Pressure washing is a $2.5 billion industry in the US in 2021 and is expected to balloon to $3 billion by 2026. And it’s a great side hustle: the hourly pay is high, but the demand is seasonal and offers quiet months off. So, if you’re hooked on power washing video tutorials and thinking about starting your own business, here are some tips to consider.
Do a Test Run
Before you invest time and money in starting a business, try spending the weekend using professional-grade equipment to see if you can tolerate (and maybe even enjoy) power washing for hours at a time. If you don’t know anyone who can lend you one, you can always rent from a big-box hardware store by the hour.
What kind of washer should you test drive? Look for a mid-range, cold-only model to begin with; washers with hot water and dual pumps are much more expensive and suited to specialty jobs like commercial kitchen exhaust vents or epoxy paint removal. A decent cold water model can handle the types of exterior jobs most people associate with power washing: driveways, sidewalks, exteriors, empty pools, vehicles, and so on. (Just know that tough stains might require detergent to remove with cold water.)
Should You Lease or Buy a Washer?
If you’ve tried it out and think you could handle spending several hours a week power washing, then it’s time to start investigating your equipment options. Renting from a hardware store makes sense for homeowners who only want to do a single task, but rental fees add up quickly if you’re doing multiple jobs. Plus, availability isn’t guaranteed.
All small businesses who rely on equipment to operate face a fundamental choice: lease or buy? The most prudent answer depends on several factors, but for power washing, consider:
- The climate where you live. If it’s temperate year-round, buying might make more sense because you can do business continuously. But if you live somewhere that experiences intense winters, it might be more sensible to lease your power washer during only the warmer months of the year. That way, you’re not on the hook for payments during the colder months when you’re not working.
- Your target client. If you plan to offer services primarily to individual homeowners, keep in mind that most people do exterior maintenance on a seasonal basis—they’re more interested in clean driveways in the spring and less concerned about it before cold weather hits. Demand might not be consistent enough to justify purchasing equipment. If, however, you’re targeting commercial clients (such as restaurants or large apartment complexes) who do consistent business throughout the year, then buying equipment could work better.
- Your budget. Buying any specialty equipment is a lot of cash to hand over upfront, and most entrepreneurs aren’t flush with capital initially. Leasing allows you to make smaller monthly payments over a longer period so that you can keep recurring expenses low while you build up a clientele. Even if buying is the right decision down the road, consider leasing first to keep cash flow running smoothly.
Additionally, think about the supporting equipment you’ll need. A vehicle to get to and from jobs is a must, as well as either a truck or trailer to transport your power washer. You’ll also need various hoses, tanks, nozzles, and detergents, which will have to be periodically cleaned or replaced.
Get Your Business in Order
Because a power washer—like any major equipment—has the potential to damage property or hurt operators, it’s essential that your small business is legal and insured. In the United States, you can consult the Small Business Administration (SBA) for free help on starting a business, getting licensed in your state, securing the proper insurance, and making sure you’re paying state and federal taxes correctly. Legal paperwork isn’t nearly as satisfying as blasting the grease off a sidewalk, but it will save you money and hassle in the long run.
The SBA can also help you find free local business counseling and offers resources on budgeting, marketing, hiring, and several other entrepreneurial topics. With the right equipment in hand and a wealth of knowledge available, you can get your power washing business off the ground.
Ready to take the next step and look into equipment financing? Clicklease can help. Contact us today.