How to start your own bricklaying business
Why start a bricklaying business?
While many trades are in high demand, if there’s one area that will never cease to operate, it’s bricklaying. From simple domestic projects to specialised commercial builds, not a day goes by when a bricklayer isn’t needed.
And that makes it the perfect trade for anyone wanting to start their own business in a bustling industry.
However, taking a leap of faith and leaving the safety net of employment to start your own business takes planning.
Where to begin?
That’s why we’ve created this guide to lay out exactly what you need to know to get started.
From bricklaying insurance to marketing methods, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how to set up a bricklaying company.
To begin with, let’s touch with the most important area of all – creating your business plan.
Creating a bricklaying business plan
It doesn’t matter what industry you work in, all businesses, big and small, need a business plan to get started. Bricklaying is no different.
That’s why creating an appropriate business plan should be the first thing you do when starting a bricklaying business.
Business plans are designed to help you plan out your goals with actionable steps you can take to achieve them. Having these goals and steps in place will help you stay focused, improving organisation, work efficiency, and even productivity.
Not to mention making it easier for you to make informed business decisions.
So, when building your initial business plan, you should focus on the following areas:
- Your business goals – what do you want to achieve with your business? What steps do you need to take to facilitate this?
- Startup costs – how will you finance your business now, and in the future?
- Finance management – who’s in charge of your business finances? You or an accountant?
- Your services – what areas of bricklaying will you cover? What areas will you specialise in?
- Your target market – will you operate as a domestic or commercial bricklayer or both?
- Your prices – what pricing will you settle on for the different types of work you offer?
- Your area of operation – how wide of an area will your business operate in?
- Types of marketing – how in-depth will your business marketing plan be?
- Your working hours – what number of hours will you work in the week? Will you work weekends as well?
Of course, these are just the core business plan aspects you’ll need to bear in mind. For more information and help on the topic, you should read our guide on writing a business plan.
This has plenty of information to help you get started, as does our free business plan template below.
What qualifications are needed for bricklaying
As with any trade, there are various certificates and diplomas you can work towards to become a qualified bricklayer. These can be run by a college or a qualified training provider, usually in combination with an apprenticeship.
So, if you’re not already qualified as a bricklayer, we suggest inquiring about the following certifications:
- Level 1 Certificate in Construction Skills
- Level 2 Diploma in Bricklaying
- Level 2 Diploma in Trowel Occupations
- T Level in On-Site Construction
Any one of these courses can be the right first step on the path to setting up a bricklaying business.
And you can always gain more qualifications down the line. This is always a good idea as the more qualified you are, the more your customers will trust your work.
For more information on bricklayer training, be sure to read our article on how to become a bricklayer.
Other bricklaying certifications
While trade qualifications are an essential part of setting up a bricklaying business, they’re not the only certifications you might need. As a bricklayer in particular, it’s also highly recommended that you join The Federation of Master Builders and get CSCS certified.
The Federation of Master Builders (FMB)
Joining the FMB is a great way to enhance your reputation and gain more clients as it demonstrates your bricklaying skills.
In order to become a member, you’ll need to pass an assessment and inspection process. This is to ensure you meet the high standards of a Master Builder.
However, upon completion, you’ll be able to display the FMB badge and impress customers with your recognised expertise in bricklaying.
Construction Skills Certificate Scheme (CSCS)
Many bricklaying jobs, be they domestic or commercial, will involve working on a construction site.
Therefore, it is a legal requirement for you to be CSCS-certified to carry out these sorts of jobs. So, as soon as is feasible, you should look into getting your CSCS card to avoid missing out on work.
What important business skills do bricklayers need?
While qualifications are essential to being a successful bricklayer, there are other ‘soft skills’ that are important to have.
These are the sorts of skills vital for any new business venture, helping you to be successful.
