How to Start a Plastering Business: Steps and Insurance Requirements

Are you eager to start your own plastering business and tap into the thriving construction industry? This comprehensive guide will equip you with the essential steps on how to set up a plastering business and boost your income as a stucco or plastering professional

What is a Plastering Business?

A plastering business refers to a company or individual specializing in providing plastering services in the construction industry. Plasterers, who are skilled tradespeople, are the key players in this business. They are responsible for creating plasterwork, which involves applying plaster to walls, ceilings, and other surfaces for both protective and decorative purposes. 

Whether repairing damaged plaster, applying a smooth finish, or creating intricate designs, plasterers have the expertise to transform spaces. A plastering business may consist of a team of plasterers working together or an individual operating as a solopreneur. They play a vital role in ensuring the integrity and aesthetics of buildings, making them an indispensable part of the construction industry.

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How to Start Your Own Plastering Business

If you have experience as a plasterer, consider how to start your own plastering business, providing a wide range of plastering, dry lining, and related services. These straightforward guidelines below will give you the tools to begin your thrilling entrepreneurial endeavor and establish a prosperous plastering business:

Do a Research on Your Target Market

To ensure the success of your plastering business, conducting thorough research on your target market is of utmost importance. Take the time to gather valuable information about the level of demand for your services and the existing competition in the industry. By considering the following factors, you'll be well-prepared for how to set up a plastering business and grow it effectively.

  • Understanding your customers–Consider the different types of customers who may require your plastering services. This includes homeowners, residential landlords, and owners of commercial properties. General contractors frequently need plastering services can also be potential clients.

  • Assessing domestic work–Pay attention to the type of housing in your area and the condition of properties. Determine whether the houses are large or small, old or new, well-kept or run down. Consider the exterior coatings and whether they have been recently renewed. Assess the ownership structure of properties, such as owner-occupied, rented, or owned by local authorities or housing associations. Take note of any buildings with special requirements, such as ancient buildings, listed buildings, or those located within a Conservation Area.

  • Tailoring your offerings to local customers–Try to match the range of products and services you offer to the specific needs of the local customers. Consider whether you are willing to travel to other areas for work to expand your customer base.

  • Identifying business and organizational clients–Besides residential customers, consider other buildings in your area that may require plastering services. These include shops, pubs, offices, churches, schools, etc. Remember that if you offer specialized services like custom-made fibrous plaster moldings, there may be occasional demand from companies such as film studios and theaters.

  • Networking and marketing to potential clients–Once you have identified your potential customers, you must direct your advertising efforts toward them. Consider leaving your details with local building contractors, decorators, property developers, interior designers, and shopfitters who may need your services. Large plastering firms also require subcontractors regularly. Explore becoming an approved contractor for your local authority or housing associations.

  • Understanding contract and subcontract work–Be aware that larger organizations may have specific processes for tendering contract work. Research who is responsible for putting out work to tender in organizations like housing associations, local authorities, and major construction firms. Familiarize yourself with the tender process and requirements if you wish to bid for contracts.

  • Evaluating the level of competition–To gauge the level of competition, assess the number of other plastering firms operating in your area. Utilize online directories like Yell and local print directories to identify competitors. Take note of their services, including specialized offerings like antique plaster molding renovation or high-performance floor screed systems. Pay attention to unique features they advertise, such as work guarantees or years of experience. Check if they belong to trade associations, which may enhance their reputation. Analyze their advertisements and websites to understand the impression they convey to potential customers.

  • Be aware of unregistered competitors–Remember that competition may also come from individuals outside the professional sphere, known as "cowboys" or "moonlighters." These individuals may offer lower prices but often need more insurance coverage and deliver the same level of quality as professional firms. It's important to differentiate yourself from such competition by emphasizing your professionalism, expertise, and insurance coverage.

  • Take note of exposures–As a plasterer, it's essential to prioritize health and safety in your business operations. This involves staying up to date with relevant regulations and guidelines. The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations specifically address health and safety in the construction industry. Key areas to consider include working at height, lifting heavy items, using electrical equipment, access to first aid equipment, providing protective clothing and equipment, reporting workplace accidents and injuries, and compliance with workplace health and safety and fire safety legislation.

