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Setting up your own business is a great way to turn your experience in floor installation into a profitable venture and meet the growing demand for timber floors. From picking your expertise to getting your legal documents in order, we break down the key steps for starting up your new venture.
A timber flooring business works on new builds and renovation projects, and specialises in installing solid hardwood, floating and parquetry timber floors. They also remove old floors, lay down subfloors, and do maintenance and repair work for their customers.
Here are some of the essential steps involved in starting your own timber flooring venture:
You don't necessarily need any formal education to open up a timber flooring business, but it's helpful to have prior work experience in the industry and related fields such as construction, flooring or floor maintenance. Most tradespeople decide to open up their own business after working in the field for five years or more. This way, they have already gained the technical skills and knowledge to navigate the industry at a higher level.
Before you open for business, make sure you have a business plan to stick to, a carefully thought out pricing plan and all of the equipment you'll need to deliver a quality job for your customers. You'll also need to understand how to market your business to increase brand awareness and broaden your customer base. As a small business owner, you will need to manage invoicing, payments and payroll if you have employees.
Many timber floor installers hold a Certificate III in Flooring Technology and have completed work experience of some kind in the industry. This certificate will teach you how to install different types of floors, and how to do maintenance and repair work.
The Certificate III in Flooring Technology costs around $3,220 if you're eligible for government subsidy.
Generally speaking, timber flooring is considered to be a non-structural element of a house and doesn't need to be fitted by a licensed professional. However, the licence requirements vary from state to state. For example, in New South Wales you don't need a licence to do non-structural flooring work, but you will need an appropriate carpentry licence for installing load-bearing timber floors.
Check out these links to find the licensing rules in your state:
As a flooring installer, you will be travelling to and from projects carrying equipment and materials. Many businesses in the industry own a van or a truck that can be used to transport tools and materials easily.
A few essential tools you'll need include:
You may also need an accounting software for invoicing and bookkeeping. There are many online options available to help you automate accounting tasks.
There's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to structuring your company. After all, you need to choose the structure that is right for you and your business model. The following are typical business models that you may choose for your timber flooring business:
It's common to register your business as a Sole Trader if you're the only person running and managing the business. As the owner, you will be solely responsible for every aspect of the business including its debts and losses. You can still employ others to work for you under this structure.
If you're opening up your timber flooring business with a friend or family member, you may choose to register it as a Partnership. This means that both you and your partner have joint responsibility for the business including its debts and losses. To safeguard all parties involved, you may want to consider using a Partnership Agreement.
Generally, if you structure your business as a Company, you will have to pay higher set-up and operating costs, and you will need to also pay a fee to have the company reviewed by the corporate regulator annually. However, a Company structure will give you better protection for your personal assets if things go wrong.
To protect yourself and your business, it's important to make sure that you have all of the necessary legal documents in place.
For a timber flooring business, here are a few essential documents you may need:
If you don't have the documents already, we have legal templates available to help you draft them.
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
For a timber flooring business, it's a good idea to set up a website that showcases your services and the different timber floors online, photos of completed flooring jobs and testimonials from customers. For this, you'll need to choose a web host and a domain name before designing your website.
Many timber flooring businesses offer free measure and quote services so you can meet potential customers in person and explain your services and pricing in more detail. You can also work with local flooring stores, interior designers and renovators to promote your services.
Online marketplaces allow you to proactively respond to job requests from customers. Some of the top platforms include:
You can download the app offered by each marketplace you compare. A site like Airtasker, for example, lets you post tasks as well as browse existing job postings. This can be useful for your research, as you can check out some of the local competition for your service as well as the prices being discussed.
Elsewhere, you might want to sign up for business directories to help get your name out further. Popular ones include White Pages and True Local.
To keep up with the other timber flooring companies in your area, you'll need to price your services competitively. To price your job, you need to take into account the cost of the materials as well as the cost of the labour. Some hidden factors that may affect your pricing include:
Most flooring professionals choose to charge per square metre, which changes depending on the quality of the materials being laid. According to current market prices for hardwood timber, you might think of charging:
Is a flooring business profitable?
A flooring business can be profitable. According to the Australian Timber Flooring Association, timber floors currently make up a quarter of the flooring market and the demand for timber floors is increasing. According to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), a small flooring business with two tradespeople can have turnover between $100,000 and $600,000 a year.
Naturally, your flooring business will grow by providing a great service for customers. Effective marketing is also a must, especially when you're just starting out and need to get your name out there. Offering customers free measure and quote services is a great way to meet potential customers in person and explain your services in greater detail.
How many jobs/projects do timber installing businesses complete a year?
According to the ATO, a two-person business will complete 55 jobs per year, with each job taking an average of 4 days.
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