How to Estimate Pressure Washing Jobs

  • Brandon Boushy by Brandon Boushy
  • 1 month ago
  • Blog
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Man wearing coverall suit with 3d dollar symbol on the back

Are you wondering how to price pressure washing jobs right?

Pricing your cold water cleaning services correctly is crucial to creating a profitable pressure washing company. You’ll need to understand how to measure linear footage, convert it to square feet, pick a pricing strategy, then add markup and profit margins.

We’ll share what you need to go from the linear foot to a printed estimate for your potential customer. We’ll even provide a calculator and estimate template for you to use.

Get ready to find out how to price a power washing job. Click on any of the links below to learn more.

How to price pressure washing jobs

There is a well-defined strategy you can use when learning how to charge for pressure washing. You’ll want to follow the steps listed below

Keep reading to learn how to price pressure washing jobs.

Calculate the square footage of each surface

Aerial shot of residential property with markup showing how to calculate square footage of surfaces to be pressure washed

One of the most important factors for pricing pressure washing jobs is the approximate square footage.

Measure the linear footage of each type of material, including driveways, fences, and patios. You’ll want to measure the length, width, and height of each area using a laser measure or tape measure.

Next, you’ll want to calculate the square footage by using one of the following formulas:

Horizontal Surfaces: Length x Width
Vertical Surfaces: Height x Width

Choose how to price pressure washing jobs

Man pressure washing a residential property with "price per hour" and a clock painted on siding

There are three main ways to price a pressure washing job. Choose which of the pressure washing pricing strategies works best for your business.

Pressure washing prices per hour

Charging a pressure washing hourly rate is the best way to make sure all your time is covered. Unfortunately, customers may not like an hourly rate for pressure washing because it involves uncertainty.

When you send a new employee, the job might take twice as long because they need to learn the processes of your company. The customer shouldn’t have to pay for that.

If you’re certain an hourly rate will work best for you, consider charging between $25 and $100 per hour depending on the job size, the equipment you’ll use, and your location.

How much to charge for pressure washing per square foot

A square-foot pricing model works best when you are pressure washing multiple surfaces. You’ll want to charge between $0.10 and $0.50 per square foot. Make sure to consider the location and job scope when choosing your square foot billing rate.

Use a flat rate pricing strategy

Concept of a business owner sitting with laptop and paperwork and considering how to price pressure washing services

Customers love flat rate pricing because they know exactly how much they will spend. Unfortunately, a new pressure washing business may not be good at estimating time and materials.

This strategy is best for experienced pressure washers. You can always calculate the cost per square foot or hour, then convert it to a fixed cost estimate. Most pressure washers charge a flat rate of between $90 and $200 for each surface.

Power washing pricing factors

Consider each of these when you quote pressure washing jobs:

  • Accessibility: Difficult-to-reach spots like roofs and buildings blocked by bushes will take longer to pressure wash.
  • Competitive pricing: Your pressure washing services should be competitive with other pressure washing companies.
  • Job site cleanliness: Excess dirt, grease, mold, and oil will likely require stronger chemicals and may take longer to clean.
  • Property size: Larger properties will take more time and materials to clean than smaller properties.
  • Property type: Commercial pressure washing jobs are normally more expensive than residential pressure washing jobs.
  • Supplies and equipment: Ladders or other equipment may increase the risks and time to complete the job and should impact pressure washing job prices.

Next, you’ll want to calculate the pressure washing cost to your business.

Calculate pressure washing services overhead costs

Overhead shot of hands with brightly painted nails counting cash over a calculator and memo pad with the words "overhead cost"

Pressure washing businesses have overhead costs that need to be included in your pressure washing business prices. You’ll want to include operating expenses, which include:

  • Business insurance payments
  • Pressure washer equipment maintenance
  • Gas and vehicle maintenance
  • Pressure washing marketing costs
  • Pressure washing business software
  • Employees’ salaries, if applicable

Start with the overall cost of administration. Then calculate the overhead cost per billable hour. You should assume that you can bill 1,000 annual hours per pressure washer. Use this formula:

Annual Overhead Costs ÷ (1,000 x Number of Pressure Washers) = Hourly Overhead Costs

Next, use your hourly overhead costs from the formula above to calculate how much to charge for power washing. You’ll want to multiply the hourly overhead costs by the estimated pressure washing hours.

Hourly Rate = Hourly Overhead Costs x # Of Hours It Takes to Complete the Job

Finally, add the costs for materials like cleaning chemicals that will be used on the job. You’ll probably want to charge extra to cover the time and fuel to get materials.

Add your profit margin

Hand holding a money bag with word "margin" printed on it, cash flying around in the foreground and background

You’ll want to add a markup when you quote pressure-washing jobs. The markup is what you’ll take home as your profit margin on top of your service price, overhead costs, and material costs.

