Gutter cleaning businesses are on the rise. Demand for gutter and downspout products are forecast to reach $6 billion in 2022! This is driven by healthy growth in the construction industry.
Now is the time, as the pandemic continues to decline, people are going back to work and have less time to do household chores such as cleaning their own gutters and pools.
If you have dreamed of starting your own Gutter Cleaning Business but unsure of how to get started, this step-by-step guide should get your started.
How To Start A Gutter Cleaning Business
1.Start with Knowing the Market
Your target market is primary homeowners who can afford to contract at least some home maintenance. This tends to be middle to upper-class homeowners.
Your competition is others working in the same market such as the Commercial Cleaning Services Industry which includes companies that primarily provide cleaning for swimming, wading pools, buildings, offices and the environment.
Residential homes as well. Most of these include things such as spas, hot tubs whirlpools, saunas, gutters, etc. These services include the initial service and follow-up maintenance contracts for drainage work and other plumbing issues.
2.Create a Business Plan
Include your target market and your competition in a formal Business Plan you can give to potential investors, lawyers, shareholders and others. It does not have to be complicated. It just needs to outline your business, what you are planning to do and why.
Add your mission and objective of the business. Answer the legalities of your business – who is going to be in charge? Are their stock options? Is their a creative niche in the market you are trying to provide and solve? Cover all the basics of your business.
Include what type of business you plan to operate. Is it an LLC? Choosing the type of plan sets your business upon how it plans to grow. Operating within the guidelines of your business plan is imperative to avoid penalties and fees from the government. Understand the different options available and adopt one that works best for the goals you see for your company.
3.Create a Marketing Plan
Your marketing plan should include ideas and strategies you can adopt for your business such as advertising, marketing, direct mail, brochures, ad campaigns, trade shows, literature, press releases, guides, samples, literature to hand out, business cards, anything you can leave with the customer to create a good impression on him to think more about what your service offers.
Marketing your business correctly can either make or break you getting started, so have a detailed plan and follow it.
You should also know exactly who the marketing is aimed towards. For a Guttering business, you need to target roofing and construction supply warehouses and area roofers. Also, target local plumbers and suppliers.
There are general guides and outlines on the world wide web for both business and marketing plans that can be used to get you started.
4.Apply for Licenses, Permits, Certifications, and Legalities
There are several business licenses and permits you will need to obtain before your get going. For starting a Guttering Business your will need a General Business License, an Operating Permit and a Seller’s Permit. Depending on the time of year you apply, it can take awhile to acquire so get started acquiring these permits sooner rather than later.
In the Guttering Business, most all the power players in this field are professionally certified. While it is not a legal requirement in the industry, most of the suppliers and customers will ask you for your certification.
Applying for it is relatively easily but you will have to invest many hours in order to comply with the rules and regulations of obtaining the certification. This process could take several months, so it is good it get started on this immediately when considering this business.
As with most all businesses in the United State, you will need to purchase the proper insurance for you and any employee. Basic insurance includes things like general insurance, health/medical/ workman’s compensation, liability, workman’s compensation and others.
You should pick out which one works best for your business and just keep with it. But understand all these forms well, as you need to follow the guidelines to not only stay legal but protection for your business. Consult a Professional Insurance Agent to find out specifically which policies are tailored for your profession.
5.Estimate and Know Your Costs
Costs can add up quickly, so it is imperative you plan for those costs and know what they entail. To maximize profits, you need to have a detailed list of what your expenses are going to include such as booth rent/space, vacuum cleaners, attachments, bowl cleaners, dust pans, dry mops, wet mop buckets, gloves, signs, cords, cleaners, dusters, supply caddies, cleaning chemicals, detergents, soap, etc. These are all simple within themselves, but they add up when you need to purchase them as a whole.
Other specific guttering costs you need to consider, are the types of services you plan to offer. Here are the most common with this type of service:
- Installation of gutters only
- Fabricate seamless gutters only
- Fabricate and install seamless gutters
- Gutters and more
- Vehicle and trailer to house guttering machine
- Gutter machine and all install tools
- Ladders and racks, scaffolding stages
- Liability Insurance
- Health Insurance
As you can guess, this can add up to thousands of dollars. If you are on a limited budget to start off with, reconsider how extensive you want to start your business and perhaps start on a smaller level offering the basics as you grow and try and raise capitol for your business.
Some of these items that will be required can be rented on a short-term basis rather than purchased up front. So, if you do not have all the capitol to purchase everything from the start, perhaps you can rent certain pieces of equipment until you can afford to purchase them outright.
5.Start from Scratch or Own a Franchise?
