How to Start My Own Car Audio Store

Selling audio equipment for cars is a booming business. People who do not want to purchase a new vehicle often upgrade their existing mode of transportation, and car audio systems are an affordable and easy upgrade in most cases. However, there are some important considerations and preparations you need to take when preparing for the ownership and operation of a car audio store.

Selling audio equipment for cars is a booming business. People who do not want to purchase a new vehicle often upgrade their existing mode of transportation, and car audio systems are an affordable and easy upgrade in most cases. However, there are some important considerations and preparations you need to take when preparing for the ownership and operation of a car audio store.

Develop a business plan for your own car audio store. Decide if you are more interested in retail, custom audio or installation. In order to develop the plan for your business, you will need to know costs associated with the lease, the inventory and shipping. You will need to include the number of employees and hours of operation. To assist you with a business plan, you might want to use software specifically for that purpose.

Consider a car audio franchise. These are already established businesses of which you can own a part. Some franchise opportunities you might consider are West Coast Customs and Car Audio Centre. By having an already established name you will also have a clientele base.

Try to choose a location that has some connection to your business. This might be a car tire or accessory store or a vehicle dealer. Clients who are looking for other car related materials will likely be more interested in car audio equipment. You might consider an online business for audio sales as well. This would eliminate leasing costs. Be sure that the location you choose is zoned for commercial businesses. Check with your city zoning commission to obtain that information. The zoning commission can usually be found on the homepage of your city website.

Apply for a loan if necessary. If you do not have the start up costs associated with the business, you will need to take your business plan to a bank and ask for a loan to get your audio business off the ground. Other financing options include incorporation, or getting people to invest in your business. They will be offered a part of the profits when the business becomes successful. According to Car Audio and Electronics, it will probably cost between $50,000 and $350,000 to get a car audio business of the ground. They recommend 75 percent be spent on operating costs and 25 percent on retail. Research banks carefully to choose the best interest rate for your loan.

Apply for a business license. In order to operate a car audio business, you will need to be licensed in the state in which you reside. You can apply for a license through the Internal Revenue website portal. Even if you are operating your business online, if you do not have a business license you will not be able to purchase materials from many car audio wholesalers.

Contact the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) before starting your business for safety information that you will need in order to ensure the workplace is hazard free. By consulting with them before you open your business you will know you are complying with Federal standards for workplace safety. You can contact OSHA at www.osha.gov to schedule an inspection.

Plan the store layout. In order to sell the most equipment, the layout of the store should be attractive and accessible for customers. Consider soundproofing so that customers can test the sound systems and it will not cause a problem with business neighbors. If you are planning on performing sound system installation, you will need a covered area, preferably inside and air conditioned, where the audio installations will take place. This might be an attached garage, or warehouse space. In addition, there should be a repair section for customers to bring products that need servicing. Finally, reception and product display areas are necessary for greeting purposes and sales. Make sure there is enough space for people to walk around and browse. Put your pricing in a place where it is easily observable. Have a price list and audio catalog with photos of products that you do not carry but can be ordered for the client that is accessible for clients as well.

For a car audio business, you will need car stereos, speakers, amplifiers and subwoofers. You will also need a sound system electronically wired throughout the store in order to showcase your equipment. You should have a wide selection of stereos including Kenwood, Sony, Clarion, Infinity, Pioneer, Rockford, Fosgate, JVC, Panasonic, Kicker, Jensen, Aiwa and other systems of your choosing. There may be a waiting list for some of the more popular equipment, so start with just a few more popular brands you can obtain and add on as you expand. In addition to the basic equipment you will need cables, attachments and tools necessary to connect the systems such as pliers, screwdriver sets, electrical tape, snips and soldering guns. You may want to include GPS, navigational equipment, video, sound processors, car alarms and radar detectors as well.

You want to buy the equipment at the lowest possible cost so that you will make something on the resale. Purchase equipment from car audio wholesalers, such as Wholesale Audio Club, CWR Electronics, Car Audio Distributors. They offer the best deals to individuals in the car audio business and will offer low prices on equipment sales. Be sure to comparison shop for audio equipment to get the best deal and that any wholesalers from who you buy equipment are registered with the Better Business Bureau.

Get receipt books, computers, and a business accounting software program such as Intuit Quickbooks to keep track of your sales and inventory. Be sure to have an accountant and financial adviser available for any business-related financial inquiries you might have.

Hire employees if necessary, but keep them at a minimum until your business begins to make a profit. You will probably need at least one employee for stereo installation and another for repair purposes. In addition, it may be necessary to have a receptionist to greet customers, take orders and perform audio equipment sales.

Advertise extensively in newspapers and local publications. In addition, put your advertisements in car and audio magazines to attract a clientele that is interested in your product. Give incentives to returning customers such as discounts and coupons to encourage repeat business.

Inspect your store before opening. Walk through the store with an impartial observer to get an idea of how it appeals to the general public. Check the outside to see if all signs are observable to those walking or driving by the store (if applicable). Be sure you have a sign that has a visual image that indicates you sell car audio equipment as well.Open your doors for business, and make changes as needed to make the business successful.

Warnings

  • EPA regulations must be followed in the disposal of electronic equipment. If your business discards more than 220 lbs. of electronics per month it must be sent to a facility especially designed for hazardous waste material. Go to the EPA website state specific information.
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency http://www.epa.gov/waste/conserve/materials/ecycling/rules.htm

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About the Author

Robin McDaniel is a writer, educator and musician. She holds a master's degree in higher educational leadership from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton as well as a bachelor's degree in elementary education. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in adult in community education. McDaniel enjoys writing, blogging, web design, singing and playing bass guitar.