Is pressure washing profitable? Pressure washing is the act of using an industrial-strength water sprayer to remove stubborn dirt and grime from any hard surface such as concrete, brick, wood, or metal.
It’s often used commercially by contractors to clean off multiple layers of paint from buildings in preparation for renovation, but can also be done at home by homeowners who want to spruce up their house before putting it on the market or just working on their handiwork around the yard.
If you’ve done your research into this side hustle then chances are you know that not only is pressure washing extremely profitable (especially when combined with other home improvement side hustles), but it’s also a great way to get your feet wet in the home improvement industry.
The only thing stopping you from making money with pressure washing is finding out how to get started, right?
Well, don’t worry because we’ve got you covered! In this guide we’re going to let you know how much equipment will cost and what you’ll need for a complete setup, how to find customers, where to set up shop (and which places are the best), and finally, whether or not this side hustle can turn into a full-time successful pressure washing business.
So let’s go ahead and jump in.
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Who Is Pressure Washing A Good Side Hustle For?
A pressure washing job would be an extremely profitable side hustle for anyone looking to get their feet wet in the home improvement industry. The only thing pressure washers need is a garden hose, a pressure washer, someone who lives nearby willing to allow you access to water, and a place that’s not too visible from the street (unless you want people wondering what’s going on inside your neighbor’s house).
As a side hustle, a power washing business (otherwise knowns as power washing services or pressure washing) doesn’t take up a lot of time so it’d be perfect for the person who has a day job but wants to make some extra money on the side.
You can easily do one or two pressure washing sessions in an evening after your full-time job is over and make hundreds of dollars doing it. The pressure washing industry is only growing and pressure washing skills are in high demand with lots of future business growth possible.
How To Get Started Pressure Washing As A Side Hustle
Before you get started with pressure washing, there are a few pieces of equipment that you’re going to need.
One of the most important pieces for starting a pressure washing side hustle is a high-pressure water pump or power washer (usually priced around $100) and they come in two types: gas-powered and electric.
Gas-powered ones will be slightly more powerful but can be loud and cost extra on your utility bill while electric models work great and don’t add to your utility bill. You’ll also need an extension cord. Lastly, try to find some kind of covers such as a tarp or plastic sheeting which will protect your car from any accidental overspray if it’s parked near your setup.
If you’re looking for an excellent water pump, the Sun Joe SPX3001 3000 PSI 1.76 GPM 14.5-Amp Electric Pressure Washer is a great place to start.
For around $200, this electric machine has everything that you need to get started including easy storage thanks to folding handles and wheels on the front of the unit for easy transportation between job sites.
Speaking of transportation, there’s another tool that you’ll need to bring your pressure washer wherever you need it which is a standard garden hose. Your water pump will come with one but find out what size the hose needs to be before purchasing because not all hoses are compatible. The most common hose sizes are 3/8″ and 1/2″. You’ll also need some kind of adapter for connecting your garden hose to the pressure washer.
Lastly, before getting started as a pressure washing business owner, you’re going to want a pair of safety glasses and ear protection as well as gloves and old clothes since pressure washing can get dirty.
If you don’t want to ruin your nicer clothing, I’d recommend wearing old clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. You could even buy clothes that you use specifically for pressure washing and possibly write those off as business expenses.
Starting a pressure washing business is a relatively safe activity when you follow all of the recommended safety measures but accidents can still happen which is why goggles and ear protection are a must. Pressure washing can be dangerous if you’re not careful.
Extension Poles and Nozzles
If you want to make the process of pressure washing faster and more efficient, consider picking up a garden extension pole and some sprayer nozzles meant for power washers.
These tools will increase your reach and allow you to get the top parts of homes without leaving your ladder behind or getting on a tall stepladder that could be unstable. They can also increase the water pressure, reducing your power washing time.
Once you have your basic equipment (and equipment insurance) along with a truck and trailer, it’s time to find customers and new clients.
Where To Get Your First Customers
When it comes to finding customers for pressure washing as a side hustle, one of your best options is word-of-mouth advertising. You can tell all of your friends, family members, and coworkers about your services and any referrals you receive will help you build a solid customer base right off the bat. Another great way to spread the word is through social media, namely Facebook and Instagram, but also consider branching out into other platforms such as LinkedIn.
Once you find customers (and before you do any actual work), it can be helpful to sign up for online pressure washing directories such as BookFresh which lets customers search for nearby pressure washers.
Once they select one, they can answer details about what kind of job they’re looking for and request estimates from your business profile (which contains all of your contact information). This would be a good place to make promotional materials like flyers or business cards available so that potential customers can take them home with them.
Another great option to attract clients (either residential customers or clients in the office or retail space) is through Craigslist. While it’s not always the most reliable place to find customers, you can occasionally post ads about your own pressure washing business and just see if anyone bites. You may have to try a few different variations on your ad headline before you start seeing results but it could be worth trying out since you have nothing to lose if you don’t get any replies.
Different Types of Customers
There are several different types of people that hire pressure washing businesses.
