Do you want to start a power washing business? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a power washing business with NO money and no experience plus a sample power washing business plan template.  A power washing business can also be referred to as a pressure washing business. This business can be actualized with minimal investment in equipment and training, but the work needs physical fitness, stamina and business skills.

Operating the pressure washer itself takes only a few minutes, but the skill required to safely and effectively clean different surfaces can only be gotten through experience or professional training. When planning to venture into this business, you need to create a business plan for your power washing business. Note that this plan does not need to have a professional appearance, but it should include details of all aspects of your pressure washing business such as; equipment and supply lists, customer types, pricing, start-up and operating capital and anticipated expenses.

You need to apply for a local business permit at your county clerk office, as well as state tax registration and contracting license at your state department of revenue and business regulatory offices, if needed. All these are to make your business legal. Find below a comprehensive guide on how to start a power washing business.

17 Steps to Starting a Power Washing Business

1. Understand the Industry

Power washers are mechanical spraying devices used to clean dirt particles that accumulate on hard surfaces. These systems are vastly used in the residential, commercial and industrial cleaning. It has also played a very huge role in heavy industries as it aids in increasing the efficiency and production capacity of industrial equipment.

A power washer is capable of generating pressure ranging from 1500 to 5000 pounds per square inch (psi). The components of a pressure washer system include, pump, filter and high pressure resistance hose each having different functions.

Water is pumped from the reservoir with the help of a pump and it is ejected at high pressure from the pressure washer outlet. Experts believe that power water manufacturers are focused on constructing advanced products that would better cater to the needs of end users. The power washer industry can be classified based on different factors and they are;

  • Electric Powered
  • Diesel Powered
  • Gasoline Powered
  • 1500 – 1750 psi
  • 1800 – 2000 psi
  • 2000 – 3000 psi
  • 3000 – 4200 psi
  • Residential
  • Commercial
  • Industrial
  • Agricultural

2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

We all know that power washing is more effective in getting rid of dirt and grime than other methods of cleaning. We cannot deny that this service is highly valued by customers who want to improve the appearance of the exterior of their home or building.

Also, power washing aids in extending the life of a building and its finishes. Have it in mind that this business is for those who are comfortable using high-pressure washing equipment and enjoy helping people make things look sparkling clean and new. It is well suited for those who enjoy cleaning things for people and who have a nice personality that attracts more clientele after a job is done well.

Depending on the target market you decide to choose, your customers might be homeowners, vehicle owners, government agencies (which need pressure washing services for roads and other government buildings/structures), and/or commercial property owners.

We will also like to state that a lot of power washing businesses do better by offering their services to all types of customers and have workers that are very good in doing certain kinds of pressure washing. Have it in mind that when doing this business, that it is not all about just seeking customers from the general public, it is advisable to get long-term contracts from commercial operations.

3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On

Before you start this business, it is very advisable that you practice and gain experience in pressure washing. The best thing to do before you launch your business is to go for a professional course or work with an established washing firm for a while; this will help you understand how a power washing business works.

After an extensive research, it was discovered that the niches within the industry are vast. Indeed the end result to all the niches is still the same – keeping surfaces and places clean, though there are additional but related services an entrepreneur can offer.

When deciding to start this business, you should consider specializing in one area at first, and branch out as your company grows. Specialty areas include truck washing, commercial buildings, residences, tents, marine, heavy machinery cleaning and others.

The Level of Competition in the Industry

The steady growth in the global car washing industry is believed will propel the demand for pressure washer in automobile along with the demand for residential pressure washer systems among consumers. Reports in the industry stated that unlike the traditional washer systems, the pressure washer system is capable of reducing the wastage of water thereby addressing the global water crisis issues.

Factors such as new product development, launch of products in untapped markets, diversifying product range are key focus areas by companies, which have led to the development of highly advanced products taking care of the need of patrons in industries such as automotive, swimming pools, garden machines and tools, among others.

But despite these positive factors, challenges such as adoption of alternative cleaning methods namely foam based cleaning, sandblasting in industrial cleaning applications and the noise emission by industrial pressure washer might reduce the global pressure washer market growth in the near future.

