How to Start a Gutter Cleaning Business
How to Start a Gutter Cleaning Business
Does this describe you?
✔️You like working outdoors
✔️ You live in an area with trees & residential homes or commercial buildings
✔️ You're looking for a moderately low start-up cost business with tons of potential for earning great money
✔️ You recognize the opportunity of doing something safer & better than the status quo
Then gutter cleaning could be a great choice for you. SkyVac®️Gutter Cleaning to be more precise.
Some people solely clean gutters while others use it as an "add-on" service to their existing window cleaning, landscaping, pressure washing, handyman or pest control business. The hours are flexible, there are customers year-round and you can work at your own pace.
Traditional Gutter Cleaning
Traditionally armed with a ladder, blower, garden hose, and basic transportation that will take you from one job to the next, it is possible to earn up to $800 per day cleaning leaves and other debris from rain gutters. Because some houses are more challenging than others, most gutter cleaners work in pairs.
Traditional gutter cleaners carry long ladders and do not fear climbing on roofs to blow leaves, pine needles, sticks and dirt out of the gutters with a handheld or backpack blower. Traditional gutter cleaning is very physical.
Traditional gutter cleaners may climb a ladder up and down while moving around the structure or climb up to the roof on a ladder and blow the gutters out with a backpack blower while standing on the roof. Both of these methods are hazardous and there are Canadian laws that require certain safety procedures and cautions to be taken.
Here is a link at the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety to read more about ladder safety in Canada.
This is typically a speedy process but VERY DANGEROUS. Approximately 90,000 people are hospitalized annually in the USA due to falling off ladders. The number one reason?...carrying something up or down the ladder like a leaf blower or paint can.
Time is money and inevitably gutter cleaners look to speed up the cleaning process or try to get a job done quickly so they can move on to the next job. So we find that risk proportionally increases for a period of time as someone moves from beginner to novice and from novice to expert.
These professionals need specific insurance policies to cover gutter cleaning (which aren't cheap) and no matter how experienced the gutter cleaner, one mis-step or slip and it could wreck the business. Let's reiterate....a gutter cleaner can work for 1 year, 5 years, 10 years or more but one mis-step can wreck the business and no one is immune.
Here's what happened to a gutter cleaning business we personally know (in the USA). This company employed 30 people for lawn care and hds two teams for gutter cleaning.
One day a less-experienced employee decides to jump from a 3rd story to 2 story roof while on a residential gutter cleaning, slips and falls and shatters his ankle. Quite frankly he's lucky the injury wasn't worse. Come to find out the companies policy has a gutter cleaning exclusion in their insurance policy. Everyone was sued including the homeowner. The insurance company dropped their policy and they were unable to get another policy. This put them out of the gutter cleaning business altogether.
Note: In Canada the Federal Workers' Compensation Service (FWCS) of the Labour Program administers the Government Employee Compensation Act (GECA). Workers' compensation programs provide medical treatment and salary protection for employees in the cases of a work-related injury or occupational disease. This is funded by employers - not the government.
Loss of earnings and wage-loss benefits (rather than medical benefits in the USA) are the primary cost drivers.
If you do business in Canada and have employees, in most cases you must have Workers' Compensation insurance which means you have to register your business with your provincial Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) and pay Workers' Compensation Insurance (WCI) premiums based upon the industry classification. Read more here and consult with your agent.
A Safer Alternative
Alternatively, SkyVac is a safer method for cleaning gutters....by vacuuming gutters unto 40 feet high safely from the ground. Click here to compare the various gutter vacuum systems.
They range in size and performance to suite homeowners, commercial building owners or cleaning professionals.
There are multiple ways to think about your business transportation needs.
- Will it be you solo or will you have multiple crews?
- How many services will you offer?
- What is your budget?
- What are your personal driving preferences?
You could consider the following setups:
- SUV or Small Mini Van - Possibly use a vehicle you already own, low startup cost
- Truck - Possibly already own or purchase used or new based upon budget
- Low ceiling or tall ceiling van - Great alternative for protecting your equipment but ramp likely needed for loading or unloading
- Open-faced flat trailer - Must have a proper vehicle to tow, easy to load and unload, no weather protection
- Closed trailer - More costly but better protection for your equipment
- Large boxed truck - More costly but offers lots of protected room for your equipment
Aside from the actual physical work, one of the most important aspects of the gutter cleaning business is pricing, marketing, earning new customers and retaining existing customers. We find that many people in this industry are good at doing the actual cleaning but less experienced or enthusiastic about getting the business.
It's important that you use a good CRM (Customer Relationship Management Software) to help easily track all communications and nurture customer relationships. You are likely to need software to manage your business with the back-and-forth interactions, estimates, quotes, scheduling, invoicing and payments aspect of the business.
Optionally, you could join us for a SkyVac Training Day (typically offered once per month in our Sanford NC, USA facility) where we train new start-ups and existing companies who want to add other services to their portfolio. We charge $100 CAD for this full day workshop. It includes up to 2 people from your group and lunch. This fee is deducted from any purchase you make during your visit.
We've had customers from all parts of Canada visit us over the years.