Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.
David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.
Published on May 3, 2022 Updated on February 14, 2024
$3,850 - $9,600
$48,000 - $96,000 p.a.
Time to build
0 – 3 months
$43,000 - $87,000 p.a.
Cleaning gutters is often tedious and difficult work, but it’s also necessary to avoid clogging and potential structural damage. The US gutter cleaning market has seen stead growth as the building industry expanded and should continue to grow into the future. Now is a great time to start your own gutter cleaning business. It doesn’t take much of an investment, and you could run your business from home and make good money while providing a necessary community service.
But before you break out the ladders, it’s crucial that you understand how to develop an idea into an actual business. Luckily, this step-by-step guide has you covered with all the information you need to start a successful gutter cleaning company.
Looking to register your business? A limited liability company (LLC) is the best legal structure for new businesses because it is fast and simple.
Growth forecast – The US gutter services industry is projected to grow 2% in 2022.
Number of businesses – In 2022, 4,440 gutter services businesses are operating in the US.
Number of people employed – In 2022, the US gutter services industry employs 7,610 people.
Trends and challenges
Trends in the gutter cleaning industry include:
New tools that serve as a sort of vacuum for gutters are increasingly common, making gutter cleaning easier and safer.
The growing housing market should drive increased demand for gutter cleaning.
Challenges in the gutter cleaning industry include:
More and more people are opting for gutter guards, which keep gutters covered and keep out debris, reducing the need for gutter cleaning.
The danger of gutter cleaning presents a risk for gutter cleaning companies, as employees can get injured.
How much does it cost to start a gutter cleaning business?
Startup costs for a gutter cleaning business range from $3,800 to $9,500. Costs include ladders, a website, and a down payment on a truck or van to transport your ladders.
You’ll need a handful of items to successfully launch your gutter cleaning business, including:
Gutter cleaning equipment including gutter scoops
Garden hose with a gutter cleaning nozzle
Alternatively, you could purchase a gutter vacuum for about $3,000.
Setting up a business name and corporation
$150 - $200
Business licenses and permits
$100 - $300
Business cards and brochures
$200 - $300
$1,000 - $3,000
Ladders and tools
$300 - $500
Truck or van down payment
$2,000 - $5,000
$3,850 - $9,600
How much can you earn from a gutter cleaning business?
Prices for gutter cleaning jobs range from $100 to $200 for an average of $150. Your profit margin when you’re working by yourself should be about 90%.
In your first year or two, you could work from home and do 10 jobs a week for 32 weeks a year, bringing in $48,000 in annual revenue. This would mean more than $43,000 in profit, assuming that 90% margin. As you begin to get repeat customers and referrals, you could do 20 jobs a week for 32 weeks a year. With annual revenue of $96,000, you’d make a handsome profit of nearly $87,000.
What barriers to entry are there?
There are really no barriers to entry for a gutter cleaning business, except that you’ll be facing a lot of competition.
Related Business Ideas
If you’re still not sure whether this business idea is the right choice for you, here are some related business opportunities to help you on your path to entrepreneurial success.
Now that you know what’s involved in starting a gutter cleaning business, it’s a good idea to hone your concept in preparation to enter a competitive market.
Market research will give you the upper hand, even if you’re already positive that you have a perfect product or service. Conducting market research is important, because it can help you understand your customers better, who your competitors are, and your business landscape.
Why? Identify an opportunity
Research gutter cleaning businesses in your area to examine their services, price points, and customer reviews. You’re looking for a market gap to fill. For instance, maybe the local market is missing a gutter cleaning business that offers an annual gutter maintenance plan, or also offers window cleaning.
You might consider targeting a niche market by specializing in a certain aspect of your industry, such as commercial gutter cleaning.
This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing and attract clients right away.
What? Determine your products or services
In addition to gutter cleaning, you could offer window washing, or you could invest in a power washer and offer power washing services for siding, decks and patios.
How much should you charge for gutter cleaning?
The price will vary based on the length of the gutters but usually falls between $100 and $200. After your costs, you should aim for a profit margin of about 90%.
Once you know your costs, you can use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.
Who? Identify your target market
Your target market will generally be homeowners, which is a broad category. You should spread out your marketing to include sites like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook.
