How to Start a Drain Cleaning Business (2024) – Steps Guide

Does the thought of gurgling drains and clogged pipes send shivers down your spine…but in a thrilling, entrepreneurial way? Want to start a drain-cleaning business? You’re in the right place.

Drain-cleaning businesses typically focus on clearing drains and sewers. This can involve cleaning clogged drains, removing tree roots and other obstructions, and flushing sewers.

From market research and licensing to equipment and marketing, we’ll discuss the key considerations for starting your drain cleaning business.

If you are ready to learn, then Let’s get into the detailed step-by-step process.

What is a drain cleaning business?

This business primarily provides cleaning services to remove debris, blockages, and other obstructions from drains and sewer lines.

Benefits of drain cleaning:

  • Prevents clogged drains
  • Eliminates bad odors
  • Improve drain flow
  • Protect the plumbing system.
  • Improve indoor air quality
  • Promotes hygiene

Regularly cleaning drains helps to maintain their lifespan and reduce the risk of costly repairs and replacements. The service is provided on a monthly, bimonthly, or weekly basis, depending on individual needs.

Cleaning sewers and drains can be challenging without having the right skill set, so learn the proper skills, gain hands-on experience, obtain certification, and start your journey.

  • Skills in plumbing systems and cleaning techniques
  • Troubleshooting and problem-fixing experience

Many individuals are interested in starting a sewer cleaning business. However, not anyone wants to work in a pleasant, messy, and confined space to make money.

You can take advantage of this opportunity.

Many successful companies and individual contractors are providing sewer and drain cleaning services, and they have built a strong reputation in the market.

Successful drain cleaning businesses in the USA:

Large Companies:

  • Roto-Rooter (national, 24/7 service)
  • Mr. Rooter Plumbing (national, franchisees)
  • ServiceMaster Clean (national, multi-service)
  • ARS/Rescue Rooter (national, customer service)
  • Benjamin Franklin Plumbing (national, franchisees)

Small Companies:

  • Success Sewer & Drain (Brooklyn, family-owned)
  • DrainPro (Baltimore, subcontractors)
  • Enviro-Master Services (Seattle, eco-friendly)
  • Ted & Bros. Plumbing (Dallas, 24/7 emergency)
  • Aloha Plumbing & Drain (Honolulu, fast service)

You can gain inspiration from those companies to build your business and understand their business model, pricing structure, facilities, and service type (24/7).

Also, you can read their struggle stories behind the successful businesses.

Is the drain cleaning business profitable?

Yes, starting a drain cleaning business can be a profitable opportunity.

The drain cleaning service is a growing industry; you can understand the growth by analyzing the given equipment buying reports.

According to a research study by (Zion Market Research) the global drain cleaning equipment market size was valued at around US$ 1618.3 Million (in 2022), and with a CAGR growth rate of 6.95%, the market value can reach US$ 2735.5 Million by the end of 2023.

global drain cleaning equipment market size

Drain cleaning is essential for every household to maintain the functionality and hygiene of their plumbing systems, but is this line profitable?

So, let’s discuss the factors that contribute to the profitability of a drain-cleaning business.

The first problem is why drain cleaning is always a highly demanded service.

Clogged drains and sewer backups are common occurrences that homeowners and businesses face on a regular basis.

As a result, there will always be a need for professionals who can efficiently resolve these issues and repair the drainage system.

As the technology and the cleaning industry are growing, there are many modern equipment and machinery that help to inspect the problem quickly, which can be a plus point for business owners.

You can provide additional services with drain cleaning (such as pipe repair, sewer line inspection, maintenance, etc.), that can help you to make more profit from the same client.

However, some factors can be dependent on your profitability, such as market competition, location, demographics, skills, marketing efforts, and quality of services.

Here are some pros and cons that help you to decide whether the business idea is good or not. 

Pros: 

  • High demand: Drain cleaning service is always in demand. 
  • Low startup cost: You need around $5,000 to get started (basic). 
  • Job satisfaction: You can get direct customer reviews or feedback. 
  • Potential for growth: With a good staff or hiring employees, you can expand your service. 

Cons: 

  • Dirty and unpleasant work: Cleaning drains can be messy, dirty, and unpleasant. 
  • Emergency calls: No matter the nights, weekends, and holidays, you need to be prepared (24/7) to provide emergency services. 
  • Competition: The market can be competitive, depending on location and requirements. 

How to Start a Drain Cleaning Business?

drain cleaning business

1. Develop your skills – in drain cleaning.

Before pursuing your career in the drain cleaning business, having the right skills, fundamentals, and practical experience is important. 

Learning the skills requires dedication, continuous learning, practice, and the right guidance. 

Whether you hire employees or manage the business yourself, you need to acquire some basic skills. 

  • Learn the fundamentals: Basic plumbing, types of drains, pipes, function, etc. 
  • Acquire practical skills: Learn the basic use of tools, chemicals, hydrojetting, and machinery. 
  • Develop some other skills: Problem-solving, troubleshooting the drainage problem, and mechanical and safety awareness. 
  • Need business skills: Accounting, marketing, customer service, staffing, technical skills, etc. 

