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Darren75

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Hey all,

I am a new pressure washing business that started in March and finding it very slow going, well actually no existent at the moment. I have had success with three of my neighbours and also a friends patio and driveway which led to 5 other people in that street having work done also. 

Advertising tried

Setup a website, The problem with this is SEO costs a fortune and without it, you won't be found in organic traffic.

Google ads, ran a paid ad and it cost me £45 which got me one job.

Facebook business, posted my completed work with before and after, no interest yet.

Facebook local For Sale groups, had no interest from my ads.

Checkatrade, been with them for 2 weeks, no work as of yet.

Yell, no interest yet.

Flyers, posted 300 in homes where the driveways were in need of attention, no interest as of yet, had some better flyers done and will give them a try.

I have a  van mounted system with boiler/tank/washer and as you can guess that hasn't come cheap, most of my savings have gone and this next few months will either make or break me. 

I appreciate any advice anyone can give me and thank you for your time.

Link to post

A few things.

First off SEO doesn't have to be expensive you can do it all yourself. You will need to do some research, in fact if you do a search on here (box top right) on SEO you will find a number of posts giving some good info. Any company that states 'we will get you to page 1 on google' isn't trust worthy!!! It dose depend on competition in your local area. Google do have some good guides on seo and have a look at Google Search Central on youtube as they have masses of videos on seo and how search works.

Get registered on Google Local, it's free and when someone searches Pressure washing near me you should then come up.

Facebook can be a long game i.e. you might need to post stuff once a week to get noticed, also try Facebook local groups. You don't need to spend on ads as some local groups allow 1 advertising post a week etc. 

Is your van sign written as that is a mobile advertising platform!

300 leaflets is a very small number. If you have time between jobs then drop leaflets, no point sitting at home trying to think about it get out there and be pro active. One thing to remember is you can't see the rear of peoples properties so a lot more will have patios that need cleaning etc, leaflet them all, you never know. Also try different areas in your local area, not just the posh bits 🙂

Try different leaflets maybe even put some rough prices like £4 a square meter minimum £50 - I have no idea on pw charges so don't use those numbers 🙂  

Remember to take before and after photos of every job - get permission first. Post them on your Facebook page, instagram, your web site etc.

Let us know how you get on.

Link to post
3 hours ago, Darren75 said:

Hey all,

I am a new pressure washing business that started in March and finding it very slow going, well actually no existent at the moment. I have had success with three of my neighbours and also a friends patio and driveway which led to 5 other people in that street having work done also. 

Advertising tried

Setup a website, The problem with this is SEO costs a fortune and without it, you won't be found in organic traffic.

Google ads, ran a paid ad and it cost me £45 which got me one job.

Facebook business, posted my completed work with before and after, no interest yet.

Facebook local For Sale groups, had no interest from my ads.

Checkatrade, been with them for 2 weeks, no work as of yet.

Yell, no interest yet.

Flyers, posted 300 in homes where the driveways were in need of attention, no interest as of yet, had some better flyers done and will give them a try.

I have a  van mounted system with boiler/tank/washer and as you can guess that hasn't come cheap, most of my savings have gone and this next few months will either make or break me. 

I appreciate any advice anyone can give me and thank you for your time.

There are many ways to draw in work without ridiculously large costs.

I found that approaching potential customers face to face was best.

I don't have a website, I've never paid for facebook advertising I wouldn't dream of using checkatrade either.

The best customers i gained were

pubs

Schools

children's nursery's

takeaways chip shops

fuel stations

local town council & parish Council

Holiday parks

Building site property development

 

it only takes a few jobs where you are seen to be making a difference and the word of mouth and calls start happening

Last year and this year have been really slow for certain trades who have started out but it will pick up.

Try not to be drawn into spending large amounts of money on advertising and stick more to traditional free methods in my opinion

  • Agree 1
Link to post
laddergarder
Posted (edited)

Try not think of it like a one catch deal vs cost of advertising. For something like pressure washing, what your after is a book of clients you can call each year,

"Hi there we cleaned your drive way last year, would you like booked in again this year before our diary starts filling up".

That sort of thing.

From this perspective you will see that £45 with Google isn't so bad.

Have a look at this

Also post thousands of flyers. Everywhere other than council estates(no offense intended, I was brought up in one, but they will unlikely need your service). If they don't have a drive way they will have patios decking, or a friend that was looking for preasure washing.

Get your website on your flyers and the sites ranking will go up, as people visit.

