Getting in the game

Some of you may know me as John K Wyatt on the other forums. Just wanted to stop in and say I will be ordering my first, non peashooter, pressure washer this week. Most likely from Trey at It is a cold water Honda 4gpm 2 3500 psi. 20" Hammerhead surface cleaner, 100’ hose. I will be marketing to my existing window cleaning clients, and eventually broadening my market. I would like to know what other equipment you would suggest. Residential will be my main focus. I have a limited budget, otherwise I would be purchasing a nicer unit and surface washer. I need to keep it around $1,500 total. Trey with has been very helpful so far. I just want to make sure I am getting everything I need to get started within my budget.

Welcome, John looks like a good start. I ran a 4gpm 4,000 psi for a couple years while I learned the business

Should be a webinar coming up next week. Intro into Pw. Watch for more details

Thanks, Alex.

Drop down on surface cleaner size to a 16"…20" is too large for a 4 gpm machine…or go up to a 5.5 gpm machine and you’ll be fine. Personally I’d start with a 5.5 gpm machine if its in your budget. And yes there is a difference in 1.5 gpm.


I just want to throw this out there as nothing more than friendly banter I guess. Why is everyone so insistent on a 20" surface cleaner being to big for a 4 gpm machine. I personally as a contractor have used a 20" surface cleaner with a 4gpm machine with no issues. I will admit that I was in the KEC industry and didn’t clean near as much concrete as most of you guys, but we cleaned some pretty nasty concrete with no problem and all this wash done with a 4gpm direct drive pressure washer. I am not saying anyone is wrong or right but I saw some discussion on facebook about it last night as well and just want to establish some idea where the opinion comes from. We have sold many 20" surface cleaners with 4 gpm machines without issues. I saw some one say 4:1 ratio I was just wondering where that number came from.

I am asking from a couple of perspectives, I have my experience as a contractor and a distributor as well as the contractor recommendations I read on the internet. Obviously, I want to steer John in the right direction as he enters the world of pressure washing as an addition to his business this season and I am confident in what we are offering. However, I do not want John or anyone else purchasing anything without having the same confidence so I figured maybe some discussion would help him in his decision making.

I look forward to hearing from you guys.

I’m with guy get a 16 inch cleaner…

ARC Powerwashing
Alex Curry

I used a 20" surface cleaner for 2 years with a 4gpm machine never had a problem. Was it slow yes a little bit but I’m sure it was still faster than using a 16" cleaner. The 20" was what Bob at Pressure Tek recommended for a 4 gpm machine recommended

I used a 20" surface cleaner for 2 years with a 4gpm machine never had a problem. Was it slow yes a little bit but I’m sure it was still faster than using a 16" cleaner. The 20" was what Bob at Pressure Tek recommended for a 4 gpm machine recommended

Get a WhisperWash Classic.

You won’t be stuck on 4gpm forever, but you’ll have that surface cleaner for a very long time.

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Wouldn’t say there are “issues”, but rather being more efficient and productive. We run 8 gpm machines, I could run 20" surface cleaners and they would fly, but I would be cleaning less “Area” so is this Productive & Efficient? No it’s not, we run 28’s and just got in a 36" surface cleaner because it’s a perfect match to our equipment.

I’m not saying running a 20" with a 4 gpm machine is wrong, I’m saying that’s it more productive to run a 16".

I would also recommend starting with a machine no lower than 5.5 gpm for the same reason…productivity. The more gpm you have the faster, more productive you are, which equals more money. Starting in this business you need every edge you can get. If you’re gonna start off with only 4 gpm I would look in craigslist or ebay for a used 4 gpm unit that is belt driven if your budget for equipment is only $1500. You’ll find quite a few of these machines with low hrs. and at good prices…then ask yourself why.

If you’re serious about getting into Pressure Washing (And Making Money At It) you’re limiting yourself severely by “capping” your budget for equipment at $1500.00 IMO.

You won’t clean a driveway any quicker with a 16 inch surfacer cleaner then a 20, and vice-versa. You will be able to walk faster with a 16 inch surface cleaner, and that’s good because you’ll have to take a few extra steps while cleaning that driveway. With a 20, you’ll need to walk a tad bit slower, but your surface cleaner will be covering a larger area of ground, so you won’t have to make as many steps.

Now it gets to a certain point where the size of the surface cleaner is just too large for the GPM of the machine. A 4 GPM machine just isn’t going to have the force to push a 30 inch surface cleaner. On the flip side, an 8 GPM machine is going to launch a 16 inch surface cleaner off into space - it’ll be difficult to keep it on the ground even with the proper sized tips.

Your speed is largely dictated by the gallons per minute of your machine. Your surface cleaner does not change the GPM output that much when the proper nozzles are used.

I suggest using a quality 20 inch surface cleaner like the Classic - one that’s going to last a while. That way when you upgrade to a 5.5 GPM machine you don’t have to upgrade surface cleaners too.

Guy, I’m capping my budget for equipment because that is what I will have. If you’re willing to raise that cap for me, I wouldn’t say no.

A few other things I would suggest you add to your list… A 200 foot hose. 100 feet just won’t be enough to do most houses without taking the pressure washer off the truck/trailer and rolling it around. That’s just crazy. Get enough hose where you can keep everything on the truck/trailer. I would suggest a continuous 200 foot section and another 100 foot section to keep on the truck. You’ll also need a good fiberglass telecopic pole, like a painters pole, with a nice truck wash brush on it. I use these kind of brushes and poles for when I need to do gutter brightening, or if there’s a rust spot on the top of the house near an AC drain (air conditioner, not Lockyer) or any other stubborn issue.

You’ll also want a ball valve, two pressure washing guns, one with a 30 inch wand and one with a 18 inch wand. A full set up nozzles including a set of SoftWash nozzles. A few o-rings would be good too.

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What is the ball valve for?

You place it at the end of your hose. It allows you to switch between your surface cleaner and wand without turning your machine off each time.

Quick connects?

Yeah, you’ll need quick connects on everything, that’s kind of a given. I’d suggest stainless steel and a swivel at the ball valve.

I meant no disrespect in my opinions or advice. I’ve seen the results of the road you’re about to travel and was only interjecting a bit of sound advice.

It is what it is, Good Luck!

No disrespect taken. I was just saying that’s all I have. If I could swing it, I would do more. I just can’t. And I will not go into debt doing so. I appreciate all your help.