How To Start A Driveway Contracting Business | Checkatrade
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How to start a driveway contracting business

There is a lot of job scope for tradespeople that work with driveways. With people always needing work done, this could be the time to start a new driveway contracting business. This article guides you through that process.

The scope for driveway contracting businesses is arguably greater than ever before.

With a huge variety of driveway materials, additional services, and markets to tap into, it’s understandable you’re wondering how to start a driveway business of your own.

Wanting to become your own boss means you control your future career path and the direction you wish to take your new company.

Once you start out on your own, you’ll be responsible for:

  • The hours you work
  • The rates you set
  • The jobs you undertake

But of course, if it was that easy, everyone would be doing it. Starting your own driveway contracting business takes a lot of hard work and requires you to tick various boxes.

Set out a business plan for your driveway business

Every successful business starts with a solid plan. Make sure to cover long-term goals, key targets and how you plan to achieve them. Even if you think “it’s only driveway work”, you can still benefit from good planning.

Business plans make sure you remain focused and allow you to make informed decisions. 

Market research should also be included to help understand where your services might be in high demand. That might mean identifying residential or commercial customers, as different types of driveway require different jobs. Such as:

  • Edging repairs
  • Resurfacing
  • Cleaning
  • Adding gravel
  • Fixing potholes

Your business plan should cover all of the services you’ll offer and how you’re planning to charge. You could use a job pricing template to make sure your work will bring a profit.

You may also choose to establish a specialism, such as installing resin-bound driveways or laying imprinted concrete, to help set your business apart from competitors.

If you’re not sure what goes in one, we have a fantastic guide for how to write a business plan. And a FREE business plan template for you to use. Simply add your email below.

driveway lighting

What training and qualifications do you need?

Even if you have some experience laying drives, getting formal qualifications is a great way to demonstrate your credentials to impress potential customers.

Certificates can be gained through apprenticeships and college courses. These include:  

  • Intermediate apprenticeship in hard landscaping or pavement construction 
  • Level 2 Diploma in hard landscaping 
  • Level 3 Diploma in landscape construction 

While these qualifications are valuable, you can still become a self-employed driveway installer without them.

‘On the job’ experience along with short training courses will provide you with the skills and knowledge you’ll need to build your business. If this interests you, training is offered by the following professional industry bodies: 

  • Interlay 
  • British Association of Landscaping Industries (BALI) 

Through assessments based on industry standards, you can also attain accredited membership of these professional bodies. Going the extra mile here could be valuable as it demonstrates your commitment to the highest standards.

Get your new business off to the best possible start

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Other useful skills and attributes 

Alongside a thorough understanding of how to lay driveways, you’ll also need a number of other skills to help your business succeed.

These will be necessary to overcome problems, work well under pressure, and build customer relationships.  

  • Problem-solving skills – not all drives are the same and some will pose practical challenges  
  • Time management – customers are paying for your time as much as your expertise so know how to charge per hour  
  • Creativity – some customers might not know what they want so you’ll need to offer options  
  • Familiarity with design software – most of today’s designs will be computer-generated  
  • Leadership – especially important if you’re managing a team  
  • Physical fitness – laying drives requires plenty of physical labour and often involves long hours  
  • Organisation – running a business can be complex so ensure you’ve got everything in order

Tarmac driveway

How to start a driveway business – step by step

For qualified and experienced driveway installers, self-employment is a great opportunity to take the next step and move forward in your career.  

In this section, we’ll guide you through the various steps you need to take to set up your new driveway business.

Pick a business name and logo

Choose a business name that’s concise, memorable, and relevant to the services you offer. Once you’re happy with your choice, you’ll need to register it.

Register your business 

1. Register your business with HMRC in order to trade legally

2. Decide on a business legal structure as there are different rules for each

If you’re unsure which structure would be best for your new business, why not speak to an accountant? They can help you understand the tax liabilities and regulations for each type of business (sole trader, partnership or limited company).

Apply for licences and permits

Before you get started, make a call to your local council to ask whether you need to apply for any specific licences and/or permits to operate as a driveway contractor, especially the laws surrounding dropped kerbs.

Get business insurance

When you run your own business, it’s important to get appropriate business insurance. Be sure to research the cover you’ll need, as you don’t want to end up out of pocket in the long term.

Whether you’re working at a customer’s house on a residential project, or among other trades on a commercial job, there’s always potential for accidents to happen, which can be incredibly costly without insurance.

You may also want to consider cover for your tools, equipment, materials and work vehicle. You might even consider protecting your income should you be unable to work.

Plan your finances

There are several key areas to consider when it comes to your company finances:

  • Managing your cash flow
  • Understanding your tax liabilities
  • Keeping your books in good order
  • Paying any staff or subcontractors

Poor cash flow management is one of the top reasons for new businesses failing, so don’t be tempted to ignore it.