Edited by laddergarder
Link to post
14 hours ago, Darren75 said:

Hey all,

I am a new pressure washing business that started in March and finding it very slow going, well actually no existent at the moment. I have had success with three of my neighbours and also a friends patio and driveway which led to 5 other people in that street having work done also. 

Advertising tried

Setup a website, The problem with this is SEO costs a fortune and without it, you won't be found in organic traffic.

Google ads, ran a paid ad and it cost me £45 which got me one job.

Facebook business, posted my completed work with before and after, no interest yet.

Facebook local For Sale groups, had no interest from my ads.

Checkatrade, been with them for 2 weeks, no work as of yet.

Yell, no interest yet.

Flyers, posted 300 in homes where the driveways were in need of attention, no interest as of yet, had some better flyers done and will give them a try.

I have a  van mounted system with boiler/tank/washer and as you can guess that hasn't come cheap, most of my savings have gone and this next few months will either make or break me. 

I appreciate any advice anyone can give me and thank you for your time.

What van system did you go for? Thanks 

Link to post
21 hours ago, ched999uk said:

A few things.

First off SEO doesn't have to be expensive you can do it all yourself. You will need to do some research, in fact if you do a search on here (box top right) on SEO you will find a number of posts giving some good info. Any company that states 'we will get you to page 1 on google' isn't trust worthy!!! It dose depend on competition in your local area. Google do have some good guides on seo and have a look at Google Search Central on youtube as they have masses of videos on seo and how search works.

Get registered on Google Local, it's free and when someone searches Pressure washing near me you should then come up.

Facebook can be a long game i.e. you might need to post stuff once a week to get noticed, also try Facebook local groups. You don't need to spend on ads as some local groups allow 1 advertising post a week etc. 

Is your van sign written as that is a mobile advertising platform!

300 leaflets is a very small number. If you have time between jobs then drop leaflets, no point sitting at home trying to think about it get out there and be pro active. One thing to remember is you can't see the rear of peoples properties so a lot more will have patios that need cleaning etc, leaflet them all, you never know. Also try different areas in your local area, not just the posh bits 🙂

Try different leaflets maybe even put some rough prices like £4 a square meter minimum £50 - I have no idea on pw charges so don't use those numbers 🙂  

Remember to take before and after photos of every job - get permission first. Post them on your Facebook page, instagram, your web site etc.

Let us know how you get on.

Hey ched999uk,

I am with Google Business and can be seen, my website was done by myself and as such probably is not the best and could do with some optimizing.  As for the SEO aspect I'm looking in to hiring somebody as I'm clearly out of my depth after days sifting through articles.  

Van sign writing is a great idea, and as you say free advertising, where ever I go. The only problem is my funds are very low and need some work before I can have that done.

As I'm new to the pressure washing I have started my prices low at £2.50 for block paving, and have flyers with Start from £80. I'm finding people look at me shocked when I quote them £150 for 60sqm. This particular customer said she thought it would only be £40, her driveway was 60sqm, and as it was near to where I live, I quoted her £120. I did the job for £60 and then she came out halfway through and asked me to clean her garage, and yes you guessed it, she didn't pay for that. 

I have made several posts on my Facebook Business page detailing the before and after pictures with a little caption of what was being done. There hasn't been any interest yet.

Link to post
3 minutes ago, Darren75 said:

Hey ched999uk,

I am with Google Business and can be seen, my website was done by myself and as such probably is not the best and could do with some optimizing.  As for the SEO aspect I'm looking in to hiring somebody as I'm clearly out of my depth after days sifting through articles.  

Van sign writing is a great idea, and as you say free advertising, where ever I go. The only problem is my funds are very low and need some work before I can have that done.

As I'm new to the pressure washing I have started my prices low at £2.50 for block paving, and have flyers with Start from £80. I'm finding people look at me shocked when I quote them £150 for 60sqm. This particular customer said she thought it would only be £40, her driveway was 60sqm, and as it was near to where I live, I quoted her £120. I did the job for £60 and then she came out halfway through and asked me to clean her garage, and yes you guessed it, she didn't pay for that. 

I have made several posts on my Facebook Business page detailing the before and after pictures with a little caption of what was being done. There hasn't been any interest yet.

You should try @K in Kent for SEO. He went way above and beyond anything I’d expected to get my site to rank for keywords. That’s if he’s still doing it. 

Link to post
21 hours ago, Apw1210 said:

There are many ways to draw in work without ridiculously large costs.

I found that approaching potential customers face to face was best.

I don't have a website, I've never paid for facebook advertising I wouldn't dream of using checkatrade either.

