How to Start a Car Decal Business

by Wendy Roltgen ; Updated September 26, 2017
Portrait of smiling mechanic

Drive anywhere and it’s hard not to notice car decals on the vehicles that pass by. An electrician may use car decals to promote his electrical business. Pizza places use car decals to highlight their delivery service. Car decals are featured on race cars, Go Karts, sprint cars and trucks to showcase sponsors and advertisers. Decals are available in all shapes and sizes to fit virtually every need.


Research the market. Pay close attention to car decals on cars and trucks in parking lots, on roadways and sporting events. Go to a trade show or auto event to talk with car decal vendors. Learn about the types of application techniques. Learn about the competition in your area and other options customers are using to get car decals. Talk with auto shop owners to inquire about where they buy car decals.

Seek a location for your car decal business. Decide whether you will work from your home or another location. Be sure to comply with zoning laws. Make sure the location is easy to access by customers. The location should provide enough space to store inventory and offer a display area for decals. For a car decal business that operates primarily online, a nice storefront and showroom are less important.

Determine the type of legal structure for your business. Business legal structures range from sole proprietorship to LLC. Research the types of legal structures to find one that is right for you.

Develop a detailed business plan. Put together a list of long-term and short-term goals. Break each goal down into steps that are easy to achieve. Create a vision and mission statement.

Create a business name and register it with your state government. Generate a list of possible business names. Search the Internet to see whether the name you have in mind is available. If your initial searches reveal the name is available, complete a search on the Federal Trademark Database (USPTO.gov). A trademark can be registered online. Register the web domain for your business name. Set up business pages on Facebook and even a Twitter account. Ask friends and potential customers about the name to make sure it is a good fit with your car decal business.

Secure financing, if required. Determine the amount of capital you will need to run the business. Research government-backed loans, local small business loans and any grants that are available to help get your business started.

Get a tax identification number. Learn about the types of tax identification numbers you need to obtain. Register for state and local taxes.

Find out whether a business license is required for a car decal business in your area. Consult with your state government office to find business license requirements for your state and county.

Find a car decal supplier. To avoid the costs of buying equipment to print and cut your own decals, consider working with a car decal vendor. Many car decal suppliers can work with custom designs you create and offer wholesale discounts for large orders. Request samples from suppliers before submitting a sample order. Once you are satisfied with the quality of car decals, create some sample car decals and place a small order with the supplier. Use these decals as customer samples.

Start marketing your business. Create a website and advertise in a local phone book and newspapers to get the word out about your new business. Send press releases to announce a grand opening. Use social media marketing methods to generate buzz about your business online.


  • Take the time to research the competitive marketplace for a car decal business. Be realistic about your financial goals and timeline. Set aside a reserve cash fund to use while establishing the business.

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