How to Start a Garage Door Business
Do you have experience installing and repairing garage doors? If so, you may have thought of starting your own garage door business. You can utilize your skills and make a great living being your own boss.
A garage door business offers repair, replacement, and installation services of garage and overhead doors. Some specialize in residential garage doors only, and some work with commercial overhead doors. A residential specialty would have a higher volume with a lower price point, while a commercial business would have a lower volume but a higher price point. Some garage door businesses do both.
According to IBIS World, the garage door installation market size is $372.2 million and is expected to grow 1.4% in 2021. Between 2016 – 2020 the market grew .8% per year. The industry is dependent on economic stability because garage door installation and repair are considered home improvements. Home improvements decrease when there are economic downturns.
The target market for a garage door business is residential homeowners who need fast garage door repair services. Homes that are somewhat older or companies that have facilities with garage doors, such as warehouses or repair services, are a prime target audience as well.
Skills, Experience, and Education Useful in Running a Garage Door Business
There are several specific skills that you will need to open a commercial garage door company.
- Garage door experience. While if you’ve done any kind of construction, garage door installation and repair would be easy to learn, it’s still an advantage to experience fixing or installing garage doors.
- Business knowledge and experience. You will need to have some basic knowledge of marketing, finance/accounting, and human resources.
- Sales. You need to be able to sell your company to customers as a credible, trustworthy service provider.
- Customer service. You’ll need to be able to build rapport with your customers so that you retain them as customers and gain repeat business and referrals.
Checklist for Starting a Garage Door Business
If you’re thinking about starting a garage door service, it’s important to do your research first. Here is a checklist to help you get started.
Step 1: Write a Business Plan
After coming up with the idea, the next step in starting your garage door repair business should be to write a business plan. The business plan will make you focus on some important aspects of the business, such as who your customers are, how you plan to reach them, strategies for beating competitors, projecting sales and expenses, and more. You’ll also need to do some research to calculate exactly what your startup expenses will be and what your ongoing expenses will be.
Not only will a bank require you to have a business plan if you need financing, but multiple studies have shown that having a good business plan increases the odds of starting a successful business. Writing the plan helps you think through all the aspects of the business and then serves as a guide as you begin.
Related: How to write a business plan
Step 2: Name the Business
Finding the perfect garage door business name can be challenging. Not only does the name have to reflect what you do and be appealing to customers, but it also has to be available to use. You can check your state’s website to see if the name is available and register your name. Your name should make you stand out, reflect your brand, and tell potential customers exactly what you do.
Step 3: Form a Business Entity
A business entity refers to how a business is legally organized to operate. There are four primary business entities to choose from, which include the sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and Limited Liability Company (LLC). Each type of entity has its own pros and cons, such as liability exposure, costs, and administrative requirements.
When deciding on which business entity is best for a garage door business, it normally comes down to the sole proprietorship and Limited Liability Company.
A partnership opens the owners up to unnecessary personal liability because if a partner does something to get the business sued, or runs off with cash from the business, the other partners are personally liable to repay. The corporation can be a good choice because it separates the business assets from the owner’s assets. If the corporation is sued or certain business debts can’t be paid back, the owners aren’t personally responsible to repay them. The downside to the corporation is that it is more complicated than all the other entities and requires more administration than the LLC. If you plan on raising a lot of investment though, the corporation is usually the better choice.
That leaves the sole proprietorship and LLC.
The sole proprietorship is the least expensive and easiest entity to start which is appealing. The downside is the owner is personally liable should anything happen to the business, which is an important consideration. The LLC offers the ability to operate as a sole proprietorship with the liability protection of a corporation. Depending on the state, the cost to form an LLC runs from $40 – $500, which is pretty inexpensive for protecting the owners from business-related lawsuits and certain debts.
Related: Guide to forming your LLC
Forming an LLC sounds complicated and expensive, but using an entity formation service guides you through the process so you know it was done right.
Some popular LLC formation services include:
IncFile - $0 plus state fees & free registered agent for 1 year!
IncAuthority - $0 plus state fees & free registered agent the first year!
ZenBusiness - $49 plus state fees & free registered agent for 1 year!
Step 4: Select your Location
The location of your garage door business, if you choose to have a space other than your home, is not critically important since you will be traveling to your customers’ homes. It can be beneficial, though, to choose a location that has high visibility.
Related: Choosing a business location
Step 5: Apply for Business Licenses and Permits
You will need to obtain certain business licenses and permits. These permits and licenses can vary based on the state and town where the business is located. Some common local, state, and federal registrations a garage door business may need include a business license, sales tax permit, and an Employer Identification Number if you plan to have employees.
