How to Start a Gutter Cleaning Business

Sometimes the best job opportunities can be created from a few simple tools that are already sitting around the house. If you want to know how to start a gutter cleaning business, then all you really need to have is a ladder, a garden hose, a spoon, and a trash bag to take on your first contracts. On good days, you could easily clear $300 by providing services. The process seems simple, but there are a few additional steps you’ll need to take once you get your tools gathered up and your transportation ready to go.

1. Insurance Coverage is Essential for this Job.

Even if you are only working by yourself, having insurance protection is necessary. You’re going to be working high up on a ladder and on a roof, which means falls are a very real possibility. Not only will you need general liability coverage, but you’ll also need worker’s comp coverage and/or long-term disability coverage to protect your income should you become insured on the job.

Many jurisdictions require this insurance to be obtained before you can receive a license. You may need to be bonded by a specific amount as well.

2. Obtain All of Your Licenses.

Most gutter cleaning businesses only need to have a general business license to operate. In some jurisdictions, however, the service may be considered a property improvement and be subject to sales tax collection. You may also be classified as a contractor and be required to obtain a specific license to operate in addition to the general business license. Certain cities may require a separate license as well if you plan to service customers within their borders.

3. You’re Ready to Begin Marketing Yourself.

The easiest way to begin marketing your services is to do some part-time work around your immediate neighborhood for a discount. This will let people see that you’re ready to take on some business and evidence of your craftsmanship will be on full display. Low-cost marketing options may also include some of the following ideas.

  • Posting business cards or fliers at local businesses.
  • Handing out or mailing post cards to local neighborhoods or zip codes.
  • Taking out a three line classified advertisement in the local newspaper.

If you’re just getting started, then you may wish to offer something like a “Grand Opening Promotion” to encourage homeowners to give you a try. Discounts off of your base services of up to 20% could help you get some contracts lined up.

4. Speak with Your Local Property Management Agencies.

Property managers are responsible for being an owner’s agent when a home or building is being leased. They have a responsibility to build relationships with local vendors who can provide quality services at quality prices. Schedule an appointment to speak with all of your local property management agencies, give them your business information, and let them know you’d be interested in being a gutter cleaning vendor for them. With the right prices, you might wind up with more work than you ever dreamed you’d have.

5. Sometimes it Isn’t the Homeowners Who Are Responsible for the Maintenance.

Some HOAs and other neighborhood agencies are responsible for housing maintenance costs. Speak with local HOA representatives to discuss yearly contracts for service. Most contracts are negotiated in Autumn for the next year, so don’t miss your negotiation window.

6. Become a Government Subcontractor to Provide Foreclosure Services.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is responsible to care for foreclosures of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae loans. They have designated contractors in each region to whom they assign work. These contractors are looking for subcontractors to take care of homes. Gutter cleaning is often overlooked and problematic to home values, especially in winter, so offering your services could relieve a major headache for many people.

7. Consider Your Payment Structure Very Carefully.

Many gutter cleaners operate as a pay on demand type of business. This means you complete the job and then get paid after you do it while still on site. If customers can’t pay the bill, then you will need to bill them for services rendered. Because this is a service job, full payment in advance is usually not a good option. A 50/50 arrangement is often the best way to go.

Knowing how to start a gutter cleaning business is an easy way to make some extra money. Use these steps to get your business started today.

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