How to Start a Gutter Cleaning Business

A roof gutter full of leaves

Gutter Cleaning Business Overview

For many homeowners, autumn means gutter cleaning time. For people who live close to any tall trees, this is one critical maintenance task that must be undertaken before winter.

Cleaning the gutters in late fall is necessary to avoid damage, such as water seeping in behind the fascia board, as well as ice damage in the winter.

Rain gutters carry the rainwater from the roof to where water can be drained. The main reason for installing rain gutters is to protect the windows, walls, basement, and flooring from damage due to rainwater.

However, over time gutters get clogged by leaves, twigs, and other debris. This blocks the flow of water in the gutter and may cause it to overflow or flow back, defeating the purpose of rain gutters. It’s important that rain gutters be cleaned before heavy rain.

Providing a gutter cleaning service relieves the homeowner of taking on the messy and somewhat dangerous task of keeping gutters and downspouts clear.

While some gutter cleaning services may charge a flat fee (say, $35 per house), others charge by the cumulative length of the gutters and downspouts (50 cents per linear foot, for example). For a challenging job, the flat fee may be as high as $150, according to Servicemagic.com

Gutter cleaning is a great way to bring in extra income during the fall and a great way to supplement a lawn care business or similar that slows down in the fall.

Hours of Operation:

Gutter cleaning season may be short-lived, depending on your location. In November, it’s not unusual for the sun to set at 4:30 p.m. in many areas of Canada and the northern US. For this reason, you need to make every hour count, even if that means operating seven days a week.

Equipment and  Supplies:

  • Ladders
  • Heavy-duty gloves
  • Trash bags
  • Protective eyewear
  • Reliable transportation
  • A pressure washer with a telescopic wand and gutter cleaner attachment
  • Hoses
  • Leaf blower
  • A 2-liter soda bottle (cut down) works well for cleaning the gutters. It’s pliable enough to get down into the gutter
  • Composting containers
  • Essential Office Equipment

Licenses:

See Our Page on Licenses and Permits

Potential Add-Ons for This Business:

  • Offer to install downspout filters. If you buy the mesh needed in bulk, it will cost you about 10 cents per filter. The going rate is $3 to $5 per filter, which will usually total between $30 and $60 per house.
  • Add tree trimming. Cut back limbs that hang over the roof. This will make your job easier for the next cleaning and can potentially save the customer costly roof repairs in the future.
  • Offer a repair service. For an additional cost, you can repair and replace worn-out gutters, which will help maintain the roof.
  • Install gutter guards and gutter helmets. These protect gutters from large debris and can add between $300 and $500 per job.
  • Add a window and skylight cleaning service. Skylight cleaning generally runs about $20 per skylight and window cleaning adds an additional $80 to $120.
  • Offer roof cleaning services. You can easily clean roofs with a pressure washer and a leaf blower. You can also offer to apply a preventative moss treatment once you have cleaned the roof

Startup Cost:

The average startup cost may vary from a couple of hundred dollars if you already have a lot of the equipment, to thousands of dollars if you want top-of-the-line equipment. You can start off small and expand your crew and equipment as you grow.

Considerations:

  • Whenever you are working on a roof, always make sure that you use fall arrest gear.
  • Estimates will widely vary depending on the amount of debris in the gutter, the size of the home, and any unforeseen challenges.
  • Remember that gutters and supports are relatively weak material and will not stand any direct weight, so be sure to use secure ladders that will support your weight.
  • You need to take care when using pressure washers. High water pressure will very easily damage relatively fragile surfaces.
  • Offering a guarantee will help build trust in your work and will likely leave a positive impression, leading at least to a repeat customer, and possibly to recommendations to other new clients.
  • Put the ladder on a firm and even ground base and at an appropriate height from the rain gutter.
  • Beware of the metal parts and screws that are fitted inside the gutter.

The Pros

  • Low startup cost
  • You can be your own boss
  • Jobs are usually completed in less than an hour
  • You can offer additional related services such as snow removal, lawn care, or window washing to earn more money.

The Cons

  • Work is performed on rooftops or ladders.
  • Physically demanding labor.
  • Seasonal ups and downs depending on location.

Statistics:

Rain gutter cleaning costs around $75 to $200 on average, according to national figures, though the price has been shown to soar to about $900 in some metropolitan areas.

Most companies list gutter cleaning prices for far less than $200; they can make a profit from volume.

Revenue:

Even though a gutter cleaning service requires little startup capital, you can earn a significant amount of money in a matter of a few months. In terms of profit, it’s very common for two people to earn $500-$1000 per day.

You should be able to generate a few thousand dollars a week in prime season. The problem is that the gutter cleaning season is very short.

Due to the seasonal nature of gutter cleaning, many companies offering this unique service can’t do the business on a full-time basis unless they are based in a warmer climate.

On the other hand, it’s not out of the question to have an influx of phone calls from homeowners in early spring with overflowing gutter troubles.

How To Start Your Gutter Cleaning Business

There are similar steps to starting a small business. For example; researching your business idea, writing a business plan, getting funding, finding the right insurance, selecting an appropriate location, etc.

To keep things organized I have put together a post with the details, including important points to consider before you get started. See The Essential Steps To Start a Business for more.