How to Start a Gutter Cleaning Business

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Image of a 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 are responsible for carrying the rainwater from large surfaces, such as a roof, to the area where water can be drained out. 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. Hence, it is important that rain gutters be cleaned well before a heavy rain.

A gutter cleaning business provides a solution to homeowners by taking on the messy and somewhat dangerous task of keeping gutters and downspouts clear.

While some gutter cleaning services may charge a flat per-house 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 per-house fee may be as high as $150, according to Servicemagic.com

offering gutter cleaning can appear daunting at first, but don’t let this stop you from making money on a service many others won’t do. This is a great way to bring in extra income during the fall. Gutter cleaning is a great way to supplement a lawn care business or similar business that slows down in the fall.

Skill Set:
  • Ability to lift at least 50 lbs
  • Comfort with heights
  • Detail oriented
  • Handle the necessary equipment adequately
  • Handle power washers
  • Clean out gutters with hose or pressure washer
  • Debris disposal
  • Hose down any splatters on concrete or building
  • List of Common Business Skills
Employee and Job Consideration During The Start-Up Phase or In The Future:
Approximate Daily Hours Needed:

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, Supplies, & Services During Start-up OR In The Future:
  • Ladders
  • Heavy-duty gloves
  • Trash bags
  • Protective eyewear
  • Reliable transportation
  • 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
  • First aid kit
  • Composting containers
  • Essential office Equipment
Monthly Expenses and Operating Costs To Consider:
Licenses:

Canvassing door-to-door is one powerful method to get work, but you need to contact City Hall before you start to make sure that you are not breaking the law. A number of cities require a permit, and many won’t tolerate any kind of door-to-door canvassing at all.

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 service. Cut back limbs that hang over the roof. This will make your job easier in the future 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
Approximate Minimum Startup Cost:

The average startup cost may vary from a couple 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.

Special Requirements for This Business:
  • Whenever you are working at heights, always make sure that you use fall arrest gear.
  • Estimates will widely vary: There is more than one way to take care of a dirty gutter. There are a few factors involved, such as the type of home, the amount of debris in the gutter, and any unforeseen challenges.
  • Remember that gutters and supports are a relatively weak material and will not stand any direct weight so be sure to use secure ladders that will support your weight well.
  • You need to take care with pressure washers. High water pressure will very easily damage relatively fragile surfaces.
  • offer a guarantee. You can decide how long you want to guarantee your work, but a good starting place is three months. This is especially important when you are first starting out and any time you have a new client. 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.
  • You can cut the handle off the garbage bucket and bend it to hang along the rain gutter so that you need not have to carry it all along. This will, however, make it more difficult to carry while climbing down. Instead, you can simply put the debris in the garbage bag and carry it along. The simplest method is to dig out the debris from the gutter and throw it on the ground. Though this will create quite a mess on the ground below, it will at least relieve you of carrying a heavy garbage bag all along the gutter.
Pros and Cons:

The Pros

  • A great occupation for anyone who enjoys the outdoors.
  • You can offer additional related services such as snow removal, gardening or window washing to earn more money.

The Cons

  • Work is performed up high on rooftops or ladders.
  • Physically demanding labor.
  • Seasonal ups and downs depending on location.
Type of Customers You Need to Attract:

The target market of the gutter cleaning is homeowners.

The typical target market also includes middle-class suburban families with homes and no teenage children. Middle-aged homemakers are also more likely to rely on a gutter cleaning service compared to younger homemakers.

Older individuals with higher incomes typically need their gutters cleaned and maintained.

An abundance of non-residential customers in this business include apartment buildings, restaurants, corporate buildings, schools, and churches.

Gutter Cleaning Business Statistics:

Rain gutter cleaning costs around $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 since the gutter cleaning business is always booming.

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.

If you choose to use a gas-powered leaf blower to clean gutters, you can make at least $100 per hour while on the job

You should be able to generate a few thousand dollars a week in prime season. The problem is that 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 desperate homeowners in early spring with overflowing gutter troubles.