The True Cost of Starting a Garage Floor/Concrete Coating Company

When considering the prospect of starting a garage floor or concrete coating business, the first question that inevitably comes to mind is: how much will it cost? At Floor Shield, our answer to this question varies depending on several factors, including whether you choose to go the independent route, become a dealer, or opt for a franchise. In this article, we'll break down the general costs associated with starting this type of business and explore the key differences between the three business models from a financial point of view.


Startup Expenses for a Concrete Coating Business

Regardless of whether you choose to go independent, franchise, or become a dealership, there are common startup expenses to consider. Here's a rough estimate of these expenses:


Equipment: This category covers essential tools such as concrete mixers, trowels, finishing tools, and more, with an estimated cost of around $20,000 - $30,000.


Major Equipment List:

  • Diamond grinder 20” or larger
  • Variety of grinding pads with various hardness and grit levels
  • PCD Pads or Grinding Cup Wheels for removing prior coatings
  • High-Capacity Vacuum System
  • Secondary vacuums for hand grinders
  • Generator: 13,000 Watt minimum
  • Extension cords
  • Portable air scrubber
  • Trailer with ramp
  • Tooling and accessories
  • Hardness test kits
  • Moisture meter
  • Rollers/roller covers
  • Brushes/trowels/squeegee
  • Spiked shoes
  • Mixing tools/cups/half-gallon/graduated pitchers
  • Mixing bins/mixing paddles
  • Putty knives/scrapers


Materials: Things like concrete, sand, gravel, and rebar are necessary for the coating process, with an estimated cost of approximately $10,000.


Transportation: Acquiring a truck, trailer, fuel, and insurance will cost around $20,000 – $40,000.


Things to consider regarding your transportation:

  • Will you buy your truck/trailer new or used? Do you own one already?
  • If you have a box truck, you might not need a trailer.
  • Gas is an ongoing fee and will add up over time. Same with insurance.


Permits and Licenses: Legal requirements such as a business license, zoning permit, and environmental permit can add up to approximately $5,000.


Some states and counties within states have strict contractor licensing programs, e.g., California and certain counties in Florida. However, the majority of cities/states have minor licensing requirements for small businesses like a concrete coatings dealership—range: $150 - $500


Insurance: Protecting your business with general liability insurance and workers' compensation insurance may cost around $3,000.


Marketing: Building a strong online presence and marketing your services through website design, business cards, flyers, and more can amount to roughly $2,000 - $4,000.


Breakdown of Marketing Spend:

  • Website
  • Business Cards/flyers/brochures—$500 - $750
  • Wrap for your trailer/truck—$1500 - $3000


It's important to note that these estimates do not include the startup cost of a dealership or franchise, nor do they consider any discounts these business models might offer. The total cost will vary significantly depending on which route you choose below.


Finally, you’ll need to consider ongoing marketing spend. We recommend reinvesting 10 – 15% of your revenue into working capital. It’s usually a good idea to put in $2,000 – $3,000 per month minimum.


Why Should I Be an Independent Contractor?

The first option to consider is the DIY (Do It Yourself) approach. Independent ventures are undeniably attractive due to their low upfront costs. There’s no initial deposit for affiliating with specific brands, nor are there any ongoing monthly fees.


However, even in the realm of independent contractors, there are many expenses to consider. DIY enthusiasts must purchase all the necessary equipment, materials, and permits required to operate their business. The costs can add up quickly. You might run into a problem where you don’t have enough funds left over for insurance or marketing.


Why Should I Join a Franchise?

Franchising is a more secure route for entrepreneurs seeking to enter the concrete coating business. While it offers several advantages, it comes with substantial startup costs. Franchisees are typically required to:

  • Bring working capital of up to $80,000 or more to the table.
  • Additionally, you must pay a monthly franchise fee, which usually represents a percentage of your earnings. This fee can vary depending on the level of service and support provided by the franchise but is usually anywhere from 6 to 12%.


Franchises offer valuable benefits, such as comprehensive training programs and marketing support. They have established brand recognition and a proven business model, which can bypass the process of gaining customer trust. Securing financing for a franchise is also easier, as lenders will often view you as less risky due to the established brand’s track record.


Many franchises will require you to buy equipment through them to standardize operations across all businesses, ensuring consistent quality and service. You might have the option of financing the equipment.


Is Becoming a Dealer Right for Me?

Concrete coating dealerships typically provide a product and some branding. As a dealer, you’ll have no fee attached to your earnings and have more liberty to promote and conduct your business how you want.

  • Startup costs for a dealership can range from $50,000 to $70,000.
  • Dealerships usually provide the product and may offer some training to their installers, but they often lack the extensive support and marketing assistance that franchises provide.
  • At Floor Shield, our dealership has franchise-like support without the royalty fees. We offer a comprehensive training program and marketing plan for every dealer.


It’s Up to Your Goals and Circumstances

The cost of starting a garage floor or concrete coating business can vary widely depending on the path you choose.

  • While DIY options are the most cost-effective upfront, handling everything solo can easily become overwhelming.
  • Franchises offer comprehensive support and give your operation an immediate reputation. However, they require substantial initial investment and ongoing fees.
  • Dealerships offer a middle-ground option, with varying levels of support, no royalty fee, and a balance between freedom and security.


For a more thorough look at the structure of the different concrete coating business models, check out this breakdown. In it, we cover:

  • Starting a successful concrete coating business.
  • Having an effective marketing plan and sales system.
  • CRM and taking care of your leads.
  • The importance of teamwork.
  • How to deal with adversaries.


You can learn more about starting a concrete coatings business here.


Ultimately, the decision should align with your financial capacity, business goals, and the level of support and training you seek to achieve success in this industry. If you are interested in Floor Shield’s dealership model, which offers an abundance of support absent of franchise fees and restrictions, scroll down to our dealer signup below.