How to Start a Sandblasting Business

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Quick Reference

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 removes old paint, rust, and coatings on various materials like wood, metal, and brick.  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 machine 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.

Costs to Start a Sandblasting Business

Here are 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 sandblaster, air compressor, reclaiming system, blasting hood, etc., $5000 – $10,000
  • Initial supplies such as abrasive substrates, hoses, shield, respirator, protective clothing, etc. $500 – $1,000
  • Initial marketing such as Facebook ads or search engine optimization for your website $500 -$1000

Steps to Starting a Sandblasting Business

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
Free sample business plans

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: Tips and ideas for naming a sandblasting service

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 a 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.

RelatedComparison of Business Entities

Step 4: Select your Location

You need a location that is convenient for customers if you choose to have a physical location.

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.

Depending on the work being performed, a 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 business bank and credit card accounts makes it easier to track the income and expenses of the 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

Step 9: Get Insurance

A sandblasting business needs several types of insurance for full coverage:

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.

Insurance policies will vary. 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: Hiring 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 your 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 accounting for your business

How Much Can You Potentially Make Owning 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.

Things to Consider Before Starting a Sandblasting Business

Running a sandblasting business or any business will have its challenges.  You need to be prepared and make sure that you know what you’re getting into.

Marketing and acquiring customers will be your biggest challenge and an ongoing expense. Online marketing and search engine optimization will be your biggest source of customers, so you will need to have a budget for that.

You will face competition, so you need to offer a high-quality service.

Talk to other business owners for tips on starting a business and do your homework to determine costs.  Research other sandblasting businesses to see what they offer and what prices they charge.

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