You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple step guide to starting your car window repair business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
STEP 1: Plan your Business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How long it will take you to break even?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a car window repair business?
Opening your own car window repair business can be daunting, at first. You will find, though, that the path to successful ownership is not as difficult as imagined by some. To begin, create a business plan with financial and personal goals, both short and long term. Acquire the proper licenses and insurance for your business. You will need to purchase professional tools for removing and installing windshields and windows. You will also spend money on renting a brick and mortar location for your shop, plus the monthly utilities costs. It is advised that you begin your business with at least three months of backing finances, to make sure you weather the storms of opening your own business.
What are the ongoing expenses for a car window repair business?
Insurance, licensing, rental and utilities, and parts and materials are all continuing costs. You’ll also continue to buy replacement tools, shop supplies, and pay your employee salaries with the revenue generated.
Who is the target market?
Auto glass repair shops focus on customers needing to replace broken or damaged car windows. Whether as individuals, or as part of an insurance replacement claim, customers will often seek you out. They will find you, based on price, location, and reputation or recommendation, so make sure your customer service skills are top notch and on display.
How does a car window repair business make money?
Car window repair businesses make money from customer repair orders. Some orders will be from individuals choosing to fix broken or damaged windows from their own pockets. Other repair orders will be generated from insurance claims.
How much can you charge customers?
Window replacement costs will depend on the type of vehicle and which windows are being replaced, although most windshields will average around $100. If labor is more intensive or there are special parts or tools needed, the price will fluctuate. Make sure you factor in the time, materials, and effort at a rate which is fair, yet competitive. Research other businesses in your area as part of a way to understand what works for you.
How much profit can a car window repair business make?
Automobile window replacement is a big business, with annual industry earnings totaling in the billions. If you position yourself right, with a comprehensive business plan and capable team, you’ll be profiting in this industry. A glass repair startup can expect average earnings in the $45-60,000 range for the first few years, with continued expansion, moving forward.
How can you make your business more profitable?
In addition to car and truck windows, some businesses expand to RV, ATV, and boat window replacements. These vehicles are just as susceptible to damage, if not more so. Thinking about how your current business operates can sometimes lead to peripheral business ventures. Have creative discussions with your team and consider how the industry is changing and staying the same to anticipate new earning opportunities.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is very important. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC prevents you from being personally liable if your car window repair business is sued. There are many business structures to choose from including: Corporations, LLC's, and DBA's.
You should also consider using a registered agent service to help protect your privacy and stay compliant.
For most small businesses forming an LLC is a great option, but if you still want to weigh all your options check our our article, What Structure Should I Choose for My Business?
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate car window repair business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
For information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
Certificate of Occupancy
A car window repair business is generally run out of a shop or mobile opperation. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.
- If you plan to lease a location:
- It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
- Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a car window repair business.
- After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
- If you plan to purchase or build a location:
- You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
- Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your car window repair business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.
STEP 7: Get Business Insurance
Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
How to promote & market a car window repair business
Marketing and promoting a business is so critical for success, especially for a business just starting out. A car window repair business is no different. Fortunately, our modern, technologically driven world allows for more connectivity and the ability for customers to seek out and find businesses they need so much easier. Creating a website for your business can be a huge part of this dynamic and will allow customers the ability to find out much of the information they need on their own. In fact, many contemporary customers prefer to do their own research. A website which allows customers to receive ballpark figures can significantly influence these same customers to come into your shop.
Traditional methods of advertising, such as in papers, radio, or on billboards can still be effective, depending on where you’re located. Population density and overall advertising coverage per dollar amount are important factors to weigh, when considering these methods.
You can create flyers, posters, and business cards for reasonable prices, which are also effective methods for local and regional advertising. These items allow for customers to take away a tangible item with your business name and logo attached. Name brand recognition has an important role in swaying customer choices. Whatever your methods, make sure you back up the reputation you’re building with solid workmanship and customer service. The importance of a positive review or recommendation cannot be overstated.
Recommended: Get started with local advertising for your business with a $300 credit from Yelp.
How to keep customers coming back
Once you’ve established your reputation and customer base, the next big trick is getting them to continue to support your business. Most customers want to feel like they are more memorable, recognizable, and special. They want to see a personal connection and it is your job to facilitate that connection. A simple act, such as remembering a customer’s first name or details of a prior interaction can solidify a customer for life. And, once customers are loyal, it’s good business to give them a deal or promotional special, now and again. Customers are the backbone of any business’ success.
STEP 9: Establish your Web Presence
A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.
Start A Car Window Repair Business In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Individuals with a strong work ethic, knowledge of car and truck window systems and great customer service abilities will fit well. As a small business, one must also understand financial and managerial techniques for said businesses.
What happens during a typical day at a car window repair business?
Window repairs and replacements dominate the day to day activities for a car window repair business. Interacting with customers, ordering and receiving parts, and installing and finalizing window replacements are a regular part of this business. In addition, there will be an emphasis on
- training and instructing employees
- processing orders and payments
- inventorying stock items
- advertising and marketing for the business
- communicating with parts distributors
- travel costs for work and training programs
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful car window repair business?
Since you will be servicing many different types of cars and trucks, having knowledge about the structure and function of window mechanisms, adhesives, and auto glass will be beneficial. Prior experience in auto repair or manufacturing would also be a bonus. Small business managerial and financial experience or training will also prepare you for managing employees and your bottom line. Finally, customer service must be one of your strong suits. In order to create long lasting relationships and promote continued business from return customers, you need to be able to communicate and finalize customer requests.
What is the growth potential for a car window repair business?
Car window repairs will continue to be a necessity, unless windows are made indestructible. There will always be some level of competition in this business, but there will also always be a need. The key to success will be to set yourself apart from the competition through superior customer service and competitive, yet fair pricing.
TRUiC's YouTube Channel
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One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a car window repair business?
You need to make your business stand out amongst the competition, therefore your first moves should be to alert the public about your business and what you offer. Social media, a website, and an initial advertising blitz can all be of benefit to your business. It is also advisable to align yourself with related clubs and organizations, such as car clubs, mechanic and body shop groups and organizations supporting your specific trade, such as the National Windshield Repair Association. You will also want to research how you can become a certified window repair technician for various insurance companies. Working for insurance companies helps to funnel a great deal more business to you.
How and when to build a team
You can often start a car window repair shop with a small crew, maybe 3 to 4 people but, more than likely, your business’ success will need more hands on deck. When you have a crew of technicians, all properly trained and certified, you are able to allow the business to run itself with not much guidance. Give your business 6 months to base an initial measure of success, and then again, at your 1 year mark.
Deciding on the number of employees should be based on data and trending numbers, as often as possible. Watch how your advertising and customer engagement drives more business and observe industry and market trends to determine if your success is more specific to your store or to an overall industry trend. As you have continued success, it will signal a time to build a team which has time to learn your system and all of the ins and outs of window replacement technique and materials.