Nobody likes thinking about gutters. They’re the nastiest, smelliest place imaginable, which is why there’s a saying “in the gutter” when we’re talking about the absolute lowest point in one’s life. Yet, we can’t live without gutters, or rather, without clean gutters.
As smelly and disgusting as they are, gutters make sure the rest of the place remains clean. They channel the water and the gunk away from our abodes and into the big yonder. From time to time, someone has to actually get near them and scoop out all the filth. That someone could be you, earning a sizable wad of cash that absolutely doesn’t smell.
If you have a strong stomach, some patience and a sense of balance, you have almost everything you need for a successful gutter cleaning business.
To understand the kind of service you’ll be paid for, you must also understand the mindset of your customers. People will gladly pay for a service that increases their status or removes a source of discomfort. In the case of gutter filth, it makes the house look nasty, which makes the owner feel uncomfortable, but removing it is also a source of discomfort. So, it’s the perfect task for a contractor.
The first prerequisite you’re expected to have is a strong stomach, meaning the ability to withstand handling filth without wincing or vomiting. Gutters most often contain rotting leaves and dead branches but may also have dead rodents, chicks and other small animals. You can encounter slime deposits, weeds and mushrooms in the gutters too.
The second prerequisite is having enough balance that you don’t plummet to the ground when on the ladder. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t be afraid of heights either.
The third prerequisite is having the tools. You will need a ladder that can reach the roof, buckets and tarps for the debris, a set of work clothes, gloves and a vehicle to transport all of it. Some gutter cleaners also carry a leaf blower and/or a pressure washer, though those are just nice-to-haves. If you can’t afford to buy some of these tools, consider renting them.
To get enough clients to keep your business afloat, you need to get a reputation. This is done through marketing, which can cost anywhere from zero to infinity dollars.
Getting up there and cleaning the gunk is actually the easy part of the gutter cleaning business. The hard part is marketing yourself. At first, you might want to just knock on doors and ask for a chance to clean the gutters. You’ll beg, you’ll plead and most likely get rejected. That’s how human psychology works — when pressured into something, the average person will most likely resist it, even if it’s genuinely needed at the time.
Your easiest path to success is having someone do the marketing for you. For example, word-of-mouth marketing is the most powerful type of marketing, where people recommend your services to each other. Again, it’s human psychology at work, as we tend to believe the most what our circle of family, friends and neighbors tells us.
If you’re just starting out, you should hire someone who knows how to get clients to start calling you for gutter cleaning. We recommend contacting a specialized marketing team that can give you a reputation you can afford.
A crucial part of marketing is standing out from the crowd. What is it that your business offers that nobody else in the market does? Think in terms of added value you can provide reliably and effortlessly to your clients, such as gutter replacement and gutter installation.
Once you get up close to a clogged gutter, you will notice it looks different to a clean gutter, not just in terms of filth but in structural integrity as well. Water corrodes the metal and the weight of the filth can bend the gutter out of shape. That’s why you can eventually plan to spread out your business and offer gutter replacement and gutter installation.
The logic is simple: if gutter cleaning costs $100 and gutter replacement costs $1,000, by offering them both at the same time you can ask for and get paid $2,000 or more. This is more human psyche at work, where people fear losing a small initial investment more than a major later investment. It’s much easier to sell a complex $2,000 gutter cleaning and replacement package than a straightforward $100 gutter cleaning job.
If you later decide to pivot your business exclusively to gutter replacement and installation, you already have the stomach, the balance, the tools and the clientele. Actually, you can’t even replace a gutter without cleaning it first.
Granted, replacing and installing gutters is not easy and may require additional skills and tools but you simply have to start out small and without rushing anything. Over time, people will give you the chance so your only obligation is to be honest and tell them if you’ve never done it before. When starting out, transparency and honesty are the two key elements of success. The more of those you keep, the stronger your business in its later stages.
As your reputation grows, so will your fear of losing it. You will have to take out insurance, hire more people to help you out and overall take unknown risks. Consulting with professionals is an absolute must and will help you prepare for long-term success, where your business grows at a steady pace and can withstand crises.
Adding more technology is a wise choice too. For example, you might start using drones to scout a gutter, which will both impress and disgust the client but will also help you cut down on costs and risks.
Gutter cleaning is a surprisingly stable niche. As long as there are roofs, there will be gutters and filth clogging them. Besides, many people have invested themselves in their property and worry about anything that can reduce its value. Hence, they will pay good money for services that can primp up their house.
Getting started and marketing yourself are tough but not impossible challenges, as long as you know how to stay on course and grow steadily. Minimize your expenses at first, contact professionals for advice and be honest with your clients to create a reputable gutter cleaning service.