A window cleaner buys a pressure washer---

Hello everyone. My name is Kenny and I am from South Florida. I have been cleaning windows since 2005, finally got my foot in the door in regards to pressure washing for myself. I see a few names on here that I recognize from the Window Cleaning Resource Forums, so hello to you as well. I have lurked on this page for a while, and I have to say— there is a ton of good information here to learn and grow.

I have I guess what everyone calls on here a starter unit-- it’s a Northern Tool 5gpm 3000rpm unit with a Honda GX390 and a General Pump ME1 . I went and bought a 19’ Whisper Washer (with 2 2.5gpm tips to match the 5gpm), and I decided to buy an X-jet 13K to try it out. I have 200ft of pressure hose I purchased from a supplier to the south of me “JN Equipment”. I really wanted a Titan hose reel, but I was shocked to be told on many websites 14-20 weeks backorder-- so I went to my local pressure wash/painting store and picked up a Summit SM12 300foot reel

I had a friend help me design and build my hose reel platform, as I noticed putting the reel in my Nissan Frontier’s truck bed would be too hard unwinding/winding. It came out pretty good. Drilled and attached to my bed, as I discovered lifting a 160 pound pressure washer in/out of my bed will get old fast. Eventually I want to build another platform and put a fresh water supply hose reel since I already have 100 ft of 3/4 inch hose that I use for my RO filter for window cleaning. It would give it dual purpose, as I am mainly focused on window cleaning with a pressure washing add-on. Plus, I’m tired of moving everything— pull up, pull the hose out, start window cleaning-- same thing I will try to achieve with Pressure Washing.

I have been doing some practice homes/driveways (friends and family) the last few weeks. I’d rather get the hang of this and feel as confident as I am with window cleaning before I market this to the public. I know, “Learn on their time/dime”, well…this is just how I am going about it. I did my neighbors driveway next door because she referred me to a client for window cleaning-- I just want to get my “reps” in.

I am learning a lot, and I will be honest-- this is very interesting to me. I have two of my best friends growing up (30+ years) that have window and pressure washing businesses, and I have helped them on and off over the last few years-- so I understand the potential for this trade. Over the years, I can’t tell you how many customers would ask if I also pressure washed. I really got sick and tired of telling them “No”, and although I would refer my two friends businesses-- I would like to say “YES, actually I do-- how can I help you?” Not to mention having a pressure washer opens the doors for brick paver sealing.

So anyway, I hope to learn more and I figured this forum would be Ground Zero, as good as how WCR has been over the years for us window cleaners. I am not looking to set the world on fire, I would just like to be able to give my customers a package of services. These customers trust me and have over the years, my foot is already in the door-- I might as well upsell (ONCE I get the HANG of this!). Let’s see what happens! If not me, it will be someone else.



Welcome Kenny, I was also a dedicated window cleaner until late 2018. It’s ridiculously satisfying and easily makes double per man hour what WC does. It’s gotten to the point where we have farmed out some of the more difficult customers to a bigger outfit so we can get more houses washed.

The guys on the board are an amazing resource, there’s no way I would be this far on my own.


Welcome to the dark side, Kenny. You’re off to a good start. + ∞ to everything DC said.

A couple points:

  • Do you have a buffer tank for your machine? You’ll want one, or else your pump is going to cavitate and destroy itself when you connect to a spigot that’s not putting out 5gpm.

  • You should be using 3 or 3.5 nozzles in your surface cleaner. You have to use a nozzle chart to determine the correct size to use for the flow and pressure you want. Divide by two when determining what to use in a 2-nozzle surface cleaner.


Thanks you guys. I appreciate the welcome, and look-- I already have great advice right here from the people above. This is what I’m talking about! I love it

No, I do not have a buffer tank. Before I purchased this, I read on the manufacturer’s website I would want at LEAST a 20 percent increase in flow from the tap as compared to what my pump puts out (5gpm). So, I went and tested my home tap-- I was able to fill up a 5 gallon bucket in the 45-50 seconds it recommended to not put strain on pump. On the residential island I have been cleaning windows on, they have their own treatment plant-- Out of the 7 or 8 homes I tested on (lol, not like I went to their home for that, I was filling up my window cleaning bucket and figured “Hey, perfect place to check”)-- and they were putting out well over 7-8 gallons a minute from 1 tap. I currently feed the washer through 100 feet of flexzilla 3/4 hose-- I wonder if I added another 50-100 feet, the HOSE itself would act as some kind of a buffer tank with all the water that would be running through 150-200ft of 3/4 inch hose?

