Start a safe installation 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 safe installation 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 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 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 Safe Installation 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 safe installation 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 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
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 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.
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 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.
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 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
For fun informative videos about starting a business visit the TRUiC YouTube Channel or subscribe below to view later.
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 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.