Share your beginning

The first season of starting a new company is full of uncertainty, risk taking, and personal growth. I have seen a few stories here and there of how people began their pressure washing business. These are my favorite posts to read.

I would like for this to be a thread where owners can share how they started out the first 3-6 months of their company.

Some general topics to help get you started could be…
-Why you chose a PW Company
-The risks you took to get it started
-People you studied and looked up to when starting out
-The method(s) that got you your first 50 costumers
-How long it took before you started making more than a minimum wage salary with your own business

I am very eager to read and be inspired by your stories.

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Thats alot to type. :joy::joy::joy:

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Ok I’ll bite.

23 year veteran window cleaner in multiple states, got tired of people asking if I ‘do power washing’. Having worked with a guy years ago that did it, I knew some basics and did a couple jobs with a ‘homeowner grade’ machine.

90% of my PW business is simply asking if my WC customers would like to get their house washed too. A year later, I now have a GX630 and solid grasp of what it takes to clean residential, thanks to the guys on here.

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How long did it take to build your window cleaning business?

We had to start all over again when I moved to KY in 2009, so after a 3 year stint as a 1099, we struck out on our own and mainly went with Angie’s list to get the word out.

I’d say it took 3-4 years before we finally established ourselves as a solid player in the field. A couple major companies here ditched WC and switched to PW.

Did you work a second job all 3 of those years?

I got into PW because I still needed to make more money even though I was working full time 50-60 hours a week.
I had a great job, made over 100k a year, benefits, etc… but I worked a lot and with the new expenses that came upon on me at that point in my life, I was still behind the 8 ball financially.
I was an automotive service director that opened and managed 8 repair facilities in 8 different states. When the company that I worked for would buy a property, it was my job to get it furnished, staffed, etc… I noticed that all 8 buildings had a high expense when we had to have the buildings and flat work cleaned. I remember saying in 2011 that if I ever opened a business, it would be PW’ing.
Fast forward to 2017 when I was in a financial crisis, I ended up pawning a gun and buying my first unit. It was a cold water 4.5 gpm machine that I still have and use from time to time today.
My first risks were - not having experience and having to learn as I went. Not having enough money to buy the equipment in the first damn place. And putting an even heavier burden on my wife as I was working 80+ hours a week between my full time gig and washing. My wife is a stay at mother that takes great care of our children!
The first 50 customers I landed from Facebook( garage sale groups) and door knocking with business cards. Word of mouth made up for a lot of them though. Since I was learning, I’d try to clean something small for my clients at no charge, I chalked it up to more experience.
I didn’t start making real good money until about 8 months in. I put a lot of money back into the business and marketing. I’ve now been full time with my business since July of 2018.

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Im still in the beginning. Saving money. Making changes and plans. Researching and figuring out how things work in hopes that one day i can get off a drilling rig and still make a living. All i know is what ive read on here and tested to make sure it works. After a while you figure out who to listen to, what to look for, and what to disregard. My moniker should be “not a professional, just savage”

Edit: learned by watching other goof balls getting torn apart for not searching before asking stupid questions to not ask stupid questions. I cant recall who sent me the old search bar link with the search bar on the bottom of the page but that was greatly appreciated. Every time i see a word, a brand, or anything im unfamiliar with i searched it. Made worlds of a difference for me.

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Thats awesome, you did exactly what I am doing when it comes to 80 hour work weeks. I am doing college and working full time at Lowes. I have not been using facebook too much, so I will start using that. I’m glad its working out for you, I know with enough persistence it will work out for me as Well. I love reading posts like this.

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Do as much as you can with the least amount of equipment/expense. Do as much free marketing as you can. In between classes or on lunch, Make it a point to pass out 10 cards a day. Pack your lunch and eat in between stops. Use Facebook, Instagram, Nextdoor, LinkedIn to promote.
Stop into property management offices, private schools, restaurants, etc… it’ll work out, just stay hungry and persistent.

I think it’s most important to do a correct, thorough job and ask the customer to recommend to friends and neighbors. You can advertise all you want but I can’t remember how many times I had to re-clean some other company’s half-baked attempt.

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My start has more back story but I had a good size lawn care company. And one day I was at the firehouse complaining about how much a PIA as@ it was. And the old guy on the truck said Tony I’m getting ready to retire you come and work with me for 1 year for free and I will teach you everything you need to know. My first week was nothing but maintenance. My second week was mixing chemical and more maintenance and lots of watching. 3rd week I finally got to wash a detached garage. That day I got my first machine a honda cold water 2.7 2100psi And he made me use that thing all year. You learn a lot about fixing pw when you run a machine like that as much as I did. But I would not trade that knowledge or experience for anything

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I have a winter job/biz, well paid. Needed a summer job.
Bought a house early last year, poorly maintained. Pressure washed it by myself (terrible idea). Started to learn how to professionally wash houses.
Spent tons of hours reading and watching youtube. Started the biz in early 2019.
I am rich (I am sorry, but that’s the case :joy: ). Bought good equipment, Bandit 12v system, and a 5.5GPM, soon realized it was a bad idea, and then bought an 8GPM. A trailer, and brand new pickup and wrapped (never seen anyone starting like this =_=).
I surely looked professional, even though I had zero experience (solid theoretical knowledge, though :smile:
Got first 50 jobs from door knocking. When people saw my equipment, they thought I was a pro.
Three months later, started to invest in website building and Google Ads.
Biz now is going on the right track, I believe.
I have made about CAD 30k so far (gross 100K). I am very happy with this result, considering I invested a lot of money, and made a lot of mistakes and wasted a lot of money on equipment and marketing. I think I will have a very good year in 2020.
A lot of people on PWRA helped me a looooot.
@ExpertPowerWash replied about a million text msg; @Racer answered almost all of my questions; @OutsideCleaner taught me cedar cleaning step by step, and his videos actually helped me win two big jobs

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