Power washing is a great small business model for individuals, franchise builders or simply for running a cleaning crew in a high-demand area. Power washing cost services are often required for business parking lots, driveways, business structures and homes. The model works as a standalone business, with some seasonality in cold weather areas. It also combines well with other outdoor services like landscaping. The built-in customer base for a landscaping service makes it a natural upsell. Today, we review the pressure washing services price list, how to bid pressure washing jobs and commercial pressure washing prices.
Pricing the service, however, is not always easy. The pricing model largely depends on competition, demand and existing customer loyalty. You can price high when demand is high and competition is low. Competitive markets tend to use level or cap pricing, and you will likely need to meet the market average. Loyal customer purchasing, in addition to an existing service, may pay a higher price for the convenience of a bundled package. For example, if you include pressure washing in the overall cost to re-stain a deck, the price is bundled.
The prices used are determined by your strategy and position within the market. A new business can choose any pricing option, but starting at or slightly below the market average is a good approach for securing customers out of the gate. Or, offer a one-time discount to gain new customers, and then follow up with a regular service plan. Another strategy is premium pricing. Position yourself as the best service provider with the most experience and best equipment. Premium pricing is attractive to other business owners and nicer homes that are focused on a quality outcome. Adding a satisfaction guarantee to the price will also help convert new customers.
Power washing cost
Several methods of pricing are used by power washing services. You can choose a single model or you can adjust your strategy, based on the individual job. Pricing by the hour is consistent and ensures that you are paid for the time worked. Pricing by the square foot is common, and makes it possible to bid on different sizes and shaped structures or lots. Flat rate pricing is also an option that requires experience in knowing the time and effort required on different job types. For example, you may approach a building with chipped and peeling paint that will require extra time. Based on your experience with jobs of this nature, you will do a rough square-footage pricing calculation, and then add an additional 20-percent to that figure in anticipation of the effort required. Flat rate pricing means that you can potentially earn more, but it requires the experience to know how to price each job.
commercial pressure washing prices
According to Home Advisor, the typical power-washing job costs is $220 to $380 dollars for a house siding; $130 to $220 dollars for a driveway; and $250 to $420 dollars for a deck or patio. Thumbtack estimates the average cost of pressure washing in 2018 at 16 to 22 cents per square foot. That falls closely inline with the Home Advisor estimates.
Estimating power washing jobs is not always easy. There are many factors to consider such as local competition and demand. Cold weather climates might create only seasonal demand for power washing. Power washers in areas with lots of competition will need to keep an eye on average prices.
Follow these five steps to make estimating power washing jobs a simpler and more straightforward process, especially for small outfits that are new to the business.
FreshBooks’ online estimating software makes generating and sending estimates easy, plus you can easily convert them into invoices.
1. Measure the Space
Most pressure washing is estimated based on the square footage or linear footage of the area to be washed, according to Power Washing Business.
It’s best to visit the property in person before sending an estimate to see the conditions of the site yourself. Ask the customer questions about what exactly they want done and if there are any special services required or repair work needed.
Projects that are estimated based on square footage include roofs, driveways, sidewalks, fences, decks, siding, commercial cleaning, parking lots, garage floors.
To find square footage, find the length and width of the area. A laser distance measurer works best. Multiply the length by the width. Then multiply that number by 1.35 to find approximate square footage.
Projects that are estimated based on linear footage include houses and boats. You simply measure the length of the structure, ignoring width or thickness measurements. Now you can charge by linear foot. Linear feet is charged at a higher rate than square footage.
2. Decide on a Pricing Strategy
Power washers typically estimate residential jobs based on one of three pricing strategies:
- Per square foot or linear foot
- Per hour
- Flat rate
Pricing by the square or linear foot makes it easier to bid on different sizes and shapes of lots or structures. Pricing by the hour makes sure you get paid for every hour worked.
