How to Start a Pressure Washing Business

A man pressure washes a house.
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You could spend $25 on PowerWash Simulator. Or you could earn $250 to power wash a driveway in real life.

Pressure washing is more than an oddly satisfying household chore. It is a low-cost, low-risk local service business. According to Angi, you can earn an average of $195 to $417 to pressure wash a house.

When he started pressure washing, Joel Justice was just “trying to start a little side hustle.”

Now, he has over 1,000 pressure washing jobs under his belt as the owner-operator of J & J Power Washing.

“I’ve turned this into a six-figure business,” Justice said.

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Pressure Washing Business?

The short answer: With up to $100 for equipment rental, $20 for fuel and $15 for insurance, most people can go out on Saturday and make some extra cash pressure washing.

The long answer: It depends on a number of factors, including the legal requirements of your state.

Equipment You Need to Start a Pressure Washing Business

Pressure Washer

The biggest cost of starting a pressure washing business is – surprise, surprise – a pressure washer. (Or a power washer, which uses heated water.)

Pressure washers cost anywhere from $50 to $5,000. How much do you need to spend to start your business?

“I started out with a four-gallon, 4,000 PSI, push-around pressure washer,” Justice said.

That can handle the vast majority of residential jobs. It is also small enough to throw in the trunk of a car – no trailer required.

A best-selling model with these specifications costs about $2,000 new. Did your eyes just pop out of your head? Look for used pressure washers, which often sell for less than half the price. Or you could rent for about $100 per day.

You can rent all sorts of heavy duty equipment to do dirty jobs. Learn more.

A hundred bucks still out of reach? Cheaper models can handle some residential jobs, like cleaning vinyl siding.

“As you make more money, you can upgrade,” Justice said.

Pressure Washer Accessories

Jets, hoses and fuel cans, oh my!

“There are a lot of things that are not necessities when you’re small-time, but are necessities when business starts picking up,” Justice said.

One of these not-so-optional options is a rotary cleaner, which starts around $40. This pressure washer attachment makes cleaning flat surfaces much, much easier.


The power of plain old water is truly awesome. The power of water with a little bit of bleach is kind of scary.

Bleach, ammonia and sodium hydroxide are all commonly used in pressure washing.

A gallon of Clorox is not expensive ($6.50 as of this writing), but at scale, chemicals can be a significant cost for a pressure washing business.


For most residential pressure washing jobs, everything you need can fit in the trunk of your car. As you grow your pressure washing business, a trailer, truck or van will come in handy.

Either way, make sure to factor in fuel costs before you take a job two hours away!


You don’t think you need insurance until you strip the fresh paint off a million-dollar house. Services like Thimble offer cheap liability insurance for the side-hustlers of the world. When we plugged in the numbers for a pressure washing business in Tennessee, Thimble offered $14 general liability insurance for one hour.

Compare more insurance options on our sister site.

Forming a limited liability company can – you guessed it – limit your personal liability. Read more here.


In some states, starting a pressure washing side hustle is simple: Pick up your pressure washer, find some clients and start spraying. In others, the process is a little more involved.

Californians, this means you. Natalie Watmore, Public Information Officer for the California Contractors State License Board, explained the requirements in an email.

“If the cost of a pressure washing project is $500 or more, with labor and materials combined, a contractor’s license is required,” Watmore told The Penny Hoarder.

To become a registered contractor in California, you must have four years of experience in the pressure washing field. Most applicants also have to pass two exams. All together, the costs could be $650. You can read more about the requirements on the CSLB website.

The bottom line: Check your local laws before you start your business.

How Do You Find Clients for Your Pressure Washing Business?

Every slippery deck and mildewed sidewalk is a potential pressure washing job.

“Things always get dirty,” said Justice. “The amount of work is endless.”

The demand is there, but how do you help customers find you?

Google Business Profile

Setting up a Google Business Profile is a no-brainer for a small business. It’s easy. It’s free. It makes you show up when people Google “pressure washer near me.”

And once it’s set up, clients can leave you five-star reviews.

Yard Signs

Invest $50 in 5 yard signs. Put one in your yard. Secure one client. Offer them a discount to display the sign in their yard for one week. Secure another client. Rinse, repeat.

If you live in an area with few pressure washing businesses, that could be all the marketing budget you ever need.

Door-to-Door Sales

Pressure washing is one of those tasks homeowners put off. When you knock on their door and give them an instant quote, they just might quit procrastinating and hire you.

How Do You Learn to Pressure Wash?

“People think anyone can pressure wash,” Justice said. “Then they get out there and do it.”

What is the right PSI to spray vinyl siding? Which chemicals are safe to use on new brick? How do you avoid a visible pattern on concrete? As a newbie, you may not know the answer to every question.

Thankfully, there is a wealth of information about pressure washing online. If you find yourself unsure of how to tackle a job, Google it. Chances are, a news outlet, WikiHow article or even a washing forum will have the answer.

Here are a few rules of thumb to get you started.

  • Read your pressure washer manual. That boring book of fine print will tell you how to use your machine. Don’t toss it!
  • Don’t aim up. Pointing a jet of water upward or at seams of vinyl siding can introduce water behind walls.
  • Patch test. It’s like skincare. Test on a small patch before you try it on the whole surface.
  • Increase pressure incrementally. You won’t need 4,000 PSI for every job. Start low and work your way up.

Doing your homework pays off.

“The job I’m most proud of is a local museum here in Clarksville, Tennessee. It’s a 122-year-old building made of ornamental terracotta,” Justice said. “It took me three months of prep.”

After consulting with chemical suppliers and the team who cleans the Waldorf Astoria, Justice decided to simply use water. The museum looks as beautiful as ever and remains one of the most photographed buildings in Tennessee.

How Do You Make a Pressure Washing Business Profitable?

Big or small, a pressure washing business is just that — a business. To make money, treat it like one. Think about pricing and efficiency.


Pricing for power washing varies by location and job category. $.10 to $.75 per square foot is typical. If that sounds like a wide range, that’s because it is. Ten cents per square foot might make sense for a parking lot, but not for a multi-story Victorian constructed of delicate brick. It is crucial to consider the cost of fuel, chemicals, research, and, of course, your labor before giving a customer a quote.


“Efficiency is of the essence,” said Justice.

Efficiency might mean taking one big-ticket job over five small ones. It might mean having a minimum price. It might even mean saving up for an extra piece of equipment. The best way to know is to pay attention and track your numbers.

Justice’s average residential ticket was $250. With inflation, it has crept up to $400.

“In a good month, I have 45 jobs on the schedule,” Justice said.

Do the math.

OK, we’ll do it for you. That’s $18,000 in one month.

“I keep up with my data. Those numbers show me how I’m doing, one year to the next,” said Justice. “This year, I’ve done less jobs, but I’ve made more money… That’s a win-win.”

Contributor Ciara McLaren is a freelance writer with work in HuffPost, Insider and The Penny Hoarder. You can find her on Substack (@camclaren).