How to start a pressure washing business

We're sharing tips on how to start your own pressure washing business. Learn more and become your own boss!

brick pressure washing

Pressure washers, also known as power washers, are some of the most impressive pieces of machinery you can get your hands on. In this era of viral “oddly satisfying things” sweeping across the web, it’s no coincidence that a timelapse video of pressure washing in action can rack up over 2.5 million views and counting.

And they’re even more impressive in real life.

Anyone who’s had the pleasure of blasting a dirty surface with a pressure washer has questioned how to start a pressure washing business. As someone looking to start your own, you’re no doubt thinking the same thing. This guide will walk you through what it takes to begin a pressure washing business and how to position it for long-term success.

Steps for starting your own pressure washing business

So, you have access to a pressure washer or power washer and want to start a business around it (to clarify, the difference between the two is that a power washer uses heated water, while a pressure washer does not). In either case, what you need to do breaks down into three simple steps:
  • Prepare
  • Launch
  • Protect

Let’s walk through each step and all the work and considerations it entails, beginning with…

Preparation

This step is all about positioning yourself for the next two. It involves researching and making sure you have everything in place to plan out success over the short and long term.

What does your washing business need in order to succeed? It’s essential to make sure you have everything in place. That means securing:

Equipment – This is the most essential part when offering a pressure washing service. You need to make sure you have:

  • One or more pressure or power washers
  • All relevant accessories needed to use and maintain the machines Other tools, like mops, brooms, dusters, etc.
  • Consumable supplies like paper goods, soap, gloves, etc.

Labor – Pressure washing equipment needs operators. That means ensuring you and any workers you hire are:

  • Physically able to operate the pressure washers
  • Trained in the skills it takes to pressure wash well, safely, and efficiently

Transportation – As a business owner, you need to have a way to get your pressure washing equipment and workers to and from job sites. This requires at least one car or van, if not multiple:

  • Commercial vehicles might be required
  • Even if not required, commercial vehicles are preferable
  • However, they require separate insurance and can’t be legally parked on streets in some areas.

Space – There are a few important considerations in terms of space:

  • Office or storefront space for business operations Storage space for equipment, materials, etc.
  • Garage, driveway, or other legal parking for commercial vehicles

Funds – It takes money to make money. You need to make sure you have personal funds, investment capital, or reliable credit in place for:

  • Start-up costs
  • Ongoing washing business expenses
  • Regular ups and downs
  • Emergencies, irregularities, etc.

Making sure you have what you need also involves a ton of research, which brings us to our next point.

Knowledge is half the battle

Knowing what you need to have and do will enable you to plan out your launch. So, you need to make sure you research:

What your pressure washing company will be – This means an in-depth understanding of what your business will consist of, including:

  • Organizational structure (who’s involved?)
  • Services offered (just pressure washing, or other things, too?)
  • Scope and scale (how big will it be at first?)
  • Projected profits and expenses (over the short and long term)
  • Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT)

What the environment is like – In other words, what’s the context of your business, including:

  • Local population and demographics (density, age, affluence, etc.)
  • Demand for your services (how many people need pressure washing?)
  • Supply of similar services (is there competition?)
  • Local laws, regulations, taxes, etc. that could impact your business

What the launch process entails – You’re already doing this part, which is great! Moving forward, you’ll need to figure out what’s required to start a business in general and particularly in your area, including:

  • Registering your business Getting federal and state tax IDs
  • Applying for licensure and certification
  • Opening business banking Insuring your business

Once you have a plan in place, it’s time to execute it!

Launch your power washing business

Here’s where you really get off the ground when starting your power washing business. If you’ve done everything above and laid out a solid plan, this is actually the easiest part. To launch, you need to:

Pick and register your business name and structure Sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, etc.

File for tax identification: An Employer Identification Number (EIN) for federal taxes A state tax ID number, if needed

Secure any and all licenses needed At the federal level At the state level At your local (city, town, etc.) level

Open up a business banking account separate from your personal accounts

Establish an online presence For selling your services For marketing and growing your business

Insure your business

That last point brings us to the third and final step for your cleaning service.

Protect your business

Insurance is such an important part of the launch that it gets its own step. Business insurance has to do with not just legal requirements, but also best practices to keep your pressure washing company financially secure.

As a business owner that manages a cleaning service, it’s essential that you and your employees are legally protected. Let’s go over the legal stuff first:

Required insurance

Across the U.S., two major kinds of business insurance are required of every applicable business:

  1. Workers’ compensation insurance – This is required for all businesses that have employees. It protects you in case an employee is hurt on the job and is owed compensation for medical treatment and lost income.
  2. Commercial auto insurance – This is required for all businesses that use vehicles for business purposes. It protects you from costs associated with collisions and other incidental damage (vandalism, natural disasters, etc.) that involve your business’ vehicles.

For both kinds of required coverage, specific limits and minimums vary by state. Additional insurance requirements also vary across different local jurisdictions.

Beyond what you need, there’s also what you (and every business) should have.

Recommended insurance

General liability coverage is considered essential for most businesses, though not legally required. It’s extremely important for a cleaning business that involves high-power machinery, moving parts, and other people’s possessions.

General liability insurance protects you from third-party claims of:

  • Bodily harm
  • Personal and advertising injury
  • Property damage

So, if a customer, client, or any other third party is harmed and sues, you won’t have to face the claim alone.

Pressure washing insurance, simplified

Here at Thimble, our mission is simplifying insurance for small businesses owners, like you.

We custom-tailor plans that meet you where you are. They’re flexible like your schedule, affordable for your budget, and easily accessible in just 60 seconds or less. Just click “Get a Quote” or download the Thimble app, answer three quick questions, and you can purchase a pressure washing insurance plan by the hour, day, or month.

We wash away your insurance woes so you can get back to power washing like a pro.

Time to get started (no pressure)

So, now that you know what it takes to start your pressure washing business, it’s time to get out there and blow the competition away just like your pressure washer blows the dirt off any surface it blasts. To recap, all you need to do is follow three simple steps:

  1. Prepare
  2. Launch
  3. Protect

So, what are you waiting for? Get started today!

Our editorial content is intended for informational purposes only and is not written by a licensed insurance agent. Terms and conditions for rate and coverage may vary by class of business and state.

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DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this page is intended to provide general information only. For specific legal advice, please contact an attorney. For advice regarding your particular insurance needs, you should speak with your broker or agent to ensure that you have the appropriate coverages and limits.