Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.
David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.
Published on November 25, 2021 Updated on February 14, 2024
$4,650 - $30,100
$30,000 - $150,000 p.a.
Time to build
0 – 3 months
$25,000 - $75,000 p.a.
Some 6.5 billion of the world’s 8 billion people, or 80 percent of humanity, use mobile phones as of 2022, according to research firm Statista.((https://www.statista.com/statistics/330695/number-of-smartphone-users-worldwide/)) That number is growing steadily, along with the average cost of a phone. As a result, the smartphone accessories market, which is led by protective cases, is ripe with opportunity. If you have a creative touch and a gung-ho attitude, a custom phone case business could be your entrepreneurial avenue to success.
Of course, starting a successful phone case business will have its challenges and require hard work. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place, as this step-by-step guide will provide all the information you need to develop and launch your new business.
Looking to register your business? A limited liability company (LLC) is the best legal structure for new businesses because it is fast and simple.
How much does it cost to start a phone case business?
Startup costs for a phone case business range from around $4,500 to $30,000 with an average of around $17,000. At the low end, you can start with a phone case making kit to make your own cases and sell via an online marketplace like Amazon or Etsy to avoid the cost of creating your own website. The high-end option would include hiring a manufacturer to make your first batch of cases.
You’ll need a phone case making starter kit and a case design software to successfully launch your phone case business.
Setting up a business name and corporation
$150 - $200
Licenses and permits
$200 - $300
$100 - $300
Business cards and brochures
$200 - $300
$0 - $3,000
Phone case making kit or first manufacturing run
$3,500 - $25,000
Phone case design software
$500 - $1,000
$4,650 - $30,100
How much can you earn from a phone case business?
Making a phone case can cost as little as $2, while that case can then be sold at a retail price of $15, resulting in an approximately 85% profit margin.
If you’re a solopreneur, you could work from home and sell 2,000 units in a year, bringing in $30,000 in annual revenue and at least $25,000 in profit. As your brand gains recognition, sales could climb to 10,000 units a year. At this stage, you might rent an office and hire staff, reducing your margin to 50%. With expected annual revenue of $150,000, you’d make about $75,000.
What barriers to entry are there?
There are a few barriers to entry for a phone case business. Your biggest challenges will be:
Competition – It’s a very saturated market
Manufacturing – Finding a reliable and inexpensive producer can be tough
Related Business Ideas
If you’re still not sure whether this business idea is the right choice for you, here are some related business opportunities to help you on your path to entrepreneurial success.
Now that you know what’s involved in starting a phone case business, it’s a good idea to hone your idea in preparation to enter a competitive market.
Market research will give you the upper hand, even if you’re already positive that you have a perfect product or service. Conducting market research is important, because it can help you understand your customers better, who your competitors are, and your business landscape.
Why? Identify an opportunity
Examine the latest phone case designs and themes, and particularly those seeing strong sales, to come up with a concept for your own designs.
Try to find a unique approach or design to differentiate your products and stand out in a crowded market.
What? Determine your products or services
You’ll not only need to choose a list of designs that you want to make, but also determine your materials and which phones you’ll make cases for. You could choose the most common models, or choose less common models to create a niche market.
How much should you charge for phone cases?
The average price for a phone case in a marketplace like Amazon is between $10 – $20, but prices are often much higher. You should start at the low end at first until you start to gain traction with your business.
Once you know your costs, you can use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.
Who? Identify your target market
Your target market will depend on your designs. If your designs are fun and trendy, you may wish to target a younger audience found on sites like Instagram and TikTok.
Where? Choose your business premises
In the early stages, you may want to operate your business from home to keep costs low. But as your business grows, you’ll likely need to hire workers for various roles. You may need to rent out a storefront or office for your operations. You can find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices.
