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Frequently Asked Questions

We receive many questions from prospective dealers about our business and what's involved with starting your own dealership. To save you a bit of time, we’ve compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions which will answer many of your queries about what is involved with a ClosetMaid dealership.

Q.
Can you give me an overview of the start up for this business?
A.

Yes. Like many businesses, you'll need to do a lot of legwork for the basics: Order a phone line; determine whether or not to incorporate, form an LLC, or operate as a sole proprietor. You'll also want to research and obtain appropriate insurance, business licenses, and so on. In some states you may even need a contractor's license. These are some of the basic steps to setting up most businesses from scratch.

To learn all about starting and successfully running a custom closet organizing business, we invite you to attend Closet University for a week in Ocala, Florida. This is our FREE, one-week, intensive training course on starting and running your business. It's a bit like “Closet Boot Camp” because we must cover so much information in such a short amount of time. But when you go home, you'll know how to design and install our closet and garage products. We'll teach you about the administration of running your closet organizing business and how to market it to your customer base.

Once you get home the real work begins: We'll help you set up your advertising in the Yellow Pages phone book to ensure you start off with the most appropriate advertising. You may also have a home show to prepare for to advertise your services. You'll probably want to practice your newly developed closet designing and installing skills on your own home closets as well as for all your friends to build confidence! Whether you have an installation question or need advice on advertising opportunities, we'll be happy to help you get established.

Like most new businesses, it takes a bit of time to get the word out about your new products and services. Many of our new dealers find it takes 90 days or more to get up to speed. The length of time it takes for your business to really get going and attract a steady clientele can vary quite widely. There are simply so many variables affecting start up, including your own skills at speedily setting up a new enterprise and learning the unique skills to closet organization.

Q.
How much does it cost to start up?
A.
Start up costs can vary widely depending upon what you may already own and what you choose to spend for recommended capital equipment. You can expect these costs to range from $20,000 to $52,000. For example, if you already own a good laptop computer and peripherals, you can cross off that cost from your start up list. Here’s a basic overview. All the prices below are averages and can vary from location to location:
Laptop computer and peripherals $1,500
Closet Design software (VSP Pro) $1,700
Travel Expenses for training (hotel, airfare, etc.) $1,000
Closet/Garage Installation Tools $1,000*
ClosetMaid Training Classes FREE!
Truck, Van or Trailer $10,000*
One Year: Business License, Insurance, Registration… $2,000
1st Year Advertising Recommended Budget (incl. yellow pages, print ads, home shows, etc.) Advertising rates vary by region. $10,000 - $25,000
Closet/Garage Inventory Purchase TBD **
Working Capital $5,000 - $10,000
TOTAL START UP COST: Est. $19,700 - $51,200

* If needed.

** Of course you will need to purchase products to install for your customers. However, there is no requirement to purchase products. Many new dealers do not buy closet or garage product until they have actually sold their first jobs. And then they place their first order so that they can maintain a bare minimum inventory -- a good business practice – only ordering as needed.
   
Q.
Why is this custom closet business so much less expensive to start than many other national franchises?
A.
Those companies requiring higher start up costs are structured in a dramatically different set up. They often require that you manufacture your own finished goods. That means you'd have to invest in a large, commercial shop lease to house this equipment. Second, you'd have to lease commercial equipment to create the laminated partitions and shelving. Third, you'd probably have to hire skilled shop workers to create the finished goods and insure them and the facility. You can see where the costs to start up this type of venture would grow exponentially.

ClosetMaid wanted to make it reasonably-priced for a smart business person to get into the custom closet business. You don't have to manufacture the finished product from raw goods with us. We provide finished, laminated closet product from which you may customize the components for each and every design and client.
   
Q.
What kind of profit can I make?
A.
We make no promises about our closet organizing business being a ‘get rich quick’ opportunity. Our existing dealers have gone into this business because they like the products and services; and their profit goals are tied to establishing long-term, successful businesses where they can be their own bosses.
   
Q.
Can I do this business by myself?
A.
The majority of our MasterSuite® dealers in the custom closet business are sole operators. They run all the appointments from the sales calls and estimates, and then they come back to install the product for their customers. Some dealers have set aside specific days of the week that are sales days and others that are installation-only days. Other dealers keep more flexible schedules. A second person is not a requirement to run this business. However, we will let you know that at a certain point you may wish to add a part-time or full-time helper in installation or sales. But it is entirely your choice.
   
Q.
Is the product difficult to install? Do I need to be an experienced carpenter to do this well?
A.
No. Like most carpentry work our products require good, common sense skills to install them. Many of our new dealers have no carpentry experience when they begin. In our free training classes we have everyone working hands-on with power tools, assembling and installing our closet organizing products. We teach assembly and installation of all products step-by-step and provide an installation manual with instructions and illustrations. The key to good quality installations is demanding the best quality work from yourself or an installer of the product. Take the time to do a job well. Speed and increased skill will come with some time and practice.
   
Q.
How do I know if I need a contractor’s license?
A.
Every jurisdiction has different requirements regarding licensing for closet organizing businesses. You need to contact your local government building department to ask about these requirements. In most cases, building construction is overseen and regulated at the state level. And while most of us think of closet cabinetry as minor remodeling, many state building departments have a different perspective. As a general rule, the states west of the Rocky Mountains all require closet remodelers to obtain some form of contractor’s license. Contact your local authorities to see how this may apply to you.
   
Q.
Is the training seminar mandatory?
A.
Although it isn't a legal requirement for you to attend training, we can't imagine that you wouldn't want to take advantage of a week of free training classes and learn from our years of expertise in this industry.
   
Q.
How can I compete with the ClosetMaid displays in big, retail stores?
A.

First, you should know that the customer who buys closet organizers at a retail store isn't interested in your services. The Do-It-Yourselfer isn't interested in paying for your personalized service. On the other hand, your Do-It-For-Me client wouldn't dream of remodeling her own closets. Your customers want it handled by a professional - you! They want you to custom design the storage space to match their needs and wardrobe. They want it professionally installed. YOUR customer is NOT the same as a retail customer.

The similar-looking laminate product manufactured by ClosetMaid and sold in retail stores is NOT the same product that our dealers sell. They may look similar, but they aren't. In fact, we go into great detail at Closet U. explaining the technical specification differences of these products. We also discuss at length how you respond to your customers' inquiries about the product similarities if you're asked.
   
Q.
Do you grant exclusive territories?
A.

No. This is a business opportunity and not a franchise system with exclusive territory rights. This is one way we keep start up costs to a minimum by not granting exclusive territory rights. However, we’ll tell you up front if there is anyone else in your geographic area that also sells our products.

It isn’t good business for either of us if your neighborhood has too many dealers, so we make every effort to ensure new dealers aren’t entering an already saturated market.

Think of it this way: If you develop your business and serve your market very well, why would we want to mess up a winning strategy? If you are successful. We are successful. When your customers are happy with the product and your services, they have respect for ClosetMaid as well.
     
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