Best Biz › Chimney

A Lucrative
Chimney Sweep Business

A chimney sweep business is very lucrative.

A chimney cleaning service can be much more than just that.

In reality, being capable of providing multiple chimney related services not only keeps you working year round, but also results in significant income.

I feel it is important for you to receive and for entrepreneurs to share their story of success.

Therefore, I interviewed Jonathon from Shawnee, Kansas about his 2-year old venture.

His self-employment has paid off handsomely.

I wanted to know why he got into the chimney sweep business, how he started and grew it and what is the key element he attributes to his success.

This is Jonathon’s experience.

Jonathon’s Road to Chimney Business Success
Q & A

Being a chimney sweep is not something most entrepreneurs even remotely consider, let alone even heard of. What got your attention?

I’m 26. Since high school I’ve had five jobs; being a dishwasher, a clerk at a supermarket, a garage mechanic’s helper, working at a garden center and car detailing at an auto dealership.

I was going nowhere…fast.

At the barbershop, I looked through a magazine and saw this article about some guy in New Mexico who started a chimney cleaning business, liked what he was doing and, apparently, is making a lot of money.

I love working with my hands so I started exploring what this chimney thing is.

So, what happened?

I learned a great deal by getting an overview of the industry. Info provided by the National Chimney Sweep Guild and the Chimney Safety Institute of America was most helpful.

I borrowed around $450 or so from my parents for membership in the Chimney Sweep Guild.

When I learned from the Guild that even new chimney sweeping businesses average more than $75,000 per year in sales, I was hooked.

Currently I am taking training courses from the Guild to earn “Certification” as a real chimney sweep. I’m almost done.

What were some of the first things you did after deciding to start your chimney sweep business?

I previously had discussed with my parents the possibility of borrowing some money to get started. They gave me $600 and I borrow $2,000 from them.

Was this enough to get you started?

Yes. In fact, I think I only spent about $1,400 for supplies and equipment. The rest went into advertising.

How did you advertise?

I was lucky. My girlfriend’s parents had me clean their chimney and fireplace. Then they gave me a written note as a reference.

I included part of this note in a color brochure a friend of mine designed. I had 2,000 printed then spent the better part of 2-weeks going door-to-door passing them out.

I also inserted in my brochure, a sheet of paper with generic words about fireplace, chimney and furnace flue cleaning info from the Chimney Safety Institute of America. I wanted to add credibility to my business.

Did you get any business from this effort?

I did. My first customer not only had me clean his fireplace and chimney but also had me tuck-point the outside of his chimney and place a crown on its top.

It took me most of 3-days.

I got paid $993. My materials and crown costs were $112. I made $872. I’ll never forget that feeling!

I’ve never looked back!

By the way, what were the chimney cleaning services you offered customers?

Probable the one thing that allowed me to really be successful was that I learned how to do the following:

  • Level ONE, Level TWO and Level THREE fireplace inspections
  • Cleaning furnace flue and clothes dryer lint exhausts
  • Sealing and tuck-pointing the exterior of chimneys
  • Fireplace restoration (this didn’t happen until 4-months ago)
  • Smoke/draft testing
  • Repair/replace chimney roof flashing
  • Selling retail fireplace and wood burning stove products (I should have discovered the benefit of selling products from a catalog earlier)

What one piece of advice would you give folks looking to start a chimney sweep business?

Well, there are two take it or leave it bits of advice.

  • First, spend some money and learn as much as you can by joining a professional association and participating in their course work.
  • Second, offer and cross promote as many chimney related services as you can become competent in. This keeps money flowing each week of the year.

Is there anything you wish you would have done or done sooner?

Yes. Folks don’t use phone books very much anymore. I missed the advertising boat early on by not building a website representing my business.

Even though I have zero knowledge about website building, I’m spending my free time building my own Internet website using Site Build It. Boy, are they good.

Thank you Jonathon. Here’s to your continued success!

Thank you for visiting A Lucrative Chimney Sweep Business.


Helpful Professional Resources

 

National Fireplace Institute

 National Fire Protection Association

 National Chimney Sweep Guild

 Chimney Safety Institute of America


Additional Small Business Ideas

 

 

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