How to Start a Window Tinting Business

Overview

How to Start a Window Tinting Business

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 commercial 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 car 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.

Experience Needed

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.

Checklist for Starting a Window Tinting Business

If you’re thinking about starting a window tinting business, 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 window tinting service 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

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.

Related: Name ideas for a window tinting business

Step 3: Select a Business Structure

A business entity (also referred to as a business structure) refers to how a business is legally organized to operate. There are four primary business structures 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 window tinting 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 to minimize liability risk 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

Unless you are opening a mobile window tinting company, there are a few things to consider when choosing a fixed location for a window tinting business.
– First, the business should be situated in a high-traffic area in order to maximize exposure.
– Second, the location should have plenty of parking so that customers can easily access the business.
– Third, the surrounding businesses should complement the window tinting business and provide a good mix of foot traffic.
– Fourth, the lease rate for the commercial space should be affordable in order to keep overhead costs low.

By taking these factors into consideration, you will be well on your way to finding the perfect location for your new window tinting business.

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.

Be aware of window tinting laws for your state and any states that customers may be coming from.

Also, there will be general business licensing needed. A few of these may include a business license, 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 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 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.

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.

Related: Low-cost ideas to market a new business

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

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.

The cost to insure a window tinting business will vary based on several 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.

Related: Common types of insurance a business may need

Step 10: Hire 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 the accounting for your business

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 window tinting business?

Here are the typical costs you will face when you open a window tinting business.
– Deposits to lease a shop $500 – $5,000
– 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

How much money can you make with 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.

Some businesses will also provide paint protection film (PPF) to help protect the paint on a vehicle to generate more sales. Another source of additional revenue is by offering residential window tinting.

Are there grants to start a window tinting business?

It’s extremely rare to find a grant to start a window tinting 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 window tinting business?

The NAICS code for a window tinting business is 811122.

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?

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