Start a screen 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 screen 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 initial 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. Skip on ahead to the Business Overview for more detailed answers to all your questions.
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 screen business is sued. 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.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account
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.
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.
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.
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.
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Screen business owners measure windows and doors and provide screens used for a variety of purposes including keeping insects out, reducing solar glare and security. Screens are made from a variety of materials such as copper, fabric mesh, and fiberglass.
Who is this business right for?
This is a great business for someone who enjoys setting their own schedule and a sense of satisfaction at providing a valuable service and completing a job quickly.
What happens during a typical day at a screen business?
The daily activities of a screen business owner include:
- Scheduling appointments with customers
- Negotiating contracts with vendors
- Pricing goods and services
- Measuring doors and windows
- Purchasing supplies
- Building custom screens
- Pricing goods and services
What is the target market?
Preferred customers can be anyone with doors and windows, whether individuals or business owners. The best customers are those who oversee the construction and maintenance of a number of buildings, such as real estate developers, school superintendents and various government agencies.
How does a screen business make money?
A screen business makes money by charging for the time, labor and materials required to make and install custom screens. Most also perform needed regular repairs on screens.
What is the growth potential for a screen business?
The growth potential for this business is limited only by the time and resources of the owner. Most buildings that aren’t completely climate controlled require screens to keep insects out and increase security.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful screen business?
Some of the skills required to build a successful screen business include:
- The ability to perform simple mathematical calculations to determine the correct measurements
- Skill in using tools such as a miter saw, rollers, and utility knives.
- Effective communication skills for understanding the needs of customers
- Pricing and contract negotiation skills
- Bookkeeping skills
What are the costs involved in opening a screen business?
As with all businesses, one of the initial costs is a business license. Becoming bonded and insured is also a requirement in some states. With a small truck or van, it is possible to start a screen repair business for less than $1000. You can purchase a starter kit of materials packaged by a company called Metro Screen Works that includes all the essential items needed. You can also watch their how-to videos on YouTube to learn the basics of screen repair. As your business expands, you can purchase more tools and the materials needs to build custom screens. It’s also possible to work from a home office, where you can also store your supplies.
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.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a screen business?
There are a number of free software applications that can help reduce your startup costs as well as jumpstart your business. Project management software can help you stay organized. Accounting and invoicing software can reduce your paperwork and the time required to complete these tasks. As your business grows, if you want to hire additional employees, there is also payroll software that can help you make that transition smoothly. Passing out business cards at local community events can provide an opportunity to introduce yourself and inform people about the services you provide. People are more likely to trust someone they’ve met to perform work on their homes than someone from an anonymous website, although that personal touch can result in increased traffic on your website.
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Growing Your Business
How to promote & market a screen business
Most people need their screens replaced or repaired every few years, so passing out your business cards to friends, neighbors and business associates is a great way to start. Creating a website that includes testimonials from satisfied customers can also help build your business.
Recommended: Get started with local advertising for your business with a $300 credit from Yelp.
How to keep customers coming back
Superior workmanship and excellent customer service are the best ways to retain customers. Since screens deteriorate over time and accidents happen, you are likely to get repeat business. .If your customers are satisfied with the work you’ve completed on one screen, chances are that you’ll be the one they call for all their future needs, as well as referring you to friends. Offering special discounts for first-time customers and for multiple screen replacements is also a good strategy.
How and when to build a team
Although it is possible for one person to successfully operate a screen business, it’s a good idea to build a team from the beginning. Even if you prefer to work alone, your team should include your vendors and other screen business owners that specialize in types of screens that you don't. Participating in a mutual referral system can increase business for everyone involved and can prevent over-scheduling or having to turn away potential customers.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a Screen Repair Business. For more 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.
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.
Maintain Personal Asset Protection
Don’t think that just forming an LLC, or any other type of business, will save your personal assets in case of a lawsuit or other matter by itself.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your LLC is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Two of the simplest steps that will protect your business, and yourself, are to:
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.
Screen Repair Businesses should require clients to sign a services agreement before starting a new project. This agreement should clarify client expectations and minimize risk of legal disputes by setting out payment terms and conditions and service level expectations. Here is an example services agreement.
Recommended: Rocket Lawyer makes it easy to create a professional service agreement for your screen business when you sign up for their premium membership. For $39.95 per month, members receive access to hundreds of legal agreements and on call attorneys to get complimentary legal advice.
How much can you charge customers?
Most screen business owners charge from five to eight times what it costs to produce the screens. The average cost of having a professional re-screen a window at their shop ranges from between $18 to $45. That price increases to between $150 and $200 if the work is performed at the customer’s home. The cost per window is usually reduced when the job entails screens for multiple windows, or the contract is for windows for multiple buildings.
What are the ongoing expenses for a screen business?
Ongoing expenses for a screen business include:
- Screening materials
- Equipment maintenance
- Vehicle maintenance and fuel for deliveries
- Website maintenance
- Business cards
How much profit can a screen business make?
An established mobile screen replacement service can earn sales of more than $100,000 per year. Some have become so successful that they now offer franchise opportunities.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Providing mobile services is one of the best ways to make your business more profitable. Providing solar screens which can absorb up to 70 percent of the sun’s rays and reduce energy costs is another. Decorative security screen doors are also becoming increasingly popular. Since many people enjoy do-it-yourself home improvement projects, you can also become a consultant that specializes in putting together kits for people to complete their own screen construction, installation or repairs themselves.