Business ideas
8 min read

How to Start a Profitable Waterproofing Business [11 Steps]

Learn how to start a profitable waterproofing business with our 11+ step guide. From marketing to equipment, we cover it all. Start your business today! #waterproofing #entrepreneur #smallbusiness

By Nick Cotter
Updated Feb 02, 2024

image of a waterproofing business
This page may feature products from our affiliate partners, which could influence the products we discuss due to potential compensation. Despite this, our evaluations are impartial, based solely on our independent analysis. The content here is intended for informational purposes and should not be seen as legal advice. For professional guidance, consulting with a legal expert is recommended.
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1. Perform market analysis.

Before starting a waterproofing business, it is crucial to understand the market landscape to identify potential opportunities and challenges. A thorough market analysis will provide valuable insights into customer needs, competition, and industry trends. Here are key steps to consider in your market analysis:

  • Research the current demand for waterproofing services in your target geographic area to gauge potential business volume.
  • Analyze your competitors by looking at their services, pricing, market share, and customer reviews to identify gaps in the market you could fill.
  • Identify your target customer segments, such as homeowners, commercial property owners, or construction companies, and understand their specific needs and preferences.
  • Study market trends, such as environmental regulations and technological advancements in waterproofing materials and techniques, to predict future demand and align your business strategies accordingly.
  • Assess the legal and regulatory environment of your region to ensure compliance with building codes, safety standards, and environmental regulations.
  • Consider the economic indicators such as housing starts and construction spending, as they can influence the demand for waterproofing services.
image of a waterproofing business

Are waterproofing businesses profitable?

Yes, waterproofing businesses can be highly profitable. The exact profitability of a waterproofing business will depend on a variety of factors such as location, services offered, cost of materials and labor, among others. It can also depend on how well the business is managed, with effective marketing and pricing strategies leading to greater success and higher profits.

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2. Draft a waterproofing business plan.

Creating a comprehensive business plan is crucial when starting a waterproofing business, as it will serve as your roadmap to success. Your plan should outline your objectives, strategies, and the financial projections for your waterproofing services. Here's a guide to help you draft an effective business plan:

  • Define your business objectives, including short-term and long-term goals.
  • Conduct a market analysis to understand your potential customers and competitors.
  • Detail the waterproofing services you will offer and any unique selling propositions.
  • Establish your business structure, whether it's a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation.
  • Outline your marketing and sales strategies to attract and retain customers.
  • Develop a financial plan, including startup costs, pricing strategy, revenue projections, and break-even analysis.
  • Describe the operational plan, covering equipment, materials, labor, and processes for service delivery.
  • Identify any legal and regulatory requirements specific to the waterproofing industry in your area.
  • Include a risk management plan to address potential challenges and mitigation strategies.

How does a waterproofing business make money?

A waterproofing business typically makes money by providing services to customers who need to protect their home from water damage. This type of service is appealing to many homeowners because it can help them save money in the long run by preventing costly repairs. An example of a target audience for a waterproofing business could be families living in areas that experience heavy rainfall. These homeowners would have the potential to benefit from the services, such as waterproofing a basement or crawl space. As a result, these customers would likely be willing to pay for the service, generating income for the business.

3. Develop a waterproofing brand.

Creating a strong waterproofing brand is essential for setting your business apart in a competitive market. A distinctive brand identity will resonate with customers, communicating the reliability and quality of your services. Follow these key steps to develop a waterproofing brand that makes an impact:

  • Define your unique value proposition (UVP) – Determine what makes your waterproofing services different and better than competitors, whether it's your innovative techniques, superior materials, exceptional customer service, or cost-effectiveness.
  • Choose a memorable brand name – Select a name that reflects your UVP, is easy to remember, and gives an idea of what your business does. Ensure it's unique and not already in use.
  • Design a striking logo – Your logo should be visually appealing, simple, and representative of your waterproofing services. It should be recognizable and easily adaptable to various mediums.
  • Develop a consistent color scheme and typography – Consistency in visual elements builds brand recognition. Choose colors and fonts that convey the attributes of your brand, such as reliability and professionalism.
  • Create a brand message and voice – Your communication should be consistent in tone and message. Whether it's trustworthy, friendly, or authoritative, your brand voice should reflect your company's values and appeal to your target audience.

