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How to Start a Window Tinting Business

Written by:

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.

Edited by:

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.

How to Start a Window Tinting Business

Fast Facts

Investment range

$4,050 - $9,100

Revenue potential

$65,000 - $325,000 p.a.

Time to build

1 – 3 months

Profit potential

$52,000 - $97,500 p.a.

Industry trend

Growing

Commitment

Flexible

Car lovers like to customize their prized possessions, and one easy way to do so is window tinting. Starting a window tinting business is a great way to become your own boss and get in a growing $10 billion global industry. If you do mobile window tinting, you can run your business from home and start for a small investment.

Before you jump in, though, you need to educate yourself about how to launch a business. Luckily, you can do your homework here, as this step-by-step guide will teach you all you need to know to begin your entrepreneurial journey.

Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You

Pros and cons

Starting a window tinting business has pros and cons to consider before deciding if it’s right for you.

Pros

  • Low Startup Costs – A mobile business only takes a small investment
  • Flexibility – Work from home and set your own hours
  • Good Money – Make about $250 per car

Cons

  • Liability – Fixing mistakes can be costly
  • Saturated Market – You’ll compete with larger, established companies

Window tinting industry trends

Industry size and growth

window tinting industry size and growth

Trends and challenges

window tinting industry Trends and Challenges

Trends in the window tinting industry include:

  • Ceramic window tinting is a relatively new method that allows greater visibility but maximum protection from the sun,
  • A new technology known as Intelligent Glass Control works by running electric current through windshields, side windows and rear windows. Glass can be tinted with just the touch of a button.

Challenges in the window tinting industry include:

  • Supply chain issues are delaying the delivery of window tinting films.
  • Tinting technologies are evolving, creating the need for window tinters to continue their education to compete.

What kind of people work in window tinting?

window tinting industry demographics
  • Gender 18.3% of window tinters are female, while 78.3% are male.((https://www.zippia.com/window-tinter-jobs/demographics/))
  • Average level of education The average window tinter is high school educated.
  • Average age – The average window tinter in the US is 38.5 years old.

How much does it cost to start a window tinting business?

Startup costs for a window tinting business range from $4,000 to $9,000 for a mobile tinting business. Costs include equipment and supplies, and a down payment on a van. 

You’ll need a handful of items to successfully launch your window tinting business, including: 

  • Tinted films
  • Blades
  • Snap knife
  • Squeegees
  • Scraper
Start-up CostsBallpark RangeAverage
Setting up a business name and corporation$150 - $200$175
Business licenses and permits$100 - $300$200
Insurance$100-$300$200
Business cards and brochures$200 - $300$250
Website setup$1,000 - $3,000$2,000
Window tinting tools and supplies$1,000 - $2,000$1,500
Down payment on a van$1,500 - $3,000$2,250
Total$4,050 - $9,100$6,575

How much can you earn from a window tinting business?

window tinting business earnings forecast

Prices for whole-car window tinting range from $100 to $400, for an average of $250. Your profit margin after materials costs should be about 80%. 

In your first year or two, you could work from home and tint five cars per week, bringing in $65,000 in annual revenue. This would mean $52,000 in profit, assuming that 80% margin. As your brand gains recognition and you get referrals, sales could climb to 25 cars per week. At this stage, you’d rent a commercial space to open a shop and hire staff, reducing your profit margin to around 30%. With annual revenue of $325,000, you’d make a tidy profit of $97,500.

What barriers to entry are there?

There are a few barriers to entry for a window tinting business. Your biggest challenges will be:

  • Acquiring the skills to be a professional window tinter
  • Attracting customers in a competitive market

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.
How to Start a Window Tinting Business

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Step 2: Hone Your Idea

develop a business idea

Now that you know what’s involved in starting a window tinting business, it’s a good idea to hone your concept 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

Research window tinting businesses in your area to examine their products and services, price points, and customer reviews. You’re looking for a market gap to fill. For instance, maybe the local market is missing a window tinting business that offers ceramic tinting or metalized tinting. 

You might consider targeting a niche market by specializing in a certain aspect of your industry, such as residential window tinting or commercial window tinting.

This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing and attract clients right away. 

What? Determine your services

Your services will depend on your training and what types of tinting you can do. With specialized training, you could do home window tinting or building window tinting. You could learn other skills as well, such as auto painting or detailing, to expand your business.

How much should you charge for window tinting?

The average price to tint a whole car is about $250. Your cost of materials is low, so you should aim for a profit margin of about 80%. 

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 be broad. You should spread out your marketing to include sites like TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. You could also try to partner with car detailers and auto repair shops to get referrals.

Where? Choose your business premises

In the early stages, you may want to run your business from home to keep costs low. But as your business grows, you’ll likely need to hire workers for various roles and may need to rent out a shop. 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
window tinting business idea rating

Step 3: Brainstorm a Business Name

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 
  • Name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
  • Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
  • Including keywords, such as “window tinting” or “glass tinting”, boosts SEO
  • Name should allow for expansion, for ex: “Supreme Window Tinting Services” over “Commercial Tinting Services”
  • A location-based name can help establish a strong connection with your local community and help with the SEO but 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 sets 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 Business Plan

Here are the key components of a business plan:

what to include in a business plan
  • Executive Summary: Present a concise overview of your window tinting business, emphasizing its services in applying high-quality tinting films to automotive, residential, and commercial windows for privacy, aesthetics, and UV protection.
  • Business Overview: Describe your business’s specialization in professional window tinting services, including a range of tint shades and materials for different applications.
  • Product and Services: Detail the types of tinting services offered, such as automotive window tinting, residential window films, and commercial building tint applications.
  • Market Analysis: Evaluate the demand for window tinting services, considering factors like regional climate, vehicle ownership rates, and local construction activity.
  • Competitive Analysis: Compare your services to other local window tinting businesses, focusing on your strengths like superior film quality, installation expertise, or customer service.
  • Sales and Marketing: Outline your strategy for attracting customers, including online marketing, partnerships with auto dealerships, or promotions for home and business services.
  • Management Team: Highlight the experience and qualifications of your team, especially in areas like automotive services, customer relations, and business management.
  • Operations Plan: Describe the operational process of your business, including customer consultations, film application, and follow-up services.
  • Financial Plan: Provide an overview of financial aspects, covering startup costs, pricing strategy, and expected revenue.
  • Appendix: Include supplementary documents such as service portfolios, customer testimonials, or detailed market research to support your 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’re planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to window tinting businesses. 

