Well I’ve had a few good months but it’s been a year and a half and I still haven’t broken a 5 figure month yet. Had a pretty discouraging weekend where I basically lost hundreds of dollars and I’m considering moving on to something else. Just want to get a feeler to see if anyone is interested in my equipment.
Single Axle Trailer
Hyrdrotek 8gpm 3500 psi Hot Water skid
2 20" surface cleaners
Fat Boy Bandit system from Pressuretek
Water tank, 300 ft garden hose, 200 ft pressure hose, all sorts of wands and turbo nozzles, buckets
You have to do what’s best for you for sure. If you are doing near $10k on a regular basis that seems decent but how many weeks a year you are running among other things factor in. Most small businesses are 70%+ marketing/customer service. In any case best wishes.
I’ll put a pic up tomorrow. Idk I’ve had two months where I’ve grossed about $9k but every other month is about $4k. I have about 30 fleet units I wash every weekend but I haven’t grown that number in 6 months. I guess I expected I’d around a consistent $10k or so by now. I had a potential new fleet client I washed for today but they were only willing to pay $45 for their backhoe tractors that we’re absolutely filthy and I’d need at least $100 to be profitable and it’s just discouraging.
I think a lot of guys would agree with me: there’s easier money to be made in residential.
I started in business doing just window cleaning. It took me several years before I had a $10k month. There’s a lot of solo operators in that purportedly high-paying profession who don’t hit 5 figures on most months.
The ease of income in power washing is hard to beat. I wouldn’t give up on it just yet. Maybe try branching into housewashing for awhile and see what happens?
Sometimes it would be nice to vote on the best response and have it moved to under the original post. Aside from comment likes. Like a best answer vote. Good call on the difference between fleet and residential.
More importantly, what is your personal income? It doesn’t matter if you gross $50,000 a month if your expenses are $49,000 a month. Likewise, if you gross $90,000 a year and your expenses are $30,000 then you have a $60,000 income. I recommend a book called “Simple Numbers” to help you wrap your mind around what you should be seeing income wise at this point in your business.
Oh man, when we first got started with Angie’s List in 2010, we had so many ‘loss leader’ coupons it nearly broke my sanity. $89/20 windows, and AL got about 25% of that. Word got out about our quality and we got some serious calls a couple years in.
I’d hang in there, take those cheaper jobs. Your equipment is paid for, it’s negligible equipment cost now and mostly labor. It helps to diversify too, try some unconventional jobs nobody else wants to do.
BTW take that backhoe job! Good Lord, work is work. It may lead to their building or concrete getting done, or even referrals. I did a $30 screen repair once, so impressed I’d come out just for that se had me do a $600 screen porch and wash her filthy deck. $1200 total!
Boom. “It’s not about how much you make, but how much you keep.”
@pressureguy, Steve’s example of $90k gross/ $60k take-home is quite realistic for a solo operator. Depending on your hustle and your market, it could take you 1 year, or it could take you 10 years to get to that point.
I’m more in favor of organic growth and focusing on overall profitability from the start, as opposed to cramming your schedule from the get-go. But it’s tough when you’ve got bills to pay. My advice would be to simplify as much as possible, live on a shoestring budget for the next year or two, and build up you business gradually with high quality, high paying work.
I guess my thoughts were always that sure, money can made easier and quicker in residential, but it seemed like fleet would be the easiest to teach, automate, and be able to take a step back from while a couple guys handle the labor. OTR trucks and trailers are pretty much going to all be the same as far as process goes, but in my experience every housewash is different or poses some unique problem and I don’t see how I could trust myself to take a step back from it. But maybe I’ve been looking at it the wrong way. The last 5 months or so I haven’t done any residential marketing. I’ve just been tracking down every trucking company I can find hoping to get their business to not much avail. Maybe I’ll switch lanes next year and see if I can get the ball rolling on residential work.
Yeah work is work, but when it takes me close to an hour to wash a backhoe for $45 and my operating expenses are close to $20/hour it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to commit to that on a long term basis. By contrast at my other fleet account with just OTR trucks I clear $100/hr NET regularly.
I started off doing fleets. Nights. Weekends. Rain. Snow. Heat. Lucky to clear $85 an hour. Every house is different, but only in as much as road tractors are different than buses or backhoes. You don’t get dirty or wet washing houses and they pay a lot more.