So, be sure to consider training in all the areas below before starting a bricklaying business:
- Construction knowledge – if you want to become a reputable bricklayer, then having good construction knowledge is essential
- Attention to detail – bricklaying requires precise work, making attention to detail a must to avoid obvious mistakes
- Organisation – running a business is no simple task, and you’ll need to be organised to keep up with essential business admin
- Interpersonal skills – becoming your own boss means handling more than just work. You’ll need to interact with customers and staff on a daily basis
- Managerial training – as a business owner, you’ll inevitably have to take on staff to help you, and managerial training will ensure you have the right skills to do this
- Patience and self-awareness – any trade can have long workdays. This makes good patience and self-awareness important to avoid losing sight of a project’s goals
- Numeracy skills – whether it’s carrying out measurements or handling finances, a thorough grasp of maths will make running a business that much easier
Naturally, these aren’t the only skills you’ll need, which is why we suggest reading our article on becoming your own boss. It has even more information on this topic.
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How to set up a bricklaying company
Let’s now look at the opening steps to take when starting a bricklaying business. This includes registering your business and getting bricklaying insurance, all of which are needed to keep your business running smoothly.
1. Getting your business registered
Regardless of the industry, all UK businesses need a name and to be registered with HMRC. You should make doing these two things a priority before looking for any work.
However, while choosing a business name might seem simple enough, registering your business will require some consideration. Namely, do you register your new company as a sole trade or limited company?
We recommend doing thorough research on both business types before picking one. Both are structured differently and come with specific pros and cons you’ll need to consider.
2. Applying for business insurance
Much like any construction job, bricklaying is not without its risks. That’s why you should look to getting the relevant bricklaying insurance for your business as soon as possible.
The last thing you want is to be financially liable for a workplace accident.
To protect yourself properly, you need to get the right policies in place before you start any work. That’s why we recommend investing in at least some or all of the following areas of insurance:
- Public liability insurance – this ensures you’re protected against accidental damage to a client’s property when working. For bricklaying, in particular, this is often a contractual requirement
- Professional indemnity insurance – this ensures you’re protected on a financial and reputation level against unsatisfied clients
- Tools insurance – this ensures that your tools and equipment are covered against potential damage and theft, both on the job and in storage
- Employers’ liability insurance – this ensures your employees are protected in the event that they’re injured at work
To find the right policies for your needs, it’s recommended you hire a specialist bricklayer insurance broker.
That way, you’ll avoid paying for any unnecessary insurance policies. For more information on insurance, you can also read our article on picking the right tradesperson insurance.
3. Applying for licences and permits
Unlike other trades, as a bricklayer, it will often be necessary for you to acquire a license or permits to operate in public spaces.
You’ll need to get in touch with your local council to set these up. They’ll be able to advise you properly on which licenses and permits you’ll need to operate as a bricklayer.
4. Accounting and bookkeeping
A big part of running a successful bricklaying business is being organised with your accounting and bookkeeping. This means you’ll need to decide how exactly to manage your finances.
Doing so will help you to manage your finances efficiently. Letting you easily track whether invoices have been settled, as well as claim relevant business expenses.
But it can take a lot of time and effort. That’s why we recommend reading our article on small business accounting for more information.
5. Buying your bricklaying tools and equipment
Last, but not least, once you’ve covered all the above points, you can look into buying your bricklaying equipment.
Approaching a job fully equipped gives you a professional edge. It also allows you to complete your work to a high standard.
We suggest buying the following essential bricklaying tools and equipment:
- Corner poles
- Wall ties
- Line blocks and twine
- Spirit levels
- Brick hammers
- Brick tongs
- A jointer
- A cement and mortar mixer
- A wheelbarrow
Don’t forget that you’ll likely need a company vehicle as well to transport your gear. Read our piece on the best van lease deals for more information on this. And remember, Checkatrade members get discounts on any tools and vehicles they purchase.
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How to grow a bricklaying business
With the opening steps of your new bricklaying business out of the way, it’s time to think about growth.
This includes scaling your business for more work, as well as marketing strategies, both of which need careful thought.
1. Scaling your business
Before even thinking of marketing your business, you need to be sure that you can handle any potential business growth.
This means upscaling your business plan to accommodate the increased number of jobs coming in.
However, this growth shouldn’t be rushed, otherwise, it might interfere with the quality of your work.