You need to take at an overall look at your mission objective and vison for the business. Do you want to start from scratch or obtain a franchise? There are obvious pros and cons of each. If you buy into a well-established franchise you gain the knowledge and wealth of it already being up and running. It has been branded, bonded, and is already succeeding in the market you want to be..
This can be huge as it bypasses all the hundreds of things you would have to accomplish on your own and set in motion. However, the penalty for that convenience comes with a price. One, you may not be able to afford just getting started.
It also does not solve every problem. Other items such as the economy and market itself can be a problem. If the market takes a nose-dive, it matters not if you are with an established brand or on your own, both will have to deal with the fall out.
6.Raising Capitol and Securing Financing
Raising capitol to start a new business can be challenging and intimidating if you don’t know what to do or where to turn. It depends on if you start on a small scale or a larger one.
Raising capitol on a small scale is a bit easier as you can scrape and save from sources such as savings, friends, family, or capitol to raise funds you need to purchase the minimum required to get up and going.
You’re overall cleaning supplies you will need will take a majority of your budget but if you can land a couple of small accounts to help pay for the bills, even if you don’t break even, it’s a start.
If you choose to start your business on a larger scale, you must have a good business plan to present to the banks so they will believe in you, There are many things that you can do such as buy and sell stocks, invest in dividends and bonds.
Be very clear exactly what every dollar will be spent on and how it will help the bottom line make a profit. The more business-like you come across, organized, and know what you are talking about the more chance of funding you will receive. When pitching ideas to investors, angels and organizations, have a good business plan, listen to what they are suggesting and follow their guidelines.
7.Choose a Good Business Name
Choosing the right name is not easy as it overlaps with the overall image one thinks about when thinking about your brand. Make sure your idea for a name is catchy, easy-to-remember, not-offensive in any way and has the potential to become a household slogan that people will use over and over.
8.Choose A Proper Location
Location is key when it comes to picking out where your business should be located. If you are starting off low key it is not as critical but as your business grows you will want to be in a centrally located area that has easy access in and out and is easily found by many.
The location you choose is paramount in making it easily accessible for your clients to find you. There are some key factors that should be considered when choosing a site to run your business. These factors include:
- The demography of the location
- The demand for corporate cleaning in the location
- The purchasing power of households, residential estates, local government councils, corporate organization in the location
- The number of gutter cleaning services that also clean gutters in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community
9.Advertise Your Business Properly
Knowing where and how to advertise is key in you creating awareness that you are open for business. For a Guttering company, it needs to be done in central locations near roofing and construction supply warehouses, new buildings, new construction, plumbing suppliers. Go where your market is.
Advertising methods can include billboards, flyers, marketing materials, business cards, brochures and literature, pens, t-shirts, basically anything that has your logo on it and a phone number to contact you.
If your budget is small to start out, try word-of-mouth. Have your sales reps physically visit these sources applicable to you to find out what needs they might have. Trade shows, conventions and publications are another great source to advertise and get the word out.
10.Purchase the Right Software
There are several software purchases you will need to make such as a Website Builder to help build your website, Accounting Software and Credit Card Processing Software.
When building a website, there are several platforms to choose from including website builders such as Wix, Network Solutions, Go Daddy, Host Gator and Site 123.
For accounting software, contact an accounting professional to get a tailored version of what is used in the Guttering industry.
You will also need to choose how you will be processing credit cards and payments. There are several companies to choose from but the most popular sites are Payment Cloud, Flagship or Leaders Merchant Services.
11.Hire The Right Employees
When hiring employees always start the interviewing process with someone that has experience in the field. This will save you time and money for training the person less. Make out a list of formal interview questions you want to ask prior to the interview. Remember, it is a lot easier to hire a person than to let them go, so choose wisely.
You have accomplished a lot to get your business up and going. It is no small feat. All your short-term goals of getting started have been met and you finally receive your first order. What do you do?
Don’t panic, this is what you have been waiting for. First, the type of order will be analyzed to see what suits it best. Is it Commercial? Residential? One time thing? Seasonal?
A lot of parameters and decisions will be made before you ever go to quote on the project. One needs to be organized enough to have the right people handle the order. Now your equipment, your contracts, your options, your pricing and how to offer the most minimum of explanation that the end-user can understand.
Remember, you know your business and what you have offer, but the person getting the quote may not. So calmly, go over options they can understand, while perhaps boring to you, is the first time they have herd it and the way it is presented, may make all the difference in a sale or not.
Congratulations! You started off with a dream of opening a Guttering Business and you did your homework and just completed your first sale! Keep up the great work!
Ruben has been doing online marketing for the last 4 years. Prior to that, he spent 15 years managing different brick-and-mortar businesses, in the home improvement and logistics industries. Overall, he has 20 years of business experience under his belt. Recently, he added SEO, affiliate marketing, and link building to his business skills.