How to Start a Sandblasting Business

Overview

How to Start a Sandblasting Business

Are you in the construction industry and looking for a business idea?  A sandblasting business to remove old paint and coatings could be an opportunity for you to be your own boss and make a good living.

Business Overview

A sandblasting business provides surface preparation on various materials like wood, metal, and brick by removing old paint, rust, and coatings.  Some sandblasting companies also offer etching services on items.  While the term sandblasting is still widely used, most businesses use other abrasive substrates such as crushed walnut shells, crushed glass, glass beads, plastic, etc.

Industry Summary

According to Global Market Insights, the sandblasting services market size was $400 million in 2018 and was expected to grow over 5% per year through 2025.  Due to the many industrial uses of sandblasting, the sandblasting market was not significantly impacted by the pandemic.

Related Industries

Power Washing

Industry Trends

The increased industrial uses of sandblasting are in the marine, petrochemical, building, and construction of heavy equipment sectors.  There is also a growing market in the vehicle sanding market, particularly for classic cars.  The use in architectural remodels and repairs should also drive growth.

Target Market

Your target market will be companies and individuals who are restoring or repairing items.

Skills, Experience, and Education Useful in Running a Sandblasting Business

There are several specific skills that you will need to open a sandblasting business.

  • Experience.  Experience working in a sandblasting business is valuable.
  • Education.  Training courses are available to teach you how to use a sandblaster.
  • Business knowledge and experience.  You will need to have at least some basic knowledge of marketing, finance/accounting, and human resources.
  • People skills. You’ll need to build rapport with your customers so that you retain them as customers and keep them coming back.

Checklist for Starting a Sandblasting Business

If you’re thinking about starting your own sandblasting business, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Here is a checklist of the essentials to get started.

Step 1: Write your Business Plan

After coming up with the idea, the next step in starting your sandblasting service should be to write a business plan.  The business plan will make you focus on some important aspects of the business, such as who your customers are, how you plan to reach them, projecting sales and expenses, your value proposition to use for marketing, and more. You’ll also need to do some research to calculate exactly what your startup expenses will be and your ongoing expenses.

Not only will a bank require you to have a business plan if you need financing, but multiple studies have shown that having a good business plan increases the odds of starting a successful business. Writing the plan helps you think through all the aspects of the business and then serves as a guide as you begin.

Related: How to write a business plan

Step 2: Name the Business

Finding the perfect sandblasting business name can be challenging. Not only does the name have to reflect what you do and be appealing to customers, but it also has to be available to use. You can check your state’s website to see if the name is available and register your name.  Your name should make you stand out, reflect your brand, and tell potential customers exactly what you do.

Related: Sandblasting business name ideas

Step 3: Form a Business Entity

A business entity refers to how a business is legally organized to operate. There are four primary business entities to choose from, which include the sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and Limited Liability Company (LLC). Each type of entity has its own pros and cons, such as liability exposure, costs, and administrative requirements.

When deciding on which business entity is best for a sandblasting business, it normally comes down to the sole proprietorship and Limited Liability Company.

A partnership opens the owners up to unnecessary personal liability because if a partner does something to get the business sued, or runs off with cash from the business, the other partners are personally liable to repay. The corporation can be a good choice because it separates the business assets from the owner’s assets. If the corporation is sued or certain business debts can’t be paid back, the owners aren’t personally responsible to repay them. The downside to the corporation is that it is more complicated than all the other entities and requires more administration than the LLC. If you plan on raising a lot of investment though, the corporation is usually the better choice.

That leaves the sole proprietorship and LLC.

The sole proprietorship is the least expensive and easiest entity to start which is appealing. The downside is the owner is personally liable should anything happen to the business, which is an important consideration. The LLC offers the ability to operate as a sole proprietorship with the liability protection of a corporation. Depending on the state, the cost to form an LLC runs from $40 – $500, which is pretty inexpensive for protecting the owners from business-related lawsuits and certain debts.

Related: Guide to forming your LLC
 

Forming an LLC sounds complicated and expensive, but using an entity formation service guides you through the process so you know it was done right.


Some popular LLC formation services include:


IncFile - $0 plus state fees & free registered agent for 1 year!

IncAuthority - $0 plus state fees & free registered agent the first year!

ZenBusiness - $49 plus state fees & free registered agent for 1 year!

Step 4: Select your Location

The type of location needed for a sandblasting business will vary depending on the size of items being stripped, industrial building availability, and whether you will have a mobile operation.

If customers are dropping off items to be sandblasted, you may look for a location that is convenient for them.

Related: Choosing a business location

Step 5: Apply for Business Licenses and Permits

There are a few regulations from federal agencies to be aware of.  First is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which requires informing employees of the potential hazards when working with chemicals. Next, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has requirements to make sure employees aren’t breathing in too much silica dust. Dustless blasting is worth considering as there is no toxic dust, making OSHA compliance much easier than using traditional media.

