Advice on starting my own business (Unique Question)

First, I truly appreciate your time in answering my question. I am 40 year old. I had an office job and part time HVAC job. I went back to school and am qualified for another sort of office job. I will be honest, the degree I got, was for ego. I hate that field. I could go back to my old office job, but want to go full time with HVAC and Power Washing.

I want to ask bluntly so I get the answer I am looking for. Please don’t see it as any disrespect. I have money to purchase equipment and have experience and funding for marketing. I plan on taking that power washing program/school I saw online and then doing the work on my house first. I will not slack in doing my homework.

Can I really make six figures doing this?

I want to work with my hands. I am done with the office stuff. I really wished I could do hvac full time for about 15 years now. I am older, I don’t want to carry furnaces into an attic anymore ( love fixing them). I also have really gotten into washing and learning about power washing. Just attracted to the field.

I am in Wisconsin. I am free to move anywhere. Are places like Florida/AZ better for this industry?

I would love to hear your opinion.

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You can learn much more by reading info on this forum than you can from any online school…for the most part, those are a rip-off. To answer your questions about where to work, researching the forum will teach you a lot, but the short answer is Florida is VERY saturated and the prices are much lower there. There’s not a ton of info on here about Arizona, but there a couple of people from there. Yes, you can easily make 6 figures doing this if you do excellent work every time and price accordingly, but don’t expect it right out of the gate. Trying to do this and HVAC is probably not a great idea…You will do much better if you choose one or the other and focus your efforts.

You’ll see this repeatedly: “read, read, read” and it’s the best advice you can get.

Use the search function any time any question pops into your head…you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll learn and how quickly you’ll learn it.

Read this first:

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@Atlas1 nailed it. Choose a field, you likely won’t do well if you divide your time. From my understanding, hvac is much easier to scale and makes more money, so if you can start your own hvac FL is a good state for that from what I know of that industry, which isn’t much. I have a cousin that works there and he does well. You won’t hit 6 figures until year 2-4, likely year 3-4. Ill hit it year 5 (this year) but I started in window cleaning and didn’t put a ton into marketing to grow. Also, if you mean that amount as your take home, that won’t be until year 3-4 likely in pw.

Nice thing in pw is no old ladies with copd call you that will die if they don’t have their ac fixed, so that’s nice. Nothing we deal with is a true emergency from a customer standpoint.

TN is a good state to pw from what I’ve seen on here recently. There was a good thread on it.

Either way, move from where your at, its too cold. :rofl:

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I’ve been window cleaning for 25 years and PW for two, have yet to see six figures.

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Depends on area and eagerness

I have an associate who, less than two years ago was looking for someone on this forum who would meet him for lunch and chat about the business. I helped him navigate getting started with the right accountant, a CRM that allows us to share leads, and even gave him leads and sales to work until he was bringing in enough to cover his previous hourly wage. He and I stay in touch, and today he told me that he crested over $500k in 2020, his second year in business. The next thing he told me I had already experienced: He didn’t have much to show for it. Strong growth - Hemorrhage money BTW, his business is about 70/30 commercial/residential.

There is much to learn here, and I wouldn’t be as complete at my craft without the depth of knowledge I gleaned from this forum and the several mentors that took me under their collective wing. HOWEVER, there are so many places to spend that money that knowing what works and what doesn’t requires experience. You’ll find a lot of different answers to the same question, some responding with a lack of experience but more often the different answers are the result of different markets and possibly even different seasons. What works in January may not work in August and visa-versa. But always different answers result from different experiences.

This work is often nasty, you deal with strong chemicals that destroy indiscriminately, and in Wisconsin you’ll likely be out of work pressure washing for a couple of months. Competition is fierce in FL, and with so little humidity most everywhere else in AZ you might want to visit Flagstaff, the only place where I saw an abundance of pine trees. You may want to learn how to clean windows. I’ve done a lot more windows in the past month than pressure washing. When I DO pressure wash this season, I use the hot box because pressure washing is much more pleasant in Winter with something to warm the gloves (a hot swivel/ball valve assembly and wand.) Wherever you go, you will compete with some real morons, guys who discovered a pressure washer and decided that they can make a good living with signs and a 3k 2.5 gallon pressure washer. They will have you shaking your head every time you drive past a $99 Housewash sign because you already know that they will likely never bounce back from such an ignoble start.

with all of the pitfalls and problems, do I love this business? ABSOLUTELY! But it takes a crazy person to enjoy it. AND, for me at least, a little desperation. If you go back to my early posts you’ll get an idea of the labyrinth of crap I waded through to get where I am today. I started with that Simpson MegaCrap 325 3k 2.5gallon machine I mentioned in tha last paragraph. The sources of my success are my others first belief where my happiness is tied directly to the happiness of those with whom I come into contact and for whom I serve, my hard work, my friends and mentors here at this forum, and my refusal to accept failure. Oh, and a hard head, an extremely thick cranium.

