Do you want to start a septic tank cleaning company? If YES, here is a detailed guide on how to start a septic tank cleaning business with no money/experience. There are loads of business opportunities in the United States of America and any entrepreneur who desires to start a business in the commercial cleaning industry can successfully start a septic tank cleaning business and generate good returns from the business in a short period of time.

This is so because the commercial cleaning industry is a thriving industry in the united states of America. Good enough, septic tank cleaning business can be started by anybody as long as you have eyes for details. If you have experience in this regard, it will be easier for you to start and effectively run a septic tank cleaning business. It is important to state that before launching any business, you should ensure that you carry out your due diligence as it relates to market research, economic and cost analysis and of course feasibility studies.

You will need to make sure that you have the real reasons why you want to be in the line of business you have chosen. If you get things right before launching your septic tank cleaning company, it will not take you long before you secure enough clients that can give you leverage in the industry.

You can start your business from a small town in the United States and if you are consistent and creative, it won’t be too long before your brand becomes a recognized brand.

20 Steps to Starting a Septic Tank Cleaning Busines

1. Understand the Industry

The Septic, Drain & Sewer Cleaning industry consists of Septic tank cleaning and maintenance services, drain and sewer services and other related cleaning services. A septic tank which is usually buried underground, is a tank (watertight chamber) that is made of brick work, concrete, fiberglass, PVC or plastic, in which sewage is collected and allowed to decompose through bacterial activity before draining by means of a soak – away.

A recent report published by IBISWorld shows that over the five years to 2018, Septic, Drain and Sewer Cleaning Services industry operators have benefited significantly from broad economic improvements. Industry operators provide cleaning services to sewers in both residential and nonresidential structures. During the period, favorable lending conditions gave way to increased construction activities, which swelled the pool of potential clients for industry operators.

As the number of households and nonresidential structures increased over the five years to 2018, industry operators experienced increased demand for industry services. The report also estimates that industry revenue is expected to increase at an annualized rate of 7.0 percent to reach $3.3 billion in 2018.

The Septic, Drain & Sewer Cleaning Services industry that septic tank cleaning business is a part of is indeed a large industry and pretty much active in most countries of the world. Statistics has it that in the United States of America alone, there are about 3,237 registered and licensed septic, drain & sewer cleaning services companies responsible for employing about 15,050 people and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $3 billion annually.

The industry is projected to enjoy 7.0 percent annual growth within 2013 and 2018. It is important to state that only Carylon Corporation can boast of having the lion share of the available market in this industry in the United States.

Just like any other business, the demand for septic tank cleaning services usually declined during recession period / economic downturn due to declining household spending on cleaning services. As the economy grows, and income increases, there will be corresponding increase in the demand for cleaning related services such as septic tank and drainage cleaning.

Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own septic tank cleaning business are that the business is profitable, it requires minimal startup capital and minimal manpower to launch and operate. Septic tank cleaning businesses all over the world are still enjoying good patronage particularly if they are well positioned and if they know how to reach out to their target market.

2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The demographic and psychographic composition of those who hire the services of septic tank cleaning companies cut across all households, office facilities, public buildings, laundry services and laundromats, hotels and any facility that has toilets and has the capacity to pay for their services, hence the demographic composition for a septic tank cleaning business is all encompassing.

The truth is that, when it comes to septic tank cleaning, there is indeed a wide range of available customers. So, if you are thinking of starting your own septic tank cleaning business then you should make target demographics all encompassing.

3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On

Septic tank cleaning business is a niche area in the commercial cleaning services area hence there are no niche area in this line of business. Another positive aspect of the industry is that within each category of cleaning businesses are market niches and operating styles that vary tremendously.

This means that you can build a company that suits your individual style and talents. If you like doing the work yourself, you can stay small and do so. If your skills are more administrative in nature, you can build and manage teams to do the work for you and possibly go into franchising.

The Level of Competition in the Industry

The competition that exists in the septic tank cleaning business goes beyond competition amongst septic tank cleaning businesses in your location; you are expected to compete with other businesses in the commercial cleaning industry that also offer septic, drain & sewer cleaning services. So, it will be right to say the competition in the septic tank cleaning line of business is relatively tough.

In as much as the level of competition is relatively tough in this industry, if you have done your due diligence and you brand and promote your services properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure your workforce can carry out thorough septic tank cleaning services, you can deliver excellent customer care services and you know how to attract and reach out to your target market and also offer related services.