  • Insurance coverage for plasterers–Obtaining appropriate insurance coverage is crucial when learning how to start a plastering business. Consult an insurer to discuss the nature of your business operations so they can recommend the necessary insurance policies. 

  • Researching current trends, legal, and tax issues–It's important to research current trends, legal issues, and tax considerations to stay informed and make informed decisions in your plastering business. Stay updated on sector trends specific to plasterers, such as emerging techniques, materials, or customer preferences. Familiarize yourself with legal issues that may affect your business, such as licensing requirements, contractual agreements, and compliance with building codes. Additionally, understand the VAT rules and regulations applicable to plastering services, ensuring proper tax compliance and understanding any potential exemptions or obligations.

Choose the Services You Want to Offer

When starting your own plastering business, it's crucial to strategically determine the range of services you will provide to meet the needs of your target market. 

By thoughtfully selecting your services and incorporating value-added benefits, you can set your plastering business apart and attract a diverse clientele. 

Here are some essential considerations for building a strong service offering as you focus on how to start your own plastering business:

Traditional Services

  • Interior plastering and skimming using cement and gypsum–This encompasses new work, making repairs, re-skimming surfaces, smoothing over textured finishes, plaster repairs, and remedial plastering

  • Artexing and other textured interior finish applications–Offering decorative textured finishes to enhance the aesthetics of interior spaces

  • Dry lining–Installing plasterboard or other materials to create interior walls and ceilings.

  • Installing coving and basic molded plaster ware–Adding decorative elements to enhance the visual appeal of rooms

  • Exterior rendering, dashing, and other finishes–Providing exterior coatings such as self-colour, brick and stone effect render systems, roughcast, Tyrolean, and stucco

  • Floor screeding–Applying a smooth and level surface layer to floors

Specialist Services

  • Plaster moulding fabrication and repairs–Creating custom mouldings and restoring antique plaster ware

  • Special effects plastering–Applying unique finishes like polished plaster to achieve marbled effects

  • Traditional lime rendering and heritage plastering–Using lime mortar or clay mixed with fibre, hemp, or animal hair for conservation and restoration projects

  • Pargeting–Traditional decorative plastering techniques to create intricate designs on exterior surfaces

  • Acrylic render application–Providing durable and versatile exterior finishes

  • Heat-proof plaster application–Offering fire-resistant plastering solutions around stoves and fireplaces

  • Machine plastering–Utilizing advanced machinery for efficient plaster application

Added-Value Services

To set your business apart and attract customers, consider offering additional value-added services, such as:

  • Free estimates and quotations–Providing transparent pricing information to potential clients

  • Insurance-backed guarantees–Offering assurance and peace of mind by guaranteeing that insurance can provide a backup is something wrong happens

  • Freephone telephone line–Establishing a convenient communication channel for customer inquiries and support

  • "No job too small" promise–Demonstrating your willingness to undertake projects of all sizes, catering to a wide range of customer needs

Other Services

  • General building and concrete work–Undertaking additional construction tasks as per client requirements

  • Partition stud-work and carpentry–Assisting with interior partitioning and related carpentry work

  • Wall-tie replacement–Addressing structural concerns by replacing damaged or corroded wall ties

  • Patio building–Creating outdoor spaces with paved surfaces 

  • Damp-proofing and timber treatment–Offering specialist plastering solutions after remedial damp-proofing work

  • Painting and decorating–Providing a comprehensive service by integrating plastering and finishing touches

Analyze Your Work Rate

When running a plastering business, your earning potential is influenced by factors such as the number of workdays and the duration of your working hours. Here are important considerations on how to set up a plastering business regarding your work rate:

Working Hours

  • Regular business hours–You may work within standard business hours, such as 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, Monday to Friday, with the possibility of including Saturdays.

  • Extended hours–Alternatively, you might opt for longer workdays, starting earlier or finishing later. However, be mindful of potential noise disturbances for neighbors during early mornings or late evenings.

