How to Start an Auto Glass Business

With the increasing number of cars on the road, vehicle accidents are bound to happen. The demand for quality auto glass repairs is on the rise in most cities across the country. As a result, there are many opportunities for new entrepreneurs who want to start their own auto glass repair business.

You must evaluate all costs before starting an auto glass business. Determine how much funding you will need to cover start-up expenses and other costs associated with your new company.

This information can help you understand more about the auto glass industry and how to acquire and retain loyal customers in your area.

Research Your Competition in the Auto Glass Industry

Start the research process by getting online and doing comparisons of existing auto glass companies in your area. You can use sources like Google to learn about these companies. Learn their location, specialty services they offer, how much it costs them to produce or deliver a service (called pricing). Learning the average length of time it takes them to provide customers with quality service will be helpful.

It is crucial to learn about your competition and their locations (for example, if they are too close to where you want to open your shop).

Write a list of everything you need in an auto glass service location. Decide on the type of facility that best fits your needs. You will need to consider how much funding you will need for inventory and supplies. If you plan on starting a mobile service may require additional equipment. Do some more research on the industry to get ideas from others who have been in the business before.

Start Small and Work Your Way Up

Before you start your business, know that there will be challenges. You can’t expect to have all of the resources you need right away or expect everything to go smoothly without any struggles along the way. There are likely to be several challenges you’ll need to overcome. While it’s important to start your business with a great deal of enthusiasm, starting small can make dealing with challenges much easier.

Keeping costs low by working out of your home or renting an inexpensive warehouse for your company until it gets off the ground. Once it generates enough cash flow you can afford a retail location.

Choose the Right Equipment

Research what equipment you need to run your business. Some auto glass repair tools are traditional in the industry, but not all businesses use them or require them. You can also ask yourself if there are any other services your company will be able to offer when it comes to vehicle glass repair. For example, while some companies in the industry only offer a replacement for broken windshields, others also focus on glass repair.

Register Your Business and Website Domain Name

After you research the industry, it is time to start registering your business with local or state agencies. Depending on where you live and what type of entity structure your company has, these could be different processes. In California, all auto glass businesses are required to register with the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Automotive Glass Replacement Safety Standard (AGRSS). If your company is a sole proprietor or partnership, you will need to register with your city or county. You can learn how to file paperwork for your business online in many cities.

The next step in the process is to create an official website domain name. A domain name establishes your auto glass repair business’ credibility. A dedicated domain name will make your company look more professional and generate higher search engine rankings. You can register a custom domain for as little as $12 per year at GoDaddy or Namecheap, which is typically the same price as most other domain registrars.

File for Your Fictitious Name

You must file for a fictitious business name (FBN) and pay the filing fee before you open your auto glass shop. Your fictitious name is what will appear on all of your business documents, such as invoices and advertising materials.

There are three steps to filing for an FBN in California:

1. Search for registered fictitious business names in your area.

2. Fill out the FBN Statement of Information form.

3. File your Statement of Information with the California Secretary of State (SOS).

How to Find Registered Fictitious Business Names

First, find out if there is already an FBN on file for your county by visiting the Secretary of State’s business search site.

If there are no existing FBN records for your county, browse the listings of registered fictitious business names in your area at the Secretary of State website. You can also file a new fictitious name online or download an application to file by mail.

You need to know the exact name you plan to file for.

How to Fill Out the Statement of Information Form

Once you have a registered fictitious name, fill out the Statement of Information form online or by mail. The SOS charges $42 per FBN on file, so if you intend to have more than one fictitious business name, you will need to pay a $5 fee for each additional FBN.

On the statement of information form, you must provide:

Your “Doing Business As” (DBA) name and address.

If a CPA is helping you with the process you need to provide his information.

The FBN number.

A statement that you have a “bona fide” business reason for filing the form, along with a brief description of how you will use the FBN to conduct your business. This information helps prevent fraud and protect consumers from misrepresentation, so keep your statement brief and to the point.

Choose a Catchy Name for Your Auto Glass Business

A catchy name can help attract customers and set you apart from your competition. It should be:

• Simple to remember.

• Memorable when spoken or seen.

Luckily, there are plenty of places to find great businesses names available for purchase.

Search for domain names and use a free business name generator. Find the perfect title that matches your business’s mission statement or slogan, then check online to make sure such a name is still available to use as your fictitious business name.

Apply for Local and State Licenses and Permits

The first step to start an auto glass shop is to get your local and state-required licenses and permits. This process will take several weeks, so you need to plan. In many states, the legal requirements for starting a new business include:

A tax ID number from the IRS. You can apply for a tax ID number through the IRS Small Business Administration’s website.

Business licenses from your city and state. If you have any employees, you also need to apply for a business license in each county where they live or work. Some states may require a license for a mobile installer specifically in addition to a business license. Be sure to contact your county government for more information.

Register as Sole Proprietorship, a Partnership, a Limited Liability Company (LLC), or a Corporation?

If you are not sure which structure would be best for your auto glass replacement business, you can get help. Contacting a CPA or your local state secretary’s office will be beneficial.

1. Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business that is owned by one person. It doesn’t have a specific legal structure.

2. Partnership

A partnership is a business owned by two or more people. They share responsibility and liability for the company’s debts. You form a partnership by filing papers with the IRS, your state revenue agency, and in some cases, local government. In addition to starting a sole proprietorship, another option you can consider as a new business owner is a partnership.

3. LLC (Limited Liability Company)

An LLC is a legal structure that provides the limited liability features of a corporation and pass-through taxation like a partnership or sole proprietorship. An LLC can be set up as either a single member or multiple members LLC, similar to a sole proprietorship or a partnership.

4. Corporation

A corporation is a separate legal entity from its owners. It protects them from business debts and liabilities. In most counties, you must register with the State before opening your business bank account.

There are two types of corporations: C corporations and S corporations.

Opening a business account or establishing your company’s legal structure is complicated. For help with these steps contact the IRS or visit SBA’s website. The SBA website provides information on many aspects of business formation and management. SBA helps with loans to start your business.

Sole Proprietorship for Your Auto Glass Business

A sole proprietorship is the simplest structure for a new auto glass installer. In this form of business, one person owns and operates the enterprise. A sole proprietor reports income and losses on a Schedule C and is taxed as an entity. This means that the business owner reports business income or loss on their tax return (Form 1040) and pays taxes accordingly.

If you choose a sole proprietorship, you have to register your business with the Internal Revenue Service. To do so, complete IRS Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number (EIN). You can apply for an EIN online or by fax or mail. The quickest way to get an EIN is online. 

Benefits of Establishing Your Business as an LLC

Establishing your business as an LLC limits your liability for business debt. You will be required to file additional paperwork with the secretary of state’s office.

 As an LLC business owner, you will be protected in case someone sues your company. Your home, bank account, and other assets will not be affected by any debts incurred within your company.

What an LLC Is and How to Establish One

For example, say you own a business that manufactures and installs windshields for cars. If someone slips and falls in your parking lot and gets injured, they may sue your business. However, if your business is established as an LLC, your assets are not at risk.

Requirements for Establishing an LLC for Your Auto Glass Business

The requirements for establishing an LLC vary by state. Generally speaking, you need to file articles of incorporation with the secretary of state’s office. Draft a document describing your company ‘s plans. If you’re looking to form an LLC, LegalZoom can help you meet your requirements. You will complete a questionnaire about your business and your goals, then they will prepare the paperwork with the specific information required by your State.

Invest in Auto Glass Repair Tools and Business Software 

Now that you have decided to start an auto glass business, you will need to invest in the right tools. Repairing and replacing windshields is just one part of the puzzle. Consider investing in software that can help your company track orders and inventory. Software platforms supply all of this and more with their sophisticated software systems.

Here are just some reasons why an investment in business software is one of the best things you can do to start your company on the right foot:

Tracking Inventory. Inventory management is essential for any growing company, large or small. The auto glass software system allows businesses to keep track of every replacement part. This includes windshields, side windows, mirrors, and batteries. This means that your employees can focus on fixing automobiles and you will know immediately if a product has been misplaced or requires replacement.

Customer Order Management. A great thing about investing in business software for an auto glass company is that it allows you to manage customer orders. To do this, you can track the entire process on one screen, including an invoice that is complete with all the pertinent order information.

Order Tracking. Auto glass software keeps detailed records on every windshield replacement it has completed for its customers. It is easier to resolve any warranty issues or problems. Technicians will have access to all previous jobs.

Business Management Experience

Research how to run an auto glass business. Find out how many employees they have and what their average income is. The number of hours needed daily to keep up with business demands, and whether or not they have management in place. It’s important to focus on these aspects before you start your own company. It will affect the kind of management team you create for yourself.

Build Your Brand

People need time to get used to the idea of your company. You need to build up a strong brand. Maintain an updated website with accurate information about your company’s hours of operation and services offered. Share photos on different social media sites that show customers love your service. This will help establish trust when customers are looking for a new auto glass repair business.

Include photos of your team on your website so customers can see they are part of the family you’re building. Add videos to show how repairs are made or highlight different services offered by your company.

Benefits of Promoting Your Auto Glass Repair Business with Local SEO

Now that you have an idea of how to start your auto glass repair business, there are many ways to promote it. Local SEO is one of the best methods available today for reaching new customers in your area. Local search results are displayed at the top or right-hand side of Google’s organic SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

SEO plays a major role in connecting businesses with customers. Local search tends to be very “personal” and allows users to find the exact service they desire as quickly as possible.

Most customers in your area use a mobile device when searching for local businesses. You want potential customers to find you.

Claim your Google My Business listing and make sure all your information is correct and up-to-date. Next, optimize your website for local search by including keywords and phrases related to your services. Finally, create high-quality content that will help you rank higher in SERPs. 

These are just a few tips to get you started; be sure to do more research on how to best use local SEO techniques to reach new customers in your area.

Repair Shop Growth specializes in automotive marketing. For more information contact us today.

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