How to Budget Pressure Washing Equipment



Whether you’re a start-up pressure washing business or an established business your going to have both fixed and variable costs. The easiest way manage your budget is to keep track of what your expenses encompass. Keep in mind that some of these costs will vary as your business grows, your goals shifts, or business slows during seasonal months.
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How Much Does a Pressure Washing Business Cost?

Pressure Washing Expenditures (Fixed & Variable Costs)

  • Equipment (Pressure Washer or Trailer Rig)
  • Accessories (Surface Cleaner, Undercarriage Cleaner, Nozzles, Brushes, Hose, Hose Reel, Trigger Gun, Lance, Foam Cannon or Tank Foamer, Swivel, Recycle System, Tank, etc.)
  • Safety Gear (Gloves, Googles, Boots, etc.)
  • Chemicals (Detergent)
  • Insurance
  • Business Permit
  • Licenses (Contractor License)
  • Marketing (Paid Ads, Website, Flyers, Business Cards, Brochures, Pamphlets, etc.)
  • Transportation (Gas, Vehicle, etc.)

Fixed Costs

  • Insurance
  • Permits
  • Marketing
  • Compensation

Variable Costs

  • Equipment Repairs/Maintenance
  • Replacement Parts
  • Safety Equipment
  • Detergent
  • Fuel

Pressure Washing Business: Start-Up Checklist

Depending on your current scenario and taking your business plan into consideration (i.e., what are you going to be cleaning) you’ll need the following:


  • Pressure Washer: $100 – $5,000
  • Vehicle/Trailer: $0 – $35,000
  • Fuel: $3.44
  • Detergent: $20 - $1,300


  • Surface Cleaner: $300 - $900
  • Undercarriage Cleaner: $200 - $900
  • Nozzles and Hoses: $20 - $100
  • Water Tank: $100 - $900
  • Trigger Gun: $20 - $60
  • Lance: $20 - $80


  • Auto Insurance: $1,427 (average annual cost)
  • Licenses: $15 - $200
  • Permits


  • Smartphone and plan: $0 – $500
  • Business Software: $0 – $500
  • Ads: $0 – $5,000

TOTAL: $220+

Pressure Washing Business Start-Up Costs

There are many different types of pressure washers and styles to choose from. Cold water machines are going to be cheaper than hot water pressure washers. You can get a light duty electric pressure washer for as low as $100 (before tax). If your opting for a light duty gas engine cold water pressure washer prices start at around $300 for a basic model. If your looking for a light duty diesel engine pressure washer these are going to be the most expensive starting at around $500 for a decent model (there are some cheaper but again this depends on what you are cleaning).

If you want to go more into detail about what the start-up costs are for a pressure washing business, keep reading to learn more.

Pressure Washer

You could walk into any hardware store like Home Depot, Lowes, or Walmart and pick out a pressure washer for a couple hundred dollars. This may be the route you opt for if your tight on money and/or you're going to be cleaning and taking on light duty jobs around the house then you probably don’t need to spend more on a machine.

One thing to consider when opting for a smaller residential pressure washer is that they cost anywhere between $100 to $1,000. The quality isn’t as reliable or durable as a commercial or industrial pressure, so they are more likely to need replacing after a few years or maybe a few months of regular use.

Another thing to consider when making a decision to buy a residential grade pressure washer is that if a client sees you using equipment that they could have purchased on their own they may question why they are paying for a service when they could have done it on their own.

Also, homeowners can easily purchase these kinds of pressure washers on their own. If a client sees that you use a non-commercial pressure washer, they will be less inclined to pay for your services.

If you want to tackle more medium to heavy duty jobs, than you will want to consider investing in a commercial or industrial pressure washer. Those will run a couple grand which can be a little nerve racking to pay for up front especially when you're just starting out.

Purchasing used equipment is always a great way to save money however it can be unreliable. When purchasing second-hand equipment take precautions like researching the cost as new, asking questions about the last oil change, any leaks, scratches, pump condition, etc.


If you have limited space, consider installing a stationary pressure washer. You don’t have to worry about the pressure washer taking up space in your storage room.

If cold temperatures are a factor, keeping your equipment indoors might be best if you don’t want to winterize it.

If you can bring the equipment that needs cleaning to the washer, an indoor, stationary pressure washer might be right for you.

