Beginner’s Guide on Starting a Chimney Sweeping Business in the United Kingdom
Chimney Sweeping refers to clearing the ashes and shoots from chimneys. It allows fresh air back into homes. Also, it is one of the oldest professions in the UK. The Chimney Sweeping Business started growing after Joseph Glass invented a Chimney Sweeping machine during the time period of the Industrial Revolution. As of now, the business allows very high returns with minimal investments. Thus, Starting a Chimney Sweeping business in the UK can be really beneficial.
Fun fact: People consider chimney sweepers as good luck in the UK. This is since King George II announced a Royal Decree. He stated that the Chimney sweepers should be treated with high respect as a Chimney sweeper Once saved his life.
What Is a Chimney Sweeping Business?
Chimney sweeping and other chimney-related services have gained a lot of popularity. Chimney sweeping includes sweeping the fireplace, checking the firebox, checking the Smoke chambers, liners, and fuel. This may also include proper replacement and operation of the equipment and structure.
Owing to the complexities of working in a high and narrow area, chimney sweeping isn’t a do-it-yourself chore. Thus, people always tend to hire professional chimney sweepers. Thus, starting a chimney sweeping business is very good from a commercial point of view. Chimney sweeping also includes removing soots and other obstructions from the chimneys and flues. The obstructions might include squirrels, drey, birds nests, cobwebs, and other unnecessary items in the chimney.
These days, many chimney sweeping services incorporate a video inspection which helps in detecting the hidden damage. Therefore, having a video inspection service and recommending it to your customers is very profitable in the long run.
What Are the Industry Practices?
Chimney sweeping is a very respectful profession in the UK. People in the UK believe that chimney sweepers bring wealth, good luck, and happiness. Moreover, people invite them to weddings to bring good luck to newlyweds. Not only is chimney sweeping in homes of the populace, but you can also target the local business. You can also operate on factory chimneys if you have the appropriate equipment.
Your main target market will be homeowners and small to medium-sized business owners. Furthermore, you can also look for factory, store, and production plant operators who have multiple chimneys. Your profits will rely on the number of chimneys you clean. You can also target real estate investors who own multiple rental properties that may need servicing for chimneys.
If you are willing to, you can also expand your services to roof cleaning, roof repair, and so on. You either charge customers by the number of chimneys you clean or by the hours of cleaning. Charging by the number of chimneys is what the customers prefer more. Having flexible payment options can make your business more profitable.
Before starting the business, you should plan it out for better outcomes. Gather knowledge about the operation costs and the service costs in the market. Make sure you understand your target market before starting the business. This is an essential step in the long run. Determine what amount you will charge from your customers before starting. Decide on a good name for your business. Check if the name is too hard to remember, pronounce or understand. In that case, find a catchy name for your business. You can take help from your corporate service provider to plan for your business.
What Are the Trends Going on in the Chimney Sweeping Business?
Until the 1960s, coal was used as the main fuel for heating. It also helped in generating storage demand for the Chimney sweeping services. However, gas chimneys eventually replaced the coal ones. Also, sweepers had to become familiar with cleaning gas chimneys rather than the latter.
These days, people also use electrical chimneys. Most customers get their chimneys swept three or four times annually. Therefore, we can say that chimney sweeping is really going to be a positive venture.
Regulations have been passed which require landlords to confirm that appliances, flues, and chimneys are checked annually for safety purposes. This has helped chimney sweeping businesses to grow more and more.
Joining a trade association is an excellent way of staying up to date with developments of the chimney sweeping industry. Some of these associations are:
- the Northern Ireland Association of Chimney Sweeps (NAICS)
- the National Association of Chimney Sweeps (NACS)
- the Association of Professional and Independent Chimney Sweeps (APICS)
- the Institute of Chimney Sweeps (ICS).
What Is the Registration Process to Start a Chimney Sweeping Business?
It is important to register your business name. After that, you need to form a legal entity. Establishing a legal business entity like LLC saves you from being held personally liable if your business is issued. You also have to register for various state and federal taxes before you open your business. For that, you need to apply for an EIN. You will need to open a business bank account and credit card for the business.
If you mix your personal and business accounts, your assets are at risk in case your business is sued. That’s why you will require a business account. Which also makes accounting and tax filing easier. Likewise, getting a business credit card will help you separate personal expenses from your professional expenses.
Moving on, gather all the necessary permits and licenses for your business. You should also consider requiring clients to sign a service agreement before starting any new project. This will help minimize any legal disputes between you and your clients. Finally, according to the type of risk you think your business may face, you need to get insurance coverage. There are various insurances available accordingly, beginning with general liability insurance.
Make sure what your company stands for and define your brand. You should have at least 2 to 3 additional workers before starting your chimney sweeping business. Also, if you are planning on using a vehicle for your business, you get insurance for that too. For more on business vehicles, see the guide to company registration in the UK.
After defining your brand, you can also create a business website. It’s beneficial for the marketing of your business. Furthermore, you may not need to hire a web developer. You can make a simple website by yourself. Also, having a support network to turn to during tough times is essential for the success of the new business. If you want help registering your business, check United Kingdom company incorporation services.
What Licence Do You Need to Start the Chimney Sweeping Business in the UK?
There is actually no licensing requirement for chimney sweeping. But if you are planning to carry out any inspection, installation, and maintenance work on gas appliances, you have to register to the Safe Register. For that, you will have to obtain a certificate of competence. If you have experience in the gas industry or any other fire-related fields, you might get the certificate of competence from the Nationally Accredited Certification Scheme (ACS). Similarly, if you don’t have any industry experience, you can get a Scottish/National Vocational Qualification (S/NVQ) in Gas Installation and Maintenance at level two or three.
You will need to register as a lower-tier waste carrier (England, Wales, and Northern Ireland). Or a professional collector or transporter of waste (Scotland) in case you carry away waste that you remove when you sweep a customer’s chimney. Registration is free of charge and lasts indefinitely.
Register as a lower-tier waste carrier in the UK if you carry away waste when you sweep a customer’s chimney. The Environment Agency in England, Natural Resources Wales, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency carry out this registration. The local authority building control department must be notified before installing any solid fuels to your business, including biomass and wood.
In conclusion, starting a chimney sweeping business in the UK is very commercial and a coming of age business. You should definitely consider it if you are an aspiring entrepreneur. You can contact 3E Accounting if you are looking for professional help for starting your business. We will help you from the beginning to the end, from getting your visa to completing the registration and applying for the licenses for your business.