When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:
Central location accessible via public transport
Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed
Step 3: Brainstorm a Phone Case Business Name
Your business name is your business identity, so choose one that encapsulates your objectives, services, and mission in just a few words. You probably want a name that’s short and easy to remember, since much of your business, and your initial business in particular, will come from word-of-mouth referrals.
Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:
Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better
The name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
Including keywords, such as “phone case” or “phone protector”, boosts SEO
Choose a name that allows for expansion: “The Phone Armor Company” over “Luxury Phone Cases Company”
Avoid location-based names that might hinder future expansion
Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these.
Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that set your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.
Step 4: Create a Phone Case Business Plan
Every business needs a plan. This will function as a guidebook to take your startup through the launch process and maintain focus on your key goals. A business plan also enables potential partners and investors to better understand your company and its vision:
Executive Summary: A concise summary outlining the business’s mission, goals, and key achievements, providing a quick overview for potential investors or stakeholders.
Business Overview: A detailed description of the phone case business, including its mission, vision, values, and the problem it aims to solve in the market.
Product and Services: Clear details about the specific phone cases offered, including features, design options, and any additional services such as customization or warranty.
Market Analysis: An in-depth examination of the target market, identifying customer needs, trends, and the business’s positioning within the industry.
Competitive Analysis: Evaluation of key competitors in the phone case market, highlighting strengths, weaknesses, and strategies to gain a competitive edge.
Sales and Marketing: A comprehensive plan outlining how the business will promote and sell its phone cases, encompassing online and offline marketing strategies, pricing, and distribution channels.
Management Team: Introduction to the individuals responsible for running the business, including their qualifications and roles in ensuring the company’s success.
Operations Plan: A detailed overview of the day-to-day operations, covering production, supply chain management, and logistics to ensure efficient and effective business processes.
Financial Plan: A projection of the business’s financial performance, including revenue forecasts, expenses, and profit margins, providing a clear picture of the company’s financial health and viability.
Appendix: Supplementary materials, such as additional market research, legal documents, or any other relevant information that supports and enhances the business plan.
If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist to create a top-notch business plan for you.
Step 5: Register Your Business
Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.
Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business!
Choose where to register your company
Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you are planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to phone case manufacturing.
If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state.
Choose your business structure
Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your phone case business will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely.
Here are the main options:
Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
Limited Liability Company (LLC) – Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC, which just need to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using an online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization, and answer any questions you might have.
The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN.
Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.
It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you are completing them correctly.
Step 7: Fund your Phone Case Business
Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:
Bank loans: This is the most common method but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
Government grants: A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
Venture capital: Venture capital investors take an ownership stake in exchange for funds, so keep in mind that you’d be sacrificing some control over your business. This is generally only available for businesses with high growth potential.
Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
Crowdfunding: Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.
Bank and SBA loans are probably the best options, other than friends and family, for funding a phone case business. You might also try crowdfunding if you have an innovative concept.
Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits.
You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more.
Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your phone case business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.
Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account.
Step 10: Get Business Insurance
Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.
Here are some types of insurance to consider:
General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of any of the above insurance types.
As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business.
Essential software and tools
Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks.
If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.
Develop your website
Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism.
You can create your own website using services like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.
They are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google.
For a phone case business, your marketing strategy should highlight the unique qualities and design features of your cases, emphasizing their aesthetics, protection levels, and customizability. Here are some powerful marketing strategies for your future business:
Professional Branding: Develop a visual identity that reflects style and reliability. This includes logo design, product packaging, and online store aesthetics.
Direct Outreach: Connect with tech bloggers, influencers, and accessory retailers to explore partnership and feature opportunities.
Digital Presence and Online Marketing
Professional Website and SEO: Create an engaging online storefront showcasing your range, with customer reviews and SEO optimization for better search visibility.
Social Media Engagement: Use platforms like Instagram for visual storytelling and Facebook for community building, highlighting product features and customer experiences.
Content Marketing and Engagement
Blog on Phone Case Trends: Publish posts on design trends, protection technology, and customization options to educate and engage your audience.