Where? Choose your business premises
In the early stages, you may want to run your business from home to keep costs low. But as your business grows, you’ll likely need to hire workers for various roles and may need to rent out an office. You can find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices.
When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:
Central location accessible via public transport
Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed
Step 3: Brainstorm a Gutter Company Name
Your business name is your business identity, so choose one that encapsulates your objectives, services, and mission in just a few words. You probably want a name that’s short and easy to remember, since much of your business, and your initial business in particular, will come from word-of-mouth referrals.
Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:
Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better
Name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
Including keywords, such as “gutter cleaning” or “gutter maintenance”, boosts SEO
Name should allow for expansion, for ex: “ClearFlow Gutter Solutions” over “Commercial Gutter Solutions”
Avoid location-based names that might hinder future expansion
Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these.
Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that sets your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.
Step 4: Create a Gutter Cleaning Business Plan
Every business needs a plan. This will function as a guidebook to take your startup through the launch process and maintain focus on your key goals. A business plan also enables potential partners and investors to better understand your company and its vision:
Executive Summary: A brief overview outlining the mission, goals, and key highlights of the gutter cleaning business plan to provide a snapshot for potential investors or stakeholders.
Business Overview: Detailed information about the gutter cleaning business, including its mission, vision, location, and legal structure, setting the foundation for the rest of the plan.
Product and Services: Clearly defined details on the specific services offered by the gutter cleaning business, such as gutter inspection, debris removal, and maintenance.
Market Analysis: A comprehensive examination of the target market, identifying customer needs, preferences, and trends in the gutter cleaning industry to inform business strategies.
Competitive Analysis: An assessment of key competitors in the gutter cleaning market, outlining their strengths and weaknesses to determine the business’s unique selling points.
Sales and Marketing: Strategies for promoting the gutter cleaning services, encompassing pricing, promotions, advertising, and customer acquisition tactics to drive sales.
Management Team: Introductions and roles of key individuals responsible for the success of the business, highlighting their relevant skills and experience.
Operations Plan: Detailed information on the day-to-day functioning of the gutter cleaning business, covering processes, equipment, personnel requirements, and safety measures.
Financial Plan: A comprehensive financial projection detailing start-up costs, revenue forecasts, and profit and loss statements, offering a roadmap for the business’s financial success.
Appendix: Additional supporting documents, such as resumes of key team members, legal documents, and any other relevant information that provides further context and credibility to the business plan.
If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist to create a top-notch business plan for you.
Step 5: Register Your Business
Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.
Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business!
Choose where to register your company
Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you’re planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to gutter cleaning businesses.
If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state.
Choose your business structure
Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your gutter cleaning business will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely.
Here are the main options:
Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
Limited Liability Company (LLC)– Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC, which just need to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using an online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization, and answer any questions you might have.
The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN.
Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.
It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you’re completing them correctly.
Step 7: Fund your Business
Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:
Bank loans: This is the most common method but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
Government grants: A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
Crowdfunding: Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.
Bank and SBA loans are probably the best option, other than friends and family, for funding a gutter cleaning business.
Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits.
You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more.
Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your gutter cleaning business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.
Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account.
Step 10: Get Business Insurance
Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.
Here are some types of insurance to consider:
General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of the above insurance types.
As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business.
Essential software and tools
Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks.
You may want to use industry-specific software, such as managemart, Octopuspro, or Jobber, to manage your estimates, schedule, and invoices.
If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.
Develop your website
Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism.
You can create your own website using website builders. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.
They are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google.
For your gutter cleaning business, the marketing strategy should focus on highlighting the importance of regular gutter maintenance for homeowners, the professionalism and efficiency of your service, and any additional features like complimentary inspections, repair services, or seasonal maintenance packages. Here are some powerful marketing strategies for your future business:
Professional Branding: Your branding should convey reliability and professionalism. This includes a distinctive logo, business cards, uniforms for your team, and branded vehicles.
Direct Outreach: Network with local homeowners’ associations, real estate agents, and property management companies. Offering package deals or seasonal promotions can be an effective way to attract new clients.
Digital Presence and Online Marketing
Professional Website and SEO: Develop a website showcasing your services, customer testimonials, and before-and-after photos of your work. Optimize your website for local SEO to rank for searches related to gutter cleaning, home maintenance, and roofing services.
