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How to start a driveway contracting business

A well-installed, modern driveway can give instant curb appeal to a property and is therefore a much sought-after feature for many homeowners. If you've been working in the trade for a while and are wondering how to start a driveway business of your own, you're in the right place. We'll guide you through all you need to know.

The scope of opportunity for driveway 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.

Becoming your own boss means you control your future career path, the direction you wish to take your company, the hours you work, the rates you set, and the jobs you undertake.

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

In this post, we outline exactly what it takes to set up and run a successful driveway business, including how to write a business plan, the skills needed to be the boss, the practical steps you need to take, and how best to market your new business. 

We also have a number of FREE business templates to save you time:

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 who were once in your position. 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.

Create a business plan for your driveway business

Every successful business starts with a solid plan, covering long-term goals and key targets and how you plan to achieve them. It’ll make sure you remain focused and allows you to make informed decisions. 

Market research should also be included to help understand where your services might be in high demand – residential or commercial customers, for example, and how best to position your business in the market. 

Your business plan should also cover what services you’ll offer and how much you’ll charge.

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

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.

Training and qualifications

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

The most common qualifications are 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.   

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  

Top tips on how to become your own boss

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.

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 structure: sole trader or limited company

If you’re unsure which structure would be best for your new business, instruct a professional accountant to help you understand the tax liabilities and regulations for each type.

How to find an accountant that’s right for your business

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. In some cases, it’s illegal to trade without it, so be sure to research the cover you’ll need.

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.

Public liability insurance (PLI) is mandatory for Checkatrade members and is often a contractual requirement for larger jobs too.

Employers’ liability insurance is a legal requirement if you employ others as part of your business, even on a temporary or casual basis.

You will also need cover for your tools, equipment, materials, work vehicle, and your income should you be unable to work.

Checkatrade members get money off with our insurance partner Covéa.

How to pick the right tradesperson insurance


There are three key areas to consider when it comes to your company finances: managing your cash flow, understanding your tax liabilities, and keeping your books in good order. We have three articles to help you do this:

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

Hiring 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, but if you’re just looking for an extra pair of hands, a labourer or apprentice can be a cheaper option. 

How to make your first hire as a trade business owner

Whoever you choose to employ, make sure they know how to deal with customers professionally. They will essentially be representatives of your brand. This is especially important as a good reputation is often the key to new and repeat business. 

Get your new business off to the best possible start

Join the best trades on the UK's leading trade directory

Join Checkatrade today

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.   

Having a van to meet customers and transport tools and materials between jobs will be essential, so you’ll need a valid driver’s licence too.

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

Save money setting up your driveway business

Checkatrade members save up to £470 per year on fuel, insurance, tools, equipment, workwear, and more

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.

One option is 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. And remember to 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.

Save money and time marketing your business

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.

To give your business the best start, join Checkatrade. If your target audience is primarily homeowners, then you’ll want your business on Checkatrade. That’s where homeowners go to find tradespeople they can trust, and not being listed means you could miss out on potential work.

With our digital marketing strategy and strong online presence, becoming a Checkatrade member makes it easier for customers to find you.

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.

And with the Checkatrade tick by your name, it makes your marketing just that little bit easier, as 8/10 people would choose a trade endorsed by Checkatrade, compared to one which isn’t*.

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.

Save money setting up your driveway business

Checkatrade members save up to £470 per year on fuel, insurance, tools, equipment, workwear, and more

Tell me more

Check out this post for further advice on setting up your business.

Quick action: Sign up for our ‘Become the boss’ series

You could get your driveway business started right away with the help of our ‘Become the Boss’ series.

You’ll receive a series of 8 emails containing actionable tips and top advice from fellow tradespeople who were once in your position. And at the end of it, you could be the founder of your new business.

To get trade business insider secrets sent to your pocket, enter your email address in the form below so we can help you to get started:

How to grow your driveway business

Looking to the future, you may have a few questions about how to grow your driveway business. We’ve got you covered.

Just as you did when you set-up your new venture, business grow requires a bit of pen to paper action. This will help you to set clear growth targets and strategies for how to achieve them.

In this section, we’ll guide you through the process of identifying, setting, and achieving realistic targets to scale up and take your business forward.

Get your new business off to the best possible start

Join the best trades on the UK's leading trade directory

Join Checkatrade today

What is business growth?

Business growth can occur in many different ways. For example, by generating more revenue, developing a wider customer base, or expanding your service offering.

Growth isn’t just about ‘increased sales’. It’s also about maintaining or improving profitability, through greater efficiencies and minimising costs, for example.

Before you move into the ‘growth’ stage, it’s important to think about what growth means for your particular business:

  • What does ‘growth’ look like?
  • How will you achieve that growth?
  • How will you gauge success?

What growth targets should you set for your business?

