Who Works by Themselves?

Would like to hear from the one man/woman operations out there. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Just curious if there are a lot of people out there who work by themselves and how much work can you get done in a day. Residential. Thanks for your time and consideration.


I work by myself. I can usually get 3 or 4 house washes done in a day if I have a lot of work to do. I can only do one or two roof cleanings though. Roof cleaning is very time consuming without a ground guy.

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Thanks for the quick response Josh.

House washes ok with 1 person. We always have 2 people on roof cleanings for safety reasons. Have heard to many stories of people falling off roofs with no one there to help.

Sometimes I do when I split crews. Other times like today we work together. Next year I’m seriously thinking of working alone on higher profit jobs and sending someone else to do the storefront WC routes.

I was washing a house the other day by myself, I had to get on the porch roof to wash some really nasties dormers, well my hose knocked off the ladder and I was stuck on the roof LOL its nice if you can have a two man team but not neccesary

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I wash by myself all the time. Only bring help for cleaning cisterns. Next time you knock the ladder down, like I did, just double your hose up and make a loop so you can snag the end of the ladder and pull it up. Worked for me.

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I work by myself about 75%+ of the time. My son helps me on big jobs and when I get in a pinch on time. It depends on the job, but if you have a smoothly-oiled routine & everyone has enough to do, it seems that 2 guys together can put out 2.5x more work than either could alone. Even for little stuff like turning downstream on/off, having equipment unloaded & ready for next stage, etc. an extra set of hands and legs really speed things up. Any one else observe this?

No. A one man crew is most efficient when he is on piece rate. Put him on hourly and the task will expand to fill the time allotted. This is not a casual observation, this is sounded out by running crews for twenty five years. I have had many fine master carpenters that just had to have an assistant and I provided each one with glee because happy employee meant happy customer. Happy customer meant Tim gets paid. Really happy customer means Tim gets paid really well.

I am no longer a building contractor but I do stay in close contact with several of my guys. Two of them are back in business for themselves and they both operate solo because it just isn’t justified to pay someone all of the time. That’s fine, we all do what we must to get through the day.

We washed some buses this weekend. Fifty plus units on Sunday. Average 1.5 minutes each. That is 90 seconds. Last year, we had it down to 57 seconds but I put together a different crew this year. Both of the weekenders that I hired were working men, employed, that know how to produce. They both commented on how fast Zach is. Zach is a partner in Complete Power Wash. He works, he gets paid. He works harder and more efficiently, he gets paid more. He generates on average, $250.00 per every hour he works. He is disappointed when it falls below $200.00. That is revenue to the company, not his paycheck. We used to work together. I have done maybe two jobs by myself since we started full time five years ago. I’ll do it, but I’d rather be around people than talking to myself all of the time.

Last year, Zach fired me. Off the truck any way. He told me to go back in the office and talk on the telephone and sell jobs because I was a better salesman than pressure washer. He’d rather take a beating than sell something. We were a pretty good team when we were together. but only because he is exceptional. Working alone isn’t for everybody. He is capable, motivated, and careful. I’ve wanted to put a man on with him to help carry the load but he’d have to pay half of the mans wages out of his own pocket so he says that it is not time yet.

We do have two people on the job for commercial concrete and roofs. That is a safety thing.

If we were able to wrangle two and a half times production with two men on the truck, we’d be at $5,000.00 per day. We’ve had some good days but I don’t believe that I agree with the 2.5 multiplier being sustainable.

Buzz killer tim.

My boys use to help me but not anymore but I am kind of lucky in one aspect as my wife helps me she has always been a stay at home mom raising three boys plus me haha
Now that my boys are older and pretty much grown they all have full time jobs they are 19,19,and 16 other than 16 year old but he is full time student and works So she helps me all the time. Which is good. For instance driving to job I have someone to talk to
She may not run the wand but she helps me by spotting. sometimes it is hard to see and if I miss something she points it out. Plus moving things around like lines and plants whatever. Best thing is I don’t pay her anything. My money is our money so we work together as two but share the pay as one. If I had to pay someone it would not be worth it for me. Right now anyway but we are still growing

Plus it does not hurt that she is beautiful.
People tell me all the time how cool it is that we work together but I know sometimes she is glad when I go back to work at my Job so she can take a break 10 and 12 hour days sometimes put a woopin on her. But she is tough
I would hate to do it by myself

I work solo. House washes are no problem done alone. I hire a friend when I have a roof to clean or a deck to stain. To me the best part of working solo is my equipment gets the love it needs ( no abuse ). There is no down side to me. Sometimes it can get hectic & may have to turn down a job or too but what are ya gonna do?

John Devine. allwashedupny.com

Turning down a job or two should be the goal of every business. There is such a difference between being busy and being profitable. Sometimes with the right mix of incoming calls, you can pick and chose the ones that fit your needs the best. It can take awhile to get there but it is a good place to be.

Just the opposite here, I work alone I can produce about 5 house’s, when I bring in my helper who is way faster then me a Im 47 he is 30, we do not prodce even double the work we may only get 8 houses finished, so we are less productive actually no way 2.5. more like 1.6

However their are other thing I consider like the safety of having two guys togeather is great, the cost of only having to have one rig (two of everything on it) verses two rigs. And its just nice to have two guys working togeather

The other side of this I wonder in my model their is constant set up and brakedown doing houses. The production probaly goes up doing aprtments whear the set up and brake down is not going on every hour,

I agree with Dave. We do run two guys on multi family. Soap with 8, rinse with 10.

Great stuff guys. Thanks for sharing. All of the experience on this site is invaluable. :+1:

I think it’s important to work for yourself initially to completely understand the cleaning process. Then I would suggest moving away from the wand and focusing on programs to effectively run your small business with employees. Otherwise you might be stuck behind the wand for a long time. Some people like that better, and not knocking them. But I try not to do any work myself because it frees up my time so I can think of ways to make more money.

I do it solo, it stinks bad but every person I’ve hired to help has been more work than if I would never have hired. I am an inpatient perfectionist though which is my problem.
I can do up to four descent size house washes a day, on the few I’ve had a helper, it saves enough time to get a fifth, but I have never done more than four.

Andrew J. Theis
Integrated Power Washing
Warner Robins, GA

Several people in this thread agree with you Ty. I certainly do.

The question was, or maybe becomes, who works by themselves? So, do you have a helper when you wash? I know that you run many crews. One man per truck or two?

I have decided to work for my friends pressure washing biz for a year. He is going to teach me the business and then because he will be retiring to Montana in a year, i will either buy his business or start my own. I wont be making as much money as i could be working overtime or details on the fire department, but i will gain experience and really get to see if i enjoy the business before making a good sized investment. Whaddya guys think, good idea?

I think its a great idea you will learn the buiness from the ground up, when I was comming up in the painting trade thats how it was done.