You can develop the skills by taking courses online or doing hands-on training. 

  • Online courses: Udemy, Coursera, SkillShare
  • Offline: Find local or check online (nearby) on Google. 

Once you get training, self-practice the skills to master in cleaning drains. 

Drain cleaning certification:

Drain cleaning is a skilled-based or physically-based work; it is an important part of maintaining the plumbing system, drain & sewer.

Need some specialized tools, knowledge, and experience to handle them.

Having drain cleaning certification and qualification helps to ensure the safety of both you and your customers when dealing with plumbing problems.

Your certification not only increases brand awareness but also enhances safety, efficiency, productivity, and the proper maintenance of drains.

2. Write a drain-cleaning Business plan.

A business plan is a comprehensive document that outlines the company’s goals and strategies of the company.

Write a business plan strategically to achieve a great result; think about your service, goals, target market, and competitive landscape, and write in a notebook/sheet.

Always planning plays a key role in every type of business; It provides a road map for your goals, so outline your business plan and strategies properly.

Recommended that everyone write a plan, whether they are planning to start on a small scale or a large scale.

Create a plan following the outline, and focus on your needs and goals.

  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Service plan
  • Target market
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Competitive research
  • Operational plan
  • Marketing Plan
  • Funding request
  • Financial projections
  • Pricing strategy
  • Staffing plan

Search online to get access to readymade cleaning business plan templates.

Resources: (BusinessPlanTemplate.com, Bplans).

You can also write your plan by understanding the basics, reading blog posts, getting guidance from experts, and consuming online resources for help.

3. Choose a Business Name

Choose a name for your drain cleaning business to give an identity; every owner should get a name for their business; it is important for branding and marketing.

Naming is not just choosing a name for your business; you need to understand its importance.

A name will reflect your business identity, branding, and service. And also help in marketing.

Here are some points that need to be considered:

  • Select a unique and simple name.
  • Follow the naming guidelines.
  • The name should be easy to spell and pronounce
  • Find a web-friendly name.
  • A domain name should be available (for this name)

Spend enough time to find an effective name for your business (short, simple, service-related, and you can include location).

Once you select the name, register a domain.

Use a domain name generator to simplify the name-finding process. Also, you can instantly find unique names. Here, you can see the example.

Enter the keyword “drain cleaning,” and enter.

business names

You can get access to thousands of names by selecting the right one and registering with (.com).

domain name

4. Business registration, license, and permits

To operate the business legally, obtain the necessary license and permits and register your business as per local, state, or federal guidelines.

Specific requirements will depend on the size of the business you operate, the location of your business, and applicable laws and regulations.

One of the first steps is choosing a suitable business structure. This decision will have implications for liability, taxes, and other legal matters.

Common options include:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Limited liability company (LLC)
  • Corporation

Each structure has its advantages and disadvantages.

Obtain business licenses and permits: 

Depending on your location, you might need a general business license, a specific plumbing or drain cleaning license, or permits for handling hazardous waste.

Get a tax identification number: This allows you to collect and pay taxes.

Get an EIN: An Employer Identification Number, or EIN, is a nine-digit number given by the IRS to identify your business. Think of it as a social security number for your business.

Read the SBA guide regarding licenses and permits for business.

Get a business insurance:

When operating a drain cleaning business, it is important to have the appropriate insurance coverage.

Business insurance can protect you from liabilities such as property damage or injuries that may occur during your services.

Different types of insurance, such as general liability and professional liability, can provide specific coverage for the unique risks associated with your business.

  • General liability insurance
  • Workers’ compensation insurance
  • Commercial vehicle insurance
  • Tool and equipment insurance (optional)

Before obtaining the insurance, get guidance from an expert and meet an insurance agent.

5. Funding for your business

Before you arrange funds for your business, first of all, estimate the initial and ongoing startup costs. We can give you the outline of the factors that influence the startup cost, but you need to research your own to calculate the actual budget.

Equipment:

  • Basic tools and equipment: $500 – $1,000
  • Hydro jetting machine: $3,000 – $10,000
  • Cleaning supplies: $500 – $1,000

Startup costs:

  • Business licenses and permits: $500 – $1,000
  • Insurance cost: $1,000 – $2,000
  • Marketing and advertising: $1,000 – $2,000
  • Vehicle: $5,000 – $20,000
  • Business registration and legal fees: $500 – $1,000

The startup cost depends on your operation size and service model. 

Create a proper financial estimation, considering the equipment or supplies, vehicle, training, certification, licensing, business registration, marketing, online presence, staffing, etc.

Arrange funds from different sources; you may need around $10k-$20k for a small-scale setup.

  • Personal Savings
  • Loans from bank
  • Friends and Family
  • Small Business Loans (SBA)
  • Crowd Funding

If you start as a sole proprietorship (individual), start from a small scale; as the business grows, you can expand your service with a good team. Focus on providing customer-satisfying service. 

