fish tank cleaning business

Creating a Fish Tank Cleaning Business was One of my First Business Ideas.

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 business 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 With a Fish Tank Cleaning Business?

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.

Note: 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 Amazon.

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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 expenses.

Qualifications / Requirements to Handle a Fish Tank Cleaning Business

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.

First Steps

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.

Resources

Freshwater Aquariums For Dummies, by Maddy Hargrove – For Dummies 2006.

Image by Biljana Martinic via Unsplash / Image by Jon Rawlinson via Flickr