Looking to start a new career working for yourself, or perhaps you already have a small pressure washing business? If you are looking to start a pressure washing business, there are some considerations to think of; while you may have been easily washing your car, the process to make a business out of it is somewhat different.
When it comes to cleaning multiple residential driveways, parking lots, or even a mall, you need to make sure that you bring the right equipment and your own water, meaning a trailer-mounted water tank.
One of the things you will need is a strong pump, something that’s capable of around 8 GPM (gallon per minute(, you are also going to want a big rig, so you can handle those larger areas. You’ll also want to have some long hoses. As I mentioned, a water tank, the ability to generate hot water with a trailer-mounted water boiler and spare fuel.
As this job requires you to be mobile, you will need a mobile trailer with enough space to carry your equipment and chemicals.
You will want to make sure that you set up your pressure washer trailer properly, so it can easily carry your pressure washer and so that you can find all of your accessories quickly and efficiently. This guide will take you through everything you need to know. It will also teach you how to make your own pressure washer trailer setup.
Used, New, or Built Trailer – Which One is Better?
When you start looking at pressure washer trailer setups, you are faced with three options, getting a prebuilt new one, getting a used one, or building your own. But which one is the right choice?
Ultimately this will come down to your own preferences, how much money you have to spend, and your needs. Each of the options comes with its own pros and cons, but the final decision will be what resonates most with you.
With a new pressure wash trailer, you get value for money. Many pressure washer manufacturers make great trailers.
These companies do this at scale, they have all the equipment they need, and because it’s at scale, they get wholesale pricing. You’ll be hard-pressed to build something of a similar quality unless you are lucky enough to have the tools, time, and materials lying around.
What I find the most appealing about this option is that your pressure washer trailer will be delivered on time, and it’ll be high quality. Leaving you with the time you need to get your business setup.
A new trailer built by an expert, not by someone who has a vague idea of how these things work, no, by a company and someone with the experience to know what works and what doesn’t, a warranty to ensure that any issues are covered.
Though there is a drawback when you purchase a new trailer, you are paying the new and shiny tax. It doesn’t matter what it is; if it’s new and shiny, you pay an extra amount on it. A new trailer like a new car will lose value the second you drive it off of the lot, so these will be more pricey than a used pressure washing trailer rig, but for me, the benefits are worth it.
If you want to get a quality product but for a reduced price, then there’s the option to get a used one. It can offer excellent value for money, but with it being used, it does mean it comes with some associated risks.
As the trailer will have been used by another commercial pressure cleaner, you have no idea how well the previous owner took care of the trailer. This may mean that you end up footing the bill for repairs or improvements. It probably won’t come with a warranty. Unless you know the trailer and the person you are getting it from, you won’t know if it’s been covered in muck and left out all winter without any care for the damage occurring.
Another downside, one that may not jump out at you initially, is the additional spend to have the trailer rebranded to suit your needs.
Building It Yourself
The third and final option is to build your own trailer. This comes with it’s own risks, you’ll need to purchase all the parts and materials, watch plenty of tutorials, draw up plans, perhaps, ask around for the best configurations. Perhaps copy one of the leading brand’s designs.
People who specialize in building power washing trailers know everything there is to know about the building process, they’ve been through this before, so those gotchas which will catch you out, they know how to avoid them.
They’ve made the mistakes and have learned from them, so unless you’ve built a power washing trailer in the past, creating one from scratch will be a challenge, a fun one, but a challenge, which may end in a faulty, not fit for purpose trailer.
When you spend your time building the trailer, you lose valuable time that you could have spent setting up and promoting your business, so there is a cost associated with this route.
Also, you probably will pay the standard price for the parts and materials, with no discounts and certainly no wholesale discounts. As such, it will probably end up more expensive than a used or even a new trailer.
Trailer vs. Truck Setup – Which One Is Better?
Some people in the pressure washing industry prefer to use a trailer, while others want a power washing truck. Many professionals start out by having their pressure washing equipment truck mounted. It’s a cheaper way, as it costs less than a trailer setup.
Later, when they want to grow, that’s when they move onto pressure washer trailers. But which of these setups is better, and more importantly, which should you go for?
A truck-mounted rig is usually the route that most pressure washing businesses take. It’s cheap and usually much easier, especially when you are getting started and focusing on getting your brand exposed and establishing yourself as a new player.
Despite being cheaper, it can become pricier in the long run. It’s also not flexible and has some additional risks. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons that come with a truck-mounted rig.
