Congratulations on starting a pressure washing business! The first thing you need to do before you start advertising is to figure out how much you’re going to charge.

In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you how to set prices, when to adjust them, and what they look like in each state. All while making sure you’re turning a profit.

how to price a pressure washing job

How to price pressure washing services

Before you head out to price a job, create a general price book for the pressure washing and house cleaning services you offer. A bit of research upfront will help to make sure that your pricing is accurate, fair, and profitable.

Where should you start? Look up competitors, calculate your overhead, then figure out your taxes. Here’s how.

1. Research competitor pricing

Start by looking at competitor pricing in your community. We never recommend copying competitors. But it’s important to get a sense of the market. Take note of:

  • What they offer
  • What they charge for each service
  • How they charge (hourly, or flat-rate)

Some of your competitors may be on the higher end of pricing because they offer all the bells and whistles. Others may be on the lower end because they offer basic services.

Make notes on everything you find, and see how you can apply it to your business. What are the current gaps in the market? What unique advantages does your business have?

Can you offer premium services (and higher prices), to overtake a competitor? If you choose to offer lower prices, are you losing out on profit?

2. Calculate your overhead

Even if you know how much your competitors are charging, you don’t know how much their overhead costs are. It’s not as simple as copying their pricing and moving on.

Your overhead is specific to your business. To be profitable, your rates need to cover your specific bills and more.

Calculate your overhead by adding up all recurring costs that aren’t related to a specific job. This includes vehicle payments, equipment, gas, office or storage space, cell phone bills, etc.

Next, use this method to factor your hourly overhead costs into each job:

  • Calculate your monthly overhead.
  • Add up the total number of work hours you and your techs work in a month.
  • Divide your monthly overhead costs by your monthly work hours. This is your hourly overhead cost.
  • Multiply your hourly overhead cost by the number of hours required for a given job. The final number is how much money you need to make on the job to cover your overhead costs.

For example, if your monthly overhead was $1,000, and you worked 100 hours per month, your calculations would look like this:

$1,000/100 = $10 (hourly overhead cost)

If you’re estimating a new job that will take you five hours, then you would calculate your overhead like so:

$10*5 = $50

That means that if your overhead is $10/hour, and you quote a five-hour job, you would have to charge at least $50 to cover your overhead costs. Remember, overhead is things like bills. You’ll need to charge more to cover taxes and make a profit.

Pro tip: If you aren’t sure of your expenses or work hours, use expense tracking tools and time tracking software to get a feel for your costs and time spent on job sites.

3. Don’t forget to add in taxes

If you forget to add taxes onto your estimates, quotes, and invoices, you end up having to foot the bill yourself.

The prices that you set for each service should be pre-tax prices. You then add taxes to the client’s final invoice.

It’s important to use estimates, quotes, and invoices that include a section for taxes. That way you don’t end up missing out on profit because of clerical errors.

If you write quote and invoice templates yourself, be sure to include a tax section. Or, you can use a free pressure washing estimate template. It includes fields for company information, line items, taxes, discounts, notes, and photos.

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4. Add your profit markup

Markup is how much you plan to charge on top of your costs so that you make a profit. It can be measured in a dollar amount or a percentage. Usually, you set the markup for your materials and services separately.

For example, you may buy parts in bulk and charge a markup on them, while you also have a markup on jobs after costs like labor and overhead.

To get a more straightforward idea of your markup, use our Markup Calculator to see if you’ve been able to make a reasonable profit after your jobs.

The calculator helps you determine the profit margin, profit dollar amounts, and job markup after the real costs (like materials, and labor) and price are added in.

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How to price a pressure washing job

Now that you have a general pricing strategy, you can start pricing individual pressure washing jobs.

Next time you get a call from a client, work your way through these steps:

1. Find out which services the client needs

Is the client interested in one, straightforward service, like window washing? Or are they looking for something less specific, like “cleaning up the outside of my house and garage”?
Get as much specific information from the client as possible. Then, you can determine which services will be the most useful for them, if you need special materials, and how long it will take you to complete the job.

2. Determine property information, like type, size, and condition

The size, condition, and type of property affect pricing your pressure washing jobs

Is it a home or an office building? How big is it, or how many windows and decks are there? Is the property new or old, and how sturdy is it?

These answers help you to determine how long a job will take and if you’ll need to expand the project scope. For example, a client may say they simply want their deck cleaned, without realizing that it’s in poor condition or that it will require additional work.

3. Visit the property

While you don’t have to visit the property to estimate a job, it’s recommended when you’re just starting.

This can help you to get an accurate idea of the property details and job scope before sending out an estimate. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to upsell your other services if you notice that the client could benefit from them.

For example, if you came to clean the deck, you might notice and suggest that the driveway needs cleaning too.

Visiting the property can help you to make sure that you don’t have to adjust an estimate or quote down the road when you do end up at the property. And it can help you to be more prepared by giving you a clear idea of the tools, materials, and equipment you need.

4. Send an estimate

Only send an estimate when you have a solid understanding of the job. While estimates can be adjusted, you should still aim for an accurate and reasonable number so that your clients get a true idea of the price.

Once the client approves the estimate, move forward by sending a complete quote. Using quoting software, you can include job, company, and client details, as well as photos, upsells, and more. Plus, your clients can approve your quotes online, saving you both a lot of time and back-and-forth.

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When to adjust pressure washing prices

It’s important to remember that pricing strategies aren’t set in stone. It’s normal—and can even be a good sign—to adjust your pressure washing prices.

For example, you may want to consider offering a discount if you:

  • Have multiple clients from the same neighborhood or group
  • Have clients who want ongoing, long-term services (monthly window washing for the next year)
  • Have a client with a particularly large job
  • Offer service packages or bundles
  • Start a referral program

Remember: you still need to make a profit on top of your overhead. So keep any discounts reasonable and still profitable. Read up on discount pricing strategies here.

Alternatively, you can raise your prices through a premium pricing strategy.

To start, make sure you clearly explain your value and what the client will be getting for what they pay for. They may just need reassurance from a trusted expert to feel good about paying the full amount.

The more detailed your estimates and quotes, the less likely your clients will be to negotiate costs.

Profitable pressure washing

Pricing is all about striking a balance between profitability and service costs in your community. As you grow, you’ll find ways to adjust your overhead and job costs to streamline your business and turn a bigger profit.

Until then, focus on building a professional reputation, keeping costs low, and providing high-quality services to your clients.

All of these things are essential in making your pressure washing business a success.

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