Flat rate pricing is handy if you’re an experienced power washer who already knows the prices for different jobs and how factors like rough surfaces will affect the price. In this method, find the rough price based on the square footage and then add your markup on top.
You can earn more with flat rate pricing but it requires a practiced professional to do it accurately, according to the Houston Chronicle.
3. Price Based on the Project
Rates also differ based on the service. Here are some standard rates based on national averages to help you estimate your power washing job, whether it’s a house or a parking lot:
- $90 – $275 flat rate for exterior
- $0.75 – $1.25 per linear foot (single story house)
- $1.75 – $2.25 per linear foot (two story house)
- $100: single story
- $135: two floors
- $200: three floors
- $5 per linear foot: bottom only
- $10 per linear foot: whole boat
- $0.20 cents per square foot
- Double or triple the fee for roofs with steep pitches
DRIVEWAYS AND SIDEWALKS
- $60 – $150 flat price (depends on size)
- $0.08 – $0.14 per square foot
FENCES, DECKS AND SIDING
- $0.20 – $0.25 per square foot
- $50 – $85 flat rate for a mobile home (depends on condition)
- $80 – $100 flat rate for a double wide (depends on condition)
- $0.08 -$0.12 cents per square foot for basic surface cleaning
- $75 for standard dumpster and $150 for large
PARKING LOTS, GARAGES AND DRIVE THRUS
- $0.05 – $0.25 per square foot for parking lots and garage floors (depends on condition)
- $10 – $20 per parking space
4. Estimate Materials and Overhead Costs
Additional costs include chemicals for jobs on roofs, fences, decks and siding. For example, chemicals to power wash a roof would cost about $50. Prices will also differ depending on whether you use cold water or hot water cleaning.
Overhead is another cost you should absolutely factor into your estimates, according to Ultimate Washer.
Let’s look at some monthly costs based on a 30 hour paid work week.
- Vehicle loan: $400 or $3.33 per hour
- Car insurance: $125 or $1.04 per hour
- Cleaning supplies: $400 or $3.33 per hour
- Phone and internet: $150 or $1.25 per hour
- Gasoline: $500 per month or $4.17 per hour
- Advertising: $600 or $5.00 an hour
- Equipment maintenance and fuel: $10 per hour
- Office rent: $900 a month, $9 per hour (optional)
Overhead costs are almost $40 per hour alone. You also need to account for your own salary (let’s say $29/hour at $60,000 a year) and money to put back into the company ($20,000 or $9.50 an hour).
This increases your rate to $78.50 an hour.
Since you’re only getting paid for 30 hours of work and you typically spend at least 10 more hours on administrative tasks, you need to account for these 10 unpaid hours in your hourly fee.
Rounding $78.50 up to $80, you should be earning $3,200 a week for a 40 hour workweek. You need to earn $800 more. Divide $800 by the 30 hours you’re working and you’ll find you need to charge $26.66 more or $106 per hour total.
5. Calculate the Total
Now that you have your square or linear footage, calculate the cost based on standard rates for the job, making sure to account for materials and overhead. Or use one of the standard flat rates listed above.
Here’s another strategy:
(Cost of Materials x 2) + Cold or Hot Water Cleaning Costs = Project Estimate
Cold water cleaning should cost $45 to $50 and hot water cleaning should cost $55 to $60.
- For example, if the cost of materials is $200 then double it to get $400. Let’s say you’re using hot water cleaning.
- $400 + $60 = $460 project estimate
How Do You Price a Power Washing Job?
Power washing typically costs between $183 to $380 in the U.S., with the national average being $281, according to Home Advisor.
Power washing houses usually costs between $220 to $380, a driveway costs $130 to $220 and a deck or patio costs $250 to $420. The price depends on any cleaning chemicals that might need to be used and the size of the surface.
Power washers usually price jobs by the square foot, the hour or using a flat rate. Details on each of these methods can be found above.
How Much Does It Cost to Pressure Wash per Square Foot?
