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How to Estimate Power Washing Jobs in 5 Steps: A Simple Guide for Small Businesses

Estimating power washing jobs is not always easy. There are many factors to consider such as local competition and demand. Cold weather climates might create only seasonal demand for power washing. Power washers in areas with lots of competition will need to keep an eye on average prices.

Follow these five steps to make estimating power washing jobs a simpler and more straightforward process, especially for small outfits that are new to the business.

FreshBooks’ online estimating software makes generating and sending estimates easy, plus you can easily convert them into invoices.

In this article, we’ll cover:

1. Measure the Space

Most pressure washing is estimated based on the square footage or linear footage of the area to be washed, according to Power Washing Business.

It’s best to visit the property in person before sending an estimate to see the conditions of the site yourself. Ask the customer questions about what exactly they want done and if there are any special services required or repair work needed.

Square Footage

Projects that are estimated based on square footage include roofs, driveways, sidewalks, fences, decks, siding, commercial cleaning, parking lots, garage floors.

To find square footage, find the length and width of the area. A laser distance measurer works best. Multiply the length by the width. Then multiply that number by 1.35 to find approximate square footage.

Linear Footage

Projects that are estimated based on linear footage include houses and boats. You simply measure the length of the structure, ignoring width or thickness measurements. Now you can charge by linear foot. Linear feet is charged at a higher rate than square footage.

2. Decide on a Pricing Strategy

Power washers typically estimate residential jobs based on one of three pricing strategies:

  1. Per square foot or linear foot
  2. Per hour
  3. Flat rate

Pricing by the square or linear foot makes it easier to bid on different sizes and shapes of lots or structures. Pricing by the hour makes sure you get paid for every hour worked.

Flat rate pricing is handy if you’re an experienced power washer who already knows the prices for different jobs and how factors like rough surfaces will affect the price. In this method, find the rough price based on the square footage and then add your markup on top.

You can earn more with flat rate pricing but it requires a practiced professional to do it accurately, according to the Houston Chronicle.

3. Price Based on the Project

Rates also differ based on the service. Here are some standard rates based on national averages to help you estimate your power washing job, whether it’s a house or a parking lot:

Houses

  • $90 – $275 flat rate for exterior
  • $0.75 – $1.25 per linear foot (single story house)
  • $1.75 – $2.25 per linear foot (two story house)

Gutters

  • $100: single story
  • $135: two floors
  • $200: three floors

Boats

  • $5 per linear foot: bottom only
  • $10 per linear foot: whole boat

Roofs

  • $0.20 cents per square foot
  • Double or triple the fee for roofs with steep pitches

Driveways and Sidewalks

  • $60 – $150 flat price (depends on size)
  • $0.08 – $0.14 per square foot

Fences, Decks and Siding

  • $0.20 – $0.25 per square foot

Mobile Homes

  • $50 – $85 flat rate for a mobile home (depends on condition)
  • $80 – $100 flat rate for a double wide (depends on condition)

Commercial Cleaning

  • $0.08 -$0.12 cents per square foot for basic surface cleaning
  • $75 for standard dumpster and $150 for large

Parking Lots, Garages and Drive Thrus

  • $0.05 – $0.25 per square foot for parking lots and garage floors (depends on condition)
  • $10 – $20 per parking space

4. Estimate Materials and Overhead Costs

Additional costs include chemicals for jobs on roofs, fences, decks and siding. For example, chemicals to power wash a roof would cost about $50. Prices will also differ depending on whether you use cold water or hot water cleaning.

Overhead is another cost you should absolutely factor into your estimates, according to Ultimate Washer.

Let’s look at some monthly costs based on a 30 hour paid work week.

  • Vehicle loan: $400 or $3.33 per hour
  • Car insurance: $125 or $1.04 per hour
  • Cleaning supplies: $400 or $3.33 per hour
  • Phone and internet: $150 or $1.25 per hour
  • Gasoline: $500 per month or $4.17 per hour
  • Advertising: $600 or $5.00 an hour
  • Equipment maintenance and fuel: $10 per hour
  • Office rent: $900 a month, $9 per hour (optional)

Overhead costs are almost $40 per hour alone. You also need to account for your own salary (let’s say $29/hour at $60,000 a year) and money to put back into the company ($20,000 or $9.50 an hour).

This increases your rate to $78.50 an hour.

Since you’re only getting paid for 30 hours of work and you typically spend at least 10 more hours on administrative tasks, you need to account for these 10 unpaid hours in your hourly fee.

Rounding $78.50 up to $80, you should be earning $3,200 a week for a 40 hour workweek. You need to earn $800 more. Divide $800 by the 30 hours you’re working and you’ll find you need to charge $26.66 more or $106 per hour total.

5. Calculate the Total

Now that you have your square or linear footage, calculate the cost based on standard rates for the job, making sure to account for materials and overhead. Or use one of the standard flat rates listed above.

Here’s another strategy:

(Cost of Materials x 2) + Cold or Hot Water Cleaning Costs = Project Estimate

Cold water cleaning should cost $45 to $50 and hot water cleaning should cost $55 to $60.

  • For example, if the cost of materials is $200 then double it to get $400. Let’s say you’re using hot water cleaning.
    • $400 + $60 = $460 project estimate

People also ask:

How Do You Price a Power Washing Job?

Power washing typically costs between $183 to $380 in the U.S., with the national average being $281, according to Home Advisor.

Power washing houses usually costs between $220 to $380, a driveway costs $130 to $220 and a deck or patio costs $250 to $420. The price depends on any cleaning chemicals that might need to be used and the size of the surface.

Power washers usually price jobs by the square foot, the hour or using a flat rate. Details on each of these methods can be found above.

How Much Does It Cost to Pressure Wash per Square Foot?

It typically costs between $0.08 and $0.35 per square foot to do pressure washing. This figure depends on the average rates in your region.

A pressure washer will charge $0.40 to $0.80 per square foot if there are problems like stains, dirt or mold that take longer to clean, according to CostHelper.

How Much Does Pressure Washing Cost per Hour?

Pressure washing typically costs between $60 to $100 an hour, according to Fixr.com.

For example, a 1,200 square foot home takes about six hours to pressure wash and costs between $360 to $600.

Pressure washing a driveway or sidewalk would take about an hour ($60 to $100), a roof takes two to three hours ($120 to $300) and decks, porches and patios take about one to two hours ($60 to $200).

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