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How To Quote Pressure Washing Jobs: Residential & Commercial

March 1, 2021
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When it comes to determining a quote for a pressure washing job, there’s a lot of factors to consider. From the scale of the project and your competitors’ pricing to the budget and expectations of the client, it can be difficult to determine whether your prices are fair for both your customers and yourself.

Thankfully, there are plenty of resources and information to help you make sure your next pressure washing job is quoted accurately and efficiently.

Commercial vs. residential pressure washing prices

Your first consideration when getting ready to quote a pressure washing job is to determine whether it should be billed as a commercial job or a residential pressure washing job. The scale and expectation of each type of job can be vastly different, so it’s important to remember that when estimating quotes for your clients. 

In general, there isn’t too much of a difference between quoting residential and commercial pressure washing pricing. Residential driveways and restaurant drive thrus, for example, are fairly similar. 

Prices begin to vary, however, when you begin to take additional expenses into account like:

  • Accessibility of the area being cleaned
  • Difficulty to clean as removing oil/grease, which requires hot water and stronger chemicals
  • The amount of dirt, mold, or grime built up 
  • Size of area
  • Timeframe available to complete the job

Cleaning built up oil and grease from a commercial driveway, for instance, can require more chemicals and labor than performing a general clean on a residential house’s driveway. 

Generally, prices range somewhere around the following for each service with general, residential cleanings falling on the lower end, while commercial, chemical, and labor-intensive cleanings falling on the higher end. 

Pressure Washing Job Prices

There are a number of pressure washing estimate calculators online that will give you more approximate estimates for your area that we have listed later on, but at the end of the day the most accurate numbers are going to come from calculating your business expenses and getting your competitors’ quotes

Commercial pressure washing prices

Commercial pressure washing jobs encompass a lot, including gas stations, churches, malls, parking garages, and industrial equipment, just to name a few.

As a rule, you can generally charge higher prices when quoting commercial pressure washing jobs. Commercial jobs are often more involved, taking a longer time to complete because of the scale of the job, stronger chemicals, and more manpower to complete the job. Your prices should reflect this. 

When determining commercial pressure washing prices, it’s particularly important to to account for:

  • Scale is definitely a more important factor to consider when quoting a commercial pressure washing job. It’s therefore more helpful here to calculate prices based on the square footage of the house, and then factor in additional costs like water, chemicals, manpower, and transportation costs. 
  • Timing. Commercial and industrial pressure washing jobs are usually more time-sensitive and can only be carried out over weekends at night while a business is either less busy or closed. In order to meet these strict deadlines, jobs may require more manpower. 
  • Man power. Commercial pressure washing is more time and labor intensive than residential - as well as dangerous as you’re working with stronger chemicals and water pressure. Your employees should be adequately compensated for the time and work that will go into this work. 
  • Difficulty. Grease and industrial paints will require special solvents to remove them and heavy equipment takes more heat and chemicals. These costs can add up over time. 
  • Operating Costs. Even operating costs can be higher for commercial jobs as they require more time and effort to quote as businesses expect cleaning specifications to be broken down in detail, insurance policies listed within agreements, and signed contracts.

Cost: Generally costs .10-$1 per square foot and $0.20-$1.15 for warm power washing.

Pro-Tip: When working with commercial companies, try to negotiate a regular schedule of twice monthly (or other) washing. You’ll get more reliable income and can afford to charge less as you’re doing less to get sales and because vehicles that are washed more frequently are generally easier to clean and a lower price can be set accordingly.

Residential pressure washing prices

Residential pressure washing jobs involve the cleaning of residential homes, possibly including driveways, fences, and decks. 

Residential customers typically require less expensive chemicals and cooler water and only require one person to complete each individual job, which can lower residential pressure washing prices. However, unlike commercial operations, residential pressure washing businesses aren’t always guaranteed leads.