How to come up with a name for your waterproofing business?

Coming up with a name for a waterproofing business can be tricky, but with some careful thought it's possible to find something memorable and unique. Start by thinking of words related to waterproofing, such as "protect," "seal," and "barrier." Then, consider using alliteration of these words or adding descriptive adjectives like "professional" or "premium" to make the name more eye-catching. You can also consider incorporating an image into the name that speaks to the type of work you do, such as an umbrella or raindrops. Finally, brainstorm some combinations of words and images to see what resonates most with you. With this method, you should come up with an ideal name for your waterproofing business.

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4. Formalize your business registration.

Starting a waterproofing business requires not just skill and knowledge in the field, but also ensuring that your business is legally recognized. Formalizing your business registration is a critical step to legitimize your operations and protect your personal assets. Here are the key steps you need to follow:

  • Choose a business structure that suits your needs, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation, and understand the implications of each for your business.
  • Register your business name with the appropriate state authority to ensure it's unique and not already in use, which could involve filing a 'Doing Business As' (DBA) if your business operates under a name different from your own.
  • Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for tax purposes, especially if you plan on hiring employees.
  • Research and apply for any required local, state, and federal licenses or permits specific to the waterproofing industry, which may include contractor licenses, building permits, or environmental regulations compliance.
  • Register for state and local taxes to ensure you meet all tax obligations, which may include sales tax, use tax, and property tax.
  • Consider consulting with a business attorney or professional advisor to ensure all legal requirements are met and to assist with the paperwork involved in registering your business.

Resources to help get you started:

Explore indispensable resources designed for waterproofing entrepreneurs to gain insights into market trends, operational best practices, and strategies for business expansion:

  • The Waterproofing Magazine: Provides in-depth coverage of industry trends, new technologies, and case studies.
  • International Waterproofing Association (IWA): Offers reports, newsletters, and access to a global network of professionals.
  • Building and Construction Waterproofing Report: A comprehensive analysis of market dynamics, future forecasts, and regulatory implications. Available for purchase at market research firms.
  • Waterproofing & Roofing Industry News: Delivers the latest updates, innovations, and regulatory changes impacting the sector.
  • Waterproofing Contractor’s Handbook: A guide to best practices, project management, and technical solutions in waterproofing. Often available through professional associations and trade societies.

5. Acquire necessary licenses and permits for waterproofing.

Starting a waterproofing business involves not only having the skills and equipment but also ensuring compliance with local, state, and federal regulations. Acquiring the necessary licenses and permits is a critical step to legally operate your business and avoid any legal issues. Below are key steps to guide you through this process:

  • Research Local Requirements: Contact your city or county government to find out what business licenses and permits are required for a waterproofing business in your area.
  • State Regulations: Check with your state's contractor licensing board or equivalent to determine if you need a state-issued contractor's license, which often requires passing an exam and providing proof of insurance and bonding.
  • Specialized Permits: Depending on the nature of your waterproofing projects, you may need to obtain additional permits, such as building or environmental permits, before commencing work.
  • Insurance: Secure general liability insurance and workers' compensation insurance to protect your business and employees. Some jurisdictions may require proof of insurance to issue a business license.
  • Keep Records: Once you have obtained all necessary licenses and permits, keep them on record and ensure they are renewed as required to maintain compliance and uninterrupted business operations.

What licenses and permits are needed to run a waterproofing business?

The licenses and permits necessary to legally run a waterproofing business will vary depending on the location. Generally, most states require businesses to obtain a general business license. Additionally, they may require you to obtain permits specific to the waterproofing industry, such as a contractor's license or permit, home improvement contractors' license or permit, roofer's license or permit, and/or building contractor's license or permit. Depending on your state, you may also need additional speciality licensing and/or permits such as plumbing-related permits or certificates, electrician's permits, asbestos removal and encapsulation certification, hazardous material handling certificate, hazardous material disposal certificate, etc.