To make sure this doesn’t happen, we recommend looking at these four areas before you decide to start scaling:
- Business streamlining – you need your business to run smoothly in order to expand, so check that all departments are working together in tandem as they should be
- Financial stability – you need the proper finances in order to grow effectively, meaning you’ll need spare funds in the bank or another source of finance to hand should you wish to expand your work
- Quality consistency – you should never drop the quality of your work, no matter how big your business becomes. Be sure that you can retain a focus on quality over quantity before you think about taking on more clients
- Team growth – as you get bigger you’ll need more team members to handle the increased workload, which makes it very important to vet and check them against your business values and needs to ensure they’re a good fit
2. Digitally marketing your business
Nowadays, good digital marketing is the cornerstone of most successful modern businesses.
This means that you need to build and invest in a digital marketing plan as soon as possible. We suggest devoting at least some of your marketing budget to the following areas:
- Building a website – your business’s face on the web, a good website is essential for attracting a new customer base. To learn more about how to do this, read our article on building small business websites
- Using social media – bricklaying is naturally a very visual trade, which makes social media a very potent marketing tool for your business. See our piece on marketing your business through social media for more tips on how to harness it effectively
- Joining an online directory – online directories are still used by plenty of UK customers to find reputable tradespeople each and every day. Why not speak with the team at Checkatrade today to inquire about being added to our books?
3. Advertising your bricklaying business
While online marketing is a necessary part of running a modern business, you shouldn’t neglect traditional advertising. If done right, the methods below can generate plenty of leads for your new company:
- Print media – as powerful as it has ever been, print media is a great way to get your company out in front of customers. Find out more about using print media effectively in our print marketing blog
- PPC – still one of the go-to advertising options used online, pay-per-click can put your right at the top of Google Search results when implemented properly. To implement PPC properly, you should speak with a qualified PPC expert in your area about how best to use it
- Company signage – branding and signage are essential for any business, and there is no better way to get yourself out there than by applying your company branding to your van and uniform. This way, you’ll be advertising yourself every time you leave the house
- Event sponsorship – if possible, you should look to take part in local event sponsorship. This will give you a chance to meet plenty of the local community while also putting your brand front and centre for prospective customers.
4. Other marketing ideas
Lastly, when growing and marketing your bricklaying business, you can make use of these passive marketing strategies if you have the budget:
- Customer reviews – it goes without saying that good customer reviews will attract more new customers in turn. So, always remember to ask your customers to leave a review of your work when possible
- Networking – getting to know other tradespeople, especially as a bricklayer, will make it much easier for potential customers to find you, especially when a project requires more than one trade to be fully completed
- Google My Business listings – a quick and easy way to put yourself in front of customers, applying for the Google My Business listings will ensure that you appear when any customers make bricklaying inquiries in your area
As should be clear from all our above points, there’s a lot that goes into marketing. So, for more information on the topic, be sure to download our free marketing guide below.
How to get more bricklaying work
Once you’ve got your marketing strategy up and running, you’ll soon start to see your business increase. But outside of marketing, you can also find more bricklaying work by doing any of the following:
- Further accreditation – as we mentioned earlier in this guide, the more certifications and qualifications you have, the more likely customers are to trust you. This in turn will lead to more new and repeat business
- Specialised work – as you gain more experience, you can start to focus on specific areas of bricklaying as your niche. For example, you could start focusing more on big commercial projects, rather than a mix of domestic and commercial opportunities
- Repeat business – being consistent and delivering high-quality work is the best way to win repeat business. So, again, never sacrifice the quality of your work in favour of taking on more jobs
Winning more work with Checkatrade
With the last point out of the way, you should have everything you need to get started with your new bricklaying business. But if you want even more help doing this, then you should consider joining Checkatrade.
As a Checkatrade member, you can display all your customer review, as well as their testimonials of your work. We’ll even help you by providing more free marketing materials, helping to boost your business’s visibility on Google.
Why not reach out to our team today to ask about our 12-point vetting program and the services we offer?
Bricklaying business FAQs
How much does a bricklayer earn?
The average bricklayer salary in the UK is around £37,000 per year, while highly qualified and experienced bricklayers can earn a potential of between £40,000 – 50,000 per year, depending on location.
You can learn more about this topic in our piece looking at how much bricklayers earn.
What expenses can a self-employed bricklayer claim for?
As a self-employed worker, you can claim expenses for any costs that are vital to keeping your business running. This can include work tools, equipment, workwear, travel expenses, and office running costs.
Get your bricklaying business off to the right start
With a listing on the #1 trade directory, you'll get all the leads you needJoin Checkatrade today