The idea of making a living from cleaning gutters and extractor fans may not sound particularly glamorous.
As a result there is a big untapped demand for this service, and those that do provide it make the kind of money that can easily pay for three weeks in the Caribbean every year. Does it sound a little more glamorous now? The old saying "Where there's muck, there's money" is as true today as it ever was.
A business as a cleaner of gutters and extractor fans can be started up for next to nothing. All you need is a ladder, transport and some cloths, brushes and occasionally a few basic tools. You do not need any special experience or licences.
So how do you start up this business?
There are likely to be some council owned estates in your area - perhaps you live in one. Pick any street, perhaps the street you live in, and check the condition of the guttering. It is unlikely it will have been cleaned in many years and it may be in a poor state of repair. Estimate the number of hours it would take you to clean the whole street's gutters, multiply this by your hourly rate - add to this the cost of mending or replacing any broken guttering. Congratulations, you have just put together your first job estimate!
You should then take your estimate to your local council engineer. Offer to clean/fix the street's guttering for this price. What you should find is that they jump at your offer, as councils tend to find it very difficult to get contractors to do such a small job. You can then find out what other streets need doing and the work should escalate from there.
If the council engineer turns down your offer, don't worry. It may just be a case of looking for the right street or the right time to clean it, or dropping your price a little. There is also the option of cleaning the gutters of privately owned houses. Few people want to clear their gutters out - believe it! Simply drop your cost estimate through letterboxes together with your address and phone number.
Once people realise how cheap and quick the service is, and how blocked and broken guttering can damage the rest of the property, they will most likely pay for a clean. Once you have cleaned a client's guttering, make an appointment to come back in six months or a year to do it again. An extra service you could offer is to install wire mesh that prevents leaves from clogging up the guttering. Whilst up the ladder, check for loose, broken or missing tiles. Then link up with a local roofer and claim 15% of his invoice as a commission.
Of course, this is only half of the picture. Take a look at the extractor fans used in the businesses, shops, factories, schools, offices, pubs, restaurants, leisure centres, and so on in your area. Chances are they'll be extremely dirty, and probably won't have been cleaned in years.
Your next step is to point out to the businesses concerned that their extractor fans, by being dirty and partially blocked, are not functioning as energy efficiently as they should be and are also representing a potential threat to health and safety. Send them your quote for cleaning the fan perhaps following this up with a phone call.
Again, you should find that if your price is right, you will pick up plenty of trade. Don't forget to make a future cleaning appointment after each job. Any city of moderate size should have enough fans to keep you in business, and once you become more familiar with them, you could do repairs or even contact the fans' manufacturers offering to be their official maintenance engineer.
As with most of these small businesses ideas, A website aimed specifically at your target market can make a significant difference to your profitability.
In this case your website should be aimed at people who are searching for Manrose extractor fans, hygiene monitoring, industrial kitchens, duct ventilation surveys, duct ventilation clearance, kitchen extraction, deep cleaning, specialist duct cleaning, chimney/flue sweeping, clearing blocked ducts and other similar terms.
Overall, cleaning gutters and extractor fans represents an extremely viable, low cost, business that could earn a substantial amount of money.