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How To Start A Scaffolding Company - A Simple Guide

How To Start A Scaffolding Company - A Simple Guide

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Reasons for starting a Scaffolding Business

For anyone looking to start a Scaffolding 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 through our live chat.


Taking control of the direction of your career can be incredibly rewarding and unlocking life rewards such as more time, more money and peace of 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
  • Explore new avenues and challenges that will keep your business moving forward


No matter the business you are starting, it is very important to decide on how large you want to scale your scaffolding business. This does not only mean revenue, it includes the type of projects you want to undertake such as small house renovations or do you want to work on large commercial projects? Are you looking to employ workers? How many projects can you cope with at one time? How are you looking to manage your bookings/stock level?


Ideal skills for a scaffolder include: 

  • Ability to work confidently at heights 
  • Excellent hand-eye coordination 
  • Good level of physical fitness
  • Awareness of health and safety
  • Ability to understand technical drawings and plans
  • Good written and verbal communication skills.


While there are no formal qualifications needed to become a scaffolder, there are several paths you could take to help you pursue this career. Doing a college course & an apprenticeship is a great way to get into the industry.


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


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.


The need for high quality scaffolding companies will always in demand and is a great business to get up and running with quick turnaround times. Try and get your name out there early by speaking to local contractors, builders and engineers about their scaffolding needs so you can provide an ideal service and maybe be the preferred choice to their current scaffolding provider.


The Scaffolding market size is continuing to grow at a good rate and in line with the increase in the number of construction projects happening in the UK. The UK Scaffolding market in 2021 is currently valued at £2.8 BILLION! The demand for the projects to be undertaken is getting higher and higher so starting a scaffolding business has never been better.

Health & Safety

The construction industry is becoming more and more focused on Health & Safety Regulations and it is essential that you are aware of all the safety requirements involved around Scaffolding. A Scaffolding business can be a very technical job with many risks attached and in some cases, a high level of training needed.


Here are some Health & Safety documents that can be of use:

  1. Managing for Health & Safety (HSG65)
  2. Health and Safety in Construction (HSG150)
  3. Safe Use of Work Equipment (L22)
  4. Manual Handling (L23)
  5. Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare (L24)
  6. Personal Protective Equipment at Work (L25)
  7. First Aid at Work (L74)


There are associations available for Scaffolding companies such as The Scaffolding Association who aim to raise the safety standards, strengthen skills training, establish procedures to deliver the highest levels of scaffolding competence and extend their innovative independent audit process to protect product and service quality. Working with associations can provide a level of credibility to your business and reassurance to your clients that you are working under Health & Safety Regulations and high level of training plus they often provide free advice to their members which can be very helpful for new businesses starting out.


Any trained scaffolder should be able to identify risks of falling from the scaffold, electrocution, falling objects, and how to deal with each type of hazard. Here are examples of what training can be beneficial to a scaffolder:

  • Basic or advanced First Aid
  • Crane awareness
  • Fall arrest
  • Manual handling
  • Scaffolding safety awareness
  • Use of ladders
  • Using goods hoists
  • Using harnesses and lanyards
  • Working at heights
  • Working in confined spaces



What Does A Scaffolder Do?

Scaffolders are vital to the construction industry, as so many construction crews require access via scaffolds, rigs, guard rails and planks to carry out construction or restoration work. 


The responsibilities of a scaffolder include: 

  • Unloading scaffolding equipment on-site
  • Ensuring a stable base for scaffolding
  • Erecting scaffolding poles
  • Fixing scaffolding to buildings or structures
  • Laying planks for workers to walk on
  • Fixing guard rails and safety netting
  • Dismantling scaffolding when a project is complete
  • Creating different kinds of platforms, from simple scaffolding through to complex structures such as suspended scaffolding, cantilever drops and temporary roofs
  • Working on-site in all weather.

Preparing Ahead

There is no point in jumping headfirst and hoping everything will fall into line, the more prepared you are from the start, the quicker you will be at achieving your business goals. Scaffolding is essential to many building projects and many contractors hire scaffolding to save time, money and storage reasons.


A major part of starting a business is marketing which will lead to pushing your sales. Many marketers believe that your marketing should start at least 6 months before you even start your work. You need to think about who your customers are going to be and where they will be coming from. This could be domestic customers, commercial or other trade professionals. 


There might be a group of professionals that you prefer to work with which can be the start of your niche. There is a wide range of projects that you could pursue such as building projects, schools, temporary structures, commercial buildings, farms, shops, domestic work or factories.


As you are starting out, the amount of work you can take on is going to be limited and restricted to local areas. It's very important that you know who your competitors are and how they compare to you.

