Last Updated: May 10, 2024, 10:30 am by TRUiC Team

Do I Need an LLC for My Pressure Washing Business?

Starting a limited liability company (LLC) for your pressure washing business can provide several benefits. 

Most importantly, an LLC structure offers limited liability to its owners, which can protect their personal assets from lawsuits and creditors.

For a pressure washing business, lawsuits can arise from things like ruining a customer’s outdoor decking during a cleaning job, or not cleaning a customer’s property by the contractually stipulated date.

LLCs are also affordable, highly flexible (from a tax point-of-view), and can make your pressure washing business seem more credible. 

Recommended: Use Northwest to form an LLC for $29 (plus state fees).

A pressure washer hose spraying the side of a red car

Should I Start an LLC for My Pressure Washing Business?

LLCs are a simple and inexpensive way to protect your personal assets and save money on taxes.

You should start an LLC when there's any risk involved in your business and/or when your business could benefit from tax options and increased credibility.

LLC Benefits for a Pressure Washing Business

By starting an LLC for your pressure washing business, you can:

  • Protect your savings, car, and house with limited liability protection
  • Have more tax benefits and options
  • Increase your business’s credibility

Limited Liability Protection

LLCs provide limited liability protection. This means your personal assets (e.g., car, house, bank account) are protected in the event your business is sued or if it defaults on a debt.

Pressure washing businesses will benefit from liability protection because of the relatively high risk of property damage and workplace accidents. 

Example 1: An employee accidentally shatters the window of a building you are hired to power wash due to the machine being set to an unsafe setting. You are sued for damages to the structure. Since your business is an LLC, limited liability protects your assets so they could not be seized to pay for the expenses.

Example 2: While pressure washing their house, the owner comes out to check on the progress and trips over your equipment. They are furious and threaten to sue you. Should this go to court, your personal assets are protected with limited liability as an LLC so they could not be taken in the settlement.

Example 3: A competitor is suing you over a recent advertisement they saw as libelous. Your personal assets as the owner are protected with limited liability, so if your LLC lost the case, those assets could not be taken.

An LLC will also protect your personal assets in the event of commercial bankruptcy or loan default.

To maintain your LLC's limited liability protection, you must maintain your LLC's corporate veil.

LLC Tax Benefits and Options for an Pressure Washing Business

LLCs, by default, are taxed as a pass-through entity, just like a sole proprietorship or partnership. This means that the business's net income passes through to the owner's individual tax return. 

The business’s net income is then subject to income taxes (based on the owner's tax bracket) and self-employment taxes.

Sole proprietorships and partnerships are taxed in a similar way to LLCs, but they do not offer limited liability protection or other tax options.

S Corp Option for LLCs

An S corporation (S corp) is an IRS tax status that an LLC can elect. S corp status allows business owners to be treated as employees of the business (for tax purposes).

S corp tax status can reduce self-employment taxes and will allow business owners to contribute pre-tax dollars to 401k or health insurance premiums.

The S corp status requires that the business pay the employee-owner(s) a reasonable salary for the work they perform. 

In addition, the business might need to spend more on accounting, bookkeeping, and payroll services. To offset these costs, you'd need to be saving about $2,000 a year on taxes.

We estimate that if a pressure washing business owner can pay themselves a reasonable salary and at least $10,000 in distributions each year, they could benefit from S corp status.

You can start an S corp when you form your LLC. Our How to Start an S Corp guide will lead you through the process.

Credibility and Consumer Trust

Pressure washing businesses rely on consumer trust. Credibility plays a key role in creating and maintaining any business.

Businesses gain consumer trust simply by forming an LLC.

A growing business can also benefit from the credibility of an LLC when applying for small business loansgrants, and credit.

Northwest will start an LLC for you for just $29 (plus state fees).

How to Form an LLC

Forming an LLC is easy. There are two options for forming your LLC:

  • You can hire a professional LLC formation service to set up your LLC for a small fee
  • Or, you can choose your state from the list below to start an LLC yourself

Select Your State

For most new business owners, the best state to form an LLC in is the state where you live and where you plan to conduct your business.

Do LLCs Need Insurance?

All businesses need insurance to protect their business assets — even LLCs. This is because limited liability protection from being an LLC protects your personal assets, not your business assets

Common Situations Business Insurance May Cover for a Pressure Washing Business

Example 1: To clear the stubborn grime from the grooves in a concrete surface, you use your highest-intensity nozzle. You accidentally drop the hose, and the pressured stream passes over your client’s hand, producing a laceration that requires medical attention. In the event you are found responsible, general liability insurance would probably cover any damages you are asked to pay.

