Start a safe installation 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 guide to starting your safe installation 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 safe installation business?
The costs associated with opening a safe installation business are minimal, in part because these businesses don’t have to carry an inventory of safes. There’s no need for a showroom or customer-facing office unless a business decides to sell safes.
Starting out, business owners need tools, hardware, and transportation that’s capable of moving safes. Business owners who don’t already have tools can purchase used ones inexpensively, and the required hardware is cheap. For transportation, business owners can either purchase a truck or rent one when they have installation jobs.
Most business owners already have a computer and phone that they can use for their business.
What are the ongoing expenses for a safe installation business?
The ongoing expenses for a safe installation business are minimal, as long as the business doesn’t have a customer-facing office or showroom. The basic expenses that business owners need to plan for are fuel, vehicle maintenance, and hardware costs.
Who is the target market?
The target market for a safe installation business is anyone who owns a safe. This includes both people and businesses that already own safes and those that are purchasing new safes.
How does a safe installation business make money?
A safe installation business makes money by installing safes. Businesses may serve both individual and commercial customers.
How much can you charge customers?
The average price of a home safe installation is $695, although the price can vary depending on size and security features. Few residential jobs exceed $1,000. Commercial safes can cost much more to install, often running into the thousands.
How much profit can a safe installation business make?
With the average installation running nearly $700, a safe installation business can make a sizeable revenue. Even installing just two home safes a week can lead to an annual revenue of $72,280. With operating expenses so low, the majority of this revenue is profit.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Many people who install safes also sell safes and provide generic locksmith services. Selling safes requires a sizeable capital investment in a retail space and inventory, and becoming a locksmith requires training courses. Both options, however, provide good opportunities for a business to grow.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is very important. Read our detailed guide on how to name your business. 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 safe installation business is sued. There are many business structures to choose from including: Corporations, LLC's, and DBA's.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Check out the Top Business Formation Services from our friends at StartupSavant.
You should also consider using a registered agent service to help protect your privacy and stay compliant.
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.
Recommended: You can get $300 when you open a Chase business checking account with qualifying activities. Learn more.
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 an Safe installation 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 Safe installation business is generally run out of a building. 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 Safe installation 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 Safe installation business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.
Labor Safety Requirements
It is important that your business complies with federal and state labor safety requirements. The following link provides an overview of employer responsibility regarding labor safety.
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 safe installation business
Many people who need a safe installed will search online for an installation specialist in their area, so local search engine optimization is extremely important to these businesses. Referral-based marketing and advertising in print publications can also be effective.
How to keep customers coming back
A safe installation business sets itself apart from generic locksmiths simply by offering specialized installation services. Emphasizing this specialty in marketing materials and through industry credentials further distinguishes an installation business.
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 Safe Installation 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?
Anyone who is willing to move heavy items and is a good problem solver may enjoy running a safe installation business. Business owners must be able to physically move the safes into place and work out any installation issues that arise on the job.
What happens during a typical day at a safe installation business?
Installing a safe involves:
- Driving the safe to the customer’s location
- Surveying the precise installation location
- Bringing the safe to the installation location
- Securing the safe in place
Depending on how busy a business is, it may install several safes in a single day.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful safe installation business?
In order to be successful, business owners must know both how to install safes and how to run a small business.
To learn how to install safes, prospective business owners can work for a locksmith who offers this service or take a safe installation course. Swagelok and other safe manufacturers offer classes on how to install their products.
To learn about running a small business, business owners may want to enroll in relevant courses at their local community college or online. Coursera, Harvard Business School, and other platforms offer online classes.
What is the growth potential for a safe installation business?
Most safe installation businesses are small businesses. AAA Safe & Lock Co. and Heritage Locksmith are two examples of small businesses that offer safe installation (and other services) throughout their local area.
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.
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 safe installation business?
Many locksmiths who sell safes also install them, which makes it difficult for unestablished installation specialists to target new safe owners. Safe owners who are moving, however, are an easy market to target.
By networking with real estate agents and moving companies, installation specialists can find safe owners who will need their safes removed and reinstalled in a new location. Many agents and movers will provide a referral if they’re given a commission in return.
How and when to build a team
Business owners usually start with at least one employee since some safes can’t be moved by just one person. As revenue grows, businesses may bring on additional employees to help with the increased workload. Eventually, a business may hire installation technicians, sales reps, customers service personnel, and locksmiths, depending on what direction the business takes.