How to Start an Appliance Business

by Christopher Raines; Updated September 26, 2017
Technician testing stove & oven

IBISWorld predicts that as consumer's purchasing power grows over the next decade, more consumers will want new home appliances, instead of opting to repair their old models or buying used. However, frugal shoppers may turn to repairs or secondhand appliances, especially if prices on new models rise. Your startup approach will be influenced by which consumer you want to focus on: new model buyers or cost-conscious shoppers.

Knowledgeable Owner and Employees

To enhance your business' standing with customers, obtain your National Appliance Service Technician Certification, or hire repair persons with the certification. Check for specific certification requirements in your state. For example, in North Carolina you are required to pass a refrigeration contractor's exam if you're going to work on refrigerators used in industrial or commercial establishments. Acquire operator's manuals, if you plan to repair appliances.

Getting Registered

Consult your local business office for licensing requirements. For example, you need a license in California and New York City to repair small appliances, but not in Michigan. New York City requires a separate license to sell secondhand appliances. If you're going to deliver appliances, you or your drivers will need a commercial driver's license if your delivery trucks are more than 26,000 pounds.

Representing a Brand

Owning a franchise affords you the backing of a national brand and marketing campaign. The costs of starting a franchise depend the franchiser, the size of your store and staff, and the inventory or equipment you acquire. For example, you'll pay a $27,000 franchise fee and could invest between $54,850 and $114,120 to start a Mr. Appliance franchise. To open a Sears Appliance Showroom, you'll need between $282,500 and $1,013,000, which includes a $25,000 franchise fee. You can also represent a brand by applying to become an authorized dealer or service person. As an authorized service center, your business can field requests for repairs covered by a manufacturer's warranty.

Home Room or Showroom

Startup costs for a repair or used sales business range between $10,000 and $50,000, according to Entrepreneur.com. Depending on your inventory or supply volume, you may be able to operate out of your home and save on the cost of renting space. Check with your city, county or homeowner's association for rules or restrictions on operating a business from your home. If you plan to be become an authorized dealer or run a franchise, you'll need a place for a showroom. Sears estimates renting space for an appliance sales store runs between $25,000 and $75,000 for three months.

Sell and Deliver

Consider starting your inventory with used appliances you can buy at low prices. Comb the classified advertisements in your local newspaper. Contact your local police department or sheriff's office to find out if seized property being sold includes used appliances. If you plan to deliver to your customers, consider a used delivery truck to lower startup costs. For example, Ryder has listed used delivery trucks ranging in price from $16,301 to $27,000. According to Entrepreneur.com, you must deal in new rather than used models if you're going to run a sales franchise.

Build a Customer Base

Your repair business feeds upon calls from owners needing prompt repairs. Advertise or list your business in the phone book or a local directory. Post business cards at public places, such as local restaurants. To attract restaurants and cafeteria operators in schools, companies and correctional facilities, market your expertise in repairs of grills, commercial refrigerators and other commercial appliances. Mail flyers to rental home and apartment owners who seek to supply their tenants with laundry machines, dishwashers, stoves and ovens.

About the Author

Christopher Raines enjoys sharing his knowledge of business, financial matters and the law. He earned his business administration and law degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a lawyer since August 1996, Raines has handled cases involving business, consumer and other areas of the law.

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