4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry

These are some of the leading septic tank cleaning companies and commercial cleaning services brands in the United States of America and in the globe;

  • American Septic Tank Services Inc
  • A-American Septic Service
  • American Pumping Service
  • Atlantic Plumbing and Septic
  • Cliff’s Septic Services, Inc.
  • Chucks Septic Tank
  • Express Septic Tank Service Inc
  • Miller Septic Service
  • All American Wastewater Solutions, LLC
  • EcoClean Septic Tank Pumping, Repair and Inspections
  • Seal Digging Services Inc
  • B & R Septic Tank Pumping Services
  • T & N Septic Tank Co
  • Artis Septic Tank Cleaning Services
  • AMA Septic Tank Cleaning Services
  • USA Septic & Drain Cleaning
  • Sloboda Brothers Inc. DBA American Septic Service
  • Skip Wooten Septic Tank Services
  • JLBJ Septic Services
  • Campbell’s Septic Tank Pumping
Economic Analysis

If you are planning towards successfully launching a business and maximizing profits, then you need to ensure that you get your economic and cost analysis right and try as much as possible to adopt international best practices in the industry you choose to build a business in.

Septic tank cleaning business is not a Green business. So, if you are mapping out your economic and cost analysis for your business, you should carry out thorough market survey to know the amount required to rent a space where you are expected to open your septic tank cleaning business and the amount required to purchase the required working tools and equipment such as septic tank drainer, disinfectant cleaner, cleaning chemical supplies, detergents and soaps, and truck and also the cost to successfully run the business.

If you are considering starting a septic tank cleaning company, then your concern should not be limited to the expenditure you have to make but also on branding and on how to build a robust clientele base. The truth is that if you are able to build a robust clientele base, you are sure going to maximize profits in the business.

5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch

If you are looking towards starting a septic tank cleaning business, you would have to start from the very scratch because you can hardly get the franchise of septic tank cleaning business to buy.

Besides, starting a septic tank cleaning business from the scratch is less stressful when compared to other similar small – scale businesses which usually requires detailed groundwork before launching the business. With a septic tank cleaning business, you should just try as much as possible to learn the trade, register your business, purchase the required tools and equipment and then leverage on every marketing tools within your disposal especially the internet when it comes to marketing your septic tank cleaning business.

Please note that most of the successful septic tank cleaning companies around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success.

6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face

If you decide to start your own septic tank cleaning business today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established septic tank cleaning companies and other commercial cleaning services that also clean septic tanks. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market.

Some other challenges and threats that you are likely going to face is economic downturn; if the economy is in bad shape, septic tank cleaning businesses usually struggle to maintain their old customers or even welcome new customers.

For example, When the cost of borrowing goes up, investment in new construction and home improvements is expected to decline, which negatively influences industry operators. In 2018, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note is expected to increase, representing a threat to the industry. So also, unfavorable government policies can also hamper the growth of your septic tank cleaning business.

7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)

If you decide to start a septic tank cleaning business, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow.

Good enough, you can either choose a general partnership, limited liability Company which is commonly called an LLC, or even a sole proprietorship for your septic tank cleaning business. Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale septic tank cleaning services especially if you are just starting out with a moderate startup capital in a small neighborhood and with just one drainer tank.

But if your intention is to grow the business and have clients all across key cities in the United States of America via franchising, then choosing sole proprietorship is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.

Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. It is not so for sole proprietorships and general partnerships. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholder meetings and other managerial formalities.

These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your septic tank cleaning services; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners and investors’ expectation and of course taxes.

If you take your time to study the various legal entities to use for your septic tank cleaning business with the ability to sell franchise, you will agree that limited liability company; an LLC is most suitable. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.

When you upgrade to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation, it will give you the opportunity to grow your septic tank cleaning business so as to compete with major players in the industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company.

8. Choose a Catchy Business Name

When it comes to Choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. If you are considering starting your own septic tank cleaning services business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;

  • Double Drain® Septic Tank Cleaning Services, LLC
  • Lake Freetown® Septic Tank Cleaning Services, LLC
  • Benjamin Jordan© Septic Tank Cleaning Services, Inc.
  • Dothan Township® Septic Tank Cleaning Company, Inc.
  • Cloe Lucas ™ Septic tank Cleaning Services, Inc.
  • Fresh Air™ Septic tank Cleaning Services, Inc.
  • King’s Pride© Septic Tank Cleaning Services, Inc.
  • Queen’s Pride® Septic Tank Cleaning Services Company, LLC
  • Total© Septic Tank Cleaning Services, Inc.
  • Jael & Joel Kingston© Septic Tank Cleaning Services, Inc.

