How to start a remodelling business

Turn your passion for remodelling into a profitable business.

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If you have an eye for renovation and design, then a remodelling business can be an attractive venture. But before you're ready to tackle your first home, you'll need to ensure you have the right legal and business structures as well as a solid marketing plan. You'll also need a positive attitude and a professional approach to set yourself up for success.

Read on to discover what you need to know about starting a remodelling business.

What skills, knowledge or requirements do I need to start a remodelling business?

The dedication to commit to a project's completion is an important starting point for any remodelling business.

You may not strictly need any formal education, but you should be familiar with the construction process to be able to manage your projects and deliver jobs on time. Having construction skills is also key and online building courses can supplement your hands-on experience of the trade.

Decorating skills are good to have up your sleeve, as remodelling will call on your ability to create an aesthetic for your customers. From flooring, paint and light fixture choices to floor plans you have to consider, your design choices can have a significant effect on client interest.

Knowing where to source materials and a network of contractors you can contact will also set you in good stead. Develop a comprehensive list of where you can get the best deals, backup sources and speciality items, as well as who has the shortest delivery times and nearby sources so you can reduce travel time.

You will benefit from having saome financial skills to predict costs so you can stay within your budget.

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    The equipment and software to consider

    two workers remodelling the kitchen

    The essential equipment you will need for your remodelling business may include:

    • Solid-steel framing hammer with ripping claws
    • Tool pouch
    • Safety glasses
    • Extension cords
    • Demolition bars
    • Brooms
    • Shop vacuum
    • Ladders
    • Lighting
    • Hearing protection
    • Lung protection
    • Tarp and drop cloths
    • Tapes
    • Writing and marking implements
    • Saw blades
    • Drills
    • Drill bits
    • Pliers
    • Sawhorses
    • Coveralls.

    Choosing your business structure

    Finding the right structure for you and your business's needs is a crucial step. You might choose from the following models for your remodelling business:

    Sole Traders. As a sole trader, every aspect of the business is managed by you. You are allowed to employ staff and you'll need to provide workers' compensation insurance, understand your tax, superannuation obligations and your employees' entitlements. You are responsible for handling debt, losses and any legal action.

    Partnership. In this business structure, two or more people share the company's legal responsibilities and the direction the business takes. If you are setting up your remodelling business with someone else, you'll want to draw up a partnership agreement.

    Company. A company generally has more paperwork and potentially higher ongoing costs. As a company is a separate legal entity, money earned belongs to the company. A company is managed by its directors who are liable for any debts and losses incurred.

    As with any business you launch, you'll need to be set up to operate in a way that's legally-sound. You may want to think about the following legal documentation:

    • Contractor Licence. If you intend to contract, sub-contract and advertise to carry out residential building or trade work, you'll need to be licensed. A contractor licence is a requirement if the total job is over $5,000.
    • Construction Induction Card (White Card). This licence is required if you intend to carry out work concerning the construction, alteration, remodelling, maintenance or demolition of a structure. Site managers, supervisors, surveyors, labourers, tradespeople and others who access operational construction zones need to apply for a Construction Induction Card.
    • Compliance certification. You will need a certifier to check that your remodelling meets the environmental objectives at each stage before signing off a project. You can connect with a building inspector or a registered private certifier through the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors. Your certifier should be knowledgeable about sustainable practices and committed to ensuring environmental standards are upheld.
    • Building contract. A contract between you and your client can help minimise misunderstandings and disputes. Often known as a service level agreement (SLA), this contract should outline when the work is to be completed, the scope of works, the contract price, how and when payment is to occur, what happens if there are delays and how to manage variations.

    Find legal templates and services online

    Name Product What's offered? Starting price to become a member Annual Fee from Free legal documents available?
    Lawpath
    Legal documents and templates, Access to lawyers, Legal guides, Legal advice
    $79 per month
    Essentials: $288, legal advice: $828
    You can view samples for free and you can create your first document for free.
    Choose an annual plan from just $288 and get unlimited revisions to your legal or business documents. Plus, unlock exclusive partner offers.
    Sprintlaw
    Legal documents and templates, Access to lawyers, Legal guides, Legal advice
    $599 (with fixed fee services starting at $99)
    $599
    Some documents are free to download. Get access to all documents with a membership.
    Unlimited lawyer phone consultations, free updates to documents, exclusive partner offers & legal discounts.
    LawDepot
    Legal documents and templates, Legal guides
    $4.99 per month
    $59.88
    Free one week trial available which gives access to hundreds of documents.
    Customise and download legal documents in as little as five minutes. Plus, LawDepot offers peace of mind with two service guarantees.
    Legal123
    Legal documents and templates, Legal guides
    Varies per template
    N/A
    No
    Legal123 offers a range of individual templates or document packages for consultants, app developers, personal trainers and more.
    LegalVision
    Legal documents and templates, Legal guides, Legal advice
    $49 + GST per week
    $2,548 + GST
    No
    Your business can take advantage of unlimited lawyer consultations, fast turnaround times and free legal templates with LegalVision.
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    Decide how much to charge your customers

    Each job will be unique and it stands to reason that your pricing will vary each time. Your rates will vary depending on the kind of remodelling – for example, interior house painting can cost around $6,000 and flooring installation may cost about $10,000.

    Remodelling for an entire home can cost anywhere from around $20,000 to over $300,000. The duration of the remodelling, the number of tradies hired, the materials used and the services required contribute significantly to the cost.

    Analyse the currents rates for home remodelling in your area and try to establish what residents are willing to pay for various skills needed in their home improvement work. One way you can do this is to undertake research on an online marketplace such as Airtasker or Oneflare.

    Meanwhile, your typical recurring costs would include rent, utility bills, business insurance, transportation costs and labour.

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    Accept payments from your customers in person and online with Square's card readers, payment terminals, digital invoicing and e-commerce tools.

    Build up your customer base

    Network from the day you begin your project. Keep your business local in the early months to establish your reputation. Commuting might take a lot of time that could be better spent on honing your marketing strategy or a remodelling project.

    Set up a company website and get active on social media. You can show off your current and completed projects on Facebook or Instagram. For low-cost advertising, you may want to consider Google and Facebook ads which can help you reach potential clients.

    Your professional website will be a great place to share your experience, tips, DIY advice and even some training. With your website, you can reach out to clients through newsletters and get feedback. Also, try direct email campaigns.

    Frequently asked questions

    What is considered a major remodelling?

    Major remodelling includes structural changes, waterproofing, changes affecting the outside appearance of the property and work that needs approval under certain laws.

    For major remodelling of a strata title property, the owner must give the owners corporation at least 14 days' written notice before the work starts that describes the proposed alteration.

    What skills and trades are involved in a remodelling?

    The main tradespeople involved in remodelling are builders, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, gasfitters, tilers, handymans and glaziers.

    What are the key stages of a home remodelling?

    A home remodelling begins with the design and organising of a plan. The renovators will check for any structural instability and will work to address the issues. Once everything has been assessed, the remodelling steps will include demolition, structure and utility work, insulation and drywall, and then windows and interior design.

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