Stationary units are hooked up with power, heat, and water sources plumbed and wired in, making for easy usage. This also makes it possible to recycle the wash water with a floor drain capture system.

Water Tank

Depending on the jobs you do, you may or may not need this item. If you're sticking to residential jobs on homes, more likely than not you’ll have a water supply (always double check before accepting the job if you're not going to be adding a water tank to your set up).

If you want to expand your potential client base and be prepared for unexpected events (like no running water on a job site), you should invest in a water tank. A 100-gallon water tank will cost around $200 - $300 and goes up from there if you're looking to carry a larger gallon water tank.


Some accessories may be more imperative to have such as hoses, hose reels, specific nozzles, trigger guns, and lances. They may not seem so important now, but its about the convenience and increasing productivity. Efficiency leads to more clients which leads to more money.

Having a hose reel will help keep your hose in good condition, prevent safety hazards, and saves time reeling it up before and after jobs. Plus it makes you look more official. A neat and tidy set up can leave a lasting impression with clients.

Having different nozzles can be the difference between spending 3 hours on job verse an hour and a half. For example, if your cleaning a concrete wall with a red zero degree or yellow 15 degree nozzle this will get the job done but it could take upwards to 3 hours depending on how big the job is. Now if you have a rotating nozzle it’ll cut that time in half. Generally, you can expect to pay between $20 to $100. Would that be an accessory worth getting?

It’s also making all the difference on a job because you could be using a nozzle that is doing more harm than good. For example, using a red zero-degree nozzle is good for cleaning concrete and metal but not for wood or siding. If you don’t switch to the right nozzle than you're doing more harm.

Another accessory to speed up efficiency and save time is a surface cleaner. If your going to be cleaning flat surfaces such as driveways or decks and patios this is something you’ll want to have in your arsenal. Not only will it save you time and money, it’ll make you look more professional and leave the job streak free.
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How Much to Charge for Pressure Washing

There are three ways to determine the price of a pressure washing job. Space (linear rate), time (hourly rate), or service (flat rate).

Breakdown of average prices for different pressure washing services:
  • Driveway – $0.50 per square foot
  • Patio or Deck – $0.55 per square foot
  • Fencing – $0.45 per square foot
  • Roofing – $0.70 per square foot
  • Siding – $0.50 per square foot
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 cost based on the square footage and then add your markup on top. Business owners know that a successful business needs to turn a profit—and to turn a profit, you need pricing that takes into account the costs of producing your products.

Price Based on the Project

Rates also differ based on the service. Here are some standard rates based on national averages:


  • $90 – $275 flat rate for entire home
  • $0.75 – $1.25 per linear foot (single story home’s exterior)
  • $1.75 – $2.25 per linear foot (two story home’s exterior)


  • $100: single story
  • $135: two floors
  • $200: three floors


  • $5 per linear foot: bottom only
  • $10 per linear foot: whole boat


  • $0.20 per square foot
  • Double or triple the fee for roofs with steep pitches

Driveways & Sidewalks

  • $60 – $150 flat price (depends on size)
  • $0.08 – $0.14 per square foot

Fences, Decks, & Siding

  • $0.20 – $0.25 per square foot

Mobile Homes

  • $50 – $85 flat rate for a mobile home (depends on condition)
  • $80 – $100 flat rate for a double wide (depends on condition)

Commercial Cleaning Solutions

  • $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 Thru

  • $0.05 – $0.25 per square foot for parking lots and garage floors (depends on condition)
  • $10 – $20 per parking space

Estimate Materials and Overhead Costs

Prices will vary depending on whether you use cold water or hot water to clean and chemicals for certain jobs.

Monthly costs based on a 30-hour paid work week (hypothetical):
You may or may not have all these overhead costs so your overhead could more or less.
  • Vehicle loan: $400 or $3.33 per hour
  • Car insurance: $125 or $1.04 per hour
  • Cleaning solution 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 around $40 per hour. Adding in a $60,000 salary that’s $29 per hour. Then if you put money back into the business say $20,000 that’s $9.50 per hour. Now your rate is at $78.50.

If you do additional administrative work that takes around 10 hrs. a week making a 40-hour work week you should earn $3,200 a week. 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.

Feeling ready to start your pressure washer business?

Need equipment, rentals, parts, service, repair, or regular schedule maintenance stop by one of our locations, give us a call or visit our website.

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