A Fish Tank Cleaning Business
By Steve Gillman
Many years ago I asked about the fish in the waiting room
of a dentist's office, and I was told that they had a fish tank
cleaning service which came every week to clean and maintain
the tank. Since that time, companies which take care of aquariums
have become more common, but there still isn't much competition
in many places. In fact, if you like the idea of a service business
that can be started with little investment and is relatively
simple, this might be right for you.
There are one-time jobs, ranging from cleaning to moving to
setting up fish tanks for customers. Then there are the long-term
contracts that make for a more consistent income. Normally you
visit weekly, biweekly, or monthly to inspect the tank, test
the temperature and pH level of the water, remove algae, treat
the water as necessary, clean items in the tank, replace filters,
and restock the customers fish food. Essentially you will handle
everything other than the between-visit feeding of the fish.
Although some people will want this service at home, your primary
clients will be owners of fish in office buildings, hotels, and
the waiting rooms of doctors and dentists.
How Much Can You Make?
A basic service call for fish tank cleaning is typically $50
to $70 and includes an hour (usually more than enough), with
additional time charged at $50 per hour. Some companies charge
by tank size, with regular maintenance costing $2 to $4 per gallon.
Thus, a 50-gallon tank would be $100 to $200 per visit. Maintenance
plans are where the money is in this business, and the more frequent
the visits the better. Once-per month is the minimum frequency
you should offer, and it's worth discounting for weekly plans
because the job will be easier with such frequent cleaning. Include
all chemicals, fish food, and supplies in the price. Making it
so the client knows the cost and never has to do anything other
than sprinkle some food in the tank is what sells this service.
This page is from a chapter that didn't make it into 101 Weird
Ways to Make Money, my most recent book, which is now available
at your local bookstore or from these online book vendors: Barnes
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Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
Other sources of revenue include renting tanks with all maintenance
included ($100 to $200 per month), setting up or moving aquariums
for clients ($40 to $60 per hour), and the sales of new fish
(they do die) and tank decorations. With 70 or 80 regular clients,
you might have about 40 stops weekly on your route. At an average
of $55 each for regular charges and sales of extras, your annual
revenue will top $114,000, which should leave a good profit after
Qualifications / Requirements
There are no formal requirements to start a fish tank cleaning
and maintenance business, but liability insurance is a good idea.
It should run less than $500 annually, or about $45 per month.
You can use your existing phone line if necessary (answer with
the company name), making this a low-overhead business.
Get educated. In addition to reading up on proper fish tank
maintenance, you should have your own aquarium at home. It is
a good place to practice your techniques and test new products.
Once you feel you're ready, buy the tools and supplies you'll
need and start thinking about marketing. The latter can begin
with a press release. Local papers like to report on new businesses,
especially when they are not the more common ones. Leave your
business cards with pet stores and anyplace else they sell fish
or aquarium supplies.
Freshwater Aquariums For Dummies, by Maddy Hargrove
- For Dummies 2006.
- Supplies for fresh and saltwater tanks.
- Example of a fish tank cleaning business.
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Other Relevant Pages
Work From Your Home
Odd Ways to Make Money
Some Good Businesses
Becoming a Fish Doctor
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