Need Help Please

Im a firefighter that wants to start a pressure cleaning business on my days off. I want this business to be full time as my schedule allows me to still put in 5 days a week of cleaning. I dont want to spend more than $15,000 to buy my start up equipment. I will be pulling the trailer with a 2013 Chevy Traverse (towing capacity 5200 lbs.) until i generate enough income to buy a truck. I will be starting off working by myself until i can grow enough to hire somebody else. I have been doing a lot of research and learning a lot from creeping around on here as well. My question is what kind of setup should i be looking for to run a professional and efficient business? I will be focusing on residential homes in south florida. My idea is a single axle trailer with a hot water 3000-3500 psi 4-8 gpm belt driven honda, 200-275 gallon water tank, 2-200’ hose reels, and a 20" surface cleaner. Also all of the hose, nozzle and tip accessories to go along with it. Am i missing anything? If I would be running two washers at the same time would a 3500 psi 8 gpm unit be efficient for residential homes? Sorry this is so long but i am a bit overwhelmed. I have been doing so much research and would just like some input from all of the professionals here. Thank you all for your time and consideration.


That’s too much money. Set aside $5,000.00 cash and start planning it out on paper slowly. Do not finance anything without putting at least fifty percent down, that way you should always be able to sell for payoff when it doesn’t work out.

Get a belt drive 5.6 gallon machine, cold. Buy it from a reputable supplier in whom you can trust. They will advise you on what you need. You need to invest more in marketing and business planning than equipment. Don’t be afraid to buy used if the deal is good enough. Forget about the two person machine. You will upgrade later.

Your are a trained professional. Breathe, take it all in. This is going to be a wild and fun ride. And hopefully you won’t lose your butt.

Thanks for stopping by,

Thanks for the feedback Tim. I just want to buy a setup that I can use for awhile before i need to upgrade. You don’t think the hot water is necessary? Failure isn’t an option. I plan on canvassing my desired demographic with mucho door hangers. I have the luxury of having a decent steady income to keep the marketing going. Thanks again for your help. I really appreciate you taking the time to steer me in the right direction.

You really don’t need heat until you cross into commercial cleaning. Also look into tandem axle trailers. I got mine for $1300 on Craigslist one month old. Would suck to get a truck, and still need to upgrade your trailer again. You can do a lot for $10’000

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Thanks Cdubbs. Definitely something to think about.

You won’t go wrong with that advice…at all.

I would only change one thing…8gpm cold machine. Everything else is spot on!!

Yea get the 8 gpm cold. You will never regret that.

You really don’t need hot water for residential cleaning and I think 8 gpm is a little big for cleaning vinyl. Also get yourself the roof cleaning tips from bob and use them to soft wash houses. If you need any advice just call me 803-229-2732. I’m a former state trooper in South Carolina.

I cannot understand why you would think an 8 would be to big for vinyl? An 8 vs a 5.5 softwashing houses of any substrate is a huge time saver. If you spend the money on a 5.5 you will be upset next year when you have to spend the same amount plus 2-300$ to get the 8.

I didn’t comment to start an argument. I’ve been using a 5.5 for a while and it works great on everything. If you want to make money just stick the basics and spend some money on marketing. U don’t have to buy the biggest machine to start with.

Thanks for all of the great advice guys. I went into ICES in Ft. Lauderdale and spoke to Dan Swede. He is setting me up with a trailer package w/ a Hydro-Tek hot water unit @ 3000 psi/5gpm with a 14hp Briggs and Stratton vanguard, belt drive. 200g water tank, 2 150’ pivoting stainless steel hose reels and 150’ of the non marking 6000 psi hp hose. Hour meter, down stream injector, 12v battery, low water kill switch, stainless steel burner housing and belt guards, trigger gun, chemical injector set of #5 nozzles. Mounted on a single axle 10 ’ steel frame trailer. Also, includes a 20" sidewinder surface cleaner. $9400.
I know you guys reccomended the cold water but this fit into my budget so i am happy.

So basically he’s charging you $9,400 for a used trailer that’s worth about $8000 brand new? you have gotten some really great advice from people on this forum. Why would you choose to ignore it? I wish I would have found these internet forums back when I was first starting out in this business. I wish I would have gotten the advice that you’re getting right now. I would probably be a lot better off right now.

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Everything is brand new.

Also just to clarify. I listened and absorbed all of the great advice here. I didn’t ignore it. I had to take into consideration going with a local vendor that also gave me great advice for my area and has a stellar reputation for standing by their products and service. I decided on hot water because i know that will allow me to clean faster and be much more effective on concrete and gum removal if i decide to take small commercial jobs in the future. I believe this set up will work well for me for awhile as a one man operation and i still have plenty of money for marketing. I certainly didn’t mean to offend anyone. All of the advice here helped me greatly. I know for a fact that i will be asking for much more of it in the near future so i dont want to rub anyone the wrong way! Lol.

Dan builds some awesome units and your going to love it. They are put together well. You could have possible got it a little cheaper by doing it your self but this way now u know everything is going to work together properly and with no problems. Now the second thing to do is become a PWRA member. You’ll thank me later for that one.

ARC Powerwashing

Thanks Alex. Yeah, I would rather spend a few extra bucks and one stop shop with someone who knows their stuff. I was very impressed with Dan. He spent 3 hours with me today covering a lot of ground. I know that i will be making some rookie mistakes but that is part of the adventure. I am going to join here as a member. Seems like a great deal, especially since I will need a lot of marketing resources. I really love this site.

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Tim’s advice is great. I would also recommend focusing some of that money on advertisement instead a bunch of brand new eqipment. I would hate to see all that equipment on Craigslist a year from now… If I had to start fresh the first things I would do is get with Cullen at Global Pressure Washing Network and have a Webpage on the first page of search engines in less than a month and then some direct mail or flyers.