It typically costs between $0.08 and $0.35 per square foot to do pressure washing. This figure depends on the average rates in your region.
A pressure washer will charge $0.40 to $0.80 per square foot if there are problems like stains, dirt or mold that take longer to clean, according to CostHelper.
How Much Does Pressure Washing Cost per Hour?
Pressure washing typically costs between $60 to $100 an hour, according to Fixr.com.
For example, a 1,200 square foot home takes about six hours to pressure wash and costs between $360 to $600.
Pressure washing a driveway or sidewalk would take about an hour ($60 to $100), a roof takes two to three hours ($120 to $300) and decks, porches and patios take about one to two hours ($60 to $200).
What You Need to Know Before Buying a Pressure Washer
Pressure washers have come a long way. Over the last ten years the quality has increased as prices have become more affordable. The cleaning ability of a pressure washer is great, removing dirt, grime, and algae quickly, efficiently and effectively. A pressure washer can greatly increase your ability to maintain and clean your property and equipment giving it greater value. If your time is valuable, a pressure washer could be a good investment, but if you get the wrong machine, you will be frustrated and you could waste a lot of time and money.
The goal of this buying guide is to help you understand what a pressure washer does and what you need to look for when deciding to purchase one. If you’re ready to start shopping, check out the pressure washers at kmstools.com. Or keep reading to learn more about the following:
- How a Pressure Washer Works
- Pressure Washer Pumps
- Direct Drive or Belt Drive
- Gas or Electric
- Pressure Washer Accessories
- Choosing the Right Pressure Washer
How a Pressure Washer Works
A pressure washer is actually a fairly simple piece of equipment. A motor or engine turns a pump, pushing water through an orifice (tip). The water accelerates as it goes through the small hole, much like a river flows faster in a narrow gorge, and that fast-moving water is very useful for blasting dirt and grime. The math is quite simple. Each time the pump turns over, a specific volume of water is pushed through the tip. The more water you push through the tip, the more pressure is developed, and therefore more power is required. The higher the pressure, the faster the water moves, and the harder it hits the dirt, removing it from the surface you want to clean.
What to Consider
The two most important considerations when buying a pressure washer are size, which determines how long it takes to do the job or how many jobs you can do in a day; and life expectancy, which determines how many hours of work you can do per dollar spent during the life of the machine.
Here are some basic ratings:
Horse Power (HP)
This is how much power the engine or motor produces. This rating is important because it directly relates to how much pressure and volume the pump can produce.
Pounds Per Square Inch (PSI)
The pressure generated by a pressure washer is measured in pounds per square inch or PSI. Pressure contributes to the cleaning force.
Gallons Per Minute (GPM)
The water volume produced by a pressure washer is measured in gallons per minute or GPM. Volume also contributes to the cleaning force.
Cleaning Power Units (CPU)
Cleaning Power Units quantifies a pressure washer’s cleaning ability. To determine CPU, multiply GPM x PSI. The greater the CPU, the greater the ability the machine has for cleaning deeply and effectively.
Often consumers are so focused on the PSI rating of the machine, they do not consider the CPU. For example, a pressure washer may have a rating of 2,800 PSI and 2 GPM, giving it a CPU of 5,600. Another pressure washer is rated for 2,400 PSI and 4 GPM. That’s a CPU rating of 9,600. In this example the lower PSI machine has more than 40% greater cleaning power than the higher PSI machine. The result is that the 2,400 PSI machine will be able to clean an area 40% faster than the 2,800 PSI machine.
Now consider this: A garden hose typically provides 6 GPM at 10 PSI giving it 60 CPU. With a standard spray nozzle attached to the garden hose you can get around 5 GPM at about 40 PSI generating 200 CPU. We all have seen the difference of how much more effective a simple spray nozzle is at cleaning dirt off surfaces. Trying to clean your driveway with your garden hose spray nozzle generating 200 CPU is fairly ineffective. However, if we take a mid-range pressure washer rated at 2.0 GPM and 2,500 PSI (5,000 CPU), the CPU rating represents a staggering 25 times increase over a typical garden hose spray nozzle.