You may also need a local contractor’s license if your area requires one.
Step 6: Find Financing
Coming up with a good business idea and having the skills to run it are one thing, but getting the funding to start a garage door business is another. In order to get a loan, the borrower(s) will need to have good credit and be able to invest 15-25% of their money towards the total start-up costs. Some entrepreneurs use their own funds, a home equity loan, or credit cards, but you are putting your funds at risk and will have payments that may or may not be more than those of a business loan.
Step 7: Open a Business Bank Account
Keeping your small business and personal finances in separate bank accounts is important to track the income and expenses of your business and identify trends.
Many banks offer free business checking accounts, so be sure to find a cost-effective option for your business.
Step 8: Get your Marketing Plan in Place
A garage door business will need to set aside a budget to cover marketing costs on a continuous basis. Common marketing techniques for a garage door business include marketing on social media platforms, ranking for Google searches, and online advertising.
Acquiring customers and keeping those customers is key. You need to create awareness of your business and present yourself as a credible service provider. You will have competition, so you’ll need to spend time and money on marketing and then do top-quality work to get repeat business and referrals.
One important marketing task is developing an online presence. A website developer may be out of the budget, but Wix makes it easy for non-technical people to get a website running quickly and affordably.
Step 9: Get Business Insurance
There are several types of insurance to consider when starting a garage door business. A few of these include:
– General liability insurance can help protect you from third-party claims of bodily injury and property damage.
– Worker’s compensation insurance covers expenses like medical bills and legal fees that a business might face if an employee were ever hurt while working.
– Property and casualty insurance protects you if you cause damage to the customer’s property.
The cost to insure a garage door business will vary depending on a number of factors. To get the most accurate idea of what to budget for insurance, request quotes from multiple providers. When comparing the quotes, consider not only the premiums but also how the plan exclusions, coverage limitations, and deductibles compare.
Step 10: Hire Employees
You may need employees to help run your garage door business in order to handle a higher volume of customers. You’ll need to make sure that your technicians have the right skills.
In addition to salary costs, your budget will also need to include other employee-related expenses. Workman’s comp insurance, unemployment insurance, and paid time off are common expenses that a business will need to cover when hiring staff.
Related: Hiring your first employee
Step 11: Set up an Accounting System
Setting up an accounting system for your garage door business is critical to the long-term success of your business.
Staying on top of taxes not only keeps the business out of trouble with the government but the numbers can be used to track and monitor trends and cash flow in the business and maximize profits.
The thought of accounting can be intimidating for a lot of new entrepreneurs. There are a number of ways of handling bookkeeping, from DIY to hiring a bookkeeper. These include:
- Pen and paper - Low expense, but difficult to track.
- Spreadsheet - Low expense, but easy to make errors.
- Accounting software - Medium expense, but owner typically inputs expenses. Some great accounting software programs include Freshbooks or Wave Accounting.
- Hire a bookkeeper - Higher expense, though very affordable at $100-$200 per month in most cases. A dedicated bookkeeper will probably save money because, in addition to handling all of the bookkeeping (so you can focus on the business), they also provide personalized tax advice and ensure the business is in compliance.
Find bookkeepers in your local area or use a service like 800Accountant.
How much does it cost to start a garage door business?
Here are some of the typical startup costs you will face with a garage door business.
– Power tools, such as a circular saw, drills, miter saw, and hand tools $500 – $1,000
– Truck to transport doors and materials $15,000 +
– Rent deposit – $1,000-$5,000
– Office set up (office furniture, computers, printers, office supplies, shelving, etc.) – $5,000-$25,000
How much does a garage door business owner make?
Prices for repairs and installation will range, depending on the type of repair or the complexity of the installation. Generally, the labor costs will range from $75 to $125 per hour, depending on the complexity of the job. If you have consistent business during an average workweek, your revenue could exceed $200,000.
Are there grants to start a garage door business?
It’s extremely rare to find a grant to start a garage door business. If you search for business grants, you will come across a lot of scams and misinformation. Occasionally an organization will offer grants to start a business, however, be skeptical and don’t provide any sensitive personal information or pay money to get more information.
Legitimate federal grants can be found at Grants.gov and you can check on your state’s economic development office to see if they have any grants available.
What is the NAICS code for a garage door business?
The NAICS code for a garage door business is 238350, which is categorized as Finish Carpentry Contractors.
The NAICS code (North American Industry Classification System) is a federal system to classify different types of businesses for the collection and reporting of statistical data.
Related: What is a NAICS code?