Long post warning
I’ve been pressure washing for a couple years but decided to go all out this year and become officially licensed and insured and bla bla bla. Under the table money was good but not smart. So I guess you can say i officially started my buisness this year.
To answer all your specific questions, getting your DBA, logo, buisness license, insurance, LLC, the documents basically wasn’t the hard part for me, it was getting those first 5 star reviews, getting my image and name out there in my area, and building a customer database and a solid foundation of trust with my area. To do that it involved countless hours of handing out hundreds of flyers door to door. Many yard signs (look up city laws on yard signs near public roadways). I made a page on every social media platform, also Thumbtack, Yelp, and Google (thumbtack got me lots of first jobs) I started building those pages with likes, follows, posts ect. I posted daily on all of them. Still do! Lots of work.
I photoshopped a business card design and had them printed at Office Depot cus it’s cheaper than vistaprint (use Fiverr for your designs if you are incapable and starting out, cheap guys still do good work, my logo cost me $10). I handed these out to every customer I did work for, and gave them an extra one to give to a friend. I also made a review business card strictly for reviews with a QR code that they just scanned with their camera app that went to my review pages only for customers I did work for (so it’s easier to leave a review. Ease is everything for customers, it takes them effort to leave a review, make it easy).
Those first couple of customers that you get from all that basic advertising are so so important. So I priced low, over cleaned whatever they asked me to clean, cleaned something for free, basically kissed up to them and asked them to give me a review as I’m starting out and it means a lot. They did.
Then I started paying for Facebook ads, google ads, and I got a website. I decided to try and build my own, which after about 40 plus hours of actively working on it, and another 20 hours of YouTube videos, I created a pretty good one I think.
The reason I made one myself vs having someone else make it, is because I wanted complete control over my site. I didn’t want to have to call or email a guy every time I wanted a photo added or something changed. That is something I am thankful for although it was stressful, no worries, you can make a website without any coding involved.
I went with Wordpress. Got hosting through Bluehost, found the theme i wanted and took off!
My website is DJsPressureWashingServices.com
If you would like some ideas.
For reviews though, I highly suggest every review go to your google page. Everyone uses it to find work unless they just know you via word of mouth.
The daily frustrations I have currently is wanting to expand outside my truck. When you build up equipment, chemicals, and tools that you realize you need as you get more work, you just can’t carry it all! That’s why everyone gets a trailer of some sort. Also I want to be smart and only buy things for the business with money I earn from the business. I have the means to spend my personal money to buy a whole setup like the veterans out here, and I want to do that so badly, but that’s a way to get in debt if you fail at the buisness. Building slow is worth it. Trust me on that
Another thing, learn your chemicals for every stain out there. Read this forum ! Seriously go back to 2012 and read even, so much awesome knowledge it should be illegal! Also learn your mix ratios, don’t go spraying straight bleach on someone’s home and run. You damage things. The chems we use are powerful as can not only hurt you but your wallet if a customer comes after you for damaging their home.
What fears do I have ? That a customer is going to try a pull a fast one on me and say I damaged something I didn’t for free insurance money( that’s why you always take TONS of before and after pics), give me anything other than a 5 star review and write terribly about my business for customers to see, or I accidentally damage someone’s property myself. But this isn’t likely to happen as I have gained lots of safe practice knowledge from here, I’m very careful, and my customer service is very important to me as the customers money is my money once I’m done lol.
What keeps me up at night? Wondering if all the hard work I put into this buisness is going to pay off. I currently am air force full time so balancing both is difficult at times with scheduling jobs. I do plan to get out in 2 years, and I want this to be able to sustain my future family.
For me, the best types of jobs for residential are house washes as they are enjoyable, driveways and concrete come second because there isn’t much physical labor involved, It’s like vacuuming! If I did roofs, which I plan to soon, I’m sure that would be high ranking.
I’ll do it, but I’m not a fan of decks personally.
Things I wish I did?
I wish I would have gotten a belt driven instead of a direct drive. Many positives if belt drive. Water suction is the main one, helps if you plan to use a tank with ur washer so you don’t have to try to make your setup gravity fed ect ect ect. I wish I would have gotten a full size truck instead of midsized (bed room and towing weight capability). I can still tow a setup but I have to be careful with how much I plan to haul, especially water tanks. Water is heavy!
I wish I would have discovered a J rod / quad rod sooner then later. I used a pump up sprayer for applying solution and couldn’t do 2 stories. Then went to x jet which was great because I could do 2 stories but had to carry a bucket around and it was a pain. Then got connected to some pros and got a quad rod and started DSing. So wonderful. no bucket, can reach 3 stories, and can simply rotate my tip around so I can switch from soap to clean water on the fly.
Also I wish I tracked receipts, miles between jobs, and expenses. I highly suggest using quick books self employed to start and link it to your bank acccount. You will track all you need for your first tax return. Speaking of that, get a CPA.
Starting a buisness is hard. It requires a lot of time, patience, consistency, and a good amount of startup money for the legal side of things, equipment, chems, website building, and advertising costs. Not to mention some handyman tools and supplies like o-rings, towels, WD-40, ect.
My advice to you ? Just start. List out all that you need, make a goal every day to reach, work at it, and always always always keep marketing yourself to your area. You will never stop growing and always be improving.
My fingers hurt.