You can start your 24 hour drain cleaning business on a shoestring, with just a pile of drain rods. There is more to it than that, but drain rods will allow you to solve 90% of problems you come across.
On Your Own or Franchise?
Franchises are expensive to buy into and most people will not have the $50K (£40K) that buying into a big name franchise will cost you. You can start on your own but you will need to do some marketing to get your name in front of people; franchisees have the marketing included as part of their package.
As an independent with lower costs and no franchise fees to pay you can do jobs for less than the big franchise drain cleaning companies.
Sewer Drain Clearing
This will be the core of your business. It is messy work and smelly, which is why so many householders will pay you to do it for them. Most blockages are caused by toilet paper and sanitary towels; all you need to clear these is a corkscrew-like breakup attachment on your drain rods.
Drain rods are a metre long and have brass fittings at each end so you can screw them together. To tighten them just turn clockwise as you usually would.
When in use always be sure to turn the rods clockwise as you push them into the drain. (if you turn the wrong way your rods could come apart in the drain, which would mean sending a robot down to pull them out not cheap). You will need a lot of drain rods because some houses have sewer drains that stretch for 50 metres without an inspection cover.
What Do You Need to Start a Drain Cleaning Business?
You will need a bin to carry your drain rods upright. The rods then drain into the bin and you can use a power washer to wash everything off at the end of the day.
Your van will need to be large enough to carry your equipment and to look professional. Small vans look very amateurish and as you acquire more equipment to handle different jobs they will not have the space you need.
A power-washer is another useful tool to have in this business. You need it to clear up any mess and to wash any overflow back into the drain. An electric one means you either need access to your client’s electricity supply or you need to carry a generator in your van; a gas-powered power washer is better and is usually more powerful. Buy extensions that will allow you to jetwash any pipes you work on.
Clean overalls are another part of your professional image. You need at least 10 sets to allow you to change between jobs, necessary to keep your van clean inside as well as to impress your customers.
Anything else you can buy as you learn the job and have a need for it.
A website is essential, though you can build it yourself easily enough. The first place people look for services is online rather than the phone book, so you have to be online. Make sure to include a landline phone number so that anyone searching with the area code in the search query will be directed to your site. You should also include photographs of yourself doing jobs and testimonials.
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Your van is important but less so than your online presence. Nobody takes the details of services they hope never to need, so your van and business cards are very much secondary marketing.
It is possible to set up as an independent contractor without paying an arm and a leg for a franchise, but your business will grow more slowly and you do need to be on top of your marketing.
Image credit: Lee J Haywood