Beginner's Guide to Starting a Pressure Washing Business

Beginners Guide to Starting a Pressure Washing Business


  1. What are you looking to accomplish?
  2. What markets and services are you offering?
  3. Marketing Guides
  4. Selecting the right vendor.
  5. Configuring the right equipment for YOUR jobs. 
  6. Building yourself vs buying pre-built.
  7. Maintaining & Servicing your equipment. 

Special Tip: While we’ll reference our site in this guide, you may use any vendor you wish. This guide is for everyone starting their business or considering upgrading in the future. 

What are your goals and aspirations? You've made the exciting decision to embark on the journey of starting your own business, and that's fantastic! Owning a business brings a mix of joys, challenges, and everything in between. You'll experience both good and bad days, encounter wonderful customers as well as difficult ones. However, it's essential to remember that building a successful business requires dedication and perseverance. Overnight success is rare, and it often takes time for businesses to start seeing profits. In fact, it's common for most businesses to achieve profitability in their second or third year of operation. So, stay committed to your vision and keep pushing forward, knowing that with persistence, your business can grow and thrive.


Starting Your Business

PRO TIP: Ensure you complete this step BEFORE you begin booking jobs! Before diving into the exciting world of pressure washing, it's crucial to address certain requirements specific to your locality. While the regulations may vary from county to county and state to state, conducting thorough research on your local requirements is essential. Most of these steps can be accomplished without the need for a lawyer and can be done independently. Here's a general outline to guide you:

  1. File your LLC
  2. Obtain Commercial Vehicle Insurance - You can modify any automotive policy for commercial use.
  3. Acquire Business Insurance - Consider reputable providers such as Hiscox or Vermost and opt for a recommended coverage of $1,000,000 General Liability.
  4. Obtain Workman's Comp (or Exemption, if permitted by your state and you have no employees).

By completing these initial steps diligently, you'll lay a strong foundation for your pressure washing business and ensure compliance with relevant legal and insurance requirements.

CRM and Organizing Your Business

PRO TIP: You can't serve your customers if you don't have a proper system in place! To efficiently manage your customers, schedule, and jobs, we highly recommend utilizing a service called Markate. This platform offers several resources that can greatly benefit your business, including:

  1. Customer Quoting: When providing a quote, be sure to include detailed information. Instead of simply stating "Wash Driveway," provide a comprehensive description like "Pressure Washing of a Concrete Driveway. We will utilize a pre-treat with Sodium Hypochlorite, followed by a high-pressure wash and rinse. Finally, we will apply a post-treatment to prevent the growth of mold and algae."

PRO TIP: Don't forget to specify the day you can perform the job.

  1. Scheduling The Job: Once the customer agrees to the price and schedules the job, promptly add it to your calendar. Take advantage of automation features to ensure your customer receives a reminder via text or email the day before the job and when you are 30-60 minutes away from their location.

  2. Customer Follow-up: This step is crucial for building customer loyalty. After completing a job, utilize an automated system to follow up with your customer. Consider offering them an incentive, such as a $20 discount, to encourage them to leave a 5-star review.

By leveraging the capabilities of Markate and implementing these strategies, you can effectively streamline your customer management, scheduling, and follow-up processes, ultimately enhancing the success of your pressure washing business.

Determining Your Target Markets and Services

This step is crucial in ensuring the success of your pressure washing business. Amidst the abundance of misinformation and the temptation to engage in equipment competitions, it's important to make informed decisions and avoid unnecessary purchases. Before launching your business, take the time to consider the following:

  1. Identifying Target Markets: Instead of solely focusing on the most expensive homes, our experience has shown that middle-class income homes in HOA (Homeowners Association) communities make excellent customers. These homeowners are often friendly, down-to-earth, and willing to invest in maintaining their homes. In contrast, the most expensive homes can sometimes be difficult to work with due to unrealistic expectations and reluctance to spend money. As the old saying goes, rich people don't stay rich by spending freely.

  2. Choosing Services: When starting out, it's advisable to concentrate on offering services such as driveway cleaning, home exteriors, roof cleaning, pool cages and decks, as well as patios and fencing. To build your portfolio and gather before/after pictures for marketing purposes, consider offering your services to friends and family for free. This will provide you with valuable examples of your work that can be showcased to potential customers.

By carefully selecting your target markets and services, you can position your pressure washing business for success and attract the right customers who value your expertise and services.

Effective Marketing Strategies for Your Pressure Washing Business

Building a successful pressure washing business requires implementing effective marketing strategies to attract customers and establish a strong online presence. Here are some key marketing avenues to consider:

  1. Google My Business (GMB): Start by creating a comprehensive GMB listing for your business. Ensure that all the information is filled out, and include plenty of before/after photos. Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews, as they play a crucial role in attracting new clients.

