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How to Start an Appliance Repair Business

Profile picture of Seth Richtsmeier, freelancer writer for Jobber Academy
Seth Richtsmeier
July 16, 2024 20 min. read

Starting your own appliance repair business is exciting. You’re going out on your own, being your own boss, and embarking on the entrepreneurship journey.

But before you do that, you need to know which steps to take to set yourself up for success. From training and certification to researching competitors and making a business plan, use this resource to find out how to get started on getting your business up and running.

What is an appliance repair business?

An appliance repair business helps its clients to install, repair, maintain, and remove common household appliances like microwaves, dishwashers, refrigerators, and cooktops.

You can specialize in types of appliances or even specific manufacturers, or you can offer general services for a variety of appliances and brands.

Typically, appliance repair business owners service residential clients such as homeowners, but they may be contracted to work for home builders or development companies as well.

Before you launch your own appliance repair business, you need to ensure that you start off strong to boost your chances of succeeding in a competitive industry.

Here are some of the most important steps that you can take:

1.  Get appliance repair training and work experience

Hands-on work experience and on-the-job training are essential when it comes to starting an appliance repair business.

Clients want to hire technicians who are quick, efficient, and knowledgeable. Before you can start hiring out your services, you need to have a solid grasp of the industry and a practiced skill set.

There are many ways you can start building your professional expertise, from starting an apprenticeship to getting your appliance repair certification from the International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians (ISCET).

Although a certificate isn’t legally required, to be successful you should have a decent amount of professional work experience under your belt before heading out on your own.

2.  Research your competitors

By researching your competitors, you get a better feel for how to position your own appliance repair business. It’ll help you determine what sets you apart from your competitors and what you can learn from them.

You may discover that your main competitor only services high-end appliances and targets wealthy clients. This means that you can aim for mid-level clients and more common brand names, and potentially a larger client base.

Or perhaps there’s already a general appliance repair business in your town that gives you a chance to focus on a niche market, like washers and dryers or refrigerators.

When reviewing the competition in your area, pay special attention to:

  • Their pricing
  • The types of services they offer
  • Whether they’re in a niche
  • Who their clients are
  • How they market their business
  • How they compare to your business

Use competitor research to help shape your business, so that you have a clear idea of who your ideal clients are, which services you plan to offer, and the manufacturers you want to specialize in (if any).

3.  Make a business plan

A business plan organizes and clarifies the vision you have for your appliance repair startup. A lot of what goes into your business plan can be informed by the competitor research you did.

Typically, a business plan includes:

  • A detailed list of the products and services you plan to offer
  • A market analysis, including competitors and your target market
  • A marketing plan, outlining specific ways you plan to attract clients
  • A budget, including all your costs
  • A financial plan for the first 2-3 years
  • A SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats)

Not only will a plan get you thinking about aspects of your business you may not have thought of, but it can also help you to get funding or scale down your spending.

If you need financing, your appliance repair business plan can be used when requesting funding from banks and lenders.

If your business is self-funded, a business plan helps you to plan out clear goals and identify potential issues. Understanding potential issues you may face in the future allows you to consider how to avoid them before they become a problem.

4.  Register and insure your business

After you’ve completed your business plan, you’ll need to get your business registered and insured.

This critical step involves choosing a business name, determining your business structure, and securing the necessary insurance coverage to protect your venture.

Appliance repair business insurance is also essential since it will protect you, your clients, and your business from any accidents you might encounter on the job.

Choosing a business name

Choose a unique, memorable name that reflects your services and is easy for people to remember. A distinctive name can help you stand out in the market and attract customers.

Check the availability of the name with your local business registry to be sure it’s not already in use by another company.

Determining your business structure

Decide on the legal structure that best suits your business needs. Common options include:

  • Sole proprietorship: Ideal if you’re working independently, this is easy to set up and involves less regulatory paperwork. However, it doesn’t offer personal liability protection.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC): This offers personal liability protection, separating your personal assets from your business liabilities. It’s a popular choice for small business owners thanks to its flexibility and protection.
  • Corporation: This is more complex and suitable for larger businesses. A corporation provides the highest level of liability protection but involves more regulatory requirements.

Register your business with the appropriate government authorities, such as your state’s Secretary of State office or a similar entity. Get any necessary local business licenses and permits.

Securing business insurance

Appliance repair business insurance is essential since it will protect you, your clients, and your business from any accidents or liabilities you might encounter on the job.

While you’ll have to get general liability insurance, you may also need to insure valuable appliance repair tools or equipment as well as your work vehicle.

READ MORE: What business insurance do I need?

5.  Purchase appliance repair tools

Invest in high-quality tools and equipment you know you’ll need for repairing appliances. Start by listing the services you plan on offering, and then jot down all the tools or equipment you’ll need for each service.

Common tools include:

  • Multimeters
  • Wrenches
  • Screwdrivers
  • Specialty tools for specific appliances

You can even stock up on common repair parts to avoid any delays when servicing customers.

Forming relationships with suppliers

Build relationships with suppliers so you’ll have a quick line to the best parts and equipment at competitive prices. Reliable suppliers can also provide technical support, helping you stay up to date with the latest appliance tech.

6.  Get appliance repair clients

Once you’re ready to start your appliance repair business, you need to figure out how to get your first clients.

When you were researching competitors and building your business plan, you probably learned a lot about who your target market is and how you can reach them. Now’s the time to put that information to good use.

