The Side Hustle Series: Start a Pressure Washing Business

For guys who are looking to make some extra cash, there are so many great businesses to start as side hustles. One of my favorites—and one that some guys I know have started—is a pressure-washing business. With very little experience, the right equipment, and some time-strapped clientele, this gig can become incredibly lucrative and definitely worth the time.

But how do you start a pressure washing business? And what goes into this in-demand service? And if it’s just a side hustle, how much can it make? We’ll answer all those questions and more in this guide to starting a pressure-washing side hustle.

Pressure Washing Side Hustle: What is it?

If you’re considering a new side hustle, why not make some cash with that pressure washer in your garage? With your own pressure washing business, a client who doesn’t have the time or equipment to clean their own surfaces pays a service to clean them for them. This includes sidewalks, driveways, siding, fences, pools, boats, and other items.

Generally speaking, pressure washing companies arrive at the house, hook up to the homeowner’s water spigot (or they carry their own water on a high-tech trailer, but that’s down the road), and get to work.

Some pressure-washing businesses focus on commercial pressure-washing services, meaning they only serve other businesses. Commercial property owners that prefer a clean sidewalk and driveway, will pay professional pressure washers to spray down these services regularly.

What Equipment Do You Need to Start Pressure Washing?

This is one of the best aspects of the pressure-washing business side hustle. It doesn’t require that much equipment, it has low start-up costs, and chances are you can get started without putting out a dime of your own money.

To start pressure washing, all you need is a pressure washer, a hose, a gas can, some swappable nozzles for different pressures and angles, and some cleaning supplies. Load these items up into a truck and you’re all set to start a pressure washing company.

Buy, Borrow, or Rent Pressure Washers

If I had to guess, you probably either have a pressure washer, know someone who does, or you have a rental company nearby that will rent a pressure washer for pennies on the dollar. A pressure washing service could line up several jobs on a weekend day, rent the pressure washer for $50 a day, and then return it. Once you’ve made enough money, you can purchase your own pressure washer.

It’s that simple.

Other Pressure Washing Equipment

As you grow your power washing business, you may want to add some pieces of equipment. For example, there are pressure washer attachments designed specifically for concrete surfaces like sidewalks and driveways, and they not only look professional but also cut the amount of time it takes to get the job done.

Also, upgrading to a pressure washer that heats the water will allow you to bust through tough stains much faster.

But the point is that you don’t need everything to get started. All the necessary equipment: a pressure washer, a hose, and a way to get it to the house.

When It’s Time To Upgrade

There may come a time when residential pressure washers don’t quite cut it anymore and you need to upgrade your pressure washing equipment. At some point, industrial pressure washers may help speed the process up. Also, it’s a lot easier to hitch a trailer with everything already in place than it is to load and unload your vehicle full of pressure-washing equipment every weekend.

When it comes time to upgrade, you have some options. First, you can take out a business credit card that you can use for expenses (which often comes with excellent perks, but will depend on the company’s credit history). Second, some banks offer small business owners loans for equipment and other business expenses. Third, you can just pay cash for your equipment, but there are tax benefits to taking out a loan. So, while you are your own boss, the point is that you need to consult your accountant before making any big purchases.

How Much Do Pressure Washing Businesses Make?

If you’re running a pressure washing side hustle, you can expect to charge anywhere between $75 and $100 an hour, depending on the type of pressure washing job, the area you service, and the equipment you need to rent for the project. But the pricing is entirely up to you.

For example, you can charge a flat rate for your pressure washing services, so $75 an hour. However, you may have an hourly minimum, such as two hours. If pressure washing a sidewalk takes you one hour, but you have a two-hour minimum, you’ll make $150 in that hour.

Also, you can charge piecemeal, or by the project type. For example, roof pressure washing might cost $200 per roof, while sidewalks might cost $50 per 50 feet. Additional services such as spigot or fence repair may be $25 plus parts. While there is the potential to lose money when charging by project, the upsale potential is far better. If you can sell your services, this might be the way to go, and your side hustle could net you $200 or more an hour.

What Types of Services Does a Pressure Washing Business Offer?

There are a lot of different services that a pressure washing side hustle can offer, and there are plenty of opportunities for upselling.

At the most basic level, a pressure washing business can offer house washing, sidewalk washing, and driveway cleaning. Other options include cleaning fences, pools, boats, roofs, truck fleets, and other pressure-washer-safe surfaces.

Upsell Your Pressure Washing Services

What if there’s a broken fence slat? What if the gutters are clogged? What if windows need to be caulked or the homeowner’s garden spigot is leaking? Is there an opportunity for a pressure washing company to make some extra cash?

These are all small jobs that a pressure washing business owner can take care of for small fees. And since the homeowner is already strapped for time, they’ll most likely love the fact that you’re already there and willing to handle these projects without having to call a handyman. That’s more money from a side hustle, you’ll be able to cash in.

How To Start a Pressure Washing Business

This part isn’t necessarily legal advice. I’ve written enough company start-up articles to know that it’s different everywhere, and not all side hustles are “legit” to start. It’s totally up to you. But, if you want to legitimize your business at some point, these are the steps, make sure to use all of the following steps. If you’re just looking to make some extra cash, skip right to the marketing.

Register Your Pressure Washing Business and Obtain a Business License

The first step in starting a pressure washing business (after acquiring the equipment) is to register your business and obtain a business license. This typically requires visiting a local licensing office, which may be at the county building near you or a state facility. It’s different in each state.

Business licenses are required for two reasons. First, the state wants to make sure it knows who is working within the state so it can collect tax, and this license may serve as sales tax registration. Second, it shows customers that you’re a legitimate company and not some fly-by-night guy with a pressure washer.

