How to Start a Pressure Washing Business

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Starting a pressure washing business  or a cleaning company, generally, almost never goes wrong. It doesn’t need a lot of certification, the operational costs are low, and the upfront entry costs are relatively low. You can always start with a small budget and expand over time. But it’s easy to turn a profit in a short span of time because the demand for pressure washing services is always high. Homeowners, commercial establishments, residential markets – all these can be your target market.

Starting a pressure washing business is easy, but with any business, you have to make sure that you know the basics before jumping on a business opportunity. Here are some tips on how you can start a pressure washing business:

1. Hone your pressure washing skills.

A person pressure washing a car

Make sure you develop your pressure washing skills and learn to clean like a pro – since soon enough, you will be the pro that people would hire. Though pressure washing might be easy, you have to be careful when doing so. This means cleaning the surfaces thoroughly without damaging the surrounding area, such as plants, windows, or surfaces you’re cleaning. One wrong blast from the washer’s jets can shatter your customer’s car window or ruin their plant box.

In pressure washing, you have to know what nozzle to use for every cleaning task and be mindful of safety to prevent injuring yourself or other people. Also, you must know how to approach hard-to-reach areas safely and efficiently.

To do this, you need knowledge, experience, and skills. You can sign up for a local pressure wash training course or get some on-the-job experience first by working for another pressure washing company. Another alternative is to seek help online by watching YouTube tutorials from professionals.

Practice regularly to hone your skills, improve, and gain loyal clients. After all, no one wants to hire a sub-par cleaning service or hear your customer say, “I should have done this myself.” Read here to discover what your customers should get as they hire your pressure washing services

2. Secure other items needed for a pressure washing business.

When you first get started, renting out pressure washing equipment might make more sense. But soon enough, you will need to buy your own. Some equipment and things you need to secure include:

  • Pressure washing gear – This includes the pressure washer itself, along with pumps, engines, nozzles, cleaning solutions and chemicals, surface cleaners, and more. This will usually cost at least $2,000, depending on the gear you choose.
  • Transportation – You will need a truck or van to haul your equipment. Add decals with your business name and contact details for a marketing boost. This will cost about $450 a month, plus money for gas and maintenance.
  • Employees – You may start by being a sole proprietor, but you will need to hire employees as your business expands. Depending on the amount of work you have, it’s advisable to budget $1,000 or more for labor expenses. You may also need to provide them with work shirts.
  • Office and warehouse space – Unless you’re thinking of starting your business from home, you’ll need to rent an office or retail space for your business. A sole proprietor can start by storing their equipment in their garage and expanding to an office and warehouse space when the business grows. Depending on your location, it may cost you $500 to $2,500 monthly.
  • Phone service – One of your most vital expenses is phone service so you can communicate with your customers and potential clients. You may opt to use a cell phone at first, which will cost around $100 a month. If you’re going to use multiple phone lines
  • Computers and office supplies – Many people book services online now, and if you’re going to create a website, you will need computers. Managers would need it too for business-related tasks like managing employee payroll, booking client appointments, doing taxes, and more. You will also need an office area with at least a desk and chair.

3. Create a solid business plan.

A notebook with “business plan” written on it

Think about your business ideas, from six months to a year in the future. Starting and growing a business needs you to be ten steps ahead to make sure it remains open and meets its needs and goals.

Creating a good and solid business plan will help you map out the specifics of your pressure washing business and discover unknowns, allowing you to maximize your opportunities and prevent anything that will hold you back.

When preparing a business plan, you have to figure out these topics to consider:

