How to start a gutter cleaning business
Gutter cleaning involves removing dirt and debris from the rain gutters of houses. It can be a dirty and dangerous job, and for that reason plenty of people would rather pay someone to do it, than do it themselves.
Gutter cleaning is a seasonal business, which can generate a decent income in a short amount of time, and start-up costs are relatively low. This creates a huge opportunity for the budding gutter entrepreneur.
Get the right equipment. In theory your biggest expense will be a long extension ladder to reach the roof of a two storey home and a way of transporting it. You might want to invest in a leaf blower, which works speedily on dry debris, and safety ropes and harnesses if you are mounting roofs. You will also need a scoop, an extension pole and refuse bags.
- Gutter cleaning involves removing dirt and debris from the rain gutters of houses.
- You might want to invest in a leaf blower, which works speedily on dry debris, and safety ropes and harnesses if you are mounting roofs.
Invest in protective overalls. Gutter cleaning is a dirty job so it is important to wear the proper clothing, suitable for all weathers. You will also need heavy gloves.
- Invest in protective overalls.
- Gutter cleaning is a dirty job so it is important to wear the proper clothing, suitable for all weathers.
Know the legislation. The 2005 Working at Height Regulations imposes strict rules regarding ladder use and safety and unfortunately puts liability for accidents onto the owner or occupier of a property. This has led many gutter cleaning companies to invest in ladderless cleaning vacuums, which allows the operator to clean from the ground, thus bypassing the regulations. You may need to do likewise if you are to compete. Starter systems costs around £500.
Be aware of your seasons. Gutter cleaning is a seasonal business. Most people wait until the last autumn leaves have fallen before calling a cleaner. Cold winters are difficult, as you cannot scoop frozen debris. If you have a short season, you should be prepared to work very long hours.
Set your pricing. Most customers will want a fixed price rather than a price per metre of guttering. Prices tend to start at around £20 for a two-storey, three bedroomed house. Look at your competition and your likely customer base and consider what price the market will bear. Prices will differ depending on whether you offer a by-hand service or have invested in ladderless equipment.
- Gutter cleaning is a seasonal business.
- Most customers will want a fixed price rather than a price per metre of guttering.
Market yourself. Consider having a few hundred flyers printed and distributed around your local area. Knock door to door and advertise yourself. If funds allow, you could take out a classified advertisement in a newspaper or trade publication.
- Mounting ladders is a dangerous job. You should take this into account in your pricing strategy and not undersell yourself.
- Unless you are using a ladderless system, don't be tempted to take on every job that comes your way. Look at the property first and refuse any job that might be dangerous, for example, because the ground is too uneven for your ladders. Your safety is worth more than a few pounds.
A former real estate lawyer, Jayne Thompson writes about law, business and corporate communications, drawing on 17 years’ experience in the legal sector. She holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Birmingham and a Masters in International Law from the University of East London.