6. Open a business bank account and secure funding as needed.

Starting a waterproofing business requires careful financial planning and management. A dedicated business bank account is essential for keeping personal and business finances separate, which simplifies accounting and tax reporting. In addition, securing adequate funding will ensure you have the capital necessary for equipment, supplies, and operational expenses. Here are some steps to guide you through this process:

  • Research banks and credit unions to find the one that offers the best business banking services and fees. Consider banks that are known for supporting small businesses.
  • Prepare the necessary documents to open a business bank account, such as your business registration, EIN, and personal identification.
  • Evaluate your startup costs and ongoing operational expenses to determine how much funding you will need.
  • Explore different funding options such as small business loans, lines of credit, business credit cards, or seeking investors.
  • Consider applying for government grants or startup accelerators that are available for new businesses, especially if you can offer innovative services or eco-friendly waterproofing solutions.
  • Develop a solid business plan to present to potential lenders or investors, highlighting the viability and potential profitability of your waterproofing business.

7. Set pricing for waterproofing services.

When setting pricing for your waterproofing services, it is crucial to balance competitiveness with profitability. Consider the value of your work, the cost of materials, labor, and overhead, as well as the pricing strategies of your competitors. Below are some guidelines to help you establish your pricing:

  • Assess the Market: Research local waterproofing service prices to ensure your rates are competitive. Adjust your pricing based on your market position and the quality of services you offer.
  • Cost-Plus Pricing: Calculate the total cost of providing the service, including materials, labor, equipment, and overhead, and add a markup percentage to ensure profitability.
  • Value-Based Pricing: Set prices based on the perceived value to the customer, considering the long-term benefits and cost savings of your waterproofing services.
  • Project Complexity: Account for the complexity and size of the waterproofing project. Larger or more complex jobs should be priced higher to reflect the increased labor and materials.
  • Discounts and Packages: Consider offering discounts for larger projects or service packages to attract more business while maintaining a reasonable profit margin.
  • Clear Communication: Provide transparent pricing structures to customers, with detailed quotes that break down costs. This builds trust and helps avoid disputes.
  • Regular Review: Regularly review and adjust your pricing to reflect changes in costs, market demand, and your business growth.

What does it cost to start a waterproofing business?

Initiating a waterproofing business can involve substantial financial commitment, the scale of which is significantly influenced by factors such as geographical location, market dynamics, and operational expenses, among others. Nonetheless, our extensive research and hands-on experience have revealed an estimated starting cost of approximately $42500 for launching such an business. Please note, not all of these costs may be necessary to start up your waterproofing business.

8. Acquire waterproofing equipment and supplies.

Starting a waterproofing business requires careful selection of equipment and supplies to ensure quality service. It's essential to invest in durable and effective tools that will stand up to the rigors of waterproofing various structures. Here's a guide to help you acquire the right waterproofing equipment and supplies:

  • Waterproofing Membranes: Choose high-quality, durable membranes suitable for different surfaces and conditions.
  • Sealants and Coatings: Stock a variety of sealants for joint sealing, crack filling, and coatings for different applications.
  • Sprayers: Obtain professional-grade sprayers for even application of liquid waterproofing products.
  • Grouting Equipment: Invest in grouting pumps and tools for injection of waterproofing materials into cavities and cracks.
  • Safety Gear: Prioritize safety with waterproof gloves, boots, goggles, and respirators to protect against chemicals and damp conditions.
  • Moisture Meters: Use moisture meters to assess the wetness of surfaces before and after waterproofing treatments.
  • Trowels and Brushes: Keep a variety of trowels for spreading and shaping materials, along with brushes for smaller, detailed work.
  • Measuring Equipment: Ensure precise application with tape measures, levels, and marking tools.
  • Cleaning Supplies: Include pressure washers and cleaners to prepare surfaces before applying waterproofing materials.
  • Repair Kits: Have patching kits for quick repairs of membranes or coatings.

