How to start a damp proofing business
Damp is a common, yet serious, problem affecting residential and commercial buildings across the UK. Damp proof specialists’ expertise in preventing and fixing this problem is not only highly-valued, but crucial for clean living environments. It is having responsibility for keeping the areas we live and work in safe that makes the job so rewarding….
Damp is a common, yet serious, problem affecting residential and commercial buildings across the UK. Damp proof specialists’ expertise in preventing and fixing this problem is not only highly-valued, but crucial for clean living environments.
It is having responsibility for keeping the areas we live and work in safe that makes the job so rewarding. What’s more, the constant demand for damp proofing professionals provides exciting business opportunities.
Becoming a self-employed damp proof specialist is the perfect way to take advantage of market demand. You’ll also enjoy the freedoms of setting your own rates, choosing who you work with and deciding your working hours. However, maybe the greatest benefit of all will be establishing a business that has a positive impact on the health and living conditions of your local community.
This guide will equip you with the tips and advice you need to get your own damp proofing business started.
What qualifications do I need to be a self-employed damp proof specialist?
Qualifications are essential for proving you’ve had all the necessary training. A customer is much more likely to give you their business if you have formal evidence of your skills and expertise. The most common credentials that’ll highlight your reliability are:
- NVQ Level 2 in Insulation, Building Treatments or Damp-proofing
- Specialist apprenticeship focusing on damp treatment
If you’re looking to enter the industry and you have construction experience, you can gain the relevant skills through completion of a short training course. Industry-recognised organisations, such as the Property Care Association, offer courses to ensure you’re ready to deliver a high-quality service.
Following formal assessments based on industry standards, you can gain further certifications which recognise your competence and expertise. These not only help develop you as a professional, but can impress potential clients. These are the most relevant certificates to consider:
- Certificated Surveyor of Timber & Dampness in Buildings (CSTDB)
- Certificate in Remedial Damp Surveying (CRDS)
- Certificated Surveyor in Structural Waterproofing (CSSW)
Construction sites are a great opportunity for damp proof specialists – you can work on big projects and develop a reliable source of business. However, contractors often won’t employ your services without completion of the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS). Holding a CSCS card should therefore be a priority when starting your own damp proofing business.
What skills do I need?
Formal qualifications and experience go far in helping you succeed. However, when faced with difficult business and on-the-job challenges, you’ll need certain attributes to get you through:
- Attention to detail
- Problem solving skills
- Practical thinking
- Ability to work independently
- Interpersonal skills
- Numerical skills
- Ability to lead and manage
How do I start a damp proofing business?
This section will take you through how to make the most of your experience and qualifications to get your business up and running.
Registering your business
First things first, you’ll have to deal with the legalities of starting your own business.
You can either register your business as a sole trader or limited company. Whilst both have benefits, the structure you choose should depend upon how you want to run your company. To help you weigh up the options, read our article here.
When registering, you will be given the opportunity to name your company. Whilst this is a chance to add a personal touch to your business, you should also try to keep it short and professional.
Devising a business plan
Before you start offering your services, it’s important to establish business goals and identify how you will achieve them. Building your business based on specialist expertise, as well as market research, will set you up for success. For example, you may choose to focus on the installation of damp prevention apparatus or remedial work.
Your business plan should also cover who your target market is. Directing your efforts towards local contractors in construction, for instance, can help develop a steady stream of work.
Another possible route is targeting areas with older housing which are more prone to damp. These locations are likely to be in higher demand for damp surveys, which would maximise opportunities for you to provide this service. However, make sure to keep your pay rate competitive. Charging too high a premium could result in customers starting to look elsewhere. If you do plan on offering a damp surveying service to customers, read our article here for an idea of typical pay rates.
Looking after your finances
It’s crucial to stay in control of your finances. The costs of starting your business, such as sourcing equipment, business insurance and taxes, mean your expenditure may initially be higher than your income. However, this is typical for a new business and a business loan can help finance your spending.
How to grow your business
The success of your damp proofing company will depend upon your ability to deliver a high-quality service while building a network of business connections. Checkatrade membership is an invaluable tool for growing your client base. Not just because of the visibility you gain, but also the contacts you’ll receive. Last year alone, Checkatrade delivered over nine million contacts to trades.
Developing strong relationships with local tradespeople can be highly beneficial for both parties. When working on certain jobs, you may find damp has damaged structures to the extent that you require the service of a carpenter or plasterer. On the other hand, if local tradespeople discover mould, they may refer you to their customers.
As with any trade, word-of-mouth recommendations are massively important for damp proofers; these rely on delivering a great service and being friendly to customers. Those with damp problems will be looking for a reliable damp proofer who ticks all these boxes. Therefore, being recommended by a happy customer will do wonders for your chances of securing more work.
Joining Checkatrade can also really help you benefit from recommendations. Homeowners will leave reviews for your business, and you can even showcase images of the work as well. This means more homeowners looking for a damp proofer in their area will discover your service and help your business to grow.
Another idea is to create a website. It will make your business’ information easily accessible, and can be set up with a simple online template. Social media pages such as Facebook and Instagram can be beneficial for allowing you to connect and engage with more potential customers.
For more tips on marketing and building your business in general, check out our start-up guide here.
What damp-proofing advice can I give to customers?
Some homes will be more prone to damp than others. So, to provide an exemplary service, you can give advice on how to make their home damp-proof. Our article on how to make a home damp-proof has all the information needed to advise your customers. Click here to find out more.
Do you need qualifications to be a damp proof specialist?
Whilst it isn’t necessary, it is largely expected that damp proof specialists possess some formal qualifications. Colleges across the UK offer relevant NVQs and experienced proofers can gain certifications from professional bodies. Or, you can also complete short courses provided by training associations, which provide the necessary skills to enter the field.
How much does a damp proof specialist make a year?
The salaries of damp proof specialists vary depending on experience:
- Newly trained damp proofers can earn around £18,000 a year.
- Experienced damp proofers earn on average £27,000 a year.
Self-employed damp proofers will be able to set their own rates and provide specialist services, meaning they can potentially earn even more.