Advice For Those Just Starting or Wanting To Start Their Business


#1

Preamble: I am starting my second year in business and would like to offer some help to those interested. Other members here may agree or disagree with what I say. If I say anything that you believe is incorrect, dangerous, or ignorant, please call me out on it.

You don’t need a lot of pressure washing experience to start this business.
Watch some youtube videos on softwashing, read some of the posts on here, use the search feature on this site, if you are unsure of what to search for, ask people on here for things to search for. 80% of the information you need has been discussed already. Hang out, try not to start drama or derail threads. It’s disrespectful and creates a bunch of garbage for people to read when searching for advice.

Always make sure you test what you are doing on a property that knows you are doing this as a test. Never go to a job and make it your first time doing it.

Be careful of who you get your advice from
Take advice from everybody, but only apply the things that are repeated by multiple people. Once you establish your base knowledge you can start testing the more esoteric things.

Safety First!
Your health should be your number one priority. Inhaling bleach all day is horrible for your health. Wear a mask, incorporate it into your price. Wear gloves when using hot water. Use proper safety protocols when on roofs or ladders. The same goes with anything else you are doing. Also, don’t overlook driving. You will most likely be on the road a bit more. Pay attention, drive safe, no texting and driving etc.

Your friends, family, acquaintances, whoever else may put you down.
As your business starts taking form people will put you down, hate what you are doing, attempt to make you feel bad, and many other negative things. No one will understand your business or the amount of time you are putting into it. People will call you selfish, arrogant, greedy, and many other names. Use this as motivation. Once they see your success they will say “You are just lucky, it must be so easy for you”. They will minimize your success and attribute it to luck.

Stop taking advice from people who are not business owners
These people are not business owners, never ran a business, have no ideas the struggles you face. It’s like talking politics with a family pet. A complete waste of time.

No money to start up, no problem
Most businesses should be a rag to riches story. You don’t need a $10,000 trailer with a truck wrapped, office, website, etc. You need the basics. Buy or rent a pressure washer, use or rent a truck, include it in your first purchase price, take money upfront with a contract if needed. If you go to a church or have some sort of large community involvement, ask everyone for small donations and say you will clean the church with the equipment you get. Think outside the box, pop can drive, do whatever it takes. The only reason you don’t have the money to start your business is because you have not acquired it yet. If you want it bad enough you will get it.

File your LLC and get a business bank account asap
Both of these are very easy to do. Spend 10 minutes in google and you will learn how.

You don’t need a business plan
You don’t even have a business yet, why spend hours doing something when you don’t even have your first paying customer. Get your customers, get your insurance, start your business and refine it down the road. You don’t need a business plan for investors or bank credit. Your sales will be proof of concept. Money does not lie.

Stop over complicating everything
Don’t spend countless hours optimizing a business that is not even started yet. Do you have a pressure washer, can you clean something? Ok, get a client, make a deal on a handshake or whatever, get paid. You can optimize everything later. Don’t go ready, aim, fire. Go ready, fire, aim. Most people that go read, aim, fire will end up going. ready… ready… aim… aim… aim… I quit I am discouraged. Get your first customer as soon as possible. Optimize later.

Look the part
Get your haircut, keep your beard looking nice, be presentable, brush your teeth. Be a grownup and show the customer that you are serious and worth their time or money. Something that resembles a uniform without logos works wonders. Jeans and a tee shirt does not.

Get insurance as soon as you can
Working without insurance is a horrible idea. Most people will say don’t work until you have insurance. If you are starving, putting food on the table for your family, don’t want your water to get shut off so your toilet works. Do what you have to do to take care of your family. Just keep in mind, you need your insurance as soon as possible. It should be your number one priority. If you buy a brand new $1500 pressure washer instead of insurance you should stop your business until you can make better decisions. If you spend $1500 on rent and food for one month so your family is not homeless and the next month you buy insurance, well that is a different story.

Stop focusing on your competitors
You have competition, so what? Your competitors should be the least of your concern at this point. Focus on creating a solid service to offer. Worry about them later on.