The best customers i gained were

pubs

Schools

children's nursery's

takeaways chip shops

fuel stations

local town council & parish Council

Holiday parks

Building site property development

 

it only takes a few jobs where you are seen to be making a difference and the word of mouth and calls start happening

Last year and this year have been really slow for certain trades who have started out but it will pick up.

Try not to be drawn into spending large amounts of money on advertising and stick more to traditional free methods in my opinion

Hey Apw1210,

I think that is a good idea, face to face, I was thinking of doing leaflets at these places. Takes some thick skin I bet, from what I've herd, I'll give it a try and build up confidence. 

Checkatrade hasn't given me any customers as of yet, they are charging me £90 and you get 2 months free, so If it has not improved by month two, I'll cancel it.

Link to post
20 hours ago, laddergarder said:

Try not think of it like a one catch deal vs cost of advertising. For something like pressure washing, what your after is a book of clients you can call each year,

"Hi there we cleaned your drive way last year, would you like booked in again this year before our diary starts filling up".

That sort of thing.

From this perspective you will see that £45 with Google isn't so bad.

Have a look at this

Also post thousands of flyers. Everywhere other than council estates(no offense intended, I was brought up in one, but they will unlikely need your service). If they don't have a drive way they will have patios decking, or a friend that was looking for preasure washing.

Get your website on your flyers and the sites ranking will go up, as people visit.

Hey Laddergarder,

It is hard not to watch my incomings and out goings at the moment as I watch my savings go. You are right about the leaflets, a few hundred are nothing, and as you said should be aiming for thousands. May need some good walking boots for that 🙂

Link to post
10 hours ago, Mile said:

What van system did you go for? Thanks 

Hi Mile,

I am not sure if I can say where I purchased it from on this Forum, but it is a Briggs & Stratton 25ltr, 250bar, Mazzoni Firebox Boiler & 450Ltr tank van mounted.

20210303_112124.jpg

Link to post
26 minutes ago, ksp said:

You should try @K in Kent for SEO. He went way above and beyond anything I’d expected to get my site to rank for keywords. That’s if he’s still doing it. 

Hey ksp,

Thanks, I'll send him a message.

Link to post
10 minutes ago, Darren75 said:

Hey ched999uk,

I am with Google Business and can be seen, my website was done by myself and as such probably is not the best and could do with some optimizing.  As for the SEO aspect I'm looking in to hiring somebody as I'm clearly out of my depth after days sifting through articles.  

Van sign writing is a great idea, and as you say free advertising, where ever I go. The only problem is my funds are very low and need some work before I can have that done.

As I'm new to the pressure washing I have started my prices low at £2.50 for block paving, and have flyers with Start from £80. I'm finding people look at me shocked when I quote them £150 for 60sqm. This particular customer said she thought it would only be £40, her driveway was 60sqm, and as it was near to where I live, I quoted her £120. I did the job for £60 and then she came out halfway through and asked me to clean her garage, and yes you guessed it, she didn't pay for that. 

I have made several posts on my Facebook Business page detailing the before and after pictures with a little caption of what was being done. There hasn't been any interest yet.

For basic SEO make sure you have words that you think people will be searching for on the page, in titles on the page, as names of images and in image alt text. When you used Google adwords there was a tool that you used to look at words where you type in words and google suggests others. Use that to find words that Google associates with Pressure washing - like driveway cleaning etc and make sure those words are on your pages. Paying someone for SEO might get you closer to page 1 but it may be expensive and take a good few months. Sign writing your van might be quicker and maybe even cheaper and it gets you in front of people who might not use Google!! Plus it will be an advert when ever you do a job to the surrounding properties. Also when you finish a job leaflet the surrounding street or streets as you have already paid for the diesel to be there!

As I say have a search on here for SEO as there have been some good, basic posts written that are easy to understand and implement - unless you are using something like Wix. Do you have your own domain name and pay a company to host it or is it a freebee one? Google needs to trust your site and understand what it's about, trust doesn't come quickly, you need to be the local expert in PW - as far as google is concerned that is. 

As for Facebook - sometimes it takes time - just repeatedly getting your name in front of people. Sometimes it's about people seeing your posts again and again and then trusting you to give them a quote. Get friends, family etc to write reviews, like etc your pages etc. 

I assume before you bought your van system you looked at what the competition was and prices in your area? 

As for the lady who beat you down on price, maybe what you could do is ask for a positive google/facebook review in return for a reduction - bit iffy to do but maybe phrased the right way could help in getting +ve reviews? Plus when she said can you clean her garage, be up front and say Yes no problem it will be an additional £x, that way it's up to her if she wants to pay the extra. People assume that while you are there jobs are free, don't let them get away with taking the mickey, unless it's easy and you are getting a good price, or you think there might be follow on work. Any extra work needs to benefit you. I realise it's difficult when starting out especially after a big outlay, you need an income asap. 

