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How to Start a Window Tinting Business

  • 2023.05.18
  • Martin. C

With low startup costs and estimated revenues of as much as $325,000 a year and annual profits of nearly $100,000, starting a window-tinting business is an attractive prospect for individuals who like working with cars and want to run their own business. 


Here’s how to do it in seven steps. 


Step 1. Pick a name


This may seem pretty basic, but don’t skip over this step. Picking a name for your window-tinting business will be the first step towards building a brand that potential customers recognize and trust. According to one marketing firm, Evolve Creative, brand names must be “distinctive, authentic, memorable, and enduring, so it resonates with your target audience.” At a minimum, your name has to be simple and easy to remember and cannot be something that someone else in the area has already chosen. For some name ideas to get started, check out this list of 235 names. Or, you can use this business name generator site to jumpstart the process. 


Step 2. Register your business


After choosing a name, you need to incorporate as a business. The most common options are: sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and an S corporation. At a state level, you may choose to instead register as a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC), which, as the name indicates, would protect your personal assets from any liability claims related to your business. Generally you begin by choosing which structure works for you and then register with the state. After that, you will need to register with the IRS for tax purposes. For more on how to decide on a business structure, see this guide from the U.S. Small Business Administration. In addition, you need to check for any local, state, or federal licensing requirements. The SBA has a site that helps, or you can check this independent site. A final step, while you’re at it, is to review the car-tinting regulations in place in your state. This website has a complete breakdown.


Step 3. Set up your finances


Don’t forget to set up a separate bank account and credit card for your car-tinting business. This will especially be helpful as you start to incur major expenses, such as the purchase of supplies. As part of this step, you should also invest in some accounting software to help keep track of it all (if you don’t want to hire an accountant). Check out this rundown of the best accounting software programs for small businesses to help you decide. 


Step 4. Get funding


It could cost between $30,000 to $50,000 to get your business off the ground. Even if you had that much sitting in your bank account, it’s prudent to get a loan to spread out the cost. Common funding sources include bank loans, SBA loans, and federal grants. For more information on funding sources, see here; for more on grants specifically, check out this link.


Step 5. Pick a location


When considering a location, you need to weigh cost, whether the building or facility meets your needs, and visibility. As a new business, you want to make sure your location is in a high-traffic area so that potential customers will see it and new customers can easily find it. You also need to decide whether you will be renting or buying a commercial spot. Buying a place gives you the freedom and flexibility to do what you want but could be more expensive and brings the hassles of building and property ownership which you may not want to deal with while also launching your business. 


Step 6. Set up your products and services


Here is where the rubber meets the road. You need to decide what services you are going to offer and how much to charge for them. Will you be using ceramic tinting or regular tinting? Will you offer extras like vinyl and strips? Will you be doing wraps too? Here’s one starting point: according to Step by Step Business, it costs an average of $250 to tint a whole car. Check how much your materials will cost and then pick a price based on a goal of an 80 percent profit. For more on how calculate the profits you need, see this site.


Step 7. Enroll in insurance


At a bare minimum, you need general liability insurance to protect you from the generic claims that customers and anyone else can file against a business, such as slip and falls. You also should add professional liability insurance to protect you from claims from customers related to your window-tinting work. If a customer unfairly blames your window tinting work for something like an accident professional liability insurance would kick in to protect you. Other forms of insurance you may want to add include workers compensation, business interruption insurance, equipment breakdown insurance, and property or renters’ insurance. You can either find an independent agent to guide you through the process or call one of the major insurance carriers to get set up. Once you have insurance, you are ready to open your doors for business.