Thinking about opening an auto glass retail business? We tell you what you need to know to get started.
Barriers to Entry in Auto Glass Retailing
Auto glass retailing is a subset of the U.S. auto parts retail industry, an impressive economic sector that commands more than $45 billion in annual sales. But because the auto parts retail industry itself is concentrated (the top 50 companies capture a full 50% of the market), auto glass retail startups are at a disadvantage right out of the gate.
Another significant barrier to entry is that retail auto glass customers are predominantly DIYers, auto restoration hobbyists and small, independent repair professionals. So although it's possible to make a go of it in an auto glass retail startup, you'll need to devise a business strategy to broaden (or deepen) your customer base.
Strategic Tips for Startup Auto Glass Retailers
Revenue is the lifeblood of a small business startup. In auto glass retailing, your ability to generate additional revenue will be a major factor in your company's long-term survivability.
Although there are multiple ways to maximize your startup's revenues and profitability, there are a handful of strategies that have been effectively employed by auto glass startups to achieve both short- and long-term success.
- Specialization. Under the right circumstances, specialization can give your auto glass retail operation an edge in the marketplace. By focusing on used or hard to find windshields and products, you can potentially market your business as an authoritative industry presence -- at least in your area of specialization.
- Generalization. The flip side of specialization is to take a more generalized approach to retail glass. Even though auto glass may be your primary business activity, you could expand your business model to include glass tabletops, windows, stovetops, mirrors, plastics and custom fabrication.
- Repair & Replacement. The most common revenue maximization strategy in auto glass retailing is to provide auto glass repair and replacement services in addition to the retail products themselves. Auto glass repair may require the addition of staff and equipment, but it's a natural fit for most auto glass retail startups.
How to Create a Winning Auto Glass Retail Company Business Plan
If you've done your homework, you already know that writing a business plan is the most critical thing you can do for your company.
Although it might seem like an unnecessary formality, your auto glass retail company's business plan is a document that will shape your goals and strategies on a go-forward basis.
Here's something else you should know: Business plans help prevent key startup mistakes. Lacking a solid business plan, many startups find themselves rudderless and incapable of executing consistent decision making processes, while committed business planners rely on their plans to guide all of their decision making and short-term planning efforts.
Consider the Competition
Well in advance of opening an auto glass retail business in your town, it's essential to see how strong the competition is. Use the link below to generate a list of competitors in your area. After following the link, enter your city, state and zip code to get a list of auto glass retail businesses in your area.
Is the established competition doing a good job? It's important to understand their strengths and weaknesses and think through how you'll stake up against those established businesses.
Learn from Others Who Are Already In This Space
After you've evaluated your local competitors, it's a wise move to learn as much as you can from somebody who is already in the business. If you think your local competitors will give you advice, you're being overoptimistic. It'd be crazy for them to teach you the business.
Thankfully, an owner of a an auto glass retail business in a different city may be more than happy to give you a few tips, given that you don't compete with them in their area. 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.
Where can you find an owner of an auto glass retail business who is willing to advise you because you live in different cities?
Easy. Find them using our link below and start calling until you are successful.
Acquisitions vs. Startups
Unfortunately, many inexperienced auto glass retail business entrepreneurs approach ownership with the mistaken idea that a startup is their only option when they could also pursue a business acquisition.
Except for scenarios that require extreme innovation or highly unique value propositions, it's usually less risky to buy an existing auto glass retail business.
The good news is that an auto glass retail business acquisition is a recognized name and usually comes with a loyal customer base. In a best case scenario, you'll be able to locate a turnkey operation with proven profitability and a well oiled business model.
Don't Rule Out Franchising
The probabilities on your growing your business immediately improve when you opt to franchise instead of doing it all on your own.
Before opening an auto glass retail business, you may want to assess whether there are good franchise opportunities available that might make it easy to get started.
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 getting started as an entrepreneur may be of interest to you.
If you came here to learn about selling to auto glass retail businesses, we've got better information for you elsewhere on our site. These resources are more appropriate for you:
If you are interested in starting a different kind of business, please browse our directory of guides below.