Pricing Residential Jobs

Does anyone give price quotes over the phone for residential pressure washing without physically going to the property? If so, do you price based on square footage? If so, what do you typically charge per square foot or whatever increment you use?

.05 per vinyl panel, or .25 per cube of bricks, a bologna sandwich with the crust cut off, and a glass of chocolate milk seem to be the going rate.


This is one of those topics that has been discussed ad nauseum. Use the search at the top right of your screen. Scroll down to the community results. You might try “phone quotes” or something similar


You are about to get a lot of responses.

Some do, some don’t. Some ask for pictures to be sent to them. Some use Google Maps or Zillow to get an accurate sq ft of the property.

Are you so busy you don’t have time to physically go to each location to bid? If so, then figure out how to get accurate bids via phone.

Most commonly I see ranges of home sizes for a price. Example - under 1800 sq ft will be $189. 1800 sq ft to 2400 sq ft is $249 and so on. Those might or might no be actual prices - just an example of how a lot of guys choose to price.

Not sure many actually price per sq ft. I am sure someone does but can’t recall reading any thread where that was a shared method.

Currently my method is to physically view the home. Yes it take a few minutes out of the day but I am not dealing with cookie cutter homes with vinyl siding. Almost every home I get called on is brick, stone, hardi-siding, etc. By looking at it myself, I can see exactly what will I be dealing with and since it is a lot of stone work, I want to see how built up is the mold and algae to determine how long it is going to take to clean.

Ran into another washer recently who was cleaning a limestone home. It was 9 am and he planned on being done by 1 pm. I took one look at what he was doing knew he was going to be there all day.

Do what works for you. Try bidding over the phone and see how it goes. Worst case, you do a few houses that take longer and you don’t make as much per hour but you could also see that it is a huge time saver and frees you up some.

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I generally charge between .15 - .20 per square ft of the home. I pull up the home’s card on the county’s auditor site and add in the garage sq ft as well.

I do some homes sight unseen but let them know that it could change if there is something unexpected.

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Google earth is my best friend. I can see street views. If I can’t see it on google earth then I try google, if google doesn’t pop up with past listings of the house, then I have to go out and quote.


If there’s something you can’t see using Google maps try Bing maps birds eye view. I don’t know how to take measurements with Bing maps, I only use it for birds eye view when needed. You can look from all different angles of the house. I use Google for all measurements as well unless it’s out of view using both maps. Although I’m not half as busy as most guys on here, I couldn’t image having to do all my quotes without it.

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Yep. 90% of my residential quotes are over the phone using flat rates for SF ranges and service areas.


We have standard pricing for our house washes based on size of home (1-story, 2-story, or 3-story) and tweak the final price if it’s an extra large or small home. We use google earth and email over an estimate package after speaking with the customer on the phone. It has saved a ton of drive time.


I do almost all my estimates online. I’m back and forth sometimes between square footage, which I use to go by, and now x amount per linear foot per floor. Linear foot, for me, works best. Same price whether vinyl, brick, Hardie etc, unless there are heavy stains on brick. Between washing commercial at night and residential during the day, on top of staying booked 2-3 weeks out, ain’t no time for running all over creation wasting fuel for estimates. Had 8 or 9 calls yesterday from folks wanting estimates that I still haven’t even had a chance to start on. Figure out a system for estimating jobs without having to go in person early on, and you will be glad you did when the calls start rolling in daily. It makes it much less stressful when you’re not having to guess how much you think you should charge someone.


Same exact process, it works wonders.

You guys must have cookie cutter houses. Here in Louisville you can have three times the external size for the same square footage on an old house as one of the newer ones. No way I could give a price over the phone.

@dcbrock, Here in Central Ohio most of the homes I do are fairly cookie-cutter lol… If I pull it up on the Auditor’s site and it looks different or weird, I get excited.

@BigJake I’m intrigued by your linear ft method. I use linear for retention walls, fences, and things like that, but always used square ft for homes and flat work. I think I’ll play around with the math on linear perimeter of some previous jobs and see how that pans out. I used to do the total square foot of the exterior surfaces, but I was spending way too much time doing geometry for all of the surfaces, then I switched to interior square ft after that to simplify things. But the linear is interesting.

