How to Start a Demolition Business

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Small demolition companies work as subcontractors to construction companies carrying out demolition of homes or commercial buildings before redevelopment. They win business by offering a service on small projects at costs that larger construction companies cannot match.They also handle specialist projects, such as removing asbestos or clearing contaminated ground. To start a small business, acquire demolition equipment, hire a team of laborers and obtain any permits necessary to handle hazardous materials.

An excavator destroys a builidings wall.
An excavator destroys a builidings wall. (Image: tverkhovinets/iStock/Getty Images)

Equip Your Business

Buy only basic equipment such as hammers, grapples, power tools and shovels when you start your business. A pickup truck is essential to transport equipment to site and haul away reclaimed materials. Keep startup costs below $10,000 by buying essential tools and renting heavy equipment such as cranes, wrecking balls and excavators as you need them. Minimize capital investment in heavy equipment until the business grows.

An excavator destroys a building.
An excavator destroys a building. (Image: Aneese/iStock/Getty Images)

Build a Team

Recruit a team with a range of skills to start and run your demolition business. Hire a project manager with knowledge of building structures and experience of demolition techniques to plan projects and provide customers with accurate estimates. Recruit a supervisor with good people management techniques to hire workers and manage them on site. Depending on initial orders, recruit full-time employees or hire self-employed workers as you need them. Although general laborers can handle routine demolition work, hire skilled specialists if projects involve hazardous materials such as asbestos.

An excavator removes debris from a demolition site.
An excavator removes debris from a demolition site. (Image: Bogdanhoda/iStock/Getty Images)

Ensure Safe, Compliant Working Practices

Develop safe working practices to protect your employees on site. Check the resources available from the National Demolition Association, including a Demolition Safety Manual, a Hazard Communication Plan and guidelines on the safe removal of lead and asbestos. Familiarize your team with the requirements of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). Provide your workers with hard hats and gloves, and ensure they wear protective clothing when they work with hazardous materials. Apply for a license as a demolition contractor to comply with local and state laws. If you plan to remove hazardous waste, obtain certification from an organization such as the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management.

A worker cuts a steel beam at a demolition site.
A worker cuts a steel beam at a demolition site. (Image: jim pruitt/iStock/Getty Images)

Sell Reclaimed Material

Maximize your income and offset demolition costs by selling any materials you reclaim to builders or owners who want to match existing materials. Reduce the costs of disposing of waste by reclaiming materials such as bricks, timber, steel beams, lead and copper.

Copper wires being recycled at a scrap yard.
Copper wires being recycled at a scrap yard. (Image: Halamka/iStock/Getty Images)

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