I do agree, a buffer tank would be my best option-- But I am understanding since it is a direct drive pump (not a belt drive), I would need some sort of gravity feed or a larger tank. If you look at my picture of my truck, I don’t know if I will have room for a large buffer tank as I still need room to build my 3/4 inch hose fresh water platform for my other hose reel. I also toyed with the idea of getting a Y valve, and just connecting 2 water outlets into 1-- most of the homes I do have 2-3 outlets bare minimum. Keep in mind, this is still just putting a bandaid on the situation, I know I will have to bite the bullet and get a buffer tank lol. I DID notice on one driveway home I was practicing on, I felt like I “ran out of water” for like 1 second doing the entire driveway, so that ALREADY has me going “Hey Kenny, you need to do this right”

I have to have my room for all my window cleaning gear, as pressure washing is just my “add-on” service. A trailer is just not an option. My truck is a 2.4l 4 banger, and I just generally dislike driving a trailer-- which is why I want to do the truck mount route.

On the nozzles, thanks for clarifying that for me. On the Whisperwasher website, they recommend 1 size smaller than your machine-- and that chart suggests using 3-3.5gpm tips instead of 2.5 or the 2.0 WW suggests. I will order a few of different sizes of the Meg tips, in different GPM as well as degrees that they differ in-- and see which one performs best. Trial and error, I want to understand what and why this works better.

I appreciate you guys replying, I need to really “hit the books” and get a feel for this-- and I feel this forum is where I can learn the most. Get educated, get my reps in, and use this to generate a nice add-on service. That’s my goal!

My first one I did a few weeks ago was my home–

It came out pretty good for a trial run. (The lights there were broken before, lol and everything was dead in the front-- so that wasn’t ME destroying it lol) I used the Xjet and since I did not understand the dilution ratios, it was a weak mix probably not even 2 percent lol. Now that I understand how to reach the percentages needed, I don’t run into that-- but boy you should have seen me mixing so much water into my 5 gallon bucket with 10.5 SH…BEFORE it runs 2:1 out of the machine…:blush: So I was already cutting 10.5 in half, if not 60-70%…then diluting it even more at 2:1 lol. Then the whole “Hey I don’t have any surfactant …let me use my 3x Dawn window cleaning soap”…LOL—So yes, I will practice on my home and friends/family first and get EDUCATED.

No. More hose means less gpm

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Thank you, Innocentbystander. I stand corrected. Unfortunately I think I saw that on many Youtube videos, and it got stuck in my head that is how it works. This is why I am researching more.

Yeah more that I think about it, I’m going to have to figure out a way for me to fit a tank in…I just need to figure out the dimensions that I have left of usage space in my truck bed. I don’t want to do something half assed, and result in me burning up my pump for something that I can change. My truck is a Nissan Frontier 4 cylinder, I have had it since 2010 and has done me well-- BUT with it’s 2.4l, I don’t want to weigh myself down TOO much. Down the road I am due for a newer truck, and perhaps I can better suit it for handling the extra weight with a V6 or V8 (Plus upgraded brakes, suspension) . UNTIL then, I might as well try to work with what I’ve got.

You can fit a lot in a 4 cylinder pickup; just need to be strategic. Air bags will help it not sag. Just be mindful not to exceed the GVWR. I think @Deanswc has 4 cylinder Tacomas in his fleet, and he does a mix of power washing and window cleaning, as well.

Here’s my truck build. It’s a long read, and not all of it will apply to you. Feel free to skim a bit. I went with a flatbed, but there were some good suggestions made from people who recommended sticking with the stock bed and getting a slide-in skid to hold everything. Reels can go up on the bed side rails, vertical tank(s) can go up against the headache rack, etc.

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Just wondering, is that an extended cab? Space behind the front seats might possibly be utilized better for most of your window cleaning stuff.

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It would be less complicated to buy/build a belt drive and put a 50 gallon buffer in if that is your water flow from your customers. I went through the same thing with trying to use a direct drive, and I wish I could have just bought a belt from the get go.

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Man, I have a 5x8 enclosed trailer, you could easily fabricate a PW outfit on an open trailer and your truck would pull that no problem. I pull mine with a Sienna. If you stick with a 5.5gpm machine, a 35 gallon buffer tank will be plenty.

Here’s an example, not mine but gives you some reference.