One is the residential markets homeowner who gets sick of looking at the mildew on their driveway or siding and wants to spruce up their house before putting it on the market for sale. You can also think of this person as someone who has just moved into a new house and wants to get rid of all of the dirt/dust on the exterior before they start unpacking their belongings.
HOA’s And Real Estate Agents
Another potential customer is a homeowners’ association (HOA) or real estate agent. They might need to pressure wash some common areas around an apartment complex or neighborhood and aren’t interested in hiring employees specifically for that. They would rather use their labor expenses to hire a pressure washing business or power washing business.
One of the most important customers are landlords who want to make sure their property is in good enough condition for renting out. They often hire pressure washing services to get their property ready for new tenants by doing things like washing the sidewalks, fixing the exterior if needed, and cleaning up mildew.
You can also consider pressure washing for construction sites. If you don’t mind getting a little dirty and are good with machinery then this might be an option since the workers would probably appreciate someone coming by to take care of cleaning up after their work is done. This type of work can yield high-profit margins compared to house cleaning or chimney cleaning services.
Restaurants & Small Businesses
Restaurants and small businesses (and other commercial establishments) need pressure washing services as well, particularly if they have a patio or an outdoor seating area for customers to enjoy. If you’re willing to go after some of these bigger jobs, then it can help boost your profits since these businesses want to retain clients and higher business profits.
Weddings And Other Special Events
Another option is special events like weddings and birthday parties. Many venues for these events will have a tough time cleaning up all of the dirt, food bits, and other stains that accumulate throughout the night. Some will even hire professional companies to do this for them or you can try offering your pressure washing business services directly as a side hustle.
Truck drivers are another option for potential customers of your power washing business. Many times the trailers on trucks will accumulate all sorts of grime and it’s usually too much of a hassle for the drivers to try to clean them on their own. That’s where your pressure wash business comes in.
You may also be able to create contracts with local municipalities or government agencies, especially if they have parking lots that need regular power washing.
Doing The Pressure Wash Side Hustle
Before turning power washing into a full-time business, I’d suggest finding one or two regular customers who are willing to give you some feedback on your work so that it becomes clear whether or not this is something they want or need long term. This will help prevent wasted time spent marketing this service to people who may not want it. This should be your pressure washing business strategy.
Once you have found some customers, their feedback will help you figure out your prices and how long you’ll need to work each day to cover your expenses (including equipment costs) and make a profit. For example, if they would like for someone to come by every other week to power wash, then you can adjust your schedule accordingly to start building up a backlog of work.
In addition, customer feedback will also help you find additional cleaning industry customers like word-of-mouth referrals. This is important for growth since you won’t always be able to rely on online searches and cold calling/emailing to find your customers; sometimes the best way to bring in new business is through existing customers who already know they can trust you (since you’ve worked together before).
The best way to get customer testimonials is by asking for them directly. If you have a website, then there are also ways to secure testimonials online but it’s better if customers can give you real feedback from their experiences.
Pressure Washing Services Payment Methods
You can accept cash, checks, or credit cards if you want to build up business credit when you start a pressure washing business and want to turn it into a full-time pressure washing business.
For example, I would recommend using Square since it’s free for swiping credit cards and they’ll also send you a free physical card reader in the mail. It has low start-up costs and can be connected directly to your business bank account.
Paying Taxes On The Side Hustle Income
(This is NOT tax advice.)
One thing to keep in mind is whether or not pressure washing business income will need to be reported as self-employment income. In some cases, it might be if your state taxes individuals who are self-employed, but not all states do this.
This means that you might have to report it as income on your taxes, but it’s only taxable after you’ve taken expenses for the year (e.g., money spent buying equipment or paying monthly services). Of course, this could change depending on your business structure, business location, or the company’s assets.
For example, let’s say I make $5,000 with my pressure washing business in a given year and my expenses amount to $2,500 that same year. If this is my only source of income then I’d pay tax on the whole $7,500 since it falls under the category of ordinary income which is taxed at whatever bracket my yearly earnings fall into.
However, if I made an additional $40k working full-time as a business owner, then I’d only pay taxes on the $5,000 because I’d owe zero tax on my first $18k of earnings as a single filer (single people can earn up to $9,275 before paying any federal income tax).
This is why it’s so important for those who do side hustles and the self-employed to keep records of all expenses year-round. It will help you know what you’ll be able to subtract off your taxable side hustle income later on when doing your accounting and tax filing.
Expanding Your Pressure Washing Business
After you start a pressure washing business and have built up your reputation as your own boss, you may be able to put together partnerships or a business plan with other business entities like local realtors or companies who are looking to sell new homes to potential clients.
For example, if they can send you photos of homes that are being sold at a discount due to damages, then these would likely be great candidates for your services since it will give them more value when trying to re-sell.
You may also want to consider expanding into related areas of the home improvement industry. Many people fix their houses up all at once thus creating demand for house painters, landscapers, roofers, electricians, plumbers, etc., so don’t hesitate to reach out if there’s someone in your area who does this kind of work in addition to pressure washing. You could even offer some of these services yourself, such as:
With chimney sweeping, make sure you’re offering this service to both residential and commercial clients since there are often big companies out there that need their chimneys cleaned frequently.