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 window tinting business will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely. 

Here are the main options:

types of business structures
  • 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. 

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Step 6: Register for Taxes

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.

The IRS website also offers a tax-payers checklist, and taxes can be filed online.

It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you’re completing them correctly.

Step 7: Fund your Business

Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:

types of business financing
  • 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.
  • 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 option, other than friends and family, for funding a window tinting business. You might also try crowdfunding if you have an innovative concept. 

Step 8: Apply for Licenses/Permits

Business Licenses and Permits

Starting a window tinting business requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.

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. 

You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package. They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.

This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties.

If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.

Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account

Before you start making money, you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account.

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 window tinting 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:

types of business insurance
  • 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 the above insurance types.

Step 11: Prepare to Launch

Launching a Business

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. 

You may want to use industry-specific software, such as TintPro, Tint Wiz, or Shop Manager, to manage your scheduling, estimates, invoicing, and payments. 

Accounting

  • Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Xero
  • 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.

Marketing

Here are some powerful marketing strategies for your future business:

  • Local SEO: Improve your website for local searches by using location-based keywords, updating meta tags, and ensuring your online listings mention your window tinting services in your area.
  • Customer Reviews and Photos: Display before-and-after photos of your work and customer testimonials on your website and social media. Encourage happy clients to leave reviews to build trust.
  • Partnerships: Work with local car dealerships and detailing shops to become their go-to window tinting service. Offer them special deals to get more referrals.
  • Social Media Events: Organize contests or giveaways on social media where people can win free or discounted window tinting. This helps increase interest and awareness about your business.
  • Workshops: Conduct workshops or talks about the benefits of window tinting, like energy saving, UV protection, and privacy. This positions you as a knowledgeable expert in the field.
  • Business Discounts: Offer discounts to local businesses with multiple vehicles, such as delivery or taxi companies, to encourage bulk orders and repeat business.
  • Seasonal Offers: Create promotions for different times of the year, like back-to-school, summer, or winter, to meet the changing needs of your customers.
  • Mobile Ads: Use mobile ads targeted at people in your area to reach potential customers more effectively. Use platforms like Google Ads for precise targeting.
  • Community Involvement: Sponsor local events or teams and participate in community gatherings to increase your brand’s visibility and connect with potential customers.
  • Referral Program: Start a program where customers get benefits for referring new clients. Word-of-mouth is very effective in the service industry, and this can enhance its impact.

Focus on USPs

unique selling proposition

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 window tinting business meets 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 window tinting business could be:

  • Specialized ceramic window tinting to maximize visibility
  • Protect your car’s interior from UV rays with professional window tinting
  • Mobile window tinting – we come to you on your time

Networking

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 window tinting business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in window tinting 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 window tinting. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership. 

Step 12: Build Your Team

Building a Team for a New Business

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 window tinting business include:

  • Window Tinting Technicians – tint windows, customer service
  • General Manager – scheduling, ordering, accounting
  • Marketing Lead – SEO strategies, social media

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: Start Making Money!

Running a Business

Ready to get into a $10 billion industry? As you can see, starting a window tinting business is relatively easy, and it doesn’t require much investment. You can run your business from home as a mobile service and make good money. Eventually, you could open a shop, and maybe even franchise it someday. 

You’ve got the business tools you need now, so go ahead and get on the road to building your window tinting empire!

Window Tinting Business FAQs

Is a window tinting business profitable?

Yes, in a window tinting business, ongoing costs are low, so your profit margins will be high. You just need to make sure your work is of the highest quality, and customer referrals will help to grow your business.

How can I learn to tint windows?

You can take various window tinting classes through an organization like Energy Products Distribution. Courses are 2 days long and cost about $1,000. You’ll just need to see if they offer classes near you.

What liquid to use for window tinting?

The liquid used for window tinting is typically a soapy solution made by mixing water and a small amount of dish soap or baby shampoo. This solution helps the tint film adhere to the window and prevents air bubbles from forming.

What type of film is best for tint?

There are different types of films such as dyed, metalized, and ceramic. Dyed films are the most affordable and provide a darker tint, but they may fade over time. Metalized films provide better heat and UV protection, but they can interfere with electronic signals such as GPS and radio. Ceramic films offer the best heat and UV protection without interfering with.

What is the difference between window tint and window film?

Window tint and window film are often used interchangeably, but they refer to slightly different products. Window tint refers to a thin film that is applied to the inside of the window to reduce glare, heat, and UV rays. Window film can also refer to a thin film, but it can be applied to both the inside and outside of the window for various purposes such as privacy, security, and decoration.

How do I market my window tinting business?

To market your window tinting business, you can use various strategies such as creating a website and social media accounts to showcase your services and work, offering promotions or discounts to new customers, partnering with local car dealerships or auto repair shops to offer your services, attending car shows and events, providing excellent customer service to encourage word-of-mouth referrals, and using paid advertising such as Google ads or Facebook ads to reach a larger audience. 

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How to Start a Window Tinting Business