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How to start a bricklaying business

Discover how to successfully launch a bricklaying business in Australia with our guide.

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Bricklaying is an essential part of most construction projects. From new homes to building repairs, it can be a profitable venture. If you're considering launching a bricklaying business, here's our guide to getting started.

What is a bricklaying business?

A bricklaying business specialises in assembling units of bricks or similar materials, including concrete blocks and stone. You can operate as part of a wider construction project or work on smaller projects in isolation.

Bricklayers can help construct structures such as chimney blocks, fireplaces, walls or arches. They also repair existing brick structures such as walls or fences, and they can paint, clean or restore brick surfaces. It's also common for bricklayers to cut and repair bricks, as well as support minor concreting work to support a brick structure.

How to start a bricklaying business

These six simple steps will help you lay a solid foundation for your bricklaying business.

1. Draft a business plan

A business plan will provide direction and clarity of vision for your business.

Business plans can evolve and adapt according to your business's growth, but at the initial stages, your business plan should include:

  • Priority activities and strategies. What are the key goals and activities you plan to work on in the short to medium term?
  • Current environment. Identify the competitors in the market at the moment and analyse.
  • Financial and marketing plan. Include your budget and projected marketing costs.
  • SWOT analysis. Analyse the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) to your bricklaying business. Identifying weaknesses and threats early on in your venture can help you prepare for success.
  • Products and services. What are the key offerings of your business and what is your competitive advantage?

2. Determine the structure of your bricklaying business

Deciding a business structure is an important consideration before you launch a business, as it will implicate your operational costs, tax concessions and more.

The right structure for your bricklaying business depends on your business goals and current capacity. Each business structure involves different obligations and benefits. We discuss the three main structures in Australia – Sole Trader, Partnership and Company – in more detail below.

3. Choose a location

Your location will affect the clients you service and the staff you hire. Setting up far from your clients or staff can also impact your business's productivity and incur travel-related costs.

Choosing a suitable location is an important business decision. As a bricklaying business, you will require dedicated tools, equipment and materials.

If you work from home or communicate with your clients online, a garage or shed may be a suitable work and storage space.

4. Register your business

To operate as a business in Australia, you will need to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) using your business name. You can use your own name if you are a Sole Trader.

Securing an ABN is required before you can apply for other concessions, such as goods and services tax (GST). To apply for an ABN, visit the Australian Business Register website.

5. Arrange insurance, licences and permits

Setting up a bricklaying business in Australia requires licences and permits depending on your local council. In NSW, for example, a licence is required to work on any residential building work that is valued at more than $5,000.

As bricklaying is a type of trade work, bricklaying businesses in NSW will require a trade licence – these licences will differ depending on the nature of the work and the supervision required:

  • Contractor licences allow you to advertise and provide the bricklaying service listed on your licence card.
  • Supervisor certificates permit individuals to supervise bricklaying work as specified on the certificate.

Additional permits may be required to perform a bricklaying service in your local area, so it's essential to confirm the required permits in your area by visiting your local council's website.

For some occupations and projects, Public Liability Insurance is compulsory. Public Liability Insurance protects your bricklaying business and its clients from significant claims and damages.

6. Marketing and promotion

As a final step to starting a bricklaying business, consider the types of promotional activities your business will take on to attract new customers. Will you create a social media account? Or will you engage in local radio advertising or flyer drop offs?

Considering your marketing and promotional plan will help your business build a steady stream of customers.

bricklayer at work

Skills needed to start a bricklaying business

Bricklaying is suitable for people who enjoy hands-on work and consider themselves to be creative and precise. In addition to handling bricks, working as a bricklayer also requires the following:

  • Technical skills. Skilled bricklayers know more about construction than just bricks and concrete. Technical skills, such as interpreting floor plans and blueprints, are essential to understanding a project.
  • Basic mathematical skills. Bricklaying experts are confident in basic mathematics, such as measuring dimensions and calculating angles.
  • Physical endurance. Whether it's working outdoors for extended periods or working at varying heights, bricklayers should be physically fit and active.

Courses and qualifications

To qualify as a bricklayer in Australia, a relevant certificate from a registered training organisation is required. Formal training in the form of a Certificate III in Bricklaying/Blocklaying or a Diploma of Building and Construction (Building) can provide you with the foundational skills to start a bricklaying business.

After your training is complete, your registered training organisation (RTO) can help you gain practical industry experience in order to obtain a White Card, which permits you to carry out construction work.

It's also important to note that additional certification may be required depending on the type of bricklaying work you wish to conduct and the state where you work.


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How to structure a bricklaying business

The structure of your bricklaying business is important as it can affect the licences you require to trade, liability and insurance policies, tax concessions and ongoing business expenses.