  2. Social Media: Utilize platforms like Facebook Groups and Nextdoor to promote your services locally. Create professional-looking ads that showcase before and after photos and clearly list the services you offer. Engaging with the community through social media can greatly enhance your online visibility.

  3. Website and SEO: Develop a website using platforms like Wix, which offer free website creation tools. While search engine optimization (SEO) may take some time to yield results (typically 6 months to a year), it's an important long-term marketing strategy. Consider hiring a professional to optimize your website for improved search engine rankings.

  4. Facebook Ads: Engage potential customers who are already searching for pressure washing services on Facebook. Instead of hiring expensive marketing gurus, learn how to create your own ads by watching educational videos on platforms like YouTube.

  5. Postcards: If you have a budget allocated for marketing, postcards can be an effective way to reach a wide audience. Utilize cost-effective printing services like UZMarketing and manage USPS EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail) yourself to keep costs low. Consistency is key, so aim to send out a consistent number of postcards (e.g., 10,000 per month) for optimal results.

  6. Flyers and Door Hangers: For a budget-friendly option, design and print flyers or door hangers yourself using platforms like Distribute them in your target neighborhoods to raise awareness about your business.

Remember, allocating around 30% of your desired monthly income toward marketing is a good starting point. By implementing a combination of these marketing strategies, you can effectively promote your pressure washing services and attract a steady stream of customers to grow your business.


Choosing the Right Vendor for Your Pressure Washing Business

When it comes to purchasing equipment and supplies for your pressure washing business, it's important to consider the impact of your choices on local stores. While online platforms like Amazon and eBay may offer convenience and cost savings, supporting local businesses can have long-term benefits for your own growth. Here are some tips for selecting the right vendor:

Special Tip: Prioritize Local Stores

While it may be tempting to save a few bucks by buying from online stores, remember that supporting local businesses fosters a sense of community and encourages them to support your business in return. Consider purchasing your equipment and supplies from local vendors whenever possible.

Q: How do I choose between multiple local stores?

When you have multiple local stores to choose from, it's a good idea to visit each one and engage in conversation with their staff. Take note of their knowledge, willingness to assist, and overall helpfulness. Opt for the store where the staff is most supportive and demonstrates a genuine interest in helping you succeed.

Q: What if my local store doesn't have the specific equipment I need?

If your preferred local store doesn't have the inventory or the exact equipment you're looking for, don't hesitate to ask. Many stores have to manage their inventory carefully due to financial constraints. However, if you communicate your specific needs, they may be willing to order or stock those items for you. Building a good relationship with the store can often lead to them accommodating your requests.

Remember, by supporting local vendors, you contribute to the growth of your community and foster mutually beneficial relationships. While it may require some extra effort, the personalized service and support you receive from local stores can greatly enhance your pressure washing business in the long run.


Configuring the Equipment for Your Pressure Washing Business

When it comes to selecting the right equipment for your pressure washing business, it's crucial to avoid getting caught up in misinformation or engaging in equipment "measuring contests." Here are some key considerations to help you configure your equipment according to your specific needs:

Q: I want a hotbox to wash driveways with. Which one should I get?

Before investing in a hotbox, ask yourself why you need it. In most cases, a simple pre-treatment of Sodium Hypochlorite (SH), downstreamed from a pressure washer, is sufficient to clean the majority of concrete surfaces. Hotboxes are generally used for commercial work, such as drive-thrus or dumpster pads. For residential projects like driveways, houses, and pool cages, they are typically unnecessary.

Q: Tom & Jerry from Facebook says I need a gas roof pump.

Keep in mind that the advice from individuals like Tom & Jerry on Facebook may not necessarily align with your business focus. Different pressure washing businesses cater to different services. While soft washing, which often requires a gas roof pump, is effective for roof cleaning, it may not be as relevant for other areas like driveways, houses, and pool cages.

Q: What's the best startup trailer setup for a newbie?

For beginners in the pressure washing industry focusing on residential work, the Starter Series from CCSW offers a well-rounded setup. Consider starting with a minimum of a 5.5 GPM gear drive pressure washer and a 12v soft wash system. With these key components, you can tackle various jobs, including roofs, driveways, home exteriors, light commercial work, pool cages, and fencing.

Q: I want to be able to grow into my rig and upgrade major components as I expand.

Having a growth-oriented mindset is commendable. The Hustler Series, for example, offers a comprehensive rig setup that allows for scalability. It includes a heavy-duty trailer, an 8 GPM machine, a 325 or 525 buffer tank, a 100-gallon chemical tank (sufficient for 2-3 large jobs per day), and stainless manifold hose reels. Additionally, you have the flexibility to add a hotbox later on to handle larger commercial jobs and HOAs.

Q: Can I finance new equipment?

Absolutely! Financing options are available for purchasing new equipment. Check out our Financing page for more detailed information on the financing options that best suit your needs.