I know PW is different to window cleaning but have a look at some of the startup threads @HWCS has a great one. He put in lots of leg work and his work has snowballed at an amazing rate, so much so that, after 18 months I think, he has taken on a part timer!

While you haven't got much work on you have the most time to promote your business. make sure you are listed on Bing maps, Apple maps, yell.com, any reputable listing helps not only to get your name out there but some create back links to your site which helps. Don't go for listings on unknown directories as that will harm your seo.

Starting a business is not easy at all, it take huge efforts, 100% of your time at the start, you have to throw every waking hr at it. If your budget is tight maybe buy some books on basic SEO - read reviews and see if it's at a level you can get your head round, maybe look at some books on basic graphic design or sales so your leaflets can look their best. Do you know anyone else who runs a business or is into graphic design that could give you some pointers. 

Think outside the box, maybe you could offer to clean a local playgroups out door play area in return for a placard outside or get local paper to write a piece on a startup pw company cleaning a care home's patio for free or nhs 10% off anything you can think of to get your business name in front of people.

Link to post
Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, ched999uk said:

For basic SEO make sure you have words that you think people will be searching for on the page, in titles on the page, as names of images and in image alt text. When you used Google adwords there was a tool that you used to look at words where you type in words and google suggests others. Use that to find words that Google associates with Pressure washing - like driveway cleaning etc and make sure those words are on your pages. Paying someone for SEO might get you closer to page 1 but it may be expensive and take a good few months. Sign writing your van might be quicker and maybe even cheaper and it gets you in front of people who might not use Google!! Plus it will be an advert when ever you do a job to the surrounding properties. Also when you finish a job leaflet the surrounding street or streets as you have already paid for the diesel to be there!

As I say have a search on here for SEO as there have been some good, basic posts written that are easy to understand and implement - unless you are using something like Wix. Do you have your own domain name and pay a company to host it or is it a freebee one? Google needs to trust your site and understand what it's about, trust doesn't come quickly, you need to be the local expert in PW - as far as google is concerned that is. 

As for Facebook - sometimes it takes time - just repeatedly getting your name in front of people. Sometimes it's about people seeing your posts again and again and then trusting you to give them a quote. Get friends, family etc to write reviews, like etc your pages etc. 

I assume before you bought your van system you looked at what the competition was and prices in your area? 

As for the lady who beat you down on price, maybe what you could do is ask for a positive google/facebook review in return for a reduction - bit iffy to do but maybe phrased the right way could help in getting +ve reviews? Plus when she said can you clean her garage, be up front and say Yes no problem it will be an additional £x, that way it's up to her if she wants to pay the extra. People assume that while you are there jobs are free, don't let them get away with taking the mickey, unless it's easy and you are getting a good price, or you think there might be follow on work. Any extra work needs to benefit you. I realise it's difficult when starting out especially after a big outlay, you need an income asap. 

I know PW is different to window cleaning but have a look at some of the startup threads @HWCS has a great one. He put in lots of leg work and his work has snowballed at an amazing rate, so much so that, after 18 months I think, he has taken on a part timer!

While you haven't got much work on you have the most time to promote your business. make sure you are listed on Bing maps, Apple maps, yell.com, any reputable listing helps not only to get your name out there but some create back links to your site which helps. Don't go for listings on unknown directories as that will harm your seo.

Starting a business is not easy at all, it take huge efforts, 100% of your time at the start, you have to throw every waking hr at it. If your budget is tight maybe buy some books on basic SEO - read reviews and see if it's at a level you can get your head round, maybe look at some books on basic graphic design or sales so your leaflets can look their best. Do you know anyone else who runs a business or is into graphic design that could give you some pointers. 

Think outside the box, maybe you could offer to clean a local playgroups out door play area in return for a placard outside or get local paper to write a piece on a startup pw company cleaning a care home's patio for free or nhs 10% off anything you can think of to get your business name in front of people.

Hey ched999uk,

That is a very detailed post with a lot of thought gone in to it, you made some very good points. It makes me realise that I am not doing everything I could be to find work. I had got myself in a bit of a rut thinking negatively, I'll be on bread and water this month and get a sign for the van, and lose some weight at the same time. I will try Bing and Apple maps, My website is with Wix and I do have an email info@mywebsite.

