Newbie Starting Out



I will be starting out my PW business soon. Have anyone attended the 5-day powerwashing school in FortWorth,Tx? I am wondering what type of truck to purchase, Ford f150. is my preferred truck to purchase.

I also would like any advice on whether i should purchase this single axle 3500 lbs,6x10 enclosed cargo trailer with 3500#Gvwr. Will this be okay to haul pressure washer, 250 gallon tank, two hose reels and maybe 18-25gal chemical sprayer.

I have spent a great deal of time on this BB and the advice from the posting are great for us new beginners. Hats off to all the vets of the business.

By the time I get the rig setup I am looking to spend about $6000.00 Is there any suggestion on not purchasing a single axle vs tandem axle. I just do not want to buy inadequate equiment. So many choices. Any advice would be greatly apprciated.

fomer Navy Man.



Moderator / Sponsor
[GLOW=seagreen]Degraff Welcome to the Power Wash Network![/GLOW]

The 250 gallon water tank full of water will weigh approximately
2100 lbs, the reels with hose maybe 100 lbs each, machine varies
widely probably 200 to 1000lbs depending on what machine you decide on.

[GLOW=royalblue]Feel Free To Call Me For Free Advice![/GLOW]



New Member
The smallest enclosed trailer I would purchase would be a 7'x14'x7' tandem axle only. Ramp and side door. Cost $3200.

I would recommend an 8'x16'x7' tandem axle only. Ramp and side door. Cost $4000.

You need brakes. Preferably on two axles.

It is best to purchase too big of a trailer. You will be suprised how quickly you fill it up!

My preferance is the aluminum sided type.

250 gallon tank
+ 25 gallon tank

=2,200 pounds full before equiptment.
Purchase tanks with baffles if you can. Easier to pull when full of water.

Larry L.

PWN TEAM - Moderator Emeritus
You'll need a 3/4 ton truck to handle the load safely,will agree on the tandem with brakes.

If your starting this as business expect to spend closer to 10,000 as to the 6000.Trailer,hotwater rig,tanks,valves,lines ect.


New Member
<font color=e87400>I'd say purchase as little as possible in the beginning, toss it into the back of a p/u & get your feet wet first. This will reduce your losses in a year if you don;t like it. Unless of course your feet are already wet, in that case jump on in. Guys above gave you good advice. If it doesn't work out come back here to sell your stuff please :)</font>


New Member
A tandem axle trailer is much more stable and easier to pull than a single axle trailer.

You have to look at total weight closely, it's easy to run the weight up to high for an F-150. If you're buying a new truck and have choices, the 3/4 ton would be better.


New Member
buy new equipment and used trailer's and truck's.
not the reverse.
$4000 trailer and a
$12,000 pick-up, or a
$6000 used box truck
your way better off with a used box truck in my opinion.
check out ebay.



Thanks for the info. My question is I am looking to purchase a used 2002 f150 XLT SUPERCREW 4D EXTENDED. V-8 5.4 ltr 260 horsp.350 torq.

I am trading my car in to purchase the truck. I will not only use the truck as a work truck but will also use a personal vehicle. I am a looking to find a truck that looks good and in the price range of 18-20k, that can also pull the enclosed trailer and equipment. I will not be using the 550 gal tank. only maybe 250-270gal.

These 3/4 trucks that you guy are referring cost in the upper 25k-40k. I am not able to spend that type of money in addition to the cost of equipment with just starting out partime. I have an excellent salary on my present job but looking a starting my own business and this looks like it is doable with a lot of footwork.

By the time I figure the cost of the,Hoses reels, enclosed double axle trailer, water rig. the cost can be up there before I make my first dollar. I need to know from the veterans.what kind of truck by name you guys are referring to. I called a pressure washer out to my home yesterday just to get an Idea of what his rig looked like and the guy was pulling a modifide motorcycle trailer with 270 gal box tank, pressure washer and others on the trailer. When I took a look at the rig it was so unattractive and jerry rigged and he was pulling it with a Ford Expedition. 2001 model.

I want to have a professional image than this gentle did. This is why I am asking all of these question.

If I purchase this truck, what is the max gvwr for the trailer that I can pull with this truck. 3000lbs -4000 lbs max?

Anyone know of manufacture that makes enclosed trailers that I can get at reasonal price.

Thanks for all the info.



Thanks for your advice. I seems as though you the Go To Man for powerwashing advice. I will call you on Monday to find out what kind of PW and accessories you can suggest to purchase for the New Kid on the Block.

Also Mark by reading all of the other BB. I am finally swaying away from the enclosed single axle 6x10 2999 trailer. It seems as though no one is using this trailer. All the post has said use double tandem. There goes another $1500-2000 grand. Boy this is starting to get expensive. HUH. lol. :<(

Look forward to talking to you on Monday. Keep up the good work.


Former Navy Man


Be Young Sr.

Thanks for your advice. My question to you is what the manufacture of the double tandem trailers and max towing weight you are suggesting for the cost of $3200-$4000.