In short, to answer your original question, yes you can. However, you may be happier netting the $50 to $70k working solo or with a sidekick that most of us earn than to work really hard with multiple crews and rigs chasing that 6 figure net.

Oh, and never rule out the impact of luck. My buddy who was introduced in the first paragraph has been extremely lucky, but he’s also made a ton of sales calls. The harder you work, the luckier you’ll be. Contrary to his claim, he does have much to show for his efforts, just not what he would expect from all of the hard work, the seven days a week schedule, the turnover of employees who… needed to be
turned over, etc.

Nonetheless, does he love what he does? You betcha! However, I predict he may be happier making less money in the future.

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I find it hard to believe that 25 years of customer acquisition doesn’t compound to at least 6 figures annually. I say this in a constructive way, but I think something is wrong in the marketing department.

Solo operator, window cleaning doesn’t make a ton per man hour. I haven’t had my own company for 25 years.

So there you go, now you can ‘believe’.

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I really do appreciate your response. Thank you very much.

I’m with you now :+1:

I don’t. Cleaning windows, requires no formal education and pays no more than $45-$60 per hour for the service hours, and nothing for the administration hours. After expenses, a busy veteran window cleaner would be doing well to net $45,000. Often those veterans devalue their own time by charging too little, and you already know that your customers will consider you a pretty good judge of your own worth and pay what you ask. My experience? Pressure washing pays more with much higher expenses but can, with the right equipment and knowledge of chemicals and procedures, almost double the net.

It’s true pressure washing does pay more, I’m going into my 28th year of business, started mostly window cleaning. I don’t clean glass for less than 100.00 an hour, last year had some jobs over 200.00 an hour so…there is money in window cleaning if you’re efficient, right equipment and great customers willing to pay for a quality service. Six figures is no problem in window cleaning in the right area, we do 90% residential, there’s where the money is…anyways, get that squeegee back out :wink:. Thanks for all your input!

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How? is it a lack of jobs or just pricing too low?

I think fatfire nailed it. IF I were you, I would do the whole plumbing/hvac side.

My brother does it and makes really good money, but he is in S. Jersey and you might pay 25-35k a year in property taxes. All his friends do HVAC and they all have their own businesses, they all share the same stories of all work and no play. They do have the nicest toys though, and they do travel to expensive places, when they get time off.

I understand the desire to not work in an office. I’ve worked in an office setting before, felt like I was in a cage all day. All the office bitterness, nit picking, fake people, politics, little niche groups, blah …those people can have that life.

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Typically residential is around $75/hr here, but going solo is very dangerous, so I usually have a helper so I’m not there all day and have them hold my ladder on occasion.

I’m not one of those zip/zap and out types, we take our time and do a thorough job ‘nose to glass’ as it’s called. A shrinking profession as I’m finding out from having to fix the other guy’s screw-ups.

You can imagine how shocked I was getting around $200/hr for housewashing. :flushed:

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Everybody on the Facebook PW forums are making millions, just ask them. I know a guy from my area who posted there he has 5- 6 trucks running 6 days a week. He’s actually solo and has been solo for 15 years. Be careful with FB they are full of bad advice.

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Well if we’re counting hot wheels, I do play with my full set at least 6 days a week. I got 40 cars and 16 trucks

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have you consider getting a water-fed pole set up? I know you can’t use it 100% of the time but 9/10 homes you can do with wfp with no issues.

I have one, it’s only used for the windows I canT reach. It doesn’t do a very good job.

What type of system do you have? I have IPC cart and absolutely love it, I’ve had it for 8 years. Use xero poles and tucker boars hair brushes, I think their the best brushes out there. I’ve tried many and sold many on eBay. WFP is great, nose to glass when needed. I definitely won’t leave a job if it doesn’t look right from WFP, there are times you have to ladder up though for sure.