Exterior Cleaning Pricing Guide: Ryan Cash and Rooftec Systems

Ryan Cash

New Member
How much do I charge for Roof Cleaning? What do I charge for pressure washing? Is ______ a good price for me to charge?


There are a lot of factors that go into pricing for exterior cleaning.
Where in the country are you working?
What does your market look like?
What is your overhead?
Do you have employees or are you just an owner operator?
When was the last time it was cleaned?



By far, the most common thing contractors want to know is, “What do you charge for _____?”

To answer this question, let's first look at some averages:


Siding Cleaning: $0.15 per square foot
  • Vinyl: ($0.10) Easier to clean, charge slightly less
  • Brick: ($0.15) Can be difficult and may have issues like efflorescence to consider
  • Stucco: ($0.20+) Harder to clean. Requires more chems and a good surfactant
  • Oxidation Removal: Typically, 2X or 3X price of Siding cleaning

Roof Cleaning: $0.30 per square foot
  • Shingle Roofs: ($0.30) Standard pricing is pretty widely accepted
  • Tile/Concrete: ($0.40) A little bit harder to clean and more chem is needed as concrete is porous
  • Metal: ($0.50) Most difficult to clean. Lots of factors to consider

Flatwork: $0.20 per square foot
  • Residential: ($0.15-$0.20) Pretty standard for residential concrete
  • Commercial: ($0.10). Typically using higher flow machines that get work done faster


While it's important to know what the market looks like and what pricing it can handle, a common mistake I see guys making a lot is asking others “What should MY COMPANY charge for X?”.

The main problem with this question is that it assumes your overhead and expenses are the same as everyone else. While it’s important to look at averages and market prices, no one is able to answer this for YOUR company.

A larger company with several techs, trucks, HR, phone dispatchers, etc. will have a much higher overhead than a company with a single owner-operator. The best way to figure out your pricing is to first determine what it costs you to do the work.

When you’re first starting out, take A LOT of notes in a notebook.

Things to notate to figure out your overhead:
  1. How long did the job take?
  2. How big was the job (square feet)?
  3. How many gallons of chemical was used?
  4. How much did that chemical cost?
  5. How much are you paying for insurance? For work and for driving.
  6. How many jobs are you completing in a week? Month? On average
  7. How much did you spend on gas? Both for travel and for your machine.
  8. Do you have employees? What’s their rate?
  9. Licensing fee costs?
  10. How much do you pay yearly in equipment repairs/maintenance?
  11. How much are you spending on disposables? (O-rings, gloves, respirator cartridges, etc.)
  12. How much have you spent on education?
  13. Vehicle expenses? (oil changes, cost of vehicle, etc.)
  14. How much did your equipment cost?
  15. Uniform costs?
  16. Laundry expenses?
  17. SEO/Marketing/Advertising costs
  18. What is Your tax burden?
These are just a few of the things to consider.


Things to Notate to figure out income (much easier to figure out)
  1. How much did the job pay? (Minus taxes)

As you can see, there are A LOT of factors that go into determining how much it costs you to run a business. So much so that it can be really daunting for new guys starting out.


Typically the formula to figure out profitability is take (Income) – (Overhead). Once you know this and you know how much money you are profiting on average, you need to figure out how much money you want to make. (This will be different for everyone). Use these numbers to figure out how much you need to charge per hour of your work to make the profit you need. Use your average time on a job compared to the square feet you get done in that time to find your formula for your rates.

I understand this is really hard to do as a new business and sometimes you may not have the data yet to know your profitability. It’s ever-evolving.


In addition to all of this information, it’s also important to look at a couple other factors that should be taken into consideration when determining what you will charge:

  • Is the home near a lake/pond/river/stream?
  • Does the home have gutters?
  • How tall is the home?
  • How steep is the roof?
  • How is water access/flow at the source?
  • How soon does the job need to be completed?


Any factor that increases the difficulty/liability/priority will play into your pricing and should be considered as well.

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So now that you know to price a job, the next question is:

How do you measure areas that you’re going to clean so you know how to properly quote?


There are two different methods you can use when setting up and quoting jobs: Measuring on site or measuring remotely.


In Person Estimates:
If you want to stay low tech, grab a measuring wheel and a pen and paper. Walk the perimeter of the house (or area you’re cleaning) and do some quick math to get the square footage. Multiply that by your price and you’ve got a quote!


Remote Quoting: For a slightly easier (in my opinion) way to measure, consider using Google Earth or Google Maps.
  1. This will work both from a computer or phone.
  2. Type in the service address and locate the measuring tool on the page.
  3. Trace the outline of the cleaning area by dropping points along the edges.
  4. Connect back to your starting point and it will automatically display the area in square feet.

Using Google Earth is also great as you’ll get an idea of what the landscaping and surrounding area looks like. Some contractors will also take roof-pitch into consideration but usually this isn’t completely necessary.

There are other apps as well that contractors like to use to aid in quoting and setting up jobs. Two in particular that I've heard good things about are:

Wash Quote
Hover


These are two paid apps that add additional features (measuring heights, counting windows, printing reports, outputting quotes and building information, etc.) and are well worth checking out.

Quick and rough quotes for homes: you can also just type the address into Zillow or any other home selling website/app to get a “listed” square footage of the home. Beware though as this is typically the square feet of livable space and may be inaccurate to your actual dimensions. But for a quick rough idea of size, it’s a great tool.
 

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