9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You

In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your septic tank cleaning business.

Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own septic tank cleaning services business in the United States of America;

  • General insurance
  • Health / Medical insurance
  • Liability insurance
  • Workers Compensation
  • Overhead expense disability insurance
  • Business owner’s policy group insurance

10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents

If you are considering starting your own septic tank cleaning business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.

But if you just want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even jingles and media production concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO.

11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification

Away from the results you produce as it relates to providing professional cleaning services, professional certification is one of the main reasons why some septic tank cleaning services stand out. If you want to make an impact in the commercial cleaning industry cum septic tank cleaning business, you should work towards acquiring all the needed certifications in your area of specialization.

Certification validates your competency and shows that you are highly skilled, committed to your career and up-to-date in this competitive market. These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own septic tank cleaning company;

  • Institute of inspection cleaning and restoration certification – IICRC
  • International janitorial cleaning services certification – IJVSC
  • Cleaning business owner certificate – CBO 

12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate

The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations.

If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hand of the law catches up with you. These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own septic tank cleaning business in the United States of America;

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Tax Payer’s ID / Tax Identification Number
  • Chemicals handler certificate
  • Solid waste / sanitary handler certification
  • Health inspection Certificate
  • Business Plan
  • Non – disclosure Agreement
  • Employee Handbook
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online Privacy Policy Document (basically for online payment portal)
  • Company Bylaws
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
  • Building License
  • Franchise or Trademark License (optional)

13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital

Starting a septic tank cleaning business can be cost effective especially if you choose to start on a small scale by running the business from your home or sharing office space. Securing a standard office space in a business district and purchasing working equipment are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital.

If you choose to start the business on a large scale, you would need to source for fund to finance the business because it is expensive to start a standard septic tank cleaning business with over a handful of employees.

When it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.

Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your septic tank cleaning services business;

14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business

When it comes to choosing a location for your septic tank cleaning business, you can choose to locate the business in any location of your choice especially if you are offering basic septic tank cleaning services. Services that does not require your clients to come to you for except for meetings.

It is important to note that a business facility in good location does not come cheap hence you should be able to allocate enough fund for leasing / renting in your budget. If you are new to the dynamics of choosing a location for a business such as septic tank cleaning company, then you should feel free to talk to a business consultant or a realtor who has a full grasp of the city you intend starting your company.

Most importantly, before choosing a location for your septic tank cleaning business, ensure that you first conduct a thorough feasibility studies and market survey. The possibility of you coming across similar business that just closed shop in the location you want to open yours can’t be ruled out.

These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your septic tank cleaning business;

  • The demography of the location
  • The demand for septic tank, drainage and other related cleaning services in the location
  • The purchasing power of households, residential estates, local government councils, corporate organizations in the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of septic tank cleaning companies and other commercial cleaning services companies that also clean septic tanks and drainages in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community / state
  • Traffic, parking and security.

15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs

There are no special technology or equipment needed to run an average septic tank cleaning company except for septic pumping tank and perhaps pressure washers. You will also need computers/laptops, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.

But if you choose to start a standard hi – tech septic, drain & sewer cleaning company, then you would need 3 high pressure wand self-service bays, Insulator washers with a pump pressure of about 1000 psi and a nozzle pressure between 500 and 750 psi, centrifugal water pump, stainless steel water storage tank, high-pressure water hose, high-pressure dead-man type water wash gun and Electrical grounds for the wash gun and washing system, and cleaning chemical supplies.

As regards leasing or outright purchase of an office and store facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standings, but the truth is that to be on the safe side, it is advisable to start off with a short – term rent / lease while test running the business in the location. If things work out as planned, then you go on a long – term lease or outright purchase of the property but if not, then move on and source for other ideal location / facility for such business.

When it comes to hiring employees for a standard septic tank cleaning business, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer (you can occupy this role), Admin and Human Resources Manager, Supervisors, Sales and Marketing Officer, Accounting Clerk, Cleaners, and Drivers. On the average, you will need a minimum of 5 to 10 key staff members to run a small – scale but standard septic tank cleaning company.

The Services Delivery Process of the Business

The operation process as it relates to septic tank cleaning companies depends largely on their area of operation and their organizational structure.

Usually, when a septic tank cleaning company gets a contract from a client, it could be households, residential estates, local government council and corporate organizations to clean their septic tank, drainage systems and environment (either one – off or long – term cleaning). They will first conduct cost analysis in order for them to know the manpower and resources needed to carry out the job.

