How much to aim for per hour?


I have a window cleaning business I’ve been doing for over a year now and recently added power washing. My question is how much should I aim for per hour in power washing? In window cleaning I aim for $50-$75 per hour in storefront and commercial work. $100+ in residential.

I’m on the east coast in New Jersey if any of you are on the east side.

That’s not really a good way to start figuring. What I can wash in a hour may not be the same as one of my employees can, or what you can. Figure out what the going rate in your area is, charge a little lower and figure out how to be more effecient than they are so your profit margin is more is the easiest way to make money. But that’s just my take.


As William pointed out, it’s a very difficult thing to put a finger on.

But based on your current rates for window cleaning, I would say you should be $150+/hr if you have a halfway decent equipment setup. If you’re not at least hitting those rates after a few jobs and having reasonably adequate equipment, you might want to reconsider your pricing structure, as well as reach out for some hands on training to make sure you’re not wasting time on unnecessary steps.

I hit $250-$300+/hr (with some niche commercial jobs pulling upwards of $400-500/hr gross) in what sounds like a similar market to yours. But I’ve been doing this a few years now and have invested a lot of time and effort into efficiency.


Agree & disagree…I think $/hour is a useful tool, but it is different from man to man (we use a different rate for each crew), butit’s also not the way to price when you’re starting out, for all the reasons IBS listed above. Our hourly production #s are borne out of 6 years of experience in our market, over whichtime our oricing was fleshed out against our cost structure (& gained efficiencies) and checked from time to time against our competition. You’ll need to have a hande on all of those things to make it work.

Now, for informational purposes, we schedule based on about $150-175/man hour, but again that can swing in a much wider window depending on the man/crew. Know what % of your cost is labor, and multiply out what you’re paying per hour by that # to get another check # as well.


Ok good my first house wash and some extra minor work came pretty close to that.

I’ll aim for this for residential.

Commercial I think I’ll be at $100 cause around here they don’t pay that much I think from my wc experience


And this might sound dumb but power washing is usually done 1-2 times a year right? Not like in window cleaning where some customers want bi weekly or monthly service?

Residential is normally once a yearish and commercial varies on the industry they are in and what not restaraunts and greasy oily places will probably need it done more often than say a hotel or something.

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Power washing, maybe, because you’re not killing everything…if you’re softwashing it should never be needed again within a year (we offer a 12 month warranty against mildew, and it costs us very little). Most can go 2-3 years without needing it again (but many will still want you to wash it after the pollen in the spring…).

Commercial is an entirely different animal…


I’d also clarify that this is “per man”, but typically running 2 man crews. And that’s what we schedule against, so we’d expect that # to be beaten more often than not

We worked 3 days this week. I don’t usually keep up with hours/profit/etc but this is the total hours put in on the job and what it paid. We have bad storms today so I didn’t book any houses for today or tomorrow.


Just to clarify, if it takes 2 guys 4 hours to do you would be at around $1200?

I know it varies and sometimes you make more or less but is this what you mean

Yep, that’s our ballpark. We don’t price that way generally, but that’s the #s I use for scheduling durations. Pricing is based on footage and work items.

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My wife and I together make $100/hr window cleaning. By myself with minimal help I make about $150/hr PW or more. Not bragging, just what it comes out to be.

Of course this is not profit, just gross before insurance, gas, materials, equipment etc.


I would say $150/hour, but as said earlier it can be a tricky metric to work with.

Well, guess I am going to be the different one again.

I know you are looking at a ballpark for estimating, but think of the reverse of your question. The argument being made by some is that an apprentice should charge journeyman rates. I wouldn’t even think of charging @Infinity or @dcbrock rates for window cleaning, never having done it before, because I know that they would be more knowledgeable and efficient than me and could do it faster and cheaper. They could bid a job for 2 hours that might take me 3-4. If my rates are lower intially my bid is competitive, and as my efficiency improves so does my profit margin.

Your competition in PW world are the people who already do this, and the next 18 yo with a ryobi and a dream. IBS has said on here many times that the $99 dollar guy can make money doing this.

I am frugal, have no business debt or interest payments to recoup, I work in an area with little regulation, and I don’t have the overhead of employees. I can charge less and still make loot. Just one guys .02 and worth everything you paid for it.

I wish you well and hope you have a successful business.

Wait, so you charge less because you’re slower?.. Do you make that up in volume? :thinking:

Also, never short-change yourself on the “employee” front. Whether it’s you doing the work, or you hire an employee…someone needs to be paid to do the work. There’s very little difference IMO.


If you think you can ballpark jobs without experience and nail it, I guess we will have to disagree. I’m no guru, brian, sean, chad, and mark helped me a lot with PW info, through PM’s and phone calls.

It took me two seasons to get a rough idea of different things and how long it will take. It takes time to learn to PW commercial, industrial, and residential and you will be inefficient at first.

Employees = headaches. I’ve supervised and managed before, so I don’t want to relive that in my retirement. Besides, everyone of my friends that have a business complain about employees not showing up, slacking off, coming in late, stealing, etc etc. One of my brother’s employees just totaled one of his work vehicles, loaded with equipment and parts. Price that out.

To each his own

The point was, make sure you’re respecting your time, and calculating yourself as a paid employee. When you figure costs, you need to factor yourself in as paid labor.

Also, if they are 2x as fast as you, you definitely should not be doing jobs for say, half as much money…see above for how that isn’t fair to you and your time…


Ok, where did I say make half as much?

super x washer with 50 years of experience bids a job at $150 an hour and figures he has 2 hours into it - 300
Nick the new guy bids a job at $150 an hour, has no idea and bids it at 3-4 hours - bid is $450 to $600
Guess who isn’t working today? He can’t fall back on his reputation to justify his increased cost.

What I am saying is that nick the new guy should intially bid at let’s say $100 an hour, so if he figures it to be 3-4 hours his bid would be 300-400, which falls inline with super x washer. Once he gets a feel for it and a better assessment of sizes,sq ft, and problems, he can adjust his hourly rate. Then he can bid toe to toe with all the super washers.

He will make zero dollars an hour if he isn’t winning bids because his prices are too high due to inexperience.

I will go one step further to illustrate my point as a small time owner operator.
Super x washer washes a house in 2 hours at $150 an hour and makes $300 from the gig. He had two guys on the job. (4 man hours).
This old fat guy does the same gig in 3 hours, bid at $100 an hour and made $300. I have 3 man hours into the job.

Technically, I made more. I gets da mafs.

You boys settle down. It’s been proven time and time again with various studies and reports that earning between $75,000 and $150,000 a year is the ideal wage to live a happy life. That’s all you need to really shoot for. Anything more is either the cherry on top or it comes with too much headache. Focus on what’s important.


so he was doing another job then…2 x $300 :wink:

You’re not wrong, just sounded like you wanted to underbid based on inexperience. Five minutes into this, you are the pro on every property you set foot on, knowing many times over what the homeowner knows. Do what makes you happy, just saying don’t sell yourself short either. Don’t forget the $100 an hour has to cover fuel, chems, insurance, truck, equipment, etc. Labor is a minimal slice of the pie of what should go into a price. For instance, at $300 for a 3 hour job, by our numbers, $60-70 or that is labor. The rest is all those other things above. Granted we’re in growth mode, but that’s a pretty standard industry % published by multiple qualified folks in the business (and it jives with most service type businesses in general). Most guys lose sight of all those other costs they have in, and thus wind up out of business. Few (IBS) can be successful without knowing the full #s.