You’re not a house washer, concrete cleaner, etc. You are a sales man
The biggest and most important part of your business is making sales. Money does not lie and it is directly related to how viable your business is. If you can’t make sales, sales that are only low paying, you will be out of business soon.

You are not your clients accountant
Nancy the senior from the upper class neighborhood who lives in a little shack while their are mansions around her may be loaded. Mark the millennial tech startup founder in the mansion across the street may be on the verge of bankruptcy. You are not your clients accountant, you have no idea how much they make, your price is your price, your service is valuable, treat everyone the same. Don’t give discounts because you feel bad, or feel they don’t have the money.e

Play to win
You think your competition cares if you go hungry? Are they going to pay your bills? Will your customers feel bad if you can’t feed your family because they want a lower price? Does anyone care if you succeed or fail? The answer is no. No one cares about your business, most people will want you to fail, the others just want cheap labor. Create a premium or unique service, strive for perfection, and make the money you deserve. Stop being okay with 5th 4th 3rd 2nd. Be the best you can be and be the best in your market.

If you can’t differentiate yourself from your competitors and they charge lower prices, you will never get top dollar.
Figure out your USP, unique selling point. Why should your customers use you instead of $99 Jose with the 2.5 gpm machine in the back of his rusty truck. What about the mid range guy? Why are you better or different? You charge $300 and they charge $200 and do the same job at the same quality. Why should they pay you more? Figure out your USP.

Minimum starting equipment
I would say a 4gpm@4000 psi belt driven machine, 200-300ft pressure washing hose, 200ft garden hose, hose reels, a small surface cleaner, m5-xjet, something to haul it to and from a job site, chemicals.

That should make you a good sum of money over a year. You can invest more the following year.

EDIT: Thanks everyone who has sent me messages. I was not expecting the overwhelming support you guys have offered and I am so happy that I could give you guys the encouragement to finally make that step forward!


#2

That’s all I have for now, maybe I can add more / edit it later. Hope it helps.


#3

great write up!

I have been trying to get my business off the ground for the past 2 years and I’m guilty of most of these mistakes. I’ve done some jobs through out the summers, but also work full time.

This summer I plan to launch my company in full force. That’s the issue though is i PLAN to. I mostly feel paralyzed by the life I’ve created. Working full time, owning a home, having a car payment, and an upcoming wedding really has me terrified! I don’t doubt myself and what I can accomplish, but it sure as hell seems like everyone else does!

Friends that own their own business tells me to just “do it” the only problem is I’m terrified of losing everything! I’ve already decided that I AM doing in this spring and i have clients lined up already.

Any encouragement is much appreciated! i need a final kick in the ass to get it going.


#4

I was in the same situation minus the wedding. Career that payed very well that I hated. HATED! I can’t type that big enough. I HATED MY CAREER AND LIFE. I accumulated tons of debt, started trying to keep up with the jones’s, fancy clothes, $500 shoes, brand new car etc. All of that useless crap to feel special in public around a bunch of people who would not care or notice if I disappeared. If you can give up the debt, get a paid off car, downsize your house, tell your wife the wedding is going to have to be cheaper and no more debt from that. Stop spending your money! Loose the possessions and see who your real friends are. I bet the business owners are still your friends after that.

Almost everyone in my life told me I was stupid when starting this business. I can’t stress it enough how much people hate the fact that you want to do something different.

You really need to stop over complicating things, reduce debts, stop the bleeding (monthly payments), lower expenses, get your fiance on board with your new mindset / lifestyle or ditch her and take responsibility for your future. You are only getting older and your “one day” mentality will be over and there will be no more “one day” to look forward to.

I straight up quit my job and made a decision right there that I was never going to work another 9-5 for the rest of my life. I don’t care if I am broke, lonely, desperate, hungry, sick, anything else. You are making someone elses dream happen. You are building another mans life while you sit there pissed off and broke, stressing out about money while some guy is living the dream putting his kids through private school. Eating kale chips and other weird rich people food.

Gets me so angry thinking about all the hours I spent making someone elses dream come true. You should feel the same way.


#5

I cannot express how much i HATE my job either! Good news is my fiance is fully with me on what i want to do. The big fear is letting her and myself down. I’m going to continue to work my full time until i have too much business to do so.

