A computer resller purchases desktops, laptops and computer accesories from a distributor and then sells them to consumers. The reseller may be a large store, online outlet, or Mom and Pop retail establishment. Since computer shoppers have so many places to purchase laptops, CPUs and other hardware, a computer reseller needs to diversify his products and services to remain competitive. Conversely, some resellers may wish to corner the market on high-end or hard-to-find refurbished products.
Decide what you will sell--and from where. You can rent a storefront and sell computers, parts and accessories from several manufacturers, or just specialize in products from one or two companies. Contact manufacturers for their policies regarding reselling and find out what distributors they use. Some companies, such as Panasonic, offer programs for resale partners.
Secure a "DBA" (doing business as) certificate in your state. Check on additional business tax and licensing procedures for your area. Some locales also require sales tax licenses for retail businesses.
Advertise online and in the phone book. Create a website for the business, even if you intend to sell primarily from a retail location. If you intend to sell computers and parts over the Internet as well as in a retail store, use clear photos of sale items on the website with short, clear descriptions of each product.
Establish an online only computer resale business. You can do this by by joining with an e-commerce supplier that provides hardware and software from major manufacturers to their partners. Computers and parts will be drop-shipped directly to your customers from a warehouse. You store no inventory. This type of operation works for people who don't have the money to open a store or room to stash computers and parts for on-location shipping. There's a start-up fee needed with this type of venture, but companies like Inetstart offer support for resellers, including tech and website-building information.
Set your prices. Make sure they are competitive, but don't set them so low that you will lose money. Compare your pricing strategy with that of other local stores, and stay in the same range. Also, consider who your buyers will be. If you're in a college town, your clients will probably buy more but have less money to spend on each purchase. Develop your sales plan according to market situations and your customers' needs.
Offer warranties, repairs and IT (information technology) services to keep customers coming back. Prepare service agreements for customers so they will come back to you to solve any problems or add to their existing systems, instead of going directly to the manufacturer or to another supplier. Provide personalized attention to maintain customer loyalty.
Use eBay, Craigslist and other online classified and auction sites to boost your bottom line.
Be wary of bargain-bin distributors who offer products at cheap prices. Always examine the computers or hardware before buying, or ask about the product manufacturer and how the item was obtained.
- computer image by Orlando Florin Rosu from Fotolia.com