Re: How to Start A Home Services Business
Alright folks, if you’ve been looking around for a solid business idea. But still feel like you haven’t found ‘The right one’, then fear not – I have the solution you’re looking for.
First off, let’s get something straight – there is no perfect business. Some are definitely better than others, especially if you’re just starting out.
I am not the first one to say this, this is an opinion echoed by many business veterans – if you’re just starting out, and especially if you’re short on cash, start a service-based business.
You can do it online, or in person.
You all know I’m a big fan of online business, but there’s definitely something to be said about an in-person, offline business. Namely, that you can earn cash in hand.
If you’re an able-bodied young man (or even an older man), then home services is phenomenal.
By home services, we can include the following:
- Concrete pressure washing
- House washing
- Window washing
- Rain gutter cleaning
- Solar panel cleaning
- Roof cleaning
Of course, there are many others.
Painting, plumbing, electrical services, kitchen cabinet installation, handyman services, and so on.
But for the sake of this article, we’re going to talk about the services that I performed for the summer of 2020, which earned me about $12,000.
Concrete Pressure Washing
If you’re going to do this, I highly recommend buying a surface cleaner… either right at the start, or later on. It will cut down the time it takes to deliver the service by A LOT.
House washing: probably my favorite service. Read my house wash guide here. All you really need is detergent, bleach, a bucket, and to choose between downstreaming or using the x-jet.
Window washing: by far one of the cheaper options. You can literally start with some squeegees, mops, bucket, soap, and extension pole. I had some great times just listening to audiobooks and working out in the sun making over $100 an hour.
Rain gutter cleaning: This one is also a money-maker, but you definitely have to be careful.
Before accepting these jobs, try to get a good look at the house you’ll be working on. Houses with flat or very low-pitched roofs are child’s play and can usually be completed in under 2 hours.
However, if the pitch is high, then going on the roof may not even be an option and you’ll be forced to use a ladder, with you should charge more for.
Solar panel cleaning – I never actually ended up doing this. It depends on where you’re located.
Major money maker. People will pay big money if you can get rid of moss and debris on their roof, which can be done in two ways – spray it and forget it, which involves using a concentrated does of detergent and bleach on the whole thing, and then just letting it do it’s thing.
Or, you can get up there and blast all the gunk off, which you should obviously charge a lot more for.
Frankly, if you’re smart, and you follow this guide, you can make a whole lot more than that.
Why this business?
- The startup costs are low, low, low
- There is a LOT of demand
- Once you get some experience, and can do jobs fast, you can really start earning more
- The customers are generally decent people. In fact, if you work on some big houses, you’ll get to know some very wealthy individuals who might be willing to help you out
Let’s go into detail.
Low, Low Startup Costs
When I started my business, I had access to some of my dad’s equipment – an extension pole, some squeegees, and so on. I didn’t even own a car, so I just went out and bought a cheap Dodge Caravan.
I think it was an ’05. But hey, it was a solid vehicle, and never gave me any issues.
I also got myself a ladder
And perhaps the most important thing – advertising.
Even though they can be total dicks, I still recommend opening a Yelp account when starting out.
With just $250 in ad spend per month, I was able to earn that back usually within the fist job. Everything after that was profit.
The other site I recommend is Bark.com.
This one works a little differently – you purchase a set amount of tokens. The company will send you leads every day, for the areas of service that you’ve chosen.
You’ll be given a few details about what the lead needs done, so you can then decide whether or not to use your tokens to purchase access to it.
You still have to call them/ text/ or email them yourself.
Here’s another bonus: You get to practice selling.
These are all warm leads, meaning they’ve already expressed interest in working with you.
All you have to do is get more details about the job, confirm you can do it, and get them to agree to a price.
At first, don’t worry about pricing. Just get a few jobs going.
Funny story, my first job was actually on Craigslist. A guy was moving into a 10 year old house, and needed it cleaned badly.
I got a friend of mine to come out and help, and the owner could tell right away that we were total noobs… any ways, we got right to work (with… sponges, buckets of soap, and our ladders…).
This house wash ended up taking a couple of days. Man, it was brutal. The worst part, is that I had also bought a pressure washer, but since I had no idea how to use it, and I didn’t want to look like a fool and even end up damaging the house, I was just doing the whole thing by hand…
After you factor in gas and lunch, we were getting paid peanuts for this job… Actually, that’s still sugarcoating it. I straight up LOST money on my first job.
