Want to know how to bid pressure washing jobs like the pros do? Success in pressure washing depends on how effective you can estimate pressure washing jobs successfully. Do it wrong and you rob yourself. Do it right and you win big. Here’s what you need to know.
Pressure Washing Customer Don’ts
Everything in business revolves around pleasing the pressure washing customer. For this, it’s important to put them first when you quote pressure washing jobs to them. Most pressure washers get this part wrong.
Mistakes pressure washers make quoting jobs:
- Failing to listen to the customer (To enlist, be silent and listen)
- Not being customer centric (Always put the customer’s needs first)
- Little of no pricing transparency (Break down all costs)
- Not asking the customer about their pressure washing needs (You have to ask needs awareness and needs development questions and care!)
- Forgetting to ask important questions upfront (Avoid unforeseen problems and issues that should cost them more, not you!)
- Not being able to answer questions about the product/service (Know how to sell your services)
- Forgetting to ask how often the customer wants the service (Increase customer lifetime value)
- Quoting without inspecting the job (Do not quote without inspection)
- Forgetting to add all costs into the quote (Do not forget the cost of fuel, detergent, water, chemicals, electricity, etc.)
- Failing to offer aftersales care packages (A lot of money here!)
- Not pointing out another pressure washing job that needs done
- Failing to ask for a commitment (Ask for their business/the sale)
- Forgetting to inquire about additional information needed by the customer
Pro Tip: We usually ask this final question last to naturally transition over to asking the customer for their business (asking for the sale/commitment). We use a question based assumptive close.
Free Quote Sales Approach
The free quote sales approach uses a bit of social psychology to influence commitment; namely, a purchasing decision. By offering something free, though only a quote, the potential customer feels they owe us something in return.
Bottom Line: By offering a free quote, we’re pushing the probabilities in our favor the customer will do business with us.
Asking For Customer Commitment
Regardless if you’re bidding on residential jobs or to pressure wash a commercial property asking questions is key to getting around to and asking for customer commitment.
At Lakeland Pressure Washing we use a sales script whenever we bid pressure washing jobs. We recommend that you do the same. Doing so will help you get more pressure washing business.
Lakeland Customer Commitment Script:
Lakeland Pressure Washing: “It seems like, um, we may have covered everything you’re needing in a pressure washing service. And so, yeah, if it’s appropriate, the, the next step would be to schedule a time for us to come out.
That’s when we’ll (recall for the customer everything you went over). Now, we’ll need a small deposit from you today. And once the job is done, if it’s okay with you, we like to check back in to make sure you’re happy with everything and to address anything that may need addressing.
But, um, yeah, do you have any, any question for me? Did I miss anything? Am I doing a good job so far? (I give a little chuckle, because a little humor goes a long way)
Potential Customer: “Doing a fine job!”
Lakeland Pressure Washing: “Great! Then, yeah, how would you like to proceed from here? When would you like us to come out?”
Potential Customer: “Yeah, let’s …”
Important Note: We ask questions to uncover needs when asking for a commitment. If we’re unsure of something, we ask clarifying questions to get more information and clarity from the customer.
How to Bid Pressure Washing Jobs
Now its time to learn how to bid pressure washing jobs. Consider these things before quoting pressure washing prices to your customers.
Commercial cleaning (e.g., commercial building)
Pressure Washing Job or Power Washing?
Make sure when bidding on commercial cleaning jobs that you ask if the customer expects power washing or pressure washing. There is a difference: Power washing uses hot water. Pressure washing uses cold water.
Square or Linear Foot
Also have the customer explain to you exactly what they want pressure washed. Use a laser distance measurer to calculate square footage and linear footage. Always do your best to approximate square or linear footage for commercial cleaning jobs.
Whether its a square or linear foot matters a lot. Gutters are measured and cleaned by linear foot. Most everything else is cleaned and charged per square foot.
Calculating what to charge:
- Calculate the approximate square footage or linear footage you’ll be cleaning
- Decide how hard it will be to clean (rust and oil stains take long and require expensive industrial detergents)
- Calculate your costs (overhead costs, cleaning equipment, chemicals, how much water, etc.)
- Use our free pressure washing pricing tool to calculate your hourly rate. For commercial customers change the 15% to 25% to discover what to charge.
- Use our free pressure washing estimate template to work the math. This is what you’ll present to your potential customer.
- Remember that you have a 25% wiggle room for negotiation. We usually negotiate by giving a justifiable discount. This makes the customer feel like they’re getting a deal and also not cheating us. Win-Win!
Side Note: The pressure washing pricing tool uses 15% by default to calculate how much extra to charge your customer beyond the local average rate. We use 15% for residential rates. But, we recommend you change that percentage to 25% on the template. When you do, it automatically calculate 25% instead of the 15%. We add an extra 10% for our commercial pressure washing prices.
Residential cleaning (e.g., mobile home)
Pressure washing cost for residential power washing and any pressure washing job takes on a different approach. There are many different types of residential pressure washer and power washing jobs that we do.
The pricing strategy for a driveway will be different from that of soft washing a roof. A driveway doesn’t take as long, because we’re not having to do a soft wash that requires waiting some time for the bleach to heat up and water to evaporate. Plus we have a high pressure washer that works some mad skills on driveways and parking lots.
