Do you want to start a mobile windshield repair company? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a mobile windshield repair business with NO money and no experience plus a sample mobile windshield repair business plan template.
There are a lot of things that can affect our cars. Things like sudden temperature changes, burglary, accident and other factors can cause a vehicle’s windshield to break or crack. And when this happens, the vehicle owner has no choice but to get it repaired.
The windshield repair business is a service that offers windshield replacement in many cases. This business helps save the customers money, get rid of problems associated with windshields such as leaking, rust, and paint damage that can happen from improperly installed windshields, and it is a very environmentally friendly business.
Also, the waste produced from a windshield repair job fits into the palm of your hand, whereas a replaced windshield and all of the associated waste that goes with it can be very huge. Indeed there are limitations to windshield repair, but if understood soon enough, most damage caused by road debris is repairable, and the repair will stop the damage from spreading and eliminating the need for replacement.
If you are a fast learner and have been looking to start your own small business, then repairing windshields business can be a lucrative business opportunity, especially if you live in a locality with plenty of cars. Starting a mobile windshield repair business needs no formal qualifications and minimal start-up capital.
Steps to Starting a Mobile Windshield Repair Business
1. Understand the Industry
Studies have shown that the Windshield Repair industry has been through many scrapes and cracks over the past five years.
We believe that during the recession, a lot of consumers postponed nonessential windshield repairs and replacements, as disposable income was limited. Experts expect industry revenue to slide at an annualized rate of 3.2% to $3.8 billion in the five years to 2017.
Also as the recovery period which has been characterized by growing consumer confidence and rising disposable income continues, revenue will follow suit. Revenue in this industry is expected to increase by 2.4% in 2017. But growing demand for new cars, coupled with the reducing crime rate, which aligns with fewer automotive break-ins, will affect revenue growth for this industry.
It is important to state that businesses in this industry face a continuous struggle with the ongoing improvements in automotive windshield safety.
Like in the US, windshields must be made of laminated glass which is less likely to shatter as compared to safety glass, and it is also able to bend slightly under impact. We believe that these improvements protect consumers’ safety and expenditures, and affect the profit of businesses in the industry.
Also over the five years to 2018, reports have shown that the number of businesses reduced from 0.18% to 4,898 companies. Consolidation has also increased, allowing businesses to grow 0.6% per year on average to 6,900 locations.
The industry’s profit margin is also projected to fall slightly from 5.6% in 2008 to 5.5% in 2017, because of the higher input cost of items such as glass and the expense of industry wages. Also businesses in the industry are sometimes unable to pass on increasing input commodity prices to consumers in the form of higher prices because of the already high cost of labour used to repair or replace the glass components.
But as the economy keeps growing, the industry is expected to revive over the next five years, although, revenue will not reach pre-recessionary levels. We also believe that disposable income is growing while the unemployment rate is in reducing, trends that will provide consumers with additional funds to use toward industry goods, such as window tinting.
On the other hand, rising demand for new cars with advanced safety technologies and fewer automotive break-ins, offset by a declining crime rate, will hamper demand for industry services.
Note that a low level of market share concentration characterizes the industry and just like the overall automobile repair sector, windshield repair is highly fragmented with a large number of small businesses providing services to local markets.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
One of the reasons why this industry will remain relevant and lucrative is because of the rapid rise in the number of car owners. Indeed as the economy recovers and booms, more people will become car owners and they will need to maintain their cars.
Studies have it that household customers account for the largest share of vehicle maintenance industry revenue at approximately 76%.
Car maintenance household customers are broadly defined as consumers that have a driver’s license, own a car, and are older than 16 years of age. This demographic is further segmented by income brackets, with households in the highest division representing the greatest demand for industry services.
Also note that business customers contribute 22% of industry revenue. We believe that the revenue from this part is largely derived from servicing delivery vans and taxi cabs. This part includes businesses that depend on motor vehicles for the daily running of the company, like taxi and rental car companies, and truck businesses — many of whom cannot afford in-house repair and maintenance shops.
