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While placing valuables in a safe and locking the door will make it challenging for an unauthorized person to access those items, it won’t prevent a burglar from stealing them by carrying the safe away. In order to properly protect the valuables within them, safes must be securely installed.
Safe installation businesses specialize in the installation of safes, making sure they’re securely in place and hard to remove. In some cases, businesses consider the load limit of a floor to see whether a safe can be installed without risking structural damage.
Who is this business right for?
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 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.
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.
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 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 steps to start a safe installation business?
Once you're ready to start your safe installation business, follow these steps to ensure that your business is legally compliant and avoid wasting time and money as your business grows:
- Plan your business. A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. A few important topics to consider are your initial costs, your target market, and how long it will take you to break even.
- Form a legal entity. Establishing a legal business entity prevents you from being personally liable if your safe installation business is sued.
- Register for taxes. You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
- Open a business bank account. A dedicated checking account for your safe installation business keeps your finances organized and makes your business appear more professional to your customers.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Establish a 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.
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Where can I 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.
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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 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.
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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.
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.
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, check out our informative guide, 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.
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.
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.
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.