During this pandemic, many Americans have found themselves in dire conditions. We've lost our jobs, we've lost loved ones, and our mental health has overall been challenged. 2020 has been a year for the history books, but 2021 has yet to be written. In an effort to stimulate the economy, our Congress has seen fit to issue a $600 stimulus check to most tax-paying citizens. But what should you do with that $600? Should you grab that new big screen TV that you've had your eye on? Or maybe pay off a bill that's been stacking up. I'm a firm believer in investing in yourself and creating an opportunity where your money makes money. And while it may not be an ideal situation, you can start a small business with the funds provided through the stimulus check.
What Types of Jobs Can You Do
With the equipment that I'm going to recommend below, you will be able to do simple yet profitable jobs. The first and most important job that you want to prepare yourself to be able to complete is soft washing. Soft washing has high-profit margins and is rather simple to do. By labeling yourself to perform soft washing jobs, you will have the ability to safely and quickly clean a home exterior and do minor concrete pressure washing work. Your target will be single to two-story residential homes under 2000 square feet with no more than a two-car driveway and a small walkway. By targeting communities with these types of you will be maximizing your profit based on the equipment that you will have at your disposal.
How Should You Advertise
It could be hard to get started or even know how to get the phone to start ringing. The first and most important at work that you should tap into is your own. Once you purchased all of your equipment and you've practiced your skills, do a Facebook post offering to clean your friends' and families Homes at a reduced rate. This will allow you to gain experience and will put the necessary funds in the coffers in order for you to upgrade your equipment over time. Try to schedule no more than one home per day to start. You will need time to develop the proper techniques and experience. Don't try to rush to get to the next job. Take your time and do it right. Once you have completed a home, provide them with before and after pictures for them to post on their social media, Along with your phone number and a brief testimonial. More Market word-of-mouth advertising is still one of the best ways to start and grow a business. Put aside any move you earn. It's important not to spend money right away. You will need it in order to reach more customers and to invest in more equipment.
How Much Should You Charge
a lot of experienced pressure washing experts will advise against charging low rates. There is a strong stigma against the "$99 guy". While it is mainly true that a business will find it difficult to survive by charging only $99, per job there is nothing wrong with starting low and increasing your prices as you gain more experience and confidence. Markets toward the southeast are extremely saturated and very competitive. In these more aggressive markets, I would still aim to be around $199 for a single-story home under 2,000 square feet as an introductory offer. For two-story homes, I would add an additional $50. For up to two car driveways plus walkways, I would be around $149 or $100 when bundled with the home. Remember, save the concrete for the upsell. Without a powerful pressure washer and a surface cleaner, concrete can take time. By focusing your attention on the home exterior cleaning, you'll maximize profits and minimize your chances of burning out. If you are in less saturated markets that have higher living costs, I would add no less than $100 to all of my prices as a starting point. Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland, and Denver are examples of these markets. Remember, these should be presented as introductory rates. You eventually want to charge top-of-the-market rates, and parading your introductory rates as the norm can disrupt the local market.
What Should You Buy
We are recommending the Simpson Cleaning MSH3125 as your beginning unit. It has a 4.5/5 star review on Amazon with over 4800 rates at the time of writing this article. We like this unit because it has a Honda motor with a 2 Year Consumer Warranty. The unit weighs only 65 lbs, which makes it easy to move in and out of a vehicle as well as around a property. It comes with all the necessary spray nozzles, a wand, and a 25ft Simpson double-braided hose. This unit produces enough pressure to clean concrete, but it only allows 2.5 gallons of water to flow per minute. The limited flow means jobs will take a bit longer on the rising side. The first $2,000 you make should be used to upgrade this machine to a belt-driven 4 GPM machine, but for now, this will get the job done.
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Quick-connects save time, and time is money. You want most of the items on your set up to be able to connect and discount quickly. This way, you can unpack, pack, and move on to the next job quickly and efficiently. As your equipment expands, having a universal connection will ensure you can change between wands, replace the damaged hose, or many other scenarios. This kit comes will all the essential quick connects you need in order to complete your initial set up. Here is how each connection will be used:
- Male 3/8 Quick Connect with the M22 twist female connection will attach to the pressure washing gun. This will allow your gun to attach and detach from your hose quickly at the end of every project.