This seems to be such a large trailer for the set up I am looking for and maybe because I cannot anticipate my future needs. The set up I am looking to do is as follows:

Rk-47 pw Hot/Cold

225 fresh water tank

2 hose reels with hoses

brushes, extension and maybe a 25 chemical tank.

Maybe I left something out that I need but as is the units you suggest seem a bit much.

I am open to any an all suggestion. I love this BB you guys are great. Keep all suggestion coming the look out, I coming soon.



New Member
where in

Where are you located in Ga.? We use an open tadem trailer(brakes on both axles) and pull it with a chevy 1500 2wd with no problems.The folks we got our trailer from are very affordable on most sizes and setups,I can get you there number you may want to check with them.


New Member
<font color=e87400> Degraff

Many of the trailers used in this business, any business for that matter, are custom made by local manufactures. Thus all the trailers are a bit different thus we probably can't give you any solid advice on this. One trailer might be 2" frame another 4", one may have 2000# axles one may have 3000# other attributes like springs, tires tongue play in the weight allowance too. You simply need to flip through your yellow pages on this & do some of your own legwork by calling all your local trailer companies & talking to them, tell em your looking for a trailer this big x that big to carry X amount of lbs. Trailers aren't like Ford Chevy etc...

How many lbs? That's up to you too. You shared a small list above of the equipment you'll have, appears to be around 3200lbs already. (Add the trailer to that & your 4000lbs, I believe that's the limit for no brakes) Now consider the things not mentioned here. If you get serious about this you'll want to purchase a second machine. Why you might ask, well nothing sucks or cost you more than having a machine poop out on you in the middle of a job, especially if you have chems up. You'll learn that the first time you have to scramble for a water hose to rinse a 2-story wall down, or a roof off, or a couple thousand sqft of flatwork.

As far as the square footage of your trailer. Well, figure that a good pressure washer will try their best to have 2 of everything on their rig(s). So, you'll want room for that. Also you didn't mention a flat surface cleaner above, that'll take up some room, in addition you'll need room to move around & get to things & room to repair things too. Hence, the 8 x 16 x 7 is looking better. Me, I also have a generator, lights, tools, air-tools, saw, a compressor & a few other things that add to the footage & the weight.

Myself I don't like enclosed rigs or trailers. I prefer truck mounting everything. It just looks more professional & serious. Plus I don't like enclosed rigs because of equipment access. I customize boxes and covers around my primary equipment for security & protection from the elements. I always chuckle when I see the guys pulling trailers with their family Eddie Bauer. I know it's no big deal really, but when the customer sees a truck functioning primarily as a tool I think it gets their gears grinding.

You mentioned above what truck should you get. We really can't answer that definitively either. The truck depends on you. Sure you can haul what you want to with a F150 but it probably won't last too long. Your going to waste the suspension, kill u-joints & burn up the motor if you’re overloading it. Grant it this probably won't happen over night, but you will likely reduce the life of the truck by half, perhaps more if you severely overload it. One suggestion here is that if you do go with a F150 you will DEFINATELY want brakes on your trailer. I'd also say to get a truck devoted to just your business, this way your family vehicle won't wreak of bleach or dumpster pads, tis nasty stuff. You mention you need to know what the GVWR is of the truck you are considering, that information is on the vehicle spec sticker in the drivers side door jamb.

Another issue is if you exceed your GVWR & get into an accident you could find yourself at the lonely end of a lawsuit. Something to think about. Trucks cost alot depending on what you get. I picked up a brand-new 2001 F350 w/15miles, 7.2 Diesel, Auto, A/C reg cab, 220†wb w/no bed, in mid 2002 for $21K. I custom built a bed for it myself for around $1k.

Like I said in my original post to this. You might want to consider getting in cheap at first & then expanding afterwards. You can find a used 1-ton truck for a song & toss your equipment in the back. You can find used equipment like it’s going out of style. Heck every week it seems at least one person is posting up on a forum or ebay a rig for sale, many are almost brand new, guys that just dove right in. Not trying to belittle you but statistically speaking, the odds are greatly against you succeeding past a couple of years. Look at this forum, there are 2800 registered users yet you will only see maybe 20 that post regularly that are registered over 2 years. That sort of says it for it’s self. If you start cheap & your bubble bust at least you won’t have too much gum on your face.

In the end, there are many many variables to consider when putting a rig together. I’ve built many a rig in my time, I’ve been at this over 10 years. Still though, for me putting together a new rig is a daunting task. I’d guess it probably is for any veteran contractor. Perhaps asking us isn’t the best idea. We all have experience with this equipment & all like this like that & that like this, perhaps we’ve grown used to one thing & hate another, most will probably agree though that their next rig will be a little different (mine always have, never a match) some may look the same to the passerby but be quite different in reality. I’ve seen big rigs on little rinky-dink trailers & little rigs on big trailers. I have a rig that even makes me laugh sometimes when I look at it. It’s a ugly little 84' nissan flatbed rig but it’s fully loaded with 18hp 4000psi, 5gpm, Surface Cleaner, little tuff heater, 3000w 6hp generator, 300’ 2wire hose on elec hanes reel, 300’ water hose on manual summit reel, 200’ speedair chem hose on a RO swivel reel, 2 shurflow pumps, 2 sets of halogens, 200' ext cord, misc tools, 5g buckets for chems, gas cans & a few other things too, no tank though & a fairly beefed up suspension. The rig is ugly as hell, but who cares, when it was in use it was only out at night anyway. Other guys used to do drive-by’s & laugh at it, I could see it on their faces when I used to take it out & had my guys come in laughing about it too. The joke was on those other companies though cause that little sucker would get the job done & make just as much $scratch$ as my $40k rig & I only have about $5k in that whole rig truck & all, plus it got 27mpg. To make it funnier many of my chuckling competitors were missing elements I had, like no surface cleaner, or no heat, no generators, no lights, or only 11-13 hp motors, heh, used to crack me up. Point there is, you can do alot with alittle if you need to.