4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry

Even though the industry is fragmented there are power washing businesses that are standing out due to their activities in the industry such as their marketing and publicity strategies, how long they have been in the business, and what services they offer to their customers.

Therefore, below are some of the most popular power washing companies in the united states of America;

  • Generac Power Systems, Inc.
  • North America
  • Snow Joe, LLC.
  • Campbell Hausfeld
  • Alfred Kärcher uk
  • Landa Karcher Group
  • Sears Brands, LLC.
  • Sunrise Global Marketing LLC. (Greenworks)
Economic Analysis

Most of the very successful businesses in this sector have many repeat clients and good customer retention habits. For simple jobs like power washing a car, power washing businesses charge a flat rate of around $50 to $100, which includes “detailing.”

For the sake of this article, detailing is the finished work after the power cleaning is done. It includes waxing the vehicle and making the vehicle look like it is brand new. Also note that another mainstay in this business is the cleaning of the exterior surfaces of real estate. Power washing homes and commercial properties is very lucrative. You can charge by the square footage of the exterior surfaces that are cleaned.

One very unique thing about this business is that a person can start in one local area and then grow to offer similar services in other areas. There are franchise opportunities and a business can expand from a local market to a regional market and then go national.

5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch

If you plan to start this business successfully, you must not start with the assumption that it is an easy business to run. You need to be physically fit and able to handle the stress of the job as well as the equipment. It is also important that you know that pressure washing is a seasonal business, so you do the bulk of your work in autumn, spring and summer, hardly any jobs during the winter.

In this industry, a lot of people would rather choose an opportunity that has proven successful for many others rather than gambling on developing their own system. Also they go after the advantage of franchises providing a degree of marketing support–particularly in the area of national advertising and name recognition–which is extremely difficult for individuals to match. So for the sake of this article, buying a franchise is far better than starting from the scratch.

6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face

There are a lot of threats and challenges to expect when you venture into this industry. We believe is very important to have the backbone to overcome these challenges and the only way to achieve this is by being knowledgeable and tactful. Indeed business school teaches you how to start your own business but it will hardly prepare you for the challenges in the real world of business.

In the general cleaning business, the very first challenge is how to effectively penetrate the current market. No matter how you look at it, competition in this industry is very stiff in all areas of business. Have it in mind that it might take a while before your first client approaches you. The best way to overcome this challenge is by remodelling your services and aggressively marketing them.

The second challenge will or might come as service delivery. If a client is going to pay money for cleaning services, they will expect you to do an impeccable job in the allotted time. If you are offering per hour services, this can be a major concern.

It is much better to have fixed rates and a good speed when offering these cleaning services. We strongly advice that you take advice from other professionals in the business, check out what other cleaning businesses have to offer that made them bigger and better.

7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)

Deciding which legal structure to choose for your business can be difficult and will depend on your preference and business size. When starting a business, you have to choose one legal structure from out of all the different business structures.

Have it in mind that any choice you choose will determine how your business will be set up and organized. In most instances, you will probably have to choose between a Limited Liability Company (LLC), a partnership, a corporation or a sole proprietorship.

LLC is a very popular business form both in the general power washing business and other industries. LLCs bring together the best aspects of a corporation and partnership while taking away some trouble these forms come with. Like S Corps, Limited Liability Companies practice flow through taxation.

To register an LLC, you will have to submit an operating agreement which will clearly state the purpose of the business, how revenue will be split among the owners, what happens if one partner leaves the company etc. While LLCs are NOT corporations, they carry nearly the same weight to match the benefits.

They are expensive to form and maintain and there are annual fees that need to be taken care of. But it still remains the best legal entity for a Power Washing Business.

