How To Start A Gutter Cleaning Business | Checkatrade
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How to start a gutter cleaning business

You've mastered your trade and enjoy what you do. But, how do you switch from an employee to becoming the boss of a gutter cleaning business?

Gutter cleaning is a job that homeowners will always need. And with relatively low overheads, setting up a gutter cleaning business can be a clever move.

Starting your own gutter cleaning business gives you the freedom to choose your working hours.

Plus, you choose the type of jobs you decide to take.

It’s not uncommon to add gutter cleaning services to an existing business, such as window cleaning or drive cleaning.

Some tradespeople choose to add more services, such as gutter installation.

This helps diversify their trade once their gutter clearance business is more established.

No time to read about starting a gutter cleaning business?

Just sign up to our ‘Become the Boss’ series for help getting your gutter cleaning business started in no time.

There are seven emails in total. Plus a bonus email, with tips from fellow tradespeople. Simply add your details below to make the most of this free business advice.

Why you’ll need a business plan

Before you do anything else, create a business plan.

This involves competitor research, identifying opportunities, and setting goals.

A business plan helps you to stay focused and make informed decisions as your business grows.

Enter your email address below for your free business plan template:

Gutter cleaning training and qualifications

Been in the trade for a while already? Then you’ll know the best training is either ‘on-the-job’ training or an apprenticeship.

A clean driving licence is also essential for transporting tools and equipment between jobs.

Another thing to consider in your gutter cleaning set-up is regulations.

The 2005 Working at Height Regulations impose strict rules about ladder use and safety.

It puts liability for accidents on the owner or occupier of a property.

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Other useful skills and attributes

Experience is needed to do a good job. But, there are several personal attributes (or “soft skills”) that successful business owners possess.

Do you have what it takes?

  • Health and safety knowledge – this is crucial as you’ll be working at height most of the time
  • Attention to detail and highly organised
  • Good time management – to work efficiently and manage your diary effectively
  • Interpersonal skills and great customer service to communicate well and build a rapport with customers
  • Patience, fairness, integrity, and self-awareness

A level of physical fitness and agility is also required.

After all, you’ll be on your feet a lot, reaching across guttering and moving bags of waste.

Cleaning glutters filled with autumn leaves

How to set up your gutter cleaning business – step-by-step

Now, let’s look at the practicalities of setting up your own gutter cleaning business.

In this section, we’ll cover:

  • The admin tasks you need to tick off with HMRC
  • How to get the right insurance
  • The best deals on tools and equipment
  • How to get new customers

Register your business

You’ll need to decide on a suitable business name. So, have fun coming up with different ones.

Once you’ve picked one, you must check that the business name is available. Next, you’ll need to register your business with HMRC and decide on a corporate structure. There are two options: sole trader or a limited company.

Registering your business as a limited company will offer greater legal and financial security. If you’re looking to grow your business and number of employees, this option will be best.

Want to establish a good reputation as an independent trader with personal expertise? Then, registering as a sole trader will be more appropriate.

Make sure you understand how to pay your sole trader taxes, VAT (if relevant), and National Insurance. You’ll need to register as a sole trader with HMRC. Plus, you’ll need to complete a self-assessment tax return every year.

We’d recommend hiring an accountant to help work out your gutter cleaner salary.
how to register as a sole trader

Get business insurance

It’s important to get tradesman insurance for your gutter cleaning business. You are your business.

  • So, it’s important to insure your business properly to make sure your income is protected (This would come in handy if you were unable to work)
  • Also, consider insuring your work vehicle, as well as your tools and equipment

Getting Public Liability Insurance (PLI) is a must for your business. It covers your liabilities toward your customers, members of the public, and third-party property.

All Checkatrade members are required to have PLI to become a member. As a result, we’re able to offer up to 20% off the cost of PLI thanks to our preferred insurance partners. Just log in to our Member’s Area today and see our latest deals!

And employers’ liability insurance is a legal obligation if you plan on employing anyone else at your business.

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Start the checks now

Finances

Take the time to work out your finances before beginning the process of starting a gutter cleaning business.

You’ll need enough to cover gutter cleaning costs, to begin with, to help inform how much you charge. This will cover things like your equipment, insurance, a work vehicle and marketing.

