When they’re exposed to harsh conditions, paint and other coatings frequently wear out before the materials they cover. Before reapplying a new paint or coating, all old paint must be removed. This is commonly done by sandblasting it off of the surface to be painted.
Sandblasting businesses efficiently remove paints and coatings from a variety of durable materials, including metal, brick and wood. Some businesses also etch designs into these materials, usually to create signs or gravestone markers.
The term “sandblasting” is still widely used, but it’s becoming slightly archaic. While sand has historically been used, most businesses today use other abrasive substrates. To reflect this shift, sandblasting is sometimes now referred to as “abrasive blasting.”
Ready to form your LLC? Check out the Top LLC Formation Services.
Learn how to start your own Sandblasting Business and whether it is the right fit for you.
Start a sandblasting business by following these 10 steps:
- Plan your Sandblasting Business
- Form your Sandblasting Business into a Legal Entity
- Register your Sandblasting Business for Taxes
- Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
- Set up Accounting for your Sandblasting Business
- Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your Sandblasting Business
- Get Sandblasting Business Insurance
- Define your Sandblasting Business Brand
- Create your Sandblasting Business Website
- Set up your Business Phone System
There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your sandblasting 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:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a sandblasting business?
Jumping right into large commercial/industrial sandblasting is an expensive proposition. The work requires a facility with tens of thousands of square feet, a crane, forklifts, and not to mention the actual sandblasting equipment. Thankfully, there are much more affordable ways to get started in the industry.
- A sandblaster rig
- Substrates (the abrasive material used)
- An air compressor
- An abrasive hose
- A reclaiming system (to gather used substrates)
- Safety equipment
Businesses that sandblast small parts might purchase an all-inclusive sandblasting chamber that comes with this equipment installed. Such chambers cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. These businesses also must secure a commercial space to operate in.
Businesses that go to customers’ sites usually get the equipment as separate items. They also need a vehicle and trailer for going to sites.
Regardless of the type of sandblasting services provided, business owners need a sandblasting hood, respirator, heavy-duty gloves, hearing protection, and protective clothing.
Business owners who have limited capital should purchase smaller equipment that’s more affordable. Smaller, new equipment that’s reliable is often more affordable in the long run than larger, used equipment that might break down. Because safety is so important, business owners should plan on investing in high-quality safety gear.
What are the ongoing expenses for a sandblasting business?
The ongoing expenses for a sandblasting business are reasonable. Businesses must purchase substrates to use and fuel to run sandblasting equipment. They also must cover the costs associated with having either a physical location or a vehicle.
Who is the target market?
The target market for a sandblasting business is determined by the precise services the business offers. Most businesses target commercial customers, but some also serve individuals (e.g. homeowners, vehicle owners or individuals planning funerals).
How does a sandblasting business make money?
There are many sandblasting services that a business might specialize in. Some types of work that businesses charge for include:
- Large commercial/industrial sandblasting (e.g. metal girders, airplanes, helicopters)
- Smaller commercial/industrial sandblasting (e.g. buildings, cars, motorcycles)
- Sandblasting signs (usually made from wood with a stencil)
- Sandblasting gravestones (sometimes after a blank stone has been installed)
How much can you charge customers?
Aside from large commercial/industrial sandblasters, most business owners charge between $30 and $60 per hour regardless of their specialty. Larger commercial/industrial sandblasters must charge more to cover their higher overhead.
How much profit can a sandblasting business make?
Charging between $30 and $60 per hour, sandblasting businesses can bring in a significant revenue. Working 20 hours a week part-time could produce an revenue of between $600 and $1,200 each week.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Sandblasting is often done to prep a surface for painting or some other coating. Thus, offering painting or other coating services is a natural progression for a growing sandblasting business.
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 Sandblasting Business Name Generator
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.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your sandblasting business is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
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 for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
- LLC Taxes
- Sole Proprietorship vs LLC
- LLC vs Corporation
- LLC vs S Corp
- How to Start an S Corp
- S Corp vs C Corp
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.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
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.
Open net 30 accounts
Net 30 accounts are used to establish and build business credit as well as increase business cash flow. With a net 30 account, businesses buy goods and repay the full balance within a 30-day term.
NetMany net 30 credit vendors report to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended: Read our best net 30 vendors, guide and start building business credit.
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 Divvy 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 sandblasting 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.
For information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Regulations
Sandblasting business owners may interact with harmful chemicals such as certain abrasive substrates and it is important to reference to OSHA’s (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) rules and general standards for chemicals:
- Standard 1910.1200 states that employees be adequately informed of all potential hazards when working with chemicals
- Standard 1910.132 states that the necessary personal protection equipment be provided to the employee working with chemicals, such as safety glasses, a face mask and suitable gloves
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.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
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.
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.
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 sandblasting business
Because sandblasting businesses serve customers within a geographic area, all marketing efforts should be focused on attracting customers in that area. Local search engine optimization, business cards and old-fashioned cold calling are a few ways to promote a business.
How to keep customers coming back
A sandblasting business can set itself apart from the competition by offering a professional service at a fair price. Being reasonably priced, showing up on time and cleaning up after completing a job makes a big difference.
Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.
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.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
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: Phone.com
Phone.com is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.
Start a Sandblasting Business in your State
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
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Is this Business Right For You?
Anyone who enjoys manual labor and appreciates seeing the effect of their hard work may enjoy running a sandblasting business. Sandblasting equipment can be heavy, and the work requires a certain amount of physical strength. There’s the immediate payoff of seeing paint come off whatever object is being sandblasted, though.
This is a business that can be started part-time, and many business owners continue to operate part-time while working another job. It’s easy to schedule sandblasting appointments around other obligations.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at a sandblasting business?
A typical sandblasting begins with the business owner looking over the object that’s being sandblasted and confirming with the customer what work is to be done. This may be done at the sandblasting business’ or the customer’s location.
Once everything is confirmed, the business owner will normally:
- Don their safety gear.
- Set up the sandblasting equipment.
- Complete the actual sandblasting.
- Clean up the substrates that were used.
Throughout the entire process, business owners must be attentive to safety so that no one is injured or inhales the substrates. OHSA has some safety-related guidelines.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful sandblasting business?
Business owners must know how to safely and effectively operate sandblasting equipment, which they may learn by taking a course. Most courses take less than a week to complete, and they may be offered by equipment manufacturers or industry experts. Pittsburgh Spray Equipment Co. and The Society for Protective Coatings are two organizations that have classes. Local vocational schools may also offer training.
After being formally trained, many business owners decide to work in the industry for a short time before starting their own operation. Industry experience frequently brings insights that aren’t learned in the classroom.
What is the growth potential for a sandblasting business?
A sandblasting business can remain a part-time operation run by a single business owner, or it can grow to be a large company. For example, Dryden Monument Company is a small gravestone company that also provides sandblasting services. Secondary Services is a larger sandblasting company that has a sizable facility.
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:
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 sandblasting business?
Before investing in a sandblasting business, business owners should thoroughly investigate what companies currently offer sandblasting services in the area and how much those companies are charging. In addition to searching for sandblasting companies, business owners must also check to see whether any nearby painters, monument companies or contractors offer sandblasting services.
How and when to build a team
Most business owners start out working by themselves. Those that want to grow their business usually hire employees as the workload requires and incoming revenue allows.