How to start a small business as a Stonemason and doing Decorative Brick Work
Description of Job
• Design and install decorative stone and brick walkways, patios, walls, and garden features.
• Build brick and stone custom barbecues. • Repair and maintain existing exterior stonework.
The Need and Demand For this Business
Outdoor stonework in the form of walkways, patios, walls, and barbecues can beautify a property and increase its value. Stonemasonry is one of the oldest con- struction skills, little changed in thousands of years; in modern days it is a craft not often practiced.
Challenges Faced By the Business
This is outdoor work, with heavy lifting. You’ll need to lift and place heavy stones, bricks, and tiles and use tools to
shape them. You’ll also be working with heavy mortar and cement. In some parts of the country, this is a seasonal job that is available from late
spring through late fall. You may be called upon to design a decorative element or wall or to follow the plans drawn by an architect or contractor.
Important Things to Know About the Business
Stonework is in demand nearly everywhere, but with different purposes or styles in various settings. In a big city, jobs might include walkways, steps, and small patios. In rural and suburban settings, jobs might include larger patios, outdoor fireplaces and barbecues, and stone walls.
The traditional method of training for stonemasonry is to work as a helper or apprentice to a skilled craftsperson. In some areas, unions offer training and for- mal apprenticeship programs. You can also learn many of the skills from books, web sites, and educational programs. The International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsworkers has programs around the country and a national training and education center in Maryland to teach basic job skills for brick, stone, tile, terrazzo, and restoration work.
How to Get Started In the Business
If you are already trained as a stonemason, advertise your services with flyers at home and garden centers, retail outlets, and community centers. Place ads in newspapers and shopping guides.
Make yourself known to architects, contractors, and landscapers who might recommend your services to their clients; offer a commission or bonus for work they send to you. Ask satisfied customers to recommend you to others; in return, offer them a bonus or discount on further work.
Up-front Expenses for the Business Startup
You’ll need stoneworking tools, cement and mortar mixing equipment, and land- scaping equipment.
You will need a truck or van to transport your tools and equipment. You may be able to have stone, brick, and other materials delivered directly to the site by your suppliers; if not, you’ll need a heavy truck with a lift gate or ramp.
Other expenses include advertising and promotion.
How Much to Charge For This Service
For a simple job like a barbecue or a brick patio, you can charge an all-inclusive set fee that covers the cost of materials and your time. Another option is to charge an hourly rate plus the cost of materials and supplies.
Skilled stonemasons typically charge $25 to $40 per hour for their labor; unionized workers generally receive a higher rate.
Legal and Insurance Issues
Special notes: Some municipalities and local homeowners’ associations may have regulations about the type and size of ornamentation, walls, and fences.
➀ Legal ➁ Legal ➂ Legal ➃ Accounting ➄ Insurance.