How do I Start an Earth Moving Business?

by Martin Muchira; Updated September 26, 2017
Digger loading trucks with soil

An earth moving business has the potential for considerable rewards during periods when construction services are in high demand, but there are also potentially high startup costs, especially for equipment and staffing. A good business plan is essential for securing funding from financial institutions and other sources.

Secure funding for your business, which will require the purchase or leasing of heavy equipment. If you do not have a lot of funds from the start, leasing might be the better option until the business is more established. Places to obtain funding include banks and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Register your business. Get a business license from your state government and register for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the Internal Revenue Service, in order to pay taxes such as income tax, sales tax and withholding tax.

Get insurance. Get general liability and/or auto rental equipment insurance for your business. This is to protect you, your employees and business against personal injury and insurance against any damages. Also, get workers compensation insurance for your employees. Most contractors and clients would not be willing to hire your services unless you are properly insured. Find a business insurance agent who will be able to advise and provide you with insurance packages. You can also come up with a safety program to safeguard your employees from injury, according to U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA) guidelines.

Get equipment. The type depends on your business needs. These include a backhoe which is used for digging; a crane which is used for lifting heavy loads; a bulldozer which is used to push large quantities of soil; a drilling machine which is used to make holes; a pile driver to pile soil into the soil; a grapple used to grab objects; an excavator used to scoop soil; and a feller bencher which is used to cut trees. Other equipment may include road rollers and tunnel boring machines.

Find clients. You can do this primarily through networking with contractors and construction companies, some of which may be willing to subcontract your company for any jobs they have. You can also join your local Chamber of Commerce and come up with advertising materials, such as posters and business cards.

Hire staff with experience in operating heavy equipment. Ensure your drivers have a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). A CDL is necessary to operate any vehicle which has a gross weight of 26,001 lbs. For those who do not have experience, train them on how to handle heavy machinery. If you want to take a hands-off approach in running the business, hire a supervisor who is experienced in the earth moving business and has solid leadership skills.

About the Author

Martin Muchira has been writing content for online businesses since 2008. He has written content for major companies like Air Asia and Comcast. Muchira graduated at the top of his class from Moi University with a Bachelor of Science in wood science and industrial processes.

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