Power Washing question

Discussion in 'Power Washing' started by Moose's Mowing, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. Moose's Mowing

    Moose's Mowing LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 452

    I have an existing customer that really wants his deck power washed. it's pressure treated wand it's just dirty with a little mildew. Shouldn't be that big of an issue. I don't exactly do power washing but I have a medium-ish power washer that I used for my equipment and around the house. I don't advertise this service but this guy is all but begging to have this done. I don't want to turn down the work, this guy was one of my first customers when I started last season. I'm thinking of just pricing it by the square ft, maybe $0.25 per sf? What's the going rate for this type of thing. The job shouldnt take me any longer than an hour and a half including the railing and balusters. Again, it's just dirty and needs to be sprayed....I think. Would that stuff from Lowes or HD work for this little job? I'm talking about the krudcutter stuff thats like 10 bucks for a gallon. Is there a better all-purpose degreaser or better deck/fence chemical out there? It's a yard level deck that's maybe 16 x 18. I'm going to measure it tomorrow afternoon.

    Any info or advice would be appreciated. Before some of you guys jump on me and tell me I need a hot water rig with a million gal capacity and the "real" chemicals, I realize this isn't ideal but again, I'm not exactly chasing this work. I just want to want to wash this guys deck and have it come out good to keep him happy.

    thanks in advance
    MJ
     
  2. Everett Abrams

    Everett Abrams LawnSite Member
    Messages: 32

    I hardly know where to begin, first I would NEVER learn on someone's deck. You should practice on some old pallets or something first. If you are going to do this you should get at least $.50/sq.ft. to clean only and about $1.25/sq.ft. to clean and seal this type of deck in the condition you state. If you want go down to $1.00/sq.ft. for learning and an existing customer have at it as this about the "going rate". You should go to a paint store and get a deck cleaner. If you do this they usually give you a packet of brightener with it. If not you need a deck cleaner to apply to the wet wood and let dwell for about 10-15 minutes then rinse off no more than 600psi, you shouldn't need more than that. Stay about 12" away from the wood and only get closer as needed. Use the white 40 degree tip. After rinsing apply the brightener and the deck will come out spectacular. It is now ready to seal or stain whether you or the homeowner does it. If I were to teach some one to do this I couldn't do it in a paragraph if that tells you something, good luck!
     
  3. Pressure Washing Cleve

    Pressure Washing Cleve LawnSite Member
    Messages: 71

    Pressure washing wood is an art.
     
  4. wildstarblazer

    wildstarblazer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,024

    I'm no power wash pro but I have a 750 sq ft deck. At .50 a sq ft. that would be $350. I would never pay someone $350 or more to wash it. No way. It wouldn't take more than 2 hours. Come on.
     
  5. JCinNJ

    JCinNJ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 159

    Your not paying for the experts/professionals time, you are paying for the service. Whether it takes one hour or one week you will get the same results from a professional
     
  6. Everett Abrams

    Everett Abrams LawnSite Member
    Messages: 32

    This is why people go out of business. The $.50/sq.ft. is only for cleaning only and when you figure your time to the job, set up, properly two-step cleaning or stripping of the deck (to be sealer or stain ready), and break down equipment it will take you over 3 hours (probably 4 hours) with no problem. Do not forget the cost in chems, gas, any labor, insurance, performing the estimate, etc. and when you do this the price is correct.
     
  7. Moose's Mowing

    Moose's Mowing LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 452

    thanks for the info. the deck ended up being Trex and its not all that bad. just dirty and has a little mildew. It's not that big. The railing is vinyl and isn't too bad either. Trex recommends using Olympic deck cleaner on their stuff. I've never used it but apparently it works well. Anyone have any experience with this cleaner? the deck was smaller than I thought, only came to about 200 sft. I told him $235 for the deck boards, railing and stairs. Should be less than $5 bucks in gas and maybe $20 for the deck cleaner and the water is free. I'll be on site to mulch that day anyhow so I should do pretty well considering it'll take 2 or 3 hours.
     
  8. wildstarblazer

    wildstarblazer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,024

    Okay so maybe the price is right at .50 on up. Do people really pay $1000 or more to have say a 1000 sq ft deck cleaned and either ready to stain or stain included? Just seems high. New deck boards may be cheaper. I don't know, I'm not trying to be a butt head or augmentative but just wondering if people don't balk at the prices even tho It's a specialty type job.
     
  9. Moose's Mowing

    Moose's Mowing LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 452

    FWIW When I was a superintendent in construction in the boom years, I had a guy with a hot water set-up in the back of a boxtruck that washed our new homes and apartments. I was building town homes for a year with 6 units in each building. He charged 100 bucks even to wash new construction 2 story units. These buildings were filthy from al the mud and **** that got on them during construction. He didn't do a wonderful job, but then again he only made 100 bucks per building. I had 48 buildings for him though. I thought a buck a square seemed high but what do I know. I don't do this type of work and to be honest, I didn't want it either. So I figured for what the job entailed, 235 bucks was pretty high. I dunno, we'll see. thanks for the help and info either way.
     
  10. Everett Abrams

    Everett Abrams LawnSite Member
    Messages: 32

    To be clearer, for just a cleaning AND sealing or staining of weathered or new boards with no stain to remove you should be able to get at least $1.00/sq.ft. perhaps $1.25/sq.ft. The $.50/sq.ft. was just for cleaning and brightening ONLY, to get the deck stain ready. Personally, I won't do a deck unless I do the cleaning and sealing/staining because I have had too many instances in the past where the homeowner does one of the processes incorrect. When this happens they rarely blame themselves. If I were only performing work to get sealer or stain ready it would be in my contract that way and I would also put language in it that I am not responsible for the overall job. When a failure happens typically the homeowner will call the stain manufacturer and guess who usually gets thrown under the bus? In another thread a contractor posted he cleans with only water, guess what happens when a homeowner seals over top of this cleaning when the mold hasn't truly been addressed? Nothing wrong with doing this provided the homeowner signs off on it. I have done this a long time to know who always gets the blame. I also have testified in a few cases and if you get the wrong homeowner and lawyer they will cite the Consumer Fraud Act which basically says all work must be listed with a start and finish date. If you offer a FREE service it also must be listed because it too has value. If you are found violating this act, which seems like lawyers look for this, the remedy is up to 3 times the job price. I know this seems like a lot from the original question but this is real world and what happens out there. I just believe we should get paid for the service we offer. I also understand if you are performing lawn services on a property that while there you can perform other services and in doing so can afford to discount some services or the overall job. My prices are only meant as a guideline and I am not saying that is a definitive price in anyway. Great discussion though.
     

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