Soft washing a house, like soft washing a roof, is usually charged by the square footage. We measure square footage and then charge the average going rate, plus 15%. We tack on 15% to cover discounts and keep competitive.
The profit margins for residential cleanings are better because of repeat business. We keep home owners on an expected schedule and the property owner knows we’ll be calling again in 6 to 12 months to remind them of their appointment.
Flat rate pricing strategy (e.g., garage floor)
Some jobs like garage floors we charge a flat rate to clean. What generally ends up happening is we’ll get the call to clean the driveway and we’ll pitch cleaning the job as an upsell. To power wash the garage floors doesn’t take us that much longer and easily turns into a couple hundred extra bucks.
For some jobs it works out better to charge an hourly fee over a fixed rate. Hourly fees work good when the home owner or business owner has multiple jobs that need done that are expected to take possibly days to complete.
The best way to calculate an hourly rate is to call around and see what other pressure washers in your area are charging. Another method is to consider how long it takes you to clean per square foot for your worst job and then figure how many feet you’ll be able to pressure wash in an hour. Then you’ll have an estimate of how long and how much you’ll earn for a particular job.
Square foot pricing (square feet)
Most of the jobs we quote is done per square foot. Parking lots are an example of this. We take the square footage of the parking lot and charge between 25 cents to 75 cents usually, depending how big the job is. If the square footage is high, we charge less. If the square footage is much less we charge more.
Linear foot pricing (linear feet)
Linear foot pricing costs more per linear foot than jobs where we charge by the square foot. This is because the jobs are different. For linear footage jobs like cleaning gutters it doesn’t take as much time or energy as soft washing a roof or house takes. You simply use your pressure washer to clean out the gutter and you’re finished. You charge more per linear footage because you still may not make as much on the bid, because there’s less work to do.
Cold water pressure washing (per square foot)
For cold water pressure washing that doesn’t require additional equipment, chemicals, or additional costs to your business, charge per square foot. For an individual job like pressure washing a fence, swimming pool, deck, or patio the price figure depends on the washing job.
Each washing job will have its own hourly rate. The price depends on how long it takes you to complete the work, any special equipment needed, etc. Depending on your equipment and experience you have to determine what that hourly rate will be.
Hot water power washing (per square foot)
A power washing job usually has flat rate pricing. The pricing for a power washing job is also more expensive than pressure washing. Hot water is sometimes difficult to come by and it also is more dangerous to work with. It is best to explain this to the customer when explain the additional cost.
At Lakeland Pressure Washing we normally charge a minimum of $1.50 per square foot for power washing services. Some small businesses (like restaurants) get break if they are able to provide us with the hot water, which often they do.
Charging by the hour is also an option, but make sure to estimate a minimum price even if it takes you half the time.
Cleaning equipment is charged by the hour or we will determine it by a flat rate estimate. An example is when we cleaned several tractors and other tools for a rental company. We bid the job and set the price for a set block of time in our off hours. This worked well for the rental company and price charged made our overhead costs for whole month.
Cleaning a parking lot means considering many factors. Near a building it has to be pristinely cleaned. Cleaning the backside and areas that are less visible take less time. We estimate these by square feet and base our prices on the national average at the time.
To make your margins higher and save time consider package deals. Package deals are when you group multiple washing services together. This saves you time because you can do multiple jobs at the same time. We’ve had a lot of success cleaning roofs and packaging in the exterior of the house as well.
If a potential customer is wavering over the price of one service you can usually save the sale by offering them a package of services. Use good customer care and you’ll turn those potential customers into raving fans.
Pressure Washing Pricing Strategies
The best pressure washing pricing strategies are those that benefit you and your potential customer. We love to offer discount. For example, we offer new customer discounts, senior discounts, military discounts, veteran discounts, student discounts, holiday discounts, seasonal discounts, and more.
To determine your estimate, whether you’re charging by the hour or by the square footage, think about solutions that help you and the customer. One of our favorite strategies is offering after hour and off time discounts. When we don’t have any jobs lined up it makes sense to give a discount and lower the cost for the customer and help our business. It may be old school thinking but lowering their cost also helps lower our cost indirectly.
- Hourly Pricing: the customer pays for the amount of time it takes to do the job.
- Flat Rate Pricing: the customer pays a set, fixed price for the job.
- Negotiated Pricing: the customer and service provider agree on a fixed price for the job.
- Value Pricing: the customer chooses from a menu of prices depending on how much time and effort is required.
Estimate your pricing by square foot, linear foot, a flat rate, an hourly price, or an off hour discounted rate, but make sure you’re not charging too much or too little for your services. Ideally you want your prices to be 15% to 25% higher than the average rate in your area. This helps you pay for your office space, water bill, and unexpected costs you may not consider.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you bid on pressure washing?
Pressure washing pricing is determined by the size of the surface area you want pressure washed, how dirty it is, and the surface type.
What is a good hourly rate for pressure washing?
A good hourly rate for pressure washing is $75 to $200 per hour. The actual hourly rate depends on the job itself.
How much does it cost to pressure wash a 2000 sq ft house?
The cost varies depending on several factors. A 2000 sq ft house with a pressure wash will cost between $500 and $2,000 on average.
How much should I charge to pressure wash a driveway?
Pressure washers often charge $50 to $150 for a driveway. It will depend on the size of the driveway and how dirty it is.