How to Price Pressure Washing Competitively and Fairly

Scott Dylan Westerlund
Updated August 30, 2021
A worker cleaning the exterior of a house with a pressure washer
vitranc/E+ via Getty Images

The average pricing for pressure washing services is $190 to $400

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Pressure washing pricing comes down to many factors. As a business owner, you’ll have to consider the cost of overhead, taxes, pressure washer equipment, labor, and how much the competition is charging. You’ll also need to decide whether to charge per hour, project, square footage, or flat fee. Here, we cover everything you need to know for competitive and fair pressure washing pricing.

How Much to Charge for Pressure Washing Services

Contractors need to be strategic about pricing. This means you’ll need to choose a rate for your pressure washing services that allows you to account for overhead and still make a profit. Your formula will come down to how much you need to earn from each job to cover both project costs and your company's operating budget.

You have several different pressure washing pricing models to consider. It helps to know how much other pressure washing contractors are charging for jobs. The average cost is between $190 and $400 for exterior pressure washing.

You need to know the following things before you can set your pressure washer rates:

  • Your hourly rate to be profitable

  • How many jobs you need to book at the hourly rate

  • How much square footage you can wash per hour

Keep in mind that knowing your "hourly rate" doesn't mean you have to charge hourly. It just means that you need to make that much per hour when you break down any pricing model.

Per Hour

Many contractors choose to charge per hour because it's neat and clean. Some customers prefer this because they feel it's a straightforward option that delivers a transparent billing policy. 

Consider the following when giving an hourly quote to a prospective power washing customer:

  • The complexity of the surface

  • How dirty the surface looks

  • Presence of mold/staining

  • Surface size

The obvious perk to going hourly is that you're compensated for each hour of work. If you're using crew members, you can pay them a chunk from each hourly payment you get without worrying about cutting into your project profits if the project takes longer. The con to hourly power washing fees is that customers can get antsy if they feel that you're "taking too long."

Pros tend to charge between $25 and $100 hourly. Most jobs take between 30 minutes and 120 minutes (2 hours). This is where you have to excel at "eyeballing" homes to know how much time to block off.

If you charge $50 per hour, a job that takes 120 minutes will cost $100. This assumes that $50 is the number you've determined for profitability when factoring in your operational costs.

If the job ends up taking 180 minutes, you'll be compensated for the extra $50 that you'll charge. While standard, there's the potential that a client may feel you've overcharged. The solution is to clarify that time estimates are just estimates.

Per Project

Charging per project entails presenting a client with a rate based on the size and scope of a project. Many clients like this because it simplifies budgeting. Your estimate can break down all of the individual steps that go into the cost of power washing.

You'll need a laser-sharp understanding of how much time and effort each project takes to be profitable on a per-project basis. Carrying over that $50 earned per hour that you needed from the per-hour example, let's assume you charge a flat rate of $100 for a job that you've estimated will take you 120 minutes to complete.

Let's assume again that the job ends up taking 180 minutes instead. You've just lost $50 by going with a project-based rate.

This can also work the other way. A job that takes you half the time that you expected could make some projects profitable beyond your needed baseline. You won't owe the client the extra time because you've charged based on the task instead of the time.

Square Footage

You can charge by size once you know how long it takes you to pressure wash a square foot. The advantage is that you give quick estimates. Customers also like a basic pricing model that seems fair.

The downside to charging by square foot is that some surfaces may be more complicated than others. This is something that cannot be reflected in square footage. It's possible that a very dirty house that's 1,000 square feet could take longer than a well-maintained home that's 3,000 square feet.

Flat Fee

Charging a flat fee means one price for any job. Here's why it works:

  • It's a great promotional tool

  • Customers love an easy flat rate

  • There’s no need to spend time/pay employees for estimates

Do you want to be the business that everyone knows for charging $99 for power washing? It can make you very easy to remember. You have to be willing to win some, lose some, and sometimes break even when you choose a flat rate. This option works best for companies that do a high volume of business.

While you're essentially betting on averages, the fringes are where you'll gain and lose. Volume is how you're winning with flat rate pressure washing pricing.

Let's say you charge $99 per washing for every client. If you need to make $50 per hour to make a profit, you'll do nicely on a small ranch home that's only 1,200 square feet. This job may only take you 30 minutes.

You may break even or lose on a two-story home that's 2,300 square feet. However, the overflow from the smaller property will cover you. The volume creates leeway for taking jobs that are on the cusp. You can also add an asterisk to your price to charge a premium above a certain square footage. The same goes for uncommonly dirty surfaces.

Additional Services to Consider

Decide if you want to nest other services into your rates. You may decide to either charge separately for extras or create "premium" packages that cost more. You can also charge a higher hourly rate for specialty or detailed services. 

Here's a look at additional services you can offer in addition to pressure washing:

  • House/siding

  • Gutters

  • Decks

  • Fences

  • Driveways

  • Windows

  • Roofs

  • Solar panels

A deluxe package can fold all areas of a home together. Other packages might pair two items together. This can be a great upsell for someone who wanted their siding power washed because they may decide that "throwing in the driveway" is worth it even though they'd never book a standalone driveway washing.

What to Consider When Charging for Pressure Washing

Your pressure washing costs are going to be the same regardless of which pricing model you choose. Take a look at the factors to consider when setting your rates using any model.

Overhead

Each job covers a portion of your overhead costs of running a business. You should have an idea of how much of your overhead you need to bake into every job based on how many jobs you typically book per month.

Here are some common overhead costs for a pressure washing business:

  • State and federal taxes

  • Licensing fees

  • Business insurance

  • Marketing costs

Weather

Not much pressure washing is going on in the winter. It's not worth the damage to your equipment and crew members to try to book jobs when temperatures dip below 40 degrees.

If you're just starting a power washing business for the first time this year, you need to bake the cost of your slow season into your busy-season jobs. You'll still need to cover things like taxes, insurance premiums, and marketing during slow seasons.

Equipment

Look at the price of equipment from two perspectives. The first is the overall cost of buying and maintaining your tools and equipment. The second is the amount of resources needed for a specific job.

Have a "set" equipment cost that you bake into every job based on the lifetime cost of equipment. You can then add in costs for things like soap to get your true equipment/materials cost per project.

Labor

You have to know how many square feet you can cover in a timeframe to create project estimates. You also need to know how many people you need to cover the square footage. Your hourly cost per employee is usually the biggest cost to you per job.

Not getting the right number of workers on a pressure washing job when you're charging hourly can anger customers who only see slow work that's racking up a big bill. But putting too many workers on a job can absorb your slice of the profit. You need to figure out the most efficient ratio of workers to time for projects of every size based on previous jobs.

Final Thoughts on Pricing Pressure Washing Correctly

It's time to crunch the numbers to choose a pricing method that allows you to be competitive while earning enough to keep growing your business. 

Angi provides you with leads that are ready to book pressure washing in your area. You just have to close the deal with your savvy pricing model and quality work. Sign up for Angi pro today!

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