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Hey guys, thanks for the feedback-- I have the cab pretty much jammed up with rags, towels, wfp brushes, and my pump-- I am trying to save room for putting a Honda 2200 Inverter Generator behind my seat and take it out to power my WFP pump or my steam cleaner when I am doing sills so I don’t have to use their power source. Plus, I could double it as a generator for a window unit when hurricane season comes :slight_smile:

Infinity- I like your build. One of my best friends outfitted his own aluminum skids for his 96 toyota tacoma and 96 dodge turbo diesel truck-- he went the trailer route and hated it, so he built his own skid (the guy is an engineer, been building things all his life-- good guy to know haha) For the time being, I wanted to just see if I could do some driveways/patios. I am not too upset that it seems I really went in the wrong direction with a direct drive pressure washer-- I should have done more research and not went with a friend’s recommendations.

dbrock-- That is a good example, I am aware of the options I can go-- do you enjoy towing that thing in heavy traffic? How about parking? I have friends who went both routes, with pros and cons of truck bed construction as well as trailer mounted. I guess it’s what you prefer. Eventually I want to get a larger truck with an 8 foot bed, I would have a skid made-- BUT again, I want to see if I will enjoy this line of work-- I LOVE window cleaning, so let me see if I can get a feel for this as well.

Fatfire- I agree, I may be dealing with more trouble than its worth. I will chalk that up to a loss, and just try to work and earn what I paid for it OUT of it-- and then buy a belt-driven system. I could keep this as a “backup” or something. If I remember, I believe it was on sale for around 1200 dollars, I have owned it for a couple months now so I will just try to make what I paid for this, and then upgrade. Not a total loss…(I mean “technically” that Stimulus check paid for this, and the 200 feet of hose–LOL even if I bought it 2 months ago). I figured this unit would be good enough to just get a feel and “see” if I like this line of work.

It will pay for itself for sure. My thing is I want to transition more to pw than window cleaning, with one of the reasons being that the money is better. I had to be sure that I could constantly make a good deal more per hr than wc so I financed much better equipment than my original purchase. It’s much more fun doing both, and makes for a much nicer variety. On the rare customer that takes it all (if/when you offer it all) its nice to see a clean driveway, windows, roof, house, deck, etc.

I guess the best way explain it is the windows can gleam, but the customer has more of a benefit for that from the inside. A clean driveway/house can really pop if a different way that is just nice to see.

By the by, I’m chargingsnail on wcr. Meant to put that in my last post.

Edit- I did the same thing with my first rig. Got a big commercial job and it more than paid for itself in 4-5 months.

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FatFire-- I completely understand. I remember my friend calling me 7 years ago before he dropped 10-15k on the entire rig set up and trailer. To this day he says it was the best business decision he ever made, and that he made that 15k back in 3-4 months-- He had built up a customer base of 500-600 bi-monthly residential window cleaning accounts, and basically just offered his pressure washing/roof cleaning/paver sealing to all his window cleaning customers. I have seen first hand (I’ve helped them over the years on certain jobs to get an idea of the business) the money you can make— IF that is the main goal (Everyone’s goal is different)

I am going to practice some more this weekend, try mixing some batches for a few driveways.

You know guys, the more I think of it…yeah I’m going to have to go a trailer route. I feel I am cutting corners here, and setting myself up to fail. Making excuses, I will chalk it up to my inexperience pressure washing. Need to remember, 16 years ago-- I didnt know how to clean windows and now I do McMansions with just myself. Pressure washing will be the same…get out of my head and spend some money…do it RIGHT.

I am hesitant as I am on my own now. My window cleaning job I left in Feburary of 16 years due to my boss coming down with dementia (he is 85) and I did not get to take over the accounts, as his son did. Instead of having a window war for all the accounts, I quit and let the son run the business. No hard feelings, and I did not pilfer/steal accounts as I dont feel that is good business. I would not want someone doing that to me, you know? I still help out at a 60/40 split when I can, as well as 3 other window cleaning companies that I am best friends with the owners…so that is keeping the money coming until I am established on my own (Subcontracting). I just thought I could make more money and offer future customers a total home package by getting into this.

I am going to do some research and see how I can get myself into a position to succeed. I have excellent credit and have a business credit card i have been using to finance these purchases (0 percent interest until 12/31/21). All I need to do is get confident in pressure washing as I have with 16 years residential/commercial window cleaning. I seem to be making excuses, instead of producing results. Will take the time and do my research, and learn from all of you guys.