  • Business name – Choosing a business name is essential, but it can be challenging since you need to select an attractive and relevant name for your business. If you operate as a sole business owner, you might want to operate under your own name. Along with your business name, think of a catchy tagline and create a logo that you can put on your marketing materials.
  • Business structure – When registering your business, you need to form a legal entity and make a specific legal entity. The most common business structure types are sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, and corporation.
  • Scope of services – Think about what you want to offer. Do you want to stick to pressure washing exclusively, or do you want to offer additional services like general maintenance, window washing, chimney cleaning, or cleaning drains?
  • Startup and ongoing costs – The ongoing expenses will include labor costs for workers, lease payments for equipment and transportation, insurance, and marketing costs.
  • Target market – Your target market can be homeowners near you, vehicle owners, commercial property owners, or government agencies who need pressure washing services of buildings and roads. Most pressure washing businesses do better by offering services to all types of customers and have employees that are experts in doing specific pressure washing jobs.
  • Fees and charges – Do a little background research on how you can charge for your pressure washing services. Usually, you can charge $100 to $300 for cleaning exterior sidings of a home, $80 to $200 for driveways, $250-$500 for deck or patio, and $50-$200 for vehicle cleaning.
  • Profitability – Think about how you can surely make a profit. If the usage of the equipment is high, you can expect to make at least 100% of the amount you paid for the equipment lease a month. For instance, if your monthly operational costs are around $1,500, you should earn at least $3,000 a month as your minimum goal. If homeowners are your main customers, you need to do about three to four jobs a week to meet the minimum goal.
  • Marketing and sales strategy – How do you plan to advertise your business and entice potential clients? Using a single marketing platform is not enough – you need to have a presence on as many media as possible. Google ads and social media can help boost sales quickly, but the old-school method of handing out flyers and word-of-mouth around your area is still effective.
  • Management and operational structure – Starting and managing a company offers a number of employee management issues. You have to set how you can manage, oversee and communicate with your employees in the field. You also need to set employee schedules that work for everyone, track their work hours, and store important documents, forms, and checklists. To effectively manage, more and more pressure washing businesses are using business software instead of paper and pens or Excel spreadsheets.
  • Financial projections – Create financial projections so you can strategize on how to make your business grow.

4. Sort out legal formalities.

For your business to be legitimate, you have to understand and comply with the legal requirements to stay on the right side of the law. For the complete list of documents, you need to secure, get in touch with your local licensing office or clerk office. Here are some legal formalities you need to start a pressure washing business:

  • Business name – When looking out for a name, research by checking state’s business records, state and federal trademark records, social media, and web domain availability. You don’t want to have the same name as another business.
  • License – You have to register your business with the state to get the company off the ground. Failure to secure necessary permits and licenses can result in huge fines, and it may even cause your business to be shut down.
  • Tax registration – Your business must also be registered for tax purposes. Check out what types you may have to pay.
  • Insurance – It’s important to buy liability insurance, equipment insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance. Make sure that you are protected against any property damage that may happen while you’re working, or injuries to yourself or employees, as well as damage to equipment.
  • Contract – You may want to require your clients to sign a service agreement before starting a pressure washing job, especially where services are provided on an extended basis. This contract states the terms and conditions of service, clarifies service level expectations, the scope of the job, and client expectations to minimize the risk of legal disputes.
  • Labor safety requirements – If you have employees, it’s vital to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements. Regulations relevant to these include injury reports, appropriate hazard identification, and proper safety precautions.
  • Certificate of occupancy – If you operate your business from a physical location, like when offering a drive-thru pressure washing service for cars, you need this one. It will confirm that your business meets all building codes, zoning laws, and government regulations.

5. Open a bank account for your business.

A new bank account named after your business enables you to help separate your personal assets from your company’s assets. This is essential to protect your personal assets and form, making it easier to do accounting and tax filing. If your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets and property can be at risk in the unfortunate event when someone sues your business. Making a separate bank account can also help you separate your personal and business expenses to help better track your business’ credit history.

6. Strategize your marketing.

Marketing is key to any business endeavor because if nobody knows about your business, you will not have clients and customers. When starting this kind of business, you need social media. Use as many social platforms as possible. A social media presence can help increase brand awareness, attract a new audience and potential customers, connect with prospects easily, and drive traffic to your website. Facebook is most likely your best option due to its broad user base and extensive reach. You can use LinkedIn and Instagram, too.

Speaking of websites, having one is a no-brainer. It’s the most effective way to prove your credibility while helping prospective clients contact you quickly. Assuming you have created a brand identity (business name, logo, brand colors, tagline), you can create a professional website using free website building sites like GoDaddy, WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, and Shopify. If you need help on how to market your website more effectively, read here

Also, don’t dismiss offline marketing. While online is the way to go nowadays, that doesn’t mean you cannot use offline marketing tactics to reach out to people near you and bring in more business. Start by getting a word. Tell your friends, families, colleagues, and neighbors about your business, and ask them to recommend you if they know someone who needs a good washing. Distribute flyers, go door-to-door, or use vehicle wraps. You may never know who needs your service!

Another way to market your business effectively is to offer a commission for related enterprises like landscaping companies, real estate agents and realtors, or auto repair shops for bringing you customers. Establish good relationships with your government officials so you can ensure that your business will be responsible for keeping your locality clean.

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