Start a garage door installation and repair business by following these 10 steps:
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 guide to starting your garage door installation and repair business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Check out our How to Start a Business page.
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 much can you charge customers?
- 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 garage door installation and repair business?
Start up costs can be relatively low, with most businesses needing between $4,000 and $8,500 to get started. Much of the materials are stored in a retail warehouse until they are shipped to the consumer or to your business site before an installation takes place. This allows a start-up to avoid renting or building their own storage facility.
Other costs can include:
- Carpentry and power tools, including a circular saw, drills, sawzall, hand tools, tape measures, and levels.
- Reliable transportation. A full size truck or panel van will work well. You may consider commercial vehicle insurance, as well.
- Insurance, business license, and possibly a contractor’s license. Check with local and state offices to see what levels of certification you need to begin operations.
- If you open a brick and mortar location or rent a storage facility, these would also be costs to consider.
What are the ongoing expenses for a garage door installation and repair business?
Most ongoing expenses are related to repairing or replacing tools used in the installation process. Circular saws, jigsaws, and drills are common power tools a garage door tech would need to replace. Other costs include care and maintenance of commercial vehicles or the rental costs for an office location or storage facility, if your business uses either of these.
Who is the target market?
Ideally, you are looking to attract and capture residential customers who are looking to repair, replace, or install a garage door system. If you are working as a sub-contractor for a residential housing business, you might shift some of your attention to making sure you continue to capture the attention and continued partnership of the builders.
How does a garage door installation and repair business make money?
Garage door companies make their money from the sale, installation, and repair of garage doors and their mechanical systems.
Approximately 2/3 of the homes in the U.S. have a garage door, and over 70% of those homes are over 20 years old, offering numerous opportunities for installations and repairs. Fortunately for customers and businesses owners alike, garage door installation or replacement is relatively inexpensive, compared to other household upkeep, such as roofing or windows, which can be three to five times as expensive to fix. Garage doors are often one of the most likely residential capitol repairs or upgrades to take place.
How much can you charge customers?
Most installation costs are built around the garage door and hardware pricing, plus labor costs. Door and hardware pricing will vary, depending on style and materials, but most installations will remain relatively similar. Garage doors cost anywhere from $500 to $3,000, with the labor averaging about $500 for five hours of work.
How much profit can a garage door installation and repair business make?
Annually, a garage door business can average $150,000-200,000 in profits. In years one through five, many business owners invest much of these profits back into the company to continue a positive growth pattern.
How can you make your business more profitable?
As mentioned above, offering maintenance services on doors and equipment may generate more revenue. It is also an excellent method for maintaining positive customer relations. Other options for increasing profitability would be the renovation or reclamation of older or antique garage doors. Older doors, which were specially made or need replacement wood or hardware may preserve the value of a historic home more than replacing with a new door.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Garage Door Installation and Repair Business Name Generator
When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:
- Your state's business records
- Federal and state trademark records
- Social media platforms
- Web domain availability.
It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your garage door installation and repair business is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
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?.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
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.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
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.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.
Open net-30 accounts
When it comes to establishing your business credit, net-30 vendors are considered the way to go. The term "net-30," which is popular among vendors, refers to a business credit arrangement where the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services.
Net-30 credit terms are often used for businesses that need to obtain inventory quickly but do not have the cash on hand.
Besides establishing business relationships with vendors, net-30 credit accounts get reported to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended: Read our guide on the best net-30 vendors so you can start building business credit now, so you never have to worry about cash flow in the future. Keep in mind that poor cash flow is the #1 reason businesses fail!
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 a garage door installation and 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.
Labor Safety Requirements
Since the installation of garage doors can involve tools and machinery, it is important to abide by labor safety requirements which can be found here.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
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.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
How to promote & market a garage door installation and repair business
Advertise as much as possible and with as many free or low cost forms as possible. Social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are excellent tools for spreading your business name and generating customer interest. A business website can also be a relatively inexpensive tool for fielding questions, taking orders, and managing customer word of mouth.
In addition, align yourself with other industry professionals and related businesses and services. Cross pollination of related businesses, such as pressure washing and driveway refinishing or door and window businesses can greatly increase your market reach.
How to keep customers coming back
Maintain a high level of professionalism and always treat customers fairly and respectfully. If there is ever a problem, strive to remedy the problem quickly and completely. As mentioned before, word of mouth is one of the best forms of free customer advertising and a positive reputation will take your business a long way. Additionally, look to offer customers certain special incentives to maintain good relations. Preventative maintenance on moving parts, such as oiling the drive chain and checking or replacing rubber seals may be an inexpensive service which really wins over your customers.
Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use.
Recommended: Find the best phone system for your business; check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2021.
Start A Garage Door Installation and Repair Business In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
Those individuals with experience in residential and commercial construction, retail sales of garage doors, or any combination of these attributes will find themselves at an advantage in this industry. Additionally, physical strength and agility are important, as well as the ability to talk to customers in a professional and personable manner.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at a garage door installation and repair business?
On most days, you and your team will be out in the field performing installations, or repairs and replacements of parts or whole garage door systems. An additional amount of time will be spent marketing and promoting your business, as well as following up on customer leads or checking status and customer satisfaction of completed installations and repairs.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful garage door installation and repair business?
Experience in residential construction is always helpful. A solid understanding of sound construction principals will ensure greater success of installs and working around existing construction when repairing or replacing existing systems. Retail sales of garage door systems would also give an entrepreneur in this field a greater advantage through virtue of understanding the products on the market and some of the industry “secrets” involving garage door systems. Retail sales also increase the likelihood of developing positive customer interactions and communication techniques.
What is the growth potential for a garage door installation and repair business?
With the housing market on the rise as of late, the garage door business is sure to follow. Equally, the garage door industry is slightly underperforming, compared to other residential improvements, such as windows or roofing. This means there is greater potential for growth without fear of stifling competition within the industry.
TRUiC's YouTube Channel
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
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.
Learn from other business owners
Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a garage door installation and repair business?
One of the first steps to creating a competitive niche in this market is to understand your competition and the levels of saturation in your area. Then, create a business model or plan which takes into account your research, overhead costs, potential for growth, and potential industry partnerships or sub-contractual work. Also, make it a point to include yourself in seminars or training courses within the industry. Becoming well known and trusted within your industry will return great dividends, not only financially but strategically among your peers.
How and when to build a team
Initially, a garage door business may only need two or three employees to work on installations. As the business grows, an office manager can be an invaluable addition. And, as the business prospers and grows, additional field techs can be brought on to serve as initial inspectors and estimators and later installers.