By carefully considering your specific requirements and focusing on equipment that aligns with your target services, you can configure your pressure washing equipment in a way that maximizes efficiency and helps your business thrive.

Choosing between building your pressure washing rig yourself or buying a pre-built one is an important decision. Consider the following factors to make an informed choice:

Special Tip! If budget is a significant concern, compare the cost difference between building the rig yourself and buying a pre-built one. Keep in mind that cutting corners on equipment quality may lead to replacement costs down the line.

When considering a pre-built rig, pay attention to the following key points:

1. Ease of Maintenance: Check if the equipment is easy to maintain, such as changing the oil or performing routine maintenance tasks. Equipment that is straightforward to maintain can save you time and effort in the long run.

2. Ease of Replacement: Determine whether replacing individual components or equipment within the rig is a straightforward process. Avoid rigs that require extensive disassembly to replace a single item, as this can lead to downtime and inconvenience.

3. Warranty Coverage: If you purchase the rig from a store, inquire about the warranty provided. Having warranty coverage can offer peace of mind in case of any unexpected issues or malfunctions.

4. User-Friendliness: Evaluate how easy the rig is to use. Since you will be operating it daily, it should be designed for user convenience. Ensure that all components are user-friendly and straightforward to operate.

Building a rig yourself can provide a valuable learning experience, as it enables you to understand the equipment and be self-sufficient in repairs. However, keep in mind that building a rig from scratch typically requires around 2-3 weeks and multiple trips to the store, making it a time-consuming process, especially for newcomers to the industry.

Consider your time availability, expertise, and willingness to learn when deciding between building your own rig or purchasing a pre-built one. It's essential to strike a balance between convenience, functionality, and your long-term business goals.

When considering the type of setup for your pressure washing business, whether it's a flatbed, truck bed skid, or trailer, it's important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each option:

Flatbed Setups:
- Suitable for companies with employees or those working in tight spaces where trailers may have difficulty maneuvering.
- If a flatbed breaks down, your primary vehicle and equipment are out of commission, potentially resulting in a loss of income.
- Repairs for flatbeds can take a long time, leaving you without the ability to use your equipment for months.

Truck Bed Skid Setups:
- Ideal for companies with employees or those working in tight spaces where trailers may have difficulty maneuvering.
- Can be transferred to another truck if the primary truck breaks down, as long as you have an available truck and a forklift for moving the skid.
- Like flatbeds, if the truck breaks down, your primary vehicle and equipment are not generating income.
- Skids add additional weight and stress to your truck's brakes, suspension, and other components.

Trailer Setups:
- Suitable for all types of businesses and provide versatility.
- Can be outfitted for various purposes and are easier to store in garages or storage units.
- Generally cheaper compared to other setups.
- Allows you to use your personal vehicle for work while keeping it available for personal use during weekends.
- May be more challenging to maneuver in tight spaces.
- Requires a vehicle with towing capabilities.

When making a decision, consider factors such as the nature of your business, the availability of backup vehicles, and your preference for storage and maneuverability. It's crucial to plan for potential breakdowns or disasters and have contingency measures in place to minimize downtime and financial loss.

 Maintaining Your Equipment

Taking proper care of your rig is essential for the success of your pressure washing business. Here are some key maintenance tips to keep in mind:

1. Rinse Down Daily: It's important to rinse your rig daily with clean, fresh water. This helps remove any dirt, grime, or chemical residue that can accumulate during your work.

2. Immediate Spill Cleanup: If any sodium hypochlorite (SH) spills occur, be sure to rinse them off immediately. This prevents any corrosive effects and potential damage to your equipment.

3. Fix Leaks Promptly: If you notice any leaks in your rig, address them as soon as possible. Letting them go unresolved for extended periods can result in damage to your equipment. Take the necessary steps to repair and seal any leaks promptly.

4. Regular Oil Changes: Change the oil in your equipment every 100 hours of operation, or even sooner if needed. Regular oil changes help maintain the performance and longevity of your rig. Consider following the manufacturer's recommendations for oil change intervals.

5. Apply Silicon Protectant: Coat all components of your rig with a silicon protectant like WD-40. This helps prevent corrosion and keeps your equipment in good condition. Apply the protectant as needed, following the manufacturer's instructions.

6. Tire Pressure and Axle Greasing: Stay on top of your rig's tire pressures to ensure safe and efficient operation. Additionally, regularly grease the axle hubs as recommended by the manufacturer. Proper maintenance of these components helps prevent unnecessary wear and tear.

Remember to consult the user manual provided by your equipment manufacturer for specific maintenance instructions and recommendations.

Please note that this document is the property of CigarCity Softwash, and it is intended for internal use by contractors only. Unauthorized copying or distribution by equipment vendors is prohibited.