Starting a Chimney Sweep Business

A chimney sweep business is a business which makes money by sweeping and cleaning fireplaces and chimneys. Normally, several workers service homes, apartment complexes and businesses. Chimney sweeping is pretty cheap to conduct, and chimney sweep owners can generally make a large profit by charging healthy costs. Chimney sweeps are done on a job-to-job basis, and owners can adjust prices depending on a project’s length and difficulty.

Learn how to start your own Chimney Sweep Business and whether it is the right fit for you.

Ready to form your LLC? Check out the Top LLC Formation Services.

Start a chimney sweep business by following these 10 steps:

  1. Plan your Chimney Sweep Business
  2. Form your Chimney Sweep Business into a Legal Entity
  3. Register your Chimney Sweep Business for Taxes
  4. Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
  5. Set up Accounting for your Chimney Sweep Business
  6. Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your Chimney Sweep Business
  7. Get Chimney Sweep Business Insurance
  8. Define your Chimney Sweep Business Brand
  9. Create your Chimney Sweep Business Website
  10. Set up your Business Phone System

We have put together this simple guide to starting your chimney sweep business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

Exploring your options? Check out other small business ideas.

STEP 1: Plan your business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.

What will you name your business?

Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Chimney Sweep Business Name Generator

If you operate a sole proprietorship, you might want to operate under a business name other than your own name. Visit our DBA guide to learn more.

When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:

  • Your state's business records
  • Federal and state trademark records
  • Social media platforms
  • Web domain availability.

It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.

Want some help naming your chimney sweep business?

Business Name Generator

What are the costs involved in opening a chimney sweep business?

Chimney sweep business startup costs are between $27,000 to $87,000, depending on the business’s size, equipment and supply needs. This price includes franchising process, a small workshop and cleaning equipment. Costs can be reduced by operating the business from your home, but liability coverage—and other insurance costs—will remain.

Who is the target market?

Your target market will be residential homeowners and small to medium-sized business owners. Mostly, you’ll direct services towards homeowners with chimneys. As for commercial properties, look for factory, store, and production plant operators who own multiple chimneys. Because your profits will rely on the number of chimneys cleaned, clients with more chimneys should be your primary market. You can also target real estate investors who own multiple rental properties that may need servicing.

How does a chimney sweep business make money?

A chimney sweep business makes money by cleaning, repairing, and touching up chimneys and fireplaces. Some chimney sweep businesses may expand services to roof repair, roof cleaning, and gutter cleaning. While most chimney sweep businesses charge by the number of chimneys cleaned, some charge by the hour.

How much can you charge customers?

Rates depend on the condition of the chimney. A basic inspection and sweep can run anywhere from $125 - $250 for a single home. Commercial and industrial jobs that involve multiple chimneys often get a lower rate per chimney.

How much profit can a chimney sweep business make?

A good chimney sweep can make as much as $25,000 to $50,000 per year. If a chimney sweep’s business owner is smart about services, marketing and management, they can make six figures per year.

How can you make your business more profitable?

To make more money, make sure your chimney sweep has diversified services. In addition to cleaning chimneys, you should offer chimney inspection and repair. Also, you should offer roof and gutter cleaning. Because a lot of chimney sweep businesses exclusively offer cleanings, any additional services will expand your marketing potential. Having flexible payment options, too, can make your business more profitable.

Want a more guided approach? Access TRUiC's free Small Business Startup Guide - a step-by-step course for turning your business idea into reality. Get started today!

STEP 2: Form a legal entity

The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation.

Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your chimney sweep business is sued.

Form Your LLC

Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC

Have a Professional Service Form your LLC for You

Two such reliable services:

You can form an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.

Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.

STEP 3: Register for taxes

You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.

In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!

You can acquire your EIN through the IRS website. If you would like to learn more about EINs, read our article, What is an EIN?

There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.

STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

Open a business bank account

Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:

  • Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • Makes accounting and tax filing easier.

Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank or credit union.

Get a business credit card

Getting a business credit card helps you:

  • Separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
  • Build your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money later on.

Recommended: Apply for an easy approval business credit card from BILL and build your business credit quickly.

STEP 5: Set up business accounting

Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.

Make LLC accounting easy with our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet.

STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a chimney sweep business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.

Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.

Service Agreement

Chimney sweep businesses should consider requiring clients to sign a service agreement before starting a new project. This agreement should clarify client expectations and minimize risk of legal disputes by setting out payment terms and conditions, service level expectations, and intellectual property ownership. Here is an example service agreement.

