How to start a graffiti removal business in 7 Steps

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Homeowners and businesses will always need the services of a cleaning business, including graffiti removal. Even in your community, you may notice unsightly graffiti that the owner will want removed. Cleaning and removing graffiti can be a profitable business, and you don’t need much to get started. 

Here’s everything you need to know about starting a graffiti removal business. 

How to start a graffiti removal business 

Take the following steps before you go ahead and put up a graffiti removal business. These tips can help you decide if a graffiti removal business is right for you. 

Step 1: Do a business plan.

You can do your own study on the viability of a graffiti removal business. If you’re unsure how to go about this process, you can hire someone to write your business plan. A professional can help you get all the essential information before you invest your time and effort into a graffiti removal business. 

Step 2: Choose a business name.

This may seem like a trivial step, but remember that once you choose a name and register it, you’ll have to use that name for tax filing and promotional materials. You’ll also be using your business name on your website domain registration, possibly for years to come. 

Keep these guidelines in mind when choosing a business name:

  • Consult your state’s business naming guidelines.
  • Choose a name your customers can easily pronounce, spell, and remember.
  • Don’t use a name that’s identical to a competitor’s name. Make sure your business name’s web domain isn’t already registered. 
  • Use a name that’s consistent with your brand and what you offer. Names like “Graffiti Removal Specialists” and “Graffiti B-Gone” may seem similar, but they can imply different offerings and give a hint as to the market they serve.   
  • Keep in mind that a location-specific business name may limit you in the future. (“Texas Graffiti Cleaning Specialists” may not be the most suitable name if your business becomes a nationwide operation.) 

Step 3: Decide on your type of business. 

Decide whether you want to run it as a sole proprietorship, a general partnership, corporation (S corp or C corp) or LLC (Limited Liability Company). You can check the U.S. Small Business Administration website to learn more about the different business structures. 

Step 4: Apply and register for tax purposes.

Register your business for federal and state tax purposes and apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Also, you may look into applying for a business credit card and opening a new bank account. 

Step 5: Get licensed. 

After you’ve decided on your business name and had it registered, you can proceed with getting the appropriate licenses and certifications to operate in your state. Check with the town, city, or county clerk’s office on how to get your license. You can also get assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to get the needed licenses and certifications. 

Step 6: Get the graffiti cleaning equipment and supplies.

You can buy the equipment for a graffiti cleaning business, such as a graffiti remover machine or pressure washer. Should you want to get all the equipment you need from the start, specialised tools can cost up to $500
If you want to keep your startup costs at a minimum, you can always lease some of these machines. A good investment would be a service vehicle to store and transport your equipment.  Cleaning graffiti with high pressure water jet equipment

You’ll also need paint-stripping chemicals and safety equipment. Options include paint-stripping chemicals in spray cans from hardware stores or in large jugs from industrial suppliers. You can get the latter option for graffiti that covers a large area and was applied in multiple thick layers. 

Apart from having a steady water supply at the worksite, your pressure washer must be able to shoot water at pressures of 1000 to 3000 PSI.

Step 7: Promote your graffiti removal business.

There are different ways of promoting your operation. You can pound the pavement and look for graffiti-ridden properties; Speak to the owners or go house-to-house and give out flyers and calling cards. 

Another way is to do it all online by setting up a website and finding graffiti removal jobs on Airtasker. 

Is a graffiti removal business worth it? 

Graffiti removal can be a good business, as there’s a huge demand for these services. According to the U.S. EPA, graffiti is a nationwide problem that costs about $15 to $18 billion annually to monitor, remove, and mediate its damage to communities. Of these amounts, $12 billion is spent hiring companies to remove graffiti. 

So there’s no lack for people who need the services of a graffiti removal business, and there’s a real opportunity for profit!

Here are more reasons why starting a graffiti removal business can be viable:

  • You can run the business part-time.
  • You don’t need a large space for an office; You can base your operations in your garage or basement.
  • Startup costs are relatively small.
  • Costly equipment can be rented instead of purchased outright.
  • Learning how to remove graffiti and train staff is relatively easy.
  • You can do away with high startup costs and get an established franchise.

With a detailed business plan, you can find out how much you need to invest to be profitable. From there, you can decide if you want to take the plunge!  

Start your graffiti removal business now. 

Graffiti removal can be a profitable and worthwhile business venture when set up in the right location and with the right equipment. To get your operations up and running, sign up on Airtasker now to list your services and connect with potential customers in your area.

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FAQs on starting a graffiti removal business

Graffiti is an act of vandalism or intentional destruction of public or private property. In legal terms, graffiti is permanently etching, drawing on, painting, marking, scratching, or engraving property without the owner’s consent. 

Graffiti removal customers include schools, libraries, homeowners, retailers, government offices, public utility companies, real estate agents, and real estate developers. 

People need graffiti removal services because most illegal graffiti has little to no aesthetic value; Graffiti can be an eyesore and deface the structures they’re on. Also, graffiti is a property crime with actual monetary and social costs. Graffiti can make a property lose significant resale value. As for the social costs, graffiti can make people feel unsafe, as this is often interpreted as a lack of security. Retail establishments could also lose business if their customers see graffiti. 

The most common graffiti removal methods are: 

  • Painting the graffiti out
  • Applying a chemical solvent or chemical paint remover, and 
  • Using a pressure washer

The paint-out method is the most affordable solution, which doesn’t require chemical solvents. Pressure washing is sometimes combined with the use of chemical solvents. Either approach can work depending on the surface the graffiti is on and the size of the graffiti.  

Most professional graffiti removal experts begin with assessing the type of paint used and the surface it’s sprayed on. This helps them determine which kind of paint remover to use and how much of it to apply. After the assessment, they apply the chemicals and let it set. They then use a pressure washer to remove the graffiti section by section. If the graffiti isn’t removed completely on the first pass, they repeat the process until all the graffiti is gone.  

Graffiti removal services usually charge $1 to $3 per square foot, but the rate may vary depending on the location and complexity of the task. Expect a higher rate if the graffiti is not easily accessible, such as high up on the wall of a property, as this will require safety equipment. 

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