Social Media Engagement: Utilize platforms like Facebook and Instagram to share tips on home maintenance, promotional offers, and visual content showing the results of your work.
Content Marketing and Engagement
Home Maintenance Blog: Share informative content about gutter cleaning, the risks of neglected gutters, and general home maintenance tips.
Email Newsletters: Regularly send out newsletters with seasonal promotions, reminders for gutter maintenance, and tips for keeping homes in good condition.
Video Demonstrations: Create videos showing the process of gutter cleaning, emphasizing the thoroughness and safety measures your team employs.
Experiential and In-Person Engagements
Local Home and Garden Shows: Participate in local home and garden shows or community events to showcase your services and engage directly with potential customers.
Demonstration Events: Host demonstration events where you show the effectiveness of your cleaning methods and the difference clean gutters can make.
Collaborations and Community
Partnerships with Local Businesses: Collaborate with businesses in related fields, such as roofing or landscaping companies, for mutual referrals.
Community Involvement: Sponsor or participate in community events, which can increase your visibility and enhance your local reputation.
Customer Relationship and Loyalty Programs
Referral Programs: Implement a referral program offering discounts or additional services for clients who refer new customers.
Seasonal Maintenance Contracts: Offer seasonal maintenance contracts or package deals to encourage repeat business and customer loyalty.
Promotions and Advertising
Targeted Local Advertising: Use local advertising in community newspapers, flyers, and online platforms to reach potential customers in your area.
Direct Mail Campaigns: Send out flyers or postcards to neighborhoods in your service area, particularly in the lead-up to heavy rain or storm seasons.
Focus on USPs
Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that set it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your gutter cleaning business meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire.
Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your gutter cleaning business could be:
Trust the pros – fast, reliable gutter cleaning
Gutter cleaning and power washing to protect your home
Quality gutter cleaning services for less
You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a gutter cleaning business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in gutter cleaning for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections.
The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in gutter cleaning. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership.
Step 12: Build Your Team
If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you will likely need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a gutter cleaning business include:
At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need.
Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent.
Step 13: Run a Gutter Business – Start Making Money!
Cleaning debris out of clogged gutters is a dirty job, but somebody does indeed have to do it. Since it’s a valuable service and could make for a good living, why not you? You just need to do excellent work and offer great service, and you can build a successful company.
After reading this guide, you’re now in the know about launching a business, so it’s time to climb the ladder and get your lucrative gutter cleaning business off the ground!
Gutter Cleaning Business FAQs
Is a gutter cleaning business profitable?
Yes, a gutter cleaning business can be very profitable, with high profit margins. If you offer great work and reliable service you’ll be able to grow your business with repeat customers and referrals.
What time of year is best for gutter cleaning?
The best time of year for gutter cleaning depends on the climate and weather conditions in your area. Generally, it is recommended to clean gutters at least twice a year, once in the fall after the leaves have fallen and once in the spring after the winter snow and ice have melted.
How do I differentiate my gutter cleaning business from competitors?
To differentiate your gutter cleaning business from competitors, you could focus on providing exceptional customer service, offering additional services such as gutter repair or installation, using eco-friendly and sustainable practices, or specializing in a specific niche such as commercial or residential properties.
Can I start a gutter cleaning business on the side?
Yes, you can start a gutter cleaning business on the side as long as you comply with any legal and regulatory requirements in your area. You may need to invest in supplies and equipment such as ladders, safety gear, and cleaning tools and ensure that you have a reliable and efficient scheduling and billing process. You could also consider starting small and gradually expanding your business as demand grows.
How do I handle and manage employee training and management?
To handle and manage employee training and management in your gutter cleaning business, you could develop comprehensive training programs that cover safety procedures, equipment use and maintenance, and customer service skills.
How to Start a Gutter Cleaning Business
Decide if the Business Is Right for You
Hone Your Idea
Brainstorm a Gutter Company Name
Create a Gutter Cleaning Business Plan
Register Your Business
Register for Taxes
Fund your Business
Apply for Business Licenses and Permits
Open a Business Bank Account
Get Business Insurance
Prepare to Launch
Build Your Team
Run a Gutter Business - Start Making Money!
Gutter Cleaning Business FAQs
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