Feedback wanted (if your so inclined)

I’ve been reading, on this forum and outside of this forum, and watching buttloads of videos(that is a technical term). I’ve also been researching who does what in my local area. I’m lucky, in that I retired relatively young and my knee has been messed up so I’ve been kind of chair bound for a little while.
I’m kind of hesitant to post this but here it goes.

I know I don’t want to do everything in the entire commercial and residential sphere. I am really leaning heavily towards doing wood e.g. fences, decks, outdoor furniture. Why wood? because I am most familiar with it. I do some woodworking as a hobby, and have contract painted a long time ago.
I’m not looking into doing roofs so much (most people in my area are replacing with metal roofs), and I don’t think I want to do windows. House washing seems to be the sweet spot for efficiency and profit margin, but my area probably won’t support too much of that activity. I also know that I would be up against every small and medium sized painting crew for deck/fence work. I have also spied the dirt cheap power washing guys in the area (no chems pure power). I would be a solo operator, no help outside of my kid(which isn’t likely) or my buddy.

Here is the dilemma, go with a cold system, enough to do decks/fences/siding and have enough volume for good rinsing, and buy more wood working equipment (sanders/grinders) and sprayers. Or should I fork out the money initially for a hot system with higher gpm and possibly pick up some commercial /residential flatwork? I’ve been weighing the pros and cons and am looking for some feedback. The hot system is a large increase in price for potential work. the surface cleaner cost isn’t cheap, but is also negligible. From reading here I think I could add a hotbox to a cold system after the fact, but then it would never be as efficient as a hot unit from the get go.

I am also toying with he idea of vapor blasting, as it would allow wood, brick, stone, as well as heavy equipment to be done, but those systems make PW setups look cheap.

really looking at feedback, your years of experience and knowledge has been truly informative. Knowledge is half the battle as GI JOE would say.

In all honesty if you’re not exactly sure if you want to get into commercial work I would hold off on the hot water. You don’t have to have hot water for all commercial concrete anyways. You can pop gum with a cold water machine it just takes longer. I think what I would do if I were in your shoes is stick with a cold for now. That doesn’t mean you can’t pursue commercial. You can either be a little more picky on the job or just rent a hot water pressure washer when you land a job that needs hot water. @anon37135677 posted some pictures or a video not too long ago of a commercial job he did and only used cold water and some chems. It was greasy too and it cleaned up great. I think it was a restaurant or gas station.

So, too sum it up, hot water isn’t absolutely necessary for all commercial work it just makes things easier. It is necessary for some but you can always rent one. If you see commercial work pickup to where it makes sense to buy one you’ll have made enough money by then to pay for one out of your business account. Once you start working you’ll soon find out you’ll want a backup washer anyways. Even if you eventually decide to buy a hot water machine that cold water machine will still be useful. Plus, there’s no reason to put hours on an expensive hot water machine if you don’t have to so that cold water machine will still get used.


That…and if I may suggest you get an 8gpm machine. I had a brain fart when buying my 3500/5.5 and really kinda regret it now. It does fine, kinda like an Accord 4cyl does well…but eventually you wish it was the V6.


You really need to consider a few things before you buy a machine. Water source? What type of set up you will have truck/trailer and how big of a truck. I was with a 5.5 hot water pressure pro machine every day and I love it. But I’m in a area where we have alot of wells. I also do plenty of commercial work with no problem. But definitely invest your money in good equipment dont bother buying cheap big box store machines you will definitely regret that


thank you. I kept reading on here over and over the general recommendation to have hot water for commercial flat work. But picking and choosing is an option.

Renting isn’t really an option here, I would have to drive 45 minutes one way to rent it and those guys are expensive.

See, i was leaning towards a 5.5, but everyone on here was recommending 8. Never thought about it as a 4 banger, nice one.

I already own a truck and a 18’ 10k bri mar trailer, so those things were never an issue for me. Water is an issue with some locales, as I would have to bring water to the site, or drop totes off and fill over time. I would also need a pump, as many contractors around here pull from lakes, streams, creeks etc for water. I have a tote in my field, and can get several more for free if needed. I just don’t like the idea of pulling from wells, most people treat the inside water, not the outside water (hose bibs,sprinklers) and that stuff normally has iron in it. Do you test/treat well water? I can’t imagine spraying someones concrete/house with iron filled well water.

So you like the 5.5, I kind of felt that it was the sweet spot in the lineup so to speak 5.5/6.

I have bigger machines and I take the 5.5 if you gotta bring water in my opinion it’s the sweet spot. If you dont buy a skid and run a separate heater you could add a 8 later if the work calls for it.

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solid advice thank you, I appreciate it. Just so that I am clear, are you talking about adding a 8 gpm pump, or adding a whole new 8 gpm machine. I read on here several times about people making a 4 gpm into a 5.5 gpm.

edit: I re read my post and it was sloppy. I am talking about the threads where people add a 5.5 pump to what was a 4.0 gpm machine.

No two machines. Opinions on this site will vary on which machine to buy. You will be much better off buying a nicer 5.5 than a cheap 8. Really depends on your budget

Thanks again for taking the time to reply. I keep eyeballing that rig that racer posted here a couple of weeks ago, but it’s kinda pricey for a guy who has never done this work before.

However, if you asked me about tractor equipment, I have no problems dropping loot on those after some due diligence. Gun shy I guess.

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I’m not sure which one that is I run a pressure pro honda motor cat pump zero problems

I think he was talking about this company’s products, just FYI. looks like honda engines and general pumps. I’d have to check my bookmarks to be sure.

That’s a nice machine. Just remember that thing likes water

If you’re primarily thinking decks and fences the 5-5.5 gpm is the sweet spot. You definitely don’t need a big machine for that. The 5.5 will also enable you to do all the house washing you want.


I’d more say a 4gpm is a 4 banger, 5.5 is the v6 and 8 is the v8. Personally I would say a 4 or 5.5 is the way to start and then when/if you move up to 8 you have a good backup machine! :+1:


Mainly fence and decks. 5.5 for sure


I would personally go Hot water all the way. Then all avenues are covered. But it is way more costly and unnecessary for house washing.
It seems your still on the fence and deciding which direction to PW in. So it might be good advice to say wait awhile and maybe rent a cold then a hot and go from there.
As for the gpm thing. We run 2 5.5 gpm simultaneously, So 11gpm. Most places we wash at will not keep up, so we tote water in to get started. If your going solo , I’d go the 8gpm route.


Thank you. On a side note, would you say that BCE’s cold machines are as good as their hot machines?

So…is the 10gpm a v10? Just playing, thank you for replying. I’m seeing more people talking about having a backup and two machines. I’ve seen several people’s videos on their trailers, and threads on truck builds, but most builds are emphasizing the one machine. I guess I get what you are saying, I have backup grinders, palm sanders, hammers, chisels, blades etc etc.

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