List of software, tools and supplies needed to start a waterproofing business:

  • Waterproofing materials - $200
  • Protective suit - $150
  • Safety gear - $50
  • Garden sprayer - $75
  • Spray gun - $120
  • Extension hose - $60
  • Pressure washer - $400
  • Paint brushes - $25
  • Roller brushes - $40
  • Masking tape - $20

9. Obtain business insurance for waterproofing, if required.

Protecting your waterproofing business is crucial to manage risks and comply with legal requirements. Obtaining the right insurance coverage not only safeguards your operation against potential claims but also enhances your credibility with clients. Here are some steps to help you secure the necessary business insurance:

  • Research local regulations to determine the types of insurance required for a waterproofing business in your area, such as general liability, workers' compensation, or commercial auto insurance.
  • Consult with insurance agents who specialize in construction or trade-specific policies, as they can offer expert advice tailored to the unique risks of waterproofing services.
  • Compare quotes from multiple insurance providers to ensure you get comprehensive coverage at a competitive rate.
  • Consider additional coverage options like professional liability insurance, especially if you offer consulting or design services in waterproofing.
  • Regularly review and update your insurance policy to keep up with changes in your business size, services offered, and local insurance requirements.
  • Keep all insurance documents accessible and educate your team about the coverage details and procedures for reporting incidents or claims.

10. Begin marketing your waterproofing services.

Starting a waterproofing business can be rewarding, as you help homeowners and businesses protect their properties from water damage. Once you've set up your business, it's crucial to attract customers and generate revenue. Here are some strategic steps to begin marketing your waterproofing services:

  • Develop a strong brand identity with a memorable logo and slogan that communicates the reliability and effectiveness of your waterproofing services.
  • Create a professional website showcasing your services, customer testimonials, and before-and-after photos of completed projects to build credibility.
  • Leverage social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to reach potential customers and engage with your community through informative and educational content.
  • Offer introductory discounts or bundled service packages to new customers to encourage them to try your services.
  • Network with local contractors, real estate agents, and builders who can refer clients to you or partner with you on projects.
  • Invest in search engine optimization (SEO) to improve your website's ranking on search engines, making it easier for potential clients to find you online.
  • Consider pay-per-click (PPC) advertising on Google or social media platforms to target individuals actively searching for waterproofing solutions in your area.
  • Attend home shows, trade fairs, and local community events to showcase your services and connect with potential customers face-to-face.
>> MORE:

What licenses and permits are needed to run a waterproofing business?

  • Waterproofing materials - $200
  • Protective suit - $150
  • Safety gear - $50
  • Garden sprayer - $75
  • Spray gun - $120
  • Extension hose - $60
  • Pressure washer - $400
  • Paint brushes - $25
  • Roller brushes - $40
  • Masking tape - $20

11. Expand your waterproofing business.

Expanding your waterproofing business requires strategic planning and effective execution. As you enter the growth phase, consider diversifying your services and exploring new markets. Here are some key steps to help you broaden your business's reach and increase its profitability:

  • Invest in Marketing: Boost your online presence with SEO strategies and engage with customers through social media platforms to reach a wider audience.
  • Networking: Join local business groups and attend trade shows to build relationships and partnerships that can lead to referrals and joint ventures.
  • Service Diversification: Add related services such as basement finishing or mold remediation to provide comprehensive solutions to your clients.
  • Training and Certification: Keep your team updated with the latest waterproofing techniques and technologies through continuous training and obtaining industry certifications.
  • New Markets: Research and enter new geographical areas or sectors such as commercial waterproofing to tap into different customer bases.
  • Customer Feedback: Regularly solicit customer feedback to improve service quality and address any gaps in the market.
  • Invest in Quality Equipment: Upgrade your tools and machinery to increase efficiency and productivity for larger projects.