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 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 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 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.
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
Who 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.
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.
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.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is very important. If you don’t have a name in mind already, read our detailed guide on how to name a business or get some help brainstorming a name with our Screen Business Name Generator.
Then, when registering a business name we recommend checking if the business name is available in your state, federally by doing a trademark search, searching the web, and making sure the name you choose is available as a web domain to secure 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. 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Screen 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?
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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.