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Start a garage door installation and repair business by following these 9 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 step 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.
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 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 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.
After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC prevents you from being personally liable if your garage door installation and 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, and it's easy enough to form by yourself, or check out the top business formation services.
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 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
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 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.
Recommended: Get started with local advertising for your business with a $300 credit from Yelp.
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.
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 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.
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.
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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.
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.