How to Start a Window Tinting Business

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Quick Reference

Window tinting is a popular way to customize vehicles.  If you are looking for a business idea, window tinting is a relatively low-cost business to start.  You can be your own boss and make a good living while providing a service that is in demand.

Business Overview

A window tinting business tints windows of automobiles for customers either from a shop or as a mobile service.

Industry Summary

According to Fortune Business Insights, the window film market size was $2.44 billion as of 2019 and is expected to grow at 5.71% per year to reach $2.9 billion by 2027.  The pandemic affected the industry due to declining car sales but is expected to rebound.

Industry Trends

The demand for window tinting services for security and privacy is growing.  Protection from UV rays is one new market, who are interested in reducing the risk of cancer, Additionally, there are new colors that customers can choose now, also increasing demand.  Infrared films are also a trend.  The industry is sensitive to economic fluctuations because it tends to move with the automotive market.

Target Market

Your target market will be people seeking the security, privacy, and aesthetics of window tinting.

Skills, Experience, and Education Useful in Running a Window Tinting Business

There are several specific skills that you will need to open a window tinting business.

  • Experience.  Experience working in a window tinting business is valuable.
  • Education.  Training courses are available to teach you how to tint windows.
  • Business knowledge and experience.  You will need to have at least some basic knowledge of marketing, finance/accounting, and human resources.
  • People skills. You’ll need to be able to build rapport with your customers so that you retain them as customers and keep them coming back.

Costs to Start a Window Tinting Business

Here are the typical costs you will face when you open a window tinting business.

  • Shop lease if you choose to have a shop rather than a mobile window tint service $500 – $5,000 per month
  • Window tinting course $1,500 – $2,000
  • Window tint film and supplies; such as a squeegee, scraper, razor blades, towels, etc. $500 – $1,000
  • Initial marketing such as Facebook ads or search engine optimization for your website $500 -$1000

Steps to Starting a Window Tinting Business

Step 1: Write your Business Plan

After coming up with the idea, the next step in starting your window tinting 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, projecting sales and expenses, your value proposition to use for marketing, and more. You’ll also need to do some research to calculate exactly what your startup expenses will be and your ongoing expenses.

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 to think through all the aspects of the business and then serves as a guide as you begin.

Related:
How to write a business plan
Free sample business plans

Step 2: Name the Business

Finding the perfect window tinting 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 Structure

A business structure 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.

RelatedComparison of Business Entities

Step 4: Select your Location

You need a location that is convenient for customers, preferably with high traffic for 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.

Check with your state for window tinting laws and any license and permit requirements for your business.  Some other common local, state, and federal registrations a window tinting business may need include a sales tax permit and an Employer Identification Number (EIN).  

Related: Common business licenses, permits, and registrations by state

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 window tinting 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.

Related: Finding the money to start a business

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 window tinting business will need to set aside a budget to cover marketing costs on a continuous basis. Common marketing techniques for a window tinting business include social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter or online advertising. Developing a website can be a significant expense, but it can also give your window tinting business greater visibility online.

Related: Low-cost ideas to market a new business

Step 9: Get Insurance

A window tinting 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.

Professional liability insurance protects you from claims of professional errors or negligence that result in a financial loss.

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.

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.

Related: Common types of insurance a business may need

Step 10: Hiring Employees

You may need employees to help you run your window tinting business.  Make sure that you select people with appropriate experience and training.

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 window tinting 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.

Related: Setting up accounting for your business

How Much Can You Potentially Make Owning a Window Tinting Business?

The price of the average window tinting job is $200 – $250.   If you tint 8 windows a day, 6 days per week at $225, you will make $561,600 annually in revenue.

Things to Consider Before Starting a Window Tinting Business

Running a window tinting business or any business will have its challenges.  You need to be prepared and make sure that you know what you’re getting into.

Marketing and acquiring customers will be your biggest challenge and an ongoing expense. Online marketing and search engine optimization will be your biggest source of customers, so you will need to have a budget for that.  Referrals from businesses that serve a related market can be lucrative, such as those from vehicle aftermarket retailers, stereo shops, or detailers.

You will face competition, so you need to offer high quality products at competitive prices to be successful.

Talk to other business owners for tips on starting a business and do your homework to determine costs.  Research other window tinting businesses to see what they offer and what prices they charge.

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