Pricing for Success

July 6, 2021

33-33-33 Principle in Business Pricing


One of the most common questions we get asked by new business owners is how to price services. While the concept is simple, it is easy to become lost in the various number models, advice, and structures floating around on the web, and balancing your costs and revenue can be a daunting task. While no percentage categories will apply 100% of the time, there is an ideal balance, and it is surprisingly simple – the ideal percentage for running a lasting and successful business is very easy to remember: 33-33-33.


The first step to setting profitable pricing is to understand your overhead. When pricing a job or service, 33% should go to your expenses. These are hard costs that include any monthly payments for equipment, the running of your office, office supplies, work supplies, payroll for non-technicians (personnel in your office or support staff who do not directly perform the service you are charging for), insurance, maintenance, and any other cost that is associated with overhead.


The next expense to consider is payroll. Of the price you charge, 33% should be allotted to pay your working technicians or dispatched agents. Whether you are in internet or IT, plumbing, electrician services, window washing or exterior cleaning, or pest control, this accounts for your payroll expense, including what you pay yourself as a business owner.


Finally, 33% should be put into your “profits.” This is your security fund. This portion is used to buffer your other costs as well as grow your business when the time comes. The mistake new businesses tend to make when setting prices stems from forgetting profits, as new business owners will sometimes forgo putting money into their business and instead take a larger draw. This can lead to prices that are too low, or, in the long-term, leaving no room to grow.


Once you have calculated your expenses and payroll by month, divide by the average number of work hours to determine your operating costs. So divide your total expenses (overhead + payroll) by 4 (average number of weeks per month) and then divide that by 40 (40 hours per week). Take that final number and multiply by 1.33 to find your hourly rate. This rate may differ based on service; for example, power washing crews operate at higher costs than window washing crews as the overhead to run a pressure washer is higher.

You won’t learn everything in a single blog post, and these numbers don’t represent a model that is concrete. These percentages ebb and flow with the growth of your business, but sticking as close as you can to the 33-33-33 ratio will help you stay competitive and profitable.

Want more content like this? Considering joining an educational organization like Spray Wash Academy for resources and classes on methods and techniques, business building, marketing and pricing. The knowledge share of members and leaders is immensely helpful for new and established businesses alike.

Agent Clean Solutions offers high-quality detergents, surfactants, and degreasers for use in the exterior cleaning industry. Originally developed to provide optimal products for Agent Clean franchise, A leader in the cleaning industry, Agent Clean Solutions provides a product lineup useful for day-to-day soft washing, power washing, and window cleaning operations, as well as business and systems training at events around the country. For information regarding this release or our products, contact our office at (855) 927-4243 or email

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