  • Weather disruptions–Adverse weather conditions can hinder outdoor work, affecting working hours and productivity. You can work longer hours during fair weather and peak demand periods while taking time off during quieter periods.

Estimating Job Duration

  • Accurate estimates–Understanding the time required for various types of jobs is crucial. When providing quotes to clients, ensure your estimates are precise and reflect the realistic duration of the work. Quoting two days for a job that takes four will impact your earnings and client satisfaction.

Work Speed and Charges

  • Personal skills and experience–The speed at which you work is influenced by your expertise and proficiency in plastering. Your skill level will impact your productivity and the quality of your work.

  • Type and standard of work–Different projects may vary in complexity and require varying levels of attention to detail. Consider the nature of the job and the expected standard when determining your charges.

Non-Productive Time

Not all working hours directly translate to income. There are situations where you may work diligently but earn nothing due to non-productive reasons, such as:

  • Visiting sites to cost new work and provide quotes

  • Spending additional time on jobs due to unforeseen issues or rework

  • Traveling to job sites, suppliers, or repairing tools/vehicles

  • Inclement weather conditions with no indoor work scheduled

  • Waiting for material deliveries or essential equipment repairs

Promoting Your Company

Effective advertising and promotion ensure your business gets noticed and reaches potential customers. Here are some strategies to promote your plastering business:

Utilize Online Platforms

  • Create a professional website–A well-designed website can be valuable for advertising your services and reaching a broader customer base. Highlight your expertise, showcase past projects, and provide contact information.

  • Online directories–Get listed in relevant online directories, particularly those operated by trade associations or expert recommendation platforms.

  • Social media presence–Establish a presence on social media platforms to engage with previous customers, connect with potential clients, and share updates about your business. Maintain an active presence by posting relevant content and responding to inquiries promptly.

  • Participate in forums and blogs–Contribute to industry-related forums and consider maintaining a blog on your website to establish yourself as an authority in plastering and rendering. Avoid overt advertising within forum posts to comply with website guidelines.

Online Review Platforms

  • Register with review websites–Consider joining review platforms like Checkatrade, where customers can leave feedback on your services. Positive reviews can help build trust and attract new customers.

  • Job-referral websites–Explore platforms like MyBuilder and Rated People, which connect tradespeople with potential clients seeking their services.

Offline Advertising

  • Local print directories–Advertise your business in local directories to target customers in your area. Focus on your business's unique selling points or qualities to stand out from competitors.

  • Eye-catching materials–Consider eye-catching flyers, plastic cards, or stickers with your business details for distribution during mail-shots or targeted campaigns.

  • Establish affiliations–Seek recognition by insurers, specialist helplines, or directories as an approved and trusted tradesperson. Many of these organizations have rigorous screening processes that enhance credibility.

  • Connect with residential landlord associations–Inquire about being included in their supplier's guide to reach property owners and property management professionals

Additional Advertising Opportunities

  • Local newspaper features–Check if your local newspaper offers regular "contact the experts" advertising sections and consider featuring your business.

  • Vehicle signage–Utilize your work vehicle as an advertising tool by having it sign-written with your business name and contact information. Keep the vehicle clean and presentable for maximum impact.

  • Sponsorship–Explore sponsorship opportunities with local sports clubs or events to raise brand awareness and show community support.

Word-of-Mouth Recommendations

  • Deliver exceptional workmanship–Earn a strong reputation by consistently providing reliable and high-quality plastering services.

  • Professionalism and customer service–Pay attention to small details, such as being polite and considerate during client interactions. Ensure that any employees you have are also excellent representatives of your business.

Create Prices for Your Services

Pricing your plastering services requires careful consideration to ensure profitability and competitiveness. Here are key points to help you determine your prices:

Pricing Methods

  • Hourly/daily rates–Charge for your services based on the time spent, including materials and additional items provided.

  • Area-based pricing–Set a price per square meter for specific tasks like plastering interior walls.

  • Fixed-rate pricing–Establish a standard charge for certain jobs, such as hacking off and re-rendering a small semi-detached house.

  • Per-item basis–If you offer plaster moulding work, price it per-item basis.