According to IBIS World, a small business owner in the pressure washing industry will normally take home 8.8%, but many have higher profit margins.

If you want to make 20%, calculate how to bid pressure washing jobs using the formula below to get your margin:

(Pressure washing service cost + overhead cost + material cost) x 0.20

Alternatively, you can use the formula below to calculate how to price a pressure-washing job.

(Pressure washing service cost + overhead cost + materials cost) x 1.20

The number from this equation can go right on your pressure washing quote as the pre-tax total.

How much should I charge for pressure washing?

Now, you have all the pieces to understand how to price out pressure washing jobs. Just add together the power washing costs, overhead, materials cost, and profit to calculate what to charge for pressure washing.

Your power washing quotes for pressure washing a driveway might look similar to the numbers below:

Square footage: 1,000 (20’ x 50’)
Service cost: $350 ($0.35 per square foot x 1,000 square feet)
Overhead cost: $9 ($9,000 ÷ 1,000 billable hours)
Materials cost: $41 (pressure washer detergent and degreaser)
Profit markup: $80 (($350 + $9 + $41) x 0.20)
Total: $480

Pro Tip for Power Washing Houses: Psychologically, customers tend to like spending when totals end in 9, so I would probably round up to $489 or $499.

Provide a pressure washing job estimate

Printed pressure washing estimate

As a professional power washer offering commercial cleaning of garage floors, driveways, siding, and other outdoor surfaces, you’ll want a pressure washing contract template to send to your customers.

You can write everything down while you estimate power washing jobs or use an electronic device to create a more professional-looking estimate for your customer to approve.

Check out our free pressure washing estimate template.

A power washing services estimate should include:

  • Your pressure washing business logo, name, and website in the top left
  • Your phone number, email address, and business location in the top right
  • The customer’s name, phone number, email address, and address
  • Quote number and date
  • Pressure washing services, description, quantity, unit cost, and total costs
  • Notes including how long the estimate is valid (for example 30 days from quote date)
  • Total costs for the power washing job, including tax

Know when to adjust your pressure washing prices

How you bid a pressure washing job will change as your business grows. Power washing jobs might need different pricing strategies because of inflation or a water company rate hike. Be prepared to change your billing on a quarterly or annual basis.

Next, we discuss some reasons why you might adjust your pricing strategy when you estimate power washing pricing.

How to quote pressure washing jobs: Increasing prices

Two men in orange work coveralls discussing when to increase their commercial pressure washing prices

You might choose to increase your commercial pressure washing prices for some of the following reasons:

  • You add new services like roof cleaning
  • Demand for power washing jobs increases
  • You want to reduce your interactions with difficult customers
  • Wages, water, fuel, overhead, or other business expenses increase
  • You change from flat rate pricing to square footage pricing

Make sure to provide a notice to your pressure wash customers when you plan to change their pricing. If they have a power washing contract, you may be locked into the flat rate until your contract renewal, unless you have a specific increase in price per period.

You might also want to decrease your power wash fees. Next, we discuss how to charge for power washing at reduced rates.

How to bid on pressure washing jobs: Discounts

When you want to lower your prices below what pressure washing typically costs, make sure to create a line item in your estimate that notifies the customer that power washing typically costs more than they’ll pay for the current job.

You might do that by adding a line that looks similar to the one below.

Service or ProductDescriptionQuantityUnit CostTotal Cost
Pressure Washing20 Feet x 50 Feet Driveway1$480$480
DiscountFirst Time Customer Discount1($99)($99)

You might want to offer a pressure washing discount when you:

  • Get your first customers after starting a commercial power washing business
  • Serve multiple clients who live near each other
  • Upsell customers to provide multiple services at once
  • Your power washing business enters long-term contracts

More pressure washing resources

You can find pressure washing gear on the UpFlip Amazon Store or check out some of our blogs to learn more about pressure washing businesses.

How to Start a $120K/Month Pressure Washing Business
301 Unique Cleaning Business Name Ideas (2023)
How to Start a $75K/Month Car Detailing Business (2023)

Now you know how to price commercial pressure washing jobs

At this point, you should have a clear answer to the question “How much do pressure washers charge?” We discussed:

  1. Taking measurements to calculate square feet from linear footage
  2. Pricing based on square footage, time, and a flat rate
  3. How to include overhead in your estimates
  4. Adding profit to your bids
  5. Calculating the total cost of cleaning
  6. Creating a customer quote
  7. How to increase or discount your prices in just a few clicks

Whether you’re using hot water or cold water cleaning to remove dirt, oil, or grease stains, you can make a great living if you charge the right amount per square foot.

How much should you charge in your area?

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