Do you want to start a gutter cleaning business? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a gutter cleaning business with NO money and no experience. Starting a new business might not translate to instant money or an avenue to be free from challenges and struggles. As a matter of fact, there is scarcely any business that does not come with its own fair share of challenges. If indeed you want to start a business that won’t pose major challenges to you, then you should start a business that you are passionate about.
This should also be a business or services that you can do for free even if you are not going to be paid for it. Take for instance; if you like cleaning your environment on a regular basis and you can do it for free, then one of the business ideas that you can launch is a gutter cleaning services business. Gutter cleaning services is a niche area in the commercial cleaning industry, and you would need some form of training and exposure to be able to successfully run this type of business.
Gutter cleaning business is one of the businesses that an entrepreneur can positively start small and perhaps with a functional home office without breaking the bank for cash. At the same time, big – time investors can also leverage on the high demand for cleaning services by larger corporations to set up their own well – organized gutter cleaning businesses in strategic locations within a business district in the united states of America.
If certainly you have got the desire to start your own gutter cleaning business, all you need do is to read this article and you will be well informed and equipped.
17 Steps to Starting a Gutter Cleaning Business
1. Understand the Industry
The Commercial Cleaning Services industry that gutter cleaning falls under comprises of companies that primarily provide cleaning services for swimming and wading pools, buildings, offices and the environment. Most players in the gutter cleaning line of business usually offer related services such as providing cleaning services for spas, hot tubs, whirlpools, saunas, gutters and rivers and lakes et al. Services carried out by gutter cleaning companies include surface cleaning as well as maintenance work for drainage systems and other related plumbing equipment.
The cleaning industry that gutter cleaning services are part of is one of the fastest growing service industries in the United States. It is predicted that cleaning services will experience a five percent growth rate between 2008 and 2018, and this growth will be largely due to the healthcare industry, where elderly care needs will only increase over that period.
If you are a close observer of happenings in the gutter cleaning line of business, you would have noticed that the industry was hit hard by the recession. As a result of this, homeowners started to clean their own gutters, pools and spas or nixed pool treatment altogether. As the economy recovered and homeowners returned to work and have less time to clean their gutters and pools, the industry also recovered. Operators in the industry compete on the basis of price, quality of service and breadth of service offerings.
The Swimming Pool Cleaning Services industry that gutter cleaning business is a part of is indeed a large industry and pretty much active in most countries of the world especially in the United States of America, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, United Kingdom, Mexico and Canada et al.
Statistics has it that in the United States of America alone, there are about 51,145 registered and licensed (big, medium and small scale) swimming pool cleaning services companies (Gutter cleaning services companies inclusive), scattered all across the United States responsible for employing about 69,895 people and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $3 billion annually.
The industry is projected to enjoy a 3.8 percent annual growth within 2011 and 2016. It is important to state that no establishment can boast of having a lion share of the available market in this industry. A recent report published by IBISWorld shows that the Swimming Pool Cleaning Services industry has a low level of market share concentration. The report stated that in 2015, the three largest industry operators accounted for less than 5.0 percent of the industry’s revenue.
The majority of the industry is characterized by self-employed individuals who work as independent contractors or small operators with fewer than three employees. The report further stated that since companies typically offer gutter cleaning and swimming pool cleaning within a limited geographic scope in order to limit transportation expenses, there are limited benefits to economies of scale; consequently, there is a low level of market share concentration. The most prominent companies are franchised operations.
Gutter cleaning services will continue to thrive because the need to keep the environment clean and proper flow of drainage is a necessity that cannot be ignored for too long because of the health implications involved. Over and above, gutter cleaning services 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 (local council, hotels, residential estates and household et al).
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who hire the services of gutter cleaning companies cut across all households, estates and corporate organizations both big and small that have the capacity to pay for their services, hence the demographic composition of a gutter cleaning business is all encompassing.
The truth is that when it comes to gutter cleaning services, there is indeed a wide range of available customers. Your target market can’t be restricted to just residential estates and households within your location, but to all the corporate organizations and local council offices around the city where you have your business presence and who can afford your services.
So, if you are thinking of opening your own gutter cleaning business then you should make your target demographics all encompassing. It should include households, residential estates, local councils, corporate organizations, medium and small – scale organizations in the city where your gutter cleaning services business is located.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
Gutter cleaning services business is a niche area in the commercial cleaning services industry hence there are no niche areas 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 start small. If your skills are more administrative in nature, you can build and manage teams to do the work.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
The competitions that exist in the gutter cleaning line of business goes beyond competition amongst gutter cleaning businesses in your location; you are expected to compete with other businesses in the commercial cleaning industry that also offer gutter cleaning services. So, it will be right to say the competition in the gutter cleaning line of business is tough.
The truth is that no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you brand and promote your services or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure your workforce can carry out thorough gutter cleaning services, you can deliver excellent customer care services and you know how to attract and reach out to your target market.
