Pressure washer small van


Hi Folks

Firstly thank you to everyone on this site I have read over 10k posts and continue to learn here everyday. Best thing I ever did for my small business was to join this forum.

A bit of background.
I have a small home service business with commercial mowers and some good equipment to do spring/fall clean ups. mulch, trimming and all the outdoor maintenance stuff such as gutters and windows.
I got into this business as my father was very sick, ( has passed now ), leaving my mother with the house at 79 years old. She says to me, " I want to stay in the house as long as possible and it’s less expensive to have someone do all the work around here than move to a retirement home, I don’t want to be on a ladder cleaning windows at 79 years old."
Thought this was a great idea and very needed service… Started the business.

This is now year 3 full time - I used to manage a restaurant.

I was only able to concentrate on marketing the windows part time as I was trying to build the mowing route and customer base. ( recurring revenue )
This year I will have 2 guys full time to work that part of the business, now i will have more time, and a bit of money coming in, it’s time to expand the window side of things.

I do only residential part time and was able to do about 75 jobs last year and have now picked up 2 commercial accounts in and out once a month.
This years plan is to devote much more time to developing the business into a full time hours.

I want to really start some sort of commercial sales, a small storefront route, and of course grow the residential side.

Thinking about adding a few more services to cast a wider net.
I would like to do screen repair and add pressure washing to this years business plan.

I have been reading many posts here, as well as have joined the pwra forum and have started reading there as well.
Still very new, but learning…

I am running the window business out of a Dodge ram mini van that was an old Bell Canada,got some shelves and a ladder rack.
My problem is space…wish I bought a bigger van, but I got what I got.
Water fed poles, my RO/DI cart, vacuum, Trad gear. etc.

Did anybody start house washing with a small pressure washer and push it around?
I found this Yamaha PW4040 4000psi 4GPM that the handle folds down for about 1500 Canadian $$$ or 1100$ U.S.

Do you think I’m wasting my money and should get a small trailer and a better PW?
I fell like the business will really grow this year as I will now have time to sell, sell. sell, and not be stuck on the mower all day.
Bought a lot of equipment last year and reinvested into the business so I kinda wanted to stay with a small equipment budget for this year, and put some money back into the bank.

Like the book reads…
Bullets before cannonballs!

Any input would be great.


Vortexx makes good quality compact pressure washers. We run out of a small suv too.


Do you live in a small town where no one else offers these additional services?


I think so…my town is 820 people.
30 minutes away from 55 000 people.
There are no window cleaners in the yellow pages, and none in the google search.
There are some janitorial services that do windows, but I think that window cleaners are hard to come by.
There is a bigger disaster restoration, power wash company, commercial cleaning.
But this is for mostly the residential market I’m thinking.


I looked it up online.
Do you run the 4GPM or the smaller one.
I don’t have room for a buffer tank, so It would be hooked up direct to the tap.
Do you run into problems feeding the pump?


Robin - Yes I started with a small portable 3000 psi unit as an addition to my window business. Have since spun-off the PW business into a separate LLC that concentrates fully on that endeavor, purchasing a large hot water trailer mount unit. Not one customer ever asked me about the equipment I was going to use to do their job. They would ask about the " Process " but not the equipment, nor did anyone criticize me for using a portable unit. Only result mattered.

I would go gradually, pace growth, learn the service before going big, unless you have the money to pay cash for a larger piece ( I.E. No Debt ).

Good luck and Welcome !


Thanks Jeff
What would you say GPM is the minimum to get the job done reasonably?
I read 4GPM, and then everyone has a buffer tank.
Will a 3GPM work out or would it be too slow?I worry about starving the pump, we have a lot of houses on wells as well as the city clients.


Jeff I’m curious if you did commercial application s with your smaller portable unit? If yes how did you get around gum and grease without hot water?


Yes 4 gpm is what I used. Did not use a buffer tank with the portable unit - this area always has good water pressure. I always hooked to customers water with never any pushback.


Whatapane -
Answering you : No, I did very little commercial jobs in proportion to residential.
Did some walks and small commercial buildings. For gum, Turbo tip, putty knife if needed. The Enclosed Trailer Mount H/W unit w/ water tank we use now feels like going from a Ford Escort to a Caddy…LOL !!


I heard that. I worked with a guy years ago on some commercial jobs and that when I just backed off of commercial. I realized you have to have the right equipment in order to be competitive. I don’t know what the laws are like where you are but they are pretty strict here as far as reclaiming your water. It seems most guy here ignore them so it might be hard to operate legit and compete without a good system that can reclaim and recycle the water.


I realize that your equipment makes all the difference in what jobs you can do.
I was not really looking to move into that space. I somehow have the idea of being able to whiten gutters and house wash some residential properties.
I’ll look into the environmental laws, things are pretty strict all over Canada.
I like to be a legit business, that one of my selling points when talking with customers.


Looking at getting the 4 for this year


Thanks for answering.
I think that that is the biggest I can do.
Had a few people approach me last year about house wash as I was using my WFP on their neighbors houses.
I thought it was interesting that people would walk across the street just to ask.
One fellow told me he had looked and could not find anyone.

Had another call me and by the time I was able to go see him, he was using a brush with a ladder and some pool chemicals with a garden hose. He was a DYI guy, and boy was he working hard…I don’t think he will want to go that route again.


You could definitely make some money with the setup you’re considering. But if you saved your pennies and put together a small trailer with a 5.5gpm belt drive, I don’t think you’ll regret it. That’s what I’ve been running for the last couple years. Having everything mounted on the trailer is a huge labor saver, and you can hopefully idiot-proof some aspects of the rig so it’s harder for you or employees to destroy the pump.

I’m in a very similar market to yours, down to the janitorial companies, approx. population, and everything. Our rig is just the right size for what we do. Any bigger, and I would need a much larger buffer tank, trailer, and tow vehicle.