Luckily, the guy was satisfied with the results, and we parted on good terms.
Looking back, I could have definitely done the job in one day, on my own, with just the pressure washer and the x-jet, which I’ll get to in a second.
Cost break down:
Van – $2100 CAD (about $1500 USD)
Boots – $20
Ads – $500
Used little giant ladder – $200
Rubber gloves – $20
10” and 12” squeegees – $25
Vyper 100 ft hose – $100
Teflon tape – $2
Spray Nozzle – $15
BE 3800 PSI pressure washer – $1000 CAD (about $750 USD)
So, in total, we’re looking at about $3000 to start this business. If you already have a decent-sized vehicle of your own, then that already eliminates a massive expense for you.
The pressure washer is optional, but eventually, you should get one, because you can do so many more jobs with it.
Lots and Lots of Demand
One of the big problems I always had as an entrepreneur, was thinking that no one wanted to buy my stuff… even when there were clearly people who wanted to!
Also, when you enter an industry, you don’t know what you don’t know. I had no idea there was so much demand for these services!
Granted, there are lots of cheapskates out there – one person may have no problem paying you $300 plus to get their gutters cleaned, whereas another will balk at just $150 for a house of similar size.
How you conduct your business is up to you. One strategy is to slash your prices by 50% of the competition when you are starting out.
However, within a month or so, I found that I was totally okay with charging HIGHER than average, because I KNEW that I did quality work, I was exceptionally friendly and easy to get along with, and I also tended to through in some small favors into my service packages, such as pressure washing some concrete in addition to a house wash.
Also, when you charge higher prices, you tend to work with higher quality people.
On the other hand, if you charge bargain prices, don’t be surprised if you end up dealing with very picky and hard-to-please people.
How Much You Can Earn (VERY Realistic)
Okay, this is why we’re all here, right?
If you implement everything I’ve outlined here, you can expect to earn $1000, AT THE VERY LEAST, within your first month.
In terms of pricing, I suggest calling around to different companies, pretending to be a customer.
Give them your neighbor’s address for different services, such as a house wash or gutter cleaning, and then ask for a quote.
Also, use this if you want, but a small psychological trick I would implement, is ending my price in either x25 or x75. Somehow it seems more ‘believable’ than just $200 or $300.
For myself, in Vancouver, Canada, I would charge the following, on average:
Rain gutter cleaning for a 2000 square foot home: usually between $250 and $325. The most I’ve charged was about $425 for a monster home, and the least was something like $225.
A house wash could go for anywhere between $300 to $500.
Windows – I did 5 for $125, and I recall doing about 25 for $275.
Roof Cleaning – I think the most I made from this was about $750 – but that was with gutters and windows included.
Another word of advice – don’t get intimidated by the client and start adding on extra services in order to ‘get them to say yes’.
Things to Keep in Mind with This Business
In the beginning, you don’t want to have anything set in stone.
You’re still learning and getting a feel for it, so don’t go crazy registering your business and getting insurance and all that.
Wait a month or two, until you’re sure that you can see yourself doing this long-term.
On that note, some nosy homeowners will inevitably ask you if you have insurance.
To be completely honest, I may or may not have lied through my teeth multiple times, saying that I was fully insured, when I wasn’t at all.
Usually, just telling them is enough. If they press you to see your papers, then you should just move on if you don’t have them.
Some days will be harder than others. You will get dirty. You may get scrapes and bruises.
Safety is always priority number one – if you ever feel unsafe doing something, then stop and figure out a better way.
No job is worth losing your life.
I learned the hard way – after having been on a roll for a while, I got reckless one day. I placed my ladder on some wooden steps connecting to a balcony.
I hadn’t clued in that wood retains moisture, so it was still wet and slippery from the rainfall from the previous night. I got up about halfway, and the ladder just slipped from under me, causing me to dislocate my shoulder.
The homeowner rushed outside to see if I was alright. I banged up my shin and knee, and popped my shoulder back in. I said I wasn’t hurt, but I was. I couldn’t even lift my left arm.
Luckily, that job was almost over, so she was generous and paid me.
That’s another thing – you’ll find that most clients are decent people.
Fact is, older folks need able-bodied young guns to take care of the dangerous, labor-intensive stuff.
If you’re in the United States or Canada, or most other western nations, for that matter, you are living in the best countries on the planet to earn a living performing labor. The same services cost next to nothing in the third world, so be thankful!
