Jim asked in PetsFish · 1 decade ago

Are you an aquarium cleaning business?

What do you charge for cleaning a 20 gallon freshwater tank? Saltwater? How did you attract customers when you first started? Do you charge for testing water? If so, how much? Which is better (profitwise) fresh or salt water?

Thanks for your answers.

5 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    There was one in my town in Mississauga.

    Actually, he owned a small Chinese fish store, not just for cleaning. He did cleaning probably he didn't have enough business. He didn't do water check.

    But here, we have Petsmart and PJ's Pet to give you FREE water testing. How much can you really charge seriously? Buying a test kit might be more worthwhile, unless you only charge 2 quarters. But having it free helps you attract and build strong relation with your clientele.

    Anyway, that guy closed down a while ago. He was beaten by Petsmart, PJ's Pet, Big Al's, and few other big Chinese stores. And none of these stores offer cleaning service i believe.

    Now if you get real, i'd say close to no private household would pay for aquarium cleaning. Having someone come over to clean might be more troublesome, not to mention more expensive.

    So I think that buddy is right, your business might only work for commercial tanks. Or even restaurants etc. But I think you'd need to provide much more service than just cleaning.

    For example, at Petsmart, I know this guy, he has his own private fish/reptile business on the side. But while working for Petsmart as the popular senior guy, he gains a lot of customers. He wholesales, he cleans, he sets up fres/saltwater tanks for people, he gives lots of free advices during Petsmart's business hours, and of course free water tests using Petsmart's resources. Then recently i realize he does more than that. He travels often to get weird species of fish/reptiles and plants illegally. Anyway, the owner of Petsmart knows it and he's allowed, as long as he doesnt' interfere with Petsmarts business. Petsmart gained a really knowledgeable fish expert this way that would work for them. How often would you find staff who are very knowledgeable at a LFS anyway.

    I also know that, there is a guy, who sales nothing buy Live Rocks, that are being cured in a mini pool in his garage. He sells that for 4$ per pound, would is about half the retail price if you consider tax too. No cleaning, but he offers free advice, and other chemicals.

    Hope this gave you a lot of insight! :)

  • Gary C
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    I am not an aquarium cleaning business, but I know somebody who has one. They charge $40 per hour (with a one-hour minimum per visit), plus the cost of any equipment they install (few visits take longer than one hour).

    Someone else I know was in this business, but got out of it. She said she liked the aquarium work, and the money was pretty good, but it was too hard to deal with all the weird people.

    To attract customers, advertise at pet stores, in pet magazines, and in your neighborhood newspaper.

    It would be best to do both freshwater and saltwater tanks, because that enlarges your potential customer base. Your biggest cost is for your time, so I don't think there's going to be a big difference in profitability of fresh water vs. salt water.

  • 1 decade ago

    No, not sufficient clientele in my small town. If I lived in a big city, I would certainly think about this as a career choice. If there are other such businesses in your area, call them pretending to be a potential customer and ask their rates.

    Everything relating to saltwater is more expensive than freshwater.

    Testing should be a courtesy, and should be performed when you clean the tank. If someone calls you just to come test their water, for some reason, you can charge a nominal fee for the "house call." If they bring the water to your business (if you are set up like that), you should do it for free.

    To get customers, you must advertise. Create a web page, post fliers in all the pet stores, put an ad in the newspaper and yellow pages. Print some business cards and give them to everyone.

    One of the best ways is to send mass mailings to doctor and dentist offices. Just a flier, with a full-color picture of one or two tanks you have set up (you should offer that as part of your services, also), plus what other services you offer (weekly cleaning, etc). Many doctors and dentists know that aquariums in the waiting rooms lower stress in patients, but few have the time and inclination to care for the tank themselves. They can and should be your target group.

    Look for a wholesaler or work a deal with a local fish store to buy your tanks and supplies wholesale, or at a discount.

    When you do an install, you should provide fish food, with printed instructions for exactly how much to feed and how often. Provide the number to call when they run low on food. Keep in mind, businesses are often closed one or two days in a row, make sure the fish you use can tolerate that.

    Keep a file on each tank you service, with detailed records. Record the date of each service, the water test results, what you did to the tank, and what you charged. When you start up your contract with each business, work it out if they want to pay at each visit, or send you a monthly payment, or whatever. Record the dates and amounts of payments (that will be vital at tax time).

    If you have to go out of business for any reason, give your clients as much notice as possible, so they can make other arrangements.

    Source(s): What I would do.
  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Do you mean a gravel vacuum? They aren't exactly the best choice. If your tank is fully cycled, has a good filter, fine gravel, not overfed or crowded with fish, then there is no need for one. My tanks all have sand, and are planted with lots of plants and have filters. The sand prevents fish poop, fish food and other detritus from sinking into the substrate so it stays at the top. The bacteria will then degrade it into smaller pieces, then these pieces will be sucked by the filter at night when I turn it on. The plants will also absorb the detritus. Please don't do what many people who have no idea how to take care of fish often do. That is to take out all the substrate, ornaments and stuff, clean everything and put everything into the tank. This will prevent your tank to be ever cycled and will make your fish unhealthy and stressed.

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  • catx
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    To be honest, in my experience, the only businesses that do this would be looking after tanks that are not kept by private owners but that are kept as show tanks in shops, restaurants and offices. And are usually maintained by whoever installed them as part of a package.

    As a private owner of tanks, the maintenance of the tank is part of the fun of the ownership! I would never trust another individual to meddle with my tanks!

    I have helped a junior school that had a neglected 180 litre tank a member of staff had set up but then left. I did all that for free! Got a nice xmas present from them though, and trained another member of staff to look after the tank themselves.

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