6. Prepare to launch your business.

launch your business

Let’s discuss what you need to launch the business.

Drain cleaning equipment and supplies.

Launching your drain cleaning business professionally, invest in the right equipment, tools, and supplies. You need to buy drain snakes and augers cleaning solutions and hand tools; these are most helpful in providing better service.

Fortunately, acquiring the necessary gear is simple. You can find most equipment at local hardware stores or online retailers like Amazon and Alibaba.

Before purchasing anything, research properly and understand your business needs.

Consider when buying (equipments):

  • Types of cleaning job
  • Your buying budget
  • Brand reputation
  • Size and portability
  • Easy to use
  • Compatibility
  • Warranty and support
  • Maintenance requriements

High-quality equipment not only makes your job easier but also saves you valuable time. By investing wisely in the initial stages, you’ll ensure your venture runs smoothly and efficiently from day one.

Equipment:

  • Manual Hand Auger
  • Drum Drain Cleaning Machine
  • Drain Snake Machine
  • Drain Cleaning Rod Camera
  • Plunger (optional)
  • Jetters
  • Safety kits
  • Safety gear (gloves, goggles, respirator)

Supplies and Tools:

  • Drain clean chemicals
  • Tools: Wrenches, Screwdrivers, Pipe wrenches
  • Cleaning supplies: Rags, Buckets, Soap, etc.

Create a website

Create a professional website for your drain cleaning company to engage customers and build a strong online presence.

In today’s digital age, every business needs a website. Millions of users search online for local businesses and services, including drain cleaning.

For example, when someone searches “drain cleaning service” on Google, they’re presented with a plethora of options.

As you can see in the image, the companies list their services (website, phone number, location, service type, timing, company names, etc.).

To increase your chances of booking appointments, you need a professional website that stands out from the competition.

This website will serve as your digital storefront, accessible 24/7. A website is helpful for (engaging your customer, increasing the brand reputation, increasing leads and bookings).

I hope you understand why we are talking about creating a website. It is a wise decision to promote a business organically.

Social media marketing

Build a social media presence to increase your brand awareness.

Create social media accounts on popular platforms like (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and TikTok), and also create a YouTube channel to share video content.

Once you successfully create the account, optimize those pages for users; add your company details, service facilities, website details, contact information, etc.

To grow the social pages, you need to publish content (videos, photos, infographics, useful textual information, etc) and be regularly active on social media to engage your audience.

  • Create engaging content
  • Run paid Ads (if you have the budget)
  • Be responsive and interact.
  • Track and analyze the results.
  • Collaborate with influencers

7. Market and promote your business

marketing ideas

Establish a good marketing and promotional plan to grow your business. Create a well-thought-out marketing strategy, focusing on your target market and location. 

Target the local clients through online or offline marketing strategies. 

As discussed, you can list your cleaning service online by listing on “Google My Business listing.” Fill in your correct details (website, contact info, service details, pricing, timing, facilities, cleaning technician, location, etc.) to showcase them online. 

Read the content – How to use Google My Business to get more customers.

Online marketing:

  1. Website Optimization and Local SEO
  2. Content Marketing (Blogs, Videos)
  3. Social Media Engagement
  4. Online Reviews Management
  5. Paid Advertising (Google Ads, Social Media)
  6. Email Marketing

Offline marketing:

  1. Local Networking
  2. Vehicle Branding
  3. Community Sponsorship
  4. Print Advertising (Newspapers, Direct Mail)
  5. Referral Programs

By following those techniques, build a marketing plan to reach potential clients and lead for your cleaning service. Your research, learning, analysis, efforts, and time is most crucial.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some of the frequently asked questions on drain cleaning ventures.

How to become a drain cleaner?

To become a professional drain cleaner, you need to be trained and certified with the proper cleaning skills and techniques.

How much does it cost to clean a drain?

The average cost of drain cleaning is around $200-$500 (Forbes). The cost of cleaning a drain depends on location, severity of the clog, and the type of service needed.

Is drain cleaning a difficult job?

Drain cleaning is not difficult, but it still depends on the specific situation of the drains that need to be cleaned. Here are some reasons why drain cleaning can be difficult.
-Physical demand
-Messy work
-Unpleasant odors
-Confined spaces
-Time-consuming
-Potential damage
Your skills and experience matter to properly cleaning a drain and the difficulty you may face.

Who can be the target customers for drain cleaning?

Your potential target customers can be;
-Homeowners
-Apartment dwellers
-Restaurants
-Hotels
-Building
-Schools
-Hospitals
-Industrial facilities, etc.

Conclusion

Hopefully, now you are able to take the first steps towards starting a successful business. Work hard, research, create a plan, and develop a solid foundation for success.

To get more useful guidance regarding the business, you can find a mentor or experienced professionals in the cleaning industry.

If you have any doubts regarding the drain cleaning business, Let us know in the comments. 

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