Advertising for Residential Work



Hello everyone, I am new to the business just started setting it up about a month and a half ago. This board and others have been very helpful to me. But I have a question, for obtaining residential pressure washing work was has been the most effective way to get your customers? Flyers, phone book, newspapers. And what percentage of your business comes from that source. Your help would be great.


P.S. How often are round tables held? I missed this last one in D.C. I live in Delaware.

Email me if you chose at


New Member
i use doorhangers. this way i can target the areas and houses i want or don't want to do. it helps me get exercise before the good weather gets here. the hangers are less than a nickle apiece and work very well. i'll spend four hours putting out doorhangers and two or three weeks doing the jobs.


New Member
I am not trying to rain on anyones parade here and if it works for you great, but I want to tell you to be with fliers and door hangers. I will start with the fliers. If you are putting them on windshields be careful. If someone comes out to their car and grabs your flier off their windshield and throws it on the ground, you could get cited for littering. Doesn't sound fair but the car owner says it is not fair for them to have to properly dispose of something they didn't want. I do see both sides of this. Does this mean when I get junk mail I can just throw it on the ground? No. I have known people in my area to be called up from the place they put on all these fliers and asked to clean the parking lot of all the fliers floating around. You just about have to do it because they will call the police if you don't. If you are posting fliers that is different, such as on bulletin boards.
Now to door hangers. This is a touchy area too. Most people don't mind with the door hangers. I have also known others to do this and scare the old lady home alone and the police rush out there. They see what you are doing and tell you not to do this anymore because you are trespassing. Now if you do it again you could be ticketed. So I would suggest you knock on the door first. Don't just leave a hanger without seeing if anyone is home. Their are a lot of wealthy people in my area and they do not like uninvited people coming in their yard. Especially when they have private driveways.
I am not posting this to say don't do it. Just use a little caution when doing these types of advertising.
I find that for most residential work, the newspaper works pretty good. The trick to this is stay within the papers so many lines for so many $$'s deal. When you add the extra line it kills you. It is better to have a 4 line ad running 6 months non stop instead of a 10 line ad running once a month. Ways to help condense your ad is do not put your personal name. Who cares that your name is Dave or whatever. I also would not put the words like "call Dave at (***-***-****)" if you are in an area where the area code isn't a big deal I would leave it out. Along with "call" and "Dave". It just takes up space. When you leave a phone number it is obvious that they need to call. Choose your words very carefully. If possible find out the format they use for the ad and find out how many spaces you get per line. Take it home and work on it. Don't fill out ads on the spot because they tend to get to long and you rush to do them. I know a lot of people like to use words like " we specialize in ". That takes up a lot of space. Don't say, "we do driveways, sidewalks, patios, etc." That is all concrete. Say concrete instead. Shortens it up. Instead of homes and mobile homes, say siding. In an ad where words count use them wisely. In a yellow page ad you buy a space and you can add a lot of stuff. I would also suggest you target people you want to work for and send them letters. This can be very effective. Don't mail fliers, print out bulk letters and mail them out. Make them look like a personal letter more then a bulk letter though. I have made great returns on this type of advertising. Put your business card up everywhere too.


New Member
Steve, excellent post. Since I'm also a newbe, you gave some great advice that I will surely use.

Giving my two cents worth:

Lately, I've been seriously considering advertising in neighborhood newsletters in my neighborhood and nearby affluent neighborhoods. In my neighborhood newsletter I get a 1/16 page for $40 a month and its sent to 8000 residents. If I get only one client a month that would keep me happy. However I'm counting on gettin more than one responce per month.

I'm also seriously considering an idea that my wife gave me, of giving gift certificates for my service to neighbors that are chosen as having the yard of the month. Of course the gift certificate would be for a small specific amount like $50. Of course that wouldn't cover a full job, so if they want more cleaned they would have to pull it out of their pocket. I proposed the idea thru my neighborhood association as an extra incetive for neighborly competition and they liked it. Who knows I might get mentioned in the paper for free, outside my paid ad.


By the way any suggestion on creating a gift certificate?
Last edited:


New Member
8000 residents??? Wow. THAT is one BIG neighborhood! What type of neighborhood? Condos? Homes? Apartments?


