Residential vs Commercial Power Washing

Residential vs Commercial Power Washing

Starting a small pressure washing business can be accomplished with a minimal investment and training but the skill required to safely and effectively clean different surfaces can only be achieved through experience or professional training. One of the first decisions you will make when starting your business is if you will wash residential vs commercial properties. Many residential cleaning business owners want to expand into commercial cleaning but may not realize just how different it is. While the processes for cleaning are quite similar, there are a number of different needs between residential vs commercial power washing and a variety of coverages you will want to protect you from each correctly.

Differences Between Residential and Commercial Power Washing

Many power washers think cleaning is cleaning, whether it’s a residential home or a commercial building, but they do differ in several ways.  For one, compensation can range anywhere from $50-150/ hour depending on a lot of factors.  For example, the type of work (residential or commercial), your compensation, market demand, seasonal changes and so on. Residential cleaning is done during the day and most commercial cleaning is done in the evening – night and on weekends.  You may find hiring your commercial crew more challenging compared to your residential cleaners since more people are more willing to work day shifts as opposed to evening, night and weekends.

1. Expectations of Customer Service

Since residential cleaning is much more detailed than commercial cleaning, residential customers are generally more demanding of small details. You often interact with the client more in residential work. Commercial clients are more concerned with you completing the cleaning that was agreed to on your contract in the determined time frame. When residential clients are in the home while you are cleaning they tend to watch every move you make.  They have more interaction with you so you want to hire people who have good communication skills and are personable. Commercial cleaners typically clean at night once the building occupants have gone home, so there is usually less interaction.

2. Pricing and Bidding

Pricing and profit margins are one of the largest differences between residential vs commercial power washing.    Rates are different from residential vs commercial, as are the material and equipment needs. Pricing commercial can be more time consuming as well. Commercial clients typically require a bidding process and an agreement to be drawn up, including the list of insurance requirements and cleaning specifications. There are many more potential residential opportunities out there than commercial businesses, so naturally there will be more competition for commercial accounts.
There will always be a need for pressure washing services.  While the level of demand will vary in every area, there will always be a need for both.  You may find you will get more repeat customers and referrals from residential work.

3. Insurance

With commercial power washing jobs come higher insurance requirements as well. Increasing your policy limits and adding Additional Insured protections should be your first step if you don’t have them already. Some commercial jobs will require certain limits and policy additions to even consider your business. There are a number of other certificates and bonds that can help protect you as well. Be sure to discuss all the options with your insurance agent prior to adding any new services to your business. They’ll guide you through the process, explain any coverages you may not understand, and guarantee you have the right protection.
There are many differences between residential vs commercial power washing.  If you are considering going into commercial cleaning, start making a list of pros and cons in order to determine if this is the right move for your business.  Do your research, this way you are not heading out into the unknown unprepared. Lastly, inform your insurance agent of any updates of your business exposures! Call us today at 1-800-878-3808 for a free quote or policy review to save on the right insurance for your business. We’ve specialized exclusively with mobile cleaning contractors for 40 years and know what you need to protect your business properly!

12 comments on “Residential vs Commercial Power Washing

  1. Both are helpful. Professional power washing companies use tricks and tips that homeowners can copy. Examples include presoaking the surface with a low-pressure spray to loosen dirt before pressure washing. Pre-treat bad mildew spots by scrubbing with a solution of bleach and commercial mildewcide in water. Thanks for sharinng.

  2. Nice Article!
    At first I personally didn’t think of the differences between residential and commercial pressure washing. Yes there is definitely more competition in the commercial side of the business but I don’t understand why when there are more hoops to jump threw especially when it comes to insurance.

    Thank you!

    • Thanks Chuck! We’re glad you like the article. There are definitely more hoops to jump through on the insurance side, but commercial jobs often have a much larger price tag for washers, so that could be where some of the draw comes from. Keep on washing! – Jessi

    • Thank you Connor! If you have any questions about getting into commercial washing and any business needs for it, feel free to contact our team!

  3. You did a great job of explaining the differences between the two. I haven’t tried this kind of cleaning services yet. However, let me consider it for future use. I’d be happy to make my inquiries about power washing, for now, cheers and more power!

    • Thank you Joy! Glad you liked the article! Let us know if you have any questions. Our team is always happy to help.

  4. The siding on our house is starting to look dingy and I think it is mainly due to our not washing it in a while. Your information that residential pressure washers are detailed and that these companies usually hire people who have good communication skills is really great. The communication skills in particular would help me to make sure that everything is done correctly by these professional cleaners.

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