Why hasn't it worked?

My question: why don’t pressure washing businesses scale? And perhaps they do and maybe I’ve just missed it, but the only real example I’ve seen is Fleetwash

Hey all. I’ve been lurking here for a while and have read a decent amount before and after having an account. I’m a wall street guy by trade, and heard about pressure washing as a business when my mother told me a guy quoted her $250 to clean her driveway and get this wanted to use her own water. She thought it was too so she bought a $250 electric special from home depot and asked me to do it. I assumed it would take 2-3 hours so I started about 7pm. 6 hours later (over the course of two days) I was dog tired and said next time ill just pay the $250 because this is better left to folks with the right equipment.

As I began to think about the business I realized that the two fundamental elements in my opinion are present in powerwashing - margin, there is enough money to be made and market, there is enough demand across various markets to drive continued growth.

I’m sure there are several large pressure washing businesses that perhaps ive never heard of, but there don’t seem to be many large regional players nor publicly listed companies. Even landscaping has managed to consolidate, with companies like brickman managing to generate nearly $1bn in revenue.

Sorry for the long question, but interested to hear your thoughts.

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yes scale as in rapidly increase in size and spread across multiple regions under the ownership of 1 company.

Too many headaches, it’s one thing to scale stock shares in an office and spit out a profit, little different with hands on types of businesses. Pressure washing has always been a niche market and always will be.

The infrastructure it would take to franchise a company is also pretty large. You would be losing money first year or two when establishing yourself and can never be sure if your new market can support more than just a 2 man crew or not


Interesting. I would say that landscaping has the same level of hands on requirements, but there are certainly regional landscaping companies. And fleetwash for example has managed to scale on the commercial side. I agree the resi is a different animal. You guys are the experts so not here to armchair quarterback but just making observations.

I would argue landscaping in general is more hands on than pressure washing thers more to it than just a zero turn mower, I would be lucky to issue more than 2 invoices per household per year. Landscaping work in certain regions and areas is every few weeks year round for a lot of areas so more workload to displace and expand from a scaling point of view.


Every professional washer that you hire will use your water either directly to their machine or to fill up their water tank. If you don’t want them to use your water and they have the ability to haul water on site, expect to pay wayyyyy more more than what it would have added to your water bill.

He/ she could have been done in less than an hour probably. Lessons learned.

Now she will store that electric washer in her garage and never use it again like most home owners


I chuckled a little at this.


From what little I know about pressure washing, since I am not a professional pressure washer yet, one BIG difference between pressure washing and landscaping is the pressure and chemicals used in pressure washing can very quickly cause thousands of dollars of damage in inexperienced hands - had your mom actually spend ~$500 on a “more capable” machine, you yourself would have likely damaged her concrete.

Pressure washing is “scaled” by some professionals - “scaled wall street size/speed” could backfire quickly.

Just my opinion…

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And a quick note: if you have read some on here before and after you joined you would know that everyone uses the customer’s water.
Also, it is not a complex calculation to see how much water is necessary to clean a ~1000sqft(?) driveway with a Xgpm/min machine in 45-60mins(?) - maybe $5-$10 worth of water?

My opinion only, but pressure washing SHOULD scale in the South…There’s really no reason for an ambitious owner/operator not to be able to grow if he/she is based in warm areas. I certainly don’t know if that growth would ever equal a company that becomes regional, but there’s growth opportunities…

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Oh after reading this forum, doing a bit of math on fuel economy and municipal water rates i completely understand why it makes senae to use the customer water. And yes that electric washer will never see the light of day again


in hindsight I chuckled as well. When my mom told me he wanted to use her water, I was like “the audacity”. But it fully males sense. I think the issue is that with any service, some customers need to be explained the value of the service and the components of certain costs. After looking up the municipal water rates I realized we were complaining over 2-3 dollars max.


One reason is the low cost barrier to entry. If you look at service business franchises they require a pretty significant financial risk.
Window Gang = $81K - $118K start up costs
Pool Scouts (pool cleaning) = $72K - $121K start up costs
Lawn Doctor = $100K - $125K start up costs
Just peruse the forum for a while and you’ll see guys wanting to start their PW business for $1,200 or similarly ridiculous numbers.


I had no idea Window Gang is a franchise.:flushed:

Yeah, they are are. There’s another franchise called Shine Window Care and Holiday Lighting. They do windows, pressure washing and holiday lighting. To get a franchise you have to have a net worth of 250K, you have to invest between 125 - 180K in start up costs and have 75K cash in the bank. Probably why they have less than 40 franchisees. :thinking:

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Idk, IBS runs a multi state operation focused in one area of business. With the right training and systems in place I don’t see why it couldn’t be done, though I doubt to 1 billion, maybe more like 50-100 million. If someone started and ran multiple field offices with fairly independent managers at each location, basically a turn key set up, I think it could work.

Yep, they started in Morehead City. NC. The Raleigh franchise used to be a big operation but it has kinda died away now.

Perfect power wash up in Ohio is spreading across state lines, and is a fairly huge operation. Wise Guys in Atl and now Peach State are fairly big businesses as well. They’re definitely out there, but you won’t typically find them on forums and FB groups. Too busy growing.