- The female 3/8 Quick Connect with the M22 twist female connection will attach to the pressure washer. This will allow you to disconnect your hose quickly after each project.
- The male and female quick connect with the M22 male thread will connect to either end of the hose that came with the pressure washer. This will give the hose that came with the pressure washer to work as an extension to any additional hoses you purchase. The more hose you have, the less you have to move your machine. Time equals money.
- The male quick connect with the male M22 garden hose connection will be attached to the water inlet on the pressure washer. While these are a bit convenient, I personally have had bad luck with these connections. I prefer to make a straight connection or one with Gorilla Hose Quick Connects, but these will work for now.
- The female coupler will be attached to the end of the garden hose.
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As I stated above, time is money, and keeping your pressure washer stationary saves a ton of time. Having a longer hose is important so you can navigate the entire home and not have to lug around a big machine. Now typically, I would recommend at least a 100' hose, but we are trying to do this on a budget, and tough times call for tight measures. This hose is 50' and can quickly connect to the 25' hose that comes with the machine after you purchase and install the quick connect kit. That gives you a total of 75' of hose length to get around the home. This hose is a single wire and provides scuff resistance. It's safe for the recommended pressure washer as it's rated as low as 2.5 GPM and can withstand up to 4000 PSI.
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A hose should be tough enough to withstand abuse but light enough to move around a property. Flexzilla definitely accomplishes this task. Their 50' hose will give you a good length to work around a property while remaining durable.
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This is going to be an essential piece in your initial set up. This chemical injector is inserted in between your pressure washer and hose and feeds into your batch of undiluted 12.5% sodium hypochlorite and surfactant (soap) mixture. When using the black tip or any other soap nozzle, this tool will siphon your chemical into your water hose line at around a 10:1 ratio. This is perfect for soft washing vinyl siding homes or applying a heavy-duty degreaser to driveways or fleets.
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When applying chemicals during a soft wash, the black soap nozzle can only go so far. This little piece can give you pressure wash the ability to apply your treatment to two-story homes from the ground.
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M MINGLE Turbo Nozzle for Pressure Washer, Rotating Nozzle and 5 Tips, 1/4 Inch Quick Connect, 3600 PSI, Orifice 2.5
The budget does not allow you to purchase a surface cleaner, so you should look at purchasing the next best thing. A turbo nozzle sprays a 0-degree water jet similar to the red tip. The difference is that there is a rotating barring that notates the jet stream to create a circle. This allows you to cut through tough dirt and grime quickly on hard surfaces like concrete and brick. Additionally, this comes with another set of tips as a back up to the ones that came with your pressure washer.
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Last but simply not least is a 5-gallon gas tank. You will need 5 gallons as the pressure washer in this budget can only hold a small amount of gas. You will need to carry a lot of gas with you on a job or if you are working all day. This way, you can work uninterrupted by frequent gas station trips.
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Other Items You'll Need
There are a few other items not included in this budget that you will have to scrape money together before you can begin. First, is at lead 5 gallons of 12.5% Sodium Hypochlorite or Pool Shock. You can find this at any local pool supply store, and prices range from $2-5 per gallon, depending on your area.
You will also need a surfactant or soap. Adding a surfactant to the sodium hypochlorite will allow the treatment to linger on the surface longer until you are ready to rinse it off. This gives you the best cleaning experience. For a surfactant, you can use Gain laundry detergent. This will set you back another $10-15.
Lastly, I would get a few flyers printed to hand out to customers. You can find FREE downloadable templates here. Printing typically costs about $0.10 per copy. If you print 100 and cut them in half, you can double your investment.
It is extremely tempting to spend your stimulus check on a new toy. But this is a golden opportunity for you to make some serious side money over the next year. You can easily make $400-$1000 extra every month with just weekend work and light advertising. 2021 is the year to invest in yourself and start building the quality of life you want.