Here are the first steps you can take:

Identify your target market

Use the research you gathered to figure out exactly who your target market is. Be as specific as possible. For example, your target clients might be residential homeowners who:

  • Have a broken appliance that needs to be repaired
  • Own common appliance brands such as Whirlpool, Frigidaire, Samsung, Maytag, and LG
  • Are outside of their warranty period
  • Live within a certain distance of your city or town
  • Are on a budget
  • Don’t have the time or knowledge to repair their own appliance

That’s not to say all your clients have to fit that description. Some clients may just hire you to install a new range or complete basic maintenance on a washer to keep it running smoothly.

Generally, you should have a clear idea of who your most common client is, which can depend on the services you offer.

If you’re having trouble figuring out who your target market is, think about who your target market isn’t. By filtering out who doesn’t fit into your ideal client list, you can begin to see which types of qualities and characteristics are a match for your services.

Reach out to your target market

Next, it’s time to roll out the marketing plan you outlined in your business plan. For example, you could:

  • Build a website and social media pages
  • Put ads in local papers
  • Hang tear-away flyers on community message boards
  • Create business cards to hand out to family and friends
  • Get a branded decal or wrap for your vehicle

Make sure that your marketing plan targets the right clients and stays within budget. Test different advertising methods to see which are the most successful for you before spending too much money on expensive ads.

Not only will these efforts bring in new clients, but they’ll also help you to build brand awareness. The more that your name gets out there, the more recognizable it becomes, ensuring that when an appliance breaks, your appliance repair business gets the service call.

7. Price effectively for profit

Pricing plays a major part in how many new clients you get. Price too high for your ideal client and you’ll get overlooked for a competitor. Price too low and you’ll either get low-quality clients or jobs with little to no profit margin.

Base your pricing on:

  • Your competitors
  • The clients you want to work with
  • The appliances you want to service
  • Your business expenses
  • Your experience and skill set

You’ll also need to consider your own salary. For example, the average appliance repair technician makes about $46,000 each year in the United States.

Create a pricing sheet to make it easier to price jobs consistently so that you have a healthy profit margin for each one.

8.  Create efficient schedules

By optimizing your daily operations, you can reduce downtime and increase the number of jobs you complete.

Invest in scheduling software

Consider using scheduling software to manage your appointments and jobs. Track customer requests, assign tasks to technicians, and monitor job progress. Features like automated reminders and route optimization can save time and improve customer satisfaction.

Create a system for managing appointments and jobs

Develop a standardized system for handling appointments. This includes logging customer details, job requirements, and expected completion times. A system can help prevent double bookings and help you meet all your commitments.

Reduce travel time between jobs

Reducing the travel distance between jobs can decrease the amount of time (and labor costs) it takes to complete a job.

Group appointments by geographic area and plan your day to avoid backtracking. You can use Jobber’s route optimization feature for efficient scheduling. Optimize your time for maximum productivity and less wear and tear on your vehicles.

Map and routing view of scheduled visits and completed visits in Jobber's service scheduling software

9.  Create a quoting and invoicing process

An effective quoting and invoicing process can set your business apart from the rest, so you get paid promptly. Here’s how to get a streamlined system going.

  • Develop a consistent approach to quoting jobs. Consider the cost of parts, labor, and any additional services. Provide detailed, written quotes to customers, outlining the scope of work and the total cost. Be transparent in your process to build trust and prevent disputes.
  • Use invoicing software to generate and track invoices. Send invoices promptly upon job completion and offer multiple payment options for customer convenience.

An efficient invoicing system helps you maintain a steady cash flow and reduces the chances of missed payments.

READ MORE: How to write a quote for a job

10.  Build a good reputation

Excellent customer service and a good reputation are cornerstones of a successful business. Providing top-notch customer service can differentiate your appliance repair business from everyone else.

Here’s how you can achieve and maintain high standards.

Handling customer complaints and feedback

Develop a system for managing complaints and feedback. Listen actively to customer issues, apologize sincerely when necessary, and offer solutions to problems.

Use negative feedback as an opportunity to improve your services. Handling and responding to feedback help in the following ways:

  • It shows potential customers that you’re committed to providing the best service possible.
  • It can turn unhappy customers into loyal advocates.
  • It helps you to learn from your mistakes.
  • It gives you a chance to retain customers.
  • It helps you manage your brand’s reputation.

Managing online reviews

Online reviews can significantly impact your business reputation, for better or worse. Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews in places like Google, Yelp, and social media.

Respond to reviews, both positive and negative. This shows that you’re active and you value customer feedback.

You need to ask customers for a review too. The best practice is doing so after every job. This can be time consuming, but you can easily set up automatic review collection in Jobber. When you make an invoice in Jobber, you can choose if you want to send the customer a review request.

A list of customer reviews on a mobile phone that came from selecting “Yes” for the “Ask for review: option in Jobber Reviews.

How to run an appliance repair business efficiently

Once you have clients, you need to manage them effectively. If you don’t, you risk missing payments, losing track of jobs, and making a bad impression on clients and industry contacts.

The best way to keep track of your clients, jobs, and paperwork is to use appliance repair software to manage them for you. Using Jobber, you can effectively and efficiently:

  • Create, send, and track professional quotes
  • Build and manage sent, paid, and past due appliance repair invoices
  • Track and store important customer and job-related information through a CRM

Originally published in June 2021. Last updated on July 8, 2024.

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