How to make the transition from Chuck in a Truck to a Professional?

I’m starting a soft wash company with a friend of mine, we’ve talked about it for years. In the past we’ve always done friends and family homes without charging much(if any), it is something we really enjoy doing. I’ve been working in I.T for the last 15 years, and honestly have hated the last 10 years of it. My wife is behind me going all in on this, she sees the burnout.

I know what experienced guys with professional equipment charge in my area, and I know what someone who doesn’t do the job right charges… Starting out we don’t have the best equipment (Batch Northerntool System, and residential pressure washer), but we will make sure the final result is done in a professional manner and looks great. The goal is to measure the effectiveness of an ad campaign and then buy a dedicated truck and put together a complete softwash/pressure washer build so we can do larger jobs effectively. Truthfully, I think we’re going to be doing soft washing and gutter cleaning only at the start because we don’t have the pressure washing equipment to make surface cleaning something I’d be willing to bill someone for at this point.

I’m thinking the best approach for us is to be honest with new customers and explain that we are just starting out as a new company but we do have some experience and won’t take work that is above our skillset. Charging what we consider a fair price and then ask for a review of our business on either facebook or google. I really do enjoy the work, it’s polar opposite from sitting on my ■■■ doing ‘work’ that means nothing.

So the question (and the reason for this post) is does this seem like a reasonable approach to getting into the business? I don’t want to take advantage of any homeowners, but I do want to make this a business that is both profitable and enjoyable.

What part of the world are you located?

If you want to look professional I’d recommend to get some nice polos with your logo. Also you can get a good belt driven 4gpm for $1500 and be able to downstream as well as clean concrete. I’m not sure I’d start a pressure washing business without a pressure washer.

It takes money to make money. If you know this is what you really want to do, find the capital to do it right.

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Yea, this is the plan. Honestly once I figure out the ad effectiveness the equipment is going to follow immediately after. We’re located in the mid-west.

100% agree with Infinity here.

I agree as well, the financial situation I’m in just requires a little bit of proof that I know how to find work. I lost my job a couple months ago for not complying with my previous employers vaccine policy, I’m done making money for other people. I’d rather make half as much money and be happy with what I do on a daily basis.

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From a business standpoint, I have to say that I think this is a terrible idea. You want to sell yourself/your experience, not minimize it. New company or not i not the point. If you know what you’re doing, then you know what you are doing. If you aren’t confident in that, then keep “practicing” on friends’ houses. It sounds like you have plenty of experience to get started, so don’t sell yourself short.

Pricing-wise, you can set it up however you want to, but know that it always goes with supply & demand in the end. You really want to be in line with your service level and the local pricing. If you aren’t, you won’t be able to forge partnerships with other local companies to cross-refer business, etc., which will be beneficial to you, especially if/until you build up your services to a “full” slate of offerings (surface cleaning, roofs, etc.).

Think now about how you want to scale your business, since your title says you want to plan on expanding. How you brand your company, position your company, etc. will largely dictate your ability to do those things. Equipment, vehicle, branding (on equipment/website/cards/etc.) will be a huge component of your ability to meet those goals. Think it all through, and make your plans accordingly.

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That was essentially what I was going to say…doing it full-time does not mean not Chuck-in-a-truck. Turning it into a professional outfit is when that change occurs.

I really appreciate the feedback from everyone, all of this really makes a lot of sense. Thank you.

No need for negative marketing. Just read, learn, get insurance, tuck your shirt in, and wash some houses. If you treat people right, it’ll all fall into place.

This is the key

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Yep, looking the part is something I’m familiar with.

Self employment is weird, work really doesn’t stop after you come home for the day. For every hour washing you’ll spend three doing research. You’ll have to get used to the ‘boss’ being your customers and doing everything possible to make them happy with the work…within reason.

Per hour pressure washing alone can easily make $150/hr for a solo operator, even within the first couple years. Again that doesn’t include time building, adjusting, researching, filing paperwork etc.