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How to start a stonemason business

Stonemasons are responsible for some of the most impressive engineering projects. The reason iconic historical buildings like the Colosseum still stand is mostly down to their knowledge and skill. Yet despite being one of the oldest trades, there are plenty of new and exciting business opportunities in the industry today. A stonemason’s unique ability to…

Stonemasons are responsible for some of the most impressive engineering projects. The reason iconic historical buildings like the Colosseum still stand is mostly down to their knowledge and skill. Yet despite being one of the oldest trades, there are plenty of new and exciting business opportunities in the industry today.

A stonemason’s unique ability to cut, shape and repair stone for decorative or structural purposes means they’re greatly valued by construction contractors and homeowners alike. You could carefully chisel to produce elegant monuments and sculptures, or fire up the power tools and work on larger building projects. Making the leap into self-employment grants you the freedom to choose which of these jobs you take on, as well as your working hours.

If you’re looking to progress your career, this guide will provide everything you need to know to start your own business and make the most of your experience.


What qualifications do I need to be a self-employed stonemason?

Success as a self-employed mason relies on a combination of experience and formal qualifications. College courses and apprenticeships equip you with a thorough understanding of the sector, while showing you’re able to manage potentially complex jobs from clients. These are the most widely recognised industry qualifications:

  • Intermediate apprenticeship in Stonemasonry
  • Advanced apprenticeship in Stonemasonry Heritage Skills
  • Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Stonemasonry


Stonemasons are highly valued by construction contractors and they will rely on your specialist skills for the completion of certain projects. However, contractors will only consider employing your services if you hold a Construction Skills Certification Scheme card (CSCS). Completion of the CSCS should be a priority when becoming self-employed. You don’t want to shut yourself off from great opportunities at construction sites across the country.

Accredited memberships

Membership of professional industry bodies provide formal recognition of your expertise through assessments. Becoming a member among these organisations will enhance your reputation and demonstrate to customers that you are up to date with the latest industry developments:

  • The Stone Federation GB
  • The Brick Development Association (BDA)



As a qualified and experienced stonemason, you’ll possess a valuable skillset that will match some of most demanding jobs in construction. However, self-employment requires further qualities to ensure your business succeeds. These are all the essential skills:

  • Attention to detail – this includes paperwork as well as the technical aspects of stonemasonry
  • Creative thinking – no two jobs are the same and you’ll need to offer clients options
  • Dexterity – stonemasons must be comfortable with hand-based work
  • Drawing abilities – clients will want detailed technical designs before you begin work
  • Methodical approach to work – jobs are often complex and must be tackle stage by stage
  • Time management – you’ll need to manage the demands of different deadlines as well as your own staff
  • Numeracy skills – some jobs and your finances will require basic mathematical work
  • Ability to lead and manage – stonemason will usually work in teams so you’ll need to be organised and delegate work



A trusted inventory of equipment is just as important as a well-rounded skillset. Here are the basic tools required for typical jobs:

  • Chisels
  • Hammers
  • Wire brush
  • Stone files
  • Vaneer mortar
  • Marking tools
  • Measuring tools

The equipment your business needs will ultimately depend on the types of services you offer. For example, stonemasons working on construction projects may require more advanced equipment, such as water-cutting machines.

You should also consider the quality of your equipment. Professional tools will help you work more efficiently and avoid delays from breakages and repairs. Although these will be more expensive at first, they are a worthwhile investment and will save you money in the long run.


How do I start a stonemason business?

It’s important to look beyond the skills you’ll need when starting up your own business. This section will help you do just that.

Registering your business

First you must register your business as a legal entity. You will have to decide whether you act as a limited company or a sole trader. Both are great for those starting a new business but you should understand which structure suits your needs best.

Sole trading is usually easier to set up, but you’ll be personally liable for your business debts unlike a limited company. That said, there are pros and cons for each. For a full overview of the differences, read our guide here so you can make an informed decision.

Creating a company name and logo

Every great start up needs a stand-out name and logo. It’s a good idea to keep this short and relevant to your industry. You should also consider hiring a graphic designer, who will create a company logo for a small fee – this will help your business appear more professional. Designers may also be able to help with websites as you become more established.

Devising a business plan

Most stonemasons will want to get stuck-in and do what they do best. However, it’s important to first draw up a thorough business plan which sets out your business goals and how you will achieve them. A key component of this plan will be the services you choose to offer. Whether it’s restoring historical monuments or working on major new build developments, you should base your decision on your personal experience and existing expertise.

While working on your business plan, you should also conduct research to understand your target market and competitors. It can help you decide what your unique selling points are and if there’s an opportunity to offer any specialist services to gain a competitive edge. For example, working on stonework windowsills could be a profitable niche for stonemasons. Further information on the pay rates in this line of work can be found here.

Trade relationships

As a stonemason you will have great skill in manipulating stone to produce impressive and valuable results. However, you may have to rely on different tradespeople to help carry out certain jobs, such as joiners for projects that involve a combination of wood and stone materials. Or builders if you have a construction focus. Strong communication skills and teamwork will be key to developing worthwhile trade relationships.


Much of your work will come through word-of-mouth recommendations from happy customers and contractors. But you can also use social media to expand your reach and influence. Share photos of ongoing and completed jobs, including before and after shots, and engage directly with customers where appropriate.

Signing up to Checkatrade also allows you to do this but to an even greater effect. Membership enables millions of users to view your business profile and any recommendations you’ve received. You’ll also benefit from member discounts on supplies and other business essentials.

For more tips on marketing your business, check out our start-up guide here.



How long does it take to become a stonemason?

Completion of a stonemasonry apprenticeship or a relevant NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) takes 2-3 years. However, if you already have experience in a similar trade, you can complete a short training course offered by professional industry bodies.


How much does a stonemason make a year?

The average salary of a stonemason in the UK is £26,000. Experienced and self-employed stonemasons tend to earn more than the average as they can charge premium rates for their expertise. Bear this in mind when hiring staff.


How much does it cost to start a stonemason business?

The initial cost to start stonemasonry business typically ranges from £1,000 to £8,000, though it will largely depend on the size and type of projects you take on. Tools and office space are common overheads when starting out, though you can buy second hand and work remotely to keep things affordable while you set up. Business loans are handy if you need cashflow but be aware of the interest rates before taking one out.


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