How to Get a Pressure Washing License – What You Need to Know

A contractor with a license for pressure washing business

If cleanliness is next to godliness, pressure washing can’t be too far away. One reason may be that grease, tar, rust, and other stubborn stains can seldom hold their ground against the nozzle of a pressure washer in the skilled hands of its operator.

If you’re looking to become a professional who customers turn to when they have serious cleaning projects, a key step in starting your operation is getting a business license for pressure washing. When you’re ready to take the next steps, check out our guide to starting a pressure washing business.

Do You Need a License to Pressure Wash?

Depending on which state your business is located (and even which city or locality), there may be different requirements to get a pressure washing business license. A good place to start is your secretary of state’s office. We have a list of them here.

Keep in mind that if you plan to do business in different states, you’ll need to comply with the requirements in those locations as well.

Once you’ve determined pressure washing license requirements at the state level, you should take a look closer to home. Much like states, cities and other municipalities may have regulations around professional pressure washing.

When it comes to a business license for pressure washing, you’re likely to run into two types: a basic business license and an occupational business license.

Business license — A business license is a government document that certifies a business is safe for the public. Not every type of business needs one, but the best way to know if your pressure washing business needs one is to check with your local and state governments.

Occupational business license — This document is more specific than a general business license. It’s often required to work in a particular profession or occupation such as accounting, contracting, or cosmetology.

In many instances, pressure washing falls in the occupational license category. In some localities, you also may need certain types of permits to operate a pressure washing business.

Are There EPA Requirements for a Pressure Washing Business?

Yes, there are. One more item on your to-do list should be a visit to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has strict laws related to pressure washing and exterior cleaning.

It’s a good idea to make sure you understand them and take the proper precautions. If you run afoul of these laws, you could be looking at some hefty fines.

Do Licensing Requirements Differ by State?

We’ve touched on this a bit already, but the differences can vary widely. To get a sense of that, here are two examples:

How to get a pressure washing license in California

If you’re setting up shop in the Golden State, you’ll need to get a pressure washing license through the state Contractors State License Board. That will require you to be at least 18 and have four years of journeyman experience.

You also can expect to shell out $300 for the application fee and an additional license fee of about $180.

We have even more information about how to get a business license in California right here.

How to get a pressure washing license in Michigan

While a business license isn’t required in Michigan, you’ll likely need a wastewater discharge permit from the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), or a similar local authority.

And don’t forget that EPA regulations also will likely apply in Michigan, California, and all other states, along with any state or municipal requirements.

Want more details on getting a Michigan business license? Check out this article.

Why Pressure Washing Insurance is Important

Accidents and mishaps can happen to just about any business, but when you’re working with machinery that can generate water pressure around 2,800 PSI (about 28 times that of a fire hose!), it’s easy to accidentally damage property.

Having pressure washing insurance can help keep an accident from staining your business’s reputation.

Get Insured in Under 10 Minutes

Get an affordable & customized policy in just minutes. So you can get back to what matters: Your business.

That’s where we can shine like a freshly cleaned deck. We’ve helped thousands of small businesses get the coverage they need the most. That includes general liability insurance (GL) and workers’ compensation insurance (WC) .

With just a little information from you, we go to work with leading national insurers to find coverages and prices that can be a good fit for your pressure washing business.

In many cases, all you need to do is choose the one that’s best for you, much like you’d choose the right nozzle for your power washer.

And if you have questions about your coverage, we have licensed insurance pros you can speak with. Just call 844-654-7272, Monday‑Friday, 8 a.m.‑8 p.m. (ET).

No Pressure, You Got This

While just about everyone can appreciate the result of a good power washing, not everyone has the time, equipment, or expertise to get the job done. If you have a passion for cleaning and making money, a pressure washing business could be the right opportunity for you.

A great way to get your business started is securing the right licensing, understanding local, state, and federal regulations, and having pressure washing insurance (Now you know we’d have to mention that).

Ed Grasso

As a 9-year-old at summer camp, I hated it — especially after being pulled screaming from the pool during the swimming competition. While this left me without an aquatic achievement patch, it also inspired the letter to my parents that got me an early release from Camp Willard. That showed me the power of writing. I’ve done my best to use it only for good ever since, such as writing helpful articles for small business owners.

Ed writes on a number of topics such as liability insurance, small business funding, and employee management.