New Member
I rechecked and its a little over 5000 homes in 5 subdivisions. Still an awsome number. The home value's range from $50K to $150K, consisting of a mixture of condos and mostly single family homes. The ages of the homes are between 20 years old to newly built.

Not exactly my target market, but I'll be happy to get some work close to home.


New Member
I think I got about 50 jobs just from the newspaper last year. That doesn't include the jobs I didn't get. I made roughly $10,000 from the newspaper last year. Not too bad since it only cost me about $340 for 6 months. I didn't do a good job of tracking where my jobs came from last year. I am charting it better his year. I am doing much more advertising this year. I didn't make it into the phone book until June last year. It paid for itself off of a couple jobs. Not as cost affective as the newspaper but I didn't lose any money on it. I am sending out many more letters this year. My goal is to get more contract work. I lost an account early last summer because I didn't have water tanks then. It was for a construction company. They wanted equipment cleaned on site where there was no water. I wish I had that account now. I am also doing the magnet thing this year. I want to see how that does and see what the return on that is. I did the valu-pak mailer. Kinda expensive but I will see how that does. I was thinking about the radio. My neighbor works at the radio station here in town and might be able to hook me up with a few slots for next to nothing. I have been looking into advertising with the local theaters. They do the ads at the beginning of the movies. I also have some good connections with people in high traffic areas where I could put up small signs. I have a lot of things I am trying out. I just need to track where every call that comes in is from and see what is cost effective and what isn't. By the way Gwas you know that I didn't have 100 -200 houses from the newspaper. The first time we met at your shop I told you I didn't do that many. I told you my primary business came from masonry. I just don't have enough of it to get me by all year. I was thinking of advertising at the Super Bowl next year. Can you loan me a few bucks for my 30 second spot?


New Member
Gunn man,

I wish I had your rates from the newspapers. I tried the classifieds business section last year for just a couple of months during the summer and the absolute bottom dollar I could spend was $85 a month. At the time, there were 10 other pw's listed and 4 of them had large text, bold lines, and overly descriptive captions and all 4 of these are at the top. Paper's policy is the more u pay the closer to the top u get. There is only one company that lists year round in this section and they have been in operation for 25 years. The smaller, local community paper that targets a wonderful market of neighborhoods had their best deal at 1/8 page, 6 month commitment, black and white for $113 a month. So far, after two months in the larger paper (85,000 daily distribution, 150,000 weekends and wednesday) I have received one call that did not result in a sale. In the smaller paper, (3000 - 5000 distribution) I have received one call after 4 months that did turn into a job.
Now, not to say that anything u stated is incorrect, but I can't afford to wait for these forms of advertisement to have effect. I didn't get into the yellow pages until august of last year but that ad has far and away paid for itself. Cold calls were the best source of jobs for me last year and the second best was working a deal with a local store owner that allows his customers (same neighborhoods as the smaller local paper) to run tabs. I cleaned his deck and he allowed me to put a flyer in his monthly statement. I spent about $30 printing the fliers and received close to $10,000 in work from them. They went out to about 450 people. Door hangers were my next best and just yesterday I got a call from a door hanger that was put out last June. And yes, I did receive one complaint last year about the door hangers. It had fallen off her door and onto her freshly painted deck and the color ran from rain and marked the deck. Turned out that a wet rag took the stain off. I recommend getting out of the door hangers as much as possible, as your time is best spent cleaning rather than marketing and I hate approaching people's doors but I always wear a company shirt, slacks and keep the fliers in plain sight so anyone can see what I'm doing without too much speculation. I've tried post cards too but I need to spend the money and get the very best list that I can, I wound up wasting a lot of money on postage to undeliverable addresses. I think I got about a 1% return on cards that were actually received.
Sorry for this getting long, but I just wanted to share what has and has not YET worked for me. I would encourage everyone to try everything at their disposal until they are filling their weeks consistently with work and then u can begin to fine tune and choose what is working best.
By the way, congratulations on the home show. I'm hoping to have a booth next year so I might be hitting you up for tips. Out of curiousity, which pictures did u think people found the most impressive? and what was the most requested service?


Our Sponsors