Quick Guide to Starting Your Scaffolding BusinessWritten by Bernard on June 22, 2017
A scaffolding business can earn some serious cash by renting out its scaffolding equipment to builders and construction companies.
While a scaffolding business normally requires about $10,000 – $50,000 to start, the rental fees will more than make up for that.
Not to mention, the fact that the economy is on an upswing and that the housing and construction markets are booming—there’s no better time to get your own scaffolding business.
But what are the most important aspects to work on, and where do you start?
That’s what we’ll look at today in our quick guide to starting your own scaffolding business.
1. Get your licenses and insurance
While the scaffolding business can be great for the income potential and amount of work available, it still does require a few things.
Those things include the licenses that you’ll need to have in order to start your work, as well as the insurance in order to protect yourself, your employees and your customers.
One of the first things you need to check is what kind of business you’ll register as. While a sole proprietorship (in the US) is the easiest to set up, it doesn’t offer great protection.
For better protection, you should go for an LLC or corporation. However, corporations may be too much work and documentation, whereas the LLC often provides the greatest balance between liability protection and ease of setup.
As far as local government permits, different states and countries will have different requirements.
Your local secretary of state or alternatively Dept. of Commerce will be able to give you all the information you need for these licenses.
For example, in California you’ll need to be licensed first by the Contractors State License before you can start to do any work in California.
For Australia, you’ll need to get a high-risk work license if you perform scaffolding work with a height four meters or greater (about 13 feet).
Different rules are followed in different countries, and therefore it is important that you check which licensing rules apply in your location.
Scaffolding naturally brings with it a lot of risks and therefore a lot of potential for lawsuits. Let’s look at what insurance your scaffolding business will need in order to survive.
The most important insurance that your scaffolding business can get right off the bat is public liability insurance.
This is a major must for any scaffolding business, because it will help cover you against damages or injuries to a third party.
You can generally get public liability insurance that will provide cover anywhere from $1 million – $10 million.
The next and equally important type of insurance that you’ll need is employers’ liability insurance. This is a requirement by law for any and every business that has employees, contractors, temporary workers, etc.
If an employee gets injured on the job and makes a claim, the policy will cover those costs as the injury or illness happened while on the job.
There may be other important insurance types that are recommended for any scaffolding business. However, these two above are the absolute must-haves.
2. Organize your prices and invoices
Now let’s get to the money side of your new scaffolding business. You’ll have to decide on how to make sure you set competitive but profitable prices for your scaffolding business.
You’ll also need to make sure you get your money on time, meaning you’ll need to cover your invoices well.
a. Setting your scaffolding business prices
One of the most important parts of your scaffolding business is to set your scaffolding prices, which will help make you competitive as well as increase your sales.
The first thing you need to do when a client approaches you with a scaffolding request is to find out as much as you can about the area that will be worked on.
The best way to do that is to visit the property and provide as accurate an estimate as possible.
Most scaffolders will normally measure using meters squared, so be comfortable using that terminology.
Minimal rental time
Another thing to think about is whether you’ll incorporate a minimal rental time. This is often 6-8 weeks for most scaffolding businesses.
If you are willing to have shorter rental times, you should consider raising the prices for anything below 6 weeks, as well as for urgent orders.
Your fees will also be based on the cost of the materials as well as labor and set up/tear down.
Example scaffolding business charges
Based on industry standards, we can see some examples prices for various properties:
- loft conversion scaffolding: £15 per square meter, with additional materials starting at £8 per square meter. Additional £10 per sq. m. for edge protectors and handrails
- house scaffolding: £550 for a single side that’s 10 meters long, or £900 for three sides of a semi-detached.
- terraced houses scaffolding: £300 for a single-side scaffold, or £950-£1100 to cover the entire property.
- independent scaffolds: £15 per meter
- temporary roof scaffolds: £90 per sq. m.
- conservatory/tower/access staircase scaffolds: £250
These prices should give you a good idea of what to expect and plan for your scaffolding prices.
If you’ve got your clients and they’re renting the scaffolding from you, you need to make sure you collect the regular payments.
This can be a bit perplexing for the customer and scaffolding business owner both, since rental transactions can be a bit more complex than simple, straightforward purchases.
After all, when clients buy something for a price, they pay for it immediately (or after 30 days) and that’s it.
When you do rental invoicing, you have to add a lot of factors into your rental pricing, including overtime, minimums, and other aspects.
This can lead to a lot of inaccurate invoicing, which can be a real pain for a lot of scaffolding business owners.
For that reason, many turn to automated invoicing software that will help business owners smoothly, accurately and quickly send out invoices to their clients.
Even better, online invoicing software can help free up employees or business owners to do other important tasks, especially since it will allow them to invoice their clients in 2 minutes or less.
Beyond that, invoicing software means that you will be sending out invoices to your clients much more quickly, and with faster invoice sent out, it will be faster invoices paid.
Another great part is that the software allows for customizable invoices, meaning you can quickly adapt to your clients’ formatting requests without having to spend days and days.
With an easy-to-read, professional-looking invoice, it will be easier and faster for the customer to pay in full.
3. Finding customers for your scaffolding business
Finding customers for your scaffolding business is actually easier, not harder, in the modern world. This is because a lot of the tools that are now available make it easier for businesses of all types and sizes to gain access to their audiences.
It just requires a little bit of work—or a lot. Let’s look at the best ways to market your scaffolding business.
a. Build your website
A lot of the traditional scaffolding business marketing revolved around leaflets, brochures, networking with local builders and other ways.
While those are great ventures to undertake, it is not what we’ll be focusing on today.
There is a great (and often necessary) method you need to do. It doesn’t require a lot of upfront monetary investment, although it will take a little bit of time.
You need to have a website because, frankly, your competition will have a website.
Besides that, your website can increase the amount of potential customers you can reach out to. It is also much cheaper than using newspaper advertising, and helps you to appear professional and show images of your previous work.
This is because most people, before they commit to buying someone’s services, will review that person online. They don’t want to be involved in a scam, or hire someone with a bad reputation.
If they can’t any information about you online, they may just decide to go with your competition—who does have a website, by the way.
b. Get social
Another advantage of living in this day and age, and running a scaffolding business, is that you’ll be able to use the power of social media.
Social media sites, such as Facebook, are the places where your customers are most likely to hang out. You can find your customers by their interests, hobbies, and even requests (in forums and Facebook groups).
When you find them, you can invite them to like your page, which means they’ll be able to receive your updates and notifications immediately.
It’s a great way to find all your potential customers and convince them over time to use your services.
Another great thing about social media is that the advertising costs are quite reasonable. You don’t have to pay upfront because, depending on your advertising campaign, you only pay if someone completes an action, for example, like clicking on your link or visiting your website.
For some this cost per click can be as low a £0.01, but it’s quite normal to have it be around £0.50. Just make sure to target the right customers in your location, age range, gender, etc. to get the best results.
The best time to start on your new scaffolding business is now. So don’t hesitate—read our guide and get working on your next successful venture.