I finally sat down and nailed down a pricing structure one day after getting tired of guestimating with square footage. The problem with interior square footage is that unfinished basements are not included in any online reports, and the square footage can vary between redfin, Zillow, etc, and homeowners rarely know their actual square footage. My own home, for example, is listed on most sites as under 1,800 sq’ without including the 2 car garage, but it’s actually 3,600 sq’ because of a full basement, which is about 3/4 finished. Tax assessor just doesn’t know it yet lol! The back side is a walk-out basement, but the front looks like a ranch. The majority of homes that I wash are big 2 story houses with walk-outs in the back and decks off the main floor with a patio underneath. I always had a hard time of guessing how much square footage to charge for, because I used measure map to figure actual sqare footage of the house and garage. I figured out an equation for linear feet by looking at a few 2 story houses on slabs and doing the math to get a per linear foot per floor price that equalled what I would have charged for sqare footage. So far, charging by linear feet has been dead on consistent with what I want to make hourly, and I’ve washed about 50-60 houses in the past 2 months charging that way. I wanted a fixed pricing structure in place, so that I could eventually hire someone else to do my estimates/sales one day and not have them calling me on every other house asking how much to charge because of walk-outs, varying square footage reports, etc. Basically, I want pricing systems and structures in place so that I can eventually put down the wand and walk away from a desk as well. I’ll probably never actually stop washing completely, because I actually love doing it. 24 hour days would suck if I didn’t love it, but I will not be a slave to it. About 5 years from now, I want to be able to go wherever I want, whenever I want, and have systems in place so everything runs like a well-oiled machine while I’m gone.


Great response @BigJake, I’m with ya! I have a 13 year old daughter that works with me to earn money for camp (she does the flat-work) She can’t wait to turn 16, she wants to do all of our estimates so she can drive to the houses and take the before photos and write up the estimates. Linear ft would be so simple!

Cookie cutter houses are the best man… why do you think flat rates work? I don’t want old houses. If all I had to wash around here were old houses I would’ve gotten out of the business a longggg time ago. And the risk of burning one down is super high.

Here I can ask 5-7 questions on the phone, pull up the house on google, and send an estimate while they’re still on the phone. Driving all over town to do estimates when the effort is nearly identical for all <1800 SF, 1800-2400 SF, 2401-3500SF is for suckers. Anything over 3500 SF, I’ll go look at.

Mrs. Johanssen calls in.

  1. What’s the house sided with? vinyl, painted? (We don’t wash aluminum siding or stained cedar siding or anything else weird, ends the inquiry)
  2. Are you starting to some funky green and black stuff on the North side? (Yes. Hooray! No. Oh just general grime. Easy day.)
  3. What color is the house? (light colored, have you noticed it’s darker nearer the soffits? Yes… well that’s fallout and that costs more. Darker. Easy day.)
  4. Is street parking in front of the house available?
  5. Is there a fence?
  6. If there’s a deck, does it have stairs to access the deck?
  7. What’s the address? (google it)

Awesome. So the flat rate we use for everyone with a similar size house based on good access, the materials and effort required, is… and you should get a formal copy of that quote in about 30 seconds with a copy of our insurance certificate.

Shazaam. Done. 5 minutes or less.


That’s why SQ FT ranges work better. Everyone here has a basement, but about 20% are unfinished.

Yeah, it’s all over the place around here. It’s like the cookie cutter got thrown out and the baker went nuts lol! We have one neighborhood, that’s actually a conglomerate of several small subdivisions, with about 6-7k houses in it, and no two are exactly alike. All ranging from $350k to $700k, depending on how close they are to the golf course. That’s the area I’m currently trying to dominate, which has kind of happened on its own because of Nextdoor. A house, driveway and back patio usually runs about $850, give or take a $100. In and out in less than 5 hours. Almost every house in there is over 3,500 sq’. Many of them are in the 5k sq’ and above range.


So what do you charge per linear foot?