There are books, articles, and videos talking about how to make money in the "power washing business". This is not one of those articles, nor is it a guide to starting a pressure washing business. My wife Rachelle and I are true entrepreneurs at heart. This is the story about starting an exterior cleaning company using our own God-given skillset and experience.
In the spring of 2021, we decided to relocate from Tucson to Mesa and start a new business. My wife and I agreed that we wanted to do something that met the following criteria.
- Provide a needed service that is not saturated in Arizona.
- Have a good price point and is a good value for the customer.
- Be hands-on and do not need to hire employees.
- Something we can go all-in on and reduce the amount of competition.
- Be marketable online using SEO (I'll explain more about this later)
As we were doing our research, we came across the power washing niche. It met all the criteria and although competitive in some states, not so much in Arizona. This was somewhat surprising because anyone can buy a power washer. In Arizona, there is no legal requirement for training, commercial equipment, insurance, or licensing.
Training and Certifications
We started by looking for training to understand what we were getting into. We did research on the internet, joined Facebook groups, and watched videos. We attended training events both locally and out of state to gain experience. We met with people that were new and others that had been in the industry a long time. We pursued and received certifications in several areas and techniques.
Commercial Grade Equipment
Next, we started researching the best commercial-grade equipment. We noticed that many people started small and upgraded as their businesses grew. They would do this several times before getting to the equipment that actually did the job in a reasonable amount of time. We skipped that process and got what we needed.
Licensed, Bonded, and Insured
Although not required as stated before, I became an Arizona licensed and bonded contractor. It's fairly easy to obtain and gave me more credibility than someone who didn't bother. We then got a few insurance quotes and went with the one with the fewest exclusions. We discovered that not all insurance is the same. Some insurance claiming to be specifically for power washing didn't include getting on roofs. It was critical to compare the quotes and have the agents explain the differences.
The Legal Stuff
Protect yourself by consulting your attorney and accountant on this. To learn more about starting a business check out the Arizona Business Resource website.
Marketing is Key
As I stated before, none of what we did to this point was "required" to start a pressure washing business. However, we wanted to "Go Big, or Stay Home"! At the end of the day, it all comes down to getting the phone to ring. As experienced business owners, this is where we have an advantage over most businesses. My wife and I are great marketers and belong to a couple of business networking groups. Additionally, we use internet marketing and SEO (search engine optimization) to get customers online. There are some fundamental steps that anyone can take to get started marketing their business. Some businesses need a kickstart and can build off of referrals and word of mouth. Others will need a more constant source of leads to keep jobs coming in. Power washing in Arizona is a little of both. Homeowners will not need their houses washed often but commercial properties might if they have a lot of foot traffic.
Many residential services are one-time or annual opportunities. The exception to this may be window cleaning. Since there is little rain in Phoenix Arizona, gutter cleaning and house washing are not in high demand. In some locations, residential power washing is an absolute necessity.
Due to the high foot traffic that most brick-and-mortar businesses have a need for exterior cleaning. The more customers a business has come and goes the more likely it will need regular cleaning. This creates an opportunity for redundancy. For this reason, commercial power washing and exterior cleaning services also have more competition.
As I previously stated this is not meant the be a how-to article about starting a business. If you find a business that interests you, learn about it, researches the competition, and make an informed decision. Determine what you can do yourself and what you may need to pay someone to do. You may need to hire a marketer, assistant, technician, or manager. Knowledge is power, so get the knowledge and get started.