8. Choose a Catchy Business Name

  • Strong Wave power Washing
  • Super Home Improvement
  • Clean wash Services
  • Fast Water Pressure Washing
  • Exceptional cleaning
  • Direct power Cleaning
  • Full Blast Pressure Washing LLC
  • Sparkling
  • Heritage washing
  • Restoration king
  • HMI General
  • KCS Cleaning Specialists LLC
  • Merritt Power Washing
  • Premier power washing
  • Quality Clean Up System
  • Renew Crew
  • Renovate Repair
  • Spotless Clean & Carpet Care

9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You

Deciding on the insurance for your power washing business doesn’t have to be confusing or overwhelming. Your pressure washing business will probably need three different types of insurance namely; liability insurance, equipment insurance and Workers Compensation Insurance. Other insurances may include;

  • Property insurance
  • Building coverage
  • Business income and extra expense coverage
  • Employee dishonesty coverage
  • Employee Benefits Liability Coverage
  • Hired and Non-Owned Auto Liability Coverage
  • Product liability insurance
  • Crime and Fidelity insurance

10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents

For those who do not know, intellectual property can consist of many different areas, from logos and corporate identity through to services and processes that differentiate your business offering from others in the industry. You need to understand that almost all businesses have undoubtedly benefited from the internet where products, services and marketing communications can reach vast audiences at relatively low costs – but this has also increased the chances of intellectual property theft.

Businesses despite the size and level are at risk of having their unique ideas, products or services infringed upon, even if they are on the other side of the world, making intellectual property protection more important than ever. Ways to protect your intellectual properties may include;

  • Know your ideas and intellectual property
  • Protect your business growth
  • Be cautious and vigilant
  • Register your intellectual properties

11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification

In this modern age, just as certified accountants, plumbers and mechanics project a higher level of competency in their fields, and just as members of the American Medical Association and American Bar Association set themselves apart through training, experience and comprehensive examination, certification aids to identify the cleaning, restoration and inspection industries’ most skilled and dedicated technicians and businesses.

It will go a long way to boost your brand awareness and make you a notable elite in the industry. Below are few certifications for cleaning businesses.

  • Institute of inspection, cleaning and restoration certification – IICRC
  • British Institute of cleaning services – BICSc
  • International janitorial cleaning services certification – IJVSC
  • House cleaning technician certification – HCT
  • Cleaning business owner certificate – CBO

12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate

Whether you decide to run your power washing business from your backyard or from a notable business location, you will need legal documents to keep your business legal and out of trouble. They may include,

  • Service contract
  • Waste water permit/environmental permit
  • Business license
  • Bonds
  • State tax registration
  • Contractor permit
  • Insurance
  • Certificate of occupancy

13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital

Truth be told, building a Power Washing Business is relatively easy and inexpensive compared to some other sectors in the general cleaning industry. The cost of supplies is fairly small and most entrepreneurs do the work themselves, at least initially. But you should understand that no business survives without enough funds. Ways to raise funds for your business may include;

  • Lending networks
  • SBA loans
  • Factoring your invoices
  • Business line of credit
  • Personal savings
  • Family and friends
  • Credit cards

14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business

After our extensive research, we have come to see that most industry Veterans believe that in order to achieve authentic business growth, you must get out of the home and into a commercial facility. Experts also believe it will aid you create a successful and professional image, but before you begin shopping for an office, think carefully about what you will need.

In this business, your business location should be large enough to have a small reception area, work space for yourself and your administrative staff, and a storage area for equipment and supplies. You may also need space for a laundry and possibly even a small work area where you can handle minor equipment repairs.

Depending on the size of your staff, consider allowing for a small break area. Chances are slim that your clients will ever come to your office, so look for a facility that meets your operational needs and is in a reasonably safe location, but don’t pay for a prestigious address–it is just not worth it.

15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs

One of the major advantages of this business is that you don’t need to purchase a lot of supplies to get started. In most cases, everything you need can fit in just about any vehicle. We believe that the vast majority of jobs you will land in the beginning stages of your business will be of the smaller variety, allowing for a minimal amount of supplies that will be needed.

It will go a long way to help you if have some mechanical knowledge and if you are comfortable working with pressure washing equipment. The equipment needs to be maintained properly and can be dangerous to use if not handled correctly.