Factors to Consider

  • Competitor rates–Research what competitors charge for similar services to gauge market pricing.

  • Competitive pricing strategy–Determine if you want to attract customers by offering more attractive pricing than competitors.

  • Variation in rates–Decide whether you will adjust your rates based on the type and complexity of the work involved.

  • The markup on materials/services–Determine if you will add a profit margin on materials and services you purchase or pass them on at cost.

  • Inclusions and extras–Communicate what your prices cover and if there are additional charges for items like skip hire or scaffolding.

Quotes vs. Estimates

  • Quotes–Provide fixed prices for jobs, clearly stating what is covered. Once accepted, the price remains unchanged, even if there is additional work.

  • Estimates–Offer an approximate cost based on your best guess. Multiple estimates can be provided based on different scenarios.

  • Price variations–Inform customers of potential factors that could change the final price and communicate the impact of any requested extra work.

Trade Rates and Competition

  • Trade rates–Consider offering special rates for business clients and competitive rates for tendering on contract work.

  • Scaffolding costs–Assess if a job will require scaffolding and specify if the quote includes this cost due to health and safety regulations.

  • Competitive quoting–Clients often compare multiple quotes, so ensure your quotes are accurate and competitive. However, avoid underpricing that could lead to losses.

Pricing Resources

  • Construction pricing guides–Utilize industry-specific guides that provide current advice on appropriate rates for different types of jobs, such as plastering and rendering.

  • Material suppliers–Seek assistance from suppliers who can help determine quantities and costs for specific jobs.

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Is Purchasing an Existing Business an Option?

You can start a plastering business by purchasing an existing one. When considering purchasing existing plastering business, several specific factors must be considered. Let us look at the factors and benefits of buying a new business unlike starting from scratch.

  • Identify your objectives–Determine your goals and objectives for acquiring a business. Consider factors such as industry preference, desired location, size of the business, growth potential, and your level of involvement in its operations.

  • Research and market analysis–Conduct thorough research on the business's industry and market segment. Assess market trends, competition, customer demographics, and potential growth opportunities. This information will help you make an informed decision and develop a strategy for the acquired business.

  • Seek professional advice–Engage professionals such as business brokers, lawyers, and accountants with expertise in mergers and acquisitions. They can guide you through the process, assist with due diligence, and ensure legal and financial aspects are properly addressed.

  • Identify target businesses–Look for potential businesses that align with your objectives and criteria. Sources like online listings, industry contacts, and business brokers are used to find suitable acquisition targets. Maintain confidentiality during the search process to protect the reputation and operations of the businesses under consideration.

  • Conduct due diligence–Perform comprehensive due diligence on the target business to evaluate its financial health, legal standing, operational performance, assets, and liabilities, customer base, contracts, and any potential risks. This step is critical to uncover any hidden issues or discrepancies that may impact the value or viability of the business.

  • Valuation and negotiation–Determine the fair market value of the business based on its financial performance, assets, market conditions, and other relevant factors. Negotiate with the seller to agree on a purchase price and deal structure that aligns with your budget and objectives.

  • Financing the acquisition–Explore financing options to fund the purchase. This may include a combination of personal funds, bank loans, private investors, or seller financing. Work with financial advisors to determine your situation's most suitable financing strategy.

  • Draft and review legal documents–Work closely with legal professionals to draft and review the necessary documents, including purchase agreements, contracts, non-disclosure agreements, and any other relevant documentation. Ensure all terms and conditions are clearly defined and protect your interests as the buyer.

  • Plan for post-acquisition integration–Develop a comprehensive integration plan to transition the acquired business into your ownership smoothly. This includes tasks such as merging systems and processes, managing employee transitions, communicating with stakeholders, and implementing your strategic vision for the business.

  • Execute the acquisition–Once all legal, financial, and operational aspects are in place, complete the acquisition by signing the necessary documents and finalizing the purchase. Ensure a seamless transition by communicating with employees, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders about the change in ownership and your commitment to maintaining and enhancing the business's operations.