So, many residential pressure washing businesses rely on upselling services like offering discounts for multiple jobs in the same area if neighbors want to get their houses pressure washed at the same time or offering their services in package deals. 

Operating expenses for residential pressure washing businesses are also typically cheaper. Owners don’t usually expect a signed agreement or detailed contract and pricing is simple. Detailed breakdowns of chemicals used, services provided, and labor are rare. However, providing this information can communicate to customers that you’re more trustworthy and professional allowing you to price your services higher than competitors’.

With residential jobs, timing is also generally more flexible which means you can take on more work instead of working around the stringent hours that a commercial business is closed or slow. Instead, the customer is often more concerned about attention to detail. 

Cost: Generally costs .10-$.50 per square foot for cold water and $0.15-$0.75 for warm power washing.

Pricing strategies

Pressure washing prices per hour

When calculating how much you should charge per hour for a pressure washing job, you should take into account you and/or your company’s experience. Customers want to hire someone that they can trust and who knows what they’re doing, and will pay to ensure that they’re getting quality service they can depend on. So, when estimating your prices or preparing to give a quote to a client, don’t shy away from charging what you think your skills are worth.  

Pressure washing prices per hour typically range from $50 to $200/hr and it usually takes a professional 2.3 hours on average to power wash a house and siding.

Pressure washing prices per square foot 

Calculating pressure washing jobs per square foot can be a little tricky, and involve quite a bit of math and measurements. The size of the house and any included surrounding areas is going to be the most important factor when quoting a pressure washing job. Plus, you’ll have to decide whether those measurements will need to be provided by the client, or taken by you or your employees at some point before the pressure washing commences. In the latter case, the time and tools for that will also have to be factored into the price quote or estimate. 

Pressure washing jobs per square foot typically costs between $0.08 and $0.35, but keep in mind newer homes tend to be larger. From 1975-2015,  the average home size increased 63 percent and over 1,000 square feet. You can find the average home size per state listed here.

How to measure square footage

If you and your company will be the ones gathering the necessary measurements and calculating square footage, there are a couple of options for you. First, you can do it old school and break out a calculator. Using a measuring tool of your choice, use the following formula and directions:

Length (in feet) x width (in feet) = area in sq. ft.

  1. Draw out a rough sketch of the building labeling all the areas you need to measure.
  2. Get the length and width for each wall.
  3. Multiply the width by the length, which will give you the square footage of that wall.
  4. Add each area together to determine the house’s total square footage.

Congratulations, you’ve found the square footage!

Pressure washing estimate calculators

Thankfully, there’s an easier way to calculate totals. Here are just a few of our favorite tools:

  • Home Advisor. Put in your location, choose whether this is a residential or commercial area, and the areas/items(s) in need of pressure washing. 
  • Wall Square Footage Calculator
  • Homewyse. Under the Power Washing section, you can find calculators to add up costs by zipcode and square feet for different projects like driveways, decks, mobile homes, fences, patios, and more.
  • Pro-Matcher. Has one of the most accurate pricing listings for pressure washing on the internet, pulling information directly from local businesses.
  • Contractor Calculator. Available for both iOS and Android devices, FieldPulse’s Contractor Calculator is the easiest way to make and save complex measurements. Simply input your measurements, let the app do the rest of the work, and save the measurements under client profiles for easy access!  

Alternatively, you can calculate totals while invoicing using FieldPulse’s invoicing and estimate software. The app allows you to enter calculations as you fill in the service and  calculates subtotals, tax, and totals based on your price per square foot as well as any other costs that you’re including in your quote like labor and supplies, and allows you to mark up materials and labor automatically. 

Those pressure washing estimate calculators and figures can even be saved in the app for easy access when calculating future project quotes and the estimate can be sent along to your client from FieldPulse’s estimate/invoice creator. Take signatures and payments instantly from invoices via the app in person or email and pick and choose contracts that best reflect your needs.

