First paying gig today

I have been lurking for weeks and thought i would say thank you for all the help everyone offers here. I am in Florida and it was f,ing hot out there. I did a 1200 sf driveway and some other flatwork. I learned today, i do not like flatwork.
For other noobs, don’t forget to bring a bunch of water to drink. I thought this would take 2 hrs at most. 4 hrs later every muscle hurts. I thought the ball valve and swivel would make my life easier, but i just had hoses everywhere.
I am 45 and tired of working for other people. I have another job lined up late next month with 8 house washes and a shton of flatwork.
I thought my 4/4 and ridgid 18inch was professional “enough”. While it was plenty to get it done, it would have been made much easier with a 5-8 gpm and a 20 inch pro surface cleaner.
The customer was happy, but i would have loved to not be so dirty and beat up when i got the check.
Here are a few pics, wasnt dry when i left. They skipped the post treating addon so hopefully they call back in 6 months.
But again, thank you for all the info. Customers are happy, and i think i did a good job.


Bleach is cheap and post-treating is part of the service. Don’t upcharge for it. You’ll be lucky if a residential customer calls you back 5 years later for a driveway cleaning. Never heard of anyone having their driveway cleaned twice yearly. Maybe it’s different in Florida but idk.

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Up charging is the best way to educate a customer on what there getting. They will take the time to understand and learn what it is your trying to sell.

If bob comes in at $100 and doesn’t post treat

You come in at $130 with post treat

And if the customers only buying on price then you loose cause there not going to take the time to understand the difference between you and bob.

Now you come in at $100 and post treating is $30 the customers going to take time to try to understand the difference between what you and Bob do


Customer was a text only customer, never got face to face. It is hard to upcharge customer over text. I did bump her for the pretreating, but she passed on the post. I was already pretty low priced. It was a nextdoor app connection that was looking for pressure washing. Since i had no ad cost i was under $150. Next time for same job i will hit a little higher

And if they dont look like they care, take the $100.

I could do both flatwork and softwash, no problems. Im a 1 man gang, and picked up a 20in MITM surface cleaner, dirt cheap, and he said was new. Plus just finished the purchase of a karcher 8gpm pump, also pretty cheap. Deals are there if you look.
I think the guy thought it needed a new swivel, but nope, clogged nozzles. Same thing with an 16in I got, clogged nozzles. Lol.

$145 was the total, but i should have been at $199. Just wanted to break in and get to work

Even if it had taken the 2 hours that you anticipated 145 or even 199 was to cheap. 299 would have been more like it. You’ll figure it out as you do a few more.

and hey, i like my 4/4 very much. It cost over 2k new, has a 420cc briggs, easy to maintain. Took me awhile to learn the ins and outs of it and the pump, but it didn’t cost me alot out of my own pocket.

That seems like what i should charge, but with no reviews or before and after pics i am getting what my value is locally. Thanks for the insight

I fought the clogged nozzles all day. That is what slowed me down. I am looking at an erie 20 inch after a couple jobs in pocket. Loosing the casters too.

Value is based on perception. sell yourself and your service as the best out there and you’ll get more. people don’t mind spending extra if they see the value. Do little extras for them make them feel appreciated and you’ll do great


Get a Whisper Wash Ultra Clean for around $450. @Innocentbystander turned me on to one, works well.


I was lost at the concept of charging for pre or post treatment. When you clean flatwork, you are charging for a clean surface when you leave. If you need to pre or post treat (always post treat as it is good for the overall appearance once dried which is the result, good for your reputation as a contractor) it is just part of the job. I have never heard of upcharging for portions of a job that are customary. If I misunderstood, please correct me.


I agree. I just Factor it into my price. it’s never been an issue. I’d rather do that and leave it where I can be proud of it and have happy customers. I’m in Mississippi we get algae overnight. I even post treat my Quarterlys

People are really breaking down their pricing to customers like this? I just explain my process (and watch their eyes glaze over because they have no clue what I’m talking about LOL) and give them a price. If they don’t like it I’m just like:



Post treating isn’t always needed, in most cases a driveway will look good as long as you go side to side and are using the correct tips on surface cleaner.

I’ll most definitely up charge for post treating concrete. “It’s going to brighten the concrete and slow down future growth. “

We get stuck in our way of thinking on marketing/packaging …look at what other industries in our every day life are doing, how they sell to you, and how they add value.

Oil change place charges 4 different prices for the quality of oil. In our heads, an oil change no matter the quality of oil should be the same price?

Drive thru fancy car wash gives you several different options with different pricing . In the end you had your “car washed” no matter what package or services you picked…yet the process and pricing varies


I have to post treat on everything but aggregate here. My surface cleaner always leaves stripes no matter what tips or speed I walk at.

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I just don’t see it that way. You do and that’s okay. In my mind, I’m offering my services and attaching my name and reputation to the results. For an extra $1.35 in chemical I’m just going to pre and post treat every time. Of course, I don’t go out lowballing and hoping to upsell other things. I quote what I have to get and it’s extremely hard to talk me down. I have made exceptions for the elderly and 1 or 2 other instances but if they can’t afford my services then I’m sure they can find someone cheaper.

I’ve sat through literally hundreds of hours of sales classes and seminars for other jobs and have dozens of certificates to show for it. I don’t look at it as selling my services because anyone can spray water and chemicals and do a decent job. I sell myself. People buy from people they like. Most folks like me and some don’t. I’m very malleable and can adjust my approach to fit just about every personality type and I know how to read people pretty well.

When price is a person’s only concern they are definitely not my type of customer. They will never care enough to build a relationship and will drop you like a hot wrench as soon as the next Craiglist Cowboy comes along and undercuts you.


I’m slowly realizing that.

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