Starting Small

Hello all,
I am a 21 year old college student hoping to launch a part time pressure wash/soft washing company. I am asking for some advice as I would like to start with a relatively small initial investment. My plan is to start off doing flat surfaces and then try to incorporate a 12v soft wash system into the mix a little later down the road. Below are some questions I haven’t really been able to find a great answer on.

Would I be better off purchasing a 4gpm direct drive pressure washer with either a CAT or AR pump (~$1300) or a belt driven 4gpm with a lower quality pump (~$1800)?

Would either of these machines work well with a 20" surface cleaner like a MiTM or would I be better off with a smaller SC?

To start off, is there any success using SH downstream for flat surfaces or would I just not be able to get a hot enough mix for pre/post treating surfaces? I tried soft washing a roof with one of those foam cannons when I was younger and told myself I would never tackle such a thing without the proper equipement.

I have found out a lot about the various chemicals for treating rust, oil stains, etc. but how are these chemicals applied for someone with a chemical pump? Same way as SH or with something seperate like a pump sprayer?

I am also going to operate this business out of the bed of my truck for now and don’t know if I can even fit a soft wash and pressure setup in there. Since it is my daily driver all of this stuff would have to be moveable.

Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Never buy a direct drive pump

There is not much lower quality pump than an AR

You can’t run a 20 inch surface cleaner with 4gpm, get a 16 inch

If you are starting small, don’t worry about the other chems. Wash dirty houses and concrete

You can pre/post treat any concrete with a DS injector

I’ve made it since 1998 without a 12v pump with the exception of a few years when we did roofs. There a a lot more easy ways to make money than doing roofs.

Don’t skimp on equipment

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Ok so I’ll look for something belt driven. Is CAT pretty much the best in terms of pumps? I’m also under the impression that I can’t go much higher than 4gpm without a buffer tank.

In terms of cleaning a house, wouldn’t that be more of a chemical based process rather than pressure? and how do you clean irrigation stains and what not?

Thank you for the reply.

Cat and GP are a step above homeowner grade. Yes, chemicals do the cleaning, not pressure. I don’t offer cleaning on irrigation stains, rust, roofs, decks. Not worth the headache. Pump sprayer with muriatic will handle it though.

I’ll add one thing…

One of the best pieces of advice I got when starting out was to go ahead and get the better machine now, even if you have to put it on a credit card. You make that money back within 2-3 jobs and your efficiency will be magnitudes better than starting with a wimpy washer.

@Innocentbystander must be in a charitable mood tonight…the answer to all of your questions (in great detail) already exists in this forum. Use the search bar and read up on all of those topics you’re asking about and you’ll be way more prepared to get your plans together.


i knew this had been said about AR, i had to get this one tho as it was brand new and only $322+shp. rebranded Dayton, 8g35n.
I will personally give a report on it. And my backup big pump if leaky, needs new oil seals.

Thanks everyone for the replies. I found a 4gpm belt driven pressure washer near me and am gonna go with that one. I would love more GPM but I just can’t have a permanent rig or trailer at the moment to support it plus I still need to keep a budget.

Can I use the injector that comes with the machine or would another one give me a stronger ratio? I’m worried about the effectiveness of downstreaming because I won’t be starting off with 12.5% SH which means I will probably only be able to pull 1% SH with pool shock(10%).

I don’t know what injector comes with the machine. Most everyone uses General Pump injectors. They are sized to your machine, with exceptions being length of hose used. You would probably be fine with a 3-5gpm injector. One is none and two is not enough.


Get this injector and stick with the size smaller than your machine. Get the 2-3gpm injector for the 4 gpm machine. Also by 2 of everything especially chem injectors they fail quick.

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