You can start a headstone cleaning business on a part-time or full-time basis without spending much upfront. All you need to get into the business is knowledge of cleaning different types of stone and basic cleaning supplies and equipment. Depending on the area in which you live, the demand for headstone cleaning can be great, especially around the holidays. By maintaining a friendly demeanour with clients, you can build your business through referrals and long-term cleaning contracts.
Research the types of stone used for headstones in your area. Granite, limestone and marble are common because of their ability to withstand weather, including rain, snow and prolonged exposure to sunlight. Older headstones made of shale or sand may require additional research, as these materials deteriorate more quickly when cleaned with heavy brushes or chemicals. Contact local preservation societies or visit your local library for more information about cleaning and preserving stone.
Purchase equipment, such as brushes, dry cloths, buckets, spray bottles, detergent and other cleaning chemicals which are safe to use on stone.
Apply for a business license through your local Department of Revenue or small business office. Purchase business insurance that covers you in the event of an injury or accident while cleaning a headstone. Purchase general liability insurance to cover the costs of lawsuits and settlements.
Contact local cemeteries, funeral homes and headstone carving services to promote your business. Create flyers and business cards to leave with them. Advertise online or in local newspapers to attract new clients. Popular times to clean headstones include holidays such as Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Christmas and Easter.
Create an Excel spreadsheet that includes client names, names of the deceased, location of headstones, distinguishing characteristics on grave markers and frequency of cleanings.
- Train employees thoroughly in cleaning different types of stone to prevent damage to headstones.
- Always contact the cemetery in advance as you may need their permission to clean headstones located on their property.