Thinking about opening an awnings, canopies, and shade structures business? We tell you what you need to know to get started.
Why Sell Awnings, Canopies and Shade Structures?
There are plenty of ways to make a living as an entrepreneur, so why settle on an awnings, canopy and shade structure business? In a word, flexibility. Today's awning and canopy companies have the ability to serve a wide range of B2B and B2C customers, enabling them to target a broader customer base than many other types of startups.
With the right business plan, it's possible to create an awnings and canopy company that is capable of producing custom residential and commercial structures as well as standard products that can be purchased "off the shelf". As a result, your startup can navigate market fluctuations by emphasizing lower-priced, standardized products during market slowdowns or customized products for high-end homeowners or businesses experiencing growth and expansion.
Awning, canopy and shade structure startups are also attractive for entrepreneurially minded individuals with experience in light manufacturing. Depending on your skill level and startup capital position, you may even want to consider expanding your initial strategy to include shade structures for larger projects, e.g. amphitheaters, resorts, etc.
Product & Service Features in the Awning, Canopy & Shade Structure Industry
Despite the fact that no two awning and canopy companies are the same, most offer a similar slate of product and service categories. As a startup entrepreneur, your challenge will be to launch a differentiated business that incorporates a handful of common product and service features.
- Product Categories. Awning and canopy businesses typically offer multiple types of products, based on the needs of the homeowners and businesses in their target market. Retractable awnings, dome awnings, spear awnings and even standalone canopies are common product categories that you may need to sell in order to maintain a competitive market presence.
- Material Choices. Awnings and canopies are available in several types of materials, with metal and fabric comprising the majority of structures sold in the industry. Plan on stocking multiple colors in each material category and partnering with a digital printer capable of customizing products to customer specs.
- Installation & On-Site Consulting. As more and more online-only retailers pop up in the awnings and canopy industry, brick-and-mortar businesses can achieve a competitive advantage by offering installation, on-site consulting and other service simply not available through online providers. Although you may choose to incorporate an ecommerce component into your startup, don't overlook the value of brick-and-mortar services to residential and commercial customers.
Business Plans 101 for Awnings, Canopies, & Shade Structures Business Startups
You've been working on your awnings, canopies, and shade structures company's business plan for a while now and you think you're really starting to make progress. You've covered your mission, your strategy and the financial chapter is top notch. But your business plan won't be finished until you've included material about your industry.
Industry analyses are standard chapters in awnings, canopies, and shade structures company business plans and are often required by lenders or investors. Industry analyses are critical for contextualizing your startup within an industry setting.
Although you'll need to provide the right information, you'll also need to be careful to avoid common industry analysis mistakes because the wrong tone and content here could negate all of the hard work you've invested in the rest of your business plan.
Look Over the Competition
Prior to launching an awnings, canopies, and shade structures business within your community, it's essential to determine how you will fit in the competitive landscape. Try our link below to get a list of local competitors in your area. Just enter your city, state and zip code to get a list of awnings, canopies, and shade structures businesses in your community.
Prior to opening your doors for business, be sure you fully understand the competitive landscape and where your new business will fit in.
Turning Competitors Into Collaborators
Once you've finished assessing the competion, be sure to speak with somebody who is already in the business. If you think owners of nearby awnings, canopies, and shade structures businesses will give you advice, think again. Why would they want to educate a future competitor?
But, a person who owns an awnings, canopies, and shade structures business on the other side of the country will be much more likely to talk with you, once they realize that you are not going to directly compete with them in their community. Indeed, many experienced entrepreneurs enjoy offering advice to startup entrepreneurs. If you are persistent, you can find a business mentor who is willing to help you out.
How do you go about finding an awnings, canopies, and shade structures business owner in another community?
Here's one way to do it. Just use our link below, find somebody and call them.
Gaining Access to Awnings, Canopies, & Shade Structures Business Ownership
Common sense will tell you that to enter the world of awnings, canopies, and shade structures business, you'll either need to start a new business or acquire a promising company on the business-for-sale marketplace. There are a lot of benefits of buying an awnings, canopies, and shade structures business.
If you're on the fence consider this: There has never been a better time to acquire an awnings, canopies, and shade structures business. The down economy has resulted in a glut of available businesses, many of which can be acquired for bargain prices.
Is Franchising the Right Option?
The odds of doing well in business are much better when you join the ranks of franchisees rather than going it alone.
Prior to starting an awnings, canopies, and shade structures business, you would be wise to assess whether franchise opportunities in your space might help you on your entrepreneurial journey.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding starting a business may be of interest to you.
If you already are in business and came here to learn about growing an existing awnings, canopies, and shade structures business, these resources will come in handy:
If you came here to learn about selling to awnings, canopies, and shade structures businesses, we've got better information for you elsewhere on our site. These resources are more appropriate for you:
If you are still exploring all of your options, please browse our directory of guides below.