It’s the easier option when you’re getting started: When you are new to the pressure washing industry, a truck can hold all your chemicals, equipment, and water. There’s no need to deal with hitch hooking, backing up trailers, or getting licensed to use a trailer.
It costs less in the beginning: Using a truck is the cheapest option to start with, even more so if you already own a truck, it’s simply a case of loading your pressure washing equipment in the back.
It takes up less space: A truck doesn’t take up the same amount of space as a trailer. It needs less space as it carries less, and you don’t need space for your truck and trailer.
It is a risk: Although the cheaper option to start out with, a truck can be very risky. The truck itself may decide to not start, or you may experience a flat. If you rely solely on your truck, you may wake up one day to regret it. With no other way to conduct your business, you’ll lose money and damage your reputation by not showing up to the jobs.
Less flexibility: Unlike a trailer, your truck will be less flexible. The truck being your only work vehicle means that if you need to use the truck for anything else, you’ll first have to remove all of your pressure washer gear.
Higher theft risk: A trailer is much less likely to be stolen. Your truck, however, there are high chances that someone will be tempted to steal the vehicle along with the 10 or so grand of pressure washing equipment in the back. Stealing a vehicle is much easier than stealing a trailer specialized for pressure washers.
You get less space: While your truck will offer mobility, it won’t have enough space to house every type of pressure washing equipment for all types of jobs. The back of a truck isn’t all that big, so you will be restricted on what you can carry at any given time.
It may not get as much attention: When you travel around doing your business, you want people to stop and look at you. It’s beneficial for your advertising. But a truck setup, regardless of the decals on the side, just draws fewer leads than a trailer that’s immediately “different”, different draws attention.
Not the best option for expansion: When it comes to expanding your business, a truck setup will be the worse option and pricier compared to the trailer. You’ll need to purchase another truck, which isn’t cheap. Then there are the insurance and road-worthy costs. Plus the costs of fitting it out. If you intend to rent out your washers, that’s not so easy with a truck versus a trailer. They are harder to upgrade, sell, and rather impractical. Having a single truck and multiple trailers is the better option for expansion.
A trailer setup is a more convenient option. Plus, the most successful pressure washing businesses will be hauling trailers, not using trucks. Even though the upfront cost is higher, it leads to more profiting in the long run. Plus, they are more flexible than trucks. Let’s get into the pros and cons in more detail.
More Flexible: A trailer offers more flexibility. You can hook it to any vehicle capable of pulling the load. So if on the day your truck decides to fail you, you can quickly get a replacement vehicle to get your jobs done, meaning no huge loss of income or reputation. It also allows you to add rental services to your offerings.
It’s more mobile: Not only are they flexible, but they’re more mobile. For example, you can mount the trailer at the job site, and if you need to go price up a job, you can leave the trailer behind and carry on around town without it.
Higher chance to attract customers: Customers will be drawn to you if you use a trailer over a truck. Simply because it makes it more obvious that you are a pressure washing business, it just appeals better.
Better security: There’s a lower chance of your trailer being stolen. I mean, what can a thief do with it? It’s not the easiest to sell. It has your business sign and name over it. There is a lot of effort required to prepare one of these for sale. Plus, the trailer is attached to a vehicle which makes it difficult to hitch up to. The thief would need a vehicle capable of towing your trailer. And you can get heavy-duty wheel boots or cable through wheels, so it cannot be moved. A tongue lock can also help secure it.
More business expansion options: It’s easier to expand your business when you use a trailer. You don’t need an entire truck and all the associated costs with a truck. You just need a new trailer. It doesn’t need fuel; maintenance is lower and cheaper to purchase than a new vehicle.
It’s not a multi-purpose unit: A pressure washing trailer specializes in carrying your pressure washer and the equipment it needs. This isn’t designed for other uses.
Higher upfront cost: The trailer is a costly acquisition when starting out, assuming you already have a vehicle. Then choosing to also purchase a pressure washer trailer is a costly option.
It takes up a lot of space: Trailers are great to have but to store them takes up space. With your vehicle, you only have to store it. No additional space is needed. The equipment is locked in the back. Trailers do, however, need more space. Firstly they aren’t small, and because of this, you need enough space to store them plus your vehicle. When you move up to multiple trailers, this becomes a huge consideration, which can be quite inconvenient.
What Are the Essentials for a Pressure Washer Trailer?
When you are looking to set up a pressure washer trailer, there are some essentials that you should take into account before you start conducting business through trailer usage. Here are some features and specifications that I think you should consider for any trailer setup.
