How to Start an Auto Glass Installation Business

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Two professional auto glass installers replace a car windshield.
Two professional auto glass installers replace a car windshield. (Image: Ikonoklast_Fotografie/iStock/Getty Images)

Auto glass installers replace or repair vehicle windshields that have been damaged in an accident or by debris. A car or truck of any age or condition can suffer windshield damage. With around 130 million registered vehicles on the road in the United States, the potential market for this business is huge, even for a local installer.

Learn Installation Skills

Develop the skills needed to install replacement windshields or repair damage to existing windshields by taking a course offered by a local technical college or windshield-supply company. Look for a course designated as meeting the Repair of Laminated Automotive Glass Standard. ROLAGS represents industry best practices and covers the technical aspects of windshield repair.

Obtain Supplies

You need equipment to carry out repairs and replacements, as well as a list of companies that can supply replacement windshields for different vehicle models. Look for online companies that provide the tools and supplies needed to repair windshield chips and cracks and provide videos showing how to carry out the repairs. If you’re planning to offer a mobile service, lease or purchase a van. Buy high-visibility clothing to wear when you carry out roadside repairs.

Set Up a Base

You can run an auto glass installation business from home if you have a garage that’s large enough to carry out repairs and store supplies and equipment. If you don't have space at home, rent a garage or workshop. You may choose to operate a mobile service, carrying out repairs at customers’ homes or on the road. Although you can keep some equipment and supplies in a van, you may still need a garage to store large supplies. If you have trade customers, such as service stations, fleet operators or body shops, you can carry out repairs on their premises, but you’ll need a van to transport the supplies and equipment.

Register the Business

Before you start trading, obtain a federal tax identification, sales tax permit and business license. Acquire insurance coverage, including liability insurance and insurance to cover your equipment in case of theft or damage. If you use your home as a base, you may need to notify your mortgage and insurance providers.

Market Your Services

You can either market your services directly to vehicle owners or act as a local authorized repairer on behalf of insurance companies, auto shops and vehicle leasing companies. Place advertisements in local directories and set up a website to attract direct customers. Contact fleet operators, body shops, taxi firms and trucking companies that may provide regular trade business. Consider joining a trade organization, such as the National Windshield Repair Association, which promotes the importance of professional repair to the public.

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