Many homeowners don’t realize that they should be having their roofs cleaned every two years or so, but if they haven’t then the moss/grime that builds up will eventually start to wear down the shingles as it gets soaked from rain/snow and ices up during winter months. This will only cause the homeowner to have to replace their roof at a much higher cost since it’s often not covered under their insurance plan.
If you already own a pressure washer then offering landscaping services shouldn’t be much more difficult as long as you have the proper equipment. This can include using a brush attachment to clean sidewalks and driveways, which is especially helpful during the summer months when sap builds up from vehicles driving over fresh-cut grass. You may also want to consider having a truck and trailer which you can use to haul/spread mulch, topsoil, and any other thing they might need.
Once again, this is another job that’s fairly easy to get into and typically requires less upfront investment than some of the others we’ve covered thus far. It can also be very profitable if you’re willing to invest in a ladder and use your roof cleaning equipment on the gutters while you’re already on top of the house.
Although this will take a little more time compared to the others, you could even offer gutter cleaning services in conjunction with a few of the others I’ve listed above (i.e., roof cleaning and landscaping) to create a “Fix It All” package which you promote to homeowners.
Tree Trimming & Stump Removal
This is an excellent way to offer a service that most people can’t do themselves for a variety of reasons. If you’re already established as a credible pressure washing company then it shouldn’t be too difficult getting your foot in the door here especially if you have references from people who’ve been pleased with their work.
Not only is tree trimming and stump removal great complements to your pressure washing business, but they’re good options if you want to pick up extra work during the winter since this is typically when people focus most on their homes.
This will give you something else to talk about with your current pressure washing customers so that you can maintain a relationship with them throughout the year by offering additional services. You could even have separate invoices made up for each service which would be especially helpful if someone has already hired you.
One final idea you can consider is investing some money into a van or truck which can be used to go from job to job and make it easier to get started once your business begins gaining more traction. For example, if you know of a property that has four driveways then it would probably be faster for you to do all of them at the same time instead of having to go back and forth between each one before finishing up.
In general, just keep in mind that a pressure washing business may take a while before turning into something lucrative with more money depending on how aggressive you are with marketing yourself and drumming up new business. There’s not a ton of people who will have the time or desire to do this kind of work for little-to-no money, but there is a market out there if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to stand out from the competition.
When to Become a Full-Time Pressure Washer
The upside of being a pressure washer is that it doesn’t have to be a full-time gig unless you want it to be. This means you can only count on making an average of about $15k each year if you’re working part-time for 20 hours per week at $30/hour or roughly double that rate if you’re working 40 hours per week.
(This is why it’s important to not skip out on other potential income opportunities which could help supplement what your side hustle brings in.)
The good news is, if you can manage to build up your reputation and customer base (through a great working relationship) then this number should go up over time as the word gets around town about how reliable and affordable your services are compared to others.
This should lead to more business and therefore a higher income. So you could potentially make an average of $30k or even as much as half a million per year if you wanted to work full-time hours, but it will take some time before this happens.
The Bottom Line
There are certainly never any guarantees with making money from your pressure washing business since there’s always the chance that something can go wrong along the way whether it’s due to bad weather or a lack of available jobs. However, pressure washing seems like one of those opportunities where the odds are typically in your favor as long as you’re willing to put in the effort needed to get noticed by potential clients wherever you live.
FAQ – Is Pressure Washing Profitable?
What is required to get started with pressure washing?
One does not need much equipment when getting started with pressure washing which makes it very attractive compared to other types of side hustles out there today where you might need thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of tools and machinery to make it work.
All you need is a pressure washer which can be rented out for as little as $100 per day at some places or up to about $300 for those who want their machine; whichever one you choose will likely come with several different nozzles, wands, and accessories depending on the type of surface that needs to be cleaned and how much power you need to get the job done.
You might also want to invest in a spray lance which allows you to attach the wand directly onto the machine itself so that it’s easier to switch back and forth between cleaning surfaces where there are different types of openings such as windows, grills, etc.
Do I need any particular licensing or certification when starting a pressure washing company?
It will never hurt to take licensing and certification courses if you can afford them, but they are certainly not required to power wash. This is one of many side hustles that don’t require much in the way of formal education or official training so you can technically get started even if all you have is your own two hands (and some elbow grease) to offer up.
Where applicable though, having valid insurance for your own business may be important for certain places you need to work since you wouldn’t want something like an accident on their property to result in costly damages should the worst happen.
How much money can I potentially make by starting a pressure washing company?
It’s difficult to give an exact amount since there are so many variables involved in this equation such as the size of the area you plan on cleaning and how many hours per week you put in. However, we know for a fact that $15k is the average income potential – it may be less if you’re working part-time or more depending on business conditions.
In any case, all but the very worst cases should allow for at least some kind of steady flow of income from year to year provided you’re willing to work hard enough. Is Pressure Washing Profitable? As always, your mileage may vary. It includes a list of recommended resources for further reading.
Is pressure washing profitable?
Pressure cleaning is an excellent way to work for yourself and turn a decent profit. If you’re interested, there are resources everywhere (like this article) to get started learning about what will be needed to make the venture a success.