If you require the services of a power washer (or pressure washer) to clean your outside surfaces such as flagstones, decking, or brickwork, then you might be wondering what the etiquette is for tipping them.
This post will cover all you need to know so you can decide whether you need to tip, how much to tip, what power washers earn, and how much it will cost you to contract a power washer to do your cleaning.
We’ll also cover the tipping etiquette for power washers compared to other industries so hopefully, you’ll know exactly where you stand.
Keep reading to find out more…
Should You Tip Your Pressure Washer? The Short Answer
You are not obliged to tip a power washer (or most contractors in general) but a tip will certainly be well received. Power washers generally earn below the US median wage so you may feel it is in good conscience to offer a tip, especially for good work or around the holidays.
How Much Do Power Washers Earn?
One of the key considerations for most people when deciding whether to tip is what the earnings are within the industry in question.
In some industries like grocery delivery, tipping is common practice and is sometimes even included as part of the price as we found out when we looked at whether you should tip Kroger drivers.
In the restaurant, cafe, and catering industries, tips are required to supplement a worker’s wage and are almost always required.
However, this isn’t generally the case for most contractors, who are usually adequately compensated for their work and earn enough to not need to rely on tips.
Indeed, this is the same goes for power or pressure washers who don’t usually expect tips.
But how much do power washers earn?
According to Zip Recruiter, the average yearly salary for a pressure washer is $28,834 gross, rising to $35,500 for top earners.
The median yearly salary in the US according to Zippia is $47,520 meaning that power washers earn well below that.
On this basis, you may consider a tip warranted, especially if you’ve received good service and the workmanship is as expected or better.
How Much Does it Cost for a Power Wash and How Much Should I Tip?
Another key factor when deciding whether and how much to tip is how much the service will cost in the first place.
Tips are usually rewarded at 10-20% of the cost of the goods or services in the US.
According to Home Advisor, expect to pay $0.40 per square foot for a professional jet wash or $25 – $100 per hour.
Home Advisor states that most companies charge a flat rate of $90 – $200 on average.
If we take the flat rate fee and apply the typical 10-20% tip to it, then you’ll be looking at a tip in the range of ~$10 to $40.
However, there are no hard or fast rules – tipping isn’t expected in this industry so any amount will be welcomed, although we wouldn’t advise tipping less than $5 as this begins to look stingy.
Alternatives to Money
If you don’t want to tip with money then any of the following will also be welcomed:
- Gift vouchers
- A thank you card
- Food or drink
- A positive review on the web or elsewhere
- A positive testimony
How to Tip a Power Washer
We normally recommend tipping in cash where possible, especially if your power washer is employed rather than it being his/her own company.
Paying cash usually guarantees that the worker will receive the money which is not always the case if you pay with a card or other means.
Remember that some employees are banned by their employer from accepting tips so don’t be offended if your tip is refused.
When You Should and Shouldn’t Tip a Pressure Washer
It will be fairly obvious when you should tip and when you definitely shouldn’t – it always is when it comes to contractors as you can visibly see and assess the workmanship most of the time.
Here are some examples of when a tip is warranted:
- If the quality of the work is beyond your expectations;
- If the worker has gone beyond the call of duty. For example, if they’ve washed more than you’ve paid for;
- If the worker has been professional and courteous;
- At Christmas or Thanksgiving
- If the job has been done ahead of schedule or at a discounted price.
Withhold a tip if:
- The power washer has made a mess or the quality of the work is below par;
- If you’re charged more than quoted;
- If the worker was unprofessional or rude;
- If the job has taken longer than expected.
There is no obligation to tip a power washer and this tends to be the case for most contractors in the US on the basis of the research we’ve carried out to date.
However, power washers earn a fairly modest salary, well below other contractors such as plumbers who earn $45k – $76k per year according to Salary.com.
On that basis, you may feel that is in good conscience to offer a tip to your power washer, but it’s unlikely you’ll be frowned upon if you don’t offer one. Simply praising the work is usually all that is required. Alternatively, you can offer a non-monetary gift or a simple review or referral.
If you do decide to offer a monetary tip then the standard 10-20% of the total price of the service is what we’d recommend, which should set you back around $10 to $40 depending on the size of the job.
Ultimately, whether you tip and how much is a matter for you but we always recommend doing so if the workmanship is of good quality and you’re satisfied with the service provided.
The world is currently in the midst of high inflation, with rising living standards, meaning many blue-collar workers are feeling the pinch, so if you can afford a tip then it’s always worth giving one and will likely be well received and appreciated.