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.