Thinking of starting up as an independent insulation installer contractor?

Here’s  5 things you need to consider and take into account.

Registration as a business

The first thing you’ll need is your own Australian Business Number, or ABN. This enables you to invoice for the work you do, rather than receiving wages as an employee would.

Not familiar with how insulation is installed? Check out these DIY videos.

Basic tools of trade

How to start an insulation install business. Photo of a man installing acoustic insulation batts.

While not all installers have their own vehicles, it’s a lot more practical if you do have your own ute, van or even a small box truck. Having your own vehicle means that you can easily carry spare bags of insulation with you, and easily move left-over materials between jobs. A suitable vehicle will in all likelihood be the biggest investment you’ll need to make for your new business. The other tools of trade include a sturdy step ladder, a couple of installer “sticks”, a sharp knife, some rolls of tape, some boards for kneeling on, and of course the essential personal protective equipment (PPI)

What PPI does an insulation installer need? 

Regardless of whether or not you intend to work in new buildings or also take on the more demanding “retrofit” (existing buildings) work, you’ll need to have the basics on hand. A dust mask is essential, especially for when you’re working in old ceiling and loft spaces, or installin

g insulation above your head. Protective glasses will greatly reduce the amount of dust getting into your eyes, and many installers also prefer to wear gloves when handling glasswool insulation batts. Always have a fully stocked First Aid kit on hand, and plenty of drinking water.

Liability and other insurances

Insulation installers need liability insurance, which covers accidental damage and injury caused by your work. If you plan to employ workers or engage other sub-contractors, then you’ll need compulsory workers insurance. And of course you may want to comprehensively insure your work vehicle and tools against accidents, fire or theft. There are also other types of personal and business insurance available – an insurance broker may be able to assist you in identifying exactly what your business does and doesn’t need, in order to remain suitable covered.

.. and finally – you’ll need some customers!

Broadly, insulation contractors work for two distinct types of customers: private individuals (e.g. a home owner who wants to upgrade their roof insulation to a higher R-Value) and commercial contractors. In the latter case, the installers are often referred to as “sub-contractors”.  Each type of work has its benefits and its downsides. As a fully independent contractor dealing directly with the end-user, you have greater flexibility in accepting or declining work, and negotiating rates for different types of jobs. As a sub-contractor working regularly for a builder or another insulation contractor, you will probably be on fixed rates, but the flow of work will likely be more dependable.

Insulation installers are almost always paid on a fixed m2 rate, providing high incentive to work fast and earn more in a day.

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