Other factors to consider

As mentioned before, there’s more to keep in mind when quoting pressure washing jobs than just the size of the job and how long it will take. That’s just the money that will be coming in; you also have to consider the money that will be going out as a result of this job and any future jobs. 

There are certain costs that you should already be keeping track of that are fairly steady in their amounts—utilities and rent, for example. Then, there are costs that are less regular—emergency machine repairs, maintenance, transportation, and possibly your employees’ salaries. It’s important to keep these expenses in mind when calculating how much you should be quoting your pressure washing jobs for, because part of the price should be going back into the business in order to cover them. Even if you cannot exactly say how much you will be spending per month or per quarter, a general estimate will help you when quoting your jobs so you can keep your business afloat. 

Calculating the total 

Now, you have all of these numbers floating around on your desk—the square footage of the job, your price per square foot, as well as estimates of your water bill, employees’ salaries, and any maintenance and cleaning that will have to come before or after the job. It’s time to put it all together and come up with the total amount for the quote that you’ll give to your client. 

Writing your estimate

The estimate you send to your client is the most important information you’ll give them regarding the pressure washing job. It’s essential that the estimate is easy to understand and delivered quickly, so they know they can trust you to be accurate, comprehensive, and that you really care about getting their business. Keeping records of measurements and costs in an easy to access place is therefore essential, and contractor estimate apps are going to be your best bet to do so. You’ll spend less time searching for your notes and prices and more time focusing on bringing in more pressure washing jobs.

Pressure washing estimate template

Once you’ve calculated your pressure washing job’s estimated quote, it’s time to give that number to the client, but you can’t just hand them a piece of paper with a large sum on it with no further explanation. An invoice needs to be generated, with details regarding all of the included costs for the job, so your customer understands exactly what they’re paying for. FieldPulse can get you started with our free pressure washing estimate template.

Obviously, your invoices should include the numbers specific to each particular pressure washing job—the relevant square footage or number of vehicles that will be cleaned, the price per square foot or per vehicle, and the total amount.

However, as discussed before, those are not the only numbers that need to be considered when pricing a job. You should have a line on your invoice that also includes any business overhead costs that you are taking into account when figuring out the total price for the job. Your customer doesn’t need to know the particulars regarding how much you’ll be putting towards your bills, but it’s important to be clear with them that you do have other business costs that their payment will be going toward.

Plus, the more detailed you are, the more comfortable your client will be with paying the final amount due, because they’ll know and see exactly where their money is going. 

How To Price Trade Jobs

Want more insight into how to price your trade services? Look no further. Check out our article How To Price Trade Jobs for an in-depth look at all the factors you should consider before slapping a price tag onto your services.

Pressure washing business software

We’ve covered a lot of information here, and it can look daunting to new and veteran companies and business owners alike. If you’re overwhelmed and not sure where to begin, there’s easy to use pressure washing business software like FieldPulse that can help you streamline the process and get you ready to go quickly. 

In addition to a free invoice template and the Contractor Calculator app, FieldPulse’s business management software makes it easy to save customers, manage jobs, map your route, get e-signatures, take payments, and easily sync everything over to Quickbooks.

FieldPulse’s pressure washing business software is available on Android and iOS devices, as well as in tablet or Web browsers, and is compatible with programs like Xero and Quickbooks. 

A few other benefits of using FieldPulse when learning how to quote pressure washing jobs include the ability to:

  • Store invoice line items with labor rates and commonly used supplies, then easily insert them into your invoices without repetitive manual entry.
  • Group items inside your invoice and hide items and/or costs
  • Bundle together products, services, and labor rates commonly used together for jobs and re-use them
  • Adjust prices and descriptions on the fly
  • Insert quantities based on square footage as well as job duration or timesheet totals
  • Instantly fill out customer information inside invoices with autofill 
  • Automatically calculate subtotals, tax, and totals.
  • Include discounts by percentage or a set amount and automatically calculate the total discount and how much customers owe after discounts.

Easy to use,
easy to customize,
and easy on your wallet.