I have plans to market my business and the big thing is to just get jobs!

The biggest fear is doing the book keeping, how to figure what I’m paid what i pay in taxes, hiring help, etc.

I appreciate the encouragement!


#6

You are over complicating things again. You don’t have a business to hire help yet, you have no sales, you have nothing to pay in taxes. If possible, save 30% of your gross and account that for taxes.

Don’t know how to do books? Get quickbooks online and any account should be able to do your books once every 3 months for a decent price. Not sure what to write off on taxes? Have your accountant do it. Can’t afford an account? Start making sales. You are the only reason why your business is not a business yet.

Don’t know how to hire employees? Your accountant should be able to give you 90% of the information or more to do so legally, anything else can be a quick phone call to the state. I have spent hours on the phone with the state over the legality of my marketing and it cost me nothing other than some time.

Stop putting up road blocks and just start your business already.


#7

Exactly what i need to hear! thank you


#8

Just to reiterate, you can do this, when you see a roadblock or think something confusing, there is help out there. Think outside of the box, ask all the dumb questions you want until people hate you, make your business happen at all cost. No one will make your dreams come true for you.


#9

I resent your Jose comment, it should be John, …
:sunglasses:


#10

Jose would be alright if he stopped offering $99 house washes and got some insurance. He does do a good job after all.


#11

Good post.
Nice to see post arent railroaded anymore.


#12

aside the fact that he shouldnt be giving to much business advice in year 2. I appreciate where the post is coming from. but always be weary of people like this. people with little experience talking about doing it. be alittle more humble maybe?


#13

you even say it here yourself.

“Be careful of who you get your advice from
Take advice from everybody, but only apply the things that are repeated by multiple people. Once you establish your base knowledge you can start testing the more esoteric things.”


#14

you been around the business for 10minutes now. So honestly maybe i am in the miniority when it comes to this. But someone with much more experience has the actual knowledge to post on this threads topic. Not you. the guy who has been a disaster on this forum from the beginning. No one should be taking business advice from you. sorry. No one should take business advice from me either. I have 1 year experience. see where i am going with this… you probably dont…


#15

See what I mean about the haters coming out of the wood works.


#16

Dude i’m not a hater. that’s reality. i know you don’t operate in reality tho.

not saying anything you even said was right or wrong. You just shouldnt be making posts like this


#17

what happened to awesomewash ? didnt you have major issues here when you first joined? i may be completly wrong but i can ask around… @Innocentbystander maybe can speak to this?, i am sure others. Your not the guy that should be giving advice is all i’m saying. Sorry if i care about this place not turning into a clown show, where people go to you for advice, because i have seen way to many posts you make that just straight up make me scratch my head. Now not only do i get to see that, I gotta go to the main page and see you giving business advice. year 2. done shit in the business? nah man i mean as long as i am here i’ll call bullshit everytime. Ban me if you think i am being unreasonable.


#18

You may feel that I don’t operate in reality. This is just like I said would happen. People will put you down. You are putting me down and that is okay. You don’t see my bigger picture and that’s fine.

I should be making posts like this because someone who has read this post has got strength from it. They are most likely going to put forth the effort to start their business and run with it this time! That is so exciting and I am happy for them.

I will not be responding to your negativity. People should take my advice with a grain of salt. I am okay with that. As I said they should they in my first post in this thread.

Instead of being negative, please create your own write up of advice from your own experiences and help people out.


#19

Some hit the floor running some dont.
Just because you been in the industry for so many years dont mean you know it all.
Some might have lots of years but havent try it all.
All markets are different.

I tjiught that in order to join here you had to provide business bame, website, …legit contact verification, if you havent provided that then, hard to trust the source.


#20

Is that actually a requirement? I read through the the FAQ etc and did not see it. I don’t post my information publicly, but do and have given it out privately to people on this forum. I feel that everyone should do this as this is the internet and reputation management should be a top priority. I also want only positive things about my business on the internet and if someone is talking down to me on here I would prefer my clients don’t see that, or associate my business with anything negative If I also need to ask a question and it appears on a google search, it will make my business look less creditable.

Having done reputation management for many businesses has taught me well.