  1. Do they offer more or fewer hours than you?
  2. How fast are their delivery times?
  3. Are they approachable?
  4. Do they offer the same services? 
  5. Company Size?
  6. Can they afford the larger projects?
  7. Promotions?
  8. What extra value do you bring compared to your competitors


Now we understand a bit more about what to expect and who the competition is, we need to start thinking about any predictable downtimes. Most businesses have seasonal trends and it is no different in construction. The warmer months are going to be very busy compared to the winter months or even for example working on school projects, you will notice during the holidays your workload will increase rapidly and during term time you will notice a decrease in work.


This is where we can plan to manage the downtime periods and look to find alternative work where you can manage both projects efficiently, therefore, increasing your sales.


A massive tip 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 with the call going to voicemail.66% of customers do not call back if their calls goes to voicemail meaning you could be losing up to 66% of potential sales!

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 - This is one of the cheapest quick wins around for improving enquiry performance.


A very hard stage of the business is building a roadmap for your business, and start setting some company goals. This might seem like a waste of time as you have sales yet and no consistency however it’s a way to tell yourself where you want to get to.

This can be the most important part of your business journey, as a couple of years down the line, you might be thinking why did I start a business, is it worth the hassle? This is where you can go back to your business and see why and where you want to get to. You will probably realise you have come a lot further than you originally thought.


Some pointers on where to start with a business plan:


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.


A scaffolding business can initially have a large start up cost compared to other trades and you will need to find the funds for the scaffolding, equipment, tools and a suitable vehicle to transport the scaffolding from job to job.



Customers

Every business needs to build who its ideal client is. This will help you ensure you are working with the right companies that will grow your business in the right direction. Using your ideal client outline, you can target them using advertising or social media or networking with other trade professionals.


Saint Global is the perfect way to market your scaffolding company, you’ll receive expert marketing guidance and proven strategies to put your new company on the map for your ideal clients to find you.


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 any strategic decision making in your business. There’s a reason why many of the top CEOs in business today are from an accounting background.


Prices

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.


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. Public liability insurance - in case of injuries caused by your work
  2. Van/tool insurance - to protect your van/ tools
  3. Professional indemnity insurance - to protect you if clients claim service is inadequate
  4. Employer’s liability insurance - required if you employ at least one person
  5. 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 such as local authority licenses, goods vehicle operator licenses or public highway licenses for example.


How profitable is a Scaffolding business?

This all comes down to the size of your company, your skill level, the type of jobs you take, how many hours you work and other factors.


Typically, having a scaffolding business is profitable due to the constant need for scaffolding for buildings projects in the UK.


A few of the situations where your services may be needed are:

  • Roofing work
  • Domestic decorating
  • Civil engineering
  • Restoring and maintaining listed buildings
  • Building and repairing structures
  • Industrial work
  • Cleaning tall buildings
  • Restoration Work
  • Large Building Projects

How do you market a Scaffolding business?


Marketing is a crucial part of any business, offering the most reliable or quickest scaffolding solution is not going to bring you clients if no one knows about you. There are many possible methods of marketing and you should try to utilise as many as possible. Marketing can be free or costly, within your marketing strategy you should first try to identify what marketing methods you could use and then conclude with a compressed list of marketing methods that are going to be effective for your business and your budget.


Here are some effective marketing techniques:

  1. Advertising: Advertising is a powerful tool that can pull you ahead of your competitors. Advertising can be an expensive gamble if you do not know what you are doing therefore it would be recommended that you reach out to an agency with expertise within the area. 
  1. Website: Your website is going to represent your business around the clock. It is going to be where the majority of your marketing channels lead to, where potential clients come to look at your previous work or to get in contact with you. The way you present your business on your website from the design, layout and user experience and many other important factors will impact the way your audience sees your business. It is important to have a website that displays the level of work that you bring to the table! Get a website from Saint Global Today!
  1. Social media: Using sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn etc can help you 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 Returns on Investment! Definitely something to start looking into from the beginning.
  1. Reviews: Sites like Trustpilot, Facebook or Google all have a method of leaving reviews about your company. The power of reviews is massive, it can dictate whether someone uses your company or not. You need to be doing your utmost to get good 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 all of your media and marketing questions and challenges.

How Much Should You Be Expecting To Pay Your Scaffolding Team?

Depending on the experience and training of the scaffolder will determine the expected salary for them.


Newly trained scaffolders can be expected to earn around £19,000 - £26,000

Trained scaffolders with experience can earn up to £24,000 - £40,000

Senior scaffolders can earn £40,000 - £55,000*

Self-employed scaffolders charge their own rates depending on the job.

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


This article was written for Saint Financial Group, 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 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!

SaintFG

Written by:

Dylan O'Rourke MAAT

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