Different business structures include:

  • Sole Trader. Operating as a Sole Trader gives you complete control and legal responsibility of your bricklaying business. Setting up a business as a Sole Trader is also one of the simplest options.
  • Partnerships. A Partnership involves two or more parties that operate as co-owners. In a Partnership structure, the income and expenses are shared between the parties involved.
  • Company. Setting up your business as a Company structure means your bricklaying business operates as a separate legal entity that is responsible to various shareholders. A Company business structure can be an appealing option, as it provides financial protection.

Tools and equipment needed to start a bricklaying business

Launching a bricklaying business will require a range of precision tools, materials and equipment, including:

  • Protective gear. Cut-resistant gloves, safety goggles and steel cap work boots.
  • Tools. Brick trowel, pointing trowel, lifting tongs, brick hammer and a bolster chisel.
  • Measuring tools. Measuring tape and spirit level.
  • Transport. Wheelbarrows.
  • Additional tools. Cement mixers, mortar mixing board.
  • Vehicles. You may want to invest in a ute, van or truck to help you transport tools to and from job sites.

Software needed to start a bricklaying business

Consider setting up a website for your business so customers know how to contact you and book your services. You can build a business website yourself or use a professional web designer.

Point of sale (POS) technology and payment tools can also provide your business with an efficient way to charge customers for your services. Services such as Square have cost-effective solutions for payment terminals and invoices.

Productivity software and tools such as Microsoft 365 can assist you with document storage, team calls, client online meetings and collaboration. Email marketing software such as Mailchimp can also provide you with an efficient way to communicate with your customers and create targeted email marketing campaigns.

It can also be useful to consider online accounting software from platforms such as MYOB or Xero to take control of your business's finances.

Loan options for a bricklaying business

Starting a bricklaying business can require hefty up-front costs and expenses. Securing a personal loan is one option you can consider to assist you in the expansion and growth of your business.

Depending on the size of your business, you may also be eligible for a small business loan that can assist you with expenses related to the set-up and ongoing operation of your venture.

Be sure to carefully review loan terms and conditions, and speak to a financial advisor if you're unsure about which option is best for you.

Drafting legal documents before you launch your bricklaying business can protect your business down the track. You can access templates for essential legal documents on sites like LegalVision or Lawpath. Some initial documents to consider drafting include:

  • Service Agreement. A document that outlines the services you agree to provide to your customers, the terms of payment and your client's responsibilities.
  • Employment Agreement. If your bricklaying business intends to hire employees, an Employee Agreement is important in defining an employee's rights and obligations to your company. An Employee Agreement can help prevent legal disputes between your business and an employee.
  • Subcontractor Agreements. Working on different construction projects may require you to engage with contractors or Sole Traders. A Subcontractor Agreement outlines clear terms and conditions between your business and a hired subcontractor to prevent any disputes.

Depending on the structure of your business, you will also require additional legal documents such as Partnership Agreements or Shareholder Agreements.

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How do I find customers?

Ensuring your bricklaying business is discoverable by your customers is an important element of finding and retaining customers. In an increasingly digital environment, establishing your online presence will help you secure new clients.

Here are some ways to help customers find your business online:

  • Build a Google My Business listing with your details
  • Create a Facebook business page
  • Invest in search engine marketing

In addition to digital marketing, here are some other avenues to attract new customers:

  • List your business on relevant online service directories like True Local or White Pages
  • Letterbox drop your flyers in strategic areas

How much should I charge my customers?

Bricklaying businesses can charge customers on a project basis or hourly rate. Depending on the nature of the project, bricklayers can charge customers an hourly rate ranging between $20 and $40 per hour.

The rate you charge your customer can also fluctuate depending on the location of the job, materials required and the complexity of the project.

To determine a fair rate to charge your customers, sites such as hipages, Oneflare and ServiceSeeking can help you determine the rates across different types of projects and areas.

Get your business moving with payment terminals, QR code ordering, invoices and more.

Frequently asked questions

How many hours does a bricklayer work?

As a full-time bricklayer, you can spend anywhere between 40-44 hours a week on the job. Similar to other construction-related jobs, bricklaying work may involve starting at earlier hours in the morning.

How many bricks per day does a bricklayer lay?

On average, a bricklayer can lay 300-500 bricks per day but a bricklayer's productivity may be subject to weather conditions.

How much do bricklayers earn?

Your earning ability as a bricklayer is typically determined by your experience. Bricklayers with 1 to 4 years experience can earn anywhere between $21-$26 per hour according to PayScale. For experienced bricklayers, your earning potential ranges from $30-$37 per hour.

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