My last piece of advice would be this: be personable.
Don’t just go in, do the job, and get paid – you want to make an effort to establish a long-term relationship with the client.
Chances are, if they paid for your service once, and they liked it, and they liked you, they will be much more likely to buy from you again.
Once you build up a solid reputation, you’d be surprise at how fast things can snowball!
Despite all the crap that was happening, I started this business in the summer of 2020, and I ended up doing quite well.
I enjoyed what I did, and it felt phenomenal to finally be making cold hard cash, and proving my parents that, yes, I actually do have what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
I hope the same for you. Follow the guide, reach out and ask me anything you want, and I’ll be happy to help.
I thought I’d put these at the end.
First off, we have the course + group chat I enrolled in.
Funny story how I got into this, actually. As some of you may know, I was a big fan of the blog Good Looking Loser.
I was clicking through the forum there one day (which is surprisingly still active), and found something quite intriguing.
A member named ‘Gravy’ was posting about how he was pulling in 20k a month… I checked out his Youtube channel to evaluate whether he was legit or not. You never know these days.
I hit him up on Facebook with a few questions, and boom… I paid my fee, and I was in the group.
In all honesty, if it weren’t for his course and the Telegram chat, I wouldn’t have made even half the money I did. In fact… I probably would’ve just thrown in the towel a few weeks in!
All the guys in there (about 15 or so – it’s still pretty small and exclusive!) were extremely helpful, and they’re all doing well in their businesses. Someone was always available to answer questions and provide guidance, including Gravy/David himself. Oh, and don’t even get me started on how motivating it was, to see these other guys winning every day.
You can check the course out here. No, that’s not an affiliate link – I just wholeheartedly believe that, if you’re going to buy any course at all, buy one that will have a high chance of giving you a stellar ROI! David is a wonderful friend and mentor, so rest assured that he’ll be there to guide you in the right direction (aka making $$$).
These are affiliate links. I wouldn’t be sharing them if I didn’t think you could benefit from them.
X-Jet M5 https://www.powerwash.com/x-jet-m5.html Make sure you get the right one for your machine! You can buy one for 2000-3000 PSI and use it with a machine with higher PSI, but you cannot do the inverse.
Pressure washer – Frankly, I don’t think anything under 4000 PSI is worth buying. If you do, you’ll eventually want to upgrade, and then you’ll have to pay even more! 4000 PSI is a great starting point, and will definitely have more than enough power for you to complete your jobs quickly and effectively.
100ft hose flexzilla – I used another brand but it was honestly shit. Flexzilla is the only brand I’ve ever used that had almost no kinks at all.
100ft pressure washer hose (when you’re doing larger jobs, this will come in handy. You’ll be able to wrap around the whole thing with this, rather than having to drag your pressure washer around with you the whole way. In this business, you need to be as strategic as possible with how you do the job from start to finish. Keep in mind that you’ll also need to buy two connector nuts for this hose – I prefer to use the one with a quick connect)
Teflon tape (at first I would always get major leakage… it was annoying, and I got unnecessarily wet. Use this stuff and you’ll have 0 leaks)
Sutner trigger (believe me, your hands will get fatigued after constantly gripping and pulling the trigger. This is far easier to grip)
Roofing pants – these are totally optional, but I suggest using a very heavy-duty pair of pants, since you’ll inevitably be sitting on all sorts of rough surfaces. I bought a pair from Carhart, and I shit you not, they had a rip on the back within 3 days…
Squeegees – Doesn’t necessarily have to be from Ettore – the cheap stuff from your local hardware store will work, but there will come a point where you’ll want more versatility and higher quality.
Rubber gloves (you don’t want to get bleach on you)
Jerry can (you don’t want to run out of gas during a job)
Extension pole – (with window washing, you’ll want to find squeegees that can easily screw on. Later on, when you’ve got way more clients, I’d invest in a water-fed pole in order to really make things go faster)
Garbage/compost bags – these are optional, but it’s always good to be prepared. Some days, you’ll have A LOT of debris that you need to get rid of.
Spray Nozzle – Just get whatever feels right from Lowe’s, Home Depot, or another hardware store. I’d suggest something with metal, because you’ll likely be dropping it here and there, and want it to last.
Compression shirts – protects your skin, while at the same time retaining heat. Great for working in mildly cold weather.