Bad economic activity during the recession led to fewer businesses using vehicles to conduct trade, however a resumption of economic growth since 2010, has seen this segment strengthened. The Government customers in this industry are made up of approximately 2% of the industry revenue. This segment includes federal, state, and local government organizations.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
When planning to start this business, you need to first and foremost choose the type of business you want to start. Will you be rendering windshield repair services, or outright replacement, or both? Have it in mind that your choice will hinge on your skills. But to get as much work as possible, you need to render both services.
Also, since its a mobile windshield repair business, you may not need to rent space to use as office or workshop. So, you will be starting on this small model. But note that as your business expands and you have a larger customer base, you might want to consider having a large shop where customers can bring their vehicles.
All these should be in your business plan. It is important to state that writing a business plan is one of the keys to the success of any business. And a windshield repair service is no exception.
Putting together a comprehensive business will help you understand the market better, know how and where to direct your efforts for best results, and know how to avoid common pitfalls. Apart from that, a business plan guides you on how to start your business successfully; it also helps you manage your business the right way and ultimately helps you attain your business goals.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
Note that the competition on this industry depends on the area. We believe that in some cities you may find several technicians for a relatively small population base, but no one can tell you they are on the business because they think no one is in the industry.
So it is very dependent on the area that you start your business in. But an interesting fact about this industry is that sometimes the areas that have the most competition are the areas where your prospective customers seem to thrive.
It has been proven over time that competition aids in building industry awareness. For instance, in the gas station business if you find one gas station, you usually find four.
That is how it seems to be with windshield repair. If the awareness is good enough in the area, it will support a lot of different people doing this service. Once there is demand for the service, quality and consistency are the keys to success.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
- Glass doctors
- Speedy glass
- Mobile Pro Auto Glass
- Gerber Mobile Onsite Auto Glass Windshield Repair
- Dr B’s windshield repairs
- Mobile Windshield Repair
- Dgs Mobile Windshield Repair
- Rons Mobile Windshield Repair
- Allstar Mobile Windshield Repair, L.L.C.
- Macs Mobile Windshield Repair
- Dave S Mobile Windshield Repair
- Glass Tech Mobile Windshield Repair
- Mobile One Windshield Repair
- A V Windshield Repair Mobile Service
- Mobile Windshield Repair
- Mobile Windshield Repair
- Abac Mobile Windshield Repair
- Clearview Mobile Windshield Repair
- Clear Mobile Windshield Repair
- Magic Mobile Windshield Repair
- Dry creek Mobile Windshield Repair
- American Mobile Windshield Repair, LLC
- AAA Mobile Windshield Repair
- Tns Mobile Windshield Repair
- Outlaw Mobile Windshield Repair Service
- Lassiter Mobile Windshield Repair, LLC
Various studies have been accredited with reporting that the Windshield Repair Services industry experienced growth over the five years to 2017.
Revenue growth experienced volatility during the five-year period, thanks to conflicting trends that have created mixed demand for industry businesses. For example, during the economic recovery that slowly took hold, a lot of consumers decided to buy newer vehicles.
We believe that with rising safety features that reduces the likelihood of a car crash, new car sales badly affected revenue growth during the early half of the five-year period. But it is expected to continue increasing over the five years to 2022. Rising disposable income and a declining trend in new car sales is expected to increase the average age of the vehicle fleet.
We believe that barriers to entry in the car Windshield Repair industry can be very low. But note that this industry is highly fragmented and is made up mostly of small, family-owned and managed companies that employ, on average, between four and five workers.
Just like other industries that take care of additional aspects of vehicle repair, start-up costs include the legal fees associated with obtaining necessary state and local permits, such as licenses with consumer protection bureaus.
Have it in mind that expenditures related to building leases, tools and equipment are relatively low at 6.0% of total revenue, since most repairs require either complete windshield replacement or the application of various sealants to repair cracks.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
We strongly believe that a mobile windshield repair business is better started from the scratch than buying a franchise. A windshield repair can be a good business for an entrepreneur with little previous business experience. Starting from the scratch offers you benefits that are more useful than what a franchise can offer.
