any investment is almost impossible. And, if you compare it with other business and their upfront cost, this will fall on the lower end of the scale.

Business Documents

Any guide on business startup will explain that one of the first things you need to do is to get your business documents. To do that you will need to contact your city’s clerk office or local licensing office to find all the requirements. The list of business documents can vary from state to state. However, some of the most common are:

  • Business License: All businesses in all states need to be licensed with the state in which they operate.
  • Contractors Permit: In some states, pressure washing businesses need to own a contractor permit. You can get that information from your local licensing office. Or open your favorite browser and Google “the name of your town/municipality” + pressure washing licensing. That should help you determine whether you need a contractor permit to operate in your area.
  • Bond: In some state is required to pay a bond before you start your power washing business. You can find out the same way as you did for a contractor permit.
  • Environment Permit: The reason for this kind of a permit is because you are discharging water to a storm drainer. However, that’s not the case for all states. There are some that are quite liberal on this matter and don’t require any.
  • Sales Tax Registration is obligatory for every state, and there is no way around it. You need to do it for tax obligations with the IRS.

Insurance

To be completely covered, you need three different types of insurance. The insurance rates can vary from one to another company. Therefore, it is important to get quotes from as many insurance agents as possible. Here are the types of insurances you need:

  • Equipment insurance in case your equipment is damaged or stolen
  • Workers compensation in case you get injured while on the job.
  • Liability insurance to cover the cost in case you damage something while pressure cleaning.

Bonus: Tips and Tricks to Help Your Business up and Running

There you are, you got all the licenses and insurance, you got your vehicle, your business plan, and the ambition to become the best power washer in the world. Or at least in your area of business.

1. Offer Freebies

People like free stuff, and that's pretty much a fact. You can offer free front stoop and patio cleaning with optional driveway cleaning. That should get the attention of plenty of people and will open some leads.

Of course, don’t expect anyone that asks for the free cleaning to be turned into a paying customer, but a certain percentage will opt for the driveway. If nothing else that will cover your basic expenses so you won’t end up losing money. Not to mention the fact that you will be able to spread the word around.

2. Time Limited Deals

This offer will expire in exactly four days. Don’t hesitate and call me at XXXXXX or email me at [email protected][insertyourcompany].com. That creates a sense of urgency that makes people act and buy stuff or services.

It's an old trick that marketers keep on using to create sales. There is no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of it and generate some leads.

3. Bring Some Facts

Were you aware that a power washed home perceived value can be almost $10.000 higher? That should make them think twice about whether they can use some good power washing for their property. Keep your focus on houses with signs for sale in front. Anyone that sells a house would like to get a higher offer. The fact that one single power washing can potentially bring a higher value in your favor. That too should bring you some customers.

4. Play on the Fact That No-One Wants to Feel Left Out

For example, spread a pamphlet saying one-third of your neighbors power washed their houses in the last three weeks. What are you waiting for? The thing is most people care about their community and follow major trends. That’s like Christmas decorations. Many people decorate their houses just because they see their neighbors do it and they do it too. Play on the same card and people will fall for that. They can't resist themselves. "Your neighbor did it” is a trigger for so many people.

5. Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are the most popular social media platforms. You can create ads that will target homeowners in the area or town where you operate. You can target them with before and after pictures, followed by a call to action. You may upload some videos in which you explain why power washing is essential and what are its main benefits. Experiment with different ads and formats, and see which one has the best ROI.

6. Promote Your Business on Grouper

Grouper is a massive discount platform from where you can get plenty of paying customers. If you are struggling startup, you will find Grouper a lifesaver as it brings plenty of potentials.

However, you don't have to overspread your business with a massive discount. The power washing business has some excellent profit margins, but that doesn't mean to go wild with your discount. 15% to 20% is more than enough discount to attract first-time clients. If the clients are pleased with your service, then they may ask for your services next year and the ones following.

7. Loyalty Program for Returning Clients

Even if you are starting, you also need to be thinking about the long run as well. For example, tell your clients that next year they are entitled to a 10% loyalty discount. A good percentage of those folks will keep that in mind and will not forget to call you next year and ask for that 10% discount. Many businesses thrive on returning customers. The more returning customers you have, the less you need to spend on advertising. Check out this article for more tips.

Final Thoughts

This guide on how to start a power washing business is the perfect and only blueprint you will need. All the things that a power washing business needs are here. All that is left for you is to love what you do and provide top services. That’s the true recipe for success. The rest is a technical formality that anyone can do. Passion, dedication, focus, and high standards will make your business succeed.

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    Verner Ellen

    Hi, my name is Verner Ellen. I am a homebody whose interest is in getting the best home tools and equipments to help with the the everyday house chores. I also love fitness, cooking and grilling. Maintaining a clean and comfortable home is my lifelong passion.

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