Lately, I've spent more time on the blog introducing side hustles that can be worked from the great outdoors. But I bet you haven't considered starting a small gutter cleaning business on the side.
That's why I'm here today.
Here's why cleaning gutters may be the best side hustle for you in 2023.
What is a gutter cleaning business?
A gutter cleaning business is a service-based business that specializes in going to residential and commercial client sites to clean out rain gutters, downspouts, and other impacted areas.
Why do gutters need to be cleaned?
Over time, it is natural for gutters to need to be cleaned. Reasons for this vary depending on the type of gutters you have and where you live. But it may be necessary to:
Prevent water damage at a residential or commercial site
Avoid landscape erosion
Prevent ice dams from forming
Limit pest infestations
Preserve curb appeal
What do gutter cleaners do?
Gutter cleaners climb onto client roofs in order to complete a few basic functions, including:
Inspecting their condition
Working new installations
Over time, it is natural for gutters to fill with debris and become blocked, thanks to leaves, pine needles, or dirt. The easiest way to do this is to use tools such as ladders, brushes, or scoops.
Once you've cleaned them out, water will start flowing freely away from the structure.
Inspecting their condition
Clients will also inquire about getting their gutters inspected. In this case, you'll be responsible to perform visual inspections of the system and look for any potential defects, including defects:
Performing routine maintenance
In time, you'll be able to expand your operation if you know how to perform routine maintenance. These tasks include patching leaks, reattaching fasteners, installing or repairing gutter guards.
Working new installations
Over time, you may decide to offer gutter installation services for new properties or replacement services for existing properties. This work takes time to learn and replace but can be a lucrative add on service for your offering.
How to start a gutter cleaning business
Starting your own gutter cleaning business can be done in just 6 easy steps.
1. Register your business
For some side hustles, establishing yourself as a business isn't critical. But when you plan an operation that will take you to client sites, it becomes more important, for insurance and legal purposes.
You may opt to establish a sole proprietorship or a partnership (if you have a partner), but a limited liability corporation (LLC) may also be a great option for you.
I've established an LLC for a couple of reasons, but no reason weighs heavier than that my personal assets are protected in the event of a bankruptcy or lawsuit.
2. Buy small business insurance
Gutters are a pricy part of many homeowners' homes, so you want to be very careful in your work. For this reason (and because some potential clients will ask), you'll want to consider purchasing small business insurance.
It will protect you in the event that something goes wrong, or you cause damage, and you can get affordable policies for as low as $20-$40 per month in premium.
3. Buy your equipment
Gutters are above the ground, so you'll need some equipment to help you perform your duties adequately. To get started, I recommend that you have:
A ladder: to climb up houses and commercial buildings
A scoop: to remove debris from a gutter: you don't really want to pick up decaying leaves with your own hands
Brushes: to push debris together to make it easier to remove
Buckets: in case you need to transport or hold water, tools, or other materials
Safety equipment and safe footwear: you're going to be on a roof and need to be very careful
A car/truck to transport this equipment between sites
4. Figure out your pricing
Like most all service-based businesses, one of the main obstacles that you'll face is bidding your work in a competitive and time efficient manner.
Bid too high and home/business owners will be afraid that you're trying to price gouge or take advantage of them. Bid too low and price bias may come into play, where people may doubt the quality of your work given your below market rate pricing.
How to bid gutter cleaning jobs
Most gutter cleaners bid their jobs per linear foot of structure they'll need to clean out.
Once you know how many linear feet of gutter you'll be responsible for, many companies will assign a rate for each section, depending on the complexity of access and reaching a space.
For instance, $1 per foot for first floor footage and $2 per foot for second floor linear footage seems to be pretty standard.
5. Market your services
There are four basic marketing steps that you should take to help get your gutter cleaning business off the ground:
A logo and other branding materials
A website with information about your services, method, and past reviews
Using SEO and social media effectively
Business cards, flyers, and mailers
Logo and branding materials
Coming up with a logo and list of preferred font/style to use in your marketing materials may not seem like a top priority, but it can be the first step in building a gutter cleaning business that those in your area know, trust, and hire.
Building a consistent presence in an area requires appearance and recognition, so just make sure you've started to put some thought into that.
One of the best ways to market your services is via your own website. Building a website can take some time to do, and getting regular web traffic can take even more time. Still, over the long term, it is likely to be the most lucrative of all of your marketing efforts.
Included on your site should be a section about the exact services you offer and your method of cleaning gutters.
Blogging about gutter topics can be a great way to help you build web traffic, so long as you follow good search engine optimization (SEO) convention and are diligent in your content marketing efforts.
You can use any number of website building resources to help, but I recommend content marketing guides like Ahrefs in particular. For a gutter cleaning business, you'll have no shortage of topics to write about. For instance, I'd start with:
Why gutter maintenance is important
How to properly maintain and care for them
Best practices to preserve your existing gutter system for as long as possible
From here, you can begin to branch out and write related content.
Using SEO and social media
In time, your website will grow as a result of your SEO efforts paying off. But in the meantime, optimizing social media profiles can lead you to signing enough gutter clients to keep yourself busy in the meantime.
Roof and gutter services tend to be highly visual and localized by nature, so platforms such as Facebook are likely to be your best bet here.
Plus, if you're looking to sign clients in your area, you can probably join local Facebook Groups in order to meet and connect with those in your area that may be interested in your services.
Also, I highly recommend that you create a Google My Business profile, which will add you to Google's directory of registered businesses in the event that someone in your service area looks for services matching yours.
For example, do you know when you're looking for a painter, go to Google and search for "painters near me"? Those results at the top of the page, sometimes on a map, are those Google My Profile registered businesses.
6. Impress your clients
Once you sign clients and gain commitments, it is critically important that you impress them with your work.
Doing so will actually ensure that you build a whole new pipeline of leads via word-of-mouth referral. I also recommend that you get into the habit of asking customers for testimonials and online reviews after you're done.
Testimonials will help provide social proof on your website as to the quality of your work, while Google (or other online) reviews will aid you in convincing future leads to call and request quotes.
How much can you make cleaning gutters?
While each job will pay differently based on gutter size, access, and location, an average sized residential home can earn you $100-$200. Since many homeowners are risk adverse and would rather not climb on their roofs, gutter cleaners can command these rates.
The best part is that the average job may only take you a couple of hours.
This means that, if you're able to complete three or four jobs per day, you may be able to earn $600-$800 per day, with very low business expenses.
Running a gutter cleaning business can be an excellent (and easy!) way for you to supplement your income if you're comfortable with heights and working on ladders.
Now, I want to hear from you. Would you ever consider starting a gutter cleaning business? Tell me why or why not in the comments below!
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