- Lower cost
- Clean slate
- Making your own rules
- Implementing your own unique idea
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
Indeed as people keep buying and maintaining cars, so does the need for windshield repair businesses increase. A windshield repair can also be a good business for someone who enjoys working with his hands and enjoys working with the public. You don’t just wake up one morning and decide to start this business.
You need to consider a number of things when starting your own windshield repair business, especially the type of windshield repair itself. Every niche must be carefully researched and priced for economic viability, profitability and return on investment.
Mobile and hand repair windshield repairs need a smaller upfront investment in equipment, but ongoing labour costs must be considered. Self-service and automatic windshield repairs need less labour, but upfront machinery and real estate costs can be high.
- Conducting a local market research to ascertain competition
- Getting equipment and windshield repair requirements
- Writing a business plan
- Designing a business structure
- Choosing a location
- Applying for financing sufficient for the purchase, lease or rental of your building, vehicle, start-up expenses, equipment, supplies and operating capital through your bank or the SBA
- Obtaining all necessary local business permits, zoning variances, environmental and safety inspections (where applicable), state tax registration certificate, federal tax identification number and Employer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service if hiring employees.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
You need to understand that starting this business will need a business structure choice. The business structure is basically how the business is organized and whether it is held personally or as a separate legal entity. Note that everyone has its own strengths and weakness but for the sake of this article, the LLC remains the best legal entity for your mobile windshield repair.
The LLC is generally seen to be advantageous due to the fact that it brings together the limited personal liability feature of a corporation with the tax advantages of a partnership and sole proprietorship. Profits and losses can be passed through the company to its members or the LLC can elect to be taxed like a corporation.
LLCs do not have stock and are not required to observe corporate formalities. Owners are called members, and the LLC is managed by these members or by appointed managers.
Each state will have its own set of LLC statutes, so be sure to review them against the corporation to see which one is best for you. Also, note that all of the different windshield repair business structures have their individual pros and cons.
Irrespective of which one you choose, you get to write off all of your expenses (just like a sole proprietorship or partnership) and are not likely to save any more money on taxes by choosing one over the other.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
- Auto mobile Windshield repair
- Auto Express
- Bears Windshield repair
- Black Diamond Windshield repair
- Blue Dolphin Windshield repair
- Buff it Car Centre
- Busy Bee Windshield repair
- Calypso Windshield repair
- Champion Hand Windshield repair
- Cool Wave Windshield repair
- Finish Line Windshield repair & Detail
- Gold Coast Windshield repair
- Grease Monkey
- The Smart Windshield repair
- Three Palms Auto Spa
- White Horse Auto Repair
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
In this business, you will need insurance to protect your business and your personal assets. But the good news is this type of insurance isn’t really all that expensive, especially when you consider the alternative if you’re not properly insured. If an unforeseen event occurs, it could put you out of business and you could very quickly lose your personal assets.
We believe that the most popular insurance for this business is called the Garage Keeper’s Liability. For your own mobile windshield repair business, this is the type of policy you want to have. You want to be covered while you are working on a vehicle and while the vehicle is in your possession.
Another thing is that you also want to have your equipment insured against theft. Most cars don’t come cheap, so it is absolutely imperative to insure them too. Again, the insurance coverage for this type of equipment isn’t expensive, so have it included with your policy premium.
Usually you’ll get a quote for a minimum of $100,000 of liability coverage, but you might consider a quote on $300,000, $500,000 and even a million dollar umbrella policy. Believe it or not, the premium cost doesn’t vary that much. Most garage keeper’s liability packages cover the vehicle you are working on against damage and theft, as well as coverage for your equipment and coverage for the pick-up and delivery of any vehicle.
If your idea is to start with having employees, you’ll most likely have to pay Workers Compensation Insurance. Indeed this will protect you and your employees in the unlikely event that an injury occurs while working on the job. Your insurance agent can give you a quote for this, too. In many cases for small businesses, your state may actually provide you workman’s compensation insurance. Then note that when you shop for insurance, get two or three quotes and compare costs and coverage.
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
Intellectual property is the area of law that deals with protecting the rights of those who create original works. It covers everything from original plays and novels to inventions and company identification marks. The purposes of intellectual property laws are to encourage new technologies, artistic expressions and inventions while promoting economic growth.