Depending on the work being performed, a general contractor’s license may be required.  Additionally, there are general business licenses and permits that may be needed, such as a sales tax permit and an Employer Identification Number (EIN).  

Related: Common business licenses, permits, and registrations by state

Step 6: Find Financing

Coming up with a good business idea and having the skills to run it are one thing but getting the funding to start a sandblasting business is another.  In order to get a loan, the borrower(s) will need to have good credit and be able to invest 15-25% of their money towards the total start-up costs.

Related: Finding the money to start a business

Step 7: Open a Business Bank Account

Keeping your business and personal finances in separate bank accounts is important to track the income and expenses of your business and identify trends.
 
Many banks offer free business checking accounts, so be sure to find a cost-effective option for your business.

Step 8: Get your Marketing Plan in Place

A sandblasting business will need to set aside a budget to cover marketing costs on a continuous basis. Common marketing techniques for a sandblasting business include social media marketing and online advertising. Developing a website can be a significant expense, but it can also give your sandblasting business greater visibility online.

Related: Low-cost ideas to market a new business

One important marketing task is developing an online presence. A website developer may be out of the budget, but Wix makes it easy for non-technical people to get a website running quickly and affordably.

Step 9: Get Business Insurance

There are several types of insurance to consider when starting a sandblasting business. A few of these include:
– General liability insurance can help protect you from third-party claims of bodily injury and property damage.
– Professional liability insurance protects you from claims of professional errors or negligence that result in a financial loss.
– Worker’s compensation insurance covers expenses like medical bills and legal fees that a business might face if an employee were ever hurt while working.

The cost to insure a sandblasting business will vary depending on a number of factors. To get the most accurate idea of what to budget for insurance, request quotes from multiple providers. When comparing the quotes, consider not only the premiums but also how the plan exclusions, coverage limitations, and deductibles compare.

Related: Common types of insurance a business may need

Step 10: Hire Employees

You may need employees to help you run your sandblasting business.  Make sure that you select people with appropriate experience and training.

In addition to salary costs, your budget will also need to include other employee-related expenses. Workman’s comp insurance, unemployment insurance, and paid time off are common expenses that a business will need to cover when hiring staff.

Related: Hiring your first employee

Step 11: Set up an Accounting System

Setting up an accounting system for your sandblasting business is critical to the long-term success of the business.

Staying on top of taxes not only keeps the business out of trouble with the government but the numbers can be used to track and monitor trends and cash flow in the business and maximize profits.

Related: Setting up the accounting for your business

The thought of accounting can be intimidating for a lot of new entrepreneurs. There are a number of ways of handling bookkeeping, from DIY to hiring a bookkeeper. These include:

- Pen and paper - Low expense, but difficult to track.
- Spreadsheet - Low expense, but easy to make errors.
- Accounting software - Medium expense, but owner typically inputs expenses. Some great accounting software programs include Freshbooks or Wave Accounting.
- Hire a bookkeeper - Higher expense, though very affordable at $100-$200 per month in most cases. A dedicated bookkeeper will probably save money because, in addition to handling all of the bookkeeping (so you can focus on the business), they also provide personalized tax advice and ensure the business is in compliance.

Find bookkeepers in your local area or use a service like 800Accountant.

How much does it cost to start a sandblasting business?

Here are some of the typical startup costs you will face when you open a sandblasting business.
– Shop lease if you choose to have a shop rather than a mobile service $1,000-$5,000 per month
– Vehicle cost if providing a mobile sandblasting service $15,000-$60,000
– Sandblasting equipment such as a blast pot, air compressor, reclaiming system, blasting hood, etc., $5000-$0,000
– Initial supplies such as abrasive substrates, hoses, shield, respirator, protective clothing, etc. $500-$1,000

How profitable is a sandblasting business?

Generally, sandblasting companies charge $30 – $60 per hour.  If you work 40 hours per week at $50 per hour, you will make revenue of $104,000 per year.

Additional profit can be generated by offering or outsourcing powder coating or paint preparation services.

Are there grants to start a sandblasting business?

It’s extremely rare to find a grant to start a sandblasting business. If you search for business grants, you will come across a lot of scams and misinformation. Occasionally an organization will offer grants to start a business, however, be skeptical and don’t provide any sensitive personal information or pay money to get more information.

Legitimate federal grants can be found at Grants.gov and you can check on your state’s economic development office to see if they have any grants available.

What is the NAICS code for a sandblasting business?

The NAICS code for a sandblasting business is 332813.

The NAICS code (North American Industry Classification System) is a federal system to classify different types of businesses for the collection and reporting of statistical data.

Related: What is a NAICS code and how to find yours

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