Commercial pressure washing is a relatively low investment business that has the potential to generate solid profits for anyone willing to put in the time and effort. Although this is a fairly accessible field for newcomers, it can be hard to know how to get started. This is especially true if you are a new entrepreneur or if you simply don't have previous pressure washing experience.
Consider Professional Training
There are a surprisingly large number of resources available to seek professional training for pressure washing. Depending on your needs, you can find everything from in-person training seminars to full semester classes to online courses. The Power Washers of North America (PWNA) also offer a range of courses and certifications. While training and certification are not necessary to begin your business, it can help establish confidence with your clients and jump start your initial marketing efforts. Training is generally highly affordable, and this investment in yourself is guaranteed to pay off over the long term.
Choose the Right Equipment
While power washing is itself a skill, this is an industry that lives and dies on equipment choices. Equipment will be your largest capital expenditure, so choosing the right equipment up front is vital both so that you can properly do your job and to avoid putting out additional money in the future to make up for deficiencies in your initial equipment choices. Your initial equipment purchases will likely fall into four categories:
- Washer and Water Supply
- Power Generation
The first category is straightforward. You will need a trailer that is suitable for your pressure washing rig as well as a vehicle that is capable of towing that trailer to job sites. If you already have a tow-capable personal vehicle, then you may be able to save significant money on your startup costs. If not, choosing a used vehicle can be a good way to save a few dollars. This can be an especially good idea if you have the know-how to maintain your work vehicle yourself.
Selecting a high-quality, high-power washer is next on the list, and this is one area that you absolutely do not want to penny pinch on. Your commercial pressure washer is the key to your business, and one that provides sufficient power (aim for 3,000 PSI and above) is necessary to do a thorough job quickly. For professional cleaning, you will need a hot water pump as well. Choosing high-quality equipment will cost you more initially, but it will save you money on repairs and replacements in the long run. More importantly, it will keep your equipment from breaking down on the job.
Finally, you will need to select accessories and ensure that any power requirements are met. Selecting a generator is simply a matter of choosing one that is within budget and that fits your specific needs, but choosing accessories is not an exact science. Different nozzle types are suitable for cleaning different materials, and a variety of specialized surface cleaners are available as well. The more you invest in materials, the greater the number and type of jobs that you will be able to take on. Still, saving some money initially and slowly expanding can be a good way to get started.
Once you have your equipment needs sorted away, it's time to get down and dirty with the hard work of actually running your business. While this guide has been primarily focused on details specific to commercial pressure washing, the reality is that basic business operations will be your greatest challenge. Seek out and consume as much reading material on small business ownership as you can, and do not neglect the importance of both local advertising and presenting a professional image. With the right choice of equipment and a firm understanding of business fundamentals, you will be well on your way to a highly profitable and successful commercial washing endeavor.