This lucrative business is a business you can easily start with a single van, then with time you can grow and expand based on the demand for services, but normally a single person can handle the job, though sometimes there is need for two people. Pressure washing equipment can be very dangerous. It is imperative when building a team, to hire employees who are certified and reliable. Equipment you will need for the job may include;

  • Hot and cold High Pressure Washer (for oil and grease removal on driveways)
  • 2 High Pressure Hose reels
  • 2 Heavy Duty Hose Reel Hook-up Kit
  • 1 Pressure hose – 150 ft.
  • 1 Heavy-duty garden hose – 100 ft.
  • 2 Spray Wands
  • 1 Telescoping Wand
  • Spray Tips (Assortment)
  • 1 Zero Degree Rotating Nozzle
  • 1 Long Range Chemical Injection Nozzle
  • Brushes
  • 1 Telescoping Brush Handles
  • 1 Electric Chemical Pump
  • Spray Wax
  • Detergent
  • Chemicals
  • Clear Plastic Sheeting (2 mil)
  • Training Material
  • Ladders
  • Wire Brush
  • Claw Hammer
  • Screw Drivers
  • Pliers
  • Pipe Wrenches
  • Flexible Wand
  • PTFE Tape
  • Masking Tape (1” and 2”)
  • Duct Tape
  • Caulking Gun
  • Caulking (variety of types)
  • Putty Knife and other Scrapers
The Service Delivery Process of the Business

Note that the easiest way to learn how to use a power washer is to first understand how the power washing systems work. After our extensive research, we have discovered that there are four basic elements of the power washing process regardless of what machine or method you use.

The four elements and power washer tips are: pressure, water flow rate, cleaning solution and heat. If we take out just one of these four elements, the cleaning characteristics will change. For example, if you can only afford a cold water pressure washer instead of hot water washer, you will have to compensate for that loss.

This simply means that pressure washer basics will tell you that you need to add more chemicals, apply higher pressure and use more water to achieve better power wash results. This means that you will always have to make adjustments combining these four elements in order to achieve the ideal cleaning atmosphere for your particular job.

When learning how power washing systems work and how to power wash, keep in mind that detergents emulsify the dirt better and faster as the temperature increases. This is true when cleaning oil and grease from a concrete surface, which is why hot water power washing systems are perfect for such jobs.

16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies

Immediately or even before you open your business, you will need to focus your efforts on finding customers. There are a lot of ways to attract customers to your business. Some of the strategies will require an investment of your time, but once your reputation has been established, your business should continue to grow due to referrals from satisfied customers and you will need to spend less time and money on marketing.

  • Know your Target Market

Note that some companies in this industry focus on residential customers while others prefer to clean commercial buildings. It sincerely helps if you narrow your focus and build your expertise in one area. As your business grows, you can diversify and capture a wider range of customers.

  • Start With Professional Image

Professional image is composed of several factors, starting with the appearance of your crew. We advise that they should always wear clean and neat clothing, perhaps even a uniform with your company logo. Your vehicles, cleaning equipment, marketing materials and invoices should likewise be in excellent condition and carry the company logo and phone number or website where possible. All these things will contribute to a good professional image.

  • Yellow Pages and Classifieds

We also suggest that you advertise in the Yellow Pages and in the classified section of your local newspaper. We also suggest that you begin with a small advertisement in the Yellow Pages or a simple classified consisting of two or three lines. You should be careful when deciding on one or two selling points that you believe will be most important to your potential customers and create a concise ad highlighting those benefits. Make sure to include a call to action inviting readers to call you for a free estimate. Also offer a discount to first-time customers who mention your ad.

  • Share Fliers

You should distribute an appealing flier or door-hanger advertising your services. But when doing this, try to keep your message clear and simple, highlighting your company’s strengths and how your services will benefit your customers. Always make sure to consider ways in which your business stands out among your competitors and use this as your unique selling point. Include testimonials from satisfied customers.

17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity

In this line of business, to make sure that your business gets the best visibility possible, you should consider the following points listed below;

  • Leveraging on the Web
  • Create a social media presence
  • Advertise using traditional methods
  • Stand Out from the Crowd, Stand Up for Something
  • Never bruise your Client’s Ego
  • You MUST Reward your Clients’ Loyalty
  • Develop a Personal Relationship with Clients of Your business
Solomon. O'Chucks