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January 17, 2021


How to Start a Chimney Sweep Business

Looking to get in on the chimney sweep game? Find out what steps you can take to realize your dreams.

Today’s chimney technicians do high-tech residential and commercial work. In general, the job is much cleaner and a whole lot safer than chimney sweeping was in the early days of the profession.

Starting a chimney sweep business allows you to start a great new career or add a profitable side hustle to your existing gig. In this article, you can learn how to start your chimney sweeping business or find a job in the field. We’ll also look at typical earnings and some ideas for getting started.

How much do chimney sweeps earn?

According to PayScale, chimney technicians earn around $15 an hour on average and can increase their earnings with experience, training, and certification. Office managers, supervisors, and other related positions are also available in the field, with earnings that can range from $25,000 to $50,000 and up annually.

Starting your own business as a self-employed chimney technician can give you higher earning potential than working as an employee. If you put in the work and obtain the financing you need, you can get your own business started and begin working with customers throughout your area.

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) helps chimney technicians access training, referrals to customers, and information they can use to advance in the field.

How to Become a Chimney Sweep

You can learn the chimney sweep business by getting on-the-job training as an entry-level chimney sweep, getting training through an organization such as CSIA, or enrolling in a local training course.

CSIA offers an intensive six-day training program through their National Chimney Sweep Training School (NCSTS). Sign up early for one of several training courses held every year and learn from industry pros by cleaning the chimneys of real, local customers for a week. These sessions fill up fast, so it pays to apply as soon as possible (and to look into available scholarships). This route works perfectly for people who want to start a new business or find a job working as a chimney technician.

Starting a Chimney Sweep Business on the Side

If you want to find a solid side hustle option, becoming a chimney technician can fit the bill. Your growing chimney sweep business doesn’t have to double as a full-time operation until you build up some experience and learn more about how to find customers and complete jobs.

To create a successful side business, start with these steps:

  1. Get training or job experience to find out if this field is right for you. Starting with the CSIA is a great idea. Explore their website and find out more about whether or not becoming a chimney technician is the right fit.
  2. Establish referral sources so customers can find you. Join CSIA and get added to their listings. According to the association, each chimney technician listed on their site typically gets a strong stream of referrals from the tens of thousands of customers looking for a chimney cleaning service through their website. Other sources of referrals include online listings, phone book ads, and home service fairs. You can also consider partnering with a local fireplace and stove retailer—they may keep a list of recommended local chimney technicians in case their clients need a cleaning service.
  3. Don’t forget to open your business officially by filing for a business license, buying or renting the equipment you need, and making any other investments you feel necessary to getting started. You may not need to lease a commercial location just yet. If it takes a loan or some savings to start your business, plan to track your spending carefully.
  4. Choose your business hours and begin telling everyone you know about your new business.
  5. Put systems in place to help manage your business. For instance, chimney sweep scheduling software allows you to keep your business and service calls organized.

Building a Profitable Chimney Sweep Business

Continue growing profitability by tracking your sales and number of new customers. If possible, plot out your revenue and expenses every month or every quarter to make sure you remain on an upward trajectory.