The prices I charge are based off google and a few other sites, for instance block paving is charged from £2.50 - £3.50pm² for cleaning and sanding.

Having a good read of @HWCS posts.

Thank you for your tiime this morning ched999uk.

Edited by Darren75
Link to post
laddergarder
57 minutes ago, Darren75 said:

Hey Laddergarder,

It is hard not to watch my incomings and out goings at the moment as I watch my savings go. You are right about the leaflets, a few hundred are nothing, and as you said should be aiming for thousands. May need some good walking boots for that 🙂

If your not pressure washing you should be leafleting. Get the ipod out and get going 😄

I completely understand where you are at with cash. Go with the cheap options. Flyers, Google business listing. I have wasted hundreds on newspaper adds, and other costly advertising that seldom covers its cost. Word of mouth, flyers, website/Google listing, van vinyl has been whats worked well for me.

 

Link to post
5 minutes ago, Darren75 said:

Hey ched999uk,

That is a very detailed post with a lot of thought gone in to it, you made some very good points. It makes me realise that I am not doing everything I could be to find work. I had got myself in a bit of a rut thinking negatively, I'll be on bread and water this month and get a sign for the van, and lose some weight at the same time. I will try Bing and Apple maps, My website is with Wix and I do have an email info@mywebsite.

The prices I charge are based off google and a few other sites, for instance block paving is charged from £2.50 - £3.50pm² for cleaning and sanding.

Having a good read of @HWCS posts.

Thank you for your tiime this morning ched999uk.

No problems mate, happy to throw some ideas your way. Personally I don't like wix as it locks you into their system plus I'm not sure you can optimise as good as you might. Also they have so much extra code behind the page it's a bit more difficult for google to see the actual content vs the code. That said it does give you a site that people can see - sometimes a leaflet will get you a visitor to your website as they want to know a bit more. 

I may be a bit biased against wix as I have been building websites for about 20 years! I still hand code things, so I am a bit of a dinosaur. There are some great sites using wordpress and SeoYoast plugin that seems to work well. Wordpress is similar to wix system that is a more you add words and images and the theme does the presentation structure. But again it's more stuff to learn. Bottom line is that as long as you own the domain and it's registered in your name any links created will stay if you move hosting in future. 

Maybe a budget sign might be a magnetic one from ebay, OK so not as nice as a purpose printed one that fits the van but at least it gets your name on the van. Probably best not to leave them on side when going down motorway!!

I have no idea on prices as it does very area to area - you might find some competitors in your area put prices on their websites 🙂 

Get some comfy shoes and lots of leaflets delivered. 

Link to post
5 hours ago, Darren75 said:

Hey Apw1210,

I think that is a good idea, face to face, I was thinking of doing leaflets at these places. Takes some thick skin I bet, from what I've herd, I'll give it a try and build up confidence. 

Checkatrade hasn't given me any customers as of yet, they are charging me £90 and you get 2 months free, so If it has not improved by month two, I'll cancel it.

Meeting people interacting with them is easy, it's your business so sell yourself with a smile warm welcome and pride.

Get some leaflets and get out there and do your very best mate

You got this 👍

Link to post
10 hours ago, Darren75 said:

Hi Mile,

I am not sure if I can say where I purchased it from on this Forum, but it is a Briggs & Stratton 25ltr, 250bar, Mazzoni Firebox Boiler & 450Ltr tank van mounted.

20210303_112124.jpg

Do you know what is the lowest pressure and lowest water flow you can go on that machine? Thanks 

Link to post

I dont know the PW industry at all but going by a few local handy men roumd here theres not really a great deal of work but we are quite rural.

Get a good facebook page up and running, hammer the local selling pages and flyer the life out of tmyour area, if i was doing pw work id hit alot of industrial areas, as id say theyd need a good clean.

Hope it takes off for you 👍👍

Link to post
scottish cleaning service

My PW work picked up early this year when we had some sunny weather but it seemed to have dried up. I just think it correlates with the weather, hot and sunny and I get a many calls each week, I only have one to do this week. Its a nice earner when you know that a few litres of fuel will see the job out.

Link to post
21 hours ago, laddergarder said:

If your not pressure washing you should be leafleting. Get the ipod out and get going 😄

I completely understand where you are at with cash. Go with the cheap options. Flyers, Google business listing. I have wasted hundreds on newspaper adds, and other costly advertising that seldom covers its cost. Word of mouth, flyers, website/Google listing, van vinyl has been whats worked well for me.

 

Hey laddergarder,

I have just won my first job this month for a driveway with lots of weeds, with that money I will invest in van vinyl. 

  • Like 3
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