Benefits of Purchasing an Existing Business

Here are some key benefits of buying an existing business:

  • Established infrastructure–When you buy a new business, you inherit an existing infrastructure that includes physical assets, equipment, systems, and processes. This saves you time and effort compared to starting a business from scratch, as you can leverage the existing framework to jump-start your operations.

  • Existing customer base–An established business typically has a customer base acquired over time. This provides immediate revenue-generating opportunities and eliminates the need to build a customer base from scratch. You can focus on retaining existing customers, expanding relationships, and attracting new clients.

  • Brand and reputation–Purchasing an existing business often means acquiring an established brand with an existing reputation in the market. This can give you a competitive advantage for customer trust and credibility. Building brand recognition takes time and effort, but with an existing business, you can benefit from the goodwill it has already generated.

  • Brand and reputation–Buying an existing business means acquiring an ongoing revenue-generating operation. This gives you a more predictable cash flow than starting a new venture from day one. With consistent revenue streams, you can focus on growing the business and improving profitability.

  • Experienced staff–A new business purchase often comes with an existing employee team with valuable knowledge and expertise. They can provide insights into the business's operations, industry trends, and customer preferences. This established workforce can contribute to a smoother transition and help you navigate the business's challenges.

  • Proven business model–The fact that the business has been operational indicates a viable business model. By acquiring a new business, you can benefit from a proven concept demonstrating its ability to generate revenue and sustain operations. You can build upon this foundation and make improvements based on your expertise and vision.

  • Growth opportunities–Purchasing a new business provides opportunities for growth and expansion. You can leverage the existing customer base, brand recognition, and operational infrastructure to explore new markets, introduce new products or services, or expand into adjacent industries. This allows for more rapid growth compared to starting a business from scratch.

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Insurance Requirements for Boosting Plastering Business Income

Insurance coverage is essential to protect your plastering business and boost your income. Several insurance policies cater specifically to the needs of plastering businesses.

Business Owner's Policy (BOP): Comprehensive Protection Package

A Business Owner's Policy (BOP) combines general liability, commercial property, and business interruption coverage into a single package. This comprehensive option offers broad protection tailored to the needs of plastering businesses. Consider getting a BOP from NEXT for maximum coverage and convenience.

General Liability Insurance

General liability insurance for plastering businesses covers property damage and bodily injury claims from third parties. Thimble offers the best choice for short-term coverage, providing flexible options tailored to the duration of projects. Thimble ensures plastering businesses have reliable and cost-effective protection for their specific project needs. Whether a client's property gets damaged during a project or someone gets injured on your worksite, this coverage protects you.

Professional Liability Insurance

Professional liability insurance, often referred to as errors and omissions insurance, is crucial for plastering businesses as it safeguards against claims arising from negligence, errors, or failure to provide professional services. When it comes to small businesses, Hiscox emerges as the top choice, offering tailored professional liability coverage that addresses the distinctive requirements and risks associated with plastering operations, ensuring comprehensive protection and reassurance.

Commercial Property Insurance

Commercial property insurance provides vital protection for the physical assets of a plastering business, including tools, equipment, and premises, against risks like fire, theft, and natural disasters. Coverwallet stands out as the optimal choice for plastering businesses, offering comprehensive coverage tailored to their needs, ensuring peace of mind and safeguarding against potential financial losses. Their expertise and customizable policies make them a reliable insurance partner for the plastering industry.

Commercial Auto Insurance

Commercial auto insurance plays a crucial role in protecting the vehicles plastering businesses use for transportation and work-related activities. Tivly emerges as the top company choice for plastering businesses, offering specialized coverage that addresses their unique needs. With their competitive rates, comprehensive policies, and excellent customer service, Tivly ensures plastering businesses have the necessary protection for their vehicles, drivers, and potential liabilities.

Workers Compensation Insurance

When you hire employees or subcontractors, workers compensation insurance becomes crucial. It provides medical benefits and wage replacement to workers injured on the job.The Hartford stands out as the best company choice for workers comp, offering comprehensive protection and specialized policies tailored to the needs of plastering businesses. With their expertise and commitment to customer satisfaction, The Hartford ensures that plastering businesses have the necessary coverage to support their employees in case of accidents or injuries.

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