Email Newsletters: Send updates on new collections, exclusive offers, and behind-the-scenes content to keep your brand top-of-mind.
Experiential and In-Person Engagements
Pop-Up Shops and Tech Events: Showcase your cases at tech expos, pop-up shops, or local markets to directly engage with customers.
Collaborations with Tech Brands: Partner with smartphone companies or tech accessory brands for co-marketing campaigns.
Collaborations and Community
Partnerships with Designers: Collaborate with artists or designers for limited edition cases, enhancing brand uniqueness.
Community Support Projects: Participate in or sponsor tech education events to build brand goodwill and awareness.
Customer Relationship and Loyalty Programs
Referral Programs: Encourage word-of-mouth marketing with rewards for referrals from satisfied customers.
After-Sale Services: Provide exceptional customer service, including warranty and repair services, to build loyalty.
Promotions and Advertising
Targeted Online Advertising: Use social media and Google Ads to target tech enthusiasts and smartphone users with visually appealing ads.
Influencer Collaborations: Work with tech influencers for product reviews and giveaways to reach a wider audience.
Focus on USPs
Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that sets it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your phone cases meet their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire.
Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your phone case business could be:
Phone cases for the biggest or smallest phones only
The wildest and most unique case designs
Custom-made designs according to your vision!
You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a phone case business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been making phone cases for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections.
The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in phone cases. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership. Online businesses might also consider affiliate marketing as a way to build relationships with potential partners and boost business.
Step 12: Build Your Team
If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you will likely need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a phone case business would include:
Designers – design new unique cases
Customer Service – handle customer calls
General Manager – scheduling, hiring and firing, inventory
Marketing Lead – SEO optimization, social media strategies
At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need.
Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent.
Step 13: Run a Phone Case Business – Start Making Money!
Much like global phone usage, the phone case industry is growing by leaps and bounds. Think about it: every time you upgrade to a new phone you need a new case. The market is expected to grow further through 2028.
You might want to focus on a niche market, such as making cases only for the most popular smartphones. You might also consider doing creative and unique designs. People like to make a statement with their cases, so feel free to use your creative juices as you launch your new business. You’re now ready to start making phone cases, and good money!
Phone Case Business FAQs
Can I start making phone cases at home and sell them?
Yes, you can. You can purchase design software and a phone case making kit with 100 blank cases for about $4,000. It’s not a difficult process – you just need creative designs.
Do I need a permit to manufacture phone cases at home?
There are no industry-specific permits required to manufacture cases, but your state or town may require certain licenses and permits. Check with your state and local government offices for requirements.
Is a phone case business profitable?
Profit margins on phone cases are high. When you start by yourself from home, your margin can be up to 80%. Even after you grow your company, your profit margin can still be around 50%. The sky’s the limit when it comes to sales since the market for phone cases is expected to be $35 billion by 2028.
How can I differentiate my phone cases from competitors in the market?
To differentiate your phone cases from competitors, focus on unique designs, customization options, high-quality materials, and durability. Target niche markets, build a compelling brand story, and provide exceptional customer service.
What are the best channels for selling phone cases, both online and offline?
Online, consider establishing your own e-commerce website, selling through popular online marketplaces like Amazon or eBay, and utilizing social media platforms to showcase and sell your products. Offline, explore opportunities to partner with retail stores, set up kiosks or booths at local events or trade shows, and consider consignment arrangements with relevant brick-and-mortar stores.
How to Start a Phone Case Business
Decide if the Business Is Right for You
Hone Your Idea
Brainstorm a Phone Case Business Name
Create a Phone Case Business Plan
Register Your Business
Register for Taxes
Fund your Phone Case Business
Apply for Licenses and Permits
Open a Business Bank Account
Get Business Insurance
Prepare to Launch
Build Your Team
Run a Phone Case Business - Start Making Money!
Phone Case Business FAQs
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