Semi trucks play an important role in the American economy as they transport products and goods from one end of the country to another. When semis aren’t in operation it is often costing money and time as businesses wait for them to be repaired before they resume their delivery schedule. With more than 5.5 million commercial semi trucks on the highway according to a 2008 report by the Federal Highway Administration, you can cash in by opening and owning a semi truck parts store.

Write a business plan. Conduct an analysis of local semi truck businesses and part stores in your city and the surrounding area to ensure there is enough demand for an additional semi truck parts store. Find out if certain products, parts or supplies are not being stocked or made available. Cater your business to address these shortages or discrepancies in the market. Outline your business in the plan by including information about financing, marketing and staffing your semi truck parts store.

Get funding. Apply for a business loan to fund the startup of your semi truck parts store with a local bank or credit union. Check your credit score prior to filling out a loan application to ensure it is free of errors and has scores high enough to qualify for a business loan. Make sure to get enough funding to cover your operating expenses for at least six months as it takes time before your business produces a profit.

Register your business. Complete the forms from the department of revenue you at your state and local level to collect and pay sales tax on the parts you sell through your business. Sign up with the Internal Revenue Service to receive an employer identification number by completing the form online or calling the business and tax specialty phone line at 800-829-4933. Make sure you have approval to operate a business in your physical location by obtaining a business license from your city government.

Obtain parts and other supplies. Find manufacturers of semi truck parts and purchase them at a wholesale rate. This allows you to mark them up for retail sales and earn a profit for your business. Determine if you’ll offer used parts at a discounted rate for semi truck owners and operators, and network with junkyard owners to get these parts from wrecked semi trucks if you decide to do this.

Hire staff. Find people to work in your semi truck parts business that are knowledgeable about the parts and equipment used to make semis operate. Employee delivery staff able to deliver parts from your store to repair shops as most mechanics choose to use a parts business that delivers since this allows them to keep working rather than waste time driving to pick up parts. Consider employing a receptionist or administrative assistant to answer the phone and take part orders over the phone.

Network and promote your business. Don’t use general advertising since you’re working with a specific niche of the population. Network with shop owners and mechanics who repair semi trucks to let them know of the parts you have available, your prices and the fact that you deliver. Contact construction companies and other large equipment or diesel machine operators to let them know of your services as well.