Anyway. Do what you have to do to get going, you can always expand &/or rebuild later, but if your going to make a substancial investment out of the gate, then do it right & don't sell short on the truck or trailer arena's. Take your time & do plenty of research. Sounds like you have no experience in this field so perhaps you should learn to walk before you try & run.

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New Member

Get the yellow pages out and look up trailer sales. Or get the number from Squirtgun.

Go look at them based on your requirments.

Ask about available options. Take a notebook with you and record info. Take you time and weigh all options.

Based on what you said you see yourself needing, a 16' enclosed trailer will give you some room to grow. You won't be out of room immediately like with a smaller version.

I went with standard springs rather than the torsion axle. My thoughts were that if needed I could quickly make a roadside repair. Parts readily available. The torsion axle is not repairable.

As far as trucks go, for myself a 3/4 ton is better. A 1/2 ton may work depending on your configuration. I would make sure it had a towing package and at least a 343:1 or 373:1 axle ratio. A highway 308:1 ratio may lead to premature failure of the transmission and other things Cody spoke of.

As far as getting into the business cheap, you could. You could also not be able to compete because of inadequate equipment. You either buy what you need up front or take that chance depending on your specialty.

Kind of like buying a car without airconditioning in Texas. You can get them a lot cheaper but you better plan on some suffering!

Are you prepared to go into a business suffering?

Used equipment from a reputable dealer like Mark could be an option.

Scott Stone

New Member
15 years ago I started out in the back of a toyota pickup. I would load the cold water pressure washer in the truck at the start of the day, and unload it at night. I gradually added equipment. First a generator, and then a trailer. No water tank yet, but it had 300 feet of hose to feed the tank.
I got a job that required hot water, and sprung for a Hot box. It made degreasing that equipment a lot easier.
It finally got to the time that I need to upgrade my trailer, and I bought a 16 foot trailer and transferred all of the equipment onto it, and added a couple of water tanks and a homemade recovery system. Ir was screwy, but it worked. I used a 93 Ford to tow that trailer with, and at 70,000 miles the truck was done. The trailer weighed close to 8000 lbs. and it was too much for the truck.
I now have a 12 foot trailer that has 10,000 lb axles on it. It is an easy trailer to work off of,
I agree with Cody. Start cheap.




Thanks for your response. I live in west georgia near Douglasville. Where are you located in Southwest Geogia?

I will love to get the number from you for that trailer mfg. Hit me on my e-mail. Do you have any Pic of your rig?


Former Navy Man

ACB1-San Diego,CA


New Member
DeGraff, I am also a FNG to the pressure washing Biz and have been researching for about 8 months now. I went out and got a few contracts signed before I even had the equiptment and will start spraying in April. That gave me a good idea of the demand in my area for this type of service and also some income to help cover expenses when I start. I went with a 18' inclosed 9000lbs GVW tandam
axle trailer w/ side door and ramp back door. , found a local All American PW dealer that set me up with a 4000 psi, 5gpm, 24hp hot/cold water unit, 250 gal tank, 200' highpress hose w/ reel, 100'supply hose w/ reel, 2 triggers w/ 4 tips ea, turbo nozzle, 50' hi-psi hose for back up, soap injector, 24" silver eagle surface cleaner, 4gal pump up sprayer, and even helped me install everything in my trailer. All in all I have about $11,000 into it.
I allready have a 01 F250, I would recomend a 3/4 ton over a 1 ton cause in Minn. you need a DOT and commercial lic. for anything 1ton or more dont know how it is in GA. 3/4 has same towing as a 1 ton. As for the odds being agenst you for makeing it in this biz, I think that with a little bit if business know how,
you'll do fine. As with any business you'll only go as far as you want. Be smart, market, and keep your custemers happy.
Good luck dude, I look forward to shareing success storys.


New Member
School in Texas

"Have anyone attended the 5-day powerwashing school in FortWorth,Tx?"

What is this school? Do they have a website or a phone #? Please any info would be great. Thanks.


New Member
That is all I can find too. Someone mentioned a powerwashing school and I thought I would look into it though. Just curious to know what is to be gained by that type of program. Does it cover business practice as well as powerwashing technique, or is it all about chemical use and material requirements... Would be interesting to check out.

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