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How To Start a Demolition Business

How To Start a Demolition Business

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Reasons for starting a Demolition Business

For anyone looking to start a Demolition business, we want to wish you all the best and if you need any further information once you have read this blog, feel free to send us a message.


Starting a Demolition business you will be responsible for helping to clear a site ready for a new construction project and with the increase in construction projects through the UK, the Demolition industry has seen an increase in demand.


Going from employment to running a company can be a brilliant opportunity to advance your career, take on a new challenge and develop your skills. Many people branching out on their own start small and slowly build their businesses over time. 


The job role of a demolition operative involves the following duties:

  • Becoming an expert in different types of demolition and knowing the best way to handle any project.
  • Stripping out fittings, removing doors and windows, dismantling roof structures, cutting steel framework, stripping off fragile roofs and instructing others on safe demolition practices.
  • Using hammer drills, oxyacetylene cutting equipment and plant machinery. 
  • Preparing a structure for explosive demolition.  
  • Following strict health and safety regulations at all times safely removing hazardous materials like asbestos and toxic chemicals
  • Planning, overseeing and reviewing the demolition of buildings and structures
  • Managing the project team throughout the process
  • Keeping everyone involved in the demolition process safe.
  • Managing sub-contractor governance
  • Looking after the daily on-site management of other construction workers
  • Disposing of hazardous waste.


Taking control of the direction of your career and being incredibly rewarding and unlocking life rewards such as time, money and mind. This is what you can look forward to:

  • The accomplishment of building your own business from the ground up
  • The ability to run your business your way.
  • Take the next step in your career
  • Now you are starting your business there are so many other avenues you get to explore and new challenges that will keep your business moving forward


Many tradesmen are technically very good at what they do and see what their employer is doing and think they can do a better job than them at running a business. This might be true however there’s a difference between being a tradesman and a businessman. 


Roofers start roofing businesses. Electricians start electrical businesses. But no one teaches us how to run a business, how to sell, market, finance, scale, comply with health & safety rules and regulations.


Making the jump from being an employee to a business owner might feel risky however with the right guidance you will be amazed at how quickly your business can progress.


Qualifications and Associations 

Taking the first step into Demolition, you will notice there is no formal qualification needed to be demolition operative however there are several paths that can help you develop your career and extend your training.


To give you a quick overview, here are some skills that can be particularly useful:

  • Ability to work thoroughly and pay attention to detail
  • Knowledge of public safety and security 
  • Ability to use your initiative
  • Knowledge of maths
  • Able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or similar.
  • Focused on Health & Safety


You may need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on a construction site.


To help you become a demolition operative, you could complete a college course, such as a Level 1 Certificate in Construction Skills, Level 2 Diploma in Construction Operations or Level 3 Diploma in Demolition.


You'll need:

Up to 2 GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or equivalent (level 1 course)

2 - 4 GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent (level 2 course)

4 - 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent (level 3 course).



If you are looking for extra support or credibility in the Demolition Industry The National Federation of Demolition Contractors (NFDC) is the only UK federation in the demolition industry and counts some of the biggest names in demolition amongst its membership. The most powerful voice in the demolition industry, the NFDC has championed the standards and professionalism of its members for 80 years.  


NFDC Members are:

  • Responsible for 80% of UK demolition works
  • Subjected to regular Site Audits to CHAS Standards
  • Required to complete industry-recognised workforce training
  • Environmentally responsible
  • Experienced in diverse projects of all sizes


NFDC is the UK’s largest and longest established network of accredited demolition contractors. Member benefits include:

  • Accreditation through recognised Site Audit Scheme
  • Access to essential technical information and Guidance Notes
  • Access to high quality specialist training, including CCDO courses
  • Business support from selected partners and expert advisors
  • Networking events and business promotion opportunities


What tools do I need to start a demolition company?

The tools you need will be pretty general tools however for the larger projects you might need some bigger equipment and you will have to start thinking if it is worth purchasing the equipment outright or hiring it for a specific amount of time. Here are some common Demolition tools:

  • Hammers
  • Shovels
  • Cutting torches
  • Ladder
  • Pry bars
  • Grinders
  • Concrete cutters
  • Safety equipment
  • Wire strippers


Preparing Ahead

A massive tip which we can give for free is to answer your phone! Although it may sound obvious you may be surprised to find out that 70% of construction business owners do not answer the phone… If you think this might be a problem for you take a look at Saint Virtual Assistant Call Handling service to ensure 100% of your calls are answered and in your business name so we look a part of your team.


Taking the first step towards your Demolition business is to build your business roadmap. This might seem like a waste of time as you have sales and no consistency however it’s a way to tell yourself where you want to get to and build a solid foundation for your business.


