Mistakes and Lesson Learned

Hey guys, So we have new guys showing up here from time to time. Thought maybe it would be nice if we listed some “Noob” mistakes that we made along the way to share with each other. Not to focus on the negative but for “research purposes” :wink:

Here’s some of mine:

I didn’t know about technique when pressure washing decks so I butchered my first one and left all kinds of lines.

I once applied too much pressure to a piece of siding a shredded it.

I used to pressure wash houses which took 5 or 6 hrs per house. I had no clue that soft wash options existed. That changed everything for me as I was loosing money by wasting so much time. Plus I was not actually killing algae or mold spores with a solution to prevent a comeback in near future.

I once sprayed down a guy’s brand new Z car with over spray cuz it was pretty windy. He was not very happy but he did get a free car wash…lol. Seriously, watch your over spray!

I once nearly ruined a white front porch from sliding my black hoses up and down it leaving black streaks. Thankfully a little Goo Gone got it all off but I was sure I was in for it.


Great topic!

My first “professional” year

I would add if renting equipment make sure that your fittings will work. I recently rented a telescoping wand and went to plug it in to my hose and realized I was staring at two female 3/8 QR fittings. Cost me an hour +

  • If you downstream SH. Run some water afterwords!
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Not checking prior to house wash for oxidation… Normally I check and let them know what may happen this one I didn’t and had to jump through hoops to get it all removed.


As a noob who has read a lot of negative feed back this is greatly appreciated and I’m sure quite useful for many of us. Cheers!


I totally forgot to add that too. Happened to me as well.

Using a 5 gpm machine what a waist of time and money never again,

whats wrong with a 5gpm machine? I have an 8gpm and its a beast!

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a 5 gpm does not make you as much money as 8-10 gpm I am in business to make money

Not having an extra ball valve or two. These valves are honestly a must if you consider yourself a professional cleaner

I officially do not declare myself a professional :smile:

Hahaha. How do you go about without one innocent bystander? I’m sure you can obviously. Let’s say you can still be a professional without one, for the better words, lol.I remember that day at the jobsite, in the process of switching from my SC to the wand, I noticed my ball valve was leaking(when valve in the closed position). I was at least 150 away from my trailer when the leaking turned into a full blast stream. I then noticed the two cheap plastic seats from the ball valve were at least 20 feet away from were I was standing. Obviously the ball valve I had at the time was underrated for the pressure my machine was displacing. From there I carry at least a set for the “just in case”.We find it useful for rinsing large surface areas with little to no issues.

My trigger gun quick connects to my wands and surface cleaner. No need to drag a ball valve around.

I really don’t have large surfaces to rinse. Breezeway concrete is about the extent of my flatwork unless they want sidewalks done. I try to talk them out of those.

I somewhat assumed your line of work didn’t include too much flat work(concrete). We often find ourselves fighting the heat here in Texas. It’s always the case in which the cleaning portion always takes less time rinsing itself. May need to add a second unit to our rig and maybe just maybe we can be one step ahead of the sun. I’m getting off topic here… be safe.

This happened to me the first time I rented a hot water machine. Drove 20 minutes to Northern, bought the wrong fittings, they failed again. You should see the bucket of spare fittings I carry. Haha it has 2-3 (or more) of every fitting you can probably imagine!

In my area sidewalks are owned by the city or the HOA. I can’t touch those anyway without a permit. Or so I’m told. Ha!

Not paying close enough attention to the electrical connection to the meter on the house. I got lucky that it was raining before we washed there though and sparks flew off the house. I about poo’ed my underroos and thought the house was going to burn down. The homeowner said the lights had been flickering for the last couple rains. I just wish I had seen it before and could’ve let them know before we got there. Not to mention my guy that was soaping the house with SH, a conductor, could’ve died.

Artillery fungus. If you don’t set the expectation before you wash that the stuff just won’t come off it will be on the one house, with the one homeowner that expects it ALL to be off.

Trying to do a big project that was over my head until the owner basically told me to go home and handed me a check to just give it up. I got really lucky. Now I sub contract everything I’m not equipped for or need more than 2 people for to the largest company in the area.

Taking on a job for $450 that was really a $600 job even though the couple who hired me creeped me out and I spent the entire time thinking I was either going to get stiffed or murdered in a creepy s*x dungeon. Now if I don’t feel right about a project I just politely pass or bid it so high that it’s worth the emotional agony.

Cleaning just about everything you can imagine on a house that was on the market for sale with the owner and I agreeing that I would get paid after the sale. I thought it’s a sellers market and this person seems trustworthy. Got stiffed. Couldn’t put a mechanics’ lien on the new owners. Now if it’s a house that’s for sale I request payment upfront or I don’t do it. This one still hurts because if I’m being honest with myself I could see it coming a mile away.

Keep emergency paper (toilet paper) with you at all times.

I could keep going…


Thanks for sharing your experience and knowledge!