Pressure Washing?

Discussion in 'Power Washing' started by SouthernCutter, Nov 4, 2007.

  1. M0wNG0

    M0wNG0 LawnSite Member
    from AL
    Posts: 31

    Thanks, where did you get that setup in your first picture in the above post?
     
  2. FCPWLLC

    FCPWLLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 352

    I built it myself with parts from Bob at http://www.pressuretek.com.

    Got Trailer and Tank locally.
     
  3. M0wNG0

    M0wNG0 LawnSite Member
    from AL
    Posts: 31

    Nice, looks really professional. Thats kinda the setup i want. I want my own water supply instead of using the customers water, just seems a little more professional. Is it necessity to have hot water also?
     
  4. CPOonfinal

    CPOonfinal LawnSite Member
    from FL
    Posts: 30

    I have experience in both lawn maintenance and pressure washing. I got to Florida from VA and the area was saturated with LCO's. I took up pressure washing. I did A LOT of reading before I did my first job. Did well, but it's a totally different kind of business.
    1. Use their water. I've never taken my own and the customer doesn't mind. Unless you get a commercial acct where water isn't necessarily available use the customers. Water is VERY heavy to haul around.
    2. Chemicals are ever important. I use a concentrate I bought from Sunbright Supply.com. I also use liquid pool chlorine. I get pool chlorine for about $1/gal as a contractor's price from the local pool supply store.
    3. I have (3) 26gal tanks, my 4Kpsi 4gpm machine, 200' chemical hose, Shurflo 3.6gpm electric pump, couple of specialty nozzles, and a 22' surface cleaner. That's the bulk of my equipment. Cost around 2K for that and some chemicals.
    4. Mix chlorine 50/50 with water for you "chemical wash." Buy 1gal of chlorine and get 2gal of solution. I buy 13 gal and fill one 26 gal tank. With that I can clean the ENTIRE outside of a 2000sqft home (including the roof). Chlorox tends to KILL turf grass, pool chlorine doesn't. Don't ask me why, I have no idea.
    5. I made my own chemical application wand out of PVC. BTW, use as little metal as possilbe when putting together your chemical system.
    6. Best $350 I ever spent was on my surface cleaner. BIG $$$$$$ as up-sells.
    7. I price jobs between $75 and $100 per hour with a 1 hour minimum or .10c per sq foot based on living space for the roof as well as .10c for the structure. I could easily get paid $400 for a 2000 sqft house. Customer doesn't know my hourly fee.
    8. Here is the catch. When I was running my LCO I never did more than an ounce of advertising. I rode around on Sunday mornings (11am-12am) for a couple of weeks asking people if they needed their lawn cut. The man of the house was out playing golf or some other activity which allowed him to gaff of the yard. Got all my business that way in just a couple of weeks. Word-of-mouth after that. Before you knew it I had the entire street of 3acre yards......pretty good. Pressure washing on the other hand isn't so much of a repeat-customer type business. If you wash someones house by the time they need it again they've probably forgotten who washed it in the first place. You have to advertise!!! I was spending approx $500/mo in advertising. I did the phone book(s), and a coupon magazine that comes out monthly.
    9. There's a lot more I could write but it's near midnight and I'm pooped.
     
  5. jeffex

    jeffex LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,933

    I made my own website and it cost $10 to buy the domain name a year. godaddy.com is where i registered. they have online editors you can make a simple site from . I make my own business cards on my computer and hand them out to anyone I can . This method takes time to build up a name . I agree you need to advertise in the p-wash business to generate steady income. There is repeat customers but it usually is every 2-3 years for a deck and 5+ for a house wash. I have been doing this for 16 years and the repeat customers generate referrals for you . A referral is the BEST customer. They generate new work for you at no cost and they usually come with an idea of how much you charge.
     
  6. M0wNG0

    M0wNG0 LawnSite Member
    from AL
    Posts: 31


    Thanks that explained a lot, I 'm thinking that i need to wait a while before i start anything.
     
  7. CPOonfinal

    CPOonfinal LawnSite Member
    from FL
    Posts: 30

    I read my post from last night and I must say I was a tired puppy. To add a little more info to my previous post the word pressure in "Pressure Washing" isn't the key component to pressure washing at all. Many homeowners brag about their 4000psi and 5000psi machines that put out 1.9gpm or 2.1 gpm. These pressure washers are near worthless (at least from a time management point of view). In my estimation, if you don't have a machine that has an output of at least 4gpm you're going to be working WAY too hard. Basically, it's not the pressure it's the volume. I run my machine at around 2500 psi. In fact, when I go to clean the house (especially a shingle roof) and I'm going to rinse the cleaning solution, my spray-pattern is 2'-2.5' wide and I can run my hand through it at the tip. No pressure, just lots of water.

    MOwNGO,
    Why the second thoughts? Just do some research and get the right tools for the job. Feel free to ask me any question that comes up. If I don't know it I can find out for you. "I know people."
     
  8. Grouch

    Grouch LawnSite Member
    Posts: 36

    Invest in the best when purchasing your equipment. Shy away from the box store brands. In my rental business, I use pressure washers with Honda GX engines and Cat pumps. My 3000 PSI pump lasted 8 years before I ever turned a wrench on it, then only had to do a repack. My 1500PSI finally stuck the unloader after 12 years. A couple of things to be aware of (1) never let the unit freeze, and (2) use some pump saver if you're not going to be using it for a while. This displaces the water and preserves the rubber components.
     
  9. M0wNG0

    M0wNG0 LawnSite Member
    from AL
    Posts: 31

    Not really second thoughts just I'm not going to jump into starting a full-time business, just getting some good equipment and doing it part-time with just minimal advertising. But you really changed my mind on getting a mobile set-up with a water tank, i'm going to focus on mainly residental and just use there water.
     
  10. CPOonfinal

    CPOonfinal LawnSite Member
    from FL
    Posts: 30

    If and when I get back into landscape maintenance and installation I'll use pressure washing as an annual up-sell. Especially here in the South where a house probably needs washed annually and the roof every 2-3 years. I won't do it as it's own individual business again. I say that now but I have a job tomorrow. It's for a friend though. I'll consider taking pictures of my gear and my process while I'm at it. BTW, I bought my pressure washer from Lowes. I was going to get a belt drive unit ($1,500) from a company in Jacksonville, fl but I bought this unit because the unloader was jacked up and I got it for $499 (reg $1000). Bought a new unloader and never looked back. It's got the honda engine and a reasonably good pump. Like the previous poster wrote, I expect this unit to last a long time so long as I keep up the preventive maintenance.
     

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