If you want to be an entrepreneur, setting up a power washing business is an excellent option because it has low start-up costs and high-profit margins. But if you think it's super easy to start a power washing business, then think again. There's more to the power washing business than just buying a pressure washer and picking up the cleaning jobs. Ask yourself these few questions before you jump the gun.
- Have you done pressure washing before? What if you don't enjoy doing it?
- Is the business profitable? Shouldn't you have known that before spending on the equipment?
- What happens when your water jet breaks a car's window? Do you need to have insurance?
- What equipment do you need to get the business off the ground?
- How to get your customers?
To get you started on the right track and build a successful power washing business, we've compiled a step-by-step guide on how to start a pressure washing business. So, let's dig in.
Step 1: Learn how to power wash
Many people make the mistake of taking the plunge with no practical knowledge of delivering the services they plan to sell. You need to learn how to power wash for two reasons:
- To gain practical experience.
- To figure out if you enjoy doing the work.
Learning how to power wash is not very difficult. But there is a learning curve for you to go from an amateur to a pro.
How to learn to power wash
1. Start with guides, courses, and tutorials on YouTube. Learn everything from equipment, techniques, and maintenance.2. Take a power washer on rent or borrow it from a friend.3. Using pressure washing equipment, start power washing things around your house, such as siding, decks, driveways, fences, cars, grill, etc.
- If you don't own a home, practice the skill on your neighbor's/friends' property for free.
- Ask your apartment/property manager if you can power wash the common areas for free.
- If you don't have a place or the money to buy/rent a power washer to practice, consider working for another power washing business for some time.
Step 2: Develop a solid business plan
Just like in any other business, you cannot overlook the importance of planning. A good business plan helps you identify the unknowns and map out the specifics of your pressure washing business.
This allows you to eliminate bottlenecks and maximize opportunities. If you plan to get a loan, a business partner, or onboard an investor, your business plan can make the whole process easier. A business plan typically includes the following sections:
- Executive summary
- Company description
- Market research
- Product/Service description
- Management and operational structure
- Marketing and sales strategy
- Financial projections
When preparing a business plan, you need to think through the following aspects of your power washing business:
- Your scope of services. Do you want to pressure wash exclusively? Or do you want to add additional services, such as cleaning drains, general maintenance, and window washing?
- Prices. Figure out how much you should charge for your services. Calculate your break-even point (total revenue=total expenses). Check out what your competitors are charging for similar services. Take into consideration the size of the project and your area's averages to come up with competitive pricing.
We have a detailed post on how to price your pressure washing services. Check it out.
Step 3: Set up your business
Starting a power washing company is a lot of work, involving many steps. You need to make sure that you have all the licenses, permits, and insurance in place. Here are some of the steps involved in setting up your power washing business:
Choose your business name
Select an attractive and relevant name for your pressure washing business.
Register your business
You have five options for selecting a business structure:
- Sole proprietorship
- S Corporation
- C Corporation
- Limited Liability Company (LLC)
If you plan to be a sole proprietor, you don't need to register your business. However, registering your business has its own benefits – you'll have access to many tax benefits, legal benefits, and personal liability protection.
Make it legal
You'll need to apply for licenses, permits, and insurance. Some of them include:
- Business license
- Sales tax registration
- Environmental permit
- Contractor permit
- Liability insurance
- Workers compensation
- Equipment insurance
Disclaimer: This section is a rough guide. You may consider consulting a business lawyer or doing your due diligence to ensure you have the right documentation to start the power washing business.
Step 4: Invest in a power washer business
When you invest in good power washing equipment, it reflects on how serious you are about your business. It also helps your customers to trust you more and recommend you to their family or friends.
You'll also need to invest in pumps, engines, nozzles, surface cleaners, chemicals, and so on. You'll also need a truck or van to haul your equipment. Make sure you put your business name and contact details on it for promotional purposes. Additionally, there are other things you'll need to open a power washing business, and they include:
- Hiring employees: If you're planning to start your business with growth in mind, you'll need to hire employees at some point. As your company grows, your need for employees will also grow. When your cleaning business is a larger operation with many employees, it can get difficult to manage the operations, people, clients, and data. That's when you'll require Zuper, an intelligent field service management software for work order management and many other functions.
- Office or warehouse space: If you have a huge budget, you can buy office space. If you don't, just rent the needed space.
- Phone service: This is a vital expense that allows you to communicate with your customers, workers, and potential clients.
A power washing business relies on communication between the teams and the customers to get the job done. A field service management software like Zuper ensures communication between field workers and your back office staff happens in real-time. Its super smart features ensure proper work coordination between teams, improving their efficiency and productivity and providing a better customer experience.
Step 5: Strategize your marketing plans
Setting your business isn't enough. You need to find customers to keep it running. For that to happen, you need to have effective marketing strategies to find new clients.
Assuming you've already worked on your brand identity—business name, tagline, logo, and brand colors—it's time to use them in your marketing strategies (both online and offline).
Here's how you can go about it:
Create a website
Having your own business website is the most effective way to attract customers. Through your website, you add credibility to your business and allow your prospects to contact you.
Leverage social media
Create business accounts on popular social media platforms to promote your power washing services to potential clients. Regularly post pictures of your services, customer testimonials, and promotional offers for gaining exposure and boosting engagement. Also, ask your existing customers to share reviews online and generate word-of-mouth publicity.
Don't ignore offline marketing
Let everyone in your network—your families, friends, colleagues, acquaintances—know about your pressure washing business. Also, don't hesitate to ask them for references and recommendations.
Some of the offline marketing strategies you can use include:
- Use vehicle wraps
- Distribute flyers
- Consider door-to-door advertising
You never know which marketing tactic might work to get you your next client.
Step 6: Maintain your power washer
Your power washer is your bread and butter. You cannot run a successful power washing business with a broken washer. To keep it running, you need to invest in its maintenance.
Regular maintenance decreases unnecessary downtime and keeps your customer satisfaction level high. So, put together a preventative maintenance schedule that includes seal inspections, regular oil changes, and general well-being checks for your equipment.
Once you get your power washing business off the ground, your next steps should involve ways of increasing profits. This may involve expanding your business and scaling your operations. If you were a one-man business, you wouldn't be able to do it alone anymore. You'll need to hire people to take on more clients while you take a step back to focus on other aspects of business, such as marketing and customer service.
Hiring more employees, managing their work schedules, delegating tasks, and focusing on customer experience can get challenging for you. You might have to take the help of technology to make it easy for you. Zuper's field service management software is just that—a simpler way to accomplish all these tasks and many more.
Want to know how Zuper can help simplify the processes involved in running a successful power washing business? A free trial can help. Start it now.