But over and above, there are several gutter cleaning services businesses and other cleaning services businesses that also clean gutters scattered all around the United States. So, if you choose to start your own gutter cleaning business in the United States of America, you will definitely meet stiff competitions amongst gutter cleaning businesses and other commercial cleaning services providers. Besides, there are larger gutter cleaning services companies and also commercial cleaning brands that determine the trends in the industry and you should be ready to compete with them for customers.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
In every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by customers and the general public than others. Some of these brands are those that have been in the industry for a long time, while others are best known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years.
These are some of the leading gutter cleaning services companies and commercial cleaning services company brands in the United States of America and in the globe;
- Fairfax Gutter Company
- American Gutter Cleaning and Installation, Inc.
- American Gutter Cleaning Services Inc.
- Bronx Clean Gutters
- Steamatic® Incorporated
- BuildingStars® Inc.
- Anago cleaning system
- ServiceMaster® Clean
- Bonus building care
- CleanNet® USA Inc.
- Stratus Building Solutions
- Jan – Pro Franchising International Inc
- Vanguard Cleaning Systems
- Coverall Health – Based Cleaning System
- Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services
- The Cleaning Authority
If you are planning towards successfully launching a business and maximizing profits, then you need to ensure that you get your economic analysis right and try as much as possible to adopt best practices in the industry you choose to build a business in.
Gutter cleaning business is not a Green business; as a matter of fact, you will come across several gutter cleaning companies and other commercial cleaning services companies when you drive through town, search through directories and browse through the internet.
So, if you are mapping out your economic analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey of what is required to rent a space where you are expected to open your gutter cleaning business, and the amount required to purchase vacuum cleaner with attachments, bowl cleaner, brooms, dust pan & brush, dry mop, wet mop & bucket, latex gloves, wet floor signs, extension cord, disinfectant cleaner, soft scrub product for sinks, high duster, caddy with handle to keep your supplies in, cleaning chemical supplies, detergents and soaps and also the cost to successfully run the business.
Over and above, if you are considering starting a gutter cleaning services company, then your concern should not be limited to the cost of purchasing cleaning equipment 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
There isn’t a strict herculean hurdle to scale when it comes to choosing how you intend to start a business. Basically, you should be guided by your overall business vision and mission statement.
When it comes to starting a business of this nature, it will pay you to buy the franchise of a successful and well – established corporate cleaning services company as against starting from the scratch. Even though it is relatively expensive buying the franchise of an established corporate cleaning services company, but it will definitely pay you in the long run.
But if you truly want to build your own gutter cleaning services brand after you must have proved your worth in the commercial cleaning services industry, then you might just want to start your own gutter cleaning services business from the scratch. The truth is that it will pay you in the long run to start your gutter cleaning services business from the scratch.
Please note that most of the big and successful gutter cleaning services businesses and other commercial cleaning services 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 and of course you can build your own gutter cleaning services business to become a successful brand with corporate and individual clients from all across the city where your gutter cleaning services business is located and through the length and breadth of the United States of America and other countries of the world if you decide to go into opening offices and franchising.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you decide to start your own gutter cleaning services business today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established gutter cleaning services companies and other commercial cleaning services companies that also clean gutters. 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 a bad shape, history has it that businesses such as gutter cleaning services and any other businesses that offer cleaning services usually struggle to maintain their old customers or even welcome new customers. So also, unfavorable government policies can hamper the growth of your gutter cleaning services business. There is nothing you can do as regards these threats and challenges other than to stay positive that things will work well for you.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
When considering starting a gutter cleaning services business, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow.
Generally, you have the option of either choosing a general partnership, limited liability Company, or even a sole proprietorship for a business such as gutter cleaning services business. Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale gutter cleaning services business especially if you are just starting out with moderate start – up capital in a small neighborhood and with just one outlet.
But if your intention is to grow the business and have offices and corporate clients all across key cities in the United States of America and other countries of the world via franchising, then choosing sole proprietor 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, shareholders meetings and other managerial formalities.
These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your gutter cleaning services business; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners, investors’ expectation and of course taxes.
If you take your time to critically study the various legal entities to use for your gutter cleaning services business with the ability to sell franchise and having offices and corporate clients all across the United States of America, 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 an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.
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. Usually it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business.
If you are considering starting your own gutter cleaning services business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Ken & Ben® Gutter Cleaning Services, LLC
- Hopewell Don® Gutter Cleaning Services, LLC
- Bally Clean Protect© Gutter Cleaning Services, Inc.
- Gut – O – Clean® Gutter Cleaning Company, Inc.
- Cleanness Pavements ™ Gutter Cleaning Services, Inc.
- Health Factor™ Gutter Cleaning Services, Inc.
- Clear Whyte© Gutter Cleaning Services, Inc.
- Robert Gazelle® Gutter Cleaning Services Company, LLC
- Holland Hector© Gutter Cleaning Services, Inc.
- Santa Fe Brothers© Gutter 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 office cleaning services business.
Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own gutter 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
- Payment protection insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are considering starting your own gutter cleaning services business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
Aside from the results you produce as it relates to providing professional cleaning services, professional certification is one of the main reasons why some gutter cleaning services and commercial cleaning companies stand out. If you want to make an impact in the commercial cleaning services industry cum gutter cleaning line of 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 the market. These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own gutter cleaning services company;
- Institute of inspection cleaning and restoration certification – IICRC
- International janitorial cleaning services certification – IJVSC
- House cleaning technician certification – HCT
- Cleaning business owners certificate – CBO
Please note that you can successfully run a gutter cleaning services company in the United States and in most countries of the world without necessarily acquiring professional certifications and business license as long as you have adequate experience cum background in the commercial cleaning services industry.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own gutter cleaning services business in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Tax Payer’s ID / Tax Identification Number
- Chemical handlers certificate
- Health inspection Certificate
- Business Plan
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Employee Handbook
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
- Building License
- Franchise or Trademark License (optional)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Starting a gutter cleaning services business can be cost effective especially if you choose to start on a small scale by running the business from your home or sharing an office space. Securing a standard office space in a business district and purchasing vacuum cleaner with attachments, white cloth rags, brooms, dust pan & brush, dry mop, wet mop & bucket, latex gloves, wet floor signs, extension cord, disinfectant cleaner, bathroom cleaner, caddy with handle to keep your supplies in, cleaning chemical supplies, detergents and soaps et al 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 go source for fund to finance the business because it is expensive to start a standard large scale gutter cleaning services business with a handful of full-time 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 gutter cleaning services business;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell shares to interested investors
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
When it comes to choosing a location for your gutter cleaning services business, you can choose to start it in any location of your choice especially if you are offering basic gutter cleaning services.
But over and above, the location you chose to open your gutter cleaning services company is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of people with the required purchasing power.
Before choosing a location for your gutter cleaning services 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 gutter cleaning services business;
- The demography of the location
- The demand for corporate 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 gutter cleaning services companies and other commercial cleaning services that also clean gutters in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
On the average, there are no special technology or equipment needed to run an average gutter cleaning services company except for vacuum cleaner with attachments, white cloth rags, paper towels, bowl cleaner, brooms, dust pan & brush, dry mop, wet mop & bucket, latex gloves, wet floor signs, extension cord, caddy with handle to keep your supplies in, cleaning chemical supplies, detergents and soaps, computers and receipt issuing machines, Sound System (For playing music), Point of Sale Machines (POS Machines), CCTV Cameras and Flat Screen TVs. So also, you will need computers, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst other and all these can be gotten as fairly used.
But if you choose to start a standard hi – tech commercial cleaning services company that also offers gutter cleaning services, then you would need 3 high pressure wand self-service bays; and 5 vacuum stations complete with fragrance and carpet shampoo dispensing machines, 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 washing system, and chemical supplies.
As regards leasing or outright purchase of an office and store facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standing, 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 gutter cleaning services business with plans to have corporate clients all across major cities in the United States of America, 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/Sales Girls and Sales Boys, Accounting Clerk, and Cleaners. These are some of the key employees that you can work with. On the average, you will need a minimum of 5 to 10 key staff members to run a small – scale but standard gutter cleaning services company.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
Usually, when a gutter cleaning services company gets a contract from a client, it could be households, residential estates, local government councils and corporate organizations to clean their gutter, drainage systems and environment (either one – off or long – term cleaning), they will first conduct cost analysis in order to know the manpower and resources needed to carry out the job.
Once they conclude their cost analysis, they will then deploy the required manpower and machines to execute the job and then they will get paid after successfully carrying out their job.
It is important to state that a gutter cleaning services company may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility; the above stated gutter cleaning services business process is not cast on stone.
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 goods or services. If you choose to launch a gutter cleaning services business, then you must go all out to 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 the commercial cleaning services industry cum gutter cleaning line of business.
These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can adopt for your gutter cleaning services business;
- Introduce your gutter cleaning services company by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to households, residential estates, industrial estates, local government councils, corporate organizations, small scale businesses, medium scale businesses and other key stakeholders throughout the city where your gutter cleaning services 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
- Engage in road shows in targeted business communities from time to time to promote your gutter cleaning services business
- Join local commercial cleaning services business associations for industry trends and tips
- Join local chambers of commerce and industry with the aim of 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. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If your intention of starting a gutter cleaning services 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.
No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is 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 corporate identity for your gutter cleaning services business;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and relevant magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community based events
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your gutter cleaning services business
- Install your Bill Boards 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 gutter cleaning services business
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- Contact households, residential estates, industrial estates, local government councils, corporate organizations, small scale businesses, medium scale businesses and other key stake holders throughout the city where your gutter cleaning services company is located informing them about your gutter cleaning services company and the services you offer
- List your gutter cleaning services company in local directories / yellow pages
- Advertise your gutter cleaning services 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 gutter cleaning services company is located
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your carts, vehicles, trucks and vans are well branded with your company logo et al.