Looking to save money on business essentials? Checkatrade members receive exclusive member discounts on tools, equipment, vans, fuel, insurance, and more.

You’ll also need to be organised with your accounting and bookkeeping, keeping records of business expenses and invoices.

Pricing

Your business plan should also consider start-up and ongoing costs.

Working out which services you offer will be directly linked to the pricing strategies you adopt. Check what competitors are charging. Then just set your prices accordingly.

What equipment do I need to start a gutter-cleaning business?

You need to invest in the right equipment to deliver a professional service and keep customers satisfied.

It’s better to buy the best you can afford, rather than buy cheaper tools/equipment. As you don’t want equipment that will let you down.

These are the essentials you’ll need for your gutter cleaning business:

  • A work vehicle
  • Leaf blower
  • Scoop
  • Extension pole
  • Refuse bags
  • Buckets and tarps
  • Gloves and boots
  • Safety helmet
  • Protective overalls

You’ll need to decide whether you’ll use a traditional ladder or opt for a vacuum-based system.

For example, a vacuum-based system allows you to clear leaves without working at height.

If you opt for a traditional ladder, you’ll need to invest in:

  • Safety ropes
  • Harnesses
  • Long extension ladder (24 or 32-feet options are sufficient for most jobs)
  • Ladder stabiliser

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How to grow your gutter cleaning business

Now you’ve chosen your services and pricing strategies, it’s time to consider who your target market will be.

The majority of your customers will either be homeowners or commercial properties in need of gutter cleaning. How you pitch your business to these groups will vary. So, consider if there’s more opportunity for one or the other in your local area.

Once you’re established, develop a specialist service to help you stand out from the competition. For example, offer to make minor gutter repairs while working, or some gutter guards.

It’s also not uncommon for gutter cleaners to offer leaf removal, window washing, and skylight cleaning services.

Remember, your focus should always be to provide a good quality service and keep customers happy.

Print marketing

Print marketing is one way to market your new business. And, it’s effective at targeting local areas. Just remember to check for signs saying, “No cold calling”.

Word-of-mouth

Don’t forget about word-of-mouth marketing.

This encourages your existing clients to spread the word by offering discounts for referrals. Or, leave you a review on Checkatrade/your social media channels.

Checkatrade members have the opportunity to be featured in our trade directory. And this is delivered to homeowners around the country.

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Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is key for gutter cleaning businesses. This can be achieved in many ways:

  • Create a company website
  • Use social media – It’s free and can help you reach a range of prospective customers
  • PPC and SEO
  • Join a dedicated trade directory (such as Checkatrade)

For more help marketing your business, check out our Grow Your Business Guide:

Save money and time marketing your business

Looking to boost your digital presence even further? Well, it’s a no-brainer – join Checkatrade!

  • Our digital marketing strategy and strong online presence makes it easier for customers to find your new business
  • As long as you pass our 12 checks, you’ll instantly become a trusted and guaranteed business to your potential customers
  • As a member, you can display customer reviews, testimonials, and examples of your work on your profile page

With the Checkatrade tick by your business name, your marketing is much easier. After all, 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 help to increase your business’s visibility on Google.

Join Checkatrade

For support, guidance and money-saving member benefits

Start the checks now

Starting a gutter cleaning business FAQs

Is a gutter business profitable?

Gutter business profit margins are generally quite good as there aren’t many overheads when starting up. You can also generate a decent stream of income during peak months when there’s more debris and leaves.

How much should I charge to clean gutters?

How much you decide to charge for cleaning gutters will depend on a few factors.

You’ll need to know:

  • The height at which you will be working
  • The type of building
  • Whether any hazards will make the process more difficult/dangerous

Most gutter cleaners charge a fixed rate for the time it takes, with an hourly rate of £18 – £25.

Do you need a professional to clean the gutters?

Gutter cleaning can be done by homeowners. However, it’s a job that often gets pushed down the to-do list. Although it shouldn’t since it’s a really important job for maintaining the integrity of the building!

But it can be dangerous to clean gutters, so you might prefer to pay a professional to do it.

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Checkatrade can help to grow your business

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*Checkatrade search data 1st January – 31st December 2021
**Deep Blue Thinking 2021 Trade Perception Survey

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