Recommended: Rocket Lawyer makes it easy to create a professional service agreement for your chimney sweep business when you sign up for their premium membership. For $39.95 per month, members receive access to hundreds of legal agreements and on call attorneys to get complimentary legal advice.

STEP 7: Get business insurance

Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.

There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.

Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.

FInd out what types of insurance your Chimney Sweep Business needs and how much it will cost you by reading our guide Business Insurance for Chimney Sweep Business.

STEP 8: Define your brand

Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.

If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.

Recommended: Get a logo using Truic's free logo Generator no email or sign up required, or use a Premium Logo Maker.

If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator. Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.

How to promote & market a chimney sweep business

You should promote and market your services locally. Extend promotional materials to stores, maintenance providers and cleaning crews. Because you’ll work with a referral program, your network matters. Market your services on social media, too. Over time, your clients will promote your business for you.

How to keep customers coming back

You should attract customers by promoting via local associations and maintenance groups. While chimney cleanings are needed, they’re often purchased as accessory services. For this reason, you’ll keep customers by being associated with roof cleaning businesses, gutter repair operators and other general contractors. Once you’ve found a client, they’ll be likely to stick around out of convenience. That said, you’ll need to make sure your services continue to please them and surpass expectations.

STEP 9: Create your business website

After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.

While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.

Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:

  • All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
  • Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
  • Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.

Recommended: Get started today using our recommended website builder or check out our review of the Best Website Builders.

Other popular website builders are: WordPress, WIX, Weebly, Squarespace, and Shopify.

STEP 10: Set up your business phone system

Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.

There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2023 to find the best phone service for your small business.

Recommended Business Phone Service: is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.

Is this Business Right For You?

The chimney sweeping business is great for any construction or industrial worker who can cope with danger. A chimney sweep needs to be educated on the art of sweeping, and they need to be knowledgeable about safety before performing duties.

The chimney sweep business is also great for anyone who loves servicing and cleaning homes. Commercial cleaners also make great chimney sweeps. A chimney sweep business can be self-run, so the owner doesn’t necessarily need management knowledge.

Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?

Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!

Entrepreneurship Quiz

What happens during a typical day at a chimney sweep business?

Typically, chimney sweeps clean between six and eight chimneys a day. If they’re a full-time sweep, they also spend a good amount of time pricing their services.

First, a chimney sweep will inspect the establishment. Next, they’ll mark down which services to use. Services vary depending on a chimney’s construction materials. All services also focus on the cleaning of wood, oil, and gas burning chimneys. The detection, prevention, and correction of chimney and venting hazards also takes place.

Then, the chimney sweeping team uses tools, cleaning materials, and knowledge to fix any issues, clean away debris, and repair any broken materials. If a project needs more attention, a sweep can create an ongoing service plan.

What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful chimney sweep business?

A chimney sweep business owner should be well-versed in the art of chimney cleaning. Joining the National Chimney Sweep Guild helps, as does having a solid grasp on roof maintenance. Future chimney sweep business owners should visit the Chimney Sweep Trade Show in Portland every year. Additionally, they should check out the Chimney Safety Institute of America to learn how to prevent chimney fires, heating disasters and structural disasters

From an administrative standpoint, a chimney sweep business owner should learn effective management, marketing and financing tactics. Learning to expand services to large markets, keep customers interested and offer competitive rates helps.

What is the growth potential for a chimney sweep business?

In most cases, a chimney sweep business will stay local. This doesn’t mean they can’t expand to serve a regional clientele, however. A lot of chimney sweep businesses become local favorites, and those with great prices and services can easily become an area’s best providers. Successful chimney sweep providers offer far more than simple chimney cleaning services. Often, they serve commercial properties and provide ongoing services.

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Take the Next Step

Find a business mentor

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

Learn from other business owners

Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.

Resources to Help Women in Business

There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:

  • Funding
  • Events
  • Guides
  • Support

If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.

What are some insider tips for jump starting a chimney sweep business?

Self-promotion is your friend. During your first few years as a chimney sweep business owner, you’ll need to build a solid customer base. Once you’ve established your clientele, you’ll need to operate on a referral basis to grow your audience.

Safety is a huge factor. Your workers should be outfitted with safety gear to prevent injuries. In doing so, you can reduce your insurance coverage costs. Liability issues, like fires and post-job damages, can be harmful to your business’s professional viability.

How and when to build a team

You should have at least two additional workers when you start your chimney sweep business. Even if you’re starting it from your home, the extra hands matter. In the beginning, you’ll need to rely on a high service output to increase and maintain profits.

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