Get your new business off to the best possible start

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Hire a team

Driveway installation is a big job for one person so installers generally work in a team to ensure they complete the job efficiently.

Hiring an experienced driveway installer can really help lighten your load and provide additional expertise to your business. If you’re just looking for an extra pair of hands, a labourer or apprentice can be a cheaper option. 

Whoever you choose to employ, make sure they know how to deal with customers professionally. They will essentially be representatives of your company. You want to get a good reputation as the key to new and repeat business. 

Invest in tools and equipment

In order to provide a professional and efficient service, you’ll need to have the right equipment for your driveway business.

Some of the basic tools needed for every job include: 

  • Wheelbarrow 
  • Shovel, spade, and trowels 
  • Builders string line 
  • Wire pegs 
  • Stakes 
  • Spirit level 
  • Straight edge tool 
  • Levelling 
  • Paving and brick cutters 

While these tools will be enough for most jobs, you may decide to offer different finishes or patterns. If so, specialist tools may be necessary. These can be expensive, so remember that buying second-hand or hiring is an option, helping to keep overheads low as you build your new business up.   

Checkatrade members receive exclusive discounts on a range of business essentials including tools, materials, van leasing, and insurance through our carefully selected partners.

Want to save money setting up your driveway business?

Checkatrade members get discounts on insurance, materials and more!

Find out more

Driveway cleaning services near me

What are the building regulations for driveways?

As with any new business, you need to make sure you are familiar with all of the rules and regulations.

There are many planning rules for driveways, but they won’t always be applicable.

One to be aware of is that if an area of the driveway is less than 5 square metres then you won’t need to apply for planning permission. Anything larger than that will need to get approval with the relevant authority.

Get your new business off to the best possible start

Become a member and see new leads coming your way

Tell me more

Marketing your driveway business 

In order to generate work for your new business, you need to think about how you’ll market your services.

For example, you can reach potential customers with print advertising. This can include advertising in a local magazine, or newspaper, or sending out direct mail.

Checkatrade members have the opportunity to feature in our leading trade directory, which is delivered to homeowners around the country.

  • Word-of-recommendations will help to create work for your fledgling business
  • Place a company sign on the driveways you’ve installed, for effective, free advertising
  • Signwriting your vehicle with your business name and contact details will help to advertise on the go

You can also build an online presence for your new business, by creating social media profiles for your business, for example. This is a great way to show photos of the quality work you offer and share testimonials from satisfied customers.

Marketing will either cost you in time or money (or both!), so it’s crucial you decide on the most effective way to market your new business, considering your budget and the time you have available.

How joining Checkatrade could boost your marketing

To give your business the best start, why not join Checkatrade? If your target audience is primarily homeowners, then you’ll want your driveway contracting business listed on Checkatrade.

People come to us when they want to find tradespeople they can trust, and not being listed means you could miss out on potential work.

  • You’ll get a business profile on the UK’s leading trade directory and a search listing in Google, just as a website would
  • You can display customer reviews, testimonials, and examples of your work on your profile page
  • You can also manage customer enquiries on the go, directly from the Checkatrade app, keeping everything in one handy place

We’ll also help you with free marketing materials and don’t forget, our members get exclusive discounts on business essentials, including workwear, tools, equipment, insurance, van leasing, fuel, and more.

Get your new business off to the best possible start

Become a member and see new leads coming your way

Tell me more

We also have a number of FREE business templates to save you time when you want to set up a trade business working with driveways:

Want to get started right away?

Sign up for our ‘Become the Boss’ series for help getting your driveway business up and running in no time.

You’ll receive a series of 8 emails containing actionable tips and top advice from fellow tradespeople. At the end of it all, you could be the founder of your new business.

Simply add your email below to make the most of this free business advice.

FAQs 

How much do driveway installation businesses charge?

Costs for driveway installations will depend on the type, size, and finish. Including material costs and average wages, an hourly rate is roughly £90 though some businesses may charge more.  

Do I need qualifications to be a driveway installer?

Qualifications are not formally required to be a driveway installer but they help develop your skills and attract potential clients. Colleges, apprenticeships, and training schemes by professional bodies all offer relevant qualifications should you feel one is necessary.  

Can I start my own driveway installation business?

Absolutely. With the right skills and experience, you can quickly develop a profitable business. Just make sure you have the means to reach new customers and develop a healthy pipeline of work.  

Want to save money setting up your driveway business?

Checkatrade members get discounts on insurance, materials and more!

Find out more
 

 

Content disclaimer: This content has been created for general information purposes and should not be taken as formal advice. Read our full disclaimer here.

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What others think of this article:

Karl smith

I have just read what check a trade has put and IV read it all it's so useful and helpful I'm so glad I read it I started my own fence panels business 5 yrs ago and that's become ok I want to manufacture my own fence panels has well and I'm looking into in a big way of adding driveways and landscaping so thankyou so much for what I just read so helpful

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