As growth can be achieved in a number of different ways, it’s important to think about what growth targets would be appropriate for your business. Some examples of growth targets include:

  1. Getting more work
  2. Increased revenue
  3. Developing a bigger team
  4. Expanding your services

How will you achieve your growth targets?

The next stage is to plan how you’ll achieve the growth targets you’ve set for your business. 

We have a FREE business development strategy template to help you do this, and a really useful article to explain what information to include:

How to create a business development strategy – Free template included

Want some ideas to help get the ball rolling? Here are a selection of tactics to help achieve the particular growth targets you’ve set for your business.

1. Growth target: want more work?

To get more work, you need to attract more customers. But how?

Within your original business plan, you would’ve outlined a marketing strategy. At this stage, it’d be wise to review this. Have you implemented everything you set out to do, what worked, what didn’t, and what new ways can you think of to promote your business?

Some marketing tactics you may wish to consider include:

Traditional marketing

Digital marketing

Check out our FREE marketing planning guide and checklist to help create a clear list of marketing tactics and responsibilities.

You need a marketing plan now more than ever – Free marketing planning guide included

2. Growth target: want increased revenue?

Generating more sales to increase your company revenue is a popular strategy, but again, how do you do this?

One of the best ways to generate more revenue is to sharpen your sales skills and win more business. Here’s a selection of articles to help you do this:

3. Growth target: want to develop a bigger team?

As we touched on earlier, it’s unlikely you’ll be working alone in this trade; you’ll need to employ others to help you. But as an employer, you have certain responsibilities. 

You’ll need to understand your legal responsibilities, for example, it’s a legal requirement to have employers’ liability insurance. You’ll also need to understand company payroll and learn about holiday pay. Check out our checklist for taking on employees.

We’ve also put together a guide on how to hire employees – from where to advertise for staff through to interview questions to ask.

We have a selection of articles to guide you through making the right hire at the right time, helping to protect the trusted name and reputation you’ve worked hard to build:

And when you find good workers, you’ll also want to keep hold of them! Here’s how: How to retain an amazing team.

4. Growth target: want to expand your service offering?

At the start of this post, we mentioned that driveway businesses have plenty of scope for growth, which is great news if you want to develop your company. Here are a few ideas:

  • As well as driveway installation, you could offer driveway cleaning, repairs, and maintenance
  • You could extend the range of driveway materials you offer your customers, ranging from low-budget gravel, to more costly natural sandstone, and everything in between
  • You may wish to tap into new markets, offering your services to commercial clients, for example, car park resurfacing
  • Perhaps you want to transfer your skills to other services, for example, patios or landscaping
  • Perhaps you’ve identified a specific niche you want to explore, for example, high-end resin or concrete installations

In order to pursue these strategies, you may need to identify the training and development needs of you/your team or look at how your existing skills could transfer to another service. Perhaps there are accreditations or certifications you could aim for too.

Remember, whatever growth targets you set, they must be S.M.A.R.T

  • Specific – what does the task involve?
  • Measurable – how will you quantify success?
  • Achievable – is this attainable given the resources, knowledge, and time available?
  • Realistic – is the target realistic to the confines of your job and your existing responsibilities?
  • Time-bound – when should the target be achieved by?

How to tell if you’ve reached your targets?

The simplest way to know if you’ve achieved your targets is to measure them.

Draw up a chart that includes your target, your current figure, the figure you’re aiming for, and the % increase. Populate the chart at regular frequencies so you can monitor your progress.

Other key considerations for business growth

There are a couple of other important considerations to make when plotting your business growth.

For more tips to help grow your trade business, check out this article.

Grow your driveway business with Checkatrade

Checkatrade is the UK’s leading trade directory. Here are just a few reasons to join the best trades with a Checkatrade membership:

Get more leads

Checkatrade members receive more than 100,000 leads each week. 3 million homeowners used our trades last year. A third of all trade work comes through Checkatrade**.

Help to secure more work

8 out of 10 people would choose a trade endorsed by Checkatrade compared to one that isn’t endorsed***. The tick that homeowners trust, helping you to win more business.

Save money

Get exclusive access to trade deals, saving money on business essentials to help keep your profit margins sharp. Checkatrade members save on average £470 per year each**** on everything from tools, equipment, van leasing, insurance, workwear, and more.

Save money setting up your driveway business

Checkatrade members save up to £470 per year on fuel, insurance, tools, equipment, workwear, and more

Tell me more


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.  

Get your new business off to the best possible start

Join the best trades on the UK's leading trade directory

Join Checkatrade today

*Claims are sourced from a survey conducted by Deep Blue Thinking on a nationally representative UK sample in November 2021.

**Checkatrade brand tracking survey April 2021

***Claims are sourced from a survey conducted by Deep Blue Thinking on a nationally representative UK sample in November 2021.

****Year runs from April 21’ to March 22’. Saving calculation based on average spend across 12,505 members in 2020/2021/2022. Discounts differ depending on the partner. Products range from low value items to high value items. Some exclusions will apply on products.

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