The Trailer’s Features
Your trailer can come with many different features. Each of these features will make your life easier and improve your pressure washing business. Some features you can have are:
Spare Tire: Having a spare tire is important; you don’t want to be stranded at a job site or in the middle of a road at night because you got a flat.
Full-size wheels: If you are doing a lot of highway driving, then full-size wheels are ideal.
LED lights: Having LED lights not only make your trailer look much fancier, but they keep you safe on the road. LED Lights ensure that drivers are aware of your presence, reducing the chances of accidents. Some LED lights you can specify are brake and trailer lights, license plate lights, and turn signals.
Safety features: Keeping yourself and your employees safe has to be a top priority. So choosing features that keep you safe is important, such as breakaway brakes, reflectors, hitch chains, and clearance lights, will make a huge difference in safety.
Enclosed Trailer: Some trailers aren’t open-faced, leaving your equipment and chemicals sat there for the easy taking when unsupervised. Enclosed trailers give you the ability to lock away equipment and accessories when not in use.
The Pressure Washing Equipment
You are going to need some power washing equipment. Here are some options:
Commercial duty engine: You will want to use a commercial duty pressure washer paired to a triplex pump. You need that higher output and longevity.
Triplex plunger pump: I think that it’s essential to have a triplex plunger pump. The largest option provides 4 GPM and above and generates over 5,000 PSI.
Hot water capabilities: Having the ability to generate hot water via a hot water burner I think is necessary. If you want your business to offer a wide variety of surfaces, you need hot water for it’s cleaning capabilities. Hot water does a better job at cleaning various surfaces, removing stubborn dirt and other materials much easier, reducing your time spent on that job, freeing you up for other jobs.
Water tank: You will have to carry a water tank large enough to cover a day worth of washing on your mobile power washing rig. You need to plan your days correctly as a failure to plan out how much water you need. It is going to be a failed job. You can’t expect to fill up using a customer’s water supply, so plan to take everything you need.
Fuel tanks: Your burner and your commercial pressure washer will be burning fuel all day long, so you need to make sure that you are carrying spare fuel on board. You can’t let your machines run out of fuel and waste time having to go get more.
Detergent tanks: Asides from hot water, you will need a quality detergent for any cleaning job. Adding detergent tanks or storage to your trailer will make a huge difference. This will make your tasks easier and allow you to mix chemicals onsite for those stubborn dirt’s and different surfaces.
Hose reels: hose reels will obviously be necessary; you need a lot of hose and a place to store it. You won’t be able to use your power washer without a hose! You can get options that are spring-driven, hand-cranked, pivoting, and even electric-driven reels.
You want your weight distributed correctly on your trailer. The heaviest items should be towards your hitch, such as your water tank. Any pressure washing equipment such as the support from fuel tanks, burner, and the engine should also be placed towards the hitch.
A mobile contractor may drive with an empty tank and fill up on the job site, ensuring a buffer for high flow rate pumps. For those who can’t do that, you want a trailer axle situated closed to the back. This helps keep the trailer stable.
When building or purchasing a new trailer, load distribution is a huge consideration. Incorrectly loaded trailers will mean accidents when driving.
Pressure Washer Trailers – How Long Do They Last and Maintenance/Repairs
You are carrying heaving loads around regularly. As a business, you are putting your equipment through a lot of wear and tear. So you need to take time to take proper care of your trailer. Check it weekly for any sides of damage, and get it repaired and cleaned. Any faulty parts should be replaced.
Doing so ensures that your investment lasts as long as possible.
Always take the time to inspect it properly. I know, after a long day of work, you just want to go home, but you need to check for leaks and any other damage to the trailer so you can take appropriate action. Doing so early prevents that problem become a much larger issue.
Some companies which sell custom trailers provide tune-ups, and they may even clean it. Don’t hesitate to contact them.
Pressure washer trailers are hugely useful, and I feel a much better option than a truck. They are mobile, flexible, give you the ability to chemical clean, and in the long run, are the cheaper option while also looking like a real business.
Just back up a vehicle with enough torque to pull your trailer and drive off. No worries about breakdowns, as you can easily rent a vehicle while yours is being repaired.
You can offer your pressure washer services for anyone who needs them and even offer your trailers up for rent, so you don’t have resources sitting around doing nothing. Multiple revenue streams are ideal.
Pressure washer trailers are just more professional looking and will ensure your business can operate and grow.
Hopefully, the tips above have helped, and you managed to find and setup the right trailer for you.