A small business idea for starting a deck cleaning service
Description of Job
• Clean dirt, stains, and mold from wooden decks and balconies.
• Make minor repairs to wood surfaces.
• Apply water sealer and tints.
The Need and Demand for a Deck Cleaning Service
Wooden decks, raised patios, and balconies are gracious extensions of the interior of our homes. Yet as part of the outside, they are constantly exposed to rain, snow, and extremes of temperature. They can accumulate dirt and grime and mold.
Cleaning a deck is relatively simple with the proper tools and chemicals, but it’s not a job that many homeowners relish.
Challenges Faced by a Deck Cleaning Business
Deck cleaning is typically limited to the warm weather months, and demand may be highest in late spring and early summer.
Some detergents are extremely caustic and may be dangerous to pets and some plants; you may need to protect against overspray and take care in your cleanup after the job is completed. There may be local regulations on the storage and use of these chemicals.
Some decks may already have rot or other damage that should be repaired before cleaning and coating is performed. You may want to have a relationship with a carpenter who can perform such work.
Power washers do a good job of blasting out debris between the cracks and cleaning the surface of the deck, but an overly strong spray can also damage the wood.
Water-repellent coating chemicals need to be applied when temperatures lie within a specific range, and the deck will need to be protected from humans and pets while it is drying.
Things You Should Know
Consult a home supply store for advice on the latest chemicals and tools. A professional deck cleaner uses brushes, power sprayers, detergents, and bleaches to clean wooden decks. Once the deck has been cleaned, the wooden surface is then coated with a water repellent. Some water-repellent chemicals include a tint to add a bit of color to the wood.
How to Get Started in the Business
Post flyers and ads about your services at home supply stores, in community cen- ters, and on neighborhood bulletin boards. You can also place ads in newspapers and shopping guides.
Ask satisfied customers to refer others to you, and offer a bonus when they bring in new business.
You’ll need a water hose, stiff brushes, buckets, and chemicals for the cleaning, and you’ll need soft brushes for the application of coatings. You should consider the purchase of a power sprayer for cleaning large areas; the sprayer may also be available as needed from a tool rental company.
You’ll also need a vehicle to transport your equipment. Other costs include advertising and promotion.
How Much to Charge for the Deck Cleaning Service
You can charge by the hour, or calculate the cost for the job based on the square footage of the deck. The typical job includes cleaning plus application of a sealant or coating. Decks may require several applications of coating over multiple days.
In addition to the cost of labor, you should also charge for the cost of clean- ing chemicals and coating. As a professional, you should be able to purchase supplies at a discounted or wholesale price and resell them to your client at retail rates.