Once they conclude their cost analysis, then they will deploy the required manpower and machines to execute the job and then they will get paid after successfully carrying out their job. The job is basically to empty the septic tank and then transport the waste to a designated location that is approved by the government for such waste to be dumped. In some cases, the waste can be transported to a recycling plant where they can be used to produce organic fertilizer or biogas et al.

It is important to state that a septic tank cleaning services company may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility.

16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies

Generally, running a business requires that you should be proactive when it comes to marketing your services. If you choose to launch a septic tank cleaning business, then you must employ strategies that will help you attract customers or else you will likely struggle with the business because there are well – known brands that determine the market direction for commercial cleaning services.

These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can adopt for your septic tank cleaning business;

  • Introduce your septic tank cleaning company by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to households, residential estates, industrial estates, local government councils, corporate organizations, small and medium scale businesses and other key stake holders throughout the city where your septic tank cleaning company is located.
  • Advertise on the internet on blogs and forums, and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to get your message across
  • Create a basic website for your business so as to give your business an online presence
  • Directly market your services
  • Join local septic, drain & sewer cleaning services business associations for industry trends and tips
  • Join local chambers of commerce and industry with the aim of networking and marketing your services
  • Advertise your business in community – based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
  • List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
  • Encourage the use of Word of mouth marketing (referrals)

17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products

One key factor that will help you offer your septic tank cleaning services at rock bottom prices is to purchase your cleaning chemical supplies directly from cleaning chemical wholesalers and importers in pretty large quantities. The truth is the higher the quantity of items that you purchase directly from importers and wholesalers, the cheaper you tend to get them.

Another strategy that will help you offer your septic tank cleaning services at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum, and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products.

You can also try as much as possible to work with independent contractors and marketers; it will help you save cost for paying sales and marketing executives and also purchase.

18. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win

The availability of competent and reliable employees under your payroll, your business process and of course your pricing model are part of what you need to stay competitive in the industry.

Another possible competitive strategy for winning your competitors in this particular industry is to network and build a robust clientele base. Over and above, ensure that your organization is well positioned; key members of your team are highly qualified and can favorably compete with the some of the best in the industry.

19. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers

When it comes to business, no matter the industry that you choose to pitch your tent in, one of the easiest ways to increase customer retention and perhaps attract new customers is to produce results and satisfy your customers always. If your customers are satisfied with your services delivery, they can hardly source for alternative service providers.

Statistics has it that one of the major reasons why clients source for alternative service providers is when there is a drop in quality. Another reason is poor customer service.

No doubt one of the strategies that you would need to employ in order to generate repeated sales from your customers and also to retain them is to ensure that your cleaners are always on time and your customer services does not fluctuate. The truth is that if your services and customer service fluctuate, you are likely going to struggle to get your customers coming back; people usually go for products or services that are of good quality.

Ensure that you offer your customers incentives if you want to retain them and of course continue to generate repeated sales from them and also attract new customers.

Part of what you need to do to achieve this is to track progress, results or outputs with the aim of improving on them quickly as the case demands. When it comes to managing your customers, and building a loyal clientele base, you should purchase a customized CRM software.

With a customized CRM system, you can easily stay in touch with your clients (you can carry out quick surveys, you can introduce new products and prices to them without any hitch, you can felicitate with them on their birthdays and other anniversaries, you can keep track of their progress, you can send bulk sms and customized e – mails and above all, you can easily receive compliant and feedback from them).

20. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity

If you are in business and you are not deliberate about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portrays your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they are willing to spend fortunes to boost their brand awareness.

If your goal of starting a septic tank cleaning business is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand by opening offices all across key cities in the United States and franchising, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.

Irrespective of the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is a dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create a corporate identity for your septic tank cleaning business;

  • Place adverts on both print (newspapers and relevant magazines) and electronic media platforms
  • Sponsor relevant community – based events / programs
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your septic tank cleaning business
  • Install your Billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
  • Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted business district to create awareness of your septic tank cleaning services business
  • Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
  • Contact households, residential estates, industrial estates, local government councils, corporate organizations, small and medium scale businesses and other key stake holders throughout the city where your septic tank cleaning company is located informing them about your company and the services you offer
  • List your septic tank cleaning company in local directories / yellow pages
  • Advertise your septic tank cleaning company in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
  • Position your Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your septic tank cleaning company is located.
  • Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your pumping tanks, vehicles, trucks and vans are branded with your company logo et al.
Solomon. O'Chucks