What Pressure Washer Do You Need? Essential Tips for Pressure Washing Startups

pressure washing Jan 02, 2024

If you’re looking to start a profitable pressure washing company in 2024, you’re in the right place. Growing a successful operation takes more than just buying a nice piece of equipment and waiting for phone calls though. You need smart business strategies around pricing appropriately for profitability, continuously marketing your services in your area, systemizing processes to allow scaling up through employees, and providing 5-star experiences that turn one-time clients into recurring season-long contracts. We’ll detail key equipment considerations for both residential and commercial pressure washing needs, outline battle-tested marketing plans utilized by industry veterans, and provide leadership and team building advice to keep your crew motivated as your customer base expands. Whether you’re investigating this as a side hustle or wanting to eventually replace your 9 to 5 with a five-figure-per-month power washing empire, our pressure washing startup guide will clearly walk you through proven action steps for maximizing profits. Let’s get rolling into the soapy sudsy world of keeping exteriors picture perfect!


In the pressure washing business, two key terms you'll hear a lot are "PSI" and "GPM". PSI stands for "pounds per square inch" and measures the pressure of the water coming out of the pressure washer. Most cleaning is actually done around 80-100 PSI even though pressure washers may advertise capabilities up to 4000 PSI or more. Higher pressure can actually damage surfaces like vinyl siding or flowers. The key is to use just enough pressure to clean effectively without causing damage.

 GPM stands for "gallons per minute" and measures the flow rate of water through the pressure washer. A higher GPM generally allows you to clean faster. When starting out, a pressure washer with at least 4 GPM capability is recommended. Going with a higher GPM machine like 8-10 GPM will increase cleaning speeds, but comes with higher equipment costs. The right balance for your business depends on your goals and budget.



Choosing Initial Pressure Washing Equipment

When starting your pressure washing business, focus first on buying only the essential equipment you need, then grow from there. A basic setup would include:

  • Pressure washer (4 GPM capability minimum)
  • Downstream injector
  • 5 gallon bucket
  • J-rod for applying chemicals
  • Surface cleaner to quickly clean concrete
  • 150+ feet of pressure washing hose (consider non-marking grey to reduce surface damage)
  • Garden hose
  • Pressure washing wand

This basic equipment collection will get you going for most residential jobs like houses, decks, sidewalks, etc. Avoid expensive electric hose reels when starting out - hand crank reels work just fine. Upgrade only when you land bigger jobs and have the profits to support it. Rent equipment first if needed to fund those initial jobs instead of buying everything upfront. Invest first in marketing over equipment when launching your business.

Creating a Marketing Plan

The most important investment when starting any business, including pressure washing, is having an effective marketing plan. Simply having nice equipment won't get you jobs on its own. Consider creating flyers, door hangers, yard signs, social media posts, magazine ads, and online ads to continually promote your new pressure washing business. Experiment with the channel and messaging that generates the most calls and jobs in your area.

Creating and executing a marketing plan takes consistent time and effort, not just a one-time effort. Map out how many times per week or month you will distribute flyers, replace faded signs, share social posts, etc. Also determine monthly or quarterly budgets you can set for paid advertising methods. Stick to this plan through the year instead of jumping between random strategies and see where it takes your business by year end.


Hiring Employees

As your pressure washing business grows from marketing and delivering great service, you may need to start hiring employees. Some tips when adding employees:

  • Become a strong leader and learn how to best motivate your team
  • Define standard operating procedures with checklists for employees to follow
  • Understand personality types and how to best work with each
  • Pay well and show employees they matter through small rewards

Hiring the right people and keeping them happy will remove daily workload from your shoulders so you can focus on higher priorities like getting new business. But you have to put in effort to become a likeable and respectable leader.

The keys to pressure washing success in 2024 boil down to smart equipment buying strategy in the beginning, creating and following an aggressive marketing plan, and learning leadership skills to scale out jobs through a growing employee team. Learning something new and taking consistent action is more important than just mimicking what competitors do. Determination will overcome any failure or roadblock during the year.



What PSI do I need to effectively pressure wash?

You don't need an extremely high PSI to clean well. Most residential pressure washing is done around 80-100 PSI. Higher pressures can actually damage surfaces.


What is GPM and why does it matter?

GPM stands for gallons per minute and measures the flow rate of your pressure washer. Higher GPMs allow you to clean faster. Look for at least 4 GPM capability when starting out.


What basic equipment do I need?

A pressure washer over 4 GPM, downstream injector, 5 gallon bucket, J-rod, surface cleaner, 150+ feet of pressure washing hose, garden hose, and pressure washing wand.

Should I splurge on expensive hose reels at first?

No, start with hand crank hose reels to save money in the beginning. Upgrade to electric reels later once profitable.

Is nice equipment enough to get jobs?

No, you need an effective marketing plan with flyers, door hangers, website, etc. to continuously get your name out there.

How often should I market my business?

Map out a consistent plan to distribute flyers weekly, replace signs monthly, post on social media daily, etc. Commit to specific marketing actions weekly/monthly.

When should I consider hiring employees?

Once growing marketing and service has you struggling to keep up with client demand. Employees allow you to focus less on technician work.

What makes a good pressure washing business leader?

Strong motivational, team building, and coaching skills. Plus defining processes for employees to follow.

Do I need hot or cold pressure washing equipment?

Hot capability helps with oil and gum removal jobs. Start with cold equipment first while launching your business.

Can I be successful just copying my competitors?

No, take smart risks by continually learning and determining what works uniquely for your business, not just mimicking others.