How to Start a Sewer & Drain Cleaning Business

Updated April 17, 2017

Sewer and drain cleaning businesses repair and clean public sewers, blocked drains, private septic tanks, sewer lines and toilets and sinks. There's a large range of a cleaning services a company can provide to its customers. If you're interested in starting your own sewer and drain cleaning business, you need to be prepared to complete the necessary training and certification required to work in this industry. In addition, you need to have the start-up capital to purchase equipment, secure a facility and hire other professionals to work for you.

Obtain the highest certification possible in cleaning sewers and drains. Contact your department of environmental sciences or department of health for information on special training and certification requirements for your business.

Register your business and become insured and licensed in your state. Contact your Sectary of State's office to incorporate your business. Visit your local county clerk's office to obtain all necessary licenses and permits for your business. Talk with your insurance agent about the proper liability insurance for your business. If you hire employees, you need to acquire worker's compensation insurance and file for an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS.

Research your state's procedure for waste disposal. Inquire about the type of truck you need to transport sewage waste. Most states require that sewage and drain cleaning businesses have their name, tank capacity and license printed on the body of their work truck. Typically, your truck must meet weight standards and is subject to annual inspections by the department of health.

Secure a location for your sewer and drain cleaning business. You need a big enough space to house your trucks, cleaning equipment and administrative offices. Consider opening an office near busy retail shops so you can attract both commercial and residential clients.

Purchase equipment such as inspection tools, goggles, gloves, power rudders, uniforms, respirators, cleaning jets, boots, treatment chemicals and plumber snakes. Stay updated on how to properly handle and store cleaning equipment by completing training every couple of years.

Contact a sewage treatment facility and make arrangements to dump your waste.

Hire reliable and certified professionals. Make sure that all your employees are well trained on how to use cleaning equipment and chemicals before working on a job site. Use checklists for your employees to turn in after each cleaning job to ensure they completed the job correctly and on time.

Advertise your sewer and drain cleaning business. Build a website that describes your services and contact information. Promote your services in the local newspaper and phone book. Mail out flyers to customers in the local area.


Consider purchasing a franchise if you have enough money to put up front. Contact local and state professional associations for financial and legal resources when starting your sewer and drain cleaning business.


Business laws vary from state to state. Hire an attorney to assist you in registering your business in your state.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Lucy Bowles is an avid freelance writer from Indianapolis. She has written for various websites since 2009. As a certified paralegal Bowles has worked in the areas of business, intellectual property and entertainment law. She has a bachelor's degree in history and a minor in legal studies from Indiana University.