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).
How Much Does It Cost to Pressure Wash the Exterior of a House?
Dirt, grim, and algae build-up can discolor your home and lower your curb appeal. Having your home pressure washed every two to three years can help remove this build-up and keep your home looking better for longer.
Pressure washing is generally done by the hour, with a 2,000 sq.ft. home taking roughly 2 hours to complete. Depending on where you live and the state your house is in prior to starting, this can cost anywhere from $100 to $500 on average, with most homeowners spending around $275 for the job.
Pressure Washing Costs
|Pressure washing costs|
|National average cost||$150|
|Average range||$100 – $500|
Pressure Washing vs Power Washing
When the time comes to have your home washed, you may encounter a variety of options, including both pressure washing and power washing. While they sound similar, these are two different methods of cleaning. Pressure washing uses unheated water under pressure, which has been fed through a pressurizing motor powered by either electricity or gas. It generally also involves some form of detergent to help facilitate the cleaning process.
Power washing is similar but uses heated water to clean. This can be an advantage for certain types of grime or dirt and can help remove more dirt in a shorter amount of time. It is usually not recommended for siding but is best used on surfaces like concrete that will not be damaged by the heat and pressure.
However, the company you contact to do the job may recommend one over the other depending on the condition of your home, the material your home is clad in (brick may require power washing, for example), and what the desired outcome is. Power washing may cost slightly more than pressure washing, with an average cost for a 2,000 sq.ft. home coming closer to $300 than $275.
Electric vs Gas Washer
Pressure washers come in two varieties, which is determined by what is used to power them – electric and gas. Both can produce the same amount of pressure necessary to clean your home, are roughly the same size, and similar in how they operate. The biggest difference is how they are powered. If the company you contract with to pressure wash your home uses an electric model, you need an outdoor ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) socket for them to plug into. Most companies fill the gas units either on-site or shortly before arrival. You may be charged slightly more for a service that uses gas, but you will be responsible for the added electricity on your bill. So, the costs to you will be roughly the same.
Pressure Washing Labor Costs
Each company that pressure washes homes may have their own pricing structure, with some charging per linear foot and others charging a flat fee. Most, however, charge by the hour with an average hourly cost of around $50 to $150, often with a two-hour minimum. If your house is smaller than average, you may wish to contact a company that charges by the linear foot, at a rate of around $1 to $2 a foot. Costs can be higher depending on what your home is clad in. For example, you may be charged an additional $1 a foot for brick homes and for houses with a lot of dirt or grime to remove.
Keep in mind that the bulk of this job’s cost is in labor fees. Expect to pay around $250 in labor fees for a 2,000 sq.ft. home.
Pressure Washing by Area
The exterior of your siding is only one area that you may want pressure washed on your property. Pressure washing can also be used on a variety of other areas of your home and yard to help get them clean. Keep in mind that many companies have minimums, so you may be better off having multiple areas cleaned at once or to add these areas on when having your house washed to avoid paying extra in fees:
|Area being cleaned||Average cost|
|Patio – 50 square feet||$75|
|Concrete pad – 50 square feet||$75|
|Deck – 300 square feet||$100|
|Driveway – 400 square feet||$100|
|Fence – 200 linear feet||$200|
Pressure Washing DIY Concerns
Pressure washers are available for rent at most big box stores for around $50 a day, which can seem like a big savings if you have a lot of areas to wash. And for many jobs, this may be suitable. However, be aware of a few concerns if you intend to DIY the job.
The first is the amount of pressure per area. Pressure washers are adjustable with pounds of pressure per square inch (PSI). Wood, vinyl 1, brick, and concrete each need different PSIs, and different levels of dirt or debris may also require adjustments to the PSI as well. A professional can calculate this and ensure that your property is not damaged. Doing it yourself may result in damage to your siding or other wood surfaces.
The second issue is the material. Most roofs should not be pressure washed, for example, because it can damage them. You may not be aware of which areas to avoid, and you can damage your property.
Another issue is the nozzle. Pressure washers have several to choose from, and the more narrow the spray, the more concentrated the force. You may not realize how powerful some nozzles can be, which can cause damage.
The final concern is safety. More than 6,000 people are injured by pressure washers each year, some of them seriously.
Hand Washing vs Pressure Washing
Sometimes when a surface needs to be washed, you may need to decide between hand washing and pressure washing. In general, hand washing will take longer and require a lot more effort to do the same job than what a pressure washer could do in minutes. Hand washing your siding, for example, would also require ladders or scaffolding 2, while a pressure washer may be able to reach well above the ground without aid.
However, there are times when hand washing should be used. If you have delicate materials that could be damaged from the pressure, such as an asphalt 3 roof, hand washing is the better option. Likewise, if you have a small area that needs to be cleaned, it may be easier to simply hand wash than to either rent a pressure washer and risk damaging it or hire someone who may charge a minimum fee.
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Painting Your House
Pressure washing is often the first step to painting your home, as the siding must be clean and dry. Pressure washing can help remove some loose paint as well, speeding up the job. Painting your house after pressure washing costs around $1,850 to $2,500.
Additional Considerations and Costs
If you have an asphalt driveway, a good time to seal it would be after pressure washing. The asphalt would be free of any dirt or debris, and once dry, it can be sealed. This has a cost of around $200.
Pressure washing can help increase your home’s curb appeal. A good time to pressure wash it would be before putting it on the market or having it valued.
Check to make sure the pressure washing company you contract with has insurance to pay for any damages to your home that may occur during service.
A pressure washer can be used to clean gutters if done properly. This should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to avoid damage.
Pressure washers are capable of etching surfaces like concrete, which means that they may harm softer surfaces like cedar siding. This is the reason you should always trust professionals because they understand how to adjust the pressure and nozzle to account for softer materials.
If there are plants or landscaping near the area being pressure washed, make sure any detergents used are safe for plants and do not contain bleach or other harmful chemicals.