Considering the pressure washing business, build a low pressure roof cleaning machine
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Most people consider the pressure washing business because it is conceived to be a business that can be started with a very low investment. Simply buy a $500 pressure washer at Home Depot plus some bleach and detergent; throw it in the back of your pick up, and PRESTO, you’re in business.
Because one can get into this business with a relatively low investment you will be facing a lot of compe ion. Don’t be discouraged. By working smart, you can bury compe ion and make a lot of money. Below is a story of how we made money as exterior cleaning contractors.
In 1993 my buddy, Dick, was making a decent living doing power washing work, while I was in the air conditioning and heating business. Since he was not very mechanically inclined, he kept bugging me about helping him come up with a method to clean roof stains without using high pressure. Compared to the HVAC business, pressure washing did no seem very challenging to me, and I just could not get interested. One day, after his numerous pleads I broke down agreed to look into his business. Dick had an open trailer, a pretty good pressure washer (13 HP, 3400 PSI) 200 feet of hose coiled up, a five gallon sheetrock bucket for mixing chemicals, a case of Clorox, some Dawn detergent and a couple ladders. This was his entire business.
I felt like his idea about the roof cleaning business offered the most promise if any money was to be made, as no one was doing it. In 1993, I couldn’t even find any info on the new information highway (internet). My interest grew when Dick announced he had heard through a supplier of a company that was producing a chemical that would clean roofs with garden hose pressure. We promptly ordered a case and found the chemical did an excellent job cleaning, but garden hose pressure was not going to do the job, at least in a timely manner. All we needed was a little bit more pressure but nothing like the pressure produced by a power washer. We went to our local agriculture supply store and began buying pumps, motors, tanks and nozzles and put together a machine we thought would clean a roof. We must have spent $5,000 on pumps, regulators and other contraptions until we finally got it right.
While designing a rig to clean roofs we incorporated labor and chemical savings that allowed us to clean most home’s siding, roofs and decks in a fraction the time using half the chemicals. This translates mathematically to earning more money per hour with less chemical cost than our compe ors. However, our biggest money maker was simply being able to advertise LOW-PRESSURE CLEANING
The first year we did $50,000, not bad for being the new kid on the block. By the third year, our one trailer was doing $120,000.
Before I go any further with this story, I want to talk about high pressure cleaning. The only places for high pressure (I’m talking about 1500 psi or greater) is for popping bubblegum off of sidewalks and cleaning mud off heavy equipment. I recently had my HardiePlank sided house painted, and part of the deal was having the painter clean the house before painting. I was recovering from an operation so I let the painter do the cleaning. He arrived at my home with a pressure washer, 50 foot of hose an 8 foot extension wand and 33 gallons of Clorox, you heard me right, 33 gallons (He ended up only using 25 gallons). My house is only 2500 square feet. I asked, "Where is the detergent"? He replied, "Don’t need any, been doing this for 20 years and when I get through your house will be clean as a whistle and the treated steps will look like they just came from the lumberyard". I knew I was in trouble now, but I thought this would be a great opportunity to get some good pictures to put in this article.
The reason I’m tell’n you all this is because you can go broke repairing the damage caused by using high pressure and misusing chemicals. Secondly, if the painter used the system I’m about to show you, he could have washed my house with less than 2 gallons of Clorox and 1/3 gallon of detergent. Thus reducing his chemical cost from over $60 to about $10. That’s like making $100 extra a day if just two house were washed.
Our system is successful because we have developed a process that combines the right equipment, the right setup, the right chemicals with the right chemical delivery system. The result is an exterior cleaning rig that cleans better, faster, safer and at less cost… Read more…