Parking Lot Sweeping: What Equipment Do I Need To Start My Business?

So you want to start a parking lot sweeping business. Well, when you go out to the parking lot at night, what are you going to need to do? You will obviously need a parking lot sweeper, but you will want to make sure you get the one that is right for you. There are roughly four categories of electric sweepers and they are used for different purposes. You will want to identify which one will be right for you. There are a few different types of technology used in parking lots and street sweepers, some are mechanical, some use regenerative air, and some use a fan-based vacuum. Keep in mind that the technology used is not really relevant for someone starting out in business. I recommend focusing on results, that is, parking lots that are clean once you are gone. With that in mind, here are the most relevant sweeper categories:

Truck Mounted: This type of sweeper is mounted on the chassis of a pick-up truck. For example, a Ford 150, GMC Sierra, or Chevrolet S-10 chassis. The platforms are removed from these trucks and a sweeper unit is mounted in their place. The cabin remains the same. These trucks can have one or two sweeper arms and are designed for sweeping parking lots. It is very normal to see that these trucks only have one sweeper arm, because that is all that is really required to clean curb areas in a parking lot. They are also good for cleaning parking garages, because multi-story garages often have low ceiling clearance. Since this type of sweeper is mounted on a consumer vehicle, it can easily meet the clearance requirement. Street sweepers generally require sweeping arms on both sides, because they are intended to clean the streets. This type of parking lot sweeper is not designed for street cleaning and often does not come with two sweeping arms.

Box Truck Mounted – This type of sweeper is also used to clean parking lots, but they are used for larger lots. They are capable of sweeping larger areas without filling the hopper as fast (the hopper is where the trash that is vacuumed is stored). These types of sweepers would be used to clean parking lots in retail super centers or large shopping centers.

Street Sweeper: This type of sweeper is used by municipalities, cities and counties to clean the streets. This is the type of sweeper that is accompanied by ticket-writing waitresses who attack when you forget to move your car on sweeping days. They are very large and are not relevant to someone looking to start a parking lot sweeping business.

Construction Sweeper: These are heavy duty road sweepers. They are often used in construction cleaning and are capable of sucking up bricks, nails, and 2×4 pieces. You will often see these types of sweepers on the road when there is a road construction. They are there to remove the gravel and trash that comes up when crews are working on the roads. This type of sweep tends to have a very high profit margin because the work is project-based, and since these types of jobs come up when construction projects require it, they can afford to charge more money.

Miscellaneous: There are a couple of other types of sweepers worth mentioning. There are sweeper units that are designed to slide into the bed of a pickup truck. They are best described as truck mounted vacuum units and do not come with a sweeper arm. These are great for beginners and landscaping contractors. You don’t really need to have a sweep arm, with these units it would blow all the debris into the direct path of the truck and the vacuum unit will suck up all the trash. Sliding sweeper units can deliver the same results as sweep arm sweepers. Second, there are towed sweeper units. This type of sweeper is good to have as a backup sweeper, and good for people just starting out in the parking lot sweeping business. You can buy one of these sweepers much cheaper than all the other types. These will work to help you get started.

Now you know what type of sweepers are relevant to your needs. Since you are interested in starting a parking lot sweeping business, you will also need more equipment.


• A leaf blower

• High visibility reflective safety jacket

• GPS navigation

• Sturdy work boots

That’s all you need once you’ve determined which sweeper is right for you. Once you have this kit, you are practically ready to start your parking lot cleaning business.

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