When individuals know that their creative work will be protected and that they can benefit from their labour, they are more likely to continue to produce things that create jobs, develop new technology, make processes more efficient, and create beauty in the world around us.
Note that an IP assignment agreement might be the main legal document determining whether a startup can attract investments to grow. Startup founders should have complete ownership of all IP assets in writing to avoid costly claims filed by patent trolls and companies trying to copy your Business model.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
Professional certification is a process by which a person proves that he or she has the knowledge, experience, and skills to perform a specific job. These proofs come in the form of a certificate earned by passing an exam that is accredited by an organization or association. In the windshield repairing industry, having professional certification gives your intending customers the fulfilment that they are protected and that your worthy of their patronage. Listed below are few professional certifications in the windshield repair business;
- GlasWeld Certified Auto Glass Repair Professional
- Delta kits certified technician
- NWRA Certification Program – National Windshield Repair Association
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
We know that every legal business needs some form of license or permit to operate legally. However, licensing and permit requirements differ depending on the type of business you are operating, where its located, and what government rules apply. Legal documents needed for your mobile windshield repair business include;
- Articles of incorporation
- Intellectual property assignment agreement
- Drivers’ license
- Non-disclosure agreement
- Operating agreement
- Employee contracts/offer letters
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Indeed poor management is stated as the most frequent reason why businesses fail, inadequate or ill-timed financing is a close second or third. Whether you are starting a business or expanding one, sufficient ready capital is essential. How “sufficient” your capital is and how “ready” you are to part with it are all part of preparing yourself to get funding. Possible ways of financing your mobile windshield repair business include;
- Traditional bank financing
- SBA Loan
- Personal savings
- Other People’s Money
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
Even though is a mobile windshield repair business, one of the most important factors in planning your business is location. In order to get a feel of the type of location you are looking for, consider the circumstances that cause people to repair their cars.
A lot of windshield repair customers stop to repair their cars while they are on the way to do other shopping and when they have time to spare. Commuters infrequently stop on the way to work, but some will stop on the way home, especially if it is convenient. Travellers rarely leave a highway to repair their cars.
The fact remains that the best location for a windshield repair is one near shopping areas (across the street from a discount house or shopping centre next to a convenience store), and near densely populated residential areas with heavy local traffic. The actual site itself needs to be very visible with easy access into the windshield repair.
There should be room for cars to wait in line and get back to the street easily. A divided street, a hidden location, an easily missed drive, or extremely heavy traffic resulting in limited access would be a disadvantage. It is best for customers to enter from the main street through a wide drive, and exit on an alley, or side street.
Traffic count is important but as mentioned above, the type and speed of traffic is also important. The best windshield repairs tend to be located on streets with 15,000 to 25,000 daily traffic counts. That is not to say, that a modest windshield repair in a small town, would not be successful with a far less count. What is a poor location for a large windshield repair can be a good location for a smaller one.
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
Buying equipment for the first time can be really confusing. We strongly suggest that you first of all research the equipment manufacturers as well as you possibly can. Find out a lot about the capabilities of the system, the support the company is going to offer you, the quality of the product you are going to be using, and preference. You can order the equipment you need online or from local stores where they are sold. In addition, you need to find a place to order windshields of all sizes and shapes that can have them shipped in quickly whenever you need them.
To save cost, you can contact salvage yards in your locality to purchase intact windshields from vehicles involved in crashes or those that are no longer roadworthy. Some of the most popular items and necessities for windshield repair are bundled in kits. We believe that these kits are convenient all-in-one packs for windshield repairers; there are many kinds available, provided by a multitude of different companies.
Have it in mind that for you to stay competitive in the windshield repair industry, you need to have the right software. Note that your software should help run your business and keep you as efficient as possible. We suggest that you look for a software that will help you enter orders as quickly as possible, is able invoice both customers and insurance companies, and is accessible anywhere you are performing a repair.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
A rock chip is a small break caused by object impact. The break can be structurally classified as bulls eye, star break and combination. Most other structural breaks are derivations of these three basic types. Note that in order to properly fix chips, several steps must be followed to make sure the best service is provided.