Some pointers on how to build a well-rounded business roadmap:


Funding

How much do you need to start up and fund your business adventure? Deciding how you’ll fund the initial costs i.e through a loan, credit card (very risky), savings or is there any Government schemes available? 


We always recommend having at least 1 year saved up before you start a business full time as the survival of a business needs all the help it can get.


Depending on what projects you want to take on can have a dramatic effect on how much start up funds you will need. Many factors will need to be taken into account such as how many employees you need, the amount of insurance/licenses you need, suitable vehicles to remove the waste and PPE.



Customers

Demolition is quite a specific and one-off service for many potential customers. For example, if you are targeting residential private work then the chance of work coming from the customer again would be very low.


Saint Global is the perfect way to market your Demolition company, you’ll receive expert marketing guidance and proven strategies to help provide fresh leads to your business to keep the sales coming.


Finances 

One of the many areas many businesses, especially in the construction industry undervalue… Having the right finance team around you can change your business overnight and provide insights into your business you never knew you could have had for your business, no matter how long you have been in the industry.


An accountant is so much more than just helping you pay the right tax, they should be involved with all strategic decisions in your business. There’s a reason why many of the top CEOs in business today are from an accounting background.


Pricing

Another area an accountant/business coach can help you with is your pricing. Deciding how much you are going to charge is a critical part of the business. You need to make sure that you are covering your costs and getting a good profit from the work you are putting into your business.


The total price of your demolition project will depend on several influential factors, including:


Size of the demolition site

Type and variety of materials

Type of demolition needed (e.g. top-down demolition, hand demolition or demolition by explosive)

Presence of any hazardous materials (e.g. asbestos)

Credit values from salvageable materials

Any restrictions on access to the demolition site (demolition in built-up areas and city centres will usually cost more)


It may help to look at competitor prices as a rough guide. If you need help with pricing methods take a look at our free Construction Survival Guide.


Legalities 

Every business needs to keep in line with the legal requirements. Some of the things you will need are insurances, licenses, H&S guidelines and any compliance requirements such as registering your company with company house.

You’ll need the right licenses and insurance before you start working to cover your business financially and legally and against any accidents or mistakes. 


Some examples of insurances are:

  1. Demolition insurance
  2. Public liability insurance - in case of injuries caused by your work
  3. Van/tool insurance - to protect your van/tools
  4. Professional indemnity insurance - to protect you if clients claim the service is inadequate
  5. Employer’s liability insurance - required if you employ at least one person
  6. Plant and machinery insurance - to protect your P&M

Take a look at our free Start a Business e-book and other free resources here to find out more.


Licenses are a legal requirement to carry out certain work and for you to continue operating your business, you might need local authority licenses, goods vehicle operator licenses or public highway licenses for example.


Do I need planning permission for demolition work?

Not usually. Demolition is classed as “permitted development”, which means it doesn’t normally require planning permission. However, it’s worth noting that permitted development rights can be removed or restricted, commonly for listed buildings or in Conservation Areas. Always check with your local authority before carrying out any demolition work.


How Much Can You Expect To Pay A Demolition Operative?

As always the more experience the operative has, the more the expected salary will be. A rough guide on salary pricing is:

  • Newly trained demolition workers are around £17,000-£22,000
  • Trained demolition operatives are £20,000-£32,000
  • Senior demolition operatives are around £32,000-£45,000


Hours and salary depend on location, employer and any overtime you may do.


How do you market a Demolition business?

Many businesses take a dip into marketing which is often a price sensitive area and don’t often get the return on investment they are looking for however the most common mistake we see is that marketing is building your company for long term success whilst usually having a good impact on the short term. Here are some tips we recommend to get you going:


  1. Advertising: You can pay to advertise your business although this can be costly. Experience in this area is advised as it can be quite the money pit if you invest incorrectly.
  1. Website: With many website builders out there, you can build a website yourself however be cautious as it can be quite the time investment once you start!
  1. Social media: Using sites like Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn etc can help you to join local groups where you can advertise your services for free and start building your network of potential clients.
  1. Direct mail: Email marketing is one of the cheapest forms of marketing and often the one with the highest Return on Investment!
  1. Reviews: Sites like Trustpilot, Facebook or Google all have a way of leaving reviews about your company based on the customers’ opinion. The power of reviews is massive, it can dictate whether someone uses your company or not so doing your utmost to get 5* reviews and managing them is essential.
  1. Saint Global: Joining Saint Global will let you work with an experienced media team specialised within the construction industry who can take care of your media troubles and much more.


This article was written for Construction Insider and Saint Financial Group. Saint is a multidisciplinary group based in the UK that helps construction businesses develop and grow. SaintFG offers a range of quality solutions in supporting businesses.

Saint provides the luxury of free business consultancy for all of our clients, call now for your free consultation with a friendly business advisor to discuss your burning questions and put that energy back into your business!

Written by:

Dylan O'Rourke MAAT

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