I know I’m late to responding to your email AND this post, but better late than never… I hope.
Bad news. In Florida, you can swing a dead cat and hit 4 pressure washing companies, 3 time share sales slimers, at least one person who has been in the news for breaking the law in some incredibly popular way and went viral on facebook, and 46 retirees. Slimers, Florida Man, and Retirees aside.
You’re in a saturated market so marketing yourself as the college guy trying to make money part time I think may help you. And here’s where I’m going to throw “$99 guy” advice to all the older guys trying to build full time businesses out the door.
Good news. I think you’re in a good spot to make some money by getting really good and proficient at cleaning concrete and you may get some customers by virtue of them wanting to help a college entrepreneur.
With the 4 gpm machine at 4000 psi that’s about 2000 more psi than you really need to clean concrete and with a 5.5 gpm machine at 2500 psi you can run an 18" or 19" surface cleaner. GPM is your friend and 4000 psi is about 1000 more psi than I’ve had on all my machines EXCEPT for the 4 gpm/4k psi machine you’re thinking of. I can’t tell much difference in cleaning effectively from 4000 psi to 3000 psi, but I do know that when I went from 4 gpm to 5 gpm to 7 gpm I could clean faster.
The difference in cost is about $60.
And it’s a perfectly acceptable machine for someone trying to clean concrete part time. Use the 50’ hose that comes with it to do your first few jobs and save some money to buy a 100’ hose later. But use the $100 you save on marketing. Your machine is on wheels so plant it right in the middle of driveway in the grass if you have to for the first couple jobs.
I’d personally get an X-jet before I got a ball valve if cost was an issue so that you can pretreat driveways OR Get a $20 - 2 gallon pump up sprayer and redirect the other $80-120 to marketing. (Marketing is wayyyy more important than fancy equipment if you’re on a limited budget and I’ll argue that to the death.)
So where are we… that’s another $200 for marketing and you can STRETCH that $200 a long way. Here’s how I’d do it in an oversaturated market.
I’d pick a neighborhood, find the 3 dirtiest driveways, type up a nice flyer that says, "FREE DRIVEWAY CLEANING*…*The only catch is that you leave an honest review on Google!
$15 in fuel.
$15 in SH.
$2 in paper, print it at school. You’re already paying for it.
Reviews on google will help you start to climb the SEO ladder.
Go on FIVERR and get a $10 logo with no background, send it to someone else on Fiverr to build you a 3 page website for $150. The website’s probably going to cost $300 or more per year so if you plan on keeping it running or going full time into the business when you graduate just be prepared for that.
College Hunks Hauling Junk
College Pro Painting
They all specialize in marketing college aged people providing services and they’re dang good at it. Look at their marketing, follow your anti-plagiarism rules you’re hopefully learning, and copy what they’re doing without copying them if that makes sense.
As far as doorhangers, use the search bar here. There’s a lot of good info in it. Read it and then go here and scroll down to five arounds and door hangers.
Every driveway you do, do five arounds. Super easy and takes 10-15 minutes. You’ll know what they are by searching for them.
Here’s where I throw out the $99 guy advice and say charge $75/driveway if the going rate in FL is $100. If all you’re doing is driveways (and it probably should be) since insurance may not be feasible at the moment (?).
Be the cost leader and the best at doing driveways. If it takes an hour to do a driveway when you first get started $75/hour in college is still really good money.
When you inevitably get asked to wash a house or something else, I’d probably turn it down if I were you until you have insurance.
That’s what I’d do if I didn’t do this:
You’re not running out of local pressure washing contractors you can go and work for or intern for for a season and learn enough to do house washes AND driveways while you save enough money to buy your insurance for the year and start your business with enough experience to start making $100-120/hour.
Just my opinion and trying to put myself in your shoes. Hope that’s helpful.