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 doors. Some specialize in residential garage doors only, and some work with commercial garage 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 garage door business.
- 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. You also need to be reliable.
Costs to Start a Garage Door Business
Here are the typical startup costs you will face with a garage door business.
- Setting up a business name and corporation costs approximately $200
- Business cards, brochures, postcards for marketing $200 – $300
- Website setup $100 –$200 for a basic, do-it-yourself website, $1000 – $2000 for a professional site
- Power tools, such as a circular saw, drills, miter saw, and hand tools $500 – $1,000
- Truck to transport doors and materials $15,000 +
- Initial marketing such as Facebook ads or search engine optimization for your website, $500 -$1,000
Steps to Opening a Garage Door Business
Step 1: Write your 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.
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 a 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.
Related: Comparison of business entities
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 may 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 to include a 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 business and personal finances in separate business bank and credit card accounts makes it easier to track the income and expenses of the 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. Developing a website can be a significant expense, but it can also give your garage door business greater visibility online.
Step 9: Get Business Insurance
A garage door business needs several types of insurance for full coverage:
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.
Insurance policies will vary. 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: Hiring 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.
How Much Can You Potentially Make Owning a Garage Door Business
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.
Things to Consider Before Starting a Garage Door Business
Running a garage door business or any business will have its challenges. You need to be prepared and make sure that you know what you’re getting into.
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.
Your business will also be somewhat seasonal and affected by the weather. You will need to plan ahead for slower times of the year.
Talk to other business owners for tips on starting a business and do your homework to determine costs. You can also check out other garage door companies to see what they offer and their pricing.