If 2020 made you reassess your career trajectory, you aren’t alone. Widespread insecurity and job losses had many people seeking new ways to make money.
To succeed in business, it helps to find a niche that will always be in demand. If you have no fear of heights, a gutter-cleaning business is a logical choice for those who enjoy manual labor. Here’s your step-by-step guide to getting started.
1. Gather or Locate the Tools You’ll Need
A gutter-cleaning business is an ideal startup for handy types on a shoestring because you have a relatively low initial capital expenditure. You’ll need to spend some money picking up items you need and filing the requisite paperwork to operate in your jurisdiction. However, when it comes to equipment, you’ll be able to rent many larger pieces, such as roll-off dumpsters.
However, for those items that you transport from job site to job site, it pays to invest in quality. You should select a ladder made of fiberglass or aluminum, not wood, as you don’t want to risk rot sending you plummeting three stories. Another must is a collection of heavy-duty skull buckets. Traumatic brain injuries can disrupt your entire life’s trajectory and lead to substantial financial, physical and mental hardship — please wear a helmet.
You’ll also need a gutter scoop for removing large clogs and a garden hose with a pistol nozzle for flushing out residual debris. Please don’t rely on your customers to have such items available. If you land a sweet contract tending to an apartment complex, many residents may lack them because they rely on building maintenance to take care of such details.
2. Do a Sample P&L to Set Pricing
You might love the chance to scramble up ladders for a living, but you have to earn money if you want to stay afloat. If you hope to make enough to fund your lifestyle, you need to set the right price. However, you can’t out-charge the competition so much that nobody calls you to tend to their property.
The best way to set a fair price is to sit down and crunch the numbers. You’ll have to learn how to do a P&L to complete your taxes, so get in the habit now. You’ll acquaint yourself with your accounting software and gather the information necessary to make an informed pricing decision.
3. Design a Marketing Strategy
You’ll never succeed in business if nobody knows that you exist. If you want to survive, let alone grow, you need to get your name out there.
Social media offers one affordable solution, but please be aware that you might not necessarily target those in your surrounding area. A cost-effective strategy for using the web to find online customers nearby is to design a website and get it listed on Google’s local guides.
Another inexpensive way to get your name out there is to start pounding the pavement. It costs relatively little to print business cards and placards — start going door-to-door with your advertisements. Many people will admire your work ethic, and you can selectively hit those areas that you believe will produce the most revenue.
4. Get Legal
If you run your business as a sole proprietorship, you’ll report your earnings on a Schedule C on your regular 1040 return. However, you should know that there are significant legal benefits to incorporating as an LLC and some potential tax perks to making an S-corp election. The most significant benefit to choosing an established business structure is protecting personal assets such as your home and vehicle from lawsuits.
Even if you choose not to incorporate at first, please make sure you cover yourself once you start operating under your business name. While 14 states have no requirements regarding publication or filing when “doing business as,” others can penalize you for failing to file the requisite paperwork.
5. Insure Yourself
Your jurisdiction will set minimum limits for personal injury liability and property damage coverage. Many require that you obtain such policies before you can legally operate, but you’d want to do so, anyway — unless you have a few spare million lying around in case your ladder falls and strikes a customer.
While you’re at it, please don’t neglect to secure health insurance, even if you are otherwise fit. All it takes is one accident to change your life — please don’t become one of the tens of thousands filing bankruptcy over medical reasons each year.
Use This Step-by-Step Guide to Starting a Gutter Cleaning Business
If you lost work in the pandemic or always thought about starting a business, home services offer reliable labor and income year after year. Use this step-by-step guide to build the gutter-cleaning business of your dreams.