Starting with preparation, you will need to clean the surface of the damaged area of loose glass shards. Then the centre of the impact point is opened up through drilling to facilitate resin injection. It all rests on the type of break, the chip may be further “tapped” to create a reservoir in the glass through which resin can flow easier into harder-to-reach spots.
When the chip surface has been prepared, you then have to align the injector head to the chip entry point, first vacuuming the air out of the break and then following through with resin injection. Immediately the chip has filled, under a curing light, the resin in the chip begins to solidify, bonding the cracked windshield together. We believe that the remaining steps involve curing additional layers of resin onto the chip impact point to ensure a smooth surface and polishing to protect the resin from chemicals in the air and wiper washers.
Crack repair deserves a little more attention. If the crack is a single long crack (one impact point, one crack) and under 24 inches and not over the driver’s primary viewing area, a crack repair is feasible over a windshield replacement.
If there are multiple single long cracks in different locations or if the crack has many legs (one impact point, multiple cracks) then you should eliminate repair from your considerations and go directly for replacement. There has been too much structural distortion to properly repair that.
Lastly, if the crack is a stress crack, meaning that it developed without an external break, then either the windshield is defective or the car frame has somehow warped that an abnormal stress pattern is exerted on the windshield. Cracks less than one month old are repairable.
Have it in mind that the very important element of any repair is the resin. Resin viscosity rating correlates to its strength. We believe that for chip repairs, the resin viscosity is lower than the resin viscosity used in crack repairs. The reason being that resin used for chip repairs need to be versatile to go into nooks-and-crannies and less for strength, since the structural damage is very small.
For cracks, there are no small spaces to wedge into and it is very important to have stronger resin to fully bond the crack together. Also note that curing light plays an important role in repair quality and time. Remember that the right curing light only will properly cure the resin in a shorter time span.
It will allow the vehicle owner to assume normal usage of the car right after the repair. A quality repair will improve the windshield cosmetically, and at some angles the driver may be able to see a thin line with a little bit of visual distortion, but not enough to affect driving ability. Note that a replacement is always recommended if the windshield underwent much stress.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
You need to understand that shallow mindedness has no place in great marketing. A strong marketing strategy can give a small business high visibility in the marketplace. We believe that with the right combination of resources, techniques and strategies, any business can achieve greater marketing dominance through strategic marketing and robust value messaging.
Social Media Monitoring
In this modern age, the use of social media as a marketing tool is the latest wave to overtake the small business community. When this is combined with a functional company website, social media attracts new customers and converts them to brand advocates. Social media can quickly go negative, a scenario in which consumers and users create content deriding your company and your products.
A lot of businesses in this industry are vulnerable to negative exposure through social media. We believe that to counter negative social media, you need to monitor your brand’s online presence and enter the conversation, redirecting negative discussions toward more positive topics.
Note that the overall effectiveness of marketing and promotion depend on the return you receive for your investment. You can’t afford to waste money on ineffective tactics for your auto glass replacement and repair business. Professional mailing lists improve ROI even further. Also note that vendors can filter your lists to likely buyers, reducing mailing costs and increasing the impact of your direct mail campaigns.
People who walk alone don’t survive long in this business. You need to know that awareness of industry resources can mitigate the isolation of ownership and result in a more stable (and more productive) leadership experience. Although trade journals have value, we believe that the best insights are often gained through face-to-face contact with industry insiders.
17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
Have it in mind that as the owner of your business, making your operation the best is your most important duty. Owners, managers and employees should be ready to share successes and positive examples with both regular visitors and potential customers.
To achieve this success in business, you need to implement successful marketing programs that will attract new customers and keep existing customers loyal. Further, consider the boost of morale that successful marketing provides employees as another crucial factor, and you can do it by;
- Boosting your build
- Going state of the art
- Becoming truck friendly
- Partner up with an established brand
- Choosing fun signage with a local influence
- Adding unique architecture or a hallmark
- Creating a theme
- Invite a classic car club