There are several ways to register your business. You can register as a sole proprietor, a limited liability company (probably the best choice), or a corporation. Which business structure is correct for your situation depends on a lot of factors, but I’m not an accountant.

Get Insurance for Your Pressure Washing Business

Before you start your power washing business (at least legitimately), you’ll need insurance. General liability insurance is the very minimum, as it protects third parties against accidents and damage that may be your fault. For example, if you’re working on someone’s property and you accidentally blow a hole through their siding, that would be something general liability insurance would cover. Or, if someone tripped over your pressure washer’s hose, you’ll be covered.

You’ll also need other types of business insurance. For example, if you have employees, you’ll need workers compensation insurance. If you have commercial vehicles, you’ll want commercial vehicle insurance. If you have expensive equipment, you might consider an equipment insurance policy to protect your investment.

Open a Business Bank Account

If you’re going legit with your side hustle, you’ll need a business bank account. This is relatively simple to set up. You just need your business license and a federal employer identification number (if you have employees). This is the first step in establishing a relationship with a bank, and it could pay dividends later on.

Another reason to open a business bank account is that it will keep your personal and business expenses separate. Remember, you can write off power washing equipment, gas, and even vehicle leases. When it comes to accounting and tax filing time, this will be a big help.

Use Effective Marketing Strategies

Even if you go fully legit with your pressure washing business, you still need to choose a marketing strategy that fits your business plan. For example, if you’re just looking for a few clients each month to cover your expenses while you’re wrapping up your full-time job, consider using word-of-mouth marketing. You might also consider sticking to this strategy if you’re trying to keep your side hustle small and not technically legit.

However, if you’re looking to make some serious side cash with your pressure washing business, you’ll need to go bigger with your marketing efforts.

Social Media

When you start a pressure washing business as a side hustle, your best friend here is social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram, and a blog. You can film yourself pressure washing (people love that), write articles that draw local attention to your site (I can help with that), and advertise to potential customers in your area. Using these online advertising methods, you could easily fill your weekend calendar with enough clients to make your side hustle worth it.

Old School Guerrilla Marketing

Also, make sure to hit up local businesses with flyers with your business name and services, contact details, as well as a QR code that links to your site or your social accounts. These potential customers are always looking for folks who provide pressure washing services, so don’t miss out on this opportunity. Business accounts can become the bread and butter of a side hustle, as they’re likely to sign contractors for regular power washing services.

You might even consider growing once you have a successful pressure washing business, upgrading your pressure washing gear, and hiring employees, at some point.

Get Started Pressure Washing

Once you have your first clients, it’s time to get to work. Unless you have a lot of experience behind the trigger of a pressure washer, it’s a good idea not to charge full price. You want to make sure you’re giving the client what they expect, and this might require some of their feedback. Remember, you’re new to the pressure-washing industry, so expect to suck before you start to kill it.

My suggestion? Charge about half of what you expect to when you first start a pressure washing business. Get feedback from existing customers and then up your prices as more customers flood in. At some point, you may have to increase your prices with your original customers at some point, but starting small when you’re most likely to make mistakes is the best way to stay in the power washing business long-term.

Also, a pressure washing side hustle is a great way to learn how to start and run a business. It can take time to grow, and you’ll face decisions, opportunities, great clients, and some difficult ones.. Navigating these situations is all part of being a business owner, and if you have aspirations of becoming the next millionaire in your area, a thriving pressure-washing business is a good place to start.

Your Turn

Starting a pressure washing business can be a great side hustle for men looking for some extra cash. It can also be the perfect segue to getting out of their full-time job and starting a new life. This guide should help. But what do you guys think? Does pressure washing sound like a great business? Have you tried it? Are you considering it? Let me know in the comments below!

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Pressure Washing Business FAQs

That’s a lot of information on starting a pressure-washing business. But, there might still be some additional questions to answer. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions about the pressure washer business.

How profitable is a pressure washing business?

A pressure washing business or side hustle can be extremely profitable. For example, if a pressure washing business starting out lines up projects on a weekend and rents a power washer ($50), purchases some cleaning supplies($50), gasoline ($80 each day), and a hose ($25), and then spends 8 hours each day charging $75 an hour, the company will make roughly $915 in profit in a weekend, before taxes and insurance. Divided by 16 hours, that’s $57.19 an hour.

Can you make money owning a pressure washing business?

Owning a pressure washing business is a great way to make money. The equipment to get started is minimal, but the hourly rate that a company can charge is high.

Is pressure washing a good investment?

Pressure washing is a good investment for someone looking for a side hustle. It’s a side hustle that’s easy to scale or control, the initial costs are relatively low, and it can make a lot of money.

Is pressure washing business competitive?

Pressure washing business can be competitive because a lot of different types of companies offer pressure washing services. For example, gutter cleaners might offer it, as might painters or carpenters. However, if you specialize in pressure washing and market your company effectively, you’ll stand out from the crowd.

What are the cons of starting a pressure washing business?

The downside of starting a pressure washing business is that insurance can be relatively expensive. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could pressure wash the paint off a truck, damage a concrete surface, or damage someone’s siding. For this reason, insurance could be the biggest hurdle.

How many PSI do I need to clean concrete?

Cleaning concrete requires around 3,000 PSI. Many residential pressure washers are more than capable of producing these pressures, which can allow a new pressure wash business to get started before upgrading to industrial models.

Why is pressure washing so expensive?

It costs a lot to have someone pressure wash a surface. This is because pressure washing requires experience and specific equipment, and most homeowners and local businesses have neither.

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