A commercial pressure washer rated at 4 GPM and 4,000 PSI is an incredible 16,000 CPU. It is not difficult to see the difference in efficiency. However, this is all true within a range. If you have extremely high pressure and low volume, you can cut steel or concrete (water jet cutter), and if you have extremely high volume and low pressure, you have a river. Neither of these would be very good for cleaning your house or driveway.
Pressure Washer Pumps
This is the part of the pressure washer that receives water from your hose, and pumps it through a tip at high pressure. There are several common types of pumps that you will see in commercial and home-owner type machines. All pressure washer pumps have pistons and valves similar to a gas engine or an air compressor. On some pumps the pistons are driven by a plate on an angle (wobble plate), and in other cases the pistons are driven by a crankshaft. Crankshaft driven pumps are generally built better and will last longer.
Pressure washer pumps are equipped with bypass valves, so that when you let go of the trigger, or when the tip gets plugged, the water will bypass and go back to the inlet side of the pump. If left in this mode for longer than the manufacturer recommends, the water will get hot and cause damage to the pump. On a gas-powered pressure washer, the pump includes a thermal relief valve that dumps hot water into the bypass loop. Most bypass valves are adjustable so you can dial down the pressure when cleaning sensitive materials
Low-cost pressure washers have pumps with very low life expectancies—some as low as 60 – 100 hours. When buying a pressure washer, make sure you find out the life expectancy of the pump. If the information is unavailable, stay clear because it is very likely that the manufacturer does not want you to know how low it is.
Another very important factor to consider is parts availability. KMS Tools was a warranty/service centre for some low end brands, however lack of parts availability and unreliability of these machines were such a problem that we decided to no longer provide this service.
Before buying your machine, ask where you can get parts if you need them. KMS is often referred to by other retailers as a source for parts and repairs for numerous brands that are pretty much disposable. If you are buying a new machine for $200.00 or less, expect it to be a disposable machine that might last you only one season, and be prepared to spend a lot of time to get the job done.
Direct Drive or Belt Drive
The drive describes how the motor is connected to the pump. Direct-drive systems are most common. The pump is bolted directly to the motor or engine with a shaft coupler. Compared to a belt-drive system, direct drive requires fewer parts and space, resulting in a more compact design. Direct drive is also considerably more economical than an equivalently rated belt-drive machine.
Belt-drive systems are typically seen on industrial platforms. The pump on a belt-drive unit turns at a much slower speed. The belt absorbs vibration that would wear out a unit faster. Since the pump turns at a lower speed all the pistons and valves in the pump are larger. All this adds up to a cooler running machine that will last considerably longer than an equivalent direct drive version. However, there is slightly more maintenance and considerably more dollars involved (10 – 30% more). If you are using your pressure washer on the job, then you want to consider buying a belt-drive machine. However, an equivalent direct-drive machine will have the same performance for a lot less money.
Gas Engine or Electric Motor
On a pressure washer, the engine or motor powers the pump. The more powerful the engine or motor (rated in HP), the greater the PSI and GPM the pump produces. Gas engines are typically designed to last between 300 and 3,000 hours. The motors on electric pressure washers usually last longer than the pumps.
Electric motors are very low maintenance and fairly quiet. There is also no exhaust so they can be operated indoors or in poorly ventilated areas. A typical electric pressure washer that is 115 Volt and 15 Amps will be fairly light duty because it is built for the low-price market. The motor is not strong enough to generate much pressure or volume. While electric pressure washers are compact and usually portable, most jobs take longer with a light-duty electric pressure washer.
HP is rated differently on electric motors compared to gas engines. A typical low-price electric pressure washer is rated around 1 to 1-1/2 HP and would be equivalent to a 3 HP gas pressure washer. (Electric motor HP has to be doubled to equal gas engine HP.)
Heavy-duty electric pressure washers are available for applications where power is available and portability isn’t a factor, and exhaust from a gas engine would be a problem.
Gas pressure washers are larger and heavier and mounted on a cart with wheels. Some are better balanced and easier to maneuver. Gas engines can produce more power and are a lot more mobile as they do not need to be plugged in to an electric power source. Since gas engines can be more powerful, the pump can generate considerably more PSI and GPM so that they can clean faster and deeper than any 115 Volt rated electric pressure washer could. However they do take a little more maintenance and cost more to operate. They must be used in well-ventilated areas because of the emission of carbon-monoxide fumes.
Pressure Washer Accessories
Without accessories, your pressure washer is fairly useless. It would be like having a drill without any drill bits.
Pressure Washer Hoses
You probably want a 50 ft length hose. If you go shorter, you will have to keep moving your machine. Make sure you get a quality hose with the proper PSI rating to match your machine. A poor quality hose will break down faster, is more susceptible to leaks and kinks, and will usually be less flexible and harder to work with.
Pressure Washer Wands and Tips
The wand includes a handle with a trigger valve, and different lengths and angles of wands are available for different applications. You can change the spray pattern by changing the tip at the end of the wand. Most pressure washers come with a selection of tips—from a very narrow spray to generate higher force at the tip for deeper cleaning to a wider spray that has less force but covers more area. Most tip sets also include a low pressure tip for applying cleaning solutions.
In addition to tips, other, very useful attachments are available:
A dirt blaster or rotary nozzle attaches to the end of your wand. It has a very narrow spray that spins in a circular motion very rapidly. Dirt blasters are effective because they can quickly clean hard surfaces very well and, when used properly, avoids the tiger striping effect on your driveway that happens with conventional spray tips.
For cleaning out-of-reach areas, look for an extension wand that’s adjustable up to 24 feet in some cases. Extension and telescoping wands are beneficial if you need to reach up high. They can save you from trying to pressure wash while standing on a ladder.
A gutter cleaner is a simple hooked extension that affixes to the end of your wand. It lets you get into your gutters to clean them out.
A Whirl-A-Way is an accessory that looks a little like a lawn mower and has two rotating nozzles inside. They are available in sizes from 12” to 24” and excel at cleaning large flat areas.
Hot Water Pressure Washers
Hot water pressure washers are commercial machines with built-in water heaters. The cleaning effect of the machines is considerably better than a cold water machine with comparable PSI and GPM because hot water simply cleans more effectively than cold water. Hot water pressure washers break down and remove dirt and grime faster than cold water pressure washers, and often eliminate the need for expensive chemicals. Do not feed hot water into a normal cold water pressure washer pump. The heat will damage seals and o-rings.
Detergents can greatly increase the speed of cleaning and help remove tough stains. Most pressure washers come equipped with a venturi tube that will draw in the detergent from a bottle or pail and add it to the water stream. The detergent should be first applied with a low pressure spray, given some time to do its work to break down the dirt, and then washed off with a normal high pressure spray.
Choosing the Right Pressure Washer
When it comes right down to it, you need to buy a pressure washer that fits your application. There are many different types of pressure washers—from very low-end machines to extremely powerful industrial machines. Before you buy a machine you need to sit down and ask yourself these questions:
- “How will I use a pressure washer?”
- “How often will I use a pressure washer?”
If you are a home owner, you will probably use a pressure washer less than 50 hours per year. In this case getting a machine rated for 500 hours will last you up to 10 years if properly maintained. However, if you are using it on the job, you will want something rated for 2,000 hours or more. If time is important to you, buy as big a pressure washer as you can justify. A 13 HP gas pressure washer will clean your driveway about 10 times faster than a small electric unit. It will also last longer because it doesn’t have to run nearly as long to do the job. Finally, plan in advance what attachments you will want in the future and make sure that the pressure washer you buy has enough power to support them.