Example 2: Your employee is pressure-washing a client’s expensive modern vehicle, but he underestimates the potency of the water stream. While focusing on the front bumper, he cracks the surface and leaves a very noticeable dent. Due to the car’s specialized modern build, replacement parts and repairs for the damaged section amount to a sizeable claim. If your company is held liable, it is likely that general liability insurance would be able to cover some amount of what you owe.

Example 3: A new employee in your business is using an electric pressure washer to scrub the dirt and grime from a farmer client’s pig crates. Due to an interior electrical fault, an exposed metal surface on the washer becomes energized. It comes into contact with pooling water from the crates and starts a fire, destroying a large chunk of the client’s barn and livestock pens. In a case like this, general liability insurance would assist your company in covering lawsuits or settlements resulting from the accident.

Other Types of Coverage Pressure Washing Businesses Need

While general liability is the most important type of insurance to have, there are several other forms of coverage you should be aware of. Below are some other types of insurance all pressure washing businesses should obtain.

Commercial Auto Insurance

You’ll need reliable transportation for your pressure washing equipment, and that usually means trucks or vans. For any business that uses vehicles on public roads, commercial auto insurance is required by the state. Your vehicles will be essential assets to company productivity, so skipping auto insurance is out of the question. This policy will cover a variety of damages to vehicles, and potential items for coverage can include standard cars, trucks, or even trailers.

In addition to the policies outlined above, there are a few other types of coverage your pressure washing business may require depending on certain aspects of your operations. Some of these might not apply to you, so be sure to ask your agent which policies are right for your business.

Commercial Property Insurance

As a business that thrives on its use of complex specialized equipment, commercial property insurance is a must-have. Different washer units and their accessories, like spray nozzles and motor/electrical components, will be expensive to replace or repair. This policy will allow pressure washing businesses to protect some of their most important equipment investments. Fire, storms, explosions, and vandalism are commonly covered in commercial property insurance policies.

Your business will need a storage center for its equipment and vehicles, and this insurance will also cover any owned real estate on which you maintain your important supplies. Fires and destructive weather are examples of what may be covered by your commercial property insurance with regard to real estate.

Workers' Compensation Insurance

A pressure washing business may start small, but as it grows, a compensatory policy for employees will become a priority. In some states, part-time or full-time employees will legally require a business to take out a workers’ compensation policy. This covers a range of on-the-job mishaps, including those resulting in medical intervention, disability, or death. High-pressure washing units require careful, professional handling in order to meet safe working standards. Even if you trust your employees, a good compensation policy is ultimately in everyone’s best interests.

Crime Insurance

A pressure washing business cannot function without its expensive service equipment. It is natural to give your employees easy access to the utility storage locations in which you house washing units, company vehicles, and other valuable items. However, in the event that an employee abuses their company access to steal your equipment, crime insurance is a smart way to recoup the losses incurred as you replace the stolen goods.

This policy may also cover employee dishonesty along the lines of deliberate property damage, theft of securities, or even the direct theft of money by accounting staff or similar office workers.

Should I Start an LLC FAQ

Choosing the right business structure depends on your business’s unique circumstances and needs. However, unless your business is very low risk (like a hobby), an LLC is likely the better option.

Visit our LLC vs. Sole Proprietorship guide to learn more.

At a minimum, you’ll need general liability insurance and commercial auto insurance.

Read our Pressure Washing Insurance article for more info.

The main startup cost is leasing the pressure washing equipment and the transportation to take the equipment to work at the client’s premises. Basic expenses include:

  • Power washer - $700+
  • Gas and vehicle maintenance - $250 monthly

Ongoing costs consist of lease payments and labor costs.

Visit our How to Start a Pressure Washing Business guide to learn more about the costs of starting and maintaining this business.

Some of the main operating expenses for a pressure washing business are lease payments for equipment and vehicles, payroll, and insurance.

Learn more about running a pressure washing business.

Pressure washing businesses make money by charging a fee to wash buildings, driveways, vehicles, and more.

Learn more about starting a pressure washing business.

Power washing businesses can service residential and commercial buildings as well as driveways and vehicles. This means there is always a steady supply of potential customers.

The profit potential for a pressure washing business depends on how many pressure washers you have and the types of washing you do. 

One advantage of a pressure washing business is that it is relatively inexpensive to start. With low overhead expenses, you will be able to quickly turn a profit.

Learn more about starting a pressure washing business.

Related Articles

Article Sources

IRS: Limited Liability Company

IRS: S Corporations


SBA: Small Business Guide

SBA: Choose a Business Structure Guide

